All posts by Noob of All Trades

Shawn Lucas is the self identified "Noob of All Trades". He is married and the father of three boys, two of whom help with their own podcast every couple of months. Raised on Atari, Nintendo, and Sega, he enjoys all games and will play all of them to the best of his ability, which is often average at best. Currently, he is most interested in Magic, Heroclix, and other games that he can play with Chris and his sons.

Roll Player Adventures: Games We Love

Introduction

About a half a year ago, I became addicted to Kickstarter. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But, I did support several gaming themed campaigns. One of them arrived in a huge box. It took so long to be delivered that I forgot about it and wondered what the postman delivered. “Ah”, said when I opened it, “Roll Player Adventures. It’s a game I ordered on Kickstarter, I explained too my family. I got the game because it sold itself as a single or two player action game similar to Dungeons and Dragons.

Not exactly like D&D. That’s fine. Now we have two outlets for our nerdiness.

As I mentioned in my previous article, I hadn’t finished the newest adventure for our duet campaign I still havne’t completely finished it. I have the first part of it done now. At the time, I suggested we try Roll Player Adventures instead. Quinn agreed and off we went.

First Impressions

This game takes forever to set up for the first time. There’s so many different types of cards, dice, tokens, maps, and books. Plus, you need the rule book to set up your characters (thankfully, in this game, they came premade, so that saved some time) and an adventure book to set up the adventure map. Some of the set up is intuitive and (again) thank goodness for that. Some of it makes no sense without the context of the game, but you figure it out quickly enough.

I mean, look at all that stuff! It’s pretty intimidating.

Gameplay

Again, the gameplay is mostly intuitive if you’ve ever played a dice game before. A few things are difficult to understand, but the rules are mostly comrehensive. We screwed up more than one ruling, but it was just the two of us. Ultimately, no harm, no foul.

You move your party around the map. There are encounter tokens that can be either a skill check, combat, or sometimes both. There are also the defined areas on the map. Here, you run through a story that changes based on your decisions. Skill checks and combat work similarly. You need to build a die pool from the die bag, roll them, and match numbers and colors on the card to pass the check or win in combat.

Probably easier to show. To defeat the bandits, you need a white two, blue three, red three, and any color five. You have three rounds to win as shown in the lower left corner.

You draw dice from the bag, roll them, and try to match them. While this might seem like an almost impossible task, you can buy certain colors using your attribute points. You have a hand of cards that lets you alter die rolls or colors. All in all, we’ve only ever gone past round one on a couple of fights. In etween fights, you can rest to get ready for future challgenges. Rinse and repeat this process as you work your way around the map until the book tells you “The End”.

After that, you advance your character and you can “save” the game. This sets you up for the next play through so that you don’t spend as much time getting ready. The second time we played took a lot less time to set up and a lot more time to play.

Roll Player Adventures: Overall, a fun game

Both times we played, Quinn mentioned how much fun he had. He talked about the game at dinner to Christine and both of his brothers. We were supposed to play more today, but we took a two hour hike and we just finished eating dinner. I think tomorrow might be busy, too. So, you might have to wait until next week to hear more of our exploits against the enemies of ulos.

Dungeons and Dinosaurs: Gaming with Quinn

Only half of that title is correct. When playing, we definitely encountered dinosaurs (more on that later), we found no dungeons. I just found the term Dungeons and Dinosaurs funny. Probably funnier than it actually merits, but it’s my party and I’ll laugh hysterically if I want to.

Even if that laughter makes me look absolutely batty. Get it? Batty? Because Joker is a Batman villain. I’m an underappreciated comic genius.

Those who follow the page know that I treid to build the family into a Dungeons and Dragons playgroup. That failed in spite of my efforts. Only Quinn showed interest after the initial play session. It then took almost 3 years to realize the potential of our Dungeons and Dragons duet.

Dungeons and Dinosaurs Duet?

Assuming that you wait to click the link, let me explain. Late last year, I finally started to look for ways to play Dungeons and Dragons in smaller play groups. The above link came up as a way play with only two people. A husband and wife duo write the page and there are lots of great resources if you find yourself in need of playing D&D with only one other player.

