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Adam Blinkinsop
Gamer, musician, programmer.
Gamer, musician, programmer.

Adam's posts

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"He once slept on a memory-foam mattress and left no impression whatsoever.

"Pigeons often fly directly into him, mistaking him for empty space."
Dementors speak of him with reverence. His name is Sergey Kislyak, and he is the Most Forgettable Man in the World.

This entire op-ed is pure gold. 

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"... Customs decided it needs to give technical interviews to vacationers. What do they do for visiting boxers? Fight them?"

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Economics of a collectible game.

Modern Masters is an interesting way to ensure card reprints without trying to slot things into the yearly set.

The (approximate) timeline:
- People play vintage or legacy, formats that include pretty much every card ever printed.
- Wizards creates the reserve list, promising never to reprint old cards to ensure they won't crash those cards' values.
- Vintage and legacy become more and more expensive to play, pushing people out of the format.
- Wizards creates a new format: modern. Modern is eternal (old sets never rotate out), but only covers sets post-reserve-list, so they can reprint.
- Modern staples need reprints, but Kaladesh (for example) doesn't need all those cards.
- Wizards reprints a special box full of Modern cards.

These boxes retailed at $400 or $500 originally, as people were starved for reprints, but (as linked) you can get the most recent release for normal box cost: $150 or so.

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"Sometimes that also means looking at a situation and saying, 'I'd like to drive up the road here, but there's no way my green infantry division stands a chance against his armored brigade.' I didn't check any charts; I didn't run any numbers; and I didn't reread the rulebook. Whatever rules complexities may have been implicated, it didn't matter. Intuitively I knew, in an instant, that it was a long shot at best."

Good discussion about complexity in wargames going on over at BGG:

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Hype! Loved this one at Sasquatch, excited for my copy. :)

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I've decided to score all my conversations using chess win-loss notation. (?!)


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Design advice from Rachel Simmons, in Napoleon's Triumph notes.

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Talent. (Longer than the usual Fallon Wheel of Freestyle, too! Tariq is madness.)

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Got a game of Maria and a game of Friedrich in this weekend at Game On []. I love this system.

It's a simple idea. The map is point-to-point, with the board also divided into a grid with card suits overlaid on each grid square. Factions have a hand of pseudo-playing cards, a few armies with hidden strength, and a couple supply trains.

When my army is adjacent to yours at the end of movement, we fight. Both of us declare our strength, and figure out who's behind and by how much. We also take note of the suit our armies are currently sitting in -- I might have a five strength army sitting in a spades city, and you might have three strength sitting in hearts. You're down by two.

Whoever's down has the chance to play a card in their suit to make up the difference. In the above example, you might play a three of hearts, and then I'd be down by one. Then -- because I'm behind -- I'd have a chance to play a card.

Instead of playing a card, you can choose to retreat. You'll lose army strength equal to the current difference, and the winner will move your piece the same number of spaces. If I choose not to play a card in the example above, I'd lose one strength -- written down on my sheet -- and you'd retreat me one space.

This is important because positioning is huge. Victory comes with capturing specific locations, and to capture them you need to walk through (not just onto) them, and drive off any opposing army within three spaces. In the example, if you had moved through a city (and marked it with a '?' counter to remember to check for "retroactive capture"), and then fought me at two spaces away, my one-space retreat wouldn't let you capture the city.

Positioning is also huge for supply -- when you aren't in your home territory, you need to trace back to a supply train within six moves, not passing through any enemy pieces. In Maria, the Austrians can drop hussars to make opponents pay cards for any supply line traced through them.

This all leads to a game where you're looking to fight a bunch of battles where you're in different suits but your opponent's in the same one -- perhaps two consecutive battles against the same army in clubs, but your attacking armies are in clubs and hearts. They're both multiplayer games, so you can watch which battles your opponents are fighting on one end of the map, and maneuver for a battle in the same suit on the other end of the map. You know what suits you're strong or weak in, so you can also plan a battle for just the right moment -- this is how I won Friedrich, by avoiding any battles in diamonds until my final push through Hanover territory.

Love this system.
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Snow day!
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