Along with my normal house stuff like clothes and books (so many books), I had to pack up and move a shitload of games and gaming related materials. I have… a lot of gaming stuffs, some of which I haven’t physically seen in years. It’s a bit ridiculous really.
The first thing I did was drag a bunch of old World of Darkness books to sell them. I kept the core Vampire and Werewolf books for nostalgia, but for some reason I had a ton of those books and we played maybe once–and it sucked. Owning these was likely due to RAGE and JYHAD fandom for the most part.
Speaking of which, I have a massive Shadowfist collection (for good reason), but I also have a massive VTES and Jyhad collection, large amounts of RAGE, On the Edge, Blood Wars and still have my tiny MTG collection (most of it) from back in the day. With Netrunner, I really can’t see playing any 2-player CCG’s other than that, yet it’s difficult to part with a mere stack of Legends of the Burning Sands or Legends of the Five Rings cards let alone a massive set like VTES— I just don’t know why: we no longer play these games.
I did find some stuff that I forgot I had, or forgot how MUCH.
Steve the Burger and Fries was the winner of this year’s World Championship at Gencon of Shadowfist. He played with a Purist/Architect deck (below) with write up.
Total Cards: 51
Feng Shui Sites (10)
Martyr’s Tomb (2)
Gambling House (2)
Foundation Characters (10)
DNA Mage (5)
Other Characters (10)
Dr. Timbul Damiri (3)
Shards of Warped Reflection
Nerve Gas (2)
Expendable Unit (2)
Uncontrolled Mutation (2)
Pocket Demon (2)
IKTV Special Report
Material Transendence (2)
Evil Brain in a Jar (2)
Rise of the NeoBuro (2)
Here’s how it all played out……I needed to get some tuning in before the tournament, so the night before, we played 4 games, all 3 man with Matt and Mouth. After taking serious beatings from both of them in 3 of the games, and barely eeking out a less than impressive victory in the 4th, we looked at slimming the deck down a bit. I ended up taking out 3 vivisectors and 2 Paradox Gardens, and adding an IKTV special report.
So I rolled into the tournament far from confident. There were nine players, so It was three-man the whole way….another problem for my less than fast deck….
Game 1 (Monarchs, Jammers)
The Jammer deck got off to a very fast start, getting out 3 big maques and a horde of other monkeys early, all helped by my first hitter destroying himself on an uncovered Temple of Angry Spirits. I was being run off the table. The Jammers burned for power 3 times, and with the monarch deck starting slowly as well, I just couldn’t get going. There seem to be a lot of new cards with monkey designators, and there were hordes of token characters all over the place. I managed, through a combination of my opponents’ unwillingness to just end it & a few denial cards, to hold off an outright win, and we were timed out. Looked like the end of the road for me, with a permanent spot at the losers table.
Game 2 (Monarchs, Hand)
The Monarchs followed me to the losers table, along with a hand deck. I had a horrible start in this one (no architect resources), but was helped by the fact that the Monarch player was using resources to smash the hand player with early events and attacks. Now most of those events were cancelled by Confucian stabilities, but none-the-less, my opponents were stymying each other, and I was able to recover a bit. Another strange thing was that the Hand player had two revealed proving grounds, which didn’t help him. Anyways, it was time for his Iron Monkey to cause problems, but alas, a nerve gas smoked him with no power gained or sites taken. Even with Rise of the Neoburo out, I had 3 or 4 turns in a row where I could not draw any hitters, so I just played sites. Finally, with the table cleared, an exposed proving ground with 1 body, and only 1 fighting characters in play, I went for the win with a mathmagician(!?)……and a cellular reinvigoration……..very silly, but it worked, and I had a chance again with a win under my belt.
Game 3 (Jammers, Lotus)
The monkeys were back, I had a new Lotus opponent, and my deck had not yet shown any signs of getting out any of my combos. Again, the Jammers were out quickly, but we held him down a little to prevent that overpowering start. The lotus looked to be well positioned with a hitter out and one of my sites burned for power. Then, he tried to play spirit wrack on a Jammers character, and had his hitter smoked by who’s the monkey now. This allowed me to get Damon Winter out, and load up on cards. He was smoked, but Bonechill followed several times, thanks to Dr. Timbul, and I settled on toasting a big maque, and turning into a size 14 hitter. Along with rise of the neoburo and material transcending the reverend Adam Wither into a useless edge, I gained some traction. This game ended with time being called also, but I scored good points.
When the total points were added up, John and Willow were 1-2, and I was tied for 3rd with Troy. There was some posturing back and forth about who should get in, and what the tiebreakers were. When no one could decide, John and Willow were ok with a 4-man final.
