Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Episode 17

Here and Now: Left4Dead:CC, Civ: Rev, Geo-Defense Swarm

Today’s Topic: Local Game Conventions
If you are looking to start your own Con, listen to the sage advice of Adam Loper. He just finished running the successful Oshcon. The Consoles & Cardboard Crew ask Adam how he put Oshcon together.
  • When did you get started with Oshcon? How long has the convention been in its current location and form? Has it changed much over the years?
  • How much does it cost to run the convention? How much time to prepare? How many people help out?
  • How many people attend the convention? What vendors and guests do you get and how do you get them?
  • What does the future hold for Oshcon? Do you see a chance to include video games or other media in the future?
Adam’s Con - Oshcon
Adam’s Game Company - Snarling Badger

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Episode 16

Here and Now: Battlestar Galactica: Pegasus expansion, Magic:Zendikar, Left 4 Dead: Crash Course, Brutal Legend, Space Hulk, Drawn, Dungeon Quest, Koi-Koi

On the Horizon: Eric and Terry talk about what games they are looking forward to playing. Left 4 Dead 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Space Hulk, Warmachine Mk. II, Pathfinder, Starcraft 2, Dungeon Lords, The Adventurers, Chaos in the Old World

Three members of the Consoles & Cardboard crew are heading up to Oshkosh, WI for Oshcon this weekend. From - OshCon is a tabletop gaming convention based in Oshkosh, WI. It will feature role-playing games, collectible card games, miniatures wargaming, dealer areas and more.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

"Why I Love Oshcon" or "Local Game Conventions; 5 Reasons They Are Gamer Heaven"

By Eric Jome

For the past several years, I've had the great pleasure of attending a local gaming convention in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It's held at the University there and is run expertly by some great guys.
So, I thought I'd take a minute to sing the praises of the convention and, by proxy, the praises of all the really great local game conventions I get to attend, because they all offer many of the same great perks that Oshcon does!

- One of the best things about a local game convention is that it is super easy to attend.
Oshkosh is just over an hour away by car; that's so close, I could attend both days and sleep at home if I wanted to... but why? The University offers rooms to convention goers in the dorms!
As a university town, there is great access to food within walking distance and there's plenty of parking. The area is safe and friendly to strangers. The convention itself is held in a university facility, meaning plenty of room that's easy to find and use. It would be hard to wish for a better location, more convenient and easy.

- You know what you pay to get in the door at Oshcon? Your Saturday badge is $6. Yes, just $6! Want to go on Sunday too? Add $4! Event fees? None! And heck, there's even a visitor badge for just $1. And the cost savings go way beyond that... want to be able stay the night? $25.50 for a dorm room for one evening. It's not the Ritz, but what are you doing in your room? You're crashing there. You'll be out gaming, so wasting money on a room isn't really where you want to spend it. And this is a university town, not a tourist district. You won't get fleeced for food or drink either.

Fun - Every year, I have a great time... because I make it happen. See, small conventions need you to volunteer to run games so there are events for people to play. When I go to a small convention, I sign up to run lots of games because it helps the convention, but it does something else even better for me. It ensures that there are plenty of games I want to play at the convention! I pick games I want to play and then I am sure that there will be things for me to do that I want to do. In fact, this is an excellent opportunity to pick longer or special games I don't often get to play at my weekly game sessions - there's going to be a whole host of opponents with time to spare to play the big game. And most small conventions offer additional benefits if you run events, like waving fees or a free shirt.

Friendly - There's a lot more community feeling at your local game convention. Many of the people you run into are acquaintances you met last year or know from other stores or events around the area. It's a great opportunity to meet up with gamer friends and play something you all love. The convention staff is easygoing and helpful; you aren't just another number or revenue stream to them. And the people who run events and make the convention happen do it for the love of gaming - these aren't demo monkeys or temps staffing the convention. This is for gamers, about gamers, by gamers... good people. People you can look forward to meeting next year - or invite to your weekly gaming session next week.

Extras - Lots of little things shine through with a small convention. Fun things like raffles and special events are available. You still have shopping opportunities with vendors. Local talents and game companies make casual appearances because, hey... it's easy, fun, cheap, and friendly. I've met major authors, distributors, aspiring designers, FLGS operators, you name it. I've seen auctions and math trades and craft lessons. All because this is a small effort that encourages the attendees to bring to the table everything they can in a receptive, friendly, easy going setting.

