Space Western; an awesome genre!

As late as last week, I learned that Obsidian will be releasing a new game this year, called The Outer Worlds. I really enjoy playing RPGs in general and I absolutely love Obsidian’s earlier works, such as Fallout: New Vegas, so I honestly can’t understand how I’ve missed the news about their new game, until now! And judging from the trailer, I think it looks great! What I am especially hyped about, is that The Outer Worlds will have a space western setting, and space western is a genre that I really enjoy 🙂 So, I thought I would write a blog post about the genre and give a couple of examples of works of art, that it includes. Perhaps it can even inspire some of you to check them out, if you haven’t heard of them before 🙂

Space western is a sub genre to the science fiction genre, and basically means any work of fiction that takes place in space and incorporates elements from the western genre. Examples of such elements are the inclusion of more or less lawless characters, taking on the challenges that comes with a life on the frontier, i.e. lands close to or beyond the border to the unknown. The genre is very close to – or perhaps even crosses over to – space operas. The difference, roughly speaking, is that space operas often contain a larger element of politics.

spacecowboyWhat I especially like about the genre, is that things such as weapons, machines and buildings often are very advanced and futuristic but at the same time worn and shabby. (This is in a way something the space western genre have in common with the cyberpunk genre, another genre I absolutely love). The environment is often harsh, rough and hostile, which gives an extra element of excitement. At least one of the main characters, usually the protagonist, tend to have more or less anti-hero traits, which in my opinion makes him/her more interesting and easy to sympathize with.

Examples within this genre are:

  1. Borderlands – a series of first person shooter open world RPG:s, developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K Games. The main story of the first one is of “treasure hunters”, where you get to play one of them, hunting for alien artefacts that in turn will lead them to a vault filled with extremely valuable alien technology. But things end with a surprise and thereby opens the door to a (or a couple of) sequel(s)…
  2. Firefly/SerenityFirefly was a tv-series created by writer and director Joss Whedon. The series takes place in a future where all of Earth’s recourses have been used and people are now struggling to survive by terraforming other planets. We follow a small crew of smugglers on board the spaceship Serenity as they travel the different part of the galaxy, struggling not only with successfully complete their different assignments, but also with avoiding to get involved with conflicting factions and the authorities. The tv-series only aired for one season and got cancelled because it didn’t live up to the expected amount of success. A movie sequel was made, called Serenity.
  3. Cowboy Bebop – An Anime series created by Shinichirō Watanabe, and like Fireyfly, Cowboy Bebop also takes place in a future where the Earth is no longer habitable and people have instead colonized different parts of the galaxy. We follow a small group of bounty hunters, as they catch and transport criminal fugitives across the galaxy to the police, in order to get food tickets.

cowboy bebop

Another huge name in this genre, that I doubt need further presentation, is of course Star Wars, where especially characters as Boba Fett and Han Solo carry much of western genre influence. One could however definitely argue that Star Wars have more elements of a space opera, where some parts have more of it than others. And the last example I will give you, are the brilliant Mad Max movies, although they are more of a sci-fi western (a sci-fi movie that doesn’t take place in space, but still have western themes). The earlier movies have reached somewhat of a cult status today and the latest produced, Mad Max: Fury Road by director George Miller, definitely deserves a watch, if you haven’t seen it already.

What is your favorite piece of art within this awesome genre?

A guide to three fun Magic the Gathering cards formats for two players

This will be a short introduction and guide to the limited format, as well as a presentation of three different ways to play limited if you are two players. For those of you who are not familiar with the limited format in magic, it is a format where the card pool from which you build your deck is limited, e.g. a maximum of 6 booster packs. A good thing about playing limited is, that neither of you need to have a pre built deck to take part; you simply build the deck as you go 🙂

A limited deck consists of a minimum of 40 cards. All the other cards that you open, but don’t put in you deck, can be used as your sideboard. You can put as many basic lands from outside your card pool as you want in your deck, they don’t need to be included in the cards you open. Other land types however, like the different guild gates in the current Ravnica set for example, can only be put in your limited deck if they were included in your limited card pool. And there is no restriction on how many copies of one card you may put in your deck, so if you open five Fireblade Artists, you may play all of them in your limited deck.

