Category Archives: On the Tabletop

Adventures from cards, miniatures, pencil and paper RPGs, and other old fashioned games from before the internet ruined everything.

Minecraft Card Game

Introduction

I picked up the Minecraft card game on a lark at Target one time. I was in the store looking for Pokemon or Magic the Gathering cards. As I was searching, I saw the aforementioned card game. I did some searching to see if the game was a legitimate attempt at making Minecraft into a card game or just a case of slapping a popular property onto an inferior product.

Clearly, Spaceballs the flamethrower does not qualify, but you get the point.

As it turns out, the game was pretty good. It had decent to good reviews from the few that turned up during my quick search. And, so, I bought the game. Now that I think about it, I might have even picked it up because I needed a tabletop game for one of our previous Minecraft weeks. In any case, we have played it more than once. In searching, I found that I never actually did a review of the game like I thought. When I realized that I might need another Minecraft week due to the Dungeons update, it made perfect sense to revisit this.

The Great

It’s Minecraft: Cue either the sing song chorus refrain or the thunderous groans of disappointment. So, either thank you for understanding and recognizing my running gag or your hatred fuels me and I will continue to grind this joke into a fine powder for as long as this website persists. Seriously, though, with every passing review, this actually becomes less and less true. This card game is almost nothing like Minecraft. It retains two of the core principles, mining and crafting, but that’s it. Basically, the card game is if you took the board game and stripped away all of the cool stuff and just left the basics. Still, if you have a space issue, this game can be a fun diversion and remind you vaguely of Minecraft.

Fun: It’s a fun game. We’ve played this one over and over and I haven’t gotten bored of it yet. Heck, even Aiden has played this one and he showed no interest in playing the board game. Sure, he’s a cool teenager now, but he still plays the video game, so I’m not sure why he didn’t want to play the board game. Maybe we can convince him the next time we play.

Anger is definitely at the helm in Aiden’s brain right now.

The Good

Easy Set Up: I’m snagging this one from the board game review. However, since there are fewer bells and whistles, the game sets up even quicker than the board game. Shuffle cards, deal them into piles, and go.

Lengthier Games: Okay, this one might seem weird on a couple of levels. First, I said that the game isn’t as involved as the board game. So, how can games be longer? Also, how can it be that this is a good thing when shorter games was a selling point of the board game? Well, let me answer both questions in order. The games were probably longer because we were playing with 3 players instead of 2. Also, we weren’t up against bed time, so there wasn’t a time limit. Secondly, you may remember that I said that the board game could stand to be a little bit longer. I feel like the length of the games we played of the card game were perfect.

The Decent

Is it Minecraft?: I said it was earlier just to keep the running joke going. But, is it really Minecraft? No, honestly, it isn’t. Like I say, it’s a decent facsimile (look that one up Zillenials) of the game. But, it will leave you wanting more. Look, it’s tough to make a workable card game from Minecraft and they’ve done it. I’d just have liked more. I guess that’s what the board game gives me.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just like my mother. She’s never satisfied.

Not Collectible: When I first saw the game, I thought that it might be a CCG like Pokemon or Magic the Gathering. When I learned that it wasn’t, I was a bit upset. There also haven’t been any expansions to the game released and they said right out (I think) that there wouldn’t be. I’m not sure how even such a thing would work, but again, it’s limiting that there isn’t.

The Bummer

Can’t find the game: This is a new (and maybe the only time it shows up) section in the reviews. But, after buying the board game, Aiden went looking for the card game and he wasn’t able to find it. I just looked for it, too, and I can’t find it, either. I will keep looking and hopefully it shows up.

The Verdict

The Minecraft card game has enough Minecraft in it to make you think of the game. Unlike the board game, you can’t explore anything and the combat system (such as it is) is very limited to the point of almost being comical. Nevertheless, it is a fun game that is easy and quick to play. I just hope that we can find our copy again soon. Otherwise, I’m going to have to order another one because I want to play the game.

M21 Notable Cards Miscellany

What are M21 notable cards miscellany? Colorless, multicolored, lands among others. I’ve already talked about the rest of the color wheel in two other articles I wrote this week. The link is for WUB. If you click below on either that or this article, you can find my picks for RG.

Looking at the spoilers, there aren’t many multicolored cards in this set. Plus, the ones that are in the set just aren’t that great. There aren’t very many colorless cards, either. Plus, being a core set, the lands are fine, but nothing worth mentioning. So, why am I going through with this review?

