Flashpoint!

Titan Transnational, the Goliath of the New Angeles financial market, suffers a breach of security. For twenty-three seconds, all its sysops are locked out, and all its defenses are down. Simultaneously. For those twenty-three seconds, all its logs are erased. Millions of micro-transactions take place in each fraction of each second, but for twenty-three seconds, no transactions are being logged. No one knows who owns what.

The Flashpoint cycle for Netrunner LCG sounded immense, and yet I have only recently caught up with the new packs! Terrible. While I’m currently in the process of radically down-sizing my gaming collection in preparation for moving house, Netrunner is one of those games that I keep getting drawn back to. While I haven’t paid much attention to the game since the Mumbad cycle ended last summer, I’ve recently started to get back into web design, and there’s just something about computer programming that links very strongly in my mind back to this game.

So let’s take a look!

The Flashpoint cycle is the sixth cycle of data packs for Netrunner, which is important in that Rotation is looming ever closer for the game (if you’re wondering about LCG Rotation, you can check out my blog on it here). Rotation for Netrunner is coming when the first pack of the eighth cycle hits stores, and we lose the Genesis and Spin cycles. The original article postulated Spring 2017 as the date the eighth cycle would begin but, as Red Sands is the seventh cycle for the game, we’re still at least another six months or so out. We’ve also since had the announcement of the Terminal Directive campaign that seems to attempt a sort of level-playing-field approach to the game by using only the core set and that box, so it’s certainly an interesting time for fans of the game – and definitely a good time to get back into it if, like me, you’ve been away for a while!

Anyway, enough with the tangents!

Android Netrunner Flashpoint Cycle

The cards in the cycle have a focus on credits, with the money you have in the bank determining the effects that certain cards you play will have. It’s a really interesting mechanic, and I like the fact that the theme of a bank robbery is implemented into the gameplay itself in this way. There are a couple of themes that come out of the cycle, but I thought it was particularly interesting to see just how brutal some of the Corp cards are. Whether I’m having this reaction because I’m more comfortable as the Runner, I don’t know, but it struck me when I was looking through the data packs that there were a really large number of cards that do a lot of damage to the Runner, and it feels quite harsh! There are also new Terminal Operations, which ends the action phase when they are played but provide pretty decent benefits in return. I probably need to go deeper into the card pool here, of course, but I feel that the Corp is definitely the one benefiting the most from this cycle.

Android Netrunner Flashpoint Cycle

Of course, that’s not to say the Runner doesn’t have lots of nice new toys as well! Each Corp gets a new identity, and there are four new Runners across the cycle, also – including two for the Anarch faction. While I’m usually most-drawn to the Shaper faction overall, as I love the ethos behind them, there are several exciting new Criminal cards (more shortly) and the new Null Runner is making me want to build an Anarch deck! We’ll have to see where that goes. What’s more, there are also new cards for each of the three mini-faction Runners that were introduced in Data and Destiny, which is really exciting to see! While the linked article there did say that the majority of cards these Runners would ever receive are in that expansion, it is still nice to see that they aren’t a one-time gimmick.

Android Netrunner Flashpoint Cycle

The sixth pack, Quorum, was particularly difficult to get hold of in my recent catch-up splurge. Why? Well, I think it has something to do with the HB Terminal Operation, Violet Level Clearance. This card appears to have made quite the splash in the Netrunner tournament scene when run in a Haas-Bioroid deck that runs Cerebral Imaging as the ID. The synergy with those cards is pretty great, allowing for so many options. But is it really the whole reason for the pack flying off the shelves? There is one further card that is seeing a lot more play in the game right now than Violet Level Clearance, the Criminal Resource, Aaron Marrón. For just two credits and only using up two loyalty, this guy gets two power counters whenever an agenda is scored or stolen, and you can use these counters to remove 1 tag and draw a card. I love cards that work off necessary game actions like this! It’s like Landfall in Magic, something that is necessary to the game can work even more in your favour! Wonderful stuff! I’ve been thinking about putting a Criminal deck together for a long time already; I think this might be the impetus I need!

