Epic Card Game demo

Last night I ran a demo of the Epic Card Game at The Sentry Box. Epic is a fantasy card game, in the vein of games like Magic, that was recently funded on Kickstarter by White Wizard Games, the folks who did Star Realms. I’ll be discussing the game with some reference to the rules so if you are interested you should check out the rules and have a quick look over them as you read.

Like many Fantasy themed card game, Epic involves the summoning of creatures and heroes to battle your opponent and also lets you play spells or events to interact with your or your opponent’s creatures. In Epic all attacking creatures or heroes are called Champions and they cost either one or zero gold to play. Each turn, each player gets a single gold to use and this gold can’t be saved from turn to turn. So on your turn you are either playing one powerful Champion or Event and then supplementing it with several less zero cost and less powerful Champions or Events.

Hydra!

While Epic reuses some abilities and concepts from Magic, it is quite a different game because of several key concepts. The first is the aforementioned Gold. There is a discrete limit to the number of powerful Champions you can play in a turn but you can also play a Powerful creature immediately. In my first game, my opponent played a Rampaging Wurm and then buffed it with a zero cost Event called Rage to make it a 19 attack Champion with Blitz (allowing it to attack immediately). I was staring at a Champion that was going to cost me two thirds of my health total on the first turn. This is unique to most of the card games I play.

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The problem with Battletech

One of the games, and game universes, that I have always liked has been Battletech. The game is supported by background material that spans over 100 years of concurrent history and also stretches into the game’s “past” 300 years as well. These periods have their own technology, Mech designs, personalities, politics and events. The Battletech universe flows from the Fourth Succession War to the Clan Invasion, the Federation Commonwealth Civil War, the Word of Blake Jihad and the Republic of the Sphere. It is a vast development that makes the 40K universe look like fanfic in comparison.

The game has a problem though in that many players don’t explore this vast history and tend to focus on the 3029-39 period of the Fourth Succession War. This is the original historical period of the game when it was first released by FASA and it is the one that is supported in the Introductory Boxes Sets that have been released by Catalyst Game Labs in the last few years. Those sets contain 24 plastic Mechs from the 3029-39 period (of varying quality depending on the set) which can also be used for the Clan Invasion period.

There are several very interesting periods available for gamers to explore and yet there is a reticence (or at least a perceived reticence) on the part of many Battletech gamers to move out of the Fourth Succession War period and game in them. While I don’t think that there is any single reason for it, I do think that there are several complicating factors that make gamers less likely to branch out from the 3029-39 period.

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Star Wars Armada event report

Today was the first Star Wars Armada event at The Sentry Box and five intrepid souls, plus myself, made it out to the store to fight for glory and variant art cards. I suspect that we may have had a higher turnout if not for the fact that Imaginary Wars had a Imperial Assault Regional event.

I played a variant on the last Imperial list that I tried :

Flagship: (132 pts)

Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (85 pts)

  • Admiral Screed (26 pts)
  • XX-9 Turbolasers (5 pts)
  • Ion Cannon Batteries (5 pts)
  • Defense Liaison (3 pts)
  • Warlord (8 pts)

Fleet Ship 1: (93 pts)

Gladiator II-Class Star Destroyer (62 pts)

  • Expanded Launchers (13 pts)
  • Weapons Liaison (3 pts)
  • Demolisher (10 pts)
  • Sensor Team (5 pts)

Squadrons (72 of 99 pts):

  • 4x Tie Fighter Squadron (32 pts)
  • 1x Sontir Fel Tie Interceptor Squadron (18 pts)
  • 2x Tie Interceptor Squadron (22 pts)

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300pt Star Wars Armada gaming

Nathan came over on Wednesday and we played a 300pt game of Star Wars. This was my second game and my first game at 300pts so there was still a lot to learn while we played.

My force consisted of:

Flagship: (101 pts)
Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (85 pts)

  • Admiral Chiraneau (10 pts)
  • Flight Controllers (6 pts)

Fleet Ship 1: (66 pts)
Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (56 pts)

  • Gunnery Team (7 pts)
  • Insidious (3 pts)

Fleet Ship 2: (62 pts)
Gladiator II-Class Star Destroyer (62 pts)

Squadrons (65 of 98 pts):

  • 1x Major Rhymer Tie Bomber Squadron (16 pts)
  • 2x Tie Interceptor Squadron (22 pts)
  • 3x Tie Bomber Squadron (27 pts)

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Imperial Assault tournament

Today was the first Imperial Assault tournament at The Sentry Box. For some odd reason, perhaps due to the timing of the release for the game, we have a tournament kit out at about the same time as the Regionals kit. Even more perplexing, we have two Imperial Assault Regional events here in Calgary. Sadly I can’t make the first one at Imaginary Wars but I will be able to make the one hosted at The Sentry Box.

