Tales of the Arabian Nights: a Game that Plays You.

by cranberries     October 11, 2017     2446   0

If you bring your Euro gaming need for strategic planning or Judeo-Christian expectations for fairness to the game you will be sorely disappointed. Terrible things will happen to you regardless of the choices you make.

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Posted: 12 Oct 2017 15:25 by cranberries #255607
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Here's Shut Up and Sit Down's review:

Posted: 12 Oct 2017 16:29 by Shellhead #255613
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From time to time, I have considered acquiring this game, even before the Z-Man edition came out. But it seems like everytime somebody talks about the game, one of the players was ensorcelled. Are the early encounters often pretty much the same, due to starting location?
Posted: 12 Oct 2017 17:15 by Erik Twice #255617
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I've always been curious about the game but from what I've hear, chances are I would hate it. I tend to approach games with a "what am I doing?" mindset and making choices with no reasonable information or impact in the game is something I really dislike.

PD: I remember the "sexy stuff" from Arabian Nights not so much because it was sexy but because it was massively racist. I started reading one of the complete editions and there are like three stories in a row in which the Sultan's wife cheats on him with a black slave. Which is like, the worst of the worst.
Posted: 12 Oct 2017 17:53 by dysjunct #255620
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I was just having a conversation with one of my nerd friends about my endless disappointment with board games that try to tell stories. I always end up feeling like I should just play an RPG. Board games can tell emergent stories pretty well, but only if they ignore telling the story. It is kind of like the old cliche about happiness: if you pursue it directly, you’ll never get it, but if you pursue other things passionately you’ll end up with it.

TOTAN is one of these. It’s kind of fun but the promise falls flat. You’re supposed to be the protagonist in a story, but you end up being straightjacketed into situations that you have no control over. You end up being a spectator instead of a hero.
Posted: 12 Oct 2017 18:14 by Egg Shen #255624
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Tales of the Arabian Nights is a total classic. It's a beer and pretzels game that is 100% about the experience. You have almost zero control in the grand scheme of things. At best, you feel like you're exploring a forbidden and dangerous world. At it's worst, it's like you're clinging to dear life on a psychotic magic carpet ride. The whole thing isn't meant for "serious" gamers or those seeking any sort of coherent story. It's meant to be a time waster with a few good friends where you marvel at the madcap vignettes sprinkled throughout the evening. You'll get thrown in jail. Have the everliving shit kicked out of you. Fall in love. Fall OUT of love. Become depressed. Do something *kinda* heroic...maybe.

It's a game that I play maybe once or twice a year and it's like opening a portal to the most insane cardboard world you could ever dream up. It's perfect.
Posted: 12 Oct 2017 23:10 by cranberries #255637
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I forgot to mention that the game reminded me a lot of actually living in the Middle East: you wander around trying to accomplish something while everyone tries to rip you off, and occasional someone is really, really cool or something magical happens.

I need to edit this. Is that possible without intervention?
Posted: 13 Oct 2017 04:58 by MattDP #255642
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cranberries wrote:
I forgot to mention that the game reminded me a lot of actually living in the Middle East: you wander around trying to accomplish something while everyone tries to rip you off, and occasional someone is really, really cool or something magical happens.

I need to edit this. Is that possible without intervention?

Don't think so. PM me with the text you want and where you want it inserted and I'll edit it accordingly. Sorry about the time it took to go live BTW - I didn't know no-one was watching the queue anymore!
Posted: 13 Oct 2017 05:00 by MattDP #255643
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dysjunct wrote:
I was just having a conversation with one of my nerd friends about my endless disappointment with board games that try to tell stories,

Not strictly a board game, but you might want to check out Once Upon A Time. Rather than enforcing a story via the mechanics, it's a way to get players to invent their own. One of my absolute favourite games, recently out in a spanking new edition and fairly cheap, too.
Posted: 13 Oct 2017 12:43 by HiveGod #255681
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I really wanted to like this game, but the time required to play was a deal-breaker—until I happened upon the variant where, instead of choosing a combination of 20 points, you play to a hard total of Story + Destiny, so the first person to reach 12 points (4 Story and 8 Destiny, for example) and survive a final encounter in Baghdad wins. This made the game playable to a satifsying finish in about an hour and now I FUCKING LOVE IT.

