TSM Episode 297: Card Game Side Quest

Given the choice between a dungeon hunt or a card game, the choice is clear. Card games are the laziest sort of tacked-on developer nonsense.

A modern take on dungeon crawling.

Download: Produced 2014.11.09

Lusipurr, SiliconNooB, and Mel take a break from the addictive podcast Card Game side quest and focus instead upon the podcast’s dungeon crawler block puzzle aspects. Lusi and Mel power up an ancient communication device, but SN fails to hear its call.

22 comments on “TSM Episode 297: Card Game Side Quest”

  1. Info Blast Will Totally Shank You for That Treasure Map

    This week’s panel
    Silicon Noob
    Mel
    Lusipurr
    Also featuring:
    Bup

    Podcast Feature?
    What is the background music for this reading? I’d love to link it.
    Days by Philip Larkin
    Motoi Sakuraba works
    I’m a big fan of his too. Baten Kaitos has a great soundtrack.

    Consumer Advice
    Fall Playthrough
    Now In Progress!
    Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey is a pretty great dungeon crawler.

    NEWS
    CoD: AW not in PS4 shareplay

    Miyamoto: Expanding Amiibo
    This can be used effectively, I just don’t trust Nintendo to do it correctly.

    Iwata Region Locking
    If they got rid of region locking, then how would they keep the New 3DS in Japan?

    Gamecube can play natively on Wii U
    It is annoying that the Wii U can’t play GCN software. Consider, however, an even more expensive Wii U which has the upgraded disc-drive needed to handle both disc sizes. That would be just awful and the vast majority of their market would not use gcn functionality.

    Halo writer moving to Mass Effect

    Bup Talk
    Least Favorite thing about Vagrant Story.
    Bup could be a professional filibusterer, he has such a fantastic ability to say nothing at all while not technically being off-topic.
    The Jack Nicholson film where he says that is A Few Good Men

    Imitanis Literature Corner
    Interview With A Vampire by Anne Rice
    I’m curious if we ever get to learn the circumstances under which this interview was set up.
    “It really does suck you in” *bad-dum-pish*

    Regarding the comedy VS dramatic readings: I enjoy and think there is room for both on the podcast. That said, I think that the comedic readings tend to get more reactions from the panel, which is a bonus. Maybe doing a two comedic to one dramatic would be a good ratio. The podcast tends to do roughly 3 readings a year, so that could work well.

    A Short Film About Killing

    Imitanis Gaming Moment
    This week I played more board games! Big surprise, I know.

    Splendor is a game about being a gem merchant, sort of. The theme is pretty weak in this game and you never really feel like you’re buying to selling things. The basis is that there are 5 types of gemstones (sapphire, ruby, emerald, diamond, and onyx) and there are resource cards out on the board. On your turn you can take two of one kind of gem from the bank, take one each of three different kinds from the bank, or you can use your resources to purchase resource cards from the middle. The resource cards have very specific costs (2 blue, 3 red for example) and will provide the owner with a permanent discount on one of the five gem colors for purchasing. Some cards have victory points and there are common goal cards awarded to the first player to reach specific requirements which are also worth victory points. If you think that sounds like it has nothing to do with gem trading except that the cards have pictures of gems on them, then you’re right. The game is pretty good, but since the game intentionally snowballs (having more resources means that you get more resources) it has a problem that many board games have: ‘The Rich Get Richer’. If a player has a bad couple of turns early on (as new players are likely to) then you’ll probably be totally crushed as the other players start claiming cards for free, which further increases their already sizable permanent discounts. Thankfully the game only lasts about 30 minutes, so it isn’t too terribly tedious to sit through if you end up in this position (as, by now you may have guessed, I did). Mild recommendation. Pattern recognition and intuitive math skills highly recommended.

