Monthly Archives: August 2007


Rumor has it, I’ve got a ragweed allergy.  Sucks to be me; last weekend I was coughing so hard, I could barely talk.  At least now I’m only having cold symptoms.

Talk Radio: Insipid

After driving a company van, with a radio station selected by others, and being forced to listen to 1) sports talk radio, discussing whether or not a sport’s team’s record actually is a meaningful statistic, and 2) local conservative talk radio, I’ve come to the conclusion that these people have way too much time on their hands.

Seriously, they’ve got enough original ideas to fill a five minute time slot, not an hour, but they pad it out with repetition, repetition, repetition.

Get a blog, people.

Wandering Along, Looking for My Father’s Killer

Assuming all goes well (i.e., I force myself to do the necessary work), I should have an alpha playtest for Warriors from the Mystic Mountain next week.  Woot!

(If you’ve never heard of this project, check out some of the design threads at in the Indie games forum.  It’s under the clever code name ‘Awesome Kung Fu Battles.’)

Post Gen-Con Report: Day Four

I was hoping to play in the Shadowfist draft Sunday, but Tim and I slept in really late, Chris was hogging the bathroom (I think he was actually taking a bath in there or something), and we had to pack up the car and check out of the hotel, so we didn’t reach the con until 11 or so.  Next year, we’re planning on leaving Monday so we don’t have to deal with this.

I took a lot of photos Sunday, because I ran out of film on my first camera, and Tim wanted to take another picture- so I had to shoot up a lot of film after that.  Most of those photos will not make it online, since many of them are of my cats.

We hung out at the Forge booth, and demoed some more games- Emily Care Boss’s Shooting the Moon, a demo of Spirit of the Century, which we already knew how to play but wanted to see how the pros do it, and Luke Crane’s Blossoms Are Falling.

Much wandering around was done, and last minute purchases were made.  We went to the Games on Demand area and played a demo/playtest of Mike Holmes’ Otherworlds, which is very similar to Heroquest (the rpg, not the boardgame).  If you like that game, you’ll like Otherworlds.

Tim wanted to eat in Champaign Illinois (which they spelled wrong), but Clyde, Charlotte, and I made a coup- we wanted to eat sooner, not later, preferably at a restaurant with silverware, which brought us to the Indianapolis TGI Friday’s.

It rained a lot on the way home.

Post Gen-Con Report: Day Three.

Saturday was dominated for me with Shadowfist– the World Championships, in particular.

So here’s my World Championship report.

I was playing a slightly modified version of Nazi Cheeze, the deck I used to win the Wisconsin Championships (Who’s the Big Cheese Now?) at Plattecon earlier this year. It uses Dangerous Experiments or burns to get power to play a five or six cost hitter, and then use Golden Comebacks to bring them back. And a lot of denial- 18 cards, in a 70 card deck.

Game One-
Me- Nazi Cheese
Chris- Dragons
Gavin- Syndicate
Daniel- Architect Abominations

It’s unfortunate that I don’t remember the name of the player to my right, because he was rather nice, and rather good, and he also won this game. This game was rather strange, with some early burns, and lots of power all around, and then the game just stalling for lack of people drawing hitters. I had a CHAR in my hand, but no tech resources. Memorable moments included Stormtroopers attacking and unturning from a LaGrange Four (spawning the “Nazis in Spaaaaaace” meme), Daniel playing a big Arcanomoth, waffling on whether or not to attack me or Gavin, and then me Arcanovirusing to kill it just to make the decision easier, and Gavin getting out a Xu Mei (she ended up eventually getting Imprisoned) Daniel won this one- the characters got down really low, and Desdemona Deathangel attacked… from Spaaaaaace.

Game Two-
Me: Nazi Cheese
???- Syndicate
???- Hand Swords
Chris- Dragons

So here’s my big turnaround- I got a CHAR early, and then got another CHAR. Chris was slowing me down with his brawls, but CHARs still kick ass, especially with people playing stuff like Devil’s Mountain. I partially attribute this win to knowing when to discard LaGrange Four.

Game Three-
Me: Nazi Cheese
Joshua: Monarch Fire
Julian: Purist/Architect crazy Rama Singh/Reinvigoration Seed brokenness

I think Julian should have won this, since I was running the wrong denial to face his deck- Aerial Bombardments, instead of Imprisons. At the end, he had five hitters on the board, but I believe it was going for two sites a turn that allowed Josh and I to use Nerve Gasses and other denial to fail his small attacks (but not really kill his characters). At this point, my denial was essentially punch-through, letting me get interceptors out of the way. Rama Singh/Reinvigoration Seed is indeed scary. I’m pulling a blank on how I won this game- I know it involved something impressive with Elsa Winterhagen.
(Fun moment- I brawl, and put three damage on Elsa instead of 2 to put 4 on one of Julian’s characters.)

