All Tomorrow's Parties

All Tomorrow's Parties

All Tomorrow's Parties

Random thoughts and a eulogy for the best card game that was...

Author: The Root Of All Evil/Δευτέρα, 24 Σεπτεμβρίου 2018/Categories: Android: Netrunner, Tournament Reports, Legend of the Five Rings, Environment Analysis

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“You just had to know how to do it, and when to do it, and most important of all, why to do it. Powerful substance like this, Lowell would explain, it wasn't there just for any casual jack-off recreational urge. It was there to allow you to do things. To empower you, he said, so you could do things and, best of all, finish them.”

― William Gibson, All Tomorrow's Parties

This past Sunday saw the final curtain call for the local Android: Netrunner tournament scene.  A great tournament, despite lackluster attendance and a clear indication that the decision to pull the proverbial plug on the game had nothing to do with its quality or potential, but rather more inspid and mundane reasons.  Needless to say, it was a very bittersweet experience, and for an old fart like me, the stimulus for more existential self-reflection (i.e. was this my last competitive card game ever? Do I have the energy for another crack at something new? And so on).  Also, I realize that it’s been quite some time since I last rambled about cards in this nice site, so I’ll go on and abuse my keyboard (and your time) a bit more.  I will also apologize for writing this in English instead of the usual Greek, but several friends from abroad enjoy my generic ramblings on gaming, so from time to time I try to accommodate them as well.

First things first, since this is supposed to be a tournament report, let’s start with that.

2018 Netrunner Nationals

I was really happy that we actually managed to pull that off, as the local distributor has shown a degree of unwillingness to procure FFG Prize kits for events that might not even cover the kit cost (much to the disappointment of the six brave souls that play Armada in Athens, heh), or in some cases in the past actually sell the kits to e-bay sellers instead of running the events (innocent whistles towards the Ionian Sea). Slippery slope and all that.

Turnout was not great, just 10 people, but given the circumstances, the date and people still caught up in Summer jobs it was kinda expected.  With some more effort we might have climbed up to 16 brave souls, but that was probably our limit. It would have been nice to have a final clash with our “rivals” of the North, but realistically September is a bad month to run events in Greece if you’re aiming at a local turnout. Apart from that, the field was splendidly diverse, the competition rather fierce (every attendant had won at least one regional level event in his career), the beer was cold and the atmosphere was fantastic. As usual.

Special mention should be made to Rubicon Escape Rooms, the tournament venue as it was one of the nicest places I’ve run events in. Spacious, well-lit playing area, great tables, great service.  Now if only someone also came with a deck based on Rubicon Switch to score an inception victory and nerd points 😊 Hopefully, we’ll find another excuse to peruse the place in the future, it’s the next best thing to booking a hotel conference room for small/medium events.

Meta-wise, Argus and HPT based decks were the dominant choice, with Jinteki Glaciers running close behind. My custom Sports Metal insanity (Ioosely based on the Murderball concept in netrunner db) gave a lot of people pause and a lot of high strung moments and crazy plays. On the runner side of things, Smoke and Val were probably the most consistent choices, while everybody else had to really struggle either vs the very taxing Jinteki ICE or the harsh economic game of Weyland PovertyHammer ™.  I daresay the end result of the event was fully justifiable – the best tuned decks made it to the final and Lady Luck smiled on the eventual winner.  Needless to say, the environment was one of the best this game has ever had, diverse, challenging and definitely not “solved”. Which is more the pity, really.

The GNRL

The GNRL (Greek Netrunner League) was more or less my brainchild, coming into being as soon as the game released way back in 2013, as a group grass roots effort to stir up more support for the game, get more players actively involved in OP, provide people with reasons to explore the game further than simply netdecking the best netrunnerdb has to offer and lastly provide incentives for people to move from store to store and expand their playing experience. At 11 different venues in three cities, 96 tournaments, 172 unique players and over 5000 archived swiss matches, I can safely say it was a successful venture. But the numbers are not that important, the smiling faces are, and I think my greatest reward from that particular enterprise was the overall positive and feelgood atmosphere we collectively enjoyed over these years.