Well, I started the set reviews. I might as well finish them. Besides, it’s not like the cards are complete garbage. There are some hidden gems in there. Let’s find them.

Multicolor

Sanctum of All: As soon as I saw the promotion for the sanctum cards, I texted Chris about them. He, knowing me and my personality, responded with this card. I replied, “Yep, the one in a million payoff.” I got a few of the shrines in my MTGA packs and I also have shrines from the Historical Anthology cards. I think I’m going to try to build a janky shrine deck for giggles.

Honorable Mention (Experimental Overload): I’m a sucker for a dumb Izzet card every time. This one qualifies.

Colorless

Idol of Endurance: You thought I was going to say Ugin. Or, Sad Robot at least, right? Well, I’ve said numerous times in the past that this isn’t a list of the best cards. Hell, I don’t even pick good cards half the time. I pick cards that I find fun or interesting. This card is sort of like a strictly worse Lurrus. Maybe a post nerf Lurrus? I don’t know. It just looks like it could be a fun card.

Honorable Mention (Solemn Simulacrum): Okay, you were right. I did pick Sad Robot. However, the only reason I picked it is because of the new art. It doesn’t look like a sad robot anymore. It looks like a right fierce and pissed off robot.

Lands

There aren’t any cool lands in this set. No shocks, no cycles, no biomes or triomes, or fetches, either. But there are these sweet art lands. I’m hoping these are the ones that are included in the bundle. If not, I might have to order a playset of them. They are just too pretty.

The Verdict

Those are the M21 notable cards miscellany. Multicolored are a bit lackluster, but there are some decent colorless reprints. No exciting lands, but the art on the ones that I shared is amazing in my opinion. My excitement of the set has abated some, but I’m sure that will all change if I open an Ugin or Teferi when my product arrives next week. Until then, fellow MTGers!

M21 Notable Cards Gruul Edition

Introduction

Time for M21 notable cards Gruul edition. Of course, in the last article, I wrote about the white, blue, and black cards in the set. If you missed that one and you don’t want to go back to read it, I will give you the highlights here. There are a ton of cool reprints in this set. Teferi is blue and he does things at instant speed. I think that about covers it.

Actually, I do have a couple of other things to say. I like the set so much that I ordered both bundles on MTGA. I know that Chris is going to give me crap about that, but I like the game. It lets me play MTG, especially since I’ve had time over the last few months with the stay at home due to Covid. And, as I mentioned last month, there haven’t been any comics.

My other mention is that I went out of order this time. I like this set so much more than Ikoria that I skipped right over Ikoria to purchase my traditional box and bundle of M21. I will go back to buy Ikoria eventually. My completionist brain won’t let me not have that binder. However, for now, let’s see why I made this decision in the first place.

Red (Oh, you like your face? I like your face, too. However, let me rearrange it a bit for you.)

Fiery Emancipation: This card is stupid expensive and mono red will never see the payoff in traditional formats. However, in the right Commander deck, it could do some damage and potentially be tons of fun. I don’t know enough about Commander to know which decks, but I’m sure you nerds will find them

Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner: I have a terrible Alesha, Who Smiles at Death tiny leaders deck. I was inspired by Chris’s friends Darren and Jason. They’re the only “real” people I’ve played against besides Chris and randos at various prerelease events over the last few years. Plus, I really like the tiny leaders format. It’s fun. maybe I can do something similar with this card.

Honorable Mention (Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge): Speaking of tiny leaders. This guy qualifies. I have a feeling it would be quite easy to put together an artifact deck to make this guy work. I’m not the dragon guy, though. Chris is.

Green (You Want Lands? Well, here, play all the lands!)

Asuza, Lost but Seeking: I learned about this card during the Amulet Titan crisis of a couple of years ago. They sort of reprinted this in Theros Beyond Death with the Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and now it’s back in full glory. I just texted Chris that with both of those cards, you could play 4 lands per turn. I’m not entirely sure how to exploit that, but it will be fun to try.

Garruk, Unleashed: I am not a green guy. I’m a blue mage to my core. However, when playing cube, I often gravitate to Gx as my default strategy. Usually it is GB and there was a Garruk card that was always open. So, I’ve sort of adopted Garruk as my favorite green planeswalker. I’m glad there’s a Garruk in standard again.