So, the Flashpoint incident is over, and the eighth cycle for Netrunner is taking us back into space and the Red Sands of Mars, in the aftermath of the Martian Colony Wars…

Exciting times!

Hey everybody!
It feels like there is a lot of excitement in the air at the minute for anybody of a geeky disposition. We’re almost a month away from a new Star Wars movie, for starters, but the slide into December is always packed with so much awesome that I really should look to setting up a savings account specifically for the purpose…

I’ve been watching the second international trailer for Rogue One, which does subtly differ from the last official trailer released last month. It’s always cool to see new bits, and I’m certainly feeling pretty excited about this movie right now: I think, more than anything, it just looks fantastic. It has the Classic Trilogy sense of style but with today’s technology making more possible within that setting. Sure, I mentioned this in my musings on the first trailer, where I thought it would make the movie make the original films look shabby in comparison. However, I don’t think that will be the case any longer; maybe I’ve mellowed over the past few months!

While the story of the Death Star plans has been done to death in the old canon, I’m actually looking forward to this movie for giving us the definitive story around that. It’s a fascinating part of the Star Wars lore, and while some of the trailer seems to have some bits that look overly cheesy or cliche, I’m still looking forward to what promises to be an overall good film.

I’ve pre-ordered the lead-in novel, Catalyst, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on it as it’s by one of my favourite Star Wars authors, James Luceno. I’d been thinking I might keep the book to read closer to Christmas, but I might not be able to wait that long, so there may be a review coming in sooner than you think!

Speaking of trailers, I’m still super hyped for the upcoming Wonder Woman movie next year! I won’t deny, I was kinda speechless when it first dropped, as it looks like it should be everything we could ever want from such a movie. I still haven’t seen Batman vs Superman, so have nothing to really go on (though by all accounts, her role was somewhat limited in that movie). But these trailers look incredible, and I heartily cannot wait for it!

But let’s talk about some games for a minute.

Picked this bad boy up today! #ArkhamHorror #cardgames #Lovecraft #Cthulhu

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I picked up the new Arkham Horror LCG the other day, and it does look kinda fantastic, I have to say. To date, all I’ve done is take the cards out of the airtight bags and quickly ruffle through them, but I’m hoping that, once I’m caught up with my degree, I’ll be able to try it out and see what all the fuss is about. I’ve been subscribed to the page on boardgamegeek since it had one, and have been astonished at the amount of new posts created for it, talking about the minutiae before it even landed. It was akin to the Rise of the Runelords Pathfinder ACG, and I’ve considered unsubscribing because of it! I’m sure it’ll die down in time, however.

Speaking of the Pathfinder ACG, the fourth box, The Mummy’s Mask, has apparently been released, though I have yet to see it for sale in the UK. Of course, I haven’t really been trying all that hard to find it, but even so! I’ve only recently made it to the end of the first adventure pack in the Rise of the Runelords game, of course, so I’m hardly chomping at the bit for the next box, but it does look amazing!

Android Netrunner Terminal Directive

Last night, FFG announced the next expansion for Android: Netrunner, Terminal Directive. The article doesn’t have a great deal of information for how exactly this expansion works, but it looks to be extremely similar to the Pandemic Legacy stuff that involves game components opened and used at specific points of the game/when specific conditions have been met. I’m not surprised that another company has used this idea, because it seems to be doing well for Z-Man Games, though I am surprised that it was used for a living card game rather than a boardgame.

The implementation aside, I think the idea of having a game of Netrunner where your actions have consequences for a campaign is really interesting, and I hope I can get in on this when it starts…

Along with the Arkham LCG, I also picked up the final packs for the latest Lord of the Rings cycle, as well as the final pack for Warhammer Conquest! I do feel kinda sad that the game is over now, but talking about it down at the local store, it sounds like the game isn’t quite dead yet, so I can still try out my Slaanesh demons deck now that we finally have a warlord for the Dark Prince!