Armed with these resources, I needed to find a setting for our adventure. I’m not sure what took me so long, but I finally came to the conclusion in a flash of inspiration. Jurassic Park. The movie blew me away when I first saw it in high school. Quinn loves dinosaurs and anything to do with the movies. What took me so long?

It was right there, staring me in the face.

And, Now for Something Completely Different

Not truly. I lifted heavily from Jurassic Park for the story of our adventure. Several times, during gameplay, Quinn said (completely thrilled), “This is just like Jurassic Park!” However, I also knew not to simply follow the story without any changes.

Okay, so maybe a tropical archipelago isn’t the best way to convince you this wasn’t a total Jurassic Park rip off.

I researched some Hawai’ian lore to add a bit of a different flavor to the campaign. I called the island with the dinosaurs, Nalala. A web site told me that Nalala meant dinosaur. I also called the prince in the story, Maneo (I borrowed from a former student for this) and a ghost pirate ship Mau Loa (“forever”) that lead to the second adventure that I’m in the process of writing.

We played through the adventure. As often happens, Quinn went off script during one of the encounters and I needed to quickly put together a battle and some loot. Honestly, though, that’s what I enjoy about D&D. The fact that you can spend a couple of weeks writing up an adventure (“All that time”, my wife said, “just for a couple hours of playtime.”) and the players still find a way to make you think and work on the spot.

Lights, Camera, Tape Rolling, 3…2…1…

As for the scripted adventure, I wrote in the notes to let Quinn take the lead when attempting to capture the dinosaurs. I wanted to let him use his expertise to find creative ways to capture them. Being low level characters, I knew we stood no chance actually fighting most of the dinosaurs. He came up with some interesting solutions to most of them. A couple, I had to bend the rules quite a bit. Then again, what else can you do when you only have one real player?

I took the advice of the Duets page and focused on the story, too. I made the trip to the ship take 3 days and then another 2 days on the water to get to the other island. I built in small encounters each day and even put together a random encounter table to keep things interesting. The fun part of that is that some of the encounters gave me ideas for future adventures. I already mentioned the ghost ship and Quinn going off the board when faced with some forest sprites in trouble. I also threw in the old D&D standards of a mysterious glow off in the distance, annoying begging monkeys, and magical leeches.

Dungeons and Dinosaurs: The Last Word?

All in all, we played a successful adventure with just the two of us. Once or twice, Quinn asked if you can’t play with two people because I put together two DMPCs to help him on his journey. No, I replied, it’s fine. These guys are just here in case you need some help. Then, I spent the rest of the time more or less staying out of his way.

We planned to play again this week because I’m on vacation. However, as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t able to finish the next adventure. I’m pretty close, so we might play again over the weekend. For now, we tried a game that I got a few months ago after supporting it on Kickstarter. It’s called Roll Player Adventures and I will talk more about it Friday.

2022 NFL Conference Championships: Good, Better, Best

Introduction

Finally, we arrived at the 2022 NFl Conference Championships. This last week felt like it took forever. I covered that already in my last post. I want to use this one to celebrat two posts in two days. The only problem is that, unless I write much faster than my usual pace, this post will go live after at least the Chiefs/Bungs start. All I can do is promise that (even though I have fake money on the games), I will keep from watching the games if I intend to make predictions.

Generally, I don’t make predictions, though. It’s a bit of a miracle that I put even fake money on the games. Dad always said don’t bet on a game where the ball bounces funny. But, I suppose I’ve been listening to too much Simmons and especially Sal and they influenced me. But, I made 2000 fake dollars last week, so maybe I fly to Vegas for the Super Bowl.

2022 NFL Conference Championships (The Mahomes Scale)

A few years ago, I put together a Mahomes scale. I think either it was a modification of the Brady scale or the Brady scale was a modification of the Mahomes scale. In either case, whenever we get to the conference Championships, I rank each matchup by how excited I am to watch them. Obviously, you want more Mahomes (and, by extension less Brady) because he’s quite possibly the most exciting player in the league right now.

