Monthly report: June, 2004
- Some monthly stats for June, 2004
Total games played: 63
Unique games played: 21
Total gaming sessions: 22
Total Gaming Time: 43:41
Total Set-up Time: 0:23
Average Game Length: 0:42
Games played more then once this month (other then Magic):
Star Wars TCG 8
Hick Hack in Gackelwack 7
10 Days in the USA 5
Neopets TCG 4
Carcassonne (H+G) 2
New games this month:
Star Wars TCG
10 Days in the USA
Dungeons and Dragons Minatures
Computer Games played: Finished Age Of Wonders (PC). Continuing Baldur's Gate (PS2)
The sudden influx of collectible games by Wizards of the Coast calls for some sort of explanation. I applied for (and was accepted into) their new Delegate program. For my part, I visit local stores and talk about my favorite subject - games. For their part, they send me boatloads of product, both collectible (e.g. Magic, Star Wars, D&D Minis) and Avalon Hill board games (e.g. Axis & Allies: D-Day, Risk, Acquire). This influx of new games also accounts for the unusually high amount of gaming time this month.
Game of the month: Star Wars TCG
I can trace my interest in designer games back to the first Star Wars CCG (by Decipher). Sara is a big fan of the Star Wars movies, and had a copy of the card game, but no one had the patience to struggle through the rulebook and figure out how to play. I took up this challenge and, over the course of years, we acquired a lot of cards and played a few games. Despite a great theme, the Decipher's take on the CCG wasn't really fun to play. We started playing Magic around the same time we started the Star Wars CCG, but with opposite results: we still enjoy playing Magic today. So, when I opened up the starter to this new version of Star Wars TCG, I had hope (as it was from the same company that produces Magic) despite my past experience.
At the risk of losing most of my audience, I'll mention two attributes of the game that may turn you off (and discuss how they are mitigated afterwards). It is a collectible card game with dice.
Still reading? Good. There are some pitfalls when creating a CCG. As Magic has avoided most of them, it's not a surprise that Wizards should avoid them with Star Wars as well. For example, the power of each card is not tied to its rarity. The three cards that are banned in SW today are all uncommon (rather than rare or common). As in Magic, players with skill of constructing and playing decks will beat players who simply buy the most expensive cards and rely on luck.
With lots of dice-rolling, there is, at least at first glance, a lot more luck in Star Wars then Magic (although, fortunately, not as much as Neopets). With the law of large numbers (aka law of averages), as more dice are rolled, the chance of a single "lucky" roll affecting the game decreases. While it is possible that R2-D2 may be able to survive a single attack by Darth Vader, over the long run, that droid is in trouble. For the most part, the level of chance during combat is acceptable to my tastes.
On the other hand, rolling a single die for build points (which are critical to the game) adds more chance then I would like. A small amount of luck in this roll will have a large impact on the game. As such, I've adopted a house rule that only one player rolls for build points, and both players use the same result (adding their own modifiers, of course). This retains the uncertainty while reducing the unfairness.
The games that I've played so far have been very tense and enjoyable throughout. The separate arenas of battle provide manageable complexity and require strategic decisions that have a noticeable impact on the game. Usually, these strategic decisions (which cards to use, and when) will determine the winner, rather then luck.
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