Game 4 (The final-Jammers-Troy, Monarchs-Willow, Architects-John)
What a game. I definitely appreciated playing with three very accomplished players, and I hope everyone wasn’t too annoyed with my constant fumbling and bumbling of the rules…..Things started with some early attacks that were thwarted. I attacked the monarchs with Bonechill hoping for a lucky site grab, only to reduce it to 1. The Architects were thwarted, but the jammers got the site. With the Monarchs kneecapped, I drew a nice run of cards, played secret pact, which allowed me to throw out Damon Winter. I attacked the Monarchs again, hoping for a squishy site, and found it, burning for power. Then I was able to play IKTV special report right away after that, and had 8 power before my turn started again. That was what I needed, as I played Rise of the Neoburo, Dr. Timbul, Material Transcended him, and played a Paradox Cube (copying Timbul) that turn. That definitely drew some attention. I was very lucky in that no one had edge hate cards, so my stacked Timbuls would remain for the rest of the game. Things went on with no one able to gain the upper hand for a while. An amazing 3 neutron bombs were dropped, and even more amazingly, all were cancelled. Eventually Damon Winter was smoked (along with several Gnarled Annihilators, Fakhir-al-din, and lots of monkeys), but replaced with Primus (and my whole deck was in my hand anyways). A few turns later and I was finally I was able to find the architect’s endless corridor turned, and sacrificed Primus, then returned him to play so no architect nasty cards could be played. I went for the win with 5 or 6 buffed monkeys able to block, but threw down a cellular re-invigoration that couldn’t be countered……and that was it!
I’m back from the con and it was good. I won’t be able to encapsulate my thoughts into a single post, and some of the topics DESERVE their own singular essays– so over the next few days I will try to decompartmentalize the madness. I was planning on posting DURING gencon itself, but other than the few pictures there just wasn’t time or sobriety to do so.
Hillfolk and the drama system experience
Sad news for Shadowfist
OSR stuff and Other RPG’s
Random stuff that looked cool.
Holy shit was it crowded. I’ve been there many years in a row (I think close to 20) and I have never, ever seen Gencon that crowded before. All the parking lots were full, the entire con area was packed with people. Normally you’ll see the same people around, the same security guards, the same cos-play nerds or larpers or insideout jelly doughnuts, but this year it was such a WAVE of humanity you’d never see the same people twice unless you went to the same type of regions in the gaming hall.
As this was Matt and Steve’s first time to the Con since it was in Milwaukee, I had some things to prove since I had been talking up Indy since it moved there– that it was and is far better than Milwaukee as a location for this large of a convention. Milwaukee’s downtown is pretty but let’s face it, it’s got shitty hotels and it’s dangerous at night right in the area of the new convention center. What’s more, though I didn’t remember this much, Matt said that Milwaukee never welcomed Gencon as a city much, only tolerated it.
Indy is different for sure, the bars nearby all go into full fucking nerd mode when the con starts with odd menus and drinks. There seems to be a Warmachine bar and a Pathfinder bar–likely some others. The people on the streets and in the attached mall (which is an actual mall, unlike the one in Milwaukee that is about as dead as you can get without being closed down) are confused by the gencon nerds, but not alarmed– they know there is a big ass nerd convention going on in the city and welcome it. There are random gaming posters in shops, taxi’s hang dice from their rear view mirrors and so on. All worshiping the nerd dollar descendant upon the town.
What’s more because the hotels are all connected (and quite nice) there is a massive and I mean massive party scene. Remember the White Wolf parties circa 1996/97 at the Hilton with the kickboxing and tons of beers and drinks and chicks? That’s going on every night of Gencon full on everywhere.
So what were we up to? I got in late Thursday night and headed into the con messing around the crowded ass retailer hall until the 4PM Shadowfist tournament, which had a great turnout with 20 people. I didn’t make the finals this year– but I played a REALLY crap deck and still pulled out a very lucky win in a game. My other two Swiss games did not go well, but were fun. I got to see what seems to be the trend after the endless big bruisers returning from the smoked pile of years hence: endless big bruisers unturning and attacking over and over again. Otherwise there was a TON of Ascended on the table this year compared to last. I counted four decks including mine. After a poor showing in the last couple years for the transformed animals, that was great to see. Mouth got to the final with his Bonechill deck but came in second. We need to tune that fucker to win next year. Matt’s deck was just not up to par and Steve’s relied on Infernal Army– while a big scary site-taker, is still basically a thug and got targeted for events or taken over more often than not. Matt cornered some of the design team for Fist for awhile and gave them a probably undeserved earful about some of the issues with the game. I guess I’d be happy if the Architects were back in the game and they didn’t have so many fucking NERD cards!! Just slapping a nerd head on a previously created painting to fulfill a Kickstarter reward is not anyone’s idea of a card they want to look at. Fuckn’ A. What’s more, we encountered TWO decks where the player had centered their deck around a card with their picture on it. This was terrible. Otherwise, time will tell whether the new cards make a good effect on the game or if they are overpowered. It certainly LOOKS like the dragons got a big boost.