Author’s Note: The Chiefs automatically rank as 7 Mahomes. After last week, the Bills get 5 as well. So, a perfect rank on the Mahomes scale is 12 now instead of 10. If Josh Allen improves anymore, we might have to adjust the scale accordingly.

I would watch the f**k out of this

Super Bowl LVI: Cincinnati/San Francisco (0 Mahomes)

I can’t think of a more boring game that this one. Sure, Joe Burrow can be exciting, but the 49ers defense would most likely smother the Cincy offense. I see this one being 13-9 or something along those lines and Bosa becoming only the second defensive player to win MVP. Hold on, let me check those odds. Okay, I’m back. Put 10 bucks to win over 4000 just for giggles. Also, I’m worried because several have made the point that the first Cincy/SF Super Bowl was Madden’s first and he just died. The NFL loves that sentimental bullshit.

Super Bowl LVI: Cincinnati/Los Angeles Rams (3 Mahomes)

If you told me two years ago that Matt Stafford would rank 3 on the Mahomes scale, I’d have either (a) figured that 90% of the league folded or (b) found a way to put a futures bet in for the Lions to win the Super Bowl this year. Maybe both. But, and I reserve the right to change my mind at any point about this, I like Rams Matt Stafford. He’s certainly come a long way from being the butt of my “he’s still in the league” jokes from a few years ago. That’s for sure.

Super Bowl LVI: Kansas City/San Francisco (7 Mahomes)

Okay, now we’re talking. We get Mahomes. We get a rematch from 2 Super Bowls ago. The Frisco defense might be able to keep Mahomes in check, but he always finds a way. Dr. Ian Malcolm warned us. Now we live with the consequences. At least they are mostly positive consequences, like his ultimate “Forgot About Dre” game last week.

Super Bowl LVI: Kansas City/Los Angeles Rams (10 Mahomes)

Aside from the dream match up of watching Mahomes and Allen go at it for 7 games (heck, I’d even settle for 5) and a grand total of 84 (or 60) Mahomes, this is the next best thing. Of the two quarterbacks left in the NFC, the only one I see hanging with Mahomes is Stafford. If the football gods are listening, please make this happen.

The Verdict

The only matchup I hate and never want to see is Cincinnati/San Francisco. Though, I will say, if that parlay hits, I win 2000 fake collars. So, that along with being one of the only games where I cheer for the Bengals almost makes it worth maybe 1 Mahomes in retrospect I’ll take that into consideration and maybe adjust accordingly.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

NFL Divisional Round 2022: Good, Better, Best

Introduction

Welcome to our NFL Divisional Round 2022 reaction post. It’s been a while before since we did one of these. I intended to write this post earlier in the week. I should just name this page “I intended to…” since that’s how most posts begin lately Then, I spend some time explaining why I never wrote the post. It almost always boils down to being busy at school. So, if you’ve heard it all before, feel free to skip to the actual post.

This week grades closed. I needed to grade, try to inspire kids to get caught up, and still advance my lessons. In addition, I promised to go see a boy’s basketball game, a girl’s basketball game (I missed this one because of car difficulties), a girl’s hockey game, a UMass hockey game, and a boy’s hockey game (it got cancelled because of the snow today). As my Facebook memory said, “Being a teacher who gives a shit is exhausting.”

But, I finally get to give my thoughts on the games from last weekend. I apologize in advance because I can’t describe these games without cursing. Let this be your only warning.

Liberal use of the “F” word coming up.

Fucking Aaron Rodgers/Fucking Jimmy G

As one of my students put it, Jimmy G is the luckiest quarterback in the league. As several of the hosts on the podcast I listen to put it, Jimmy G is the most mediocre quarterback since Eli Manning to be this close to going to a second Super Bowl. As I put it in a text to Chris, I guess Jimmy G has part of Brady’s golden horseshoe shoved up his ass. Whatever the case, it’s dumb that I am going to have to mention his name tomorrow in my preview post.

What can I cay about Aaron Rodgers? Keep it simple, Stupid. I replied to a friend from Chicago on Instagram. “Aaron Rodgers is a bum.” Seriously, I fell for the narrative about him being better than Brady, but stuck on less talented teams. He fell far this year, not only on the field, but as a person, too. His goofy gold old boy image melted into that of an out of touch boomer.

