Friday, April 22, 2011

Mas Magic

Well, I showed up at the Evolution Magic shop yesterday to draft. Considering Spain is on holiday I expected thirty people eager to play Magic on a Thursday. Sadly, we had four and one of them was one of those guys who seems to think since he is in a Magic shop the owner is actually paid to listen to him. When he finally took a pause for breath I asked (in Spanish):

“Tournament today?”

“Yes, draft this morning and Legacy this afternoon.”

“I know, but… is it going to happen?”

He turns to his partner (as in, business partner, not lover) and gives a questioning look. He clearly doesn’t understand what I am asking. I blame my Spanish.

I like this guy. Hell, I like both of them immensely. “I don’t know. It depends.” He smiles and shrugs. It is a motion of “We could do a draft if you want, but I am hoping more people show up.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Twenty minutes later I am on the phone with Wendy asking “Can you look up Forbidden Isle? I saw good reviews for it and we need a new game.” Talking guy has not taken a breath in ten minutes. I hope he passes out soon.

Ten minutes later I have left. I come home, update MTGO and join a draft. Holy crap do I suck! I draft this incredibly bad Black/Green deck without any focus at all, and consider quitting immediately. Instead I win 2 out of 3 matches and get two packs.

I learn a couple of things:

1. Elimination is good.

2. Draft Green fatties and mana Mires.

While this may seem at odds, it actually makes sense… Next time, I’ll explain why…


  1. Glad to hear you're getting into board games. I would strongly recommend passing on Forbidden Isle. Not much strategy there. I enjoy playing it with my kids, but with adults I'd definitely go for a meatier game. It's also co-op, which I'm not a fan of.

    I don't know if you get comments from older posts, but for 2 players I suggested Hive and Battle Lines on one of the older posts on Carc or Small World. I'd also hesitantly suggest Race for the Galaxy. It's a card game and people seem to either love it or hate it. It's got a decent learning curve but there is a good video tutorial to help. Once you get the icons down you're good, and there's a ton of replay. Not much interaction, so some people label it 'multi-player solitaire'. What you're trying to do is guess what role the other players are going to pick so you can benefit from that. It's designed for 2-4 players, with a minor twist for 2 players. It can also be drafted, but I'm not sure how well that would work for 2 players and the base game. I drafted once with 3 players and 1 or 2 expansions and it was very fun.

    If you're interested in the deck-building card games like Dominion, you might also consider Thunderstone. It's got a dungeon-crawling theme, unlike Dominion's almost non-existent theme. But I haven't played it so I can't say much more about it.

  2. Forbidden Isle scratches the same co-op itch that Pandemic does (same designer), but not quite as well IMO. Pandemic is a deeper game in that there is more going on and it's a very tough game to win despite being co-op. It depends entirely if you like co-op games.

    Hive is really, really good. It's like fast free-form chess without the boredom that you can play anywhere. It's only two player though and it favours folk that can think in a chess-wired way.

    Race for the Galaxy has a ferocious AI that you can download from here:
    if you want to try the game. Read through the rules and give it a go. It's addictive once you get into it, but it's not massively interactive for 2 players.

    Kingsburg, though! Kingsburg I played recently and thought it was fantastic. Excellent game with some real cut-and-thrust risk management.

  3. Hey Jamie!

    I recently finished reading your quest for the pro tour books. They are amazing reads. At the end of the first book, you speak on the power of fatties. In New Pherxyia, there is an amazing fattie called Moltensteel Dragon. For 4 mana and 2 pherxyian mana, you get a 4/4 flier that has the ability of paying two life or a red mana to pump him. Could you e-mail me thoughts on this card, or other standard fatties that you dig? Thank you man!