Honorable Mention (Quirion Dryad): Hearthstone had a deck that was called Miracle Rogue. The same strategy has been tried in druid and maybe other decks. Druid and rogue were the two most popular, though. In digging, I found that the decks had roots in MTG with this card.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my M21 notable cards Gruul edition. As with the Esper edition, there are some fun cards in this set. I think I get to open my product on MTGA tomorrow and then my paper product should be in the mail in the next week or so. Oh, and I can’t wait to see what this set does to the Cube in Arena. The power level is definitely going to go up!

M21 Notable Cards: Esper Edition

Introduction

Time for my M21 Notable Cards Esper edition article. Another core set? Didn’t they do away with core sets a few years ago? Well, yes, they did. Then, along with several other decisions of the time, they reversed course. Core sets are back, Baby! I realize that not all of you are as excited about that as me. However, you may reverse course yourself after you see what this set has to offer.

Chris and I have been texting periodically over the last few weeks every time we see a card that either surprises or excites us. Trust me when I say there have been a lot of texts. This set is insane. Before I get to the part where I talk about the insanity, a few caveats. First, this is not a list of the best cards. There are plenty of those lists. It’s simply a list of cards that I find interesting. Secondly, starting with Theros Beyond Death, I started breaking the card reviews into parts. Hence, the Esper designation. Now, let’s look at some cards.

White (Unleash the Weenies?)

Glorious Anthem – Traditionally, white is either troublesome flying creatures or weenies pumped up with tricks. This card leans heavily in the direction of white weenies. I, for one, welcome our new 1/1 overlords.

Basri Ket – It used to be rare to get new planeswalkers. Well, it felt rare to get new planeswalkers. Now, it feels like the “spark” is being handed out like a clearance sale at the local Wal*Mart. Mind you, I’m not complaining. I like that they shake things up. And this guy looks like he’d get along quite nicely with Elspeth.

Honorable Mention (Nine Lives): This card has crazy Johnny Combo potential. Plus, that art is just fantastic.

Blue (Good Luck casting anything, Buddy)

Discontinuity: OMFG. This card is the bluest blue card that I’ve ever seen in my life. It…ends…everything. Plus it only costs 1U on your turn. I’m trying to think of a time that you’d use it on your turn. Maybe against one of those annoying flash decks that tries to cast everything on your turn. Man, I hate those decks.

Teferi, Master of Time: Who asked for more Teferi? Oh, I’m sorry. It was probably me. When I first started playing Magic again, my most asked question was, “Planeswalker abilities are only sorcery speed, right?” Well, I didn’t talk like a Magic dude, so it wasn’t exactly that. But, you get the point. Now, Teferi throws a monkey wrench into that, too.

Honorable Mention (Sublime Epiphany): This card is expensive. But, look at how many things it can do. That’s a lot of things. Shut up and take my mana!

Black (Countering is great, but removal is fun, too)

Massacre Wurm: This card has a place in my heart since I played a cube game. My opponent was on tokens and I slow played this until he had enough tokens on the board that I could play this and kill him. It’s those kinds of games that keep me coming back for more even as I play against the 13th mono red deck in a row.

Necromentia: Chris once called me a sadist because I said that I really liked Surgical Extraction. I mean, he’s not entirely wrong. And, this card isn’t that. However, combined with Thought Erasure, Agonizing Remorse, or Duress, you could really do some damage to a deck and avoid the drawback of creating zombies.

Honorable Mention (Pestilent Haze): If you are going to create more planeswalkers, you better create some hate. This card isn’t massive hate, but it does slow them down and might even remove one or two in a turn.

The Verdict

Those are my M21 Notable Cards Esper Edition. I very much like this set. In fact, I like it so much that I went out of order in my collection and bought this product instead of Ikoria. Like I said to Chris, Ikoria is nice, but the only real good cards there were companions and they got nerfed into the ground. This set, if I choose to try, could potentially make me some money. I won’t, of course, but it was a consideration.

Pokemon Tabletop United RPG First Look

Pokemon Tabletop United RPG first look? Yes, as usual, I’m behind the times. It looks like the game was a labor of love by some fans and they’ve stopped updating and supporting it. That’s fine. From just a quick perusal of the rulebooks and “start here” message, it seems like they actually got a solid game put together.

Oh, you mean you weren’t aware that there was a Pokemon tabletop RPG? If I’m being honest, neither did I. After I decided to make this Pokemon week, I went searching for one. I’m surprised that WotC hasn’t jumped on something. Maybe they just own the rights to the TCG and can’t develop beyond that. Eh, a quick Google search would probably turn up an answer.