Fucking Joe Burrow

It made no difference to me who won this game. I said several times over the week that Bills/Chiefs looked like the AFC Championship. So, I defaulted to rooting against the Titans simply because Matt Tannehill (stupid joke between me and Chris) insults football fans by being a starting quarterback. I hate him almost as much as Jimmy G. I regret that a bit now because the Bungles are one miracle game away from infesting the Super Bowl. C’mon Chiefs.

Cooper Fucking Kupp

We now move to the positive. You can tell it’s now positive because I moved the expletive to the middle. That’s my way to show respect instead of derision. It’s also the first of three texts I sent to Chris throughout the day on Sunday. It followed, “I don’t want to say this too loud, but it looks like no Super Bowl for Brady this year” and “Holy shit, Brady still has part of that golden horseshoe after all.” Author’s Note: I just got news that Brady retired. As I wrote on Instagram, I had fun hating you for 22 years. Enjoy retirement, old man.

Josh FUCKING ALLEN!!!

As you guessed, the second of three texts sent to Chris on Sunday. What an end to that game. Allen secures himself as a top notch quarterback and gets one up on Mahomes. Better luck next year, Patrick. It’s just the Bills year. What’s this? There’s 13 seconds left? I watched the live odds on Fanduel all game and right about now, I saw the Chiefs at +188. I heard they got to 16 to 1, but I never saw that. Honestly, if I did, I’d have figured out a way to put my mortgage on the line at those odds. As weird as it sounds, I knew Mahomes would pull out the win. 13 seconds is too much time.

Patrick Fucking Mahomes

And, just like that, we get more of this game. Really, just more of the Chiefs. Honestly, just more of Mahomes. So high off the end of this game, I text to Chris, “Cincy won’t stay within 3 TDs of KC.” He agrees. Luckily, the students bring me back down to earth on Monday. “They beat KC a couple weeks ago.” Good point.

Also, people both complaining about the overtime rules and telling Buffalo to just stop someone. I see the argument about defense being part of the game and I wanted to see more of that, too. However, if they used college rules, as I (yes, again) texted Chris, “…they’d still be playing.” My original man crush is back and fucking Joe Burrow better not fuck this up for me.

The Verdict

Some said the NFL Divisional Round 2022 was the best weekend of playoff football, maybe ever. I hate when we fall into recency bias like that. I also hate nostalgia bias. What I will say is that Chiefs/Bills game was the most fun I had watching football in a long time. I posted the following picture on my Instagram and I meant it.

I would watch the fuck out of this.

Instead we get the possibility that the Bungs bungle their way in and the 49ers carry Jimmy G’s corpse into the Super Bowl. If that happens, it just follows the crappy narratives of the last two years. But, it has to change eventually, right? Maybe LA and KC are just what we need to exorcise all of these demons. As the NFL Divisional Round 2022 showed us, faith is sometimes rewarded.

Note: All teams and the single logo used on this web page are the property of the NFL. They are used without consent (written or otherwise), but only in good fun. If you’re feeling litigious, please refrain from throwing your vast legal resources at this small page that caters to my kids, Chris (Hi Chris!) and about 25 Russian bots (Hi Sergei!).

How to Let Go: Gaming Dad’s Lament

Introduction

I’ve written about the Gaming Dad’s Lament in the past. As a parent, we both celebrate and mourn the passing of childhood. In fact, I recently posted something on Instagram about the boys growing up. I never give in to the “you’re going to miss this crowd” because honestly, most of it you don’t miss. That’s why when you become grandparents, you are happy to give the kids back at the end of the day. You get all of the good and very little of the bad.

However, I admit that every now and then, I do get a pang of the old times and wish for just one more day of playing Thomas the Tank Engine or watching endless episodes of Paw Patrol. In fact, I suffered just such a pang the other day when Aiden came down with a box of Heroclix that he sold on eBay. You may wonder why this hit so hard, seeing as how Heroclix has to be one of the least referenced games on the page.

