Category Archives: Games

Anything having to do with games (Computer & Tabletop)

My guide on how to play classic Doomtown with a Reloaded meta.

Now that a lot of the cards of Doomtown:Reloaded have been spoiled, I’m seeing a lot of people expressing an interest in teaching their friends how to play Doomtown by using the new rules but old cards, since those are what is available. Many simply prepare normal Doomtown decks, and simply stay within the rules of deck construction (no more than 4 cards of the same suit & value) as well as using the new casualties and avoiding card types which are not available, such as Events and Improvements.

While this goes a long way to approach the feel of the new game and see how the new rules play out, unfortunately the costs of deeds and dudes, as well as the availability of various spell effects can easily throw the delicate balance out of whack compared to what one will experience when playing Doomtown:Reloaded using only its own card pool. It is still quite easy to build degenerate decks using Doomtown:Reloaded rules that are boring or impossible to play against.

So, in this post, I wanted to provide my own personal home-rules on how to tweak your deck construction and costs in card in classic Doomtown, to get an experience that more closely approaches what you’ll find when playing Doomtown:Reloaded. This is all completely unofficial and merely approximation of what is available in DTR. I don’t guarantee perfect results, but I hope you’ll find it useful both when teaching new players or when you check things out as returining ones

Deck Construction

  • No more than 4 cards of the same suit and value
  • No events or improvements or cards which refer to the fear rating.
  • No more than 4 total production out of town among all your deeds. No more than 1 control point out of town among all your deeds.
  • All In-Town deeds should have control points (and optimally, abilities as well)
  • No more than 1 spell that reduces influence (i.e. you can put 4x Blood Curse in your deck, but not also 4x Babble On)
  • No more than 1 action that reduces Influence
  • No card effects which prevent movement to specific locations, or prevent targeting dudes, or prevent call-0uts.
  • No non-deed card effect which provides ghost rock without being a job or requiring your dude to be outside your home in some fashion (that means, no original Blackjacks outfit)
  • No card effect which provides Victory Points
  • No card effect which can ace or discard dudes without it requiring the dude causing it to be in the shootout, or in the same location. (that means, no Ezzie)
  • No card effects which destroy deeds or reduce control points in any way.

Cost/Upkeep tweaking

  • 2 Ghost Rock blanket discount for all in-town deeds. This means that Pony Express would cost 3.
  • No deed has upkeep. Any deed with upkeep now has 0 production instead.
  • All dudes with 2 or more influence have at least 1 upkeep. (I.e. a dude with 2 inf, 0 bullets which costs 4 and had 0 upkeep, now costs 4 and has 1 upkeep.)
  • All dudes with 2 or more stud bullet or 3 or more draw bullet, have at least 1 upkeep.
  • Any dude who has a combined stud bullets and influence of 4 or more, requires at least 2 upkeep if they don’t already.
  • All spells cost 1 Ghost Rock to bring into play
  • All deeds with abilities provide their ability to their controller always. Never just the owner.

All other Doomtown:Reloaded rules apply. This means, no extra card for most influence at Nightfall, new casualty rules etc.

Let me know how your experience with decks made and played under these home rules feel.

 

 

Brütal Legend: Another nice game marred by rampart sexism.

Brütal LegendWarning: Some minor spoilers included

So I just finished my play through of Brütal Legend which I got from the latest HIB and I must say, even though I went in with reduced expectations due to how much internet anger there was about the RTS parts of the game, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Yes the RTS parts are clunky as fuck, since they are built for console controls in mind, and the general gameplay is nothing particularly groundbreaking, but I loved the theme and I especially loved the music.

It’s not that often that I get a game that includes some of my favourite songs as the themes to its greatest moments 🙂

The non-RTS gameplay was as good as can be expected, albeit lower than I would have liked on the musical part. It’s unfortunate that they couldn’t (or they decided not to?) implement the guitar/music playing more into the gameplay mechanics, as it would have been far more interesting to see some kind of hybrid mix of mechanics similar to Guitar Hero implemented more thoroughly. As it is, it just ended up with mediocre driving, mediocre hack & slash and bad RTS.