That quick Google search turned up that the exactly own the patent to the CCG and therefore, probably can’t develop an RPG. It’s almost like I know what I’m talking about.

As with my D&D Ravnica article, I’m only going to go through some of the lore and the character creation process. It’s been too nice here after being locked up for too long to sit around playing an hours long session of an RPG lately. I’m sure we will end up playing it at some point at least with Liam and Quinn because they’re both big Pokemon fans. And, there has to be a rainy day or two at some point over the next few months, right?

The Great

In Depth – To be perfectly honest, it might be a little too in depth. But, more on that later. I’m impressed that this is simply a labor of love by fans of Pokemon. There is just so much information in this game. Also, it is presented in a professional way. I was excited to discover the game. After reading through some materials, I can’t wait to play an actual game to see if it lives up to my hype.

This is an excerpt from the Character Creation chapter. Doesn’t that look like something WotC could have released. I want to play this game!

Well Integrated – Similar to the Ravnica book that I reviewed previously, it would have been easy for them to just slap the Pokemon name on an already established RPG and call it a day. Of course, it would have been much more disappointing if a big company like WotC had done that. I would have forgiven these guys for taking shortcuts in developing their Pokemon game. But they didn’t and bully on them!

The Good

Good Walkthrough – In keeping with the praise, they have a good walkthrough to help in creating a character. There are explanations, examples, and a thorough step by step process. Somebody should pick this game up and continue to develop it. Yes, I realize I’m somebody. Who knows, maybe I will.

From the looks of it, I either need to become a lady or grow a beard and get some sweet looking glasses.

Supplements – In addition to the main DM/Player’s Guide, there are 3 supplementary books. And that’s not even including the Alola Pokedex that is included. One deals with legendary Pokemon. One introduces sci-fi elements. The last fleshes out the supernatural. Did I mention that I got all of this for free? Man, I love the internet sometimes.

The Decent

Errata – There is also errata for the game based on some play testing. I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but there can be such a thing as too much information. It’s a lot to take in initially. Yes, there is always the RPG rule of forgetting things that you don’t want to use. Even so, a new player is sure to be overwhelmed at this point.

Too In Depth? – As I mentioned earlier and, following up on that last point, the game might be a bit too in depth. I don’t think that it is. However, I am a 30 year veteran of RPGs. I know how to navigate the landscape. For new players, like Chris, all of the information is overwhelming. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that the game never took off and isn’t being updated anymore.

Again, I don’t think so. But, a former student once compared me to Mewtwo, so I’m pretty much a super genius.

The Verdict

Thanks for reading my Pokemon Tabletop United RPG First Look. I never did get around to making a character, but I surely will over the next few weeks. Then, when we get a rainy day, maybe we can play some D&D and this game. I’ll be back with a more in depth review after that. If you’ve played the game and want to let me know how it went, email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter us!

Pokemon Rebel Clash VMAX Card Review

Introduction

Thanks for reading my Pokemon Rebel Clash VMAX card review. It has been a while since we’ve had any Pokemon content on the page and that was an article that ultimately never led anywhere. I’m not even sure if I have the cube that I started. Man, I am the king of unfinished projects. Now, though, as has been mentioned, I seemingly have all the time in the world. So, maybe it’s time to start finishing some things.

Then again, JJ Abrams has made a career out of not finishing things.

In the meantime, I noticed that a new Pokemon expansion came out at the beginning of the month. Our Pokemon TCG playing is intermittent. Quinn and I played a game about a month ago that I thought might lead to more consistent games. It didn’t. I’m not entirely sure why.

He seemed like he had fun playing the game and event went to tweak his deck to play again. Then, we didn’t. I mean, don’t feel sorry for us or anything. We’ve played dumb amounts of Minecraft and Lego Ninjago Movie video game. Maybe I should have made this week Lego week instead of Pokemon. Oh well, it is what it is and the new Pokemon set looks neat.

A Note about my Rating System

I don’t usually rate cards, but it felt like the correct way to analyze this set. Since I’m choosing just each VMAX Pokemon from the set, giving them a rating seems like the appropriate way to handle it. 1-10 always feels arbitrarily large and I’ve always been told not to have a “middle rating”. Therefore, I will rate them 1 Pokecoin (I’d never play) to 4 Pokecoins (I’d absolutely play).

Grass Energy (Rillaboom VMAX)

I’m not sure what they’re trying to do with this card. Having not played Pokemon TCG very much recently, I don’t know what the individual energy strategies are. By the looks of it, grass has become stompy. If so, this is a pretty stompy creature for sure. Even so, I’d only give this 2 Pokecoins.

