About Tyler

In the wilds of Vermont.

Decked!: Scared Yellow Streak vs. Skill-less 2

Undaunted by the previous creaming, Tyler doubles down on the followers of the King in Yellow against Ray’s mobster-Hasturite alliance.

This is the second match-up of these two decks, as I was so taken aback by how little I accomplished in the first game, I had to try again and see if I could more with a better idea of what the deck contained. Those of you who have looked over the list posted last week have a pretty good idea of how this game will shake out.

Call of Cthulhu LCG: Tragic Evaluates The Sleeper Below

My favorite card evaluator, Tragic of Tragic the Blathering, broke out a fresh copy of The Sleeper Below for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game, to share his first impressions of the Cthulhu faction’s newest goodies. His reviews of Seekers of Knowledge and Denizens of the Underworld were huge helps to me in figuring out some of the — to me — less obvious uses for all these new cards, so I’m glad he’s come back to Call of Cthulhu. Keep ‘em coming, Tragic!

Decked!: Learn to Play Penny Press

Matt Golec and Robert Dijkman Dulkes, designers of Penny Press, co-winner of Tabletop Deathmatch, as spoken of on Carnagecast, appear on Decked! this week to teach you how to play their game of newspaper barons in turn of the century New York City.

Bear in mind two things: when we recorded this, Robert and Matt were still using their demonstration set of Penny Press, as the game was still mid-printing. The final version will all super-fancy and impressive, looking more like this proof copy. Second, this demonstration video explains how to play, but it is not a full game from start to finish. Rather than play through a full game, Matt and Robert designed specific moments in time in order to illustrate how the game plays out.

I’ve been cheerleading Penny Press from the sidelines through channels like Carnage and Geek Mountain State‘s social media since it first went public that Matt and Robert had been selected to appear on Tabletop Deathmatch. Having the opportunity to make a more substantive contribution in the form of this how to play video was fantastic. I hope it puts the game in front of even more people’s eyes than before.

Call of Cthulhu LCG: New Explorer in For the Greater Good

Jeremiah Kirby, arctic archaeologist, inspects a glowing green find in the ice.The latest preview of For the Greater Good features the card designed by the 2013 Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game world champion, Jeremy Zwirn, a new Investigator and Explorer named Jeremiah Kirby. Basically, after Jeremiah enters play, you can reveal the top five cards of your deck, and then take turns with the other player putting those cards in your hand and on the bottom of the deck.

The article includes commentary from Jeremy on his thought process on designing Kirby: “I’m a fan of mini-games that involve direct interaction with your opponent, and I love highly tactical cards that require you to weigh multiple factors each time you use them. Accordingly, when Jeremiah Kirby enters play, his response triggers a ‘card draw’ ability, but your opponent influences which cards you get.”

I dig it, and look forward to including Kirby in an Explorers deck. That sub-type has gotten some real love in the last couple boxes, and it’s time to test them out.

Every preview for this set I think will be the last before it releases, but this time, Fantasy Flight let us know there’s one more, featuring the new Hunter sub-type. Sounds like the Agency’s getting the kind of shot in the arm that Explorers gave Miskatonic University.

Ghostbusters: The Board Game on Kickstarter

Cover of Ghostbusters: The Board Game. Four ghosts loom over the Ghostbusters, who are ready for action..This morning, a Kickstarter campaign for a Ghostbusters board game went live, led by Cryptozoic Entertainment. No one should be surprised to hear my ears pricked up immediately. Cooperative, modular design for high replayability, Ghostbusters. What else could it take to get me through the door?

Very little, as I read through the summarized pitch on Boardgamegeek. But then I loaded the campaign page and looked at the component designs. And all I could think was, “This looks suspiciously like Zombies!!!,” which is not a good starting point for my tastes. And interestingly, apparently there are many comments on the campaign page and elsewhere that, based on the initial component images and description given to date, Ghostbusters: The Board Game sounds an awful lot like Zombicide, which is another cooperative board game about beating back the undead, albeit of a different psychokinetic vibration band.