Game Four- the Finals-
Me: Nazi Cheese
John Merril: Monach Good Stuff
Julian: Purist/Architect crazy Rama Singh/Reinvigoration Seed brokenness
Joshua: Monarch Fire

This game was loooong. There was waxy, waxy buildup- John had an unkillable Cassandra he was using to mine his deck for good cards, and Puzzle Gardens up front. He ended up with a Thunderbird and some midrange characters. Julian had parts of his combo, and a Father of Chaos. Joshua had a King of the Fire Pagoda, protected by the Fire Pagoda (played at discount due to Spirit Pole!) I had a Queen of the Ice Pagoda. There was at least a good 60 fighting on the board, and denial was building up in hand. Julian had Devil’s Mountain and Fox pass, and I kept Whirlpooling Joshua’s Gambling House. Josh was in a hard place- anytime he played a new Feng Shui, I’d come over and take it. (I had a Cellular Reinvigoration that was on the table from a Delay the Inevitable for about, oh, an hour.)

After a long while of this, with the game in a rather dreadful stalemate, Josh negotiated for Julian and John’s noninterference in attacking my Maze of Stairs with the King and some other Fire stuff. I dropped my Neutron Bomb (I was holding on for another denial event I could play in response to Josh’s Fire Pagoda to win on a cleared out board- I also had two Golden Comebacks in hand- but the Fire King would be turned in any event. Julian wanted the Fire King dead too, so he busted out some denial in response to Josh’s turning of the Fire Pagoda- and a Scroll of Incantation to get more in response to his Fortune of the Turtle.

The dust settled. Julian had two turned guys from his Reinvigoration Seeds. The rest of the board was clear.

I dropped two golden comebacks- one for the Queen, another for Bonechill, chilling a Thunder Bird. I think I burned for power or something. There may have been a Snowblind.

Back around to me. John’s dropped a weenie, and Julian’s been taking stuff too on the open board. One of my hitters might have gotten killed and Comebacked, maybe not. I’ve got a CHAR now too, and I go for Joshua’s undefended site- a Kinoshita House, as it turns out.

Lots of rather frustrating negotiation and posturing about denial and using it. This was probably counter productive, since John intercepted with his weenie when he should have Chop Shopped a designator onto it so he could Discerning Fire- we were all tired, and I think the banter made him misplay.

Even so, the denial turned out to be possible Chop-Shop discerning, Julian’s Fox Pass and Devil’s Mountain, and Josh’s KHouse. I had a Whirlpool and three hitters, so it’s difficult to say if that would have been an unsucessful attack or not, even with John’s Discerning. In any case, a little damage was done, and an unturned CHAR (with weenie support), went and took the site for the win.

Yup.  I’m the Shadowfist World Champion.

Afterwards, I wandered around the exhibit hall, and the Crazy Igor guy wanted to buy my uncut Shadowfist cards (these were a pain in the butt to get back home on Sunday), and I met up with Famous Game Designer Robin Laws, who congradulated me on my win.

Later, I played some more Jungle Speed and Handy, which is like Twister, but with your hands.  Tim played Poison’d, a game about pirates by Famous Game Designer Vincent Baker, while I played some Scandanavian game about zombies with Famous Game Designer Emily Care Boss.

In said game, I played Matilda, a recent divorcee, draged along on a cruise by her best friends to cheer her up.  But there were zombies!  Emily’s character, little Johnny, was the first to die, but massive carnage ensued.  Only Charro escaped.  (Yes, that Charro.)

Later, Tim and I had some really great conversations with Famous Game Designers Lenny Balsera (of Spirit of the Century) and Ron Edwards (I think he worked on D&D or something) about a lot of really cool stuff- narrative powers, earning your awesome, game design- and that you can’t teach someone who doesn’t want to be taught.  We were up until like 3:30 AM.

Post Gen-Con Report: Day Two

That didn’t last long.

Anyway, I spent Friday morning talking with Famous Game Designers Joshua “Ace” Newman and Vincent Baker, (especially Joshua), who thought my Warriors from the Mystic Mountain idea is hella cool.

Friday afternoon was the Design Your Game, Dammit! seminar, by Famous Game Designers Luke Crane and Jared Sorensen.  They asked would-be game designers the three big questions- “what is your game about,” “how does it mechanically do that,” and “how does your reward mechanic reinforce that.”  There was much grilling and tough love.  I had a blast.

Afterwards, Famous Game Designer Luke Crane did a seminar with the Famous Game Designer of Spycraft 2.0, about the pitfalls of big glossy book design.

I played in the Shadowfist dueling tournament that night, but I lost 2 rounds, so I dropped, and went off to the Embassy suites to play indie games, including My Life With Master (for the first time!)  At the next table over, some Famous Game Designers (Vincent Baker and others) were playing a cute little game called Dungeons and Dragons.  Maybe you’ve heard of it.  Also, later, more Jungle Speed.

Live From Gencon: Day One

I may have judged Indianapolis incorrectly when I said it smelt like piss.  It also smells like cigarette smoke.

Morning the boyfriend taking more time in the shower than any of the women, eating breakfast at an overpriced restuarant, albiet less overpriced than the hotel buffet.

