Friday, February 29, 2008

Operation Publicity Stunt

Well, I know I decided not to do a full fledged drive for traffic until I get my real game reviews up (more of a promise to myself, I never told you). I am still sticking to it, but I had an idea that will probably solve my problem. I have five months...

I have dubbed this project "Operation Publicity Stunt". I came up with this idea less than 72 hours ago. I am going to design a game and get it published in time for Dragon*Con.

What is Dragon*Con? Only the largest gaming convention in the United States!

Of course, if I wanted to this officially, I would have to pay a fee to set up a table in order to display and demo my product. The thing is, I review underground games, so mine should be underground too.

Now, I know my regular readers probably want to know specifics about "O.P.S.". Well, that is not going to happen until I have a finished set and rules. That is when I will be looking for artists. Just so you know, my personal deadline for that stage is next Friday! I am pushing myself extremely hard so that my artists can take their time. I am still trying to find a proper printer, though I do have one in negotiations.

As usual, I am going to tell you that I am still working on getting the videos. When I decided to use game play videos, I only thought about bringing my readers a better medium for learning the games. I did not expect so many setbacks. At least I am not going on hiatus this time.

Friday, February 22, 2008

CCG/TCG Preservation Project

Today, I would like to tell you about another of my pet projects. In a way, it is related to a couple of my older articles. If you are wondering how it is related, just keep on reading.

I started writing this blog in an effort to bring attention to the lesser known card games. Why? Because I have seen many great games come and go just because no one had ever heard of them, and that was mainly due to the fact that there were not enough advertisements for the game in question. I give my support to the little game, but that is not enough for the games that have already left us. That is where my other project comes in.

I have started archiving images from the hard to come by and dead card games I have stumbled across. Sometime I can find an online image library, and that is a big help. Of course, that is not always the case. Sometimes I have to scan the cards in my own collection, though I do not have a large enough collection to complete my project.

Like I have said, I have come across a few online image libraries that are hosted on the main sites for the games they depict. The only problem is that if the game is not longer in production and the company lets the “lease” on the domain name expire, and the company itself goes under, the images on the website will be lost. If no one can find the cards, then it will become just another game lost in the aether. I do not want to let that happen.

I have decided to take advantage of the fact that my image host doe not have a limit to how many images I can post, nor how much bandwidth I can use. I am going to take all of the images I compile and post them so that people can try these great games. The risky part in this is that there is a chance my image host may vanish, so I am dedicating an old 20 gig hard drive to this project as well. If one hos goes down, I can post my backups on another site.

Now, in the intro I told you that this project is related to a couple of my other articles. The articles I am talking about are “On Proxy Cards” and “Gatling Engine”. I am compiling this database so that people can print out the cards and try out the games. The people who created the Gatling Engine have a similar idea in mind, except everything is done online. This will save people money since they do not have to spend money on paper, but it takes away face to face interaction, which is my favorite detail of card gaming.

I am going to continue to compile my database, but I am not going to post anything until I know for a fact I am not going to be sued by the game owner. If you would like to help me out, feel free to send me some card scans. That would be great.

The Links Page

Well, I am about to undergo a large link exchange project. That means I am not going to have room for my links on my main page any longer. I will be keeping them in this list instead. Feel free to check these people out.

Game Design:

An Alternative Game
An Alternative Fantasy

Gaming Blogs:

Girl in the Machine
Yehuda: Gaming in the Holy Land

Game Stores:

Tyche's Games

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Open Boosters

Yeah, I know it is Wednesday, but the videos aren't ready yet. But I do have a little tidbit for you.

I just got some of my friends interested in playing Hecatomb. Because of that I ordered a booster box, and I could not resist opening every single pack. It has been some time since I have opened a booster pack (believe it or not). I forgot how much of a rush it was to open the packs. Sadly, Hecatomb is not made from cardboard so I did not get that amazing smell. Fortunately I got 20 booster from another game that more than made up for it.

That's all I wanted to say. I love opening booster packs, and I hope you do too.

Friday, February 15, 2008

On Dice

If there is one thing I cannot live without, it's dice. That is something I find kinda funny, since I seldom (if ever) play RPGs. It is not that I have anything against RPGs, I just can't act. I can never seem to get into character, which completely defeats the purpose of playing an RPG.