But that’s OK, I can forgive a lot of these because of how much I just enjoyed driving around and enjoying the world, talking to its characters and generally seeing how they visualized the various Rock/Metal types into the setting. I really liked how your first enemy were the Glam Rock types while the second major enemy were the Emo/Goth Crowd. I.e. The classic cousins of the Metal Scene. Pity we didn’t see some rockabilies as well, the original enemies of Classic Rock.

The storyline was also quite nice, with interesting scenarios, lots of explosions and a fairly interesting twist. It wasn’t the greatest story ever told, but it made for a few enjoyable musical afternoons.

Exploring the world for the panoramas
Exploring the world for the panoramas

However what I just can’t digest was just how sexist1 the game was. While the game had some dynamic women as side characters, they were portrayed in the best way designed to give a boner to the young male metal audience. Slim figures with thin arms (even when wielding a polearm double as big as themselves, or being able to carry their own body weight in a single arm for long lengths of time) and even slimmer waists; Always sporting sexy-looking clothes and eventually reaching to the absurd via the introduction of the “Amazon-like” clan, who wear only enough strings and ribbons to make them look as desirable as possible.

Now I know the game is stylized and before you start telling me how all men have huge muscles or are dumb meatheads and so on, just remember that males actually had variations. You had handsome males (like the ridiculous Aryan “king” who fortunately has the good decency to die in the middle of the story), ruggedly handsome males (the protagonist), ugly males, tall males, short males, fat males, buffed males, lanky makes, disfigured males, monstrous males and so on. On the other hand, females had one mode only: Nymph2.

In other words, as usual, beastly males were there to serve as male power fantasies and expectations, while females, even theoretically strong females, were not allowed to escape the “…but desirable” contextual prison. They could be strong characters as long as they remained in the patriarchal paradigm of how a woman should look like.

The story suffered accordingly, although thankfully it didn’t plaster all the stupid tropes straight. It did Damsel In Distress the romantic interest in the end, but at least it wasn’t blatant about it. Still nothing particularly progressive there, only just less traditionally backwards than usual. I guess I can count my blessings that I didn’t have to suffer the atrocious Manowar song “Woman be my slave” which I hate with the heat of a thousand suns.

So if we really struggle to ignore all this3 then one can enjoy the game and indulge oneself in the heavy metal world that the minds of Take-Two have conceived. And at least on that end, they did a damn good job.

  1. Not to mention whitewashed. Zero People of Color []
  2. Oh there were two enemy females that didn’t fit this archetype: One tall daemon enemy that was monstrous but trying to be sexy nevertheless, and one fully clothed white-bride-like undead thing. The only fully clothed females in the game iirc. []
  3. And I am perfectly aware how difficult that can be for those not basking in my straight-male privilege. []

Card Gaming while Female

The totality of female presence in the Star Wars films. Fortunately there's a few more women in the card game. But only a few.
The totality of female presence in the Star Wars films. Her card is a built-in damsel in distress…

A new article on cardgamedb.com appeared which is an interview of an experienced tournament-focused woman who plays the Star Wars LCG. It is a very interesting article, which refreshingly gives enough focus onto the gender-shortcoming of the SW card game.  It poses some very good questions on why FFG decided to go exclusively with male pronouns when referring to the human players, and also tells of some personal experiences of treatment of women in male-dominated card game tournament environments.

To be depressingly honest, none of that is surprising in the least. The geek culture is still profoundly misogynistic and even though some progress has been made, we still have a long way to go. In the article itself, male commenters really jumped in to posit that referring to all players as “male-by-default” is the best available options because…historic convenience I guess? It’s the same kind of lazy excuse people make for movies where there’s barely any women around (Incidentally, that very much includes the Star Wars films)  because it’s “more realistic this way”.