Here's the thing: played RAW we never got to play it enough—or even finish enough games—to get past the "totally random, doesn't matter what you choose" perception. But now I've played it enough that I've seen the shape of the thing, and it is beautiful. There's a kind of logic to the choices, and you can indeed drive your character's experience in a general direction—though the will of Allah is still paramount and going against your destiny will cause you nothing but suffering. And sometimes suffering is your destiny: I have seen people win as a scorned, crippled, diseased outlaw.

It took a lot of plays to get here, but we can pretty much run the thing as desired; so much so it's now a perennial family favorite.

Here are my standard suggestions for maximum enjoyment:

~ Change time of day at the start of each new round
Instead of waiting for the deck to run out—which never happens—advance time at the beginning of the first player's turn: morning --> day --> night --> morning --> &c.

~ Consider playing to a hard total of Story plus Destiny
Rather than having each player choose a secret combination. For example, first person to get S+D=12 can win. (This converts a multi-hour slog into a delightful hour-plus—which means we get to play it more often!)

~ Go more RPG than board game with the statuses
Some statuses can overstay their welcome and/or become unfun when combined with others—don't be afraid to hand-wave them away with a merciful "You have suffered enough."

~ Only play with awesome people
'Nuff said. (3p is the sweet spot; 4p max)

Thanks for the review!
Posted: 13 Oct 2017 13:25 by jpat #255684
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This is one I need to dust off--literally. I've had the first (Z-man) printing since 2009 and have never played it. I see that you can track down still what looks to be pretty minor errata.
Posted: 16 Oct 2017 08:25 by Legomancer #255781
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This isn't a game, it's an activity. Either play a board game or play an RPG or sit around telling stories. You don't need this thing at all.
Posted: 01 Nov 2017 09:25 by SJN #256770
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It's a great game. Maybe twice a year it comes out and I always have blast playing. The thing is you have to just roll with it and you should must house rule it.

My house rules are:
Play with a lower number of points to win - I find 8- 10 to be the right range.
Always destiny + story.
No more then 3 conditions at one time. As soon as you get a new one throw the oldest one out.
As soon as one person wins everyone get one last turn. Why? Because it's the epilogue to your story.

I do like the idea of flipping Day / Night every turn.
Posted: 01 Nov 2017 18:45 by Mad Dog #256827
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"It's a great game" "but you must house rule it"

These two statements seem to get used a lot together on this site.
Posted: 01 Nov 2017 21:48 by SJN #256836
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Mad Dog wrote:
"It's a great game" "but you must house rule it"

These two statements seem to get used a lot together on this site.

Yup. Love it - my go to for house rules.
Posted: 04 Nov 2017 21:14 by jpat #257028
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So I finally did drag out the game after eight years of owning it. My wife, our most regular gaming partner, and I played this afternoon. It's obvious that a lot of work went into this game, and even the first printing from 2009, which I have, has only minimal and minor errors--a major achievement, given the scope. That said, I can't say it went over particularly well. My wife ended up being Imprisoned for several turns, I kinda bebopped around ineffectually, our friend ran away with the game. Even though no one went into it expecting a strategic game, it still felt, well, kinda dull, and it's not the kind of game I see getting better with repeated plays, at least not for my wife and me. I contemplated just playing a two-player with with the wife, but when I asked her whether she'd ever prefer this to Above and Below, neither of us could honestly say yes. The "runaway" friend really likes these sort of games, though, and has interest in buying it, so I think I'll take him up on that. Again, I respect the effort and the game's importance in the hobby history, but it just wasn't our cup of tea, and we generally like Above and Below and storytelling-via-card games such as Eldritch Horror.
Posted: 05 Nov 2017 06:07 by wadenels #257040
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Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment but I love TotAN. It's like a paragraph roller coaster. When we have 4-5 players I'll even happily volunteer to be the reader, and handle all the looking-up-and-reading without even actually playing. The game moves much faster that way and I have almost as much fun just watching the wreckage unfold as I do being in the thick of it.

TotAN and Talisman are kind of personality-categorizing games for me. If you can have a lot of fun playing them we're going to get along great.

