Ghosts of Gift-Mas Past

Victory screen of Sentinels of the Multiverse: Gloomweaver defeated by Argent Adept, America's Greatest Legacy and Guise.

Going into this one-shot, the accounts were it was a long slog due to no high damage dealers on the team, so I opted against recording it. As it happened, the game went on for so long that I paused it overnight and came back to finish during lunch the next day.

Too much of the early game was spent playing defensively. I had the Adept using Counterpoint Bulwark repeatedly to make everyone resistant to zombies, or having Legacy double-tap Next Evolution to ward off the most common forms of villain damage, cycling among melee, toxic and infernal.

Guise was doing most of the damage, largely the plinky sort. Somewhere I got off track from defending effectively and things spiraled downward for Guise after that. Once the team was down to the Adept and Legacy, I spent a lot of time turtling by letting the Adept take the hits and heal back up with Inspiring Supertonic, or getting Backfist Strikes back from the trash.

My big takeaway from this game is having experimented with bouncing power uses between America’s Greatest Legacy and the Adept effectively. Send a power use over to Legacy with the Supertonic and have him send it right back with Gung Ho for a free hit point. Also, have Legacy use Gung Ho on himself when he’s low on health, too!

This was probably the first game I used Cedistic Dissonant repeatedly. With Instrumental Conjurations to burn, it hurt a lot less to give up an instrument, especially when the reward is removing any destructible card from play, such as Anubis or any number of environmental annoyances pouring out from the god’s tomb.

Decked! #35: Freedom Isn’t Free

Mad Bomber Blade is on the loose in this week’s Sentinels of the Multiverse weekly one-shot. Two-thirds of the Freedom Six  happen to be on hand in Insula Primalis to thwart Blade’s scheme to trigger a super volcano eruption. Hit play and find out what happens!

As an aside, this might be the first or second time I’ve had both occasion and opportunity to use Bunker: Engine of War’s Locomotion power.

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Decked! Bonus: Gotta Catch Em All, Maximum Capture Edition

After the Gotta Catch Em All one-shot ended so abruptly, I decided to go back for a playthrough where Haka got every available target in the match-up under Savage Mana. It took a couple playthroughs to get it right. First, Unforgiving Wasteland took a minion out of the game before Haka could. On the second playthrough, I forgot that Haka needed to deal non-melee damage to eat Voss’ two starships. Thanks to Captain Cosmic passing out energy weapons, the third play was the charm. Naturally, the coup de grace was delivered with Haka using Savage Mana. Could it end any other way?

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Unlocking Infinitor, Tormented Ally

heroic_infinitor

Despite being rated difficulty 2, Infinitor is more than kind of a pain to play against. He’ll spam manifestations, many of which have their own unique challenges — Twisted Miscreation will only take one damage per hit, no matter how many bonuses you pile up –enjoy constant damage reduction, and do an end run around typical villain deck management techniques, because so much of his deck involves putting yet more cards into play.

So I put off unlocking Infinitor’s variant, Tormented Ally — or “Heroic Infinitor,” as he is more popularly known — because I thought it would be a pain.[1] In fact, it only took two tries, in part because I lucked out with Dark Visionary almost always being able to put a manifestation on top, rather than one of his spammy one-shots.

The trick to unlocking Heroic Infinitor is getting a construct to deal the final points of damage. The two main options are Autonomous Blade and Wounding Buffer. Wounding Buffer is tricky because it needs to take enough damage to trigger without being knocked out of play completely. By the end of the game, compulsory damage bonuses can be high enough to take out a 4 HP target immediately. Autonomous Blade on Ra is how I wound up going. Once Infinitor was low enough, Ra did the penultimate wound and Autonomous Blade finished it off.


[1] Now I’m caught up on character variant achievements, for now.

Decked! #34: Gotta Catch Em All

We have what you might call a “target rich environment” this week on Decked!: Grand Warlord menaces Earth with marauding minions. Captain Cosmic commands a cadre of constructs. Unity brandishes a battalion of bots. The Final Wasteland harbors a horde of horrible cryptids. That is, by most accounts, a grand total of 71 targets in the mix. Can we get them all safely tucked away under Haka’s Savage Mana? Find out!

I haven’t any new OBS or post-production cleverness to report this week. My idle tinkering time has gone to incorporating the YouTube Gaming chat box into a livestream. I’m not sure I have the time capacity or breadth of interesting games to cultivate a streaming audience, but it entertains me to go through the steps and figure out how to implement these things.

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Decked! #33: Elementalist

Decked! welcomes back Matt to the show, whose voice astute viewers may recognize from Learn to Play Penny Press, where he and his co-designer Robert explained how to play their board game of newspaper publishing magnates in turn of the century New York City. This week, however, we are making news, instead of reporting it, in Sentinels of the Multiverse‘s weekly one-shot. Akash’buta has awoken from slumber and an elementally-themed team of heroes has stepped up to save the world.

This was the first time I got to bring a friend in to play Sentinels on Decked!, and I think it worked out pretty well. I settled on a routing diagram that let me record Matt, myself and the game’s audio on separate tracks, allowing for more sophisticated editing in post-production — namely automatically ducking the game audio when someone is speaking. It’s a little thing, but I think I’ve got the technique down now, thanks to practicing on this and Rifftrax commentaries.

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Decked! #32: Mars Attacks!

It’s a core set classic this week with Sentinels of the Multiverse‘s one-shot. Haka, Absolute Zero, Bunker, Redeemer Fanatic and the Wraith team up against Omnitron to save Wagner Mars Base from being overrun by drones.