Now, I know there are other gaming genres that use these lovable polyhedrons. I just wanted to point out my short comings. Wargames also use dice, but most of the ones I have seen are D6 based (this says nothing for the majority, since I havce not seen that many wargames in action). Since my obsession is the genre of the CCG, I have no real excuse to love dice... or do I?

Using dice has taken the place of using glass counters, at least for me. They take up much less space, and one D6 can replace up to six glass counters. On many occasions I have been known to use a D20 for my life marker. And of course there are some games where a random decision must be made. Dice are just that cool.

Recently I have had the honor of finding a rare treat. I have found a CCG that has a D20 based combat system. Yet another excuse for me to keep them around. I will not tell you which game it is, since I try not to mention games I have not reviewed by name (except for the mainstream games). However, I do get some traffic from a forum dedicated to this neat game, so they will know which game I am talking about.

Fortunately for me and my obsession with dice, not just one game uses dice. I have found one card based game that is also a wargame (but you know what I am going to say). Its system is D6 based, which makes it very interesting and accessible.

Then there is Draim Arena. The combat system is so developed that Draim had to design their own variants of the D12. Two different D12s are used that adds a random element to the game that makes it even more fun.

Well, before I go, I should tell you that I was tinkering around with a wargame a few years back. What made this game unique was that you could get all of the pieces you need from your local supermarket for about $0.25 each. That's right... Gumball Machine Wars! I'll let you think about that until next week.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

An Upcoming Game

In one of my past exploits on teh interwebs I came across a game that is about to enter play testing, and soon hit the market.

I will not spill too much info for now, since it is not my game. What I will do is give you the home page addy and let you check it out for yourself.

War for Edadh

Also, if you check my links, you will find the blog of the game's creator. It is called "An Alternative Game".

Monday, February 11, 2008

Video Problems and Solutions

Well, Saturday I was with my victims trying to get a test video done when quite a few revelations were made.

#1) The lighting was too dark. We are going to bring some light fixtures.
#2) My main camera froze, and I did not notice it for about 20 minutes. That was a fluke, but I will keep an eye on it.
#3) I still need to get my victims more well versed in the games. Instead of being greedy and taking my decks with me when I leave, I should let them become familiar with the cards by leaving the decks with the person who will be playing it.

Now on to the innovations my crew came up with.

#1) This one comes from one of my victims (we really need to get them screen names). While playing, we are going to use racks to hold the cards, like in Scrabble.
#2) I had planned on using two cameras, but some games (like Draim Arena) are meant for more than just two players. After some digging, I have four cameras (my cell phone and psp included). Expect a video test in the next week or so.

Everything else you will have to wait for in the video. I have to keep this entertaining, now don't I.

Friday, February 8, 2008

On Proxy Cards

Proxy cards are interesting indeed. There are several varieties of proxy cards that I have seen, but they are generally used in the same manner.

A proxy card can take many forms. I have seen cards from the same game being used as place holders, a printout of the desired card being used in its place, and even a pure counterfeit. Each of these methods will give you a cheap alternative to using the desired card and help you develop decks without having to shell out money for a card that you may not need.

Of course, the varying forms of proxy cards are also subject to varying forms of legality (both in tournaments and otherwise). Using a stand in card is great at home, but it is not exactly tournament legal. Printout cards can be legal in tournaments for some games if you can prove that you actually own the card (this can be a great way to protect your expensive power cards). Using a counterfeit card is not only illegal in tournament play, but the selling of such cards is straight up illegal.

Now, I support the first two forms of proxy cards. The third... not so much. I plan on using the second method a lot for the purpose of reviewing games. Many of the games I want to review are no longer on the market, but I have been able to dig up archives of card images.

Some games are kind enough to give prospective players printable playable .pdfs (sorry, I couldn't help myself ). I have all of the one's that I have come across saved on my hard drive, one of which is from a game that was canceled before it was ever released. I will post all of those urls once I review the games (I do not want you guys getting ahead of me...). There is one game that I must start archiving now, since the site is dead and I do not know if the domain name will be renewed in the future. I would not want the game to disappear into the aether.