Fortunately I got to see the resulting retort.

To bring up fallacy, there are three that we can discuss specifically. The first is the informal fallacy termed the false dilemma, in which a set of options are presented as being collectively exhaustive, when there is at least one other option. As other games have shown, with a little bit of linguistic finesse, the gender issue can be remedied.

But, even granting that those four options were collectively exhaustive, choosing based on previous structure and historical custom presses toward the fallacy of precedent, essentially asserting that nothing should happen for the first time.

Lastly, primarily for fun, is the fallacy fallacy, in which one assumes that, because an argument is fallacious, its conclusion is not true. For example:

P1: Socrates is a man
P2: Socrates is mortal
C1: The sum of the deviation scores about the mean for a given distribution of values will always equal zero

A non sequitur (i.e., the conclusion does not follow from the premises), yet a true and valid conclusion. :)

Just because you find that something was born of fallacy does not render it untrue de ipso facto.

Using a male set of pronouns does indeed have its roots in patriarchal societal structures; this is the reason that we have not traditionally used the female forms as the all encompassing versions. But, language evolves, conventions die, and that type of language is obviously becoming archaic rather quickly. Furthermore, it isn’t about finding the “valid” choice, it is about finding the more inclusive, progressive, and considerate choice, which was not done in the case of the Star Wars LCG. Someone decided to use exclusively male wording for this game, which I think the interviewee found surprising, given her background in Pokemon, MTG, and AGoT, which have all made efforts to avoid that.

Unfortunately that didn’t stop them. so while a very interesting article, it was somewhat soured by the male commenters not missing an opportunity to come and remind us that the patriatchical status quo is really the best.

On a sidenote: Personally I’m quite partial to “they” since it’s small, it fits most situations and you can easily work around the rest. This is also the pronoun I’m predominantly using my OCTGN plugins where humanly possible. It just works without too much hassle and nicely encompasses genderqueer people just as well.

Android: Netrunner on OCTGN really picking up speed

I haven’t been blogging much lately because my interest has been mostly consumed in my development of the Android:Netrunner OCTGN game definition and its peripheral activities, mainly casting games, streaming, promoting and of course playing it 🙂

Just recently we finished the biggest tournament in the world with 128 international participants playing over almost 3 months (1 matchup per week), and as part of promoting the event and the game, I took to casting the matches so that we can later post them online for other to watch. Many many cumulative hours of recording later, and I’ve created a youtube playlist of a significant number of the top matches from the tournament, mostly casted by yours truly, along with my personal NBN of co-casters and video editors. Take a peek if you want 😉

Not only that,but once the tournament was about to finish, I decided to take it even further and livestream the final four matches, just to bring some extra excitement. About 20 people tuned in to watch the final matches and we had quite a bit of commentary and all around fun. Take a look how it turned out.

But other than that, I now regularly stream my games online as I play them, just so that I may raise interest in this great game and also inspire others to do the same. And in fact I’m glad to say it has worked brilliantly. Already we have almost half a dozen players who stream their games regularly, and we even had some cultural complaints about the practice. All this is great news, as it shows a healthy community that will only keep getting larger and more active.

And we already have plans for new leagues and tournaments and people keep inventing more ways to enjoy this game and spead the joy around. The more interest all these generate, the better the actual game will do in sales, which is just great for everyone involved. The future looks bright!

PS: Feel free to follow me on twitch.tv or youtube. My games might not be as well commented or edited as some others, but I make up for it in quantity. 🙂

Making Android:Netrunner videos

Just thought I’d throw this out there. I’ve recently started recording my Android:Netrunner games played with on OCTGN in the very vibrant community that has formed around it. To make things easier for me, I’ve been streaming directly to twitch.tv and afterwards, for the more interesting games, also exporting them to youtube.