Heroclix: As Chris said, a game with such promise that we never actually realized.

Farewell Heroclix: Gaming Dad’s Lament?

Honestly, the sadness surprised me as well. I can count the number of times I played Heroclix on one hand and the number of times that I played Heroclix with the boys on one finger. Why such a strong emotional response, then, to losing them? I wish I knew.

As I wrote a few years ago in the article about the train show, forgive me my indulgence as I work through some emotions here. You are free to completely ignore this article until something more appropriate tickles your fancy. We are getting together on Saturday to play Commander, so expect that article sometime next week.

I suppose the sudden finality of it all hit me hard. As I said, we never played the game. But, to know that we never will brings a somber realization with it. But, and I need to focus on this, some positive came from that realization. Quinn just bought a new Pokemon deck with a gift card he got for Christmas. That inspired me to build a deck. Also, Aiden mentioned that he wanted to play Dicemasters again. When that game gets the heave ho, expect many more words about the passage of time.

The Verdict

Initially, I mourned the loss of our Heroclix. Much more than I ever worried about Skylanders getting sold or YuGiOh cards put into a binder and into the closet. We played both of those games far more than Heroclix. But, I got over it, shipped them, and just told Aiden that I found my Dicemasters teams. All that’s left is to actually build that Pokemon deck. How do you let go? I just hold on to what I still have.

Top 5 January 2022: A Look Ahead

Introduction

This Top 5 January 2022 article comes about a week late. We here at 2 Guys Gaming consider that a victory after disappearing for two whole months at the end of last year. Also, unless I come up with something else while writing the article, this top 5 January 2022 might be only a top 4.

Will I make it to 5? Stay tuned to find out.

Top 5 January 2022

Well, that wasn’t at all suspenseful, was it? I learned over the last few years from people that I love who suffer from anxiety that suspense is overrated.

5. Geocaching – I will talk about this more on my other page. However, it became such a part of my life over the last 3rd of last year, I’d be doing a disservice by not mentioning it here, too. I currently have two goals for the year. Finish out my 365/366 consecutive days of caching and finding 1000 caches in the calendar year. Check out the other page to keep tabs.

4. Homebrew Games – I recently hooked up my Atari 2600 emulator to the downstairs TV again. I only played a few minutes of Frostbite and Circus Convoy. The latter reminded me how much I enjoyed the other homebrew games I purchased at the beginning of last year. So, I found myself on the Atari homebrew page again thinking about what new games I want for a 50 year old video game system.

3. New Games – I actually put together a Christmas list for the first time in years. On the list, I asked for a few new games. I saw Chess Ultra at Walmart for 13 bucks and Chris recommended Hades. I also asked for the new Metroid game before realizing it cost 60 bucks. But, I got Hades and Chess. I played through a few minutes of Hades, texting Chris the whole time and can’t wait to play more. Plus, Chess is always a winner.

2. Dungeons and Dragons Duels – I talked about this in my previous article wrapping up my favorites of last year. Quinn and I never got a chance to sit down and have a session. But I remain committed to making it happen. We have the same February vacation this year. Expect an update after that.

1. MtG Commander – I also wrote about this in my year end wrap among other articles. Unlike Duels, though, Chris and I actually got to play some Commander while watching Alabama eviscerate Georgia in the SEC Championship. As it turns out, Georgia gave Bama the rope a dope in that game and turned the tide (ha ha) earlier this week. I’d have lost my house if I didn’t think the line was super fishy. But, alas, back to the point. More Commander not this weekend, but next.

The Verdict

Our top 5 January 2022 seems less intriguing than our preview last year. However, it is far more sustainable over the long run since I’m not promising to play 75 games that I’ll never even speak of again as long as we live. Also, honestly, I’m not sure what else to write this week, so it might be a bit of a dry stretch until we play Commander again next week. Plus, there will be at least three of us there! See you then.

Top 10 of 2021: Our Favorites of the Year

Introduction

We unintentionally took 2 months off this year. We played the least amount of games by far this year than any of the other years since starting the page. I can’t explain either of those. It also defies explanation how, in spite of them, we had one of our best years as 2 Guy Gaming. I heard someone say that they just blame everything on Covid. So, let’s go with that and continue with our Top 10 of 2021.

