I took last week off. I’m allowed to, it’s in the contract I didn’t sign when I joined The Reticule.
Following some of the comments from the last column, I felt that perhaps I owed Dungeons and Dragons another go. A lot of people in the comments seemed to think I was being needlessly harsh, that I was taking one bad game and applying it universally. So I gave it another shot.
It’s still awful.
Right, now that’s out of the way, onto today’s topic: Collectible Card Games.
I imagine you expect me to hate them, and that would be fair. Fair, but wrong. Unlike Dungeons and Dragons, Collectible Card Games are something I can get behind. I have been known to dabble in the odd hand of a Collectible Card Game myself, it is called poker. You sit at the table with a deck of cards, you place your cards on the table, and the person with the best hand collects money from the others.
Naturally, this is one of the more hardcore CCGs (as I believe they are known), most others seem to hinge entirely on collecting the cards. I used to think this aspect of the game was a little odd, but it makes sense to me now. Of course you want to collect more cards, the more aces you have in the deck the more likely you are to win. It’s simple really.
Before I started collecting cards I lost a lot of money in my CCG of choice. To try and put it into perspective: the amount of money I lost would be about as much as you spent on your house/flat/bungalow/static home with an extra zero on the end. Then I started collecting cards, and my fortunes changed. Having more aces than your opponents really does help.
I understand the allure of Legends of Arcane & Strength: Dark Warrior Brood Squire’s edition, for instance, I know why people play these games. What I don’t quite understand is why these games are on computers now.
You can’t collect cards for computers anymore, not since they stupidly removed punch cards from the equation. Now you get games that provide digitised read-outs of the cards. I really don’t see the point. The entire purpose of collecting the cards is to flummox your opponent with them, to pull them from your sleeve exactly when he least expects it. When was the last time you flummoxed your computer? I can remember mine.
18th July, 1957
I was patrolling the East German border with my friends Taurine Hayes and Ichabod Smalls. It was cold and the Russians were behaving themselves, which was always a good thing. The cold made us restless, and we took the opportunity to nip back to the barracks for something warm to eat.
They were desperately trying to modernise the barracks at the time, adding in new and improved wall lights, Swedish tables, and a rotating kitchen staff.
We had elected to arrive between rotations, so there were no cooks about. A few weeks prior, this would have meant no food, but not anymore. Sat on the desk was a brand new computer, hooked up to a conveyor belt. On the screen was a menu, all green and flickery.
Taurine and Ichabod chose first, the little conveyor trundling their chosen meals in from a stockroom full of convenience food. Then it was my turn.
The menu read:
Fried Oysters in Jalapeño Pepper
Fish and Chips
I ordered the porkling, of course, and waited for my order. Then I changed my mind and quickly hit the button for the Oysters. The machine growled and coughed for a moment, then went silent. Apparently my indecision had resulted in dire consequences for the machine.
They removed it the next day, and the cooks were back on twenty-four hour shifts. Seeing the hatred in their eyes as I ordered my meals for the next few years was all the sustenance I needed.
That’s what you are missing with a computerised Collectible Card Game. That’s where all the fun is.