Category Archives: On the Tabletop

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

Zendikar Rising Notable Cards: Esper Edition

Introduction

Well, we are finally getting around to our Zendikar Rising Notable Cards: Esper Edition. Apologies that it’s arriving a bit late. I’m back in school and the beginning of this school year has kicked my butt. You should be happy that I’m back to gaming after all that football the last two articles. Heck, I was only able to recently resume my workout routine and that’s just because we have remote Wednesdays at my school. We’ll see if it persists to Friday.

I mean, heck, I was just finally starting to see some definition in these muscles. Don’t want to lose that!

So, yesterday, I was outed to a colleague that I play Magic: the Gathering. I have installed it on my work laptop. I probably shouldn’t be saying that, but there you have it. Well, we had a Zoom meeting yesterday and I was playing some MTGA. Wow, this entire paragraph could get me reprimanded. Oh well, in too deep now. No going back. Long story short, she saw me playing the game and playfully acted shocked at my audacity. That has nothing to do with the set. I just thought it was a humorous story.

Before I get onto Zendikar Rising Notable Cards: Esper Edition, let me remind you that these aren’t necessarily the best cards. You might not even consider them good. Hell, some of the cards might offend you personally. But, it’s my page. I’m going to pick the cards the way that I want to pick them.

White (It’s my party and I’ll be the fun police if I want to)

Honorable Mention (Practiced Tactics): The new party mechanic is mostly here, I assume, to prepare for the Dungeons and Dragons crossover set that is coming next year. Whatever the reason, I think it is a neat idea with much utility. I’m just glad that I mostly play on MTGA and don’t have to manually keep track of my party.

Journey to Oblivion – I wish that they had given this flash. It’s still good if you can discount it, but I just love the imagined look on my opponent’s face when I cast a flash spell that exiles. Oh well, guess we can’t have it all.

Tazri, Beacon of Unity – Chris and I were texting the other day and I said something about fancying myself a Commander player. Now, mind you, I haven’t played a single game of Commander and only a few games against him of Tiny Leader. Still, I’m intrigued by the format and hope to get a playgroup together when this pandemic is over.

Blue (Tatsumaki Senpukyaku)

(Dis?)Honorable Mention – If you get the reference in the header, then you will understand the theme of my blue choices. This card intrigues me. I’m not sure if it is a misprint or they are just messing with us. If you don’t kick it, it does nothing. I mean, it adds to the number of enchantments you control for spells that rely on that. But, there’s better ways to achieve that. What a dumb card.

Into the Roil – This article is coming so late this time that I’ve actually had a chance to play and play against some of the cards. I haven’t played this one specifically. However I have it in the stupid ramp deck that I grabbed to complete a quest in MTGA. It’s just a “fun” effect and the kicker draws you a card!

Jace, Mirror Mage: Chris texted me this card early in the spoilers. I texted back, “That’s going to be broken af in Legacy”. I’m pretty sure I was wrong about that. Hey, I’ve never claimed to be a professional at any of this. If I’m right, though, I’ll take all the credit and this paragraph will disappear from the article faster than you can say, “SAD!”

Black (The Orzhov have taken over)

Zof Consumption – Chris and I were just texting. I noticed something over the last few expansions and I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just me. I won’t tell you how the conversation started. It is definitely not safe for work. Maybe not safe for any environment. In any case, lifelink is becoming more and more a part of black’s color identity. I first noticed it with Vito, the Rose Thorn or whatever. That’s only because it is an annoying card to play against.

Ghastly Gloomhunter – While the earlier card isn’t strictly lifelink, that’s where our conversation ended. That these cards don’t have lifelink, but they have an effect very much like it. This card has lifelink and more and more black cards are coming out with that keyword. I don’t know why that bothers me. I do know that this card has a stupid name. That’s really the main reason I picked it. I want a job naming cards.

Nighthawk Scavenger – Chris texted me this one, too with the message, “It’s kind of like Tarmogoyf.” I texted back, “But it dies to lightning bolt.” We both got a good laugh from that because his friend who is more competitive than we ever are said the same thing. I guess you had to be there.