At Games on Demand, Tim and I played Tangled Fates, run by Famous Game Designer Kat Miller, who also is the big kahuna of Games on Demand.  It looks like a great game- it has much of the evocative art feel of Everway, but uses a bidding system that makes conflicts something better than GM fiat.  I’ll be picking up this one when it comes out next year.

I played the Dragon Lady, exiled from my homeland, and caught up in the struggle between my brother the Dragon Prince, and my father, the Dragon King, who wanted to kill each other.  The other players killed off my dad, which made me kind of pissed off at them, so I did some stuff to magically ensorcel the Dragon Prince’s minion (one of the PC’s.)

I played in the Shadowfist Comrades in Arms tournament, where I played my Hero deck, loaded with Wandering Hero goodness.  Unfortunately, the combo is fragile, and I ran up against Final Brawls, giving me a 1-2 record.  Most intriguing deck I saw was Joshua Kroengold’s (sp?) Pawn deck, with massively discounted and pumped Manchus.

Later, games were demo’d, and Ashcans were picked up.  We played Bronze & Blood, a $70 hand made limited edition game, where I played Sparta.  (SPAAARRRRRTTAAAAA!!!!)

I then got in a fascinating conversation with Famous Game Designer Josuha “Ace” Newman, enthusiast of Carry, who I once accused of being mysoginistic on the Grumbling Dwarf.  I apologized, and accused him of being patriachial.  We discussed a lot of stuff about Carry, how tied the setting is into the system, and whether or not we like exploring stuff that bothers us in the real world in game, or if we should escape from it.  (With guest uninterested party Famous Game Designer Tony LB- also a member of the patriarchy.)  Josh and I made fast friends, and reached an agreement that Carry isn’t for me, although plenty of people, even those not a member of the patriarchy, manage to have a perfectly fun time playing Carry.

Carry is not badwrongfun.  There.  I said it.

Joshua and I talked about my aims for future game design- Warriors from the Mystic Mountain, and Lesbian Stripper Ninjas from the 5th Dimension (the latter of which is supposed to be badwrongfun.)  Joshua was really rocking out over some of my ideas, and we have to talk later.

Then the Shadowfist Draft event.  3 packs of Shuirkens and Sixguns, 3 packs of Critical Shift.  I drafted a pretty beefy Syndicate/Monarchs deck, with lots of 3/4 characters, Song the Little Dragon, the Mistress of the Bloated Midnight, and a LaGrange Four.  I went 2-1, but my second win was a time-out win.  Despite my good tie breakers, a time out win counts less.  D’oh.  My game against Famous Game Designers Zev & Julian Lightton was very thrilling- I’m pretty sure I would have won if I had more time, but Julian would have decked out and I would have had to scrap a site away from Zev.  Didn’t make the finals- there were 5 2-1s.  Oh well, good practice for the big event on Saturday.

Live From Gencon: Day Zero, Part II

After the events of my last post, a number of fun things occured, including, but not limited to, checking out the gaming occuring in the lobby of one of the more popular hotels, where I was introduced to Story Games favorite non-Story Game Jungle Speed, and was repeatedly beat down by Famous Game Designer Tony LB.  I flubbed grabbing a block of wood, sending it spinning towards my temple.  Good times.  I expressed a desire to buy it later. 

Also, I demoed Dirty Secrets, a new game by Famous Game Designer Ben Seth-Ezra, which I was very interested in and expressed a desire to purchase later.

Luckily, I would not have to purchase either later, as the boyfriend would…

Went back to the hotel to crash, saw, roommate and Famous Game Podcaster Clyde L. Roher doing interviews in the lobby.

Oh, and one of my roommates has a urinary tract infection.  😦

Live From Gencon: Day Zero

Indianapolis smells like piss.

Ok, I got ahead of myself.  We left the house at 5:30, actually ahead of schedule.  Raw poptarts were eaten for breakfast.  Snacks for the car were packed under luggage, making them unreachable.  My Al Franken book, “The Truth with Jokes,” made me angry as I read it (at Bush, not Franken), so I couldn’t read it for very long without having to stop, which made the ride a little tedious.  We arrived in Indy around 1:30 local time.

The Hilton is very nice, although our cardkeys didn’t work the first time around and they couldn’t put the names for our two late arrivals on the room, despite it being perfectly okay to have two late arrivals.

Then we went out and had lunch and picked up my badge, and experienced the wonderful smell of Indianapolis (piss).  The GenCon swag bags are pretty awesome this year, with a booster box of tanks and dudes for some WWII game, and a big nice box that has pregen decks for the WoW CCG.  There was a pack of Spoils, and I have to say that each card made me laugh.

Tonight- searching the itenerary for the events I want to do, mostly Shadowfist and seminars.  Possible gaming in the hotel.

Gencon Ho!

Ok, so tomorrow I leave for Gencon, at the ripe early time of 6 AM.  There should be a big, big update once I get back, with pictures and tournament reports and such, and maybe even a quick note or two if the hotel happens to have a business center in it.  So stay tuned!