I still haven’t played with any of the new Lord of the Rings cards, unfortunately – it doesn’t seem so long ago that I would eagerly be playing through the latest pack no sooner had I gotten my grubby little mits on it! I’ve mentioned it on this blog fairly recently how I want to get back into playing this game with more regularity, so I hope that I can make that a thing soon! All of my free time at the moment seems to be taken up with either working on my degree or painting up little plastic guys… I do feel like I need to get back into gaming though, that’s definitely been sliding of late…

Mumbad

Hey everybody!
The Mumbad Cycle recently ended for Android Netrunner, and while I haven’t really talked much about the individual cycles as I do for Lord of the Rings LCG, I thought I’d do a small blog today to mark the occasion because, in my opinion, this is by far the most flavourful of all those for the cyberpunk LCG, and is definitely worth talking about!

Android Netrunner Mumbad Cycle

The Mumbad Cycle gives us a global view of the Netrunner universe as we move to India, on the brink of an important vote as to whether clones should be granted citizen rights within the Indian Union. Basically, the story here is that everybody is against Jinteki, the corporation that has made a fortune in the cloning process, and that “will stop at nothing to make sure their most lucrative product remains just that: a product”. There are a whole host of cards across the six data packs of the cycle that detail the storyline, one of my favourite being Voter Intimidation.

Android Netrunner Mumbad Cycle

We get a lot of new great things in this cycle, including two new corp identities and two new runners, and a whole load of really flavourful cards. Part of me wonders if there is some degree of stereotyping going on here, as a lot of the cards have a very Indian feel to them, but not being myself an Indian, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. They certainly don’t look culturally offensive, but I can’t honestly chime in on that debate. There are certainly a lot of cards that run with the Hindu vibe, though I feel this is more to establish the sense of place than anything untoward.

The new cards look pretty great, anyway. I’ve been looking them over, and can see where a couple could fit into my already-established decks, while a few others might even be worth specific build-arounds. I’d just like to mention two specifically, which involve one of my favourite mechanics of the game, agenda-manipulation. Liberated Chela is a 0-cost Resource you can pay five clicks and forfeit an agenda to make into a 2-point agenda. I love how the Shaper faction seems to have this kind of theme of making agendas out of nothing! While the Corp can forfeit one of their own agendas to stop this happening, it is still pretty nice, especially if you only have a one-point agenda (or have made one out of Notoriety). “Freedom Through Equality” is another such card, and while as a Current event it is only in play until another event is played, it could potentially win you the game if played late on.

Exchange of Information is an operation for NBN that allows the Corp to swap an agenda in their score area for one in the Runner’s score area if the Runner is tagged. Suddenly, losing my Utopia Fragment isn’t going to be too bad if I can get a tag on the Runner – and what do you know, isn’t that just NBN’s specialty!

There are two notable new mechanics introduced in this cycle, one each for the Corp and the Runner. The Corp has access to some powerful new Alliance cards, neutral upgrades and assets that give your chosen Corp some distinctive advantage if you have more of them in your deck. Each Corp also has an operation and an asset that grants boons if you have less cards from outside your Corp, creating a fine line for deckbuilding. It’s an interesting idea, and one that I hope to see built upon in future cycles. Something that I think could be really nice is having specific alliances set up between the Corps, though I don’t really have any actual ideas for implementing that!

The Runner has consumer-grade tech, which breaks the deckbuilding rules by allowing up to 6 copies in a deck rather than the usual 3. I thought this to be particularly interesting as it demostrates the “relaxed technology restrictions” prevalent across the Indian Union. This rule of 6 is further used in event cards, one for each faction, that are more powerful the more copies you include in your deck. Unlike with the alliances, I think this should be something used sparingly, but it’s nice to see new stuff like this being introduced to the game.

Overall, I’m mightily impressed with this cycle. I don’t normally wait until the whole thing is over before taking a proper look through the set, but I think this time around, having paid no attention to each pack until the sixth was in my hand, I managed to get a much stronger impression of the new stuff overall.