I think it's a little bit amazing the game even got published in an age before Kickstarter. Imagine someone came up to you with a game design that involved using a matrix to look up disjoint paragraphs in a book based on a decision matrix every single turn, and then told you that at least half of the things you'll encounter are just bad. Oh, and there's a big-ass map with a handful of points of interest. I don't know if that's how the discussion went, but I like to imagine it that way and that the person on the other end of the conversation said print it. That and by just happening to have finally created an account on F:AT which led to me having Loter's old copy, which came with pink plano boxes for the bits, amuses me more than it probably should.

Totally agree with setting a point total, day/night cycle every round, and max 3 conditions most of the time. Sometimes I like to play it by the book on a lazy day when time isn't a factor. Even those days I still cycle the day/night thing every 3rd round. It just seems a little more atmospheric that way.
Posted: 06 Nov 2017 04:57 by KingPut #257096
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If anyone is looking for a copy of TotAN, I’ll sell my lightly played copy for 40+10 shipping.

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Game Day Highlights - Spurs, Mare Nostrum, Glory to Rome

by ubarose     May 21, 2017     3212   0

I hosted our game group's Saturday game day for the first time since the fire. Francie Pants finally kicked me in the tush and made it happen. This kick also forced us to deal with finally getting the big-ass table up to the game room. Fortunately Joey Joe Joe the drummer stopped by Wednesday as Engineer Al and I were puzzling over how to get this table up two flights of switch-back stairs, and declared that that it would be a piece of cake compared to hauling around 90 inch TVs, which is something he does on the regular as an AV guy. With his direction, he and Al were able to man handle it into the game room in a matter of minutes. So as a bonus to playing games on Saturday, we are now seriously on our way to finally converting my home office from a store room back to an office.

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Posted: 21 May 2017 20:11 by engineer Al #248821
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From this point on, two shots of bourbon at 11am on a Saturday will be known as a "Jeff Luce Breakfast."
Posted: 21 May 2017 20:38 by Colorcrayons #248824
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So what is the proper etiquette for mocking cube pushers?
Posted: 22 May 2017 10:33 by Jackwraith #248848
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Suggest that they're even worse than Sisyphus?
Posted: 22 May 2017 14:49 by SuperflyTNT #248867
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I wish I was there.
Posted: 22 May 2017 17:37 by Egg Shen #248874
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Awesome write up! Bummed I couldn't make it. Sounds like you guys had a blast.
Posted: 22 May 2017 18:53 by ubarose #248877
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Colorcrayons wrote:
So what is the proper etiquette for mocking cube pushers?

Mostly, I just roll close my eyes and think of England.
Posted: 15 Oct 2017 12:48 by aaxiom #255740
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It's not exactly clear which version of Mare Nostrum you have... is it the older one? I really enjoy the older one with the expansion and the modified rules, but don't think I need the newer one. Thoughts?
Posted: 16 Oct 2017 09:56 by ThirstyMan #255785
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engineer Al wrote:
From this point on, two shots of bourbon at 11am on a Saturday will be known as a "Jeff Luce Breakfast."

I think not, my young padawan, I think not.
Posted: 16 Oct 2017 10:13 by charlest #255787
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aaxiom wrote:
It's not exactly clear which version of Mare Nostrum you have... is it the older one? I really enjoy the older one with the expansion and the modified rules, but don't think I need the newer one. Thoughts?

I have not played the older one so I can't directly comment, but judging from some other's comments in past plays of mine with the new version - they really appreciated some of the changes, particularly the trade portion where it restricts your choices to a pool of tokens. This means you can't choose the same number over and over.
Posted: 16 Oct 2017 11:10 by san il defanso #255789
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One of my great F:AT goals is to someday play a game with this group, if they'd have me. You all sound like you're playing games for the right reasons, which is altogether too rare these days.

Unfortunately the possibility is almost totally academic, since I can't seem to stay in a single place for longer than a year or so.

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How about nintendo 3ds emulator?

by lyndstren     May 12, 2017     3532   0

If you can find working Nintendo 3DS Emulator for PC, what will be the first game that you will play? Article bellow mind help you find the right answer.

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DreadBall - Into The Pit

by Mr. White     September 01, 2015     6284   0

A little recap of my first DreadBall experience.