Top 10 of 2021 (Honorable Mention)

  1. Atari 2600 – If I remembered earlier to hook it up, this might have actually made the list. Instead, I just hooked it up the other day and played through a few games of Circus Convoy. The games are so simplistic, but o much fun. Look for this to be on the list next year.
  2. Jackbox Party Pack 8 – I talked about this one in the last article. We played it a couple of times as a family and had an absolute blast. I would have liked to have gotten it working on Christmas to play with a larger group, though.

Top 10 of 2021 (#10-6)

10. Comic Books – Like most of my hobbies, I lost the time I used to devote to comics. I dedicated more time to my job (which, if you’ve been reading the other page, you know didn’t ultimately pay off) and family (worth the investment always). Comics were the first to go. Still, I collect them and enjoyed the storylines when I stopped. I will pick them up again at some point.

9. Football – I swore of the NFL about a decade ago. I simply found less and less enjoyment from watching. Perhaps, as a result, I leaned more heavily into college. It helped that my friend Craig liked college football. More recently, Chris texts me about the NFL. As a result, I watched more the last couple of years and enjoyed it.

8. Hades – This might be higher on the list if I played it before today. As it is, I think being number 8 solely on the recommendation of Chris is pretty good.

7. Geocaching – I found a cache on a whim during our trip to the museum with Quinn in late summer. That triggered something because I started hiking/caching after school and on the weekends. Then, I got the silly idea to try for a full year (366 days) streak of finding geocaches. I’m currently at 118 days. You can follow those adventures here.

6. Dungeons and Dragons Duet – When we tried playing D&D as a family a few years ago, it met with limited success. I wasn’t prepared to be an entertaining and engaging DM and, frankly, maybe the family just didn’t enjoy the game that much. Quinn did, though, and on a whim I bought him some D&D dice. I have also been reading a page on how to play 2 player D&D, called Duets.

Top 10 of 2021 (#5-1)

5. Battlegrounds – I have a love/hate relationship with Hearthstone. Every now and then, it evolves to hate/hate. However, I admit they did something right when they designed Battlegrounds. It takes little time or brain commitment and is a good way to kill 10-15 minutes.

4. Magic the Gathering Arena – In spite of the fact that I played less games this year, I still logged in to MTGA on a daily basis to complete quests and get my “free” loots from the reward track.

3. Disney + – From the best show to come out in recent memory, WandaVision, to the Covid shortened and potentialy ruined Falcon and the Winter Solider. From the Mandalorian to the new Book of Boba Fett. From What if to Hawkeye. I even splurged for their premier access to be able to watch Cruella after prom earlier this year. As with most things, Disney took the streaming service and improved it by leaps and bounds.

2. Marvel Movies are Back – We saw Black Widow in the theaters. Christine, high on girl power, enjoyed that one more than the rest of us. I liked it, but it wasn’t necessary and a huge let down after the last two Avengers masterpieces. Then, we just saw the new Spider-Man movie. Those who say it is the best Marvel movie ever are engaging in hyperbole (both Infinity War and Endgame are better stories and movies), but it is the best live action Spider-Man.

  1. Commander – I wrote several times in the last few months about my adventures in Commander. Chris and I finally played face to face while eating pizza and watching Alabama destroy Georgia in the SEC Championship. He Alabama’d me in the games, but it inspired me to improve my decks for the rematch next month.

The Verrdict

As you see, even though we weren’t active on the page as much this year, we still found time to do the things we enjoy. Maybe this will inspire us to do more of them and write more and, who knows, podcast (inside joke, haha) more. Or, maybe this is one last hurrah and we fade into obscurity. Only one way to find out. Stay tuned.

2021 Console Game of the Year

Introduction

And, so, we arrive at our last award, the 2021 Console Game of the Year. If you thought our other two choices (really just one choice) were farcical, this one will really blow your mind. Before we reveal the choice and get on with the Year in Review and Look Ahead articles, some background first. We promise to make it worth your time.