This is what it looks like for now

If you’re interested in catching a look when I’m playing, my twitch.tv channel is here, and if you just can’t get enough A:NR from me only, do a search for “Netrunner” and you’ll find that a few others are starting to do the same as well. I do hope this catches on 😀

If you are interested in doing the same thing yourself, it really quite easy. Simply download and install the Open Broadcast Software which is free software and thus has no limitations on streaming (I initially tried with some of the things they suggest on twitch.tv, but all of them cost or are limited in some way). To stream OCTGN correctly, make sure you record the whole monitor (trying to record just the OCTGN window doesn’t work in my experience) and also set it so that it catches layered windows. Record at exactly your monitor’s resolution to avoid resizing artifacts.

If on the other hand you’re interested in just seeing the more interesting of my games, you can subscribe to my Youtube channel.

Apropos youtube channel: In case you haven’t yet gotten into Android:Netrunner on OCTGN, I’ve also made a tutorial video on how to use OCTGN to play, which should take you through all the basics you’ll need to use the engine efficiently and comfortably to play. If you take a look at my games, you’ll notice that there is very little fiddling around the engine, which makes playing online very pleasant compared to the usual card game experience.

Now go forth an run streaming!

Android:Netrunner – Full Tutorial

Fantasy Flight has released a great video explaining the basics of Android:Netrunner and taking you through the first three turns of an average game. The production values here are really top notch and it’s very enjoyable to watch, even for someone who already knows the game.

If you’re interested in seeing what the big fuss is about and how can this game remain a cult classic after dying in the late 90s and then topping the BGG charts mere months after being revived a decade later, check this video, and see why the gameplay is so amazingly good.

And once you’ve done this, log onto OCTGN and try out a few games for yourself.

Believe the hype!

Star Wars: The Card Game LCG on OCTGN

SW:LCG BoxFor the last month or so, I’ve been feverishly working on a OCTGN Plugin for Star Wars: The Card Game, by Fantasy Flight Games and I’ve finally released a polished version that I’m comfortable sharing with the world. So it’s now time to share the news and help people get started in the usual way.

So, Star Wars: The Card Game, is a “Living Card Game” release, much like Android:Netrunner or Warhamer:Invasion and it’s obvious on which theme it’s based on. The game has only gone out to stores this week if I am not mistaken so it’s brand new.

As a game, it is a somewhat asymmetric game, where each side (Light or Dark) has slightly different victory conditions, albeit their core gameplay does not differ all that much. Most of the differentiation happens in the kind of effects each Affiliation focuses on, much like the colours of Magic:The Gathering. I won’t go into much detail here as I’m sure you can find a lot of reviews online if you happen to need them.

I’ve played a dozen games or so by now, and I’m quite liking it. It may not be as deep or thematic as Android:Netrunner, but it has a lot of tough decisions to make and it’s the kind of game that you canot not see its depth of strategy from reading the rulebook and the spoilers, but rather you need to actually get down to the table and get your hands dirty. Even though I seem to completely suck at it (I’ve won 2 games only), it does show a lot of promise.

Game at v1.0.0

So for anyone interested in trying it out, you can now use my polished OCTGN plugin to do so.

EDIT @ 02/07/2013 : I’ve moved the installation instructions on to the dedicated page for this game definition. Please follow the step-by-step installation instructions for Star Wars: The Card Game there.

Once everything is set up, you need to find someone to play with. You can go to the Host/Join tab to see if anyone has a game waiting. If nobody does, host your own and put in the title that you’re a new player.

Once you find someone, one of you hosts and game and the other joins. Leave the two-sided checkbox checked and once the game is started, load your starter decks. Things should be fairly intuitive but keep in mind these basic things in relation to the OCTGN engine plugin.