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Posted: 01 Sep 2015 14:33 by hotseatgames #209770
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Awesome write-up! Dreadball sounds fun. I'd love to check it out some time. Especially since I went all-in on Deadzone during the last kickstarter.
Posted: 02 Sep 2015 06:50 by drewcula #209805
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I was looking forward to your DreadBall write up, and you didn't disappoint my expectations. I'm really glad to know you and your buds enjoyed the game.
I don't post all that often on F:AT, but most of time it's in praise of DreadBall. I love this damn game, as does my six player league. We're starting our fifth season next month. In the meantime, I'm going to gratuitously steal your idea of the "big bad" for one of my winter tournaments. Great idea! Check your inbox for the invite...
Posted: 02 Sep 2015 07:03 by Mr. White #209806
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Thanks, fellas!

One of the things I really like about this game is that the teams, from what I can tell so far, are very unique. They seem to be more diverse than BB.

I mean, the BB teams differ by stat lines and the combination of skills. But these are skills most all the teams have access to and it's that distribution of initial skills that sets them apart.

In DB, some teams have abilities that seemingly only they have. From what I can tell, the robots are the _only_ team that can transform. The Judwan straight up can't slam. Etc.

This is different than BB. I really like this game. I mean, _really_ like it. Now that I've got a little experience with how it plays, I'm looking forward to seeing how a league plays out.

Also, I gotta give props to this team (photos from BGG). I'm going to have to get some of this paint!

Check out the glowing playpad!
Posted: 02 Sep 2015 07:27 by Gary Sax #209809
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What a great post... and your gamedays are fucking epic, I'm jealous.

I've never thought about putting so much work and effort to game day.
Posted: 02 Sep 2015 07:40 by Egg Shen #209810
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This is such a great write up. It's the kind of write up that makes me want to spend way too much money! I'm with Gary Sax, I love the effort you put into this. It really seems like you planned an epic event. Very cool.
Posted: 02 Sep 2015 08:07 by Mr. White #209812
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Regarding events...

My philosophy on game ownership has changed over the years as the hobby has become more mainstream. More and more of my buddies have their own collections of sorts that'll range from 5 games to several hundred. I no longer need to be the one with a closet full. Outside of games I play with the family I have maybe about 10 hobby games and over half of them are card games of the FFG Silverline variety.

Instead of collecting and buying a lot of games, again, plenty of buddies that do that, I've turned my attention toward going deeper into fewer. I'll host a mini 2-3 session rpg game and do it up with themed music, food, etc. I'll put together a Wings of Glory event ( and have the right film playing in the background. You (my friends) bring a couple of your boardgames for us to play before and/or after.

This has gone off the Dreadball topic, but this arrangement works. I actually end up spending way less than I used to, but get to immerse myself a bit more (the old role-player/minis gamer in me loves the between game session tinkering). My buddies get to have their boardgames played as they bring them by the arm full.

Winners all around.
Posted: 02 Sep 2015 09:29 by Ska_baron #209815
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Really love the ticket idea. Unannounced is perfect.

Great write up!
Posted: 02 Sep 2015 09:37 by Mr. White #209817
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Yeah, I enjoyed putting those together and getting the texts as their packages arrived.

Like I said, I expect to do up tickets again in the future for the next DB day. I'll drop those in the mail as well. Snail mail though...seems odd for a sci-fi game. However, there's just something to getting a tangible item in the mail.

With some in the group now having experience, the next time we'll use the league rules and witness some team development.
Posted: 03 Sep 2015 17:08 by SuperflyTNT #209913
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I just traded a KS version of this based on the article. 4 teams, 12 idea about this game beyond this article.

I have to say, you sound like one hell of a good friend, and I'm very jealous of your friends.
Posted: 03 Sep 2015 17:44 by drewcula #209916
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Pete - if you need any help/advice/therapy, I'm happy to offer DB opinions.
Posted: 03 Sep 2015 19:30 by Gversace #209919
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DreadBall is a great game. I had low expectations of DreadBall; it looked like a simplistic version of Blood Bowl when I saw the original kickstarter. I was totally wrong. It is certainly faster, and the teams suffer from some imbalance (original DB Forge Fathers are just terrible), but the game is a ton of fun, and quick to play. Even the multi player version is excellent.
Posted: 03 Sep 2015 20:00 by metalface13 #209920
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Jeff is an excellent dude. I'm gonna get sappy for a moment and admit I miss my ATX gaming buddies.