Are we going to pick some ridiculous retro Atari game? Stay tuned.

If you thought we might take the easy way out and pick some Atari 2600 or other retro themed game, you’re not right. But, you’re not wrong, either. If I remembered to set up my emulator earlier in the vacation, I might have been persuaded to cheekily choose “Frostbite” or “Pitfall” or even “E.T.” or whichever of the games I became addicted to over the last week. Alas, I only just hooked up the games yesterday and spent a half an hour or so this morning playing “Circus Convoy.”

We pick a game that I only recently played a couple of times with my family. Aiden discovered the games through his friends. I found it through a Twitch stream one night and it was a lot of fun to play Humble Bundle ran a deal for several of the games. Then, my laptop, as they tend to do, died on me. Also, our desktop memory fried. So, I downloaded the most recent version on the XBox in order to play. Our 2021 Console Game of the Year is The JackBox Party Pack 8.

Ta da!

2021 Console Game of the Year: The Jackbox Party Pack 8

In any other year, I played ridiculous amounts of Minecraft. Somehow, the XBox ended up in Aiden’s room again, so I never thought to load the game this year. I played some on my laptop, but solo Minecraft is boring. I suppose, then, that Minecraft is still a contender. But, having not played the new update, I wouldn’t do it justice.

Likewise, I haven’t played any Minecraft Dungeons in spite of the fact that Quinn and I planned to a few times. Mortal Kombat 11 died last year after I played through Kombat Pack 2. I received Hades for Christmas, so too late to give it any attention. Though, I asked for Hades for Christmas because Chris played and enjoyed it so much. Perhaps next year, we can have more variety in our game playing.

We played this twice as a family. The first time, we played “Job Job” by Liam’s request. Then we played “Wheel of Enormous Proportions”. Both got the family laughing and having fun. Then, I think I mentioned that we tried to play at Christmas, but a mishap with controllers prevented that. Finally, we played the other day. We played “Drawful” and “Weapons Drawn”. We actually played “Drawful” twice. We haven’t played “Roll Mine” yet. Christine didn’t like the “Weapons Drawn” game, but the others have all been a hit. If you want a party game that’s quick and a lot of fun, this fits that bill.

2021 Tabletop Game of the Year

Introduction

Previously, we picked Magic the Gathering Arena as our PC/Mobile Game of the Year. As promised, this time we pick our 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year. If you paid attention to the previous article, this choice will come as no surprise. As with our PC/Mobile game, we really only played this game, so the choice is more or less by default. Nevertheless, the choice is genuine. We very much enjoy this game, especially lately.

Drum roll, please. Pause for effect.

This year, we the esteemed creators and chairmen of this very web site, 2 Guys Gaming, of sound body and mind, do so delcare with enthusism and without question (is this run on sentence with a parenthetical ridiculous enough yet? Because I’m running out of steam.) that we choose Magic the Gathering as our Tabletop game of the year. Other than the fact that we consistently (well, as consistent s we get) publish content about Magic the Gathering, we have other reasons for choosing the game.

The Cons (Always Start with the Bad News)

Cons? How can the 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year have cons? Well, there are always two sides to the story. Besides, the cons aren’t game breaking and easily remedied.

  1. Expensive – As with the digital formats, Magic the Gathering cards can be expensive. Unlike the digital (except MTGO), the actual cards have a secondary market that drives the cost up on many cards. Thankfully, I’m not one to keep up with the Joneses and refuse to give in to the temptation to spend stupid amounts of money on cards. That doesn’t mean that I don’t take advantage, as evidenced by the Griseldaddy and Chandra I sold for almost 100 each.
  2. Hard to Get Together – This mostly applies just to us and our playgroup. Chris and I texted several times before we were finally able to get together for some Commander on the night of the SEC Championship. Inspired by that, he tried to get us together with some of his buddies that we’ve played before, but that fell apart, too. But, we planned to get together after the new year.
Hmm, draw 7 cards or two tanks of gas? I could also feed my family for a week. Tough choice, but I’m not signing on that dotted line in blood any time soon, Griseldaddy.

