Thursday, February 25, 2016

How Cards Made Me a Better Wargamer

Bit of a departure from strictly Superhero-related subject matter here, but it's been on my mind a bit lately. Plus, I will talk mainly about Supers card games, so I guess there's a bit of a link there. Last year (2015), I decided to play the Retro Dragonball Z Collectible Card Game a little more often than I had been. I'd picked up the game again a few years previous when I came across some cards and a coworker revealed that there was a thriving online community and plenty of the game I'd missed out on. Within about eight months, I went from "I wanna build a Gohan deck" to "Freestyle Trunks Sword Beats with Roshi Sensei" (yeah, jargon for outsiders, but you get my point). It wasn't a replacement for games like Secrets of the Third Reich, SuperSystem and Empire of the Dead, but it was another outlet to get my "gaming" fix through and something I was ok with spending money on. 

My RetroDBZ Trunks Sword deck in all it's glory.

Another, more personal, development I undertook last year was to attempt to do things better than I had been. Stuff like work, relationships and study were obvious, but I also chose not to ignore my hobbies. I've never been much of a tournament player, but I figured I could put more than the minimal effort into my gaming than I had been. Consequently, I've only dropped one or two SOTR games in the past year. The point wasn't to become more cutthroat, but to put a little more thought into every game. One of the most interesting factors of a card game is the deck, drawing cards, deciding how many of each card to run and working with what you draw, not what you wanted to draw. A term in the Magic the Gathering community that can be a bit loaded is "Mana-screwed", it basically means that you "would have won" if you'd drawn the right cards. Well duh. I totally would have won that game of Trivial Pursuit if I had known the answers. Good deckbuilding means being able to get the cards you need into you hand when you need them, or, if you can't do that, making the most of what you do have. 

 Sentinels of the Multiverse Card Game, cooperative and a good way to learn to work with a deck. Also Superheroes, so you can't go wrong.

To paraphrase Walter Kovacs, "No compromise, no surrender", even if defeat looks inevitable, I make my opponent pay for every bloody inch of ground. You'd be surprised how often an opponent that thinks they've won already makes a big enough mistake that you can get back in the game. I learned that from card playing because, when I was losing badly, I figured "hey, the game will only be another ten minutes of my life, why not play it out?", occasionally I won and most of the time, I had fun. If getting into a CCG hardcore is not your thing, try the Pokemon TCG Online, it's free and a bit of fun, or maybe try something the the DCU Deckbuilding Game or Sentinels of the Multiverse Card Game; each is different, but uses some of the same skills I've discussed here. Who knows, you may have some fun and sharpen your skills at the same time

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