Fire Energy (Cinderace VMAX)

I really like this creature. There’s not much energy investment in either ability. The first one is nice because it might make your opponent think twice about using a big attack. And, the second one burns the opposing Pokemon, which can go a long way to doing some damage over time. I give this one 4 Pokecoins.

Water Energy (Inteleon VMAX)

This is another nice one. With the first attack, you can keep bouncing energy from the opponent’s Pokemon to prevent them from attacking. Or, with the second one, you can snipe weak benched Pokemon and collect prize cards pretty quickly. This guy gets 3 Pokecoins.

Toxicitry VMAX

This guy only has one attack and it is a bit conditional. I mean, 160 is nothing to sneeze at and 240 is overkill in most cases. Even so, this one just doesn’t impress me. I had given the grass guy a 1, but I amended that. This is the new standard for 1 Pokecoin.

Psychic Energy (Dragapult VMAX)

I find this Pokemon intriguing, but not particularly good. Usually, in Magic the Gathering, that means that I’m going to try to find a way to use the card. It could be a one in a million combo that I’ll never actually pull off unless I’m goldfishing, but I’m gonna push that combo. This guy gets 3 Pokecoins.

Dark Energy (Malamar VMAX)

In the past, I’ve been a huge dark energy fan. Usually, I make decks that are dark and psychic. I was looking forward to the dark VMAX Pokemon. I should have tempered my expectations. This card is garbage. If I could, I’d give this one negative Pokecoins. Moving on.

Metal Energy (Copperajah VMAX)

The first attack is decent against beefy basic Pokemon. Otherwise, it’s not bad. The second attack has a huge energy investment, but 240 damage is pretty good. Overall, not a great card, but not a terrible one. If I left myself the wiggle room of a middle rating, I’d give this one that. Since I’d be more likely to not play it than play it, I have to give it 2 Pokecoins. See, that’s why you don’t give a middle rating. Then, you actually have to think about your ratings.

The Verdict

Pokemon has always been my second favorite collectible card game. And, if I’m being honest, it’s pretty far down there. Magic the Gathering is, by far, my favorite and the others are sort of jumbled together in 2nd place. This Pokemon Rebel Clash VMAX card review hasn’t changed my mind much. I’m not going to drop the money on a booster box of the set or anything. I might pick up a deck or some packs, so I guess it puts it firmly in the 2nd place for right now.

Note: All images courtesy of Pokecollector.com. I found them searching for spoilers on the Google machine. Hope they aren’t a litigious bunch!

DunGeons and Dragons: Destination Ravnica?

Introduction

Dungeons and Dragons: Destination Ravnica? The title says it all. I remember back when Wizards of the Coast purchased the Dungeons and Dragons property from TSR, Inc. Being one of those grumpy old man gamers (more so even than I am now as an actual grumpy old man) who railed against the conglomeration happening at the time. I mean, generally speaking, it is a bad thing.

And this is under unfettered and unregulated capitalism. Technically, it’s not a monopoly, right?

Then things more or less went as they had been. It was like the Activision acquisition of Blizzard. People were concerned about that, as well. I mean, sure, you can make an argument that it hasn’t worked out well. And, trust me, people have made that argument. However, I still play Hearthstone daily and the new trailer for Shadowlands has me thinking about picking up World of Warcraft again.

My main point is that the WotC acquisition of Dungeons and Dragons and then the acquisition of WotC by Hasbro has more or less gone off without much of a hitch. Sure, there have been some growing pains, but mostly unless you knew, you’d probably not even know the difference.

Does this qualify as a growing pain? I mean, I enjoy playing it and so does Quinn, but I’m sure there are people who stopped playing MtG because of this.

Okay, that’s not exactly true. In addition to putting the MTG license on board games, they have also released Dungeons and Dragons products with Magic the Gathering lore. The first I heard of this was a campaign based in Ravnica. This makes sense because Ravnica is quite possibly the most popular plane in Magic the Gathering. Well, I finally got around to picking up the sourcebook for the campaign. How is it? I’m glad you asked.

The Great

Well Integrated – You got Dungeons and Dragons in my Magic the Gathering! You got Magic the Gathering in my Dungeons and Dragons! Two great tastes that taste great together? Well, actually, yes. I spend some time in the Dungeons and Dragons Beyond character creation and simply from that I can see that they’ve been able to blend the two games almost flawlessly.

