Decked!: Terror of the Gugs vs. Ancient Rites

When the machinations of Ancient Ones collide, everyone suffers. The minions of Yog-Sothoth and Cthulhu race to bring about their masters’ apotheoses, ending the world and raising the dead lord of R’lyeh, respectively.

Taking advantage of some downtime during Black Moon GamesCall of Cthulhu: The Card Game tournament, Rod and I did what any person would do: we played more Call of Cthulhu. In this match, Rod brought out Terror of the Gugs, which started out as a Gug tribe deck, but has been revised into a more typical Yog-Sothoth mill deck, and I played Ancient Rites, which began life as a Sleeper Below sample deck and expanded into the greater card pool to include more Ancient Ones and the titular conspiracy.

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Call of Cthulhu LCG: The Archmage’s Attaché

the-archmages-attacheWith The Thousand Young rounding the final corner on the road to distribution, Fantasy Flight Games posted a preview of the Call of Cthulhu card designed by the 2013 North American champion, Tom Capor. Expanding the lore of The Mage Known as Magnus, who was last seen in the conspiracy The Mage’s Machinations, is The Archmage’s Attaché — apparently Magnus got a promotion from mage to archmage. Tom explains in the article the meaning of his signature piece of luggage: ” . . . the briefcase became more than just an efficient way to carry my things. It became an ice breaker, and it became my symbol. It showed that I was serious, but didn’t take myself too seriously. I mean, come on, who brings a briefcase to a card game?”

The effect of the card is pretty cool. It attaches to a deck, any deck, and the controller may exhaust the Attaché to reveal the top card of that deck until the end of the phase, which they may play, ignoring resource matching requirements. Right off the bat, this gives you extra potential to play cards of your own, if you’re short on additional draw effects, and can even help with cards from splashed factions, since it ignores resource matching. You can see it also gives you the chance to feed off your opponent’s deck, if you’re feeling lucky about hitting useful cards you can afford to play.

Within The Thousand Young previews, we’ve seen a number of Location support cards with a running theme of effects that reveal the top card of the deck to various ends. It looks like each faction will get something in that vein. Silver Twilight has Garden District, Hastur has Tremé, Cthulhu has Broadmoor, and Shub-Niggurath the French Quarter. The Archmage’s Attaché is a handy new way to check what’s on top of the deck before using those reveal effects. Add in Shub-Niggurath’s new Resilient keyword and suddenly it’s much easier to get information about what’s coming up next in the draw.

Some other appealing applications of the Attaché I’ve seen mentioned include:

  • Rite of the Silver Gate‘s utility can now be maximized, whereas before it was a crap shoot whether either card would actually be discarded.
  • Peter Clover, likewise, gains more effectiveness by knowing the cost of the top card of your deck in advance.
  • Vortex of Time facilitates even more deck control. Leave the card on top if you can play it, or put it on the bottom of the deck, out of harm’s way.
  • Inside Man lets you line up a playable card on top of the deck.

What potential uses for the Archmage’s Attaché are you seeing?

On Figuring It Out Yourself

The slogan Last week on The 40 Year Old Boy, “Let Me Get on Up,” the titular boy, Mike, had an epiphany of sorts. He’s been podcasting for eight years now, delivering a weekly monologue of absurdity with commendable regularity. This week, though, might be the first time he produced it himself. If it was a joke, it’s embedded throughout the episode, as Mike bemoans having to learn Audacity after putting it off for eight years, and Lili the producer laughs gleefully throughout as he comes to grips with having to figure it all out after leaving the work on her for so long.

The validity of Mike’s gripes aside, the chord he struck with me this week was figuring stuff out. When you’re on your own and you don’t have knowledgeable primary sources in your circle of friends, if you want to get anything done, you have to figure stuff out, whether it’s how to play a new board game or how to produce and publish a podcast. Problem-solving is a muscle to develop. Experience breeds eventual success, and success breeds confidence.

Happily, we live in the era of the internet, where there are innumerable how to guides and tutorials on any subject imaginable. The knowledge is available. You have to be willing to start somewhere, though, and you have to be willing to try and see what happens. I taught myself to play Arkham Horror thanks to the rules reference created by Universal Head — now the Esoteric Order of Gamers — and my disinterested yet patient cousin Margot. When I wanted to make a podcast, I figured it out twice. Once in the typical manner, with the PowerPress plugin to publish Carnagecast, and then a no-money route for Held Action Theatre, both times creating a podcast that, from the outside, looked and sounded like any other you would find in the iTunes store. That second time it was entirely about experimenting and testing the workflow. I’m still pretty proud of pulling together so many disparate parts to make a well-produced, syndicated podcast.

The same attitude went into creating Decked! I wanted to learn about publishing video on the web and building a YouTube channel in addition to putting out content for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. It also gave me the opportunity to experiment with live streaming a game of Sentinels of the Multiverse, and learn about the software and hardware needs for that style of show.

To circle back to what first got me thinking about building the problem-solving muscle, it’s easy to put up barriers for ourselves. Mike puts up barriers of “I don’t know how to do that,” when he has access to resources to figure it out. I put up barriers of “I don’t have anything worthy to say.” While I enjoy overcoming technological and process-related problems, thinking I don’t have anything worth saying is a barrier with which I still struggle. So I give myself defined spaces in which to work on that, like starting up a blog about tabletop games, for instance. Most recently, it’s becoming fluent in Call of Cthulhu and better able to riff and ride a conversation to make commentary meaningful and entertaining.

And I am, of course, looking for the next opportunity to either exercise skills I have — I still harbor hopes of being able to focus on producing a podcast, rather than being producer-host-everything else — and learn how to do something new. I don’t want to talk about it publicly yet, but I have been learning about and implementing a live streaming installation that’s proven educational and unexpectedly challenging. (The educational part being “don’t needlessly complicate your solutions, Chet.”)

Decked!: Kirby’s Explorations vs. Jack of All Trades

Lodge members of the Order of the Silver Twilight draw on their government connections to win the race against the explorers and investigators of Miskatonic University, as they try to bring to light that which humanity was not meant to know.

In the second match recorded at Black Moon Games‘ recent Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game tournament, Ray brings his brand new Silver Twilight-Agency deck, Jack of All Trades, against Rod’s Kirby’s Explorations, an Explorer-focused Miskatonic University deck previously seen on Decked!

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