The Verdict (Zendikar Rising Notable Cards: Esper Edition are underwhelming)

Other than Jace, there isn’t much to get excited about. And, Jace might not even be all that exciting. I mean, there are some neat drafting strategies. Maybe I’ll mess around on xMage some once the set releases there. Because I’m mostly trash at drafting and I’m not sure how popular sealed is on MTGA, that’s the place that I can do my trash drafting without losing much in the way of resources. I think Chris was right when he said that Zendikar just isn’t that exciting anymore. We’ve been back three (!) times now and maybe the setting is just getting old.

Adventures in Dice Masters

Introduction

Welcome to Adventures in Dice Masters! Honestly, though, I can’t promise that it will be all that adventurous. But, we are talking about Dice Masters. So, you are getting genuine retro content during our promised retro content month to celebrate the anniversary of the page. The only reason I know about Dice Masters is that I picked up a set so that we could review it when the podcast was still active.

You, uh, you do plan on having retro content on your promised retro content month eventually, right?

So, why now for Dice Masters? Well, we went on our annual family vacation to Cape Cod a couple of weeks ago. That’s why we weren’t around for a week. You all noticed that and missed us, right? Right?! Well, in any case, Liam suggested that we play Dice Masters. I don’t know if he was serious or if he thought I might forget or blow him off.

I didn’t. As soon as we got home and settled in, I pulled out the cards and started sorting through them. Life as a collector is generally getting excited that you received a shipment of cards or comic books before the sobering realization that you now have to organize and find a place to store your new goodies. And that, my friends, begins our Adventures in Dice Masters. I told you that it might not be all that adventurous.

My Strategy

I have to admit that I’m not very well versed in the strategy of Dice Masters. We have played the game a few times, but certainly not enough for me to know all of the key words and most of the cards like I do Magic the Gathering. So, when putting together my team, I started with the Green Dragon from Dungeons and Dragons. Why did I choose this particularly powerful (maybe?) and potentially game ending (not so far) card of doom to start my team? I just wanted to use an card not from the Marvel Universe. For whatever reason, we have a twice as many Marvel cards as DC and only a handful of Dungeons and Dragons. I wanted to vary my team with the three universes.

While reading the Green Dragon card, I noticed that it had an ability that allowed you to spin down the dice of your opponent. I thought that was an interesting addition that the dice allow that cards don’t. With card games, you can remove them, but there’s not the same level up or down effect. Unless you’re playing some of the older MTG sets (and there might be some obscure game that takes advantage of it, but I can’t be expected to know all the games) where they have the level up cards. And, so, the theme of my team was set in place. Also, for some unknown reason, I decided to make my team rainbow with one card for each color and two miscellaneous. And now, I present the team for your scorn and ridicule.

Rainbow Spin (A Noob’s Dice Masters Team)

Captain Marvel – Human/Kree Hybrid (Red): So far, in the two games that I’ve played, this has been the key to making the team work. I got her out in the first game and was able to hold Aiden off until he made a mistake and got too aggro one turn. I wasn’t able to field her the second game and his aggro blew me out of the water.

Sabretooth – Survivor (Orange): This one combo’d very well with Captain Marvel in the first game. I’m not sure if I was applying the rule correctly, but the two of them just held down the board for so many turns until I was able to set up for lethal.

Marvel Girl – Telekinetic (Yellow): I thought this character would be an integral part of the team, but I don’t think I’ve played it once. It would have been helpful in the second game against Aiden to save me a turn or two.

Green Dragon – Master Dragon (Green): Again, this is where the team all started. But, like Marvel Girl, I haven’t even had a chance to play the die. I don’t think that I’ve even bought one of the dice yet. Best laid plans, I guess.

Beast – Kreature (Blue): Along with Sabretooth, Beast provides relatively cheap defense while I try to dig for my more expensive dice. Again, combo’d nicely with Captain Marvel in that first game even if I’m not entirely sure that I was applying the rules correctly.

Psylocke – Ninjutsu (Violet): She was an unexpected MVP in the first game. Spun down a few characters. She even got a knockout or two. I will have to buy her more aggressively in the third game.

Giant Man – Original Avenger (Miscellaneous): This character is cheap for a lot of stats. Also, with sidekicks, you can easily spin him up to max level. I like this character a lot.

Doomsday – Unstoppable Rampage (Miscellaneous): Like Marvel Girl, I haven’t played Doomsday at all in the two games we’ve played. But, he is a strong character and the Iron Will keyword is a nice touch.