As Chris and I discussed, the art alone is nearly worth the price.

In Depth – Not that I expect any less from Dungeons and Dragons, but you never know. They could have easily just mailed it in. They didn’t. There is an absurd amount of information in this book about the plane of Ravnica and the denizens that reside there. I felt like I was being transported to the plane of Ravnica as I read through the book. Honestly, they’re probably just happy that they get to finally share all of this information with us.

The Good

Sample Adventure – Speaking of mailing it in, the sample adventure that they’ve included in the book feels like just a bit of generic Dungeons and Dragons with the Ravnica characters tossed in for some flavor. I get it. It’s just a sample adventure and D&D has a certain feel to is, so maybe all adventures/games feel like this. I know I had a similar reaction to Pool of Radiance.

I mean, it is cool to see Krenko in this context.

Character Creation – As mentioned earlier, I spent a good two hours in the Dungeons and Dragons Beyond character creation tool. So, why isn’t this in the great section? Well, I now have these two characters that I’ve invested time and emotion into and now I don’t have a campaign to play them. Poor guys.

The Decent

Tables to create adventures – I know that not everyone is creative. However, I was a bit taken aback by the tables that they put in the book to create an adventure. Basically, nearly all of the decision making and creativity is taken out of the task of being a Dungeon Master. Ultimately, it doesn’t affect me and I can ignore it.

And, truth be told, I’ll probably use it once or twice for giggles.

I want more! – Yes, this is a cop out. No, I don’t care. Honestly, the only “bad” thing I can find about this is, in spite of how in depth it is, I still want more. More lore, more characters, more story. The whole thing is just a testament to how much I love both of these games. I can’t wait for Theros to be released.

The Verdict

You never know how these crossovers are going to go. Especially in comic books lately, their super summer crossover events have been lackluster. However, Dungeons and Dragons: Destination Ravnica is an overwhelming success. I already have the adventure that I wrote for the family and I will be sure to expand on that, but there’s nothing that says we can’t have multiple campaigns. See you on Ravnica!

D&D: Welcome to Joizha

Introduction

Welcome to Joizha! Yesterday, on Facebook, I got the question, “When did you start playing Dungeons and Dragons?” The person followed up that they hadn’t heard of the game until high school. So, here’s my story. And, I promise this time it will be a short one.

My mother bought me a book when I was in middle school. It was called “Firstborn: The Eleven (This isn’t correct. Spoiler Alert.) Nations Trilogy”. I read through the entire book and then went searching at Waldenbooks (if you need further proof that I’m old) for more. I don’t think I found the second book in the trilogy, but I did find the Dragonlance Chronicles series.

But, I promised quick and this is already going too long for some of you, I’m sure. It wasn’t until I read the second and, maybe even after I finished the trilogy, that I realized it was the Elven nation. Oh, that makes sense. Sithel and Kith-Kanan are elves. Also, there aren’t 11 nations.

You’d think the angry looking elf king on the front page would have been the only clue I needed.

In any case, that is how I ended up being introduced to Dungeons and Dragons. From the novels, I moved on to the game as most do. First, I purchased the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide when I was in high school. I don’t remember if my friends at the time played the game or if I got them into the game. I think it was a mixture of both. Eventually, I started jotting down ideas for campaigns of my own.

What is Joizha?

One of those campaigns I started was an ambitious attempted crossover to introduce technology into Dungeons and Dragons. My friends and I hadn’t discovered RIFTS yet, so this was a ground breaking achievement in my mind. I set out to start building the world. As often happened during my teenage years, the attempt stalled because I was more interested in young women and the mall and going to the mall to look at young women. I didn’t have the courage to talk to any of them.

Whatever.

However, I’m now married. It is frowned upon to look at other women. As a result, I have more time to finish those projects that I started and abandoned all those years ago. I completed two books (I’m more proud of the short stories, if you have time). When this quarantine (I know it’s not technically a quarantine, but we’ve all agreed that’s what we’re calling it) started, I decided to write my own Dungeons and Dragons adventure.

Enter Joizha. It was a small mining town in that “technologically advanced” campaign that I started as a teenager. So, instead of reinventing the wheel for my first campaign that I’d have time to finish, I went back and mined my memories for details. It came together pretty quickly. I fleshed out the town a bit, a harbor city that the party might visit (Staten Harbor), and took a mine from the Campaign and Catacomb Sourcebook as inspiration for the dungeon.

