Thursday, February 17, 2011

PGWJ, Session 1

We successfully had a "session" last night! Hooray!

Just a mini-report, I won't go too deeply into detail.

Max and Matt and I gathered together at my house.

First, we played Castle, a game I have had sitting on my shelf for
awhile and haven't played very much.

That game is still interesting, although we agreed on the fact that it
could probably use at least one house rule (You get 2 actions per
turn, but the house rule would state that the actions must be
different, so you don't all spend the first several turns drawing your
whole deck and making a mockery of the "deck" mechanic).
I wouldn't mind trying it again, with the house rule, or with some of
the variants listed on the site (which would involve some proxying,
construction, or buying a second copy of the game, so maybe not)

We followed this up with 3 games of Dominion (is a BGG link necessary?)

I did not write down which Kingdom Cards we played each time, but we
did decide to play with no Alchemy cards at all, and with no repeats
of cards from game-to-game.
In one of the rounds, Colonies and Platinum did appear on the table,
but didn't have any impact.
I also remember that in Round 1 we had Militia, Round 2 we had Ghost
Ship and Rabble, and Round 3 we had Lighthouse and no Attacks. Heh.
And if I remember correctly, each of us won one of those games, and it
wasn't always who went first.

Looking forward to having another get-together, with 4 or more people
to increase the pool of possible games!
(And Vassal is still on my radar for those times when we can't
physically assemble)

Thanks all!

Monday, February 14, 2011


The more I think about it, and the more "HEY WAIT, I could build such-and-such other deck!" followed up by "but I don't want to actually play it, or nobody would want to play against it", I think I am really done with VTES, other than holding on to a few of my favorite remaining decks and maybe playing on the jungle that is JOL.

So, I am a little bit motivated to "Get Rid Of All My Cards", which is mostly going to be in the form of donations to the local group; I don't feel the need to put a price on every single common/regular-rarity-Vampire/crappy-rare, and I have no illusions of making Lots Of Money off of these cards.

If you're reading this, and you want to cover shipping charges (which can definitely include coming to my house in person), you can feel free to ask me if I've got stuff (as some of you already have, and I'm getting through those lists). Please email me privately, if you can.
As motivated as I am to get my cards into good homes, making a list of everything I've got is not as easy as checking if I've got what you want. Whatever's left over after dumping giant boxes in Chris's House and catering to specific requests, and determining what I actually need to maintain in a small collection, is going to go out on ebay or whatever. Maybe by the end of the year I will reach Collection Equilibrium.

Once again, I'm not totally giving up on playing the game yet.
And I may even draft and keep those cards occasionally, moving forward.
But the sheer number of cards I own and will never use is just too massive to overlook.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

VtES apathy....

I told myself I'd see how I feel about VtES after TempleCon, and it's after TempleCon now.

I can't say I give up on the game; I still appreciate it, and I still want to play.


I just can't bring myself to care about building new decks. Even with all the wacky ideas I've come up with over the last 10 years, I'm just.. spent.

And with the thousands of cards sitting in my closet doing nothing, half of me wants to donate them. Half of me wants to sell them. Half of me wants to keep them "just in case".
I dunno... I don't even know how I would shed my excess cards even if I wanted to. I've been ebaying bits here and there for the last couple of years, and will probably continue to do so, but what am I going to do with all of these Bang Nakh and Marcus Vitels?

I've just gotten so much more interested in "self-contained games that are interesting with a VTES mindset".
And especially since I'm locked out from our regular VTES night for the next several months, Motivation is extremely low.

I've gone through phases of VTES disinterest before, but I think this one is the Big One.

Monday, February 7, 2011

TempleCon 2011 aftermath, Post #3: Battlestar Galactica

So, we had talked about all the ways we were going to do Galactica, but the only time we got to play was starting at 1am and nobody wanted to deal with any all-new game-extending rules.
So Ionian Nebula (and New Caprica) were shelved for yet another day.

The players were (along with their final loyalties):
Me - Cally - Human
Prescott - Leoben - Cylon Leader with a Humans Win Agenda (the one where there are 2 resources that need to be within 2 of each other)
Matt H - Baltar - Cylon
Tony - Gaeta - Human (maybe Final Five, but it didn't come up)
Matt M - Starbuck - Human
Jen - Apollo - Human

So, yes, we got the odd case with a properly-created Exodus Loyalty Deck where the other You Are A Cylon card was on the bottom of the deck and never drawn.

We did suspect Gaeta of being a Cylon after our first jump; we were lowish on fuel and he chose 3 Distance for 3 Fuel. But it turned out to be the better choice after all.

Baltar did some suspicious stuff, and then overjustified his actions, which is a sign of a cylon player. Eventually, he gave up and chose the obvious-cylon option on a President Chooses crisis (one that gave us -1 fuel amongst other things).

