Category Archives: Board games

Pauper Magic

I doubt anyone reading this post has not heard about Magic: The Gathering. This card game has been around since 1993. We began playing a couple of years later, and we stopped playing when we were old enough to realize they were just selling paper at outrageous prices.

Lightning Bolt card

 

I came back to it when I discovered “pauper”, a variation of the game where players can only play with really cheap cards. This post contains what I like and dislike of the game, and an introduction to Pauper Magic.

Fast and strategic

The game usually plays very fast, so you can go through several games in an hour. It works very well for those evenings you have nothing prepared, and allows for several players to compete against each other or in teams.

Very easy to learn the basics, but with deep strategic decisions. You make your deck of cards with a strategy in mind (damage, creatures, control, etc.) and you need to play each turn to develop that strategy. It is not a tactical game, a good turn will seldom make you win if your deck and play are not consistent.

Expensive and lazy

It is expensive. The competitive version of the game only allows you to play with cards published in the last year! A basic deck to begin is $20, but if you want to play in competitions at your local store and have any chance to win, then plan to spend $20 a month. A collection to play with a couple of your friends and make different decks to experiment and have fun, probably around $200.

Now they offer you lower prices if you buy them online. Now instead of paying for paper you can pay for small chunks of an online game…

The other famous drawback of Magic, at least for us roleplayers, is that it discourages game preparation. In order to play an adventure of most of roleplaying games you need at least a couple of hours preparing it. Some you get some of the heroics, magic and fluff of fantasy roleplaying games, with no time investment. I could say it kills the hobby, but the truth is that the players who sift to Magic were probably not really interested in roleplaying games.

Pauper Magic

In this version of the game you can only use the most common cards of the game. Most of people sell those cards in bulk packages because they have no use for them, but to a budget gamer they are still useful.

You can play online to Pauper Magic even cheaper, where there is an active community at PDCMagic.com. You can also read some of the internet guides to competitive pauper, like the one at MTGO Academy. Check those if you like competitive play but it goes beyond your budget.

This format is the only reason I have bought a few cards in the last 15 years. You can afford a few new cards, which add new tricks to your decks, and play casual games with your friends. The biggest budget no longer wins the game! 😉

Other card games

There are awesome card games, which are not collectible. If you try Magic but you don’t want a collectible game, try one of these. You buy the game and that’s it. Here are a couple which play fast, have a deal of strategy in them, come with nice illustrations, and are really fun:

Card games

 

I will post some reviews of these two games, because I like both a lot.

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Tas’ rats vs. Tur’s lizards 3:2 (4:1)

A couple of Saturdays ago we had a great game of Bloodbowl! This is just a short description of the game, to keep it recorded. If you have any specific question, just ask!

Tas played with a skaven team:

  • Gutter Runner x4
  • Strong Vermin x2
  • Lineman x6
  • Rerolls x3

While I chose the mighty lizards:

  • Kroxigor x1
  • Saurus x5
  • Skink x5
  • Rerolls x2

It was supposed to be a blocking fest for the lizards, and dodge & run game for the rats, but my luck with dice had something to say… If you check the casualties result, ¡I suffered 4 casualties! while the rats just 1. I kept rolling skulls, and Tas just kept rolling 11s and 12s in the armor and injury rolls 😦 .

The lizards try to keep the ball in a terrible cage
The lizards try to keep the ball in a terrible cage

I’m not a great BloodBowl player, but I learnt a few things from the trial. The first one is to never play a Both Down result against Tas. It doesn’t really matter my player is a Saurus and his a skaven lineman. I lost two saurus this way.

Another important lesson is not to play with Big Guys, unless my luck with dice changes dramatically. The Kroxigor was pretty useless and was almost injured by the rats. They teamed up on him once my team was decimated!

Lizards team completely outnumbered
Lizards team completely outnumbered

We had fun and practiced the rules, which we don’t know enough. Not many more teams to try, it seems I need to finish painting my Humans…

BloodBowl teams

These were painted a while ago, but I feel like sharing the pictures, so you can also compare them to my 15mm miniatures. These are 28mm scale, what means more details to paint.

BloodBowl is a “fantasy football” strategy game, with a great theme: ultra-violent american football played by fantastic creatures. Games Work$hop published it in 1986 using similar miniatures to the ones they were selling for Warhammer. However, they soon thought that the player just needed to buy a team, and the business was over, so they stop supporting it.

The game had a strong fan base, and lived much longer. In fact, since 2001, fans kept developing the rules, new companies produced miniatures for the game, and an impressive tournament circuit was set. You can find tournaments in every corner of the world, and even international tournaments are organized by fans. The main forum in Spanish is a great place to find players.

In the last few years, finding surprised that BloodBowl is a good business, Games Work$hop came back, licensing a videogame and giving more support to the board game.

The truth is I’m really bad playing it, because it involves rolling dice too often, and luck with dice has always eluded me 🙂 . But the game is so gore and funny, I cannot help liking it.

 

Skaven

My dear rats. This is the first team I ever owned, and almost the first minis I painted. These pewter jewels are my favourite, and the only Games Work$hop origianl team. The ratogre is a Reaper miniature, but it fits right and is much cheaper.

Skaven team with rat ogre
Skaven team with rat ogre

Strong vermin (blitzers) to the right, gutter runners (runners) to the left, the linerats (linemen) in the center, and the ratogre and thrower at the back. I also painted a medic and a coach, which you can see with square bases.

 

Chaos

Through eBay I got some Warhammer Fantasy miniatures and converted them to BloodBowl. It takes some time to remove weapons and such things, but the prices was so good, and the process so entertaining, that it didn’t took me much effort.

Chaos team with minotaur
Chaos team with minotaur

The chaos warriors (blitzers) to the front, and the beastmen (linemen) behind. My skinny minotaur, again from Reaper, is at the back. Some guys laughed at the poor soul in the only tournament I ever attended, but I find it more slim than skinny 🙂 .

 

Orcs

Cheap minis again for the orcs, and some Heroquest goblins. The orcs were for one of the first editions of the game, and I modified them to show which position they were fielded at. I also have a troll, but it is still not painted.

Orc team
Orc team

Blitzers to the left, and black orcs to the right. The throwers behind and the two goblins in the front. In the game, the troll can throw the goblins as if they were the ball, what is an awesome move which rarely succeeds 🙂 .

 

Lizardmen

I also have a lizardmen team, but I still don’t have photos, so I leave them for another post.

 

If anyone is interested in a game, please contact me 🙂 .