Great to hear you guys had fun with DB. It's got me interested in trying it out myself, wonder if I can get some like-minded people in Pittsburgh interested, my BB stuff is in storage right now anyways.
Posted: 03 Sep 2015 21:44 by hotseatgames #209922
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So Dreadball Xtreme... totally different game? Do teams cross over? Why would you pick one vs. the other?
Posted: 07 Sep 2015 07:51 by drewcula #210106
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Crudely speaking, consider "DreadBall Xtreme" as Blood Bowl's "DungeonBowl." It plays with roughly the same player mechanics and scoring objective, but it is more random and deadly. One-off games are fun, but you lose the depth of league play. League play is VERY different. There is little player advancement because so many die during a match. The focus instead lies on the team's "head coach" (called a Sponsor) and their improvement. There is a lot of opportunity for customization in Xtreme, but only if you already have access to a lot of DreadBall miniatures. If you're just starting out, I highly recommend the first game (aka DreadBall Original, or DBO) before Xtreme.
Posted: 10 Sep 2015 06:02 by Mr. White #210287
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Sorry about the delay here, but I was out of town for a few days.

Casey, Dreadball is perfect for where you are right now. The teams are affordable, the board is fairly small, and the games are quick. However, you get all the sports action you'd want plus the league/campaign building that I know you love. You really need to sell or trade what you can in order to get it.

A few years ago I lamented in the forums about wanting a good minis game with a neat setting, league rules, cool fluff, etc. I was basically describing another solid option to the oop GW offerings. Dreadball is that game. I love it.

What Drewcula said about Extreme being a variant like Dungeonbowl . I'm staying away from it at the moment. I like the simplicity of the base game plus I don't want to deal with the terrain pieces and stuff atm and focus on the teams.

Speaking of Drewcula, the man helped me out with a lot of questions and should be the DB go to guy.

Pete, I know you're into modelling...and though some of the minis from mantic may require a little trimming of flash, DB has some really diverse teams and a few are done up in that transparent blue, which I hadn't really seen in a minis game proper. Looks cool leaving parts of the mini clear:

The teams all around though are really cool. I'm digging the hobgoblins:

and the Star Frontiers fan in me wants the old-school looking Z'zor and Mechanites badly:

Posted: 10 Sep 2015 07:15 by hotseatgames #210305
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Ah... those Mechanites look awesome! Cyberball was a great arcade game.

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Pokemon League Day

by Mr. White     August 21, 2015     4547   0

Mr. White and son go to their first Pokemon League Day.

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Posted: 21 Aug 2015 07:43 by Ska_baron #208941
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Thanks for this, Jeff. Love the parental perspective on embracing his enthusiasm for a passion with exercising some social skills. Keep us appraised of his (and your!) journey into competitive play!
Posted: 21 Aug 2015 07:55 by iguanaDitty #208943
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I enjoyed this, thanks. It's noteworthy how friendly everyone seemed to be.
Posted: 21 Aug 2015 09:58 by Sagrilarus #208953
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Our "local" Pokemon league was always a great time for my boys, and we frequently brought friends who ended up being regular players afterwards.

Of note -- Pokemon pre-2012 was a very different game from Pokemon post-2012. Your observation regarding thin energy and EXs is spot on, and the transition more or less pushed all three of my boys into Magic instead. It's not that the new game isn't as good, it's just that it's very different in spite of being almost the exact same rules. My oldest son had a purple deck that was positively bone-crushing prior to 2012. He won a couple of tournaments with it. It wouldn't even make a good showing now. So rather than start over with Pokemon they went after Magic instead.

Take care on tournament day to get a list of forbidden cards. Our final tournament had a rough start because all three of my boys had dis-allowed cards in their decks. We managed to get some swaps in but it wasn't ideal. Most are older cards (in fact I think they were locked-out by series, not individual card) but if you've purchased at yard sales or gotten donations from friends you may have them in your mix.

All that said the community can be quite eclectic, and I never once had to deal with a rude player. My boys enjoyed the heck out of it and came home talking Pokemon for the next three days. There are rewards for winning but everyone is pretty much coming just to enjoy the play. Some of the girls at our club would come with their Pokemon hats and shirts, really making a showing of it. We were there long enough for them to age up past the point where that would be cool, but they kept it up, knowing they were in a place where it was accepted and appreciated. A nice sanctuary from the typical teen pressure. And we had champion players (adults) that you could challenge and if you beat them you got special rewards. A very broad slice of the community. I still bump into them occasionally in spite of the store being 25 miles from home.

