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Posts Tagged ‘woo hoo’

Chess Grandmonsters

April 23rd, 2010 No comments

Wizards of the Coast recently announced that it was allowing its license to create Star Wars role-playing games and miniatures to lapse. However, before the product line became one with the Force, WOTC gave one last gift to old-school fanboys. The final miniatures set, “Masters of the Force,” includes all eight of the “chess monsters” seen in the original film.

The scene was a throwaway bit in which R2-D2 and Chewbacca passed the time by playing a holographic board game. Chewie’s poor sportsmanship–and the threat that he might pull someone’s arm from the socket–elicited C-3PO’s timeless advice, “Let the Wookiee win.” Special effects artists Phil Tippett and Jon Berg created the charmingly crude stop-motion monsters that squeaked and hissed at each other across the chess table.

I love the odd looks of these whatsits.  They suggest the crazy biological diversity of a galaxy far, far away in a way that subsequent Star Wars productions never have.

These days, they naturally have been forced into codified confinement. The space chess game was given a name (dejarik) and each of the creatures a detailed background. In other words, all the fun has been surgically removed.

As for the miniatures themselves,  I placed an order and received seven of them earlier this week. (The eighth is still to come via a separate order.) Here they are!

Best of all, they’re just the right size to stage my own space chess match! Wookiees, of course, will not be invited.

Categories: Star Wars Tags: , ,

My Magic Moment

November 24th, 2004 No comments

On most Tuesday nights, I play Magic: The Gathering with a group of friends. In case you aren’t geek enough to know (and if you aren’t, how is it that you come to be reading my web page?), Magic is a collectible card game in which each player uses a customized deck (built from literally thousands of published cards) to simulate a wizards’ duel. As most collectible things are, it’s addictive, expensive and time-consuming. But fun!

I’d played a lot during the early days of the game, but lost interest for a number of years, and missed out on much of its evolution as new card sets were released. However, I began playing again a year or so back with a local group that gets together once a week.

At first, I definitely felt like the odd guy out. I’d gotten rid of most of my old cards (I wound up having to repurchase much of my previous collection), I didn’t know a lot of the newer play mechanics, and I never completely understood the complicated interactions of the game. I made a lot of mistakes, and built some pretty lame decks.

I’ve since gotten somewhat better–it helps to have good opponenets–though I have never quite felt that I was operating on the same level as the rest of the gang.

(Warning: from this point onward, this post will be full of geek language. Feel free to invent your own definitions.)

Last night the gods of Dominaria smiled upon me. I was playing my “Myrzatron” deck, which is mostly Mirrodin block artifacts with a splash of Black. It’s built around mana generation, with a full set of Urza’s lands, a flock of Myr, four Cloudposts, two Doubling Cubes and some artifact lands. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The first time I used it last night, the mana was flowing, but all of my big artifact creatures were buried at the bottom of the library and I was left to defend with nothing but a bunch of puny Myr.

However, during game two, everything clicked. I achieved Urzatron (a set of three Urza’s lands) on turn three, and while I only had one Cloudpost in play, there were enough others on the table that it was generating four mana by itself.

Then the Doubling Cube came out. For three colorless, the Cube taps to double each type of mana in your current pool. In the past, I haven’t found it as useful as I’d hoped. But then the second Cube came out. Suddenly, I was generating 30 colorless mana a turn.

And look here, the Staff of Domination! It taps to give life, draw cards, tap or untap creatures, and can be untapped for one colorless. It’s kinda expensive to operate–for instance, it costs five to draw a card. If only I had about 30 mana…hmmm…

Suddenly, I was tapping the opposing defenders, drawing cards (and casting them) and even gaining a little life. My foes were driven before me by a Beast of Burden with Cranial Plating and a passel of his Arcbound brethren. It was truly glorious, and the others–who generally kick my ass at Magic–were mightily impressed.

It may never happen again, but man, the compliments felt good!

Here are the contents of my current “Myrzatron” deck:

  • Lands
    • 4x Urza’s Tower
    • 4x Urza’s Power Plant
    • 4x Urza’s Mine
    • 4x Cloudpost
    • 4x Vault of Whispers
    • 2x Tree of Tales
    • 2x Darksteel Citadel
  • Creatures
    • 4x Copper Myr
    • 4x Leaden Myr
    • 2x Clockwork Condor
    • 2x Arachnoid
    • 2x Myr Enforcer
    • 2x Elf Replica
    • 2x Nim Grotesque
    • 1x Vermiculos
    • 2x Arcbound Bruiser
    • 2x Arcbound Crusher
    • 2x Arcbound Fiend
    • 1x Arcbound Overseer
    • 1x Clockwork Dragon
    • 1x Beast of Burden
  • Artifacts
    • 2x Darksteel Ingot
    • 1x Darksteel Forge
    • 2x Doubling Cube
    • 2x Welding Jar
    • 2x Cranial Plating
    • 1x Heartseeker
    • 1x Staff of Domination
    • 1x Ur-Golem’s Eye
  • Instants
    • 2x Dark Banishing
    • 2x Irradiate
Categories: Games Tags: ,