Pros (Preciesely Chosed to Counter the Cons)

  1. Proxies – I checked before I ordered. Okay, I checked soon after I ordered. But, I couched the question with an assumed affirmative. “We allow proxies, right?” I knew Chris would say yes. I wasn’t sure about the other guys. But, I got a yes and ordered the cards I needed to upgrade my Naya landfall Commander deck. Too bad I read the small print too late and just recently saw they’re coming from Spain. That’s gonna sit in customs for a while.
  2. Face to Face Always Better – Even when I’m losing to some stupid Paradise Mantle combo or Chris is beating my brains out in Commander, I still have more fun against actual people. My paranoid side always sees my opponent’s draw in Magic the Gathering Arena as tailored specifically to beat my deck or draw. Harder to make that claim against a non computer opponent
  3. Commander – I already went over this several times so I won’t rehash it again here. Just know that it remains my favorite format.

The Verdict

I think we made a clear case why, in spite of the fact that it was basically by default, that Magic the Gathering is our 2021 Tabletop Game of the Year. Join us again in a couple of days as we choose the console game of the year. If you thought this one was ridiculous, wait until you see the justification for that. But, don’t let that scare you off. Be sure to come back. It’ll be fun.

2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year

Introduction

Last year, when we wrote this article, we gave a list of games we played through the year and picked one as the mobile game of the year. That will not happen this year when we announce the 2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year. Instead, we will use this introduction to announce the game and then use the rest of the article to give the pros and cons of the of the game.

That’s because there’s only one real game that we played consistently on both PC and mobile. Okay, that’s not entirely true. We also loaded up Hearthstone daily for quests. But, honestly, if we ever name that game of the year, it is an indication that we’ve been kidnapped and need to be rescued.

What is the game, then? It will come as no surprise that our 2021 PC/Mobile game of the year is Magic the Gathering: Arena. Ever since it released, we played it on a daily basis. A few sets ago, I started buying both bundles to build a card and cosmetics collection for the game. I may swear (excessively) when I play the game, but it forever (or until I die or they shut down the servers, it holds a place in my heart.

And, that heart gives me haste!

Cons: Always lead with the bad news

  1. Downtime – I can’t count the number of times Chris and I texted one another in the face of another round of days long downtime after an update. I understand that technology gitches, but it’s ridiculous that this happens every single time. I will say that they are good about reimursements after the downtime, though.
  2. Expensive – At some point, I chose to be a whale in the game and, as I said, I purchase both bundles for each new set. That, plus the physical product that I buy for every set, adds up to a lot of money. Admittedly, I don’t have to spend the money, but I enjoy the game, so why not support.
  3. All these formats – As you will see, I include this as both a pro and con. I promise that is not simply a cheap way to increase word count. I like that the game offers a variety of formats. However, I think they’re starting to go overboard with formats like Alchemy in particular.

Pros: They Must Outweight the Cons, Right?

  1. It’s MTG on the Computer – Arena is the most noob friendly entry level point into Magic the Gathering. Granted, it only goes back to the the sets when it released, but they have done a good job at letting players play with some of the most powerful cards through phantom cube and special release sets.
  2. Free to Play Awards are Good…not Great – I understand that they are a business and want to make money. So, they can’t go overboard with their rewards. What they offer, though, is good. Every day, they run a daily deal with cosmetics, packs, and sometimes additional gold or gems. You can pay a bit extra to get an additional rewards track. Finally, daily and weekly quests give rewards.
  3. Variety of Formats/Events: I generally only play Standard or Historic. Sometimes I venture into Historic Brawl. I always try every event they post because, again, it gives you cosmetic rewards and sometimes even packs. As mentioned, I draw the line at silly nonsense like Alchemy.

2021 PC/Mobile Game of the Year

I included mobile in this article because I started playing the game on my phone recently after my laptop (yet again) is on the fritz. This time, it’s only a piece of the charging port, so hopefully an easy and quick fix. Funny enough, my phone plays the game, but not my tablet. I can’t figure it out. In any case, join us in a couple of days for the tabletop game of the year. Spoiler alert: it won’t be a surprise.