The Untamed Wild of the Internet

In college I had a professor who compared the early days of cinema to the early days of the internet and how the former eventually standardized and became tamed. I couldn’t help but think back to this past Friday night after finding out that the new Solforge set was being released that night, with only an hour’s notice of anything. On one hand, it was kinda magical and exciting and…organic. On the other hand, it was unexpected and mildly annoying.  Above all else, it was untamed and born out of excitement and general love for the product.

This is a recurring thing with SBE.  Set 1 didn’t have an in client card list or something analogous to Gatherer cause they wanted to preserve the excitement of opening packs and seeing what cool cards you got. Tournament prizes were originally on a range because it made things more interesting. The stated reason for not being able to craft Rise of the Forgeborn is to keep the excitement of opening packs.  All of these actions in and of themselves have that organic, untamed element I was talking about. Combined with comments from people like Brian Kibler, it’s clear that they truly love what they do and want to generate a sort of spark that more experienced or jaded or cynical players don’t have anymore.

Their ability to do this is directly related to the fact that this is a digital platform. They don’t have to follow the rules of a print game and can do stuff like this. The problem is that most of these things they have either changed to be more standardized or will have to be in the future. Mainly this is in regards to set releases. Eventually they’ll need to have some sort of set rotation and multiple formats in order to contain both the card pool and not alienate new players. This in turn while have repercussions if SBE ever does something along the lines of the Forgewatch Invivational officialy or tournaments in client that are more than a one time thing. While this final element will be good for the game’s survival and growth, it is somewhat sad.

While the rational, Spike oriented part of my mind likes this standardization, there’s another part of me that likes the unexpected excitement. Part of me will be sad to see it fade and look back on this nostalgically.  No doubt I will then proceed to be poke holes in “good old days” but that’s neither here nor there.

Anyway, till next time.

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What Games make a Good Player

Sometime back I talked about how good players make good games and good games make good players.  I figured I’d talk this week about a few concrete examples of what a good game is and what I’ve learned from it.

Go: One of the oldest games in human history. I’m not very good at it or play very much, but at least the way I was taught it was fairly invaluable. It taught me about having the initiative and resource management in a way that no other game really has. Although you could make a good case for Carcassone.

Dominion: Dominion is a rather self contained game but taught me a lot of different things. It’s ABC turn structure as well as the interplay between Actions taught me the proper way of thinking in games and how mechanical it often is, in a flow chart sort of way. Fairly useful in processing how other games and rules work. It also has some advantages in card games such as proper sequencing, and probability vis a vis your deck.

BSG: This game taught me so much. It’s honestly not a perfect teaching tool or anything like that but it had a lot of things that had a lot of value to me at the time I started playing it. The thing to understand about BSG is that’s it’s a lot of rather obvious subsystems working together to create a larger, cohesive game. You have the hidden identity part, which branches off to different systems. The table interaction part, wherein you learn just general social skills and the like. Then you go back to the actual game and have the primary means of interaction: Crisis cards. This mean knowing probability, how likely is a certain color to come up and the composition of hands+Destiny. Of course you then have to do the Skill Check and process the results. Nor can you do this at your own luxury, you have to be relatively quick about it.  You get practice at it, your mind becomes sharper and card counting becomes easier. Nor are Skill Checks the only meaningful interaction, you also have the Action economy.  Nothing is exactly novel here, but that’s arguably the point of this post anyway.

Magic the Gathering: An assortment of card game related things from playing the game; a fact compounded by all the content around Magic that one can consume to learn stuff.

Naturally I can make an argument for just about every game I like and some I don’t like all that much* . Instead this was meant to was give some insight for what exactly I mean by good games make good players.  If anyone is interested in me looking at more games in this context than leave a comment. Otherwise, until next time.

*Ticket to Ride has lowered in opinion for me but it still is a good into game and can teach some good general concepts.

Solforge draftcap no.1

Alright, due to a lack of draft records in Solforge, compared to say MTGO,  I’ve held off on doing a draft cap until now. This is a bit experimental in that I’m not really sure how well it turn out aesthetically but there’s only one way to find out.  I have all 30 packs screencapped below along with my thought process in each one. As it goes it’ll get shorter as I won’t be rehashing my thoughts on the same card. While this draft format is on its last legs with Rise of the Forgeborn aka Set 2 coming out sometime this month, it still has some value.

Pack 1: Firestorm is not great, it’s something that I’ll take down the line but not what I want pack 1. Alloyin Highlander only has value in guaranteeing we’re in Alloyin. Unrelenting Dead can be powerful if we’re in Nekrium/Uterra since we can make it huge. Sonic Pulse is like Firestorm in a lot of ways in that I’d take it deeper in the draft if it came up and not be terribly unhappy with it. Forge Guardian Gamma isn’t happening, the other two Forge Guardians are taken too highly to get a critical mass for this to even work. Oreian Justicar has a decent body and hoses the Tarsus decks, so he’s my pick.

01

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pack 2: Warbringer Uranti is a strictly worse Matrix Warden. Runescarred Zombie is meh, you sometimes get him to work.  Metamind Adept is a card I’m warming up in draft, I used to think he wasn’t very good cause his ability is more random than consistent but that’s more a product of not thinking rationally in earlier drafts. Charnel Titan is very solid as is Nexus Pilot. I go with Nexus Pilot to give me more time on locking into a second faction.

