Everything Comes to an End – Restart/Try Again?

A lot has happened since my last post- GAME group went into administration, closed 277 stores (including my favourite, the flagship Gamestation on New Street in Birmingham) then was saved by OpCapita. My boyfriend and I went to California for a week of awesome, then came back to find out (and not through the proper channels, who conveniently ‘forgot’ to tell us) that the project we were working on at work had been canned and we were effectively out of a job. That’s a story I’m not going to go into- partly because I’m still amazed at their ineptitude, and partly because it’s not interesting reading.

Instead, I’m going to side-step into the world of card games. I started playing Magic the Gathering around the start of my last year of uni, then gave up around February/March last year when they brought in mechanics like paying a mana cost with life points and the horrible horrible combination of Infect/Proliferate. Those mechanics were enough to put me off playing (mostly because they seemed to eliminate a lot of deck balancing/skill that I’d gotten used to) so I sold almost all of my cards and started learning to play the Yu-Gi-Oh card game.

Yes, it’s a children’s card game. But it requires a surprising amount of tactical ability, which I enjoy the challenge of. A year on, I’m still pretty rubbish, but I don’t mind losing because of the enjoyment of the challenge. Plus, that was the main reason we went to California- the 100th Yu-Gi-Oh Champion Series tournament was held in Long Beach, and my boyfriend is a long-time player of the game and pretty damn good at it.

While attending (and yes, I did actually take part myself. And lost every single game.) the YCS tournament, another player I got chatting to told me about ‘Cardfight! Vanguard’. The striking card art piqued my interest, and he quickly taught me the basic rules and how the game works. I got back to the UK just in time for my two local card shops to start stocking the English trial decks and boosters, and I picked them up earlier this week.

Now this is where I need to give the game its due. It’s a pretty interesting concept, and the cards really are pretty. But some of the mechanics feel a little…off. For example, player A declares an attack of 18000 with their Vanguard and player B chooses to help their 10000 power Vanguard with a 10000 power defender. Once you’ve declared your defenders, you can’t change it.
Player A attacked with their Vanguard, which means they get to draw a card from their deck and look for a Trigger- all triggers allow the player to add 5000 power to one of their units (including the attacking Vanguard) as well as another named effect.

So let’s re-do the maths. 18000 attack, 20000 defense. But now Player A can add another 5000 attack power, making it 23k versus 20k. Oh dear, Player B just wasted their defender AND now has to take the damage. And if Player A’s Vanguard is Grade 3 and is fortunate enough to pull 2 Triggers, Player B ends up taking even more damage.

“Fair enough,” I hear you say. “Maybe it’s just part of the game balancing.” Maybe. But it also seems to skew the balance between skill and random chance. It’s less tactical and more ‘cross-your-fingers-and-hope’. That’s not so fun, in my opinion.

I have to admit, there are two factors that might be skewing my view of this. One, UK players currently only have 2 fully constructed decks to play with (Royal Paladin and Kagero) unless you’re willing to pay out a LOT for boosters in the hope of constructing a 50 card deck of another clan, and they are the one that seem to suffer the worst from this luck/skill imbalance on Vanguard attacks.. And two- the only person I have to play against is my boyfriend, who (as noted above) has many more years of card gaming/card game theory experience than I do. I lost 5-1 yesterday and 4-1 today.

BUT! I will not be beaten! I now have no job and am failing at the new game that I’ve invested in (I own every Vanguard card in the house)- but perseverance and positive thinking are likely to make both situations get better.

As a side note, I have a mini-success to share. There is a game called Top Darts for the PSVita, and its demo version was installed on many of the in-store demo Vitas in the UK (and the US, I found out).

The dulcet tones of the tutorial voice over were provided by yours truly 🙂


~ by Tegan on April 13, 2012.

One Response to “Everything Comes to an End – Restart/Try Again?”

  1. Über congrats on the tutorial dulcetness!! And why am I not surprised that your impressed by pretty shiny cards mei mei lol!!!

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