The next cycle, Flashpoint, has already had its first two packs previewed (here and here), and looks to be just as interesting, though I’m not entirely sure how they’ll manage to sustain the theme across six packs as they did so well with the Mumbad Cycle.

Thursday was awesome!

Hey everybody!
Pretty much as the title up there says, my Thursday was awesome! Let me ramble inanely for a while…

Time to get in the mood… #Batman #Superman #DCComics

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First of all, I’ve been reading comics again. Batman / Superman: Cross World was a bit of an impulse buy not long ago, back when the movie was really hyping up for its release last week; I’ve not been to see it yet, though hoping to remedy that this weekend. To get in the mood, I thought I’d read this book, and I have to admit, I wasn’t that impressed. It seems to follow the demon Kaiyo as she causes chaos in the multiverse, uniting Earth-1 Batman and Superman with their counterparts from Earth-2 in an attempt to see which Earth has the best champions to defeat Darkseid. I’m not a big fan of alternative-reality stories, as I get easily confused, and there were parts of this book that I felt I didn’t quite follow. The epilogue was the best part for me, as we see the early years of Darkseid on Apokolips.

Not the best – but then, I’ve been reading a lot of DC Comics of late, so I was bound to find something I wasn’t too keen on before long!

I really like #Aquaman – he's no #Flash, but he's up there all the same! #DCComics

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Next up was Aquaman: The Others! I basically fell in love with the character before I’d even finished reading the first book, so had high hopes for this one and, I’m pleased to say, it delivered! We see Aquaman working with his old team The Others again, as Ya’Wara comes to warn him that Kahina has been killed by Black Manta. The storyline follows each of the other members of the team as we see Black Manta on the hunt for relics of Atlantis – turns out, there’s a still-undiscovered relic in the tomb of the first King of Atlantis, and Black Manta is trying to find it using the others. The sceptre of the king is the most powerful of all the relics, it actually caused Atlantis to sink all those years ago – and now Black Manta has it!

This story was terrific, as we get to meet Aquaman’s team and everything. I know very little of the lore, but that has no bearing on my enjoyment of this story – I imagine if you do know the team, you’ll appreciate it even more! The artwork is gorgeous, especially that double-page spread of the tomb of the king. It’s a pretty dark story, however, as Aquaman shuns the help of his team, feeling he’s gotten them into too much trouble already, but ends with an entirely too-emotional scene that actually had me filling up! Oh, Vostok! In the final panels, we see the next story being set up, with conspiring Atlanteans and the Trench reopens!

This story certainly didn’t disappoint, anyway, and I’ll be moving on to volume three soon, no doubt!

My mid-week painting update is quite impressive, I think! There’ll be more on this on Sunday, of course, but I was so excited I thought I’d post this early! Getting the bases done has suddenly made me feel so much closer to completing all of these things now, so hurrah for that!

And while I’m on the subject of games, I’ve been getting back into Android: Netrunner today, with a couple of games at the local store. I haven’t played this in months, and still have next to no experience playing the Corp, so sat down with Rob, the guy who I taught to play last summer and who, as a result, created a whole ream of converts to the game, and we had two games.

First of all, I played my Shaper deck with Kate McCaffrey, which I’d wanted to re-do for a while but had just left in the deckbox, against Rob’s new Corp deck: NBN! This was an extremely lucky game for me, as I pulled out all the cards I needed, and only stole two agendas, but they were Vanity Projects, so they were all I needed!

We then switched, so Rob played Noise and I played my NBN deck that I’d thrown together a while ago (with some recent refinements). The whole plan for my deck was to have cards that reduced the value of my agendas when they were stolen, or made it fiscally impossible to steal them. Despite drawing two Day Jobs, Rob just couldn’t get past my ICE to get them, and somehow, I managed to win the second game, too!