Local game conventions offer all sorts of great opportunities for gaming goodness. If you've got one in your area, you should give it a shot. And if not, why not consider starting one up yourself? In an upcoming podcast, we should have some advice on doing just that from Adam Loper of Oshcon and Snarling Badger Fame.

See you at the table, gamer.

Oshcon -

Magic the Gathering: Zendikar release

I've been playing Magic over 10 years now on and off. I enjoy the game for its simplicity and flexibility and I find it the best CCG out there. Wizards of the Coast keeps it alive and fresh with new sets that don't try and re-invent the wheel, but do a good job of making them unique and different.

The latest set - Zendikar, like all their "blocks,", has a theme. It's one of the neat things about Magic that keeps it alive. These themed blocks give new mechanics to the same old game ... breathing new life into the basics of tapping mana and casting spells. Zendikar's theme is LAND. A lot of the new mechanics revolve around playing of land. Land, of course, is one of the basics of the game. Nearly 1/3 of every deck is simply land, so a set that revolves around playing it and having effects based on the number of lands in play is pretty powerful to say the least.

Every set usually introduces a new mechanic or two. Zendikar's? Landfall:
Landfall—Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, ... do something.

For example: (from

So .. ya . every time a land comes into play (which can be almost every turn!) you can gain 2 life. Pile that on top of all the effects in this set that lets you get land from you deck and put it right into play (beyond your standard one a turn).

Verdant Catacombs

Land Rare
{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Verdant Catacombs: Search your library for a Swamp or Forest card and put it onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library.

The other main mechanic in the set is the return of the "Kicker" ability. This ability lets you pay extra mana to get an extra effect from your spell or creature. Very handy for late-game when you have the mana to overpay and get a two-for-one effect.

Torch Slinger

Creature - Goblin Common
Kicker - 1{R}
When Torch Slinger enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, it deals 2 damage to target creature.


Another new mechanic are "Traps". Traps are just instant spells you can get cheaper than normal if your opponent met some condition. Very handy spells that can catch your opponent by surprise and let's you be a bit more efficient with your mana.

Lethargy Trap

Instant - Trap Common
If three or more creatures are attacking you, you may pay {U} rather than pay Lethargy Trap's mana cost.
Attacking creatures get -3/-0 until end of turn.

I play only on a limited basis now. I just participate in sealed deck or draft events. The Standard competitive scene requires too much time and money for me to invest into that. That's not to say I wouldn't have fun, I just prefer the even playing field of limited play. That being said, I would highly recommend going to a local pre-release or release event. These events are big sealed deck events with the latest set .. fun for all no matter what your experience.

I played in the Zendikar pre-release the last weekend of September. This set, since it is all about land, is VERY powerful in a limited format. Some of the Landfall abilities are good on there own even if you are doing nothing but playing a basic land per turn as normal. It's almost TOO powerful in limited. As green has a majority of the Landfall effects (especially on creatures), green was used by a vast majority of players in the tournament. Something I had never come across before in a tournament happened. EVERY one of my opponents (6) were using green in their decks as a primary color. (I was too). With creatures that instantly get more powerful if you play a land (a basic mechanic of the game!) they are greatly efficient for their cost.

The Grazing Gladeheart shown above was a key card that my opponents had in my losses to them. They gained so much life from the simple act of playing land that I couldn't keep up. I was unlucky and didn't get any of those cards in my pool to play, otherwise I would have.

As I haven't been a constructed player in quite a while, I can't speak on how this set will integrate into the current tournament scene, but I definitely see a set of card that deal with land manipulation (a key to building tournament level decks) providing some powerful card options. So from a limited standpoint, Zendikar can be rough with all those Landfall abilities and lack of "easy" removal and seemed heavily skewed to green and white. Be aware of that when playing in sealed or drafting and you may be able to take advantage of that fact.

For those players who always complained about mana floods (drawing nothing but land for a few turns in a row) could make or break your game, this set is for you. With Landfall and Kicker costs, even a basic land could make your turn more exciting than it used to be.

Played in two drafts at Oshcon. I tried Black in both drafts. I would highly suggest against it. It has some removal, but it's creatures are overcosted and weak. Good, but just not enough big beats like you sometimes need in limited (for either offense OR defense).

The members of Console and Cardboard are also doing a Zendikar league. Starting out with 5 packs and playing over the course of the next few months, adding a pack every now and then. If you've never thought about a casual limited league for your play group I would highly recommend it.
- Everyone is on a even playing field (no "Mr. Suitcases")
- More relaxed than an official Limited tournament.
- Easy to get those friends who have been on the fence to try it out as a limited environement is less intimidating.