Other than Shadowfist, we got in a few games of Seasons– which is excellent! It’s in the Glory to Rome/Race for the Galaxy vein, but the dice/action mechanic put it into the fun zone. While I wouldn’t say it’s better than Glory to Rome, I would play it over Race for the Galaxy and 7 Wonders any day (though both of those are excellent games as well). Also we got in a horrible game of Eclipse where no one was attacking until the very end. While I love the game, we’ve played so much I need a break from that one for awhile.
Shit that I saw. My Little Ponies was fucking everywhere at the con. For good reason, it’s a good show, but I think next year it will fucking EXPLODE even more. There’s a CCG coming out that will likely be a Pokemon rip off (which is fine) that I’ll have to buy for my kids and I saw some odd mission based game. It’s certainly a franchise worth gaming up and while we look very much down upon the bronies from a high level and urinate– it IS a really good show for kids (and adults forced to watch it). Even though it’s about female multihued ponies, the plotlines are excellent and much better than sitting through a five episode fight in Naruto…
A line at Fantasy Flight. Yeah.. was this necessary? They have some popular games for sure but a line? I think they are doing good work with the Star Wars license but… I am so fucking sick of the Star Wars license….let it go away again for a few years so we can like it again– it’s just been beaten to death.
King of Tokyo– I think the game is finally getting it’s due after a cult release as I saw it everywhere in the con and there was both a massive playset (with child sized monster stand ups) and a massive tournament going on. This is a great game for beer and pretzels in the BANG vein and really good with the kids– even if they cannot read.
D&D Next? Where was it? Matt got the new book (which is chock full of art from the old sets) but I didn’t see anything special– especially compared to something like Lamentations of the Flame Princess–which is awful special (module called Fuck for Satan for instance). I don’t know where WOTC are going to go with this next– but it’s nice to see all the Basic D&D and AD&D books reprinted beautifully after all these years. Too bad AD&D fucking sucked.
Bolt Action. I tried this out last year and I think it’s starting to get some traction. There were five table setups this year for demos and the game looks great. I splurged and filled out my 1000 point brits with a Cromwell and another infantry unit. I feel it’s a mash up of EPIC 40K and AT-43 and that’s a good thing. So many tanks….
Here is my hoard of loots from the con.
New Cosmic Encounter expansion was probably the biggest score. I picked up another box of On the Edge (10$) and the On the Edge survival book which from what I’ve heard is EXCELLENT shitter-reading materials. Fist was cheap at the con this year. I scored a box of Empire of Evil and a box of Critical shift for 60$ total. If we are going to go Zman only for playing going forward, I needed these— and I still needed them. I was looking for some Blood Wars but it was nowhere to be found. Also, Dreamblade was in just a few nooks and crannies…if you were ever thinking of picking that shit up at all, the end is nigh and I bet in the next 4-5 years the prices for stuff starts climbing and climbing…
I did pick up some random stuff for Epic 40K– Razorbacks and Ork dreadnoughts. I’m itching to get that played again.
It was a great con, much better than last year when I had that coughing crud people had for a couple months at a stretch and hadn’t slept for weeks. It was all still a blur but that was due to self-imposed sleep deprivation and the demon drink. I hope Matt, Steve and mouth can come along next year as we could all get into some Roleplaying games in addition to the other crap, which was sorely missed. Even with 3 days at the con– it was not enough gaming!
Now we’re looking DIRECTLY down the barrels of Saints Row 4 and
A blast from the past– I found these bits about Shadowfist 2nd edition circa 1996 (hosted right here) a couple days ago and was filled with wonderment. A lot of these ideas are fair but a few seem crazy to me (multiple sets out of a box, starters that are fun to play). Collected from quotes from Jose Garcia himself in 1996, as we approach the same sort of situation it’s interesting to see the parallels (though Jose didn’t have Kickstarter to help limp things along for years until receeding back into the loam again).
That said I’ve got a long post coming on why the most recent kickstarter limped along (still made an outrageous amount of money compared to what they likely needed) and why none of my play group supported it (some were even more against it than I was) and with the crazy ass shit on the Yahoo message boards recently, it’s time to start writing the obituary again. So stay tuned.
