Sand Castles: Adventures in Design

I really couldn’t come up with a snappy title for this article so we are going with Sand Castles. I believe it works for now but I could change it in the future. “Sandbox” games are a term which describes open ended tabletop adventuring where the players make choices which leads to further development in the story. This type of adventure design contracts the much maligned “Railroad” story where player’s choices mean little in terms of where the narrative travels. Sandbox adventures lay at the core of RPG design with…

Read More

Casual Magic: The Summer of Brawl

Magic the Gathering: BRAWL

If you have been following any of my recent articles on casual Magic, you have seen an interest in Wizard’s newest format Brawl. To summarize, Brawl is a 60 card singleton format based around a commander that follows the Standard rotation schedule and to some extent its banlist. While it is easy to think of it as EDH-lite, its complexities and nuances seem to have both positives and negatives for different fanbases. Brawl has also had a rocky start from the bizarre rollout, to an online domination of one deck,…

Read More

Casual Magic: The Philosophy of Group Hug

This is perhaps one of the first deck explorations I have written for this site and it comes from years of tinkering and playing with a specific EDH strategy called Group Hug. To catch everyone else up, EDH is a format for Magic the Gathering where multiple people play with 100 card singleton deck at 40 life. The games are longer, the cards are crazier, and format has become a paragon for casual players as its regulations is dependent on social politics and in group rules. While the atmosphere of…

Read More

MTG / D&D: The Ruins of Zendikar

Zendikar is a dangerous world of lethal risks and priceless rewards. From the perspective of its inhabitants, it is a hostile place that seems to be actively trying to kill any creature that has the audacity to live there. The danger is unrelenting. Precarious terrain, cunning predators, and natural disasters on a massive scale all present a constant challenge to survival— as do the unpredictable ripples of change that wash through the plane, known to its people as the Roil. Even the mana that suffuses the land is wild and…

Read More

Casual Magic: The Fate of Brawl

I wrote the title a few weeks ago after attending the Star City Games Open in Baltimore. The dire title reflected my thoughts when exactly zero events for Brawl fired over the course of the weekend. In fact, Brawl became a lighthearted joke for most of the open when the announcements looking for players to fire a pod were met with chuckles and banter. Even I shared in the amusement for this format that seemed to be doomed before even beginning. I was one of the few waiting for a…

Read More

Casual Magic: Brawl

Magic the Gathering BRAWL

Fun VS Function I am struggling to think about what this series is and could be and what use it would be for others. I certainly have a lot to say about Magic the Gathering yet I still feel woefully inadequate in my knowledge and analysis over certain topics. Okay, most topics. Over these past couple of years, I have found myself locked in a purgatory between the domains of casual and competitive play for the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering. Perhaps this is where everyone resides just with…

Read More

Worlds Apart: 1d4 Con

1d4 Con

I believe the final numbers, in terms of attendance for 1d4 Con was 297. This tabletop convention held at a Holiday Inn in Martinsburg West Virginia broke their previous attendance by about 20 or so people and the organizers were ecstatic at the numbers. This sort of enthusiasm for growth is the type of thing I enjoy in conventions and even something I seek out when looking for local events that may not be so local. We drove around 2 hours to attend 1d4 Con and while the 3 day…

Read More

Pathfinder Log (5th Entry): Temple of Disease

Temple of Urgathoa

Godslayers Okay, so the temple isn’t called The Temple of Disease. It is actually the Temple of Urgathoa who is a Varsian goddess called the Pallid Princess and represents excess and rot mostly worshiped by necromancers and evil characters. It should be noted that the Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign does not have a showdown with the diety as Pathfinder does not have characters fighting gods. Despite being superhuman killing machines, there is little in the way of characters confronting deities as the gods which preside over the world…

Read More

MTG D&D: Army of the Damned

If by chance you caught my previous article on adventuring in the planes of Magic: The Gathering you will know that my Commander group plunged into the world of Innistrad with Dungeon and Dragons 5th Edition. Some of the highlights of these sessions was the knowledge of the plane as well as the flexibility of the 5e into making things fun and enjoyable. This was our 5th time working through Army of the Damned and by the conclusion I atleast found the whole experience invigorating.

Read More

Pathfinder Log (4th Entry): Seven Days to the Grave

Rules vs Fun This Pathfinder Log is my attempt to document my gaming group’s first run through the classic campaign Curse of the Crimson Throne. This is the first time my group has done a prewritten adventure and because of that everything goes hilarious. Coming from the world of homebrews and GMs that like to play loose with the rules, Pathfinder, for us, has become a great storytelling mechanism which has enough depth to keep players immersed in devices for their character. While 5E sounds like it would be perfect…

Read More

Exploring Ixalan: Rivals

rivals of ixalan

Continual MTG Commentary from a Kitchen Table Enthusiast Rivals of Ixalan is the conclusion of the Ixalan block for Magic the Gathering. Rivals of Ixlan is also the last small set from Wizard for the foreseeable future. For much of Magic’s history, the block format (either 2 or 3 connected expansions released over the course of a few months) have come to be the way the company distributes its product. This was the way most people have come to know Magic and how they explore the setting. Starting 2015, Magic…

Read More

Plane Shift: Innistrad

Plane Shift: Innistrad

Plane Shift is a set of free online supplements accompanying recent The Art of Magic: The Gathering releases written by James Wyatt. Each Plane Shift document provides D&D 5th Edition rules to play on the respective plane. Playing Dungeons and Dragons can be considered dorky. Playing Magic the Gathering on a regular basis can also be considered dorky. I am trying to think if playing Dungeons and Dragons within the realms of Magic the Gathering lore is less or more dorky than its base hobbies.

Read More

Pathfinder Log (3rd Entry): The Dead Warrens

Pathfinder Log 3

The Curse of the Crimson Throne is a long campaign. With six chapters, the entire story begs the players to not only maximize their characters but also be engaged for an in depth narrative. The Dead Warrens is the climatic ending for the Edge of Anarchy chapter which and sends the party down into a labyrinth of tombed tunnels in search of a body of a Shoanti native. Yes, hold on, let us back up a bit. If you remember last time, the party was rounding across the rooftops of…

Read More