I didn’t upload a picture of Joizha yet to my Instagram, but here’s a rough draft of Staten Harbor

Welcome to Joizha (Eventually)

I haven’t written about Dungeons and Dragons in over 5 years. As mentioned in one of the articles I wrote back then, it’s mainly because Chris doesn’t play. The boys and I (and even Christine) played a game last year, but it ended a bit sour with the boys saying that they were bored. So, I went researching on ways to make it more interesting for them.

Then, I got a second job as a custodian at nights and things fell apart in more ways than one. I just didn’t have the time to dedicate to an extended D&D campaign. Now, as mentioned several times over the past month, I have nothing but time. Especially when school ends, we’ll be lousy with free time. So, hopefully, I have the opportunity to say, “Welcome to Joizha!” to my family and get a chance to play through the dungeon with them.

Ikoria Notable Cards

Introduction

Thanks for reading my list of Ikoria notable cards. Just to get it out of the way, for those who haven’t been here before, this is not a list of the biggest and best cards in the set. Like I said to Chris the other day, nobody’s ever accused me of being a Spike. I’m more of a Johnny, but when it comes to these articles, I’m definitely a Timmy.

When looking at a set or opening packs, I always gravitate to the shiny cards. I mean that figuratively and literally. So, whenever a new set comes out, I pick the cards that I find interesting and I write an article about them. I did this again for the first time in a while for Hearthstone last week. It’s pretty exciting that both Hearthstone and Magic the Gathering had a new set release in back to back weeks. I mean, due to Covid-19, the MtG release is only online, but that means I get to play with the cards.

Actually, Sorry, Chris. Hopefully, it’s only a month.

White

Honorable Mention (Cubwarden): This is one of the few cards that I’ve gotten to play so far in the set. I put together a terrible GW vigilance deck to complete a quest, which was a mistake. Because, I found a Jeskai deck that I’d rather build and I don’t have the proper wild cards. Oh well, Mutate is a fun keyword that I haven’t completely figured out yet.

Mythos of Snapdex: When Chris and I were first looking at the spoilers, we both said something about pushing 3 colors again. While that might not have been entirely accurate, this Mythos cycle is certainly that. I like the stipulation of using different colored mana to augment the card. Very cool design.

Blue

Honorable Mention (Thieving Otter with Phase Dolphin): Hey, look, it’s a Johnny combo after all! Activate unblockable on that otter, draw your entire deck, play Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, and win the game! If anyone actually gets that combo to work, please tell me. Actually, someone will probably get it to work against me in MTGA because that’s just how things go.

Escape Protocol: There’s not really any new or unique counters in this set like there was in the last set. So, I was looking for a different kind of card. I played against an interesting cycle deck a few days ago and thought that building a cycle deck could be fun.

Black

Honorable Mention (Corpse Churn): For some reason, I was quite intrigued by this card in the one full player draft that I did on MtGA. I locked into Junk at the beginning of the draft and couldn’t get off of it, but it was wide open. I haven’t actually played the deck, but it has some human and graveyard synergies. Hoping that it’s not as terrible as it felt while I was drafting it.

Blood Curdle: More terribly costed removal for black in this set. I mostly picked this one because I noticed that the cards now say “lifelink counter” or “menace counter”. I assume that they are going to put these various counters in card packs now or have them otherwise available. They’re taking a page from their sister game of Pokemon in this regard.

Red

Honorable Mention (Reptilian Reflection): I could put this in my cycle deck that I mentioned earlier and make it an Izzet deck. I could further expand it by putting some of the “draw your second card of the turn” cards and I might actually have something. Probably not. My Johnny side is coming through in this article.

Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast: I think that Chris mentioned something about this being a bomb when he first saw it spoiled. I mean, he’s not wrong. It’s sort of a worse Fires of Invention and sort of a Garruk all at once. It’s not broken, but definitely one that could be fun to play.

Green

Honorable Mention (Colossification): Here’s that big, dumb card that you’ve been waiting to see. Plus, I just like the art. It makes me chuckle every single time I see it.

Vivien, Monster’s Advocate: Speaking of Garruk, it looks like our friend Vivien is picking up the slack that he left off when he went and died. Did he ever come back and is he dead again? Who knows? I liked the Vivien planeswalker from a couple of sets ago and this one is pretty neat, too.

Multicolor

I chose four for multicolored, since I didn’t find any (other than the triomes) coloreless cards that I wanted to include.