    Libertalia is a game about pirates fighting to get the most booty. The idea is similar to Cash N Guns in that there are limited items available that the players want to claim, but the mechanism for settling disputes is much less direct. Each player will have a hand of crew characters (every player gets the same cards, but the cards that everyone gets will be random every game). The characters are pulled from a selection of 30 numbering 1-30. Every card has the number (rank) and some sort of extra ability or power. Every round each player will choose one of the cards from their hand to play to claim booty. The characters with lower rank go first for abilities but choose loot last. “Well who cares if you’re last?” You foolishly ask. Well, not all of the booty is good. There are coins and gems which are great and maps which are worth lots if you can get three, but there are also cursed treasures which give you negative points and Spanish officers which will kill the character who takes them (which may prevent the use of their ability later). So if you pick a brute because he can kill the highest ranking character as his ability, then he may himself be killed when you’re forced to take the Spanish Officer as it is the only remaining booty for the round. There are 3 ‘campaigns’ each consisting of 6 rounds of taking booty and a round of scoring. You get points for having booty. The player with the most points at the end wins. This game is a fantastic guessing and counter guessing game. If I play the monkey then I can get rid of my cursed tokens, but I’ll definitely choose last, but if I go with a high card then my opponent may kill him before I can get any booty at all. All of this is going through your head at the same time that your opponents are making the same decisions. In board gaming we call this The Vizzini Effect(That’s two board game concepts I’ve slipped in this week. Soon you’ll all be totally indoctrinated educated on the medium). This game is really fantastic. It’s easy to learn and every round is fun as you attempt to play the perfect card and try not to get totally skewered by your opponents.

    Maze of GamesUpdate: I solved the first puzzle of the first maze, which was a crossword. Onto the second, which is also a word puzzle.

    Imitanis? Travel Moment
    I don’t think I actually did much travelling this week. It feels like I did, but I just can’t remember any specific instance.

    Final Notes
    “What a two-bit operation we’re running!” – Lusi

    I love cold openings to podcasts. The one I’ve been listening to the longest does it for every episode.
    What determines if you announce yourself in first or third person Lusi? I’ve noticed you’ve done both in a manner which I have been unable to predict.

    Donators
    Cumulative total record holder: Imitanis
    Single Donation record holder: Imitanis

    Donators eligible for end of year drawing:
    Greg H.
    John V.
    Matthew D.
    John M.
    Brett W.
    Aram Z.
    Peter V.
    Billy B.
    Les E.
    Martin B.
    Jeremy V.
    Simon H.

    There was no mention of specific donators this week, which I assume means that there were no new ones.

  2. @DiceAdmiral:

    What is the background music for this reading?
    Epic March, by John Ireland (1879-1962).

    This can be used effectively, I just don’t trust Nintendo to do it correctly.
    Correct. As is shown by the the difference between the E3 amiibos and the real thing that they are selling.

    If they got rid of region locking, then how would they keep the New 3DS in Japan?
    Expect this to be far in the future. By which point they won’t even be selling hardware any longer.

    Consider, however, an even more expensive Wii U which has the upgraded disc-drive needed to handle both disc sizes.
    The Wii has such a drive and they are as cheap as chips.

    Bup could be a professional filibusterer, he has such a fantastic ability to say nothing at all while not technically being off-topic.
    Bup has a talent for speaking a great deal whilst having nothing whatsoever to say.

    I’m curious if we ever get to learn the circumstances under which this interview was set up.
    Yes, some of it. But the vast majority of that is not in this book. Sorry!

    “It really does suck you in” *bad-dum-pish*
    Missed that the first go-round!

    I enjoy and think there is room for both on the podcast.
    Good. I’m already thinking about what the next options are, so it is useful to know what kind of options are there.

    If you think that sounds like it has nothing to do with gem trading except that the cards have pictures of gems on them, then you’re right
    Blech.

    and Spanish officers which will kill the character who takes them
    Unlike historical Spanish sailors, who fled from most battles, and sank in the ones from which they could not flee.