So now, a quick guide to building a limited deck, which preferably consists of 17-18 lands and usually 14-17 creatures. Start by going through all the cards you got and divide them into their different colours. Then, I suggest you go through the different colours looking for “bombs” by which I mean strong cards; cards that could win you the game if your opponent doesn’t have an answer to them quickly. In Ravnica Allegiance, examples of bombs are Hydroid Krasis, Biogenic Ooze and Angel of Grace. But, these type of cards can’t do all the work themselves, so even if you open an Angel of Grace, but the rest of the white cards are just not good, perhaps you will need to choose other main colour(s) and just splash a bit of white, if you still think you should play her.

Apart from having your own bombs, you need to have answers to you opponents bombs, so look for good removal spells amongst your cards. Unless you have opened an amazing low curve creature base, where there neither is much room nor need for removal, it is usually quite good to put as much removal in your deck as possible. And remember that limited is a slow enough format for mana expensive removal like Get the Point to count as good 🙂

And speaking of curve, the mana curve in limited is very important and you need to have some early plays. Playing a big bunch of one-drop creatures isn’t usually a good strategy, however, as they often are small and don’t have a big impact on the board. In stead, let the 2, 3 and 4 mana slots be where most of your creatures are, with the 3 mana slot being the most heavy, generally speaking.

Keeping the mana base dual coloured, perhaps with a third colour splash, is generally a good idea, as it allows good consistency. Generally speaking, if you want to play aggro, keep the colour palate small, and if you want to play a more controlling deck, you may have the ability to splash more colours.

And lastly, but not least, when choosing cards, don’t try to mix different synergies/mechanics in the one deck as your deck should have somewhat of a cohesive gameplan (controlling, aggressive or as mixture). When choosing creatures, creatures with evasion are generally strong in limited. Evasion basically means that they are difficult to block and include creatures with flying, menace, double strike, first strike, deathtouch or – of course – unblockable 😉

Now, let’s get to the three limited formats 🙂

1. Sealed deck

You will need the following:

  1. Basic lands – in case you might end up playing a mono coloured deck, I recommend you bring at least 18 of each basic land type. However, with the limited card pool, decks often end up being at least dual coloured, in order to have as much value as possible in the deck. If you don’t have any basic lands, you can usually buy them very cheaply at the same store where you buy the boosters.
  2. Six unopened booster packs per person.
  3. 40 card sleeves per person (not a necessity to play, but perhaps you might open a valuable card that you wish to protect 🙂 )
  4. Some way to keep track of life total: dice, pen and paper or whatever you prefer.
  5. Counters and tokens, if the included cards have effects that creates one or the other.

Start with opening all your boosters and build your deck, according to the guide lines mentioned above. Once you have your 40 card deck, you are ready to go! 🙂

Can be played even if you are more than two people – you would just need more boosters for the party 😉

simic

2. Winston draft

You will need the following:

  1. 90 cards in total, favourably from some kind of sealed product, so you don’t know precisely what cards will be included, e.g. 6 booster packs from the same set, or a mix.
  2. Basic lands.
  3. 40 card sleeves (recommendation only).
  4. Life tracker.
  5. Counters and tokens (potentially).

Shuffle the 90 cards well together to form a big pile. From the pig pile, create three small piles, with only one card in each. Then decide which player gets to start. Player A starts by looking at one of the small piles and decides whether he/she wants to include that pile in their card pool. If the answer is No, put the pile back and add a card, then move on to the next pile. If neither of the three piles were interesting, player A draws a card from the big pile and then it is time for player B to perform the same procedure. If a player finds a pile they want, they simply pick up all cards included in that pile, and then start building a new pile, by placing the top card from the big pile on the spot where the picked up pile was. And then that players turn ends, even if he/she only got to look at one pile. This is repeated until all 90 cards have been distributed.

winstondraft1

And then, it is time to build a 40 cards deck, according to the same guidelines as mentioned above. The difference here, compared to the sealed deck format, is that you have a chance to start planning what deck you want to play, based on the cards you get to see early in the draft pool, and then have a chance to influence what cards you get to add to that deck.

winstondraft

3. Pack war

This is quite the fun format! A bit janky, but good fun! 🙂 You will need the following:

  1. Two booster packs per person.
  2. 45 sleeves (recommendation only).
  3. Three of each basic land type per person.
  4. Life tracker.
  5. Tokens and counters (potentially).

packwars1

Player A and player B open their packs, but don’t look at what cards they got. Remove the token and the advertisement card, if such is included. Shuffle the rest of them together with the basic lands, and there is your deck! 🙂

 

The pack war format don’t always allow the deck to run smoothly, since it is quite the mix of stuff, but since that might be the case for both players, there is a chance you will get a fun, long going game out of it anyway 🙂

I’m hoping this post have inspired you to try some of these formats and wish you a good time playing! 🙂

A visit to our new local gaming store

We have recently moved to a new city in the northern part of Sweden, and the day before yesterday, was our first time visiting the LGS here in Luleå, Spelkällan (roughly translates to “the fountain of gaming”). It was quite the cosy place, everyone was very friendly and in the background, you could hear the soundtrack from Skyrim – a perfect way to set the right atmosphere 🙂

We played modern, and since I didn’t know what kind of meta we would be up against, I brought my Jund deck, since I think Jund can perform ok against a big variety of decks. The list I am playing is a bit untraditional (as may deck lists almost always are 😉 ) and looks like this:

4 x Goyf
3 x Bob
3 x Scavenging ooze
3 x Tireless Tracker
3 x Bloobraid Elf

2 x Liliana o.t. Veil
2 x Liliana t.l. Hope

1 x Assasin’s Trophy
2 x Push
3 x Bolt
1 x Kolaghan’s Command
1 x Maelstrom Pulse
1 x Terminate
2 x Collective Brutality
3 x Inquisition
1 x Thoughtseize

3 x Blackcleave cliffs
2 x Blooming marsh
4 x Verdant catacombs
2 x Bloodstained Mire
2 x Overgrown Tomb
1 x Blood crypt
1 x Stomping ground
2 x Raging ravine
2 x Treetop village
1 x Wooded foothills
2 x Swamp
1 x Forest
1 x Mountain

It went as follows: Jeskai control: 1-2,  Grixis Shadow: 2-0, Esper control/reanimator: 1-2 and UG Delver: 0-2. Jeskai out-valued my Jund list in the classical manner, I couldn’t find my threats agains Esper and couldn’t find my removal against the delver deck. So it could have gone better, of course, but it was good fun! 🙂 I constructed this list with the idea that playing both Bobs and Trackers would give me good card draw and Tracker herself can become quite the body, if left alone on the battlefield. My result was also partly due to a couple of misplays from my part, so I haven’t completely given up on this build. But next time, I think I will try my Rakdos midrange deck and see how that performs. It should be better against control decks and based on the decks people were playing this time, control seem to be the dominant deck type in that LGS.

display

Before the store closed, I bought a Ravnica Allegiance display, which me and my husband will be playing sealed with during the weekend. After all the packs have been cracked, I will share what I got and what decks I built 🙂

Until then, have a nice day!

Please allow me to introduce myself

But first of all: Welcome to my little world of gaming! In this blog, I will be sharing my everyday gaming, which will mainly consist of Magic the Gathering and different sorts of video games, with the occasional board game now and then. I will also be writing reviews of both old and new games within the aforementioned categories.

And who am I then? I am a Swedish female, born in the 80’s who has loved playing games for as long as I can remember. As a small child I would mostly play all sorts of board games, my two favorites being Dungeon Quest and Cluedo.

dungeonquest

It would be a couple of years before I could get my own computer, since I had to buy it with my own money. But a few years of saving later I got one, and I would spend countless nights playing Civilization I (and later on II, III and IV) and a bunch of adventure games, such as Simon the Sorcerer and Day of the Tentacle, just to mention a few.

dayofthetentacle

A time consuming university education and medical residency would mean a period where I didn’t have much time for gaming, unfortunately. But I have been well back into it for a good couple of years now, after my residency finished. I am lucky enough to have a fantastic husband who shares my gaming interest; it was he who introduced me to Magic the Gathering 2,5 years ago, and we have been playing it regularly since.

A big welcome once again! I’m hoping You will find this blog informative, but mainly entertaining! 🙂