My preferred method for using proxies is to take an extra card from the game I am playing and a printed card. I then place them in a sleeve (note: if you are using opaque sleeves, just use a spare card from any game) with the proxy facing out (I know that is common sense. I am rambling, not insulting your intelligence). This helps add rigidity to the proxy and allows me to shuffle and play easily.

Before I call it quits for today, I just want to tell you that I do not endorse counterfeit cards. There have been many cases of counterfeit card dealers being arrested. Generally, only fad games have to worry about counterfeit cards. Magic has many security measures in place, but Yu-Gi-Oh! has to deal with tons of counterfeit cards coming into the country from foreign printers. Maybe I will rant about that soon, but other sites already have and I want to be original. I'll bet if you check your local flea market you will find some.

Until next time. I hope to bring you a real article next week. We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ways to Support UTTG

Well, I think this will be the last time I will talk about money on this site. Why? Because I am about to tell you the easiest ways to get me to shut up about it. Like I have said time and time again, this is not free (well, not always).

I currently have about 7 ways you can help. You can fin 6 of them here. The 7th I forgot to add. It is just buying my leftovers from my shop.

Everything on the list except for buying from Amazon, donating, and buying from my shop is FREE FOR YOU. With that said, what is stopping you? I would love to put more time into this site, but I am limited by having to pay bills, and that requires me to work at my job which takes time away from writing reviews.

For just the time it takes for a page to load, you too can sponsor a game reviewer.


Gets me $5 per person who signs up. Free for you, and you too can make money.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Gaming Related Quiz Results

This is a page that I will continue to exoand as long as I have days where I am not at work, in class, playing a game to review, and bored off my bum.

If you want to know there you stand, just click the results.

Take the Hecatomb™ TCG What Is Your Doom? quiz.

I am a d8

Take the quiz at

Friday, February 1, 2008

On Token Creatures

I don't know why, I love token creatures. No matter what game I am playing, there is just something about pooping out a little chump blocker that warms my heart.

I constantly find myself planning planning entire decks around generating ridiculous quantities of token creatures. I have been known to bend the laws of physics by producing an infinite number of these little buggers (okay, so I know there is no such thing as infinity in card games. I just pick a number that is really, really big. ).

Be it Magic: the Gathering or Mystical Empire, I love exploiting the means of production in order to create an army out of thin air. Of course, just because I can swarm an opponent does not guarantee victory. In Mystical Empire there is a card that nullifies all damage from creatures with less than four loyalty (if you do not know what that means, check the archives or wait until the re-review in the new and improved format ).

I am still on a quest to find the simplest “infinite” creature combo. The best I have found is in Mystical Empire involving Ring of Zombie Lord (not a typo ) and Vasir, Eternal Dragon. Of course you can only have on Ring and two Vasirs per deck and that just so happens to be the exact amount of each that must be in play, if any one of those is removed from the game... well, you're buggered. If this combo does kick off, the zombies you produce are ready to attack the same turn. So I guess it is worth it.

Now, just because a game does not give you the ability to create token creatures does not mean I do not like it (you can ask my friends in Sweden about that ). However, this ability does allow for a large variety of strategies ranging from a simple “Zerg Rush” (yay, StarCraft reference!) to a deck so complex that it requires a degree in theoretical mathematics to complete one turn (my personal favorite ). Give it a try, you just might like it.

Oh, and for those that have played me in M:tG, I have one word for you. Ornithopter.

New Services... Kinda

Well, since I am coming out of my long hiatus, I have brought a few new features to UTTG. First is what I like to call "The Scrounger". Whenever you see a card name that is a hyperlink, if you click it you will be brought to an image of that card. The more people that view those images, the more money I get.

Another service you will notice to your left. I have a widget that connects to a list of items that I like on I will be expanding it often, and everything there gets me a commission when you buy it.

Now, I know I said I was going to use for videos, but I have changed my mind. Instead I am using They pay me.

You will also notice that at the bottom of every post is a PayPal donation button and a Google ad. You are not obligated to donate or click the link. In fact, if I were to tell you to click the link it would violate my TOS. My Google ads are also in the Scrounger.

Finally, I am setting up a shop where I can sell off the excess gaming materials I will be acquiring. These will be unopened of course (no, I will not be parting with my Draim materials. I love it too much ).

I hope you like the content I will be providing you, and I hope you will tell your friends.