Such a great gaming experience. Not just for the wins, here – rather, to see my decks come together and do what they’re supposed to do! My NBN deck in particular made me happy, because I’ve had such bad luck playing as the Corp in the past! The deck is actually a little large, so has a lot of agenda points, but it runs a lot of higher-costing agendas, to make sure the actual card count is low. A lot of low-cost ICE also helps, though I had some serious problems with placements – a lot of the cards I put down affect the Runner when he’s tagged, but I put those in front of cards that tag the Runner in the first place, so that didn’t quite work out! Managing to get a Utopia Fragment scored first also helped with making the agendas difficult to steal, and News Team made sure, given the ICE I had out, it was in Rob’s score area to de-value the agenda he had stolen. I was so gutted when he trashed Director Haas, converting her into an agenda, but in the end, it didn’t matter, and all was well!

NBN appears to have become a popular Corp in the local meta since Data and Destiny came out (and since my hiatus from the game) so I’m thinking about mixing it up a little more as I look to come back to the game. I’m considering making up a Wayland deck, and also an Andromeda Criminal deck as an alternative Runner!

But first – let’s get to the Throne of Atlantis!

Catching Up with FFG

Hey everybody,

It’s been an interesting few weeks for games fans, and while I haven’t been all that regular with keeping up to date myself, I thought today was high-time that changed. So let’s take a look at what FFG have been up to the past few weeks…

Android Netrunner has seen the next two packs in the Mumbad Cycle previewed: Business First and Democracy and Dogma. I was really excited for this cycle back when it was first mentioned in the summer,  and it looks like it’s really shaping up to be something very, very cool. While I’m not usually a fan of the Criminal faction, the new runner, Nero Seven, looks like he might have a very nice synergy with the new cards that could well be worth investigating. It’s really nice to see the theme coming from these packs, I have to say. Makes me wonder if they’ll be publishing any new novels set in the dystopian future anytime soon…

I love some of the new cards being previewed in the new Endor cycle for the Star Wars LCG, and the recent The Forest Moon article has shown another card I’m going to definitely make room for in my Jedi deck – Outwit. It changes the priority in which Fate cards are resolved in the edge battle, then you draw a card – always good to have cards that let you do stuff then replace themselves in your hand. The new Fate card for the cycle, Battle for Endor, is also worth mentioning as (hopefully) seeing a lot of Ewok/Endor-based stuff going on, which should just be funny. I’ve not played with the Rebel faction nearly as much as I perhaps should have, but the new objective set previewed in the article has got me wanting to try them out, so that’s interesting… While I’m not a tournament player, rumours of a potential event at my local store have got me wanting to get into it, just to get to play the game some more…

X Wing Force Awakens

On the subject of Star Wars, this massive piece of news took up most of last week as FFG announced the new iteration of their X-Wing core set, to coincide with the new film coming out now on December 17 here in the UK. This isn’t any kind of revised edition, it’s important to note that: what we have here are two TIE fighters and an X-Wing that have been painted to look like the new ships in the new film, alongside the requisite new pilot cards and upgrades. So there’s a lot of new art, but the rules are the same. So you can basically field the new ships alongside your old, which is really useful to existing fans of the game. I assume there will be new versions of old friends like Luke and Han down the road, to recognise the change from the classic trilogy to the new, but it looks like the fundamentals of the game remain unchanged. Which I suppose is nice, but I’m still currently on the fence about getting this when it sees its wider release later in the month.

Warhammer Conquest is really looking great with the new Planetfall Cycle, especially with the new preview of the fifth pack, Wrath of the Crusaders. We’re getting the Black Templars in the Space Marine faction, which is pretty exciting stuff, with some great synergy around the warlord and his signature squad. Looks like there should be some amazing stuff going on in that faction once this pack hits, so I’m really looking forward to that! We should be getting the new Tyranid expansion soon, as well, so that’s yet more awesome to look forward to!