So, Cally took a shuttle over to the President's office and delivered a very special gift (her OPG), confirming our theory.
Apollo was too busy in space to hold on to the President Title, so I called a vote to become Pres myself. And there was much rejoicing. Before the Baltar blood was cleaned out of the rug, his assassin took his place.

Despite the fact that Baltar was all on his lonesome as the evil Cylon, the game was pretty close. The humans took a concerted effort to cycle through the Purple Deck several times to be able to play Scouting For Fuel multiple times, which dug us out of a hole. There was even a short period of post-sleeper-phase time when all of our resources were in the blue, but there was also a massive raider swarm wiping out multiple Civilian Ships.

Starbuck had a Personal Goal (I didn't even see which one) but didn't want to reveal it and take the 50% chance of being on the loser Cylon side until after we had jumped to 7.

Leoben spent most of his game scouting the Human Fleet, and a little nervous that he wouldn't reach his personal goal, but ended up victorious.

In the end, yes, the Humans did win, and the Cylon felt like it was a given, but the board and cards weren't doing us any huge favors.
Very fun game, and a relatively short one (under 3 hours).

Still waiting for that shot at an alternate destination...

TempleCon 2011 aftermath, Post #2: Chaos in the Old World

Chaos in the Old World is a game that a lot of local VTES players (and non-VTES players in the same extended circle) have been raving about for months, and especially recently. They love playing the game so much, they want to start a whole League to play over and over and over and over.
I have been trying to arrange a time to play it for a few weeks, and TempleCon was that time.
After the finals of the VTES tournament on Saturday, at 10-something PM, I sat down to play Chaos.

We got random characters. I was assigned Khorne, the Blood God.
I was basically told "Your job is to kill things. When you kill things, your dial advances, and that's how you win. Ignore all the other rules."

So I followed the advice of the experienced players.

Every turn, I sent out my armies to kill guys. I upgraded my Cultists to be able to fight. I smashed and smashed and my die rolls were awesome and I got Dial Advancements. Phases went by with "Corruption" and "Domination" and I zoned out.
It was basically just following a script, and that script missed a turn because of an Event Card that said "discard this and draw a new Event Card".
So, the last turn started, and I was 3 "ticks" away from victory, and you can only advance 2 "ticks" in a turn. So I couldn't do anything to win.
I passed in the "buy phase", got up, and started setting up BSG (See Post #3).

This was one of the most boring experiences I've had with a game. I don't feel like I made any choices that made any difference.
What was I missing? Comments are welcome.

I'm willing to give the game a second chance, playing a different god, and seeing if those other mechanics improve my enjoyment.

But so far, Chaos in the Old World ranks a mere GR in my book.

TempleCon 2011 aftermath, Post #1: VTES

Ah, VtES. The reason I know about TempleCon, the reason I know most of the people I saw over the weekend, and part of the reason for my little corner of fame in the gamerverse.

First tournament: Friday night

Not much to write home about here.
I got to TempleCon just in time to turn round 2 of the Friday VTES tournament into 20 players. I played my Malabranca Breed-Boon-PallaGrande deck, and got crushed by a Ventrue Law Firm deck (played by Amber). Nothing notable happened. I don't even remember the rest of the table.

Qualifier: Saturday
After a little bit of Glen More and time-wasting Drafting in the morning, we were ready to play the main event. There were 27 players.

I ended up playing a Kiasyd Stealth Bleed But A Little Toolboxy deck, along with at 3 other people playing more-or-less the same exact crypt.

Round 1

Round 1 was a 4-player table.
Me-> Dave C (Gangrel fight) -> Amber (Setites) -> Peter K (!Tremere toolbox?)

Peter got out Valerius (the version who shuts down obfuscate, great defense for being the prey of setites), Antonio d'Erlette, and a few Nephandi.

I happened to be drawing most of my Deflections early on, and Peter was "irresponsibly" firing bleeds of 2-3 down the pipe to "test the waters". In addition to my own Stealth Bleedy Sleaze, Dave really didn't have a chance.
He was ousted before he could say "Raven Spy".
I ended up playing Pentex Subversion on Amber's poor little 2-cap to wipe her out, and then Peter just couldn't handle my obt/myt stealth and all of the bleed action cards I hadn't had to waste yet.
Table sweep for me!

Round 2

Round 2 was also 4 players, which actually worked out in my favor.

Me -> Mark (Tor/!Tor aus/cel gun deck, I think) -> John W (Enkidu) -> Adam (!Tor palla grande something?)

Why don't I know what my prey and predator were playing?
Well, when we sat down, Adam warned us that John was playing Enkidu (they're both from the New York Crew).
Turn 1, my prey disregarded this warning, and played Dragonbound.
As soon as my prey brought out Sheila Mezarin, John dropped a Pentex on her. As soon as Adam brought out any minion at all, Enkidu smushed them.
But Enkidu didn't have any backup friends. Just a bunch of 1 caps.