    You get points for having booty
    Indeed.

    What determines if you announce yourself in first or third person Lusi? I’ve noticed you’ve done both in a manner which I have been unable to predict.
    We use a complex algorithm to determine this, the precise nature of which I cannot reveal: however, I can say that it includes both the Moon’s current phase as viewed from Perth, and the distance from Venus to the Sun, measured in furlongs.

    There was no mention of specific donators this week, which I assume means that there were no new ones.
    Correct; I alluded to this when I said that no one had yet obtained a raffle ticket.

    You play a LOT of board games.

  3. “Unlike historical Spanish sailors, who fled from most battles, and sank in the ones from which they could not flee.”
    The rules explain this as the officers putting up a fight before being captured. That doesn’t preclude your explanation, but does help understand why they might be in a loot pile.

    “You play a LOT of board games.”
    Yeah, I do. I sometimes play 3 or 4 new games (I haven’t discussed replays of old games here) per weekend. I have a board game group that meets weekly and we typically play several games. If you’re at all curious, my personal collection is cataloged on board game geek: http://boardgamegeek.com/collection/user/DiceAdmiral
    which currently puts the collection total at 122 (though that counts expansions as individual items which isn’t really accurate).

  4. I’ve been largely silent in the past week or two primarily because gaming has turned into a fullscale political warzone and I needed time away from it. My blood pressure was reaching volcanic proportions and since I didn’t want a stroke, I felt it best to just steer clear of everything. Or at least make an effort to. I just caught up on the past three shows finally and will go back through the archives to see what I’ve missed.

    I agree with you, Lusi on Motoi Sakuraba. Having played through Tales of Graces, Xillia, and Xillia 2 in the past couple of years, I gotta say that his stuff is all very, very samey. There were a couple of tracks from Xillia I enjoyed (with the sax in the background) but ultimately nothing really stands out. It reminds me of the ambient soundtracks found in disposable western titles, like Mass Effect. There, but only if you really pay attention. I got a chance to hear the world music from the upcoming Tales of Zestiria and my first thought was, “Isn’t this the world map theme from Graces?”.

    I also agree with most of what has been said about Vagrant Story. I played through it when it was a new release but failed to complete it. I tried again in the mid 00s, and gave up. That system is just too much drudgery. It is very atmospheric though. In that regards it reminds me of King’s Field or even the first Diablo. A sense of always been alone in a dark place.

    Good show fellows.

  5. I recommend to any who won’t or can’t follow along in our playthrough to at least watch an LP of the game and get an appreciation for its visual flair and well composed dialogue. And while the sound design is generally muted, what’s there is impressive.

  6. Best intro ever. Cold opens are the best for comedic podcasts and ours is certainly one if perhaps not necessarily by intention!

  7. So much about this podcast affirms why this is the most entertaining media programme being produced today.
    I really liked the music, but would have guessed it to be Russian.
    Digging Interview as well; it is nice to have a change of pace, and part of the Lusipurrean Culture is complete seriousness to counterbalance complete no seriousness, so this does serve as a fine counterbalance to the comedies. The only vampire themed book I’ve read before was Poppy Z. Brite’s Lost Souls, and so far this is much better.
    The next reading should be William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. It should count as a picaresque satire.
    Bup is hilarious. I crack up so much on his segments.
    I tried starting Vagrant Story, since I played some but not all of it at its release, but I didn’t want to get into the oppressive vibe it has, well done as it is. Since then I’ve played through Chrono Trigger, Link To The Past, and most of Ocarina Of Time and Super Metroid. These are games which get my spirit up.
    Persona Q: Shadows Of The Labyrinth is going to be another great dungeon crawler.
    The WiiU will definitely be my next (maybe last..?) console purchase. The Wii Mode sounds kind of obnoxious though. Do you have to use the Game Pad to get everywhere on the menus, or can you use a WiiMote or a controller instead? I just don’t want have that much space for the Game Pad to take up and keep out all the time, and would prefer using the WiiMote and Classic Controller to do everything, like I’m used to on Wii. Is that possible? If so, it’s a point in favor of buying the system.
    As far as GameCube support goes, there’s only a few GameCube games I care about, and if they ever get the Metroid Prime games and maybe Twilight Princess and Luigi’s Mansion, those together with Wind Waker HD solves the problem.
    The “four/for” segment and tags and the cold open were particularly amusing too. Thanks for making my Monday mornings more merry every week.