There’s not much to go on about how the game plays right now, aside from demonstration participants in the Kickstarter video saying good things about it. Wherever my sense of mistrust is coming from — I have little personal experience with Cryptozoic’s board games besides one round of the DC Deck Building Game, which plays an awful lot like Ascension Deck Building Game — I feel reassured to see I’m not the only board game player looking askance.

On the other hand, Cryptozoic is more than halfway to their $250,000 goal in less than a day, so there are 900+ people who have decided this game could be for them. It could be for me, too, but I’m staying wary for now. I’d love a Ghostbusters board game, but I want it to also be a game that I love, not just something based on one of my favorite movies.

All Games Considered Returns

I was happy to see that All Games Considered returned from hiatus this week. Mark and Carol checked in, discussed the Gen Con hotel fiasco and reaffirmed their commitment to the show, in spite of the many demands of real life. They also brought up that the show’s ten year anniversary is coming up, which blows my mind.

All Games Considered is one of the very first podcasts I listened to, back when I complained about not having enough new stuff to listen to while driving and a coworker said, “Have you looked at podcasts?” In all its incarnations, All Games Considered has been in my podcatcher of the moment since then. Here’s to ten years!

Call of Cthulhu LCG: Scared Yellow Streak

Scared Yellow Streak

Total Cards: (50)

Character: (22)
2x Aspiring Artist (Ancient Horrors)
1x Atlach-Nacha (Ancient Horrors)
2x Bloated Leng Spider (Initiations of the Favored)
1x Crazed Arsonist (Whispers in the Dark)
3x Erich Zann (The Spawn of the Sleeper)
2x Hastur (The Spoken Covenant)
3x Keeper of Dreams (Journey to Unknown Kadath)
1x Messenger from Hali (Secrets of Arkham)
1x N’yog-Sothep (Seekers of Knowledge)
1x Poltergeist (Secrets of Arkham)
1x The Night (In the Dread of Night)
1x The Thing Behind You (The Path to Y’ha-nthlei)
2x Those Without Faces (The Spawn of the Sleeper)
1x Victoria Glasser (Core Set)

Support: (11)
3x San Servolo (Terror in Venice)
3x Terrors in the Dark (Secrets of Arkham)
3x The Enchanted Wood (In Memory of Day)
2x The Seventy Steps (In Memory of Day)

Event: (14)
3x At Night they Roam (Terror in Venice)
3x Come With Us (Initiations of the Favored)
2x Hali’s Directive (Denizens of the Underworld)
3x Infected by Madness (Secrets of Arkham)
3x Sweet Dreams… (Twilight Horror)

Conspiracy: (3)
2x In the Court of the Dragon (Touched by the Abyss)
1x The Hidden Conspiracy (Conspiracies of Chaos)

Deck Created with CardGameDB.com Call of Cthulhu Deckbuilder

Call of Cthulhu The Card Game box art, circa 2014.As a companion to this week’s episode of Decked!, here’s the mono Hastur deck Ray designed, and which I played a variant of. At the time it was built, the available cards didn’t include the “rare” Dreamlands cards like Keeper of Dreams, so he subbed in Victoria’s Protege, among others. Please bear in mind this is one of Ray’s first two Call of Cthulhu decks he ever built, so it’s presented primarily as an example of a starting point in deck design. As you can see in the Decked! video, Ray’s designing new decks with new tricks, like Henry Knoll outsmarting everybody under the sun, monstrous or not.

In playing the deck, I was most interested to experiment with The Thing Behind You as a bouncing mechanism for characters with enters-play effects, like Victoria Glasser. I only got to do it once, but getting to retrigger an effect like that and put out a beefier character in one action is pretty appealing.

If I were to take inspiration from this deck, I think I’d want to focus more on the enter-play effects, taking advantage of Bloated Leng Spider and Victoria Glasser, as well as adding in some more take-control effects, and shifting from cards that mill the top of the opponent’s deck to reducing their options in hand more aggressively.

Decked!: Scared Yellow Streak vs. Skill-less

This week on Decked!, we have our first Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game match as the Syndicate team up with the minions of Hastur to battle . . . the minions of Hastur. It’s a quasi-mirror match as Ray tries out his new cards and I try out one of Ray’s very first deck designs. And I get to see Henry Knoll in action for the first time. That guy with the Guzheng is brutal.