Game 3

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Learning about myself

Mage DeckI like to play games. And one of the games that I really like to play is Hearthstone. Due to some memory issues of the iPad, I took an unwilling hiatus from the game but with the recent updates I have been able to play again. One of the reasons that I like the game so much is that it has a balance in it that doesn’t require you to pay for or grind for cards to be competitive. It is really the anti-thesis of a game like Magic the Gathering.

Currently I am working my way up the ranking system in the game using the Mage deck shown to the left. Despite there being two mini-sets and a full set of cards released since the last time I played, I am playing quite competitively with a deck made up of cards from the initial release. The deck is quite solid, has responses for most of the threats that you see in the game and can deliver a considerable amount of damage. Using it I am undefeated in the last five matches (a bloody miracle for me) and perilously bored.

The deck almost plays itself. Which, I suspect, is a testament to the thought that went into designing it. Not that I did the design. I tweaked it a touch to fit the cards that I have in my collection but most of the hard work was done by some anonymous person online. The decks I design are different. And by different I mean “fun”. Fun for me and certainly aimed at having a theme, building a combo or just being goofy like including all the minions in the game that deliver random damage.

And so while the decks I build deliver some amusing games for me (see below), they don’t win consistently. Certainly not consistent enough to work through the Hearthstone rankings. And yet I enjoy those games a lot more than I am currently enjoying my “win streak”.

This isn’t exactly news for me. I have known for some time that I am not an overly competitive gamer and that my focus has always been on having fun and not necessarily on winning. What is interesting though is just how little enjoyment I get from just winning. Beating an opponent is certainly fun and it’s not as if I am a glutton for punishment who just likes to lose. The magic point for me seems to be creating a win from an uncertain series of parts. Building a victory but with tools that I like as opposed to putting together a list whose only aim is to win.

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Imperial Assault Campaign Game

We had a gaming day at The Sentry Box and as part of that I managed to play the Imperial side in the first campaign scenario for imperial Assault game from FFG. In it the Rebel heroes have to work their way into a small Imperial station and destroy the data terminals by the end of six turns or before they are all wounded.

It seemed as if it would be a cake walk at first but in our game the Rebels were defeated at the last minute when an Imperial E-Webber team managed to wound the final hero and end the game just prior to the same hero blasting away the final terminal.

We didn’t use many of the standard accoutrements from the campaign game rules as this was just a one-off game but it was still a lot of fun. I’m going to be trying to arrange a group to run through the campaign properly and get the full experience.

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First game of Star Wars Armada

Nathan and I met up at The Sentry Box today to give the Star Wars Armada game a try. This was the first game for either of us so it was certainly a learning experience and we did mess up a few rules but nothing that would have changed the game.

Turn 1

We only did a a 180pt game and I decided to take two Victory I class Star Destroyers with a small screen of TIEs consisting of two regular squadrons and Howlrunner. I wanted to see how the ships worked in a pair and I also thought that it might be advantageous to have the added firepower. Nathan used the default Rebel build from the Starter Set and I won initiative since I was two points under.

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Heroes of Normandie game day

This Saturday The Sentry Box hosted a Heroes of Normandie game day. Over the course of the day we managed to get three full games in and chatted to a few people about the game.

The first game was played was with the Slaughterhouse (5) scenario from the box. In it, German and American forces are attempting to take control of a small house which is initially held by the Americans. Bryan and James played the scenario while I chatted with folks about the game system and checked out the rules when questions were raised. As much as I like the system, the rulebook is really poorly organized. Happily once you have the rules figured out you don’t need to refer to the rulebook any further since everything you need is on the unit tokens.

The first game quickly devolved into a mad clash for the house as James threw his Germans at the building as Bryan attempted to flank them and cut off the attacks. Grenades flew from both sides but some wildly poor rolls as well as quickly played random event cards meant that most of the grenade attacks were without effect. In the end the Americans wore the Germans down and the house remained in American hands to give them the win.

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Game Night

Last night was the monthly board game night that one of my friends hosts in the south-west. As I didn’t have any other events scheduled for the weekend so I was happily able to go. The event starts after dinner and goes into the early morning and while I wasn’t able to stay the entire evening I did stay long enough to get in a few games.

Heroes of Normandie

First off was a quick game of Heroes of Normandie. I was introducing the game to a new player so we tried one of the provided scenarios called Saving Private Rex. I played the Americans and my opponent picked the Germans. The goal of the scenario is for the Americans to find and rescue their General’s pet dog. The game was fun and it was easy to explain the rules but I was struck, yet again, that the true appeal of the game is in larger custom scenarios where you pick your own forces and have a larger number of available orders. The scenario we played was a quick win for the Americans as Private Rex randomly appeared in a space that was easy for me surround and keep away from the Germans.

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