I decided to sit pretty where I was, and let my prey attempt to rebuild himself.
He was unable to burn the Pentex, and I pretty much could have ousted him any time I wanted, but I preferred the meat-shield.
I sat back and let the Dragonbound pluck at the table (including Enkidu's controller himself) and held back my bleeds, just playing a few cards to cycle, pretty much until I drew into my own Pentex Subversion.
At that point, I contested it cross-table, Adam was ousted, and I still gave my prey a bit of a chance to go forward with un-Pentexed Sheila for a little while. When the time was right (Enkidu low on blood didn't hurt), I ousted my prey, survived Enkidu's last turn as an acting minion, dunked his last 1-cap, and then fired the bleed cannons. Easy 3VPs.

I don't often get 1 Game Win in big tournaments, never mind 2, so I was pretty excited.

Round 3

But then came Round 3.
In Round 3, a 5-player table, it was something like this:
Me -> some prey I don't remember -> Dave Z (same deck as me) -> someone else I don't remember -> Ben P (same deck as me)

I kinda sat that one out. I tried, but I zeroed, and don't remember the details.

Final Round

In the Finals, there were "only" 2 Kiasyd decks; me and Greg W (yes, someone I hadn't played with yet).
But between us was Randy....

An aside about Randy

Randy is a player from Sweden, who recently moved to Florida, and came to TempleCon just because I was talking about it on IRC a few days ago. It's nice to be able to pick up and do stuff like that.

Ahem, back to the finals...

Me -> Randy (deck description below) -> Greg (Kiasyd) -> Sonam (Giovanni Bruise Bleed with Sewer Lids) -> Prescott (Cornelius and Quira and ..?)

Randy was playing a variation on a deck that is apparently "going around" these days: Cybele, Aksinya, lots of other huge vampires with +bleed, and a library with about 75% master cards.

I just couldn't do anything about that.
I could bleed big and get bounced (either by Aksinya's special or Lost in Translation) or Archon Investigated.. or he could just not care because he was bloating so much... or I could bleed small and he still didn't care. Not to mention I was already trying to defend myself against OBF and +bleed upstream...
Suffice it to say, Randy swept the table. And won the tournament, fair and square.
It was totally worth his trip.

All-in-all I enjoyed the event, and am proud of my performance (even if it was sleazy, boring, and just plain lucky).

...and then we played Chaos and Galactica (see future posts).

Sunday: the Free Draft

Matt has a ton of extra starter decks and boosters.
So we got free cards, and drafted. Choice of a large selection of packs.
I played the Ishtarri, added a few things, but maybe made the deck too small.

In Round 1, I ousted my prey (KoT Toreador starter) with the things that Ishtarri usually do (big bleed at 2 stealth as the first action of every turn, etc). But it took pretty much my whole deck to do so.
I was down to an empty deck, but just managed to squeeze in my second oust (!Tremere) before getting combatted and death-of-a-thousand-cutted by the !Gangrel deck.

At this point, people needed to catch flights and stuff, but we cobbled together a set of second rounds... In the second round, I got identified as a table threat, still managing to run out of deck but I don't think I actually got an oust.. we were all getting punchy and not really caring what we were doing now anyway.
And we just didn't do a final round.
Still, the act of drafting and playing even a single round is still something fun...

So that's pretty much it for the notable VTES of the weekend.
Please leave comments here if you want any more details, of course.

TempleCon 2011 aftermath: Post #0

I'm back from TempleCon, and I have decided to break up my posts by game experience, rather than a running narrative of the whole weekend. So, expect more posts throughout the next day or 2. VTES, Chaos in the Old World, Battlestar Galactica, and Glen More might even get its own entry.

Overall, I enjoyed the weekend a lot.
TempleCon definitely reinforced my desire to attempt to make some time amongst the friend-circles to dedicate to random boardgaming. There just wasn't enough time in the weekend to do all the gaming I wanted to do plus VTES, especially with those crazy people who think that 7:30am is too early to wake up!
Here's another brief plug for my "Play Games With Josh" list. Maybe we'll be able to schedule something in February.

Thanks to Matt and Pete for not only showing up, but giving me free crash space on the couch in their suite, even if I barely slept there for more than a couple of hours.

There were lots of notably missing faces from TempleCon this year :(
but there were also some unexpected out-of-towners :)
Good to see Matt and Pete, Dave and Robyn, the New York Crew, and to meet Randy in person (who ended up making his trip from Florida worth it, see the VTES entry).

I don't know if Grant and/or Ximon read this blog, but congratulations and thanks to them (and the rest of their staff) for once again running a smooth, excellent, fun, hassle-free convention.
And thanks to whoever controls the weather machines in New England for at least giving us (and my wife back home) a reprieve from the snowstorms for this weekend.

Alright.. Coming soon, Post #1: VTES (the supposed reason I was at TempleCon in the first place)