02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pack 3: Toxic Spores is one of those cards you don’t really want to take but will be content with it as the dredges of the pack, same with Nether Embrace. Ghastly Touch is a solid removal spell and Spring Dryad can be a wincon all it’s own so I take it.
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Pack 4: Ghostscale Cobra is more or less like Toxic Spores. I hate Hunting Pack and always have, I’d rather not leave stuff up to RNG despite the fact that I took the Spring Dryad. Which leaves, Cavern Hydra, which isn’t great.

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Pack 5: I’m not going deep on some sort of Arboris draft so I take the Dryad.

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Pack 6: Bulwark Bash isn’t playable. Tech Upgrade is a fine pump spell. Fangwood Ravager is meh, he gets really big at level 3 and gives mediocrity till then. Spark Bot is okay and Statis Warden doesn’t really work in Draft. I go with Tech Upgrade to make sure I have some pump.

06

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pack 7:  Enrage is really good, like the benchmark by which all other pump spells should be judged good. Cadaverous Thicket is a better ghostscale cobra. Matrix Warden is also really good, like one of the best Alloyin commons.  Forge Guardian Alpha is a part of the dream for Alloyin in draft: Forge Guardian Alpha+Jetpack. So I take the Forge Guardian.

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Pack 8:  Metasight seems to be a good way to open the door for your opponent to kill you by the tempo lose. Metasculpt really isn’t the way I want to deal with the creatures that need metasculpt applied to them. Wildwood Sower is like Statis Warden and Energy surge needs a technosmith. I take the Sower since it’s the least bad card.

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Pack 9: Strength in Numbers should be a good pump effect in our deck so I take it over the second Pilot.

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Pack 10:  I can use cobra to chump so I take it over the spores.

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Pack 11: Ferocious Roar is really powerful and allows for diversity in wincon. Venomfang is the best poison creature by leaps and bounds. Bear Rider is one of those really good at level 2 cards that I tend not to play if possible. Phytobomb is interesting, it’s really good with our Dryads and it’s “drawback” is mitigated by the Justicar.  I’m not sure what’s right here but I go with what I know and take the Roar.

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Pack 12: Cypien Augmentation isn’t bad but I’m already running high on spells. Forcefield is bad, it just doesn’t do much. Bear Rider is at least a body if nothing else.

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Pack 13: Lightshield Patrol is fairly powerful, especially paired with Uterra where he can get big. Bramblewood Guardian is a quasi defender and only noteworthy cause he makes the Strength in numbers better. Alloyin General makes our stuff stronger and can enable trade ups, so he’s my pick

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Pack 14:  Good a time as any to take Spores I suppose.

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Pack 15:  Tower Vanguard is hard to trigger and seem to get harder every draft as I see fewer good ways of giving armor. Take the Cobra

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Pack 16: Frostwild Tracker smooths out the draws and asks a bad level 1 in exchange for greater board presence at higher levels. It also goes well with our Dryads, although at this point we should be looking to move away from them. Brighttusk Sower does much the same thing as Tracker. Forge Guardian Beta is a bit fragile at level 1 and 2 while still being aggressive and is massive at level 3. I go with Tracker.

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Pack  17: Sparkblade Assassin is more or less like Bear Rider, except better. Munitions Drone is clunky, hard to use and poor on it’ own. For some reason that eludes me now I take the Drone over the Nexus Pilot.

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Pack 18: Nexus Core isn’t a card. Forgeplate Sentry is a premier Alloyin Common and Electro Net is a combat trick. Sentry easy.

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Pack 19: Metamind Adept does the most here.

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Pack 20: Stasis Warden is a body, metasight isn’t.

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Pack 21: Lightbringer Cleric is amazing, solid body and incidental life gain can just grind out the game.  Jet pack is a card I’ve been eyeing all draft as it does a lot. I take Jet Pack, which might have been wrong but I had tunnel vision on this one.

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Pack 22: Beta edges out Enrage here as I want a solid creature.

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Pack 23: And then rewarded with an Enrage out of a nonpack.

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Pack 24: Electro Net does the most and Strength in Numbers will be terrible for our deck.

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Pack 25: Natural Selection is cute, and totally unplayable. Adept is a gift.

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Pack 26: Soothing Radiance was a lot better way back in the day when it gained you life as well. Anyway, it’s not really playable and Jet Pack is only good with Forge Guardian. Take the Alpha as it does more.

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Pack 27: Spring Dryad does nothing for us. Spark Bot is the only thing that does much of anything here.

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Pack 28: Glowstride Stag is incidential life gain immediately at the cost of a worse body than Cleric. Aegis Pulse is hard to get much value out of. So I take the Stag.

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Pack 29: Swampmoss Lurker trades up and hits for a lot. Aegis Conscript saves stuff. I go for Swampmoss cause I don’t see this thing going well. I just want to hedge my bets and try to eke out a win.

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Pack 30: Bear over Drone.

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And yeah, this draft went terribly. While there were a few mispicks, it really came down to devoting to Spring Dryads and not getting there. The packs were incredibly front-loaded with stuff I wanted and then dearths of nothing. 0-3 sad to say. Feel free to comment and until next time.

P.S.: for anyone else who wants to do something like this, crop all the images as the same size so they don’t look weird.