Monopoly Deal / Lost Cities

I was going to post a bunch of stuff about Halo today, but then I thought it would make the blog a little video game centric. So, instead, I want to talk about the 2 card games I’ve been playing lately: Monopoly Deal and Lost Cities.

I first learned about Monopoly Deal earlier this year and I picked it up, mostly because I was tired of Lola beating me at this Peruvian card game that we’ve been playing for years, Casino. It took a little convincing to get her to play but once she saw that the game was a) super random and b) involved charging me rent and stealing property from me, she was hooked. Monopoly Deal is one of those games that you can play “just one more” very easily and we’ve developed a routine: best of 3 sets of games to decide who is the winner, but then bonus games tacked on in a sort of “double or nothing” which can decide the “ultimate winner”. You wouldn’t expect anything with the name “Monopoly” to be fast or exciting, but Deal has managed to hook everyone I’ve introduced it to: work friends, family members, etc. For a 5$ card game, you really can’t ask for more.

The thing about the games is that they can be as I said, incredibly random, and yet patterns emerge, especially when you play with the same person night after night. For example, there are 2 super powered steal cards in the game (dealbreakers) which let you turn things around pretty fast. There are 3 counter cards which can stop them. So, when Lola and I play, usually you don’t play a dealbreaker unless you also have a counter, so that you can counter if the other player has a counter. This leads to counter-counter-counters, which are just insane. Also, when you play 2 player, certain cards are totally nerfed compared to multiplayer.

When my conservative friend Jason was out visiting, we played a few games and he noticed that we always attack the people who have low money, since you stand a better chance of getting good property from them. This made him pretty frustrated. I needled him, “How’s cutthroat capitalism working out for you now?” I brought it on a ski trip and we played every night and even squeezed in one last game at the airport before we had to split up to fly back to respective cities. My little godson even started playing and it’s so sweet to watch him develop his killer instinct: he loves to smack you when you’re on the ropes. There’s that old Monopoly feeling.
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I’m amazed at my continued interest in Starcraft! I’ve been playing every other night or so with my friend John.

We play Coop vs the AI, 2v2. We started out against Medium – Medium, got to Hard – Hard and now we’re trying to cross to the next level: Very Hard – Hard. I’m playing Protoss and he’s playing Terran. We used to have this strategy where he would protect my fledgling little base from early rushes with his siege tanks, and then I’d mop up in the mid game with carriers, but we’re finding that as the AI get better and better, this is getting harder and harder to do. So, we play, we get wiped, we try again. Eventually we win and call it a night. That’s what amazes me: that I’m OK playing over and over trying to get a little bit better.

I really didn’t expect this to be the case: I figured Starcraft would be yet another impulse purchase that would lie unclicked and unloved a week or two later. And yet… I’m hooked on such a simple way to play: 2vs2, humans vs machines.
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Blog reboot

Hey, look, I’m back on the internet.

I figured it was getting sort of embarrassing to be out in the Bay Area and to have a complete cobweb of a site when everyone else here has a web presence. Lately, I’ve been reading back through my old webcomics and I’m sort of sad that I have no blog journal from the previous 5 years of my life. If one were to read both Scrubs and Bull and Bunny, the record of my 20s just sort of… stops.

I stopped writing comics (although I’m tempted to start again) and then I shut down kipworld when I got tired of dealing with spam.

I’ve been on Twitter and now Buzz for a while, but I just don’t feel the same looking back at microblogs.

So, here we go, let’s see if I can keep this one going.