Action Dice

Smash and Shockwave: Both of these hope to take advantage of all the spinning down I am going to be hopefully doing. They are a bit redundant, but smash is cheaper and so far I haven’t had a need for any AoE. Maybe I will reevaluate after the third game to see if I can replace one of them with another card.

The Verdict

And, so we conclude our adventures in Dice Masters. The team fits very well with my personality. It is a possibly terrible team, but I have a ton of fun playing it. Stay tuned for more Dice Masters content as our two games have inspired me to buy more dice and cards. They’ll be here next week some time. Until then…

Just keep rollin….I’m sorry

Magic the Gathering JumpStart First Impressions

Introduction

I’m only giving my JumpStart First Impressions. I’ve only played through two trial runs of the set on MTGA. I noticed that it was live yesterday and was so excited that I texted Chris. I waited until today to play, though, since I had to do weekly quests. The TLDR is that the set is fun if you play it as intended.

You didn’t hear much from us over the last week. You also won’t hear much from us the week after next. Next week, I will do my comics reviews. Last week, we were in Vermont at a friend’s vacation house. Next week, we are doing our annual Cape trip.

Captain Trips ain’t so bad if you just wear a mask, folks.

Getting back to JumpStart, what do I mean by it’s fun if you play it as intended? Well, as Chris and I have discussed via text, there are some cool cards in the set. As a result, speculators are buying up the set for resale. I mean, it’s a free country and you can do what you want. However, this goes very much against the spirit of the set. Trust me, I will shun you for it. Now, with that nastiness out of the way, let’s talk about my JumpStart first impressions.

The Great

Fun concept – I’ve been frustrated with Magic the Gathering for the last few years. I’ve been working so much that I haven’t been able to get out and draft with real people at all. Chris and I have done a few sealed matches together and those have been fun. However, we haven’t been able to get together as much as we’d have liked. Now, with Covid, we hadn’t been able to get together at all for a couple of weeks. Christine asked why we hadn’t tried since things have settled a bit in our state, but I didn’t have a good answer.

What does that have to do with anything? Well, since when are we above non sequitur here at 2GG? However, this isn’t that. Because I haven’t been able to draft as much as I’d like, it’s made me frustrated. Drafting on MTGA takes some time that I don’t always have. JumpStart remedies that by allowing me to pick two packs, smash em together, and go. No fuss, no muss.

The Good

It’s Still Magic – When Chris and I were texting about JumpStart, he said something about fixing in the decks that would help against mana screw. While that is true, mana screw can still happen. One game in particular from my trial runs, I got screwed pretty hard on mana. However, my informal analysis is that mana screw will happen less on average than in a typical MTG session.

Well, I mean, mana screw is a metaphor. But, I guess this is cool, too.

The reason this is in the good and not the decent section is that there are good synergies in the various packs. I played Doctor Wizards in the first run. Talrand got me at least 5 drakes. I’ve never gotten that many when trying to build a deck around the card. The second time I played Berzerking The Skies or something like that. I didn’t see much in the way of berzerking, but I did fly over my opponent for the win.

The Decent

Speculators – I already touched on this earlier. Those who are regular readers of the page know that Chris and I are no fans of speculators. Sure, some of that is I’m a bit jealous of them and their ability to make money off of the misfortune of others. A recent example is that Chris texted about rumors of Twin being unbanned. So, speculators went and bought them up at a high rate. I wish I’d been able to spike that and make some extra cash.

Relating this back to the topic at hand, it seems that speculators are buying out boxes of the set and driving up the price. 200 bucks for 24 packs of cards is pretty steep. Especially since I still need to buy Ikoria product. However, JumpStart might be a fun way to try to get the boys playing Magic again. And, now I’m a speculator, but for a very different reason.

The Verdict

My JumpStart First Impressions are that the game mode is as fun as I had hoped. The only thing I didn’t like about the MTGA version is that I didn’t get a chance to flip through my deck to see what was in the deck. Actually, I guess there are a few things that I didn’t like. Secondly, you don’t get to keep your cards. You do get two cards as a prize, but you don’t get to keep your deck. Finally, it costs gold or gems each time you play. I thought it might be a promo thing where you paid your admission and then could play through various combos. No such luck. But, the good heavily outweighs the bad and I’m probably going to end up overpaying for a box. Thanks for reading about my JumpStart first impressions. Hope you see yo in the game!

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!