Monday, October 22, 2012

Getting READY for National Novel Writing Month

YAY!  National Novel Writing Month is one of those things I look forwards to with a mixture of dread and anticipation.  For the last 4 years it has been a part of my life one way or another and it has produced two 50,000 fiction chunks that are better known as novels out of me.  The first year I didn't find out about it until the 10th or so and I just couldn't catch up.  What can I say, I write slooooowly.  The other year I failed I lost everything in a power surge that took out my backup and the original copy.  Freak accident what can you do?  So this will be my 4th official year and hopefully I will produce a 3rd novel.  The current plan is to write a sequle/continuation of the first one.  The first one ends with the suicide of the main character.  So it goes.  However life goes on for everyone else so that's what the novel is about life going on.  Also one of my favorite plot points is having your past come up and haunt you.  I won't be doing that this time.  Instead it will be a whole host of new problems for the remaining characters to deal with.  I can't really decide how it will end but I know that I'll figure it out on the fly like I always do.  WOOP!

I love national novel writing month.  I think it is an amazing concept.  To write something for the sheer joy and exhileration of writing and no other reason.  To throw aside concerns of quality and just write something at all costs is amazing to me and so I participate with vigor.  The thing is that I am particularly bad at it.  As I said earlier I write slowly.  I also don't really have anywhere to write.  My house is not a good place for me to get things done.  I've longed to change this about my house but I am not sure how to make it happen.  I've tried a number of things but none of them seem to work the way I want them to and that doesn't upset me per say but it does.  The baby laptop was a lunge in the right direction but now I need to figure out a way to write at home.  As much as I hate to say it I think I need external motivation.  Like someone to say, "Knock off the stuff and do this other thing you need to".

I mean during NaNoWriMo it keeps me motivated and I dunno I am just able to do it.  Also I tend to make a really big deal about it here and on facebook because never underestimate the power of embarrassment.  I know I can do it.  I have done it and I'll continue to do so.  It is just that I can't seem to translate this accomplishment into other ones.  I'll get it though because I am not giving up either.  So there.

This year for reasons I am not sure of I am going to try to clean up and organize my house.  Last night I made some pretty epic strides in doing this and I think that will continue tonight.  Disorganization is the heart of relaxation.  Organization is the heart of productivity.  Somehow I need to find the balance between the two in my living space.  It should work...and if not well then at least it will be cleaner. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Quarriors vs Puzzle Strike

YAY!  So everyone who knows me knows I love me some Dominion.  God I love Dominion that game is just so much fun.  Deck building games in general are just a good fun time and we have all sorts of pretenders to the throne.  That's fine.  Recently I've played both Quarriors and Puzzle Strike which are both games that have a lot in common with deck building but they aren't.  This mostly has to do with the fact that you are using things other than cards pogs in the case of puzzle strike and dice in the case of quarriors.  Also in both of these games you aren't building a buying engine to end the game.  Instead in PS you are trying to oust your other players and in Quarriors you are trying to make it so that you have enough monsters to survive till your turn which is the only way to generate points.  Both are very different games, however, both are lighter than Dominion and I like both of them.

The question is when compared to each other how do they stack up.

1) Teachability.  Quarriors is easier to teach and fairly easy to learn.  I've gotten multiple people up and running in about 5 minutes.  The game is easy as hell to pick up and there is a lot of public information for the new people to pour over and analyze.  All the cards I've encountered use very clear language that is easy to understand with only a basic understand of the game.  Like there was never a monster card where I just went "what the fuck does that mean".  Culling is the game's most complex mechaninc and once you see why it is important it is something that rarely gets forgotten. 

Puzzle Strike is more difficult to teach.  Crashing, counter crashing, and double crashing are all more than a little counterintuitive and tricky to explain.  The disks don't have a lot of room for explanation and so sometimes they can be slightly confusing.  Like using combo-master for someone's first game is a tool thing to do.  The game is also just plain old more complex.  You need to balance how many gems are in your gem pile, with how many gems are in other people's gem piles so that you don't accidently let someone else win the game when you deal the killing blow.  More complex isn't bad.  But it does make teaching the game a bit of a chore.

2) Components-  Pogs are fun but dice win.  Quarriors makes really good use of its dice.  Each dice has three corresponding monster cards which all do different things, sometimes radically different things.  As a result even if you are using the same dice it doens't nessiarily represent the same monster.  This gives you a huge variety in game play without having 80 billion components to deal with.

Puzzle Strike follows the more standard dominion alike model.

3) Breaking out and Game Length- Puzzle strike is a lot more difficult to break out and put up.  There are more base disks that need to be there in every game and just the way PS is stored in the box makes it more annoying to take out and put up.

Quarriors has three piles of dice that are present in every game, the cards are reasonably color coded to the dice and even though I had no idea what I was doing I had the game broken out and set up pretty effortlessly.  I could never remember what went in the starting bag but that's a me thing.

Quarriors also plays faster.  Roll dice to get resources and summon monsters, monsters attack, buy, and done.  There aren't action chains or a lot of complex interactions in the tradtional deck building sense.  Everyone's turn more or less takes the same amount of time no matter what.  The biggest choice you make is what die to buy and occasionally what to summon.  In general though once things get rolling (HA!) the momentum keeps up.  There is also a lot of suspence, will they knock out the monsters I set up or will they not get the critical face they need.  Other people's turns are more than just times where you hibernate.

Puzzle Strike has things like action chains, chips with complicated effects, attack resolutions and all sorts of other things.  However, unless you are the one being attacked or unless you are in a potential possition to block the attack other people's turns are just things that happen while you are waiting to go again.  The game takes longer to play but it also more complex and in many ways it is more satisfying.

To end all of this because I am out of time, Puzzle Strike is a real game.  It has stradegy not just with what you buy but also in how you play.  In a lot of ways I would argue that it is more complex than Dominion.  Quarriors on the other hand is much more simple than Dominion.  Quarriors is, for all intents and purposes, a party game.  It is quick, simple, tactile, and lots of fun.  It isn't necessarily something that I'd play all night unlike Puzzle Strike or Dominion.  Still it is an absolute perfect lunchtime/filler/ I dunno what to do type game.