Magic the Gathering: Amonkhet – first impressions, unboxing, and planeswalker decks reviewed

To watch our Amonkhet unboxing… where we find a super rare card!!… click here.

Claire and I just played best-of-three with the Amonkhet Planeswalker Decks. She used Gideon’s deck, which uses white and red mana and is based around the new Exert mechanic. I used Liliana’s deck, which is black and green and focuses on -1/-1 counters. They were a lot of fun, and they seemed quite balanced.

In each game, Claire got off to a very quick start. Creatures with Exert make very powerful attackers, and she used it at every opportunity to make her creatures more powerful, or harder for me to defend against. The drawback of Exert is that they won’t untap on the next turn, but it’s pretty easy to circumvent. Gideon, Martial Paragon in particular combos very well with the deck. Well done to Wizards of the Coast: he’s a very enjoyable and powerful card for casual Magic play, exactly what should be in an introductory deck. We also appreciated the tactical choices in this deck. Choosing when to exert, and when not to exert, makes this deck more interesting to play.

Liliana’s deck felt a little weak by comparison. It’s a bit slower, and so I was always on the back foot against Gideon’s armies. That said, once it gets going, it’s capable of doing some terrifying damage. In the first game, I was down to three life, and Claire was still on 20. Crocodile of the Crossing with a Cartouche of Ambition meant that I had a 6/5 lifelink creature attacking every turn, and it quickly turned the game around on its own. There are a number of creatures with ridiculously large stats for their costs, balanced by the fact that they give -1/-1 counters to your creatures when they enter play. The Tattered Mummy is a great target for these. This ‘survival of the fittest’ theme feels very black and green, but in a very different way to usual. I can’t comment on Liliana, Death Wielder, as I was never able to get her into play. There’s also a sub-theme of ‘landmark’ artifacts. These artifacts all have a weak activated ability, but gain a brick counter at the same time. With enough bricks, you can finish the landmark, and it becomes much more powerful. I played with one of these, but I never felt like I had the time or the resources to be able to build it.

In the end, Claire won two games to my one. In each game, Gideon’s deck did a lot of damage before Liliana came back for a counter-attack. The game play was engaging, and a good way of showing off the new mechanics in Amonkhet. Claire and I agree that these decks are much more fun than the old intro packs, and we’re keen for a rematch. They also seem more balanced than we remember from the previous Planeswalker Decks. They’d be great for a new player getting into Magic. Alternatively, a casual player who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on Magic could grab the Planeswalker Decks for each set, and have a good set of pre-made decks to use, for the price of a small board game expansion. Recommended for the casual player!

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It’s Official! We’ve got a game coming out this year!

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So we’ve kept this under wraps for a while now, but we can finally announce it… James and I are having a board game published, and it will be on the shelves in time for Christmas shopping!

The game is currently called Cat Tales (a working title). You and the other players are cats, and the aim of the game is to have as much fun as possible before your humans get home. At that point, which ever cat is the happiest wins!

We’re collaborating with Cheeky Parrot Games to get it tested, manufactured and distributed among other things. Visit Cheeky Parrot’s website and Facebook to find out more. The first few rounds of testing are going to happen at the St Heliers TableTop Day, Board Games by the Bay (Auckland) and WellyCon. Do you want to be part of the testing, or even be part of blind testing? Follow this link to find out more. We’re really excited to be working with Julia of Cheeky Parrot Games and can’t wait to test and develop and eventually sell our first real actual board game!

Battlecry Report

20150222_123254 So yesterday we went to Battlecry and it was awesome!!! We’re going to do a proper breakdown of our game Long White Cloud in another post soon, but suffice to say that a good time was had by all, and in fact the same people who played our game in the first round wanted to play again in the second round! Everything went really smoothly and James and I are feeling very optimistic! This picture is of us with the prizes that Karen, the organiser, gave to our players: kumara, because the adventure was about the best kumara in the world. Awesome!!

Also, here is our obligatory radswag picture: free dice, the Ghost Stories board game, two D&D 4th ed. books, and a bag of kumara!!!

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Battlecry Convention this weekend!

logo So this weekend James and I will be at the Battlecry Convention at the Remuera Bridge Club in Auckland. I’ve been the last two (or was it three?) years, and James has been going since goodness knows when. It’s always a really fun time, so if you’re in the Auckland area you should definitely come along. It’s Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd of February, and it’s gold coin entry.

While we’re there James and I intend to mainly showcase our second playtest of our brand new Long White Cloud RPG system, with a whole new adventure. But besides that James might be doing some extra GMing, and we might also showcase our currently unnamed cat themed board game (possibly on the shelves by Christmas, but more on that later, shh!) and our newest concoction, a card game called Let Sleeping Dragons Lie. But we’ll see, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.

Hope you can make it!