  8. @DancingMatt: I can’t think of anything nice to say about Poppy Z. Brite, so rather than say nothing at all, I’ll just say that she’s better than average, but worse than good.

    Naked Lunch really is a fine piece of literary work, and I will now add that to the list of things that I am considering, along with The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the Jeeves & Wooster novels of Wodehouse, and something from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett (probably The Colour of Magic as one should begin at the beginning).

    Other texts I have at times considered (but which are not currently under consideration) include Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Wuthering Heights, Animal Farm, 1984, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Eye of the World, The Book of Three, The Hobbit, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Mister Midshipman Hornblower, The Trial, The Wizard of Oz, Tristram Shandy, and The Once and Future King.

  9. You’re right about Poppy, I read it at the insistence of a friend and this book puts hers to shame. Although I don’t know much about Tristram Shandy, the little I’ve heard interests me for a future read, and I hope it’s relatively high in consideration.

  10. @DancingMatt: One of the reasons it isn’t under consideration is because its language and style of humour are a bit too far outside what the average person is equipped to appreciate.

    This doesn’t mean that I think our readers are too ‘unsophisticated’ to understand it, but rather that the way in which it delivers its humour is intended for an eighteenth-century reader, rather than a twenty-first century listening audience. It is a very funny book, but it is written in a style almost entirely foreign to our own modes. Indeed, I think the medievals are, in some ways, closer to us in their writing.

  11. Never had the pleasure of thumbing through Interview with the Vampire, nor could I comment on the film.

    Yup, loving the reading.

  12. @Lusipurr

    Weird you should mention The Colour of Magic as I just read that while in the hospital after having surgery on my lung (pleurodesis). Actually purchased the first 4 books in the Discworld series a a couple of years ago but hadn’t ever gotten around to reading them. Was hoping to get through more than one but reading can be difficult sometimes when your eyes start going crossed from a morphine drip. Anyway, enjoyed the book a lot and would enjoy a Lusipurrian reading even more. Hoping to start The Light Fantastic when/if I have to go in for my other lung. A little behind on the playthrough but I still have my unopened PS1 copy of Vagrant Story sitting around here somewhere so I might try to start that soonish since I don’t haver to go back to work for a while. Reading through the playthrough comments has made a little apprehensive about starting, but I still plan on giving it a try since there are plenty of games I have ended up enjoying that many others haven’t (I am looking at you SaGa Frontier 1).

  13. @SKS:
    Glad to hear you’re enjoying it; and that you received your Raffle prize safely!

    @Kurious_Oranj:
    There are forty-one different Discworld novels (including the most recent), so there’s no lack of choice there if we do decide to go the Discworld route. I think they would be perfect for a Lusipurrean reading, as they combine a fantasy-setting, a profoundly absurdist humour, and a great deal of wit and verve.

    My problem is that if I buy a copy of The Colour of Magic, I’m going to spend the next year tracking down the other forty books!

    Vagrant Story is proving to be quite the slog, although it deserves more and better than we are capable of giving it. Gaming has moved on since its release, and that’s actually a little sad in this case. There was a time when Vagrant Story satisfied–we were easier to please, then. It’s a pity that by gaining some things, we’ve lost the capacity to be impressed by what is, despite its structural faults, a truly wonderful piece of game development.