I pulled out a win in the finals of the Shadowfist 2013 big cheese tournament. Seeing as I didn’t make a deck for the event and hadn’t played in awhile, this was surprising. What wasn’t surprising was that Steven Wu with Four Mountain Fist went in for the winning attack. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. The decklist (the A-LIST) and for now: cheese.
Shadowfist has had a long, venerable run over the last few decades and it’s time looks like it’s pretty much come, or has it? That said, there are a few brave souls trying to keep it going and turn it into an LCG (Living Card Game) which could be solid IF DONE CORRECTLY (i.e.: getting it into stores for starters).
Last night I got to play with the new starter decks from Combat in Kowloon (that was originally going to come out in 1996!!!!) and Back for Seconds (adding the Jammers and Monarchs). I played as the Ascended, then Hand, then Monarchs. Ascended deck was great and fun albeit ALL Transformed animals (where are the pledged?). The others, tough to judge after one play but I will anyway, were boring. I’ve heard from people two things that I can confirm– the Feng Shui sites and foundation characters are pretty awesome and the set should be picked up for those alone.
That said, there were a lot of reprints, most of which are very good choices throughout the set for most factions. Word of warning though: the Dragon deck is fucking awful crap that no one will want except for a few cards. No Ting Ting, Steven Wu, Golden Gunman NOR the new Red Wedding Big Bruiser? I thought they were joking when someone said it was a vehicle state deck–but it’s true. There are a few good cards in there but for new players only getting these cards, the dragon reprints are pure shit. it’s really a massive failure there that some of the penultimate chase cards in the faction were not included, especially since for new players the Dragons are the most forgiving and easiest to play. Oh and there are no Architects of the Flesh. They chose one of the original JOKE factions (Jammers) instead to include rather than one of the most fearsome evil factions in the game–the faction that was always coming up with the devious plans to fuck everyone up. Now who is left as the big bad? The Eaters of the Lotus sure but the rest of the factions could be perfectly happy SKATEBOARDING OFF EACH-OTHER’S DICKS rather than trying to eliminate each other from the time stream.
Typos. One type in particular is inexcusable. Reprinting an ancient card like Violet Meditation and having a typo that isn’t a spelling mistake, but something that drastically changes the cards effect? You start to think if there was a failure at something so simple as that, where else are there failures? And for new players– HOW THE FUCK ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO KNOW? Terrible.
Last point of contention–the pay for my face on a card cards. The ones before this were mostly tasteful and OK because the artists were good and took a lot of license with the way the person looked. The only one that was spot on was Zev’s card and it was cute because he was hiding behind a wall getting shot at (an not so subtle allusion to us and the playtesters complaining all the time). I can accept that one. There were apparently 6 cards in the set with nerd faces on them and they stick out like tits in a bra at Woodstock. Two of them are OK– the rest are ridiculous and just absolutely SHATTER the suspension of disbelief while playing the game. While this isn’t the worst of the lot, there is a Hand card with a skinny wiener nerd on it who is an EIGHT fighting. Not 3, not 5 as a ramp up or utility, but an EIGHT. Oh but he payed $500? Fuck all. At least back in the day you had to earn it by winning the big tournament at Gencon. The other thing is, once you have your picture on a card, you should never be able to have it on another one. We now have two cards with Jade Willow as different characters for fucksake.
Anyway, despite some failures in the set, the cardstock was far better than the cheapest-possible-to-be-still-considered-a-card cardstock used for the Seven Masters reprint (which to me, signaled the downfall of the game– even when shit was going south with Jose and Shadowfist Games, they never skimped on the quality of the product that badly) and there are some great cards in here that will change the game up a bit when playing with all the cards in the game, I will buy some and probably regret not buying more as it goes out of print. Is this the rebirth or the death-knell (which we’ve heard many times before) for Shadowfist? Do we really need any more expansions or should they just all be set up as Print on Demand? We played for 4-5 years with only Standard, Limited, Netherworld and Flashpoint and it was GREAT.
I was a bit on the mend so decided to drive down to Gencon Friday and see what for. I got to indy about 4PM and had only a couple hours to wander around before the main hall (the MONEY SUCKING HALL) closed. Before I even got in there BAM right in front of me was the BOLT ACTION demo area with an amazing Riechstag set up and a bunch of other boards. Sat around talking about it for awhile but the demos were full– then ran into the MONEY SUCKING hall before it closed up and bought a couple things, but didn’t take the bite on the Bolt Action deals (yet). Wandering around after the hall closed sucked as I couldn’t find anyone I knew so I wandered into a showing of Trailer Park JESUS. Not sure about it but it killed time and featured a girl with breasts that started at the lowest level of the chest that I’ve ever seen.