Legend of the Five Rings

Most of this post has been about the excitement coming in FFG’s LCGs, but I’ve saved perhaps the most exciting piece of news until last. We’re getting a new one! Legend of the Five Rings is one of the powerhouses of CCGs, with a strong Oriental theme and immersive mechanics borne of a long history of publishing. I’ve only actually played the game once, and while you can never really judge a game from your first play, I do recall it being a fantastic experience, and have been keen to try it out again since. Well, FFG will be publishing it as a LCG from summer 2017, so less than two years until we can see the newly-imagined game. I find it interesting that they’re being quite up-front about making mechanical changes to the game: ordinarily, whenever a beloved IP like this passes between publishers, the new one will make a lot of noise about preserving what the game is, but FFG are basically saying, “we’ve got it now, and we’re gonna be making changes, so get ready”. It’s quite a nice change, I feel, and whether I’m only thinking this from my very brief history with the game, but I feel it’s actually quite exciting to see just what they’re going to make of it.

Part of me is wondering whether this means the death-knell for Call of Cthulhu, however. Since the announcement of A Game of Thrones, second edition, Call of Cthulhu has become the oldest LCG currently in print. It was the first to move to a deluxe-only expansion distribution model, where we’ve seen faction-based boxes and theme-based boxes now merged into one, and with The Mark of Madness, all seven factions will have seen their own dedicated deluxe expansion (though whether the Order of the Silver Twilight will need a second deluxe is debatable, as their box came to introduce the faction in the first instance). Will the tenth box be the final one? It’s due very soon (though is curiously absent from the upcoming page), so I expect the “it’s here!” announcement will tell us more.

No matter which LCG you prefer, interesting times are ahead, I’m sure!

Tournament Time!

Hey everybody!

It’s time for something a little different for today’s game day. On Saturday, I took part at the Summer 15 Netrunner Tournament at my local game shop, having apparently gotten a good number of people into the game locally.

All of you beautiful, long-time readers will no doubt know that I am not a competitive player in the slightest – which kinda makes it strange that I would even enter a tournament, but I’m trying out some new things, and aside from being a great way to play more games and meet people, it’s kinda nice to see what these things are all about, you know?

For those of you who don’t know the game, first of all I’d like to direct you to my previous blog!

Read that? It was great, wasn’t it? Right. So in a tournament, you basically play both Corp and Runner against the same person in 65 minutes, and score points for a victory – 2 for outright victory, 1 for a timed victory if your game takes too long. There were six people (including me) in the tournament, so we each got to play three games.

I was playing my tried and tested Shaper deck as the Runner – tried and tested, but not necessarily successful! Now, I have never played the Corporation, so while I know of the mechanics, I was essentially flying blind. I therefore used a pre-made deck for Haas/Bioroid, that from Creation and Control.

My first match was against a guy who has only been playing about three weeks, so we started with me playing the Corp while he played a Noise Anarch deck. We were pretty matched, as he stole agendas as often as I scored them, but unfortunately I lost as I couldn’t get my economy going and had too many agendas stolen before I could score the last one for the win. Bah! We then switched over, and I played my Shaper deck against his NBN deck. Oh man, I messed up on this one, and despite my Muresh Bodysuit preventing the first, I still took too much meat damage from neglecting my tags and flatlined. Bah!

So I was currently at 0, which was exactly where I expected to be at this point!

Second match, I started as the Corp again, against another Noise Anarch deck, which was one of the worst control decks I’ve ever played against in any card game ever! Imagine the worst kind of blue deck in Magic – it was like that. Of course, for the most part it was a delayed game which I was kinda okay with, as I was really struggling to get any sense of economy on the board, so was using up a lot of clicks to get my credits. For credits, and to purge virus counters, as they were a pain in my butt! Sheesh. Unfortunately, as we got to the late game, I started just leaking agendas, and while I had scored 5 agenda points, and came to within 4 advancement tokens of victory, I just suddenly lost again. Bah!

That game lasted for about 45 minutes – possibly longer, actually – so we had a very quick match where I once again flatlined, despite having again come quite close to victory by stealing agendas. Which was a pretty difficult thing to do, as I was once again up against NBN, this time the Haarpsichord Studios identity, which only allows one agenda to be stolen each turn. Each turn, people! Crikey! My Shaper deck kinda relies on accessing multiple cards from R&D, though obviously it didn’t get set up as my luck just stank on this day!

