Thursday, October 31, 2019

Magic Is the Most Complex Table Top Game Ever

Magic, with some 20,000 cards now, has become "Turing Complete" meaning that you can build a computer system within a game of Magic. Theoretcially, you could build a customized Legacy legal deck and, if you pulled the right card, you could set into series of steps that would stop your opponent from wining until they completed whatever condition you had programmed into your deck to complete.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing, since as far as we currently know, Magic is the only tabletop game that is Turing Complete, it is arguably the most complex table-top game ever created. Take that chess and Star Fleet Battles!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Pioneer Format

In case you missed it, WOTC announced a new Magic Tournament format a week or so ago:  Pioneer. Pioneer is a non-rotating format that used cards from more recent sets, dating back to Return to Ravnica. Pioneer was created, according to what I understand, because the same problem has developed with Modern that afflicts Legacy format: price of playing.  The selling point of Modern was that players who had entered Magic late could play with decks made from cards readily available, compared to the ones oft used in Legacy that could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.

However, as magic has aged, cards that are now staples in Modern format have become more expensive and players need to put together a deck costing several hundred dollars to be competitive. Pioneer, as I see it, is an attempt by WOTC to ecourage play with more accessible cards and lower priced decks.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Gift Suggestion WWE HeroClix

WWE HeroClix—(NECA-WizKids) There is a lot of merchandise out there for the WWE fan but very little in the gaming field The 1990s WWF and the more recent Know Your Role RPGs come to mind) but very little in the hobby game industry until the release of the WWE HeroClix set. The first wave of figures includes 20 (by my count) wrestlers, from various eras of WWE history (primarily current but a few figures from its 1990’s heyday), most of which are available as single non-random figures, at $7.99 making them perfect as a stocking stuffer for any wrestling fan.  In addition, there is the Mixed Match Challenge Starter Set ($39.99) featuring  AJ Styles, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair and Finn Balor along with a scale WWE Ring, while the Rock ‘n Sock set ($24.99) features The Rock, Mankind, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Rick Flair and Shawn Michaels.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Power of X Timeframe

According to this interview with Cullun Bunn, plans for House of X and Power of X date back to the end of 2015. Jonathan Hickman has said he was actively working on plotting the two series during the summer of 2017. This should give you some idea of how long in advance the comic industry starts plotting current comic storylines 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fake Magic Cards

Unfortunately we have a spate of fake Magic cards hitting the area  I know of at least one Sword of Feast and Famine bought that turned out fake and have heard rumors of a set of fake Power 9. So far, from what I have heard, the faked cards have all currently had a value of $50 or more.

Given this, it is probably a good time, if you are a Magic player, to refresh yourself with methods used to check for fake cards. The classic method is the Bend test. The Bend test is primarily used to determine if a card is rebacked, i.e. the front of a low value card is peeled off and a copy of a higher value card carefully glued to it. This was primarily done with early versions of Magic when versions of valuable cards were reprinted in other versions like Championship Decks. Most modern fakes will pass the bend test.

A better test is the Light Test. Ideally you should have an LED flashlight but any strong portable light source will work. Dim the lights and press the light up against the card. If you are using an LED and the card is real, the light from all 9 diodes should show clearly through the card as individual points of light. If using another light source, the light should show clearly through the card. If the card is a fake, the light will show through diffused and dimmer.

If you are dealing with a lower priced card, say $2-$20, you are pretty safe regarding its authenticity. Much like with counterfeit bills, counterfeiting Magic cards is not profitable except with higher end cards

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Who Is Genius Games

Reached out to Genius Games with 5 questions about their company and games:

What type of games does Genius Games publish?

1. Genius Games publishes science-accurate hobby games. Every game deals with a specific scientific concept, like cell biology or subatomic particles. We then design the game around that concept so that the mechanics encapsulate the scientific process. Before we release each game we make sure it's completely accurate to the science and the gameplay is engaging for people both new and familiar to the topic.

How did Genius Games start?
2. I've CC'd John Coveyou here, he's the founder and CEO of Genius Games. John had been teaching chemistry and kept running into students' perceptions of the hard sciences as intimidating concepts. So John decided to use gamification to make science concepts more approachable and fun to interact with. He launched Genius Games's first title, Linkage (one of the few titles we no longer publish) on Kickstarter, and Genius Games has been growing ever since. If you want to ask him any specific questions feel free to shoot him an email.