You can check out the mono Hastur deck “Scared Yellow Streak” deck list here.

This episode also marks another experiment, the recording of which actually preceded last week’s spontaneous live play trial. Right now, Ray and I are the only local Cthulhu players who can get together with any predictability, so it’s not really feasible to use the full three camera studio when recording a match. Plus, it lets me cheat and play for the camera without really being on camera. It pays to be the producer. :D

And there’s something to be said for how much simpler a one camera recording of a game is, compared to all the rigamarole I go through in the studio. And to be sure, I deliberately choose to include a fair bit of the rigamarole, like backdrop lighting and a secondary recording to aid editing, because I want to up the production value and show what’s possible.

Additionally, making the editing easier allows for other experimenting with other post-production elements, like adding commentary after the fact. Ray and I unthinkingly weeded pretty far off the game itself while we played, so hopefully a commentary is more interesting than that. And if you’d rather just see the game played and don’t care for any table talk, the volume control is right there in the corner.

Cthulhu LCG: For the Greater Good Deck Lists

For the Greater Good cover art: a blond man with a shotgun fends off an unseen creature in an alleyway.Fantasy Flight posted a new For the Greater Good preview Monday afternoon for Call of Cthulhu: The Card Game. In addition to new cards revealed — Overworked Bureaucrat with a Khopesh of the Abyss? Let’s do it! — the preview includes two sample deck lists. One is all Agency, all the time. The other is based on the concept of a hidden cabal within the Agency turning its work toward their own benefit, with the aid of cultists of Shub-Niggurath.

I love when these sets include deck lists. It helps new and inexperienced players, among whom I count myself, get an idea of deckbuilding without having to track down strategy articles and podcasts like Elder Things. I especially like the trend of previous sets’ sample lists drawing on that box and one core set. The Sleeper Below shook that trend in two ways: the sample deck list was online — which is fine, if there had been more communication in the product that people could find information like that on Fantasy Flight’s website — and it called for a non-core, non-Sleeper Below card, the Temple of R’lyeh.

Now, the Temple is an amazingly helpful card for the Cthulhu faction and a new player building this sample deck only needs one additional pack of cards, so that’s not terribly far from the original premise of sample deck lists drawing on the relevant faction box and one copy of the core set. In contrast, the two sample lists for the Agency in this For the Greater Good preview draw on a much wider card pool. Just glancing, I can pick out cards from the core set, Terror in Venice, the Rituals of the Order cycle and Summons of the Deep cycle.

The implication here seems to be that the deck-builders feel they need a wider variety of cards to choose among in order to build useful sample decks. In doing so, however, they lose the selling point to new players that it’s easy to build a fun deck from a core set and a faction expansion. To further complicate matters, some cards, like the Descendent of Eibon and Marshall Greene, come from asylum packs that are hard to find at the moment. Fortunately, they don’t look to be critical to success in those lists, but availability is a consideration for someone trying to figure the game out. Availability is improving already, too, as Fantasy Flight shifts toward offering the older card packs as print-on-demand products, which they began last week with the Dreamlands cycle.

I dig that For the Greater Good‘s previews are coming more frequently, and expanding beyond showing sample cards and already-published cards they have interesting interactions with. Here’s to more deck lists, though preferably with an eye toward keeping the game accessible to new players.

Decked! Live: Sentinels of the Multiverse

Feeling left out of the impending Snowmagepocalypticon bearing down on most of the northeast United States last night, I decided to try out streaming Decked! live to YouTube. In this case, my friend Sarah graciously joined me for a round of Sentinels of the Multiverse. I’d been mulling over my previous comments about the Steam implementation of the card game and thought I’d give Handelabra Games’ model a whirl: play with another person by way of Skype screen-sharing.

My plan is to write up a more involved description of how I went about setting this up and the issues that need ironing out, but for now, the main take-aways are it’s doable, the pass and play model is rough in that players can’t look at their cards out of turn and not without peril, as my computer experienced a total and unheralded crash moments after we concluded the live stream.