Got up Saturday morning and played Shadowfist, and Shadowfist, and Shadowfist.. and a demo of Bolt Action and that was it. I took third in the yearly invitational using one of Mouth’s decks but didn’t make the final in the world championship. All good though as I got at least 9 games in.
Bolt Action plays like a combination of AT-43 and Epic 40K and I dig it and dumped 100$ in to get some figs and the rulebook. While I didn’t spend a lot of time shopping, I did get some finds in the hall– not as many as I’d like to have picked up, but solid stuff. No more Crazy Egor but plenty of other places that have gaming trash for cheap.
Stuff I saw of interest:
Fantasy Flight was rocking– big game was Netrunner which I will eventually pick up, but no rush. They demo’ed the prototype of RELIC– the 40K Talisman game and it looked OK.
Confrontation Phoenix edition was on display and I listened in for a bit but didn’t get a demo. While the miniatures are great, they have some work to do consolidating the rules from 3.0 to 3.5. Great highly detailed miniatures game that I would love to see ‘alive’ again in the 3.5 form as opposed to the simplified mass produced version.
Forgeworld at the Con. I mistakenly thought it was Games Workshop returning after many many years, but it was Forgeworld–who has never been to Gencon before. They were showing off their awesome stuff and with 40K 6th edition out, that was the focus. They did have the Chaos Dwarf army in full effect for 8th edition.
Not much for D&D. There was an area, but it was pretty toned down. Cool Drow strider sculpture but other than that– nothing on the impending 5th edition that I saw at all.
In contrast, Pathfinder everywhere. That brand is hugely on the rise, not just for PNP roleplaying, but spreading out to everything else.
The new Fate core version was around but I didn’t get into any demo’s of it.
The new Marvel RPG was huge, but they had these little demo tables and the entire table was covered with dice dice dice. I was pretty silly. You play the game with no screen for the DM so it can work, but it was funny to see. While the rulebook is pretty economical, the first campaign book is pricey and huge. While I’ve gushed about the initiative system, I’m not sure the dice mechanic is all that great overall.
No White Wolf. Sadly I didn’t even find the White Wolf booth and didn’t even know if there was one. So no perusing the Exalted books or asking questions about it. I don’t think there’s much to tell there since version 2.5.
Shadowfist of interest:
Dragons + Lotus is still the best combo of factions FTW
Great Walls were everywhere, so even less reason to play straight Ascended. If you hit a front site in a tournament, it’s going to be the Great Wall.
Monarchs were everywhere (as usual with all the love they’ve been getting in sets)
There were no Ascended decks in the tournaments at all
Syndicate still did nothing (but at least people played the faction)
I played against a very good Jammers deck a couple times. It had some glaring weak spots, but wasn’t the usual shite you usually get from Jammers.
Ah Shadowfist, I predicted after 2011, and that year’s kicking ass by me, that I would have it done to me in 2012 (and probably for a long time after). This weekend, I lost the right to call myself the big cheese as we were beaten in a heated final at Plattcon to Jim Sensenbrenner and a deck he made that morning (!?) (featuring a rather unique alternate power generation engine that I will go into once he releases his decklist). Due to my own laziness, I just used the same deck I won with last year and though I never got my meaty combo out in any of the games (big bruiser has to come out, and he only did once) I was still able to get into the final with the rest of the jank stuff in the deck.
The final had TWO Ascended-only decks in it which is a milestone for the faction, at least from what I’ve seen. They haven’t been competitive as a stand alone faction for over a decade now since their domination in the early days of the game. While Op Killdeer is still the best card in the game, it has to be saved for the absolutely most important moments or it’s just wasted on trifles. The rest of the faction (alone) typically does not have the punch through to win in the fast, power stealing, denial heavy environment these days. Yet, it warmed MY cockles to see the EASTERN KING hit the table in a tournament. The raw shock and awe to have a size 11 Golden Gunman ready to lay some beatings was awesome. The only answer the table had was a Neutron Bomb when he brought his huge fighting to bear on the Architect player. I’ve been collecting Eastern Kings for years now, but have yet to put him in a deck that worked so I think it’s about friggin time.
All told, it was a great tournament with a pretty good turnout (8 players) and a lot of intense and friendly Fist. Now I hope to actually get some games in to practice and even make a new deck before Gencon rolls around and I defend my other 2011 title.