However, I want to give a shout out to Notoriety. Both matches as the Runner, I drew this in my opening hand, so while there was little to no ice on the board, I could run on Archives, R&D and HQ, then even if I didn’t access any agendas (which, shockingly, I didn’t), I could turn that card into a 1-point agenda. Nice! It really helped me in these games, so even though I didn’t win, I still managed to get a decent number of points on the board. Pretty good, I must say!

My final match was against the guy I introduced to the game back in May. I’ve played him a few times as he got to grips with the game, so was fairly confident in how his Jinteki deck would go after me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how much meat damage he threw at me with his identity card – having spent out my credits on my opening gambit, I had one card in hand, so he spent his entire turn to flip to The Brewery. Nasty!

I really had no hope of winning from the start, of course, but now things were really just silly! Final game, and it was once again over to the Corp, with my opponent playing a Noise Anarch deck. I had ridiculous bad luck with this game – my opening hand had just one piece of ice, and three agendas, which I hadn’t really thought in great detail. But he just ran on my hand three times and stole all three agendas, winning the necessary seven points to win. Both of these final games lasted just fifteen minutes in total – yep, just fifteen minutes!

We had another game after that, which I basically used as more practice playing the Corp, and which I also lost, but at least it could give me the practice and see what the deck I was playing lacked. Which was economy cards! There were just two different cards – two copies of each, but still just two cards – that allowed me to gain credits out of hand. The rest of them required the runner to make unsuccessful runs, but without enough money to rez all of the expensive ice, I couldn’t make this happen! Bah!

Android Netrunner

A guy from out of town won with a Noise Anarch deck, and Wayland Corp deck. I managed to watch some of his final game – you know, because my last two games ended so quickly – and it was a pretty insane game.

And I think this sums up a lot of the tournament thing for me. I’m not saying there’s anything bad about this sort of thing of course, but everywhere there was playing to win. I mean, it’s obvious, right? But I just don’t play like that. I mean, all of my decks are theme decks that, while good (even if I do say so myself!), they are more built for the theme, for the game to play, and winning is a secondary concern. Something else that kinda surprised me, seven games of Netrunner back-to-back – seven games of anything back-to-back really – were just too much for me. To be perfectly honest, I was done after the second game.

At any rate, it was a fun day, and good to play against other Corporations, but whether I make the effort for more tournaments in the future will remain to be seen!

What about you guys? Any interesting tournament stories? Have you been in this summer’s Netrunner event? Let me know in the comments!

More Drizzt! More games! Just, more!

Hey everybody!
The last week or so has been filled with lots of awesome, predominantly from getting back to the amazing Legend of Drizzt series!

Moving on to #Drizzt book 8! #D&D #novels

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I finally got back to this series, after a nearly two-year hiatus, back in March, when I read the end of book 6, and moved onto book 7, The Legacy. That was a really great read, you can see more on that here, but I didn’t move on to the next one until now. I don’t actually remember if there was a reason, but anyway. Spoilers incoming! Starless Night picks up the story of Drizzt and his friends in the wake of Wulfgar’s death, and begins as Drizzt decides to return to Menzoberranzan, to avoid any further drow incursions into Mithral Hall. Little does he know that Matron Baenre plots the destruction of the dwarven kingdom no matter what, of course, as we saw briefly in the last book. Catti-brie discovers Drizzt has gone and, determined not to see another of her friends needlessly die, heads off in pursuit. The two eventually meet up in the Underdark, and manage to escape the Baenre compound with the help of none other than Artemis Entreri, though their hearts are heavy with the knowledge that the drow are amassing for war against the dwarves.

While I enjoyed The Legacy, after all that time spent on the surface, I loved Starless Night. It is perhaps a little formulaic at parts, but as always with these Drizzt books, the execution is just amazing. Salvatore continues to develop the Underdark beyond what we have already seen from the Dark Elf trilogy, this time particularly as we get to see more inside House Baenre, the first house of Menzoberranzan. The Matron Mother is just as cruel and twisted as you’d expect, as are some of her children. Most interesting among them are Dantrag, the weapons master who wields a sentient sword. It was a shame that he didn’t make it through the book, but I suppose there’s little else you could do with a character like that. Triel Baenre, the mistress mother of Arach-Tinilith, is another intriguing character, and her scenes with the flamboyant mercenary Jarlaxle were always fun to read. Jarlaxle has a prominent role to play here as well, which serves to deepen his character.

