15 November 2007

Collectibles or Game Pieces?

I've found that my perceptions of Magic cards have changed with this most recent foray into the game. In the past I had no real opponents to play with, so I viewed the cards more as collectibles than as actual pieces for playing a game. I was more concerned with set numbers, rarity, and values than with the rules printed on the cards. The decks I constructed followed this line of thought, as I focused more on using my rare cards than on actual playability. With my new interest in the game I still notice these things, but I have found myself paying more attention to the rules printed on the cards and the ways they interact with each other. I am also less driven to purchase more and more cards simply as a means of building a collection. I suppose I am more focused on simply building my deck with whatever cards I have on hand. Yes, I would love to buy more cards in order to have an increase in my choices, but I am not driven by a need to collect as an end in itself. For me it is a major change in perception, as most of my gaming collections have been fueled by this collector mentality, Heroclix in particular.
I have actually spent most of my time thinking about my brother-in-law's deck. When I put my deck together I took out a lot of the complicated cards and focused on simple cards that are mostly played during the main phase in the game, either as creatures or as equipment for those creatures. Green and Black cards seem particularly well-suited to this style of play. My brother-in-law's focus on Blue/White cards has potential to be effective, but I think it involves more finesse to use effectively. I don't think his deck as it stands now has the card mix to be balanced. It always seems like he can either keep my creatures off the table but not attack, or he can only play smaller creatures that eventually will be unable to block all of my creatures. It is a perplexing problem. Most of the internet sites I've found so far talk of game-ending combinations of cards that require no skill, rather they depend on the luck of a player drawing and playing a certain unblockable combination of cards at some point in the game. This seems to me a sort of cheap power-gaming that has no place in casual friendly play, which should focus on the social aspects of the game as well as sportsmanship and smart play. That is why I am so focused on finding a solution for my opponent's deck, as I feel I am winning only because I have a fairly balanced deck and not because of any sort of superior play on my part. Maybe this weekend we will have some time to sit down and work through our various cards to come up with a balanced Blue/White deck that has a specific set of goals in mind for various stages of a game.
I typed up a post last night but Blogger had an error and ate it. I found some time to work on the Moria Goblins last night, and they are starting to look all right. The people who wanted my 300ZX came and picked it up today, which is good as the trailer park managers were threatening to tow it away as I had taken the license plates off in anticipation of the sale. They don't have the courage to talk to the tenants so they communicate by taping yellow signs to your car or your house. At least they moved to a bigger house near the entrance recently, so we don't see them very often anymore. Anyway, now we've got our Thanksgiving vacation paid for and that's a good thing.
El Grego commented on my ACW project, which is mostly just an idea right now. Last night I thought a bit about figure ratios as the sheer number of troops involved in these battles is mind-boggling, especially when I have previously focused so much attention on skirmish-level games in which 1 figure equals one man on the battlefield. For ACW to be practical I may have to move to ratios like 1:20 or 1:100.

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