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Paying the Price of Freedom

A screencap showing the pop-up notification for unlocking the Wraith: Price of Freedom. The Wraith, a female superhero dressed in black, takes a defensive stance, holding a knife and club in her hands.

Price of Freedom Wraith was the last of the Freedom Six variants I had to unlock in Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Video Game. I left her until the end because frankly, playing against the Chairman is a pain even when you’re not playing to a particular win condition. So on this occasion, Ray and I played together over Steam

It took two games to make the unlock happen. The first crashed and burned because Prison Break unleashed a torrent of underbosses and thugs. By the time they were done, the Fence had restored Chairman and Operative both to their starting HP, thanks to all the constructs getting wiped out.

The second game, we subbed the Visionary is for the Scholar, in order to get some more control over the Chairman’s deck and trash. The final line-up was Wraith, Tachyon, Haka, Captain Cosmic and the Visionary. Playing Brain Burn on the first turn removed a lot of the Chairman’s bite, as suddenly there were no thugs to pull from the trash and we could focus on underbosses. Savage Mana appeared almost immediately, and we stashed all the underbosses underneath it until we got the Operative out of the way. And Captain Cosmic granting out of turn power uses is always helpful. In fact, Wraith dealt the final blow to the Chairman on the Visionary’s turn, after she dinged a Dynamic Siphon with a Mind Spike.

At this point, it won’t surprise anyone that I took the opportunity to experiment more with OBS. This time was more a stress test, seeing how well it could record the gameplay and stream to YouTube at the same time. While it worked pretty well — OBS’ CPU usage hovered around 15% and the bandwidth stayed on target — there was one major hiccup: there was a network traffic issue that caused YouTube to report it wasn’t getting any data at all for a couple minutes. I wasn’t able to monitor what that would look like to live viewers, but apparently the data kept flowing, as YouTube’s recording plays back without interruption, after it had some time to process. I would like to see what that kind of interruption looks like to viewers. Does the player pick the stream back up as soon as it can, or do they need to press play again?

The local recording looks good throughout, though, so that’s a plus. The one thing to keep in mind is that when OBS is set to use the stream encoder settings for a recording, that also means video resolution, which is scaled from 1920×1080 to 1280×720 for YouTube. D’oh.

I also want to tinker with the audio settings. There are instances of peaking and crackling in the recording. I’m curious whether that’s to do with levels — which never hit the red in OBS, from what I saw[1] — or sampling, because OBS defaults to sampling everything at 44.1 kHz.


[1]Harkening back to

Decked! #31: The Gong Show

We’re serving up an extra helping of cheese with Decked! this week. The recent weekly one-shot of Sentinels of the Multiverse pits the heroes against Wager Master this week, a villain with a deck full of rule-bending effects and alternate victory and defeat conditions. When word got around there is the possibility of a one turn win for the heroes, a possibility that some people said they stumbled onto inadvertently, I decided to see if I could find it myself.

Mea culpa: while playing the game, I got pretty turned around trying to describe and then play appropriately to take advantage of Wager Master’s Losing to the Odds, namely the timing of when that victory condition is checked among all the other things happening on Wager Master’s turn. I also made a poor tactical decision during one of the hero turns that could potentially have ruined everything. See if you can spot it!

This episode was another opportunity to refine my recording techniques with OBS, namely mixing vocal audio with the background music and sound effects from the game. I’d still prefer to be able to keep audio tracks separate until the post-production stage, but I’m not quite there yet in figuring out how to make the best use of the resources I have available.

Also of concern to me that OBS doesn’t have an option to monitor recording levels, beyond a simple visual meter. I prefer to monitor audio live with a pair of headphones, which in this case means listening to the outboard mixer’s output, which OBS captures via USB. Best practice is to monitor the last link in the recording chain, but in this case, that last link is OBS and the software doesn’t currently have a way to allow the user to hear the audio being recorded or sent out to a stream.

Decked! #30: Res/u/rre/x/ion: Reborn

Decked! does something new this week, as we play through Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Video Game‘s weekly one-shot, titled “Res/u/rre/x/ion: Reborn,” pitting Unity, the Wraith and Haka against advanced Ambuscade. Weekly one-shots are a sort of challenge with a predetermined match-up between team of heroes and a villain. Sometimes the opening hands and decks are stacked, other times everything is randomized, as in this case. Depending on how one does, the player(s) can win a copy of the issue of varying quality, graded good up to mint.

“Res/u/rre/x/ion: Reborn” is the third in a series of “Res/u/rre/x/ion” one-shots, seemingly playing out a series of encounters that may lead to the unlocking of the Omnitron-U variant. No one’s quite figured out the full condition for unlocking Omnitron-U at this point, but the variant was made available for immediate play by the Season 2 kickstarter reaching a stretch goal.

On the technical side, this episode of Decked! was spurred on a rainy afternoon making me want to do more with OBS, and figuring out how to take advantage of the software’s internal audio mixer. Due to weirdness glitches with OBS’s mixer, I wound up falling back on tried and true techniques, bringing the game audio to an outboard mixer, feeding a mic into the same mixer for vocals, and then sending the mixed output back to OBS for recording. I basically did the same thing back with the 100 subscriber special, but forewent the precautionary back-up audio track.

Ideally, future let’s play episodes of Sentinels would be recorded in a way to let me edit audio tracks independently afterwards, if necessary. That means figuring out what’s going on with OBS’ own mixer, or using an external recorder to put the vocals on one channel and game audio on the other of a stereo track.