Thursday, October 28, 2010

A question for the Magic players

Along the lines of my previous post. A question of curiosity.

So, I'm not really that likely to go out and buy Magic cards any time soon.
But for the sake of this blog post, let's assume that I am a player who used to play Magic, quit the game and got rid of all of his cards about 15 years ago, and was interested in starting anew.

When I played Magic, I didn't participate much in the "tournament scene". I was a pure casual player. I maybe played in 2 or 3 tournaments and didn't make much of a showing.

If I were to buy Magic cards today, it would be just enough to create 2 casual decks that are balanced against each other, to sit on a shelf and occasionally pull out to pass the time, perhaps even to play with my wife or (when he's old enough to sit still at a table holding a hand of cards) my son. So the tournament rules are not that important.
That being said, I hate going out and buying cards for a still-living game that are not legal to play with outside of my bubble. It bugs me.

A note on the word "legal": I am strictly talking about the Magic "Type 2" format here; I understand that there are formats where you can play with most cards since Day 1, but those formats don't really apply to the hypothetical "starting the game with only new cards" player.*

With VTES, that was never a problem; other than an extremely small ban list (most of which were banned for mechanical reasons rather than power reasons), every card since 1994 is perfectly legal to put into a deck. There aren't even any technical deckbuilding restrictions other than the Grouping Rule.
With Magic (as far as I understand), there is only a list of five cards that *are* guaranteed to be legal from the dawn of history until the end of time: the Basic Lands.

So, I came across this product called the "Deckbuilder's Toolkit". It's cheap. Almost cheap enough to buy one anyway for a one-time goof.
But the question arises: What is the legality of the cards contained within? Are they currently legal and when will they stop being legal? (by the above definition of "legal")

If they are not currently legal, or will 'expire' soon, then what is the current recommendation you'd give to a brand new player starting from scratch and wanting a cheap start?
Would you still recommend the Toolkit anyway?

Please be as specific as you can with answers. Don't talk to me as if I'm a Magic player who understands all the formats and the culture of the game. Talk to me as if I'm oblivious and found this game on a shelf, and you want to make sure I make the right decision.

Yes, this is still just a matter of hypothetical curiosity.

Bonus question:
Let's say that the latest "block" has Serra Angel in it (which I think it does). Let's say I am a player who played "back in the day" and still had my original cards.
Would it be legal for me to include my Beta-printing Serra Angels in a modern tournament-legal deck?

(VTES does have that strange quirk that, even though all cards are legal, you can't use any new-expansion cards within 30 days of release, even if they're reprints of otherwise-easy-to-acquire commons).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Dark Secrets

Gods help me, I've been reading about the latest iteration of rules to Magic recently and.. mechanically it seems really solid; in a lot better shape than where I last left it.

I don't want to get back into "the scene", and I definitely don't want to get started spending money on cards. But I am curious.

There is no point to this post, I guess :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bring in the cat!

A favorite game of VTES players everywhere, Battlestar Galactica, is getting an all-new expansion with lots of cool goodies.
Things like "You are not a cylon" cards with agendas or penalties, a Cylon Fleet board, and NPCs.
It all looks pretty sweet.

I may or may not get Pegasus, but I do definitely want this one from the description.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Good question!

My wife asked me what I want for my birthday from her (and from my son).
My birthday's coming up in mid-November.

So, of course, one of the categories of "things I might want for my birthday" is games, stuff that's relevant to this blog.
But I'm not sure what I would prioritize in that category, especially knowing that I have Dominion and Small World stuff on preorder.

So, any suggestions out there?
I think a prime criterion in this context would be something that's playable with 2, so that it isn't a "thank you, now I'll put it on a shelf until I can play it" type of game. And of course, not too hardcore-gamery, so that she'll actually enjoy playing it; she does like Dominion, Carcassonne, and that Euro Style of game.

Board games may not be exactly what I end up responding with anyway, but there sure are a lot I'd like to try.

On a related note, I'm considering using my birthday as an excuse for another "board game day" anyway. I'll keep you posted where appropriate.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I didn't expect this blog to mostly be about Dominion

My preorder from Dominion Prosperity is still promising a ship date of September 2010, so I'm hoping that a time machine is included in the box.
It's sad, because the only reason I ordered from ThoughtHammer was that they accept Paypal, and other sites with preorders for the game are definitely shipping now.
But I'll live.

But my disdain for Rio Grande Games is balanced out by their customer service department:

Last Monday, there were only 3 of us for VTES Night initially, so we played a few rounds of Dominion, including one with a random Russian woman who insisted that we play a game with her.

Anyway, in expanding the setup to 12 of each victory card (which I usually don't do, since 90% of my Dominion games are just me and Talita), it was discovered that, at least by the end of the night, there were only 11 Estates (in addition to the starting hands of course).

That's actually not a huge deal, for a few reasons:
1) As mentioned, most of my Dominion games are 2-player, in which only 8 Estates are used.
2) Even in 3-4 player setups, it is a really rare occurrence for it to be worth it for all of the Estates to get bought up.
3) I have an abundance of blank Dominion cards with proper backs. And nobody would care about a proxied Estate.
4) I also own Intrigue, which has a whole other set of basic cards -- the only down side here is that I couldn't play 2 simultaneous 4-player games with my set with all non-proxied cards. Boo hoo hoo.

The extra Estate was probably lost somewhere in my house, and may turn up someday...

But I thought I would contact Rio Grande anyway, to assess the likelihood of replacing it.
They got back to me, saying that for a grand total of $2, they would replace my one measly Estate.

A bit pricey, considering the 4 statements above, and the only real reason for me needing to replace it being my Gamer OCD issues.

So I remembered that one of my copies of Market (a very popular card when it shows up) is totally bent, thanks to a pre-sleeving shuffle screwup during our time on the cape. It really hasn't come up as a problem post-sleeving, but "I know".

For $2, they'll replace both of those. And that satisfies me enough.
I could have requested more cards.. like 4 extras of each basic card to account for future problems, or whatever.. but I didn't want to get greedy, and really this is more than I even needed to do in the first place.

I suppose I could have asked him to throw in a copy of Prosperity ... ;)