When's the Heroscape tournament? That's where I've found the other great gaming crowds.
Posted: 21 Aug 2015 10:44 by Mr. White #208959
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I've considered having my son bring his best friend in the future. The friend is interested but doesn't play. Mom's a single parent and I'd hate for her to feel the added pressure of having to buy her son cards so he can keep up. I dunno. Maybe my son and I will get him going.

Anyway, yeah, everyone was really nice and helpful. Even the older kids/young adults/adults. I never got a creepy vibe off anyone.

Heroscape, I'm not aware of any in my area, but have considered running monthly HS events out of The Pit starting this fall. I figure I could set up a few small boards, have my son and his friends come pick about 300-400pts each then do a little tournament of sorts switching boards and opponents. Maybe hand out some snacks as prizes. Seems like it could be a hit.
Posted: 22 Aug 2015 09:03 by Green Lantern #209025
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Thanks for sharing, El Jeffe. Sounds like your son is a fine gamer and won't have any issues with breaking out of his shy shell. It's great to hear his enthusiasm wasn't diminished by defeat and his sense of sporstmanship is outstanding. You guys keep it up and let us know how his Pokemon tourneys in the future shape up.
Posted: 22 Aug 2015 10:23 by Gary Sax #209030
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Yeah, the sportsmanship thing is huge. I feel like it could be a miserable experience for a kid to lose a bunch of times in a row, I'm glad they thought through the format to account for that a bit.

Also, good to see the gender balance is healthier in Pokemon (at least going by your pictures and post).
Posted: 22 Aug 2015 11:46 by metalface13 #209035
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Great to hear Jeff. I got into Pokemon the summer after my freshman year of college and thought it was really refreshing after years of magic, Star Wars ccg and shadow run ccg. Maybe bringing your deck and playing against strangers will help encouarge your soon, maybe even make A little challenge to see who can play more new people.
Posted: 23 Aug 2015 10:18 by Mr. White #209077
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Gary Sax wrote:
Yeah, the sportsmanship thing is huge. I feel like it could be a miserable experience for a kid to lose a bunch of times in a row, I'm glad they thought through the format to account for that a bit.

Also, good to see the gender balance is healthier in Pokemon (at least going by your pictures and post).

I agree. The format was fantastic. Win or lose you'll get an opportunity for prizes. Winners will obviously get more, and have earlier prize picks, as they fill out their passport faster, so there is incentive do to well. It's not really all participants getting the same thing. Still, losers have something to play for. It's great.

I was also impressed with the mix. I'd say it was close to 50/50 split on gender. I didn't see any women or girls on the Magic or other CCG tables.

We'll probably be heading back next weekend to fill out his passport. Oh, we've tuned his deck to about 20 pokemon, 20 energy, and 20 trainer/items. Still may not be ideal, but it's _a_lot_ stronger than it was. He's pounding me early now. Those trainers and items are letting him grab many cards per turn, pull them back out of the discard, and he doesn't seem to be having to pray every turn in the hopes that his one turn card draw is decent.

My deck still blows.... ;)
Posted: 23 Aug 2015 16:45 by Sagrilarus #209097
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Our group broke into a set of kids that wanted to play competitively, and a set of kids that wanted to win but were more than happy to lose a few. The don't-play-the-same-person-twice rule puts a solid mix into the session, and the more competitive players understand when they're playing a younger kid or someone not so driven. The organized events do produce prizes for the top three spots, but they're not so big that anyone cares all that much.

Compare that to the local Magic tournament, where everyone in the final rounds were first time customers and never returned again. They showed up for the tournament, stomped on the locals, bought nothing and left. That's the nature of Magic. I don't have a problem with it personally (the owner of the shop did!) but it's a far more intimidating environment. Someone quiet or young isn't going to enjoy the trip.

Posted: 23 Aug 2015 18:27 by jhuntin1 #209104
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My son's only 7, so I'm waiting a few more years to get him into the organized play scene. I loved reading about your son's experience because it's what I'm hoping for for him.

Power creep hit this game hard. I have stacks of cards from the 90s and early 2000s and even the stage 2 evolutions get their butts handed to them by the new basics.

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