  • First thing you do after you load a deck is Setup (Ctrl+Shift+S). This will check if your version is up to date, show you the Message of the Day, and also give you some Tips on playing the game.
  • The setup will put 4 objectives in your hand. You need to select one to put to the bottom of your deck. Once you’ve decided which one, simply mouse over it and press “Del”. Now that you have just three objectives in your hand, press Ctrl+Shift+S once more to place them on the table
  • Wait until your opponent has placed their objectives on the table as well and communicate if any of you wants to take a Mulligan. If not, then double-click on your objectives to reveal them and start the game.
  • To move from Phase to Phase and to start/end your turn, simply press Ctrl+Enter. This will automatically trigger any card effects that happen after that phase.
  • To attack an objective, target it and press Ctrl+A (or use the context menu on the table). Now you can assign attackers/defenders.
  • Most actions that you want to do, you can do by double-clicking on a card. The game will intuitively understand what you most likely want to achieve and do it. If you’re in an engagement, double-clicking on a non-participating unit will make it participate (turn it 90 degrees sideways). If a unit is participating, double clicking with it will perform a strike. If you’re trying to pay for a card, double clicking on a resource generating card will focus it to generate resources and so on. Double-Click is your friend.
  • If a card needs a target for its ability, simply use shift+click to target another card before you use it. Shift+Click again to clear a target.

I’ve made a video on how to play. It’s a bit outdated now that the new version is out, but I’ll update it in the near future

Enjoy!

What keeps me going

Sometimes I find little  nuggets of happy when I check online to see what people are saying about my OCTGN plugins. I found the following in a french forum about A:NR

by Skychapon “December 13, 2012 4:58 p.m.

7Tigers wrote: ANR module is solely to Konstantinos Thoukydidis (db0).
NB: also he made a plugin for Star Wars LCG …

This guy is good! And it does not get much sleep also saw how quickly he pulled the plug SW LCG!
Thank you to him in any case, I never played as much Netrunner without OCTGN.

For db0, hip hip hip
Hooray!

Put a smile on my face.

Combo Strategy video of Android:Netrunner (on OCTGN)

So my work on the ANR plugin for OCTGN is continuing at a good pace, having reached version 1.1.15.4 at the time of writing this post. As fortune would have it, the plugin has already gained in popularity at the BoardGameGeek, so much so that the first online tournament organized for ANR has managed to fill its 64 positions in less than a week! Since the 12th of September there’s been almost 700 matches concluded on OCTGN!

There are many benefits for having a digital version of the Card Game other than the obvious, and one of them I decided to explore with the help of the player and great video-maker Tragic. The idea I had was this, we were going to play a match of ANR, and both of us were going to record our side of the match, and while doing that, we were going to be providing commentary on our actions and strategy. This way we hit three birds with one stone. 1. We can show the gameplay and deep through required to play Android:Netrunner. 2. We can visually advertise the existence of the OCTGN plugin for ANR and get people to try it out. 3. We can show the proper way to use the OCTGN plugin to play ANR efficiently and fast.

So after a few unsuccessful attempts (1st time, the matchup was completely lopsided. 2nd game the recording b0rked), we managed to get it running as we wanted, and now Tragic has released the results on Youtube. And they are looking really good. Take a look at the videos below to see what a game of Android:Netrunner looks and plays like, how the OCTGN plugin for it works and how I sound like in real life 🙂

1st game is the pre-built matchup as instructed by the manual of the core set. Jinteki VS Shaper. This is just the cards included in the core set for each faction + the neutral cards for that side (corp or runner). Unfortunately, this game ended up being completely lopsided against me, as I had a horrible draw, while Tragic had an almost perfect one. Still, you can see how I tried to fight the inenvitable and what kind of tactics I attempted in such a very unlucky situation.

I had no chance really.

The 2nd video went better for me, even though I didn’t have a very good hand, but I still ended up losing due to a bad call at the mid of the game. Just a completely wrong decision on my end that ended up biting me in the ass. Watch and see:

I hope you enjoyed these, do let us know what to improve about them.As this is the first attempt at this kind of video and both me and Tragic were attempting this for the first time, there may not be as much commentary as there could be, or we may have just played too fast, used shortcuts which are not obvious etc. In the future we plan to start using constructed decks, and hopefully get far more interesting matches out there.