The whole story was pretty great, with a terrific sense of foreboding, or “things are about to happen tonight”. Weirdly, I kept feeling a comparison with the finale to the third Harry Potter book, with that sense of wheels being in motion and whatnot. It was a great read, and I’ve since propelled myself into the ninth book, Siege of Darkness, which has been excellent so far – look out for that one to grace this blog very soon!

The Beetroot Beefburgers, man they were good…

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Saturday was, of course, Independence Day, so to celebrate(?), I made burgers and watched American Dad. Not just any burgers, however! I came across a recipe somewhere for beetroot beefburgers and, being a lover of beetroot, had to give it a try! On reflection, I probably used too much, so they were a tad dry, but overall they were really good, and I will definitely be trying these again! Grating beetroot into the minced beef left my kitchen looking something like a crime scene, but even so! Very simple to make, just grate the beets into the beef (I used three with 200g of mince, one might be a better idea), mix in an egg, and away we go!

Marvellous!

In the middle of dozens of other projects, there's always time for

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Despite having multiple projects on the go already, this weekend also saw me make up some more Necron Immortals, along with Trazyn the Infinite. I’ve been slowly getting back into painting, as I’ve been trying to finish off the Canoptek Wraiths I started over a month ago. I’ve not gotten very far, unfortunately, but that seems to be the story of my life where big stuff is concerned – bigger than your average foot soldier, that is. I’ve had four Tomb Blades awaiting their finishing touches for ages now, as well. As I seem to be better at getting the smaller guys finished, I thought I’d make up some more, get them done, and then (hopefully!) get back into the swing of things that way. Miniatures painting is something that I really enjoy, after all, but has felt more akin to a drudgery of late.

Immortals

Trazyn the Infinite is perhaps the most hilarious of the special character models, with his backstory of wanting to preserve everything in the universe in his own collection. If I remember rightly, he has some weird ability that allows you to replace him with any other member of the unit he’s attached to when in combat, due to some kind of phase-shifting technology. He seems interesting, but more than that, I enjoy the special models for the fact that I can paint them with different colour schemes and such. That said, I’m considering doing something different with the Immortals this time, as well – the new golden paints coming out soon look very interesting, after all, so I think I might try something more special with these guys…

Immortals

This week has been pretty good for games, of course. Along with the announcements of new cycles for both Android Netrunner and Star Wars, we’ve had a new data pack for Netrunner as well as the inaugural pack in the Angmar Awakened cycle for Lord of the Rings! There’s an interesting day/night mechanic in this one, and I cannot wait to try it out, but feel like I need to first play through the Lost Realm box. I’ve got all the quests sleeved now, anyway, so I’m ready to go on that front. No doubt there’ll be some posts here where I bemoan my performance…

I actually got a few games of Netrunner in at the local store again last week, with my tried and trusted Shaper deck, and lost both. But they were fantastic losses, so I can’t complain! Very thematic, so definitely lots of fun. I feel like I want to try out new decks now, however, as I spent one night reorganising my entire Netrunner collection. I usually keep LCGs in their expansion boxes, as it’s convenient and I like the packaging, but now FFG has moved to this horrible plastic nonsense, I’ve decided to change that, and have instead gone for keeping the entire cardpool in both core set boxes (I’m one of these who bought two core sets). So far it works, but I foresee a time very soon where I’m going to run out of space there, as well! Hm. At any rate, going through that reorganisation, and seeing the entire card pool for each faction all at once, has really opened up my eyes to the deckbuilding possibilities in the game, so I’m keen to explore with that, rather than continually playing my one Shaper deck.

We’ll see just how splendidly that works out, anyway…