Of course, it would be greatly remiss of me not to mention all those great people that I sucked down the rabbit hole of my insanity, without whom things wouldn’t have worked out.  First and foremost, I need to thank master craftsman Vangelis Galanis, whose custom prizes and creations made all the difference. My partner in crime Manolis Trachiotis who helped resolve many difficult situations while setting up large events, despite having succeded in the saving throw vs ANR’s irresistible allure. From the store owners, Chris Grountas for feeding the league with kits even when situations actually caused him to lose money, John Paraskevopoulos, George Karabinis and Petros Panagiotidis for supporting the game and the community in its twilight stage and of course everyone else that graciously opened his place for us to go and play without actually having to rent it (various Kaissa Stores, Fantasy Shop, DragonPhoenix Inn, Playstories, This House Rules, Rubicon). Special mention needs to go to Kostas Retalis, Panagiotis Zinoviadis and everyone else I am forgetting that contributed actively to the community and the article section of Crypsis.gr. Lastly, a deep bow should go to all the players for bringing their best behavior in our events and Ioannis “Iron Man” Reppas for actually attending more league events than me and always lending a helping hand with running things and those dreadful extend double elim finals.  Love, peace and pitbulls.

So what about Tomorrow?

Hm, that’s a really difficult question – one that I cannot possibly answer at this moment. Obviously the next contender for my gaming time and money is Keyforge.  Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve already been hit by the hype-wave.  It looks great on paper, but there are too many fine points that haven’t been made public yet that will determine the game’s actual appeal, ability to create a vibrant and enjoyable community and most importantly… its longevity. Keyforge might provide an interesting tournament scene and a healthy secondary market, but I doubt it will manage to scratch that particular itch all long time card gamers have. Lack of deckbuilding and evolving meta is probably going to be the limiting factors of the game.  Still, cautiously optimistic on this.

As far as the rest of the available games are concerned, I am not overtly enthusiastic either. I won’t touch MtG with a 10-foot pole, AGoT 2.0 is only fun for me on a casual level and DoomTown: Reloaded looks a lot of fun but there are probably 2 more players in a city of 5 million. That says a lot about the game’s prospects /sadface.

In all this, I didn’t mention the obvious choice: L5R. Despite a phenomenal launch and a technically flawless game, interest in Legend of the Five Rings seems to be declining rapidly across the board.  While post-launch drops are the norm in all LCGs, L5R’s prospects don’t seem to bright. It’s a great game to sit down and enjoy with a friend, complex and rewarding – but I feel like something is missing. I have the impression that the designers, in their effort to produce a balanced product have designed themselves in a corner. There’s scant room for more “fun/fluff” cards and interesting mechanics as is, and unless FFG takes a page from AEG’s book and changes something drastically (e.g. replacing the dial with a dueling/focus deck or adding something entirely new to the mix) there’s really not much room to design interesting cards.  I fervently wish my fears will be proven wrong, but for the moment that’s what my crystal ball shows.  As far as the OP side of things goes, I doubt I need to express my unhappiness with the current system again. It really provides me with zero motivation to attend any large event outside of Athens, and sadly a lot of the old hands seem to feel the same (so we can’t even meet for beers and random campfire tales of yore).  I’m  not dropping L5R, still plan to run as many events as I can, but I doubt it’s going to replace the vacant hole the end of ANR has created.  Maybe I’m just tired after so many rapid changes in the status quo of card gaming that I need some time off. Dunno.

Finally, I see that there are several people that are excited about the player-driven Nisei Foundation. While it’s a great initiative, I doubt it will get much mileage outside Jinteki.net – or a small group of people. Given my great dislike for all things online when it comes to card games, I can’t really see it in a positive light. Again, as before, I really hope my projections are wrong.  At the moment, I think this set of lyrics describes the situation perfectly:

A blackened shroud
A hand-me-down gown
Of rags and silks, a costume
Fit for one who sits and cries
For all tomorrow's parties

-The Velvet Underground, All Tomorrow’s Parties.