I like worker placement games. Which of your games would you recommend?

3. If you like worker placement games, I highly recommend Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game. It's a worker placement game that takes place inside of a human cell, and it's completely accurate to all the organelles and molecules inside a cell. It's been awarded the Dice Tower Seal of Approval and endorsed by the Journal of Cell Science.

How do your games support STEM?
4. All of the newer games (Cytosis, Subatomic, Periodic) include Science Behind the Game documents that have been outsourced by us to experts in their field, including many PhDs. We essentially have them play the game, and then write sections on the actual natural process and how it's represented in the game. It's really useful to show how the content in the games matches up to curriculum. Plus, Ion was recommended by the National Science Teaching Association for classroom use. It's quick, easy to learn, and covers chemical bonding, a subject taught very early on in chemistry classes.

What upcoming games do you have?
5. We've just released Periodic: A Game of The Elements, which is a tactical pickup game played out on the periodic table of elements. On October 16th we release Lovelace & Babbage through our Artana brand (more info on that below), which is a mental math and set collection game about the world's first computer and its programmers. And later this year we'll be releasing Ecosystem, a quick card-drafting game about drafting organisms and environments and placing them into an ecosystem, and Nerd Words: Science, which is a party word game with teams giving clues and trying to guess the science word based on the clues given to them. Our full line includes:
  • Peptide: A Protein Building Game
  • Ion: A Compound Building Game
  • Covalence: A Molecule Building Game
  • Virulence: An Infectious Card Game
  • Cytosis: A Cell Biology Game
  • Subatomic: An Atom Building Game
  • Periodic: A Game of The Elements
We've also acquired the Artana brand, which has focused on moments and people in science history. It's a good corollary brand for us as people interested in science are interested in the history of science and luminaries as well, but it's distinct from the Genius Games brand which focuses on the natural processes themselves. The Artana line includes:
  • Tesla vs. Edison: War of Currents
  • Tesla vs. Edison: Duel (a lighter 2-player version)
  • Einstein: His Amazing Life and Incomparable Science
  • The New Science
  • Speakeasy Blues
  • Lovelace & Babbage (releasing Oct 16)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Pandasaurus Games The Mind

The Mind is an interesting little card game that we have had a hard time keeping in stock. In fact, suppliers have had a hard time keeping it in stock since it is such an ingenious idea. It plays in less than 15 minutes but is addictive enough to play over and over again.

Essentially, you start with a hand of cards equal to the number of players in the game, so with 2 players you would start with two cards. Without saying anything, each player plays what they think is the lowest card in anyone's hand. As long as the card played is the lowest, you keep playing. If someone has a lower card, you discard the cards in your hand and lose one life. Complete a level and you get bonus lives. Lose all your lives and you lose the game. Like I said, addictive, which is why we keep selling out.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Summer Magic

Have you ever heard of the Summer Magic se? Most people have not and I had forgotten about it until talking Magic with an old Magic player/dealer this weekend. You can read more about it here but essentially, WOTC ran out of Revised boosters in early summer 1994 with 4th edition coming out  much later that year In addition there were a number of errors in Revised that needed fixing, such as borders, apostrophes, coloring, etc.

WOTC therefor ran a rush production run of cards that were supposed to fix those errors. However, since Carti Mundi was tied up printing Jyhad and Fallen Empires, there was no room for a reprinting of Revised or pushing up 4th edition, so, for the only time as far as I know, WOTC went with another printer for a run of cards. However, this run came with its own set of errors and was printed on different quality card stock, leading many people to believe they are fakes.. Due to these quality problems, the cards never received wide release with regions in Ireland and other points in Europe as well as the US Midwest receiving most of what did release.

Due to their scarcity, only about 10 complete sets are known to exist, with prices for basic lands in the sets running about $100. The most common way to identify a card from the set, which WOTC denied esited for about 2 years after it was printed, is in the line identifying the card's artist as the printing year, 1994, appears on the line as well.  You can read more about the set and see some of the cards here.