Honorable Mention (Inspired Ultimatum): Here’s another cycle for the set. Stupidly costed 3 color “Ultimatums” that look more like Hearthstone cards than Magic the Gathering cards. This one is almost exactly like Ultimate Infestation for those of you who play Heartstone.

Honorable Mention (Lutri, the Spellchaser): I have no idea what the hell companion even is, to be perfectly honest. But, some Vintage guys were discussing it on Twitch and they seem to think that the mechanic can break the game in fundamental ways. I just chose this one because look at that cute (but deadly!) otter.

Song of Creation: I was talking to Chris about this the other day because I’m thinking of making a deck for us to play Skype (or Zoom or Google Meets now?) games. I said that when you add another color to a deck, it dilutes that deck quite a bit. However, this card seems like it could be completely busted in a storm deck. Maybe Legacy or commander?

Narset of the Ancient Way: My girl Narset is back to Jeskai colors. This one isn’t as dumb or unfun to play against as her most recent mono blue card. However, it has some potential as spot removal or slight ramp. I’m just happy that she’s back to her roots.

Colorless

Triomes: There weren’t really any colorless cards that jumped out at me. But, these lands are pretty neat. What’s better than a biome? A triome! And they’re typed with basic lands, so they are fetchable. Chris and I were trying to figure out if that made them too broken for Modern. Initially I thought they might be, but I haven’t heard any rumblings about it, so maybe the fact that they enter tapped is enough to slow them.

The Verdict (My choices for Ikoria notable cards are fun at least)

Those are my choices for Ikoria notable cards. When the set was first spoiled, it looked like it was going to be broken beyond belief. Others agreed that some of the companions were going to be troublesome in eternal formats. I think we set a new record by having a card banned in a format (Commander) before it was even released. I’ve played a few games on MTGA with the set and the cards are fun, but the games have been sort of imbalanced. In any case, if you can’t get online, I hope the next month goes by quickly and you get to play these cards!

Note: All images for cards taken from Scryfall without permission. It’s a great searchable MtG database. Check them out!

THB Notable Multi and Colorless cards

Introduction

Welcome, finally, to my THB notable multi and colorless cards. Before we get started, I have an admission. I’m a bad webmaster. You already know that. But, I’m nothing if not honest and willing to admit when I’m not very good at something. It’s been a couple of weeks since I started the Theros articles and I’m just now getting around to the multicolored and colorless cards. I have no excuse. Last week was vacation and the only day that I had anything planned was when my wife and I went to Boston on Wednesday. So, now that we have that all out of the way, let’s get to talking about some cards.

Multicolored (The Only Colors are Blue and Black, right?)

In what might be a first for one of these articles, I’ve played both of the cards that I’m discussing in this section. I had a fun UB control deck that I played in MTGA. I searched for some updates for the deck when Theros released and this was one of the cards in that deck. The body, as they say, dies to removal, but the Fact or Fiction effect is pretty cool and fun to play.

This card was also added to my deck. Once again, it’s not a game breaking card by itself. However, it does cause an opponent to obsess a bit over removal, opening the game up for the other UB shenanigans. Plus, that alternate art is nice.

Colorless (Wait, there’s only one notable colorless card. Let’s talk more about multicolored)

This card is dumb. I get that it’s a Titan, but still. I’ve played against it a few times. It’s not as broken as it first appeared. It is just one of those cards that when it’s played, I roll my eyes. I just know I’m going to be in for stupid shenanigans. Well, don’t you usually play stupid shenanigans, you might say? Of course, but I am all about do as I say not as I do. And I say, sir, no shenanigans for you!

When I first saw this card, I thought it might be the broken card of the set. Then, I saw the casting cost. Then I saw the creature type. And it all started to make sense. Wizards likes their 3/5 Sphinxes with ridiculous casting cost and stupid abilities. This one is UW. Which means it has a gold border. That ensures that I will pick the card in cube way too early.

The Verdict

The original Theros wasn’t know for its multicolored cards. Death changes a plane apparently. The multicolored cards in this set are fun. They might not be good, but I don’t care about all that. I just want to have fun. And make my opponent’s life miserable for the half an hour we play. Before you ask, yes that includes Chris. At least I’m not a complete sociopath. I do feel bad when I make his life miserable. Plus, we always get a good laugh from it, too. So, if you’re like me and you just like being the fun police, there’s plenty here to make that happen. Thanks for reading my THB multi and colorless notable cards article. Stay tuned over the next couple of days for an article about Battlegrounds.