I know that this article was a bit more somber (or bleak) than my usual rants, but it’s kinda fitting. As with the end of OldL5R, and other terminal events of similar sort, after the short term depression I find that it’s more constructive to focus on the good times and the good people everyone met in each particular journey with a now defunct game. It’s always about the people and rarely about the cards, so who knows, maybe somewhere later down the road the stars will align again and the opportunities to gather and have a great time will present themselves anon. Even if it means dusting off your Warlord: Saga of the Storm collection and having a gruff looking dwarf introduce your army to his Lady.

/End the Run

 
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The Root Of All Evil

The Root Of All Evil

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3 comments on article "All Tomorrow's Parties"

Akodo_Fontas

24/9/2018 11:10 μμ

In my point of view,the problem is simple...There are 2 thinks that a card game should offer....!The First and foremost is the basic to to be fun!!!!! You should be able to play it hours and be excited and have fun...!L5R fails in this part because even if it is balanced it takes to much time to even play a simple friendly match...Too many actions, too many decisions, the fate system makes the game really too complicated and loses from the fun aspect. Also the Old L5R used to engage the community by various tournament and decisions for the winner that gave a more fun to the game and passion to the community....

The second one is the diversity....!!Games like New L5R are in my opinion doomed to die... Those formats need to be refreshed at least each month because meta needs to be refreshed as soon as meta is discovered and in short time it should change...In the old L5R due to high prizes ppl didn't have the money to buy every card and to have them in every copy needed so they found inventive ways to cover for the diminished pool. Yet due to clan affiliation it was, even for a new player, to acquire everything easily...

The game lost it's fun aspects....Lost the storyline prizes at the stores...Lost the clan loyalty....and playing with the same meta for months is really annoying and repetitive.....

You talk about the end of netrunner i am talking about the end of L5R.....

The first think that has to be done is to gain back clan loyality....!!!And this must be implemented in deckbuilding and rules...

Then each month at least or even better two weeks a pack at stores...

Pfffff who am i kidding.... summertime dreams.... Of a glorious past that i had a small but wonderful glimpse..!

Yes i like to ramble to.....!!!!


hidamiyiagi

25/9/2018 11:04 πμ

So long and thanks for all the fish.

-Douglas Adams, The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (a five book Trilogy).

When I learned that FFG pulled the plug at Android Netrunner the first thing that crossed my mind was "Not again!". I was there when WotC pulled the plug at the Original Netrunner and I had the impression that this version would not have the same faith.

Then I get myself some breathing time and space and thought about it.

What those 5 years of Android Netrunner has got me?

First of all, a very good game. Many decisions to be made, fun to play, rich in flavor and backstory. And all at a reasonable cost. At least compared to the cost of a CCG game.

Second, at the local level, a solid tournament scene. Great turnout at every tournament during the first 3 years and with a nice attitude. There was one or two incidents of misconduct a very low percentage compared to the 172 unique players that participated at the GNRL. Met new faces and become friends with most of them. Travelled across Greece to play at a tournament and really enjoyed it!

All of that couldn't be possible without all the efforts (both in time and money) of Chris. We are all grateful for that.

I am very honoured to have been a part of all this and to be able to help the local tournament scene. My only regret is that I have never get to play at a major event outside of Greece. I was planning to attend European Championship next year at Warsaw but if I go that would be for playing L5R (and Keyforge probably).

Another thing that makes me sad is that they pulled the plug at the precise moment that the game was doing well. The meta was diverse, with many strong decks and every player could play something that suits his playstyle and have a chance to go well in the tournament. No more NEH-Kate across the leaderboards.

All in all, these were some extraordinary 5 years of ADN, I am happy to be there from the beginning to the end (From Core to Omega) and I really wanted this to last forever. I hope that we can continue to play and have fun for as long that we can. Maybe some time there will be a third version of Netrunner that will continue where ADN left.

Just remember. Never run last click.


Akodo Aoshi

27/9/2018 4:51 μμ

"There will be no after, there will be no tears, when tomorrow never comes."

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