    SaGa Frontier is a game that I’ve had plenty of fun with at various times over the years. It has some great systems and an exceptional soundtrack. Kenji Ito doesn’t get much mention in lists of top composers, although he probably should, as he’s done a lot of work over the years. Alas, I can’t say the same for any of the following games in the SaGa series.

  14. @Lusipurr

    Speak for yourself. I happened to find Unlimited SaGa to be the defining gaming experience of my generation.

    Also on the Discworld series, I already have the sinking as a completionist that I have started something I can’t possibly hope to finish. Either way I plan on at least reading the first 4 and then seeing how I feel from there. On a positive note, I am pretty sure one can get the books fairly cheap nowadays, although tracking them all down would indeed be quite the chore I would imagine (at least in brick and mortar stores).

    As for VS, I tend to be able to play and enjoy a game by trying my best to appreciate it within the context of it’s time. So hopefully if certain aspects of it haven’t aged particularly well, that won’t be as large of a negative for me personally. I played Ultima IV not that long ago and had a pretty goood time with it after all. Plus I enjoy dungeon crawls, so maybe that will help. I will attempt to start it over the weekend, and if I have any thoughts worth contributing on it (debatable), I will post them in the playthrough thread.

  15. @Kurious_Oranj:

    “Speak for yourself. I happened to find Unlimited SaGa to be the defining gaming experience of my generation.”
    It takes all sorts to make a world.

    “Also on the Discworld series, I already have the sinking as a completionist that I have started something I can’t possibly hope to finish.”
    It is this feeling precisely which both excites and terrifies.

    “I played Ultima IV not that long ago and had a pretty goood time with it after all. Plus I enjoy dungeon crawls, so maybe that will help.”
    Without promising anything, I think you may be all right, excepting only the unvaried nature of the game’s setting, and the distance between storyline/dialogue/anything-at-all-really. Of course, when one does get story segments, they are exceptional.

    “I will attempt to start it over the weekend, and if I have any thoughts worth contributing on it (debatable), I will post them in the playthrough thread.”
    Looking forward to reading them, if posted, and announcing them on the podcast, if in time!

  16. @Kurious_Oranj: Good luck on your recovery and any subsequent medical adventures you may have!

    Games were a big part of a medical recovery I went through not too long ago (in part because they were all I could really do physically, I couldn’t even walk for a time), so I hope you find escape in them like I was able to find.

  17. @mel thanks.

    The silver lining of everything is for sure finally having enough time off to maybe make an appreciable dent in the backlog I’ve built up over the last couple of years. The sheer amount of unopened games I have laying around (VS for one, which has probably been that way for the better part of a decade)is borderline ridiculous.

  18. I get guilty about my backlog at times (which sits at a reasonable number compared to some), and think I should spend more time working on unfinished or unstarted titles. But then I feel that this can be more akin to work, forcing oneself to play or finish a title out of some obligation to no one.

    If my games are to be played for my enjoyment, then that it what I will do with them. If that involves replaying some old favorite for the dozenth time or more, then so be it!

  19. @mel yeah that tends to be my philosophy too. I just take it too far sometimes because I am sure that I would really like many of those games if I’d just give them a try. In the last year I think the only game I played that I hadn’t already is The Longest Journey on steam, which was fantastic if you like adventure games. Two other guys who happened to be really like jrpgs started at my one of my jobs (one since has left already :( ) so we would get talking about a certain game and I would immediately have to go home and start playing because I am apparently very prone to suggestion. I replayed suikoden 1-3, skies of arcadia, ff7-9 (enjoying 8 for the first time ever) and xenogears just off the top of my head, all because they were coming up in conversation. Meanwhile the backlog continued to bloat to monumental proportions.

    So yeah, while I definitely subscribe to the “as long as you’re having fun” mindset, I think I took it a little too far as of late. Then again, maybe it’s not so bad since I now have a whole bunch of new (to me) games to play that I don’t have to go out and buy. One could have far worse problems I suppose.

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