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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Purpose of the Blog

Let's begin with a little story about why I started this blog...

In 2001 I lived in a rural area with no game stores nearby and a very slow internet connection. At that time, internet stores were few and far between. So when a new game store opened near my house, I had to drive down and check it out. I had shunned Magic because I'm a completist and I would never be able to collect all the cards. What I was looking for was Guardians, a CCG made by FPG featuring great artwork by Keith Parkinson, Mike Ploog, and others. Guardians was not widely popular, however, so this store had no cards or tournaments for it. So I bought a Scrye magazine (or was it Inquest?) and some D&D miniatures and went home somewhat disappointed.

I did see an ad in Scrye for a new game coming out called Warlord: Saga of the Storm. The next issue had free Warlord cards in it, and the store announced they would be getting some in and having tournaments. The artwork looked pretty good, although I thought it could have been a bigger portion of the card (like the "full bleed" cards they produced later). Intrigued, I started to play, and soon I forgot all about Guardians, because Warlord was an awesome game. Unlike Magic or Guardians, where card draw and player skill is the driving force to victory, in Warlord the roll of the dice could often determine your fate. Defeat was disappointing, especially if you felt you were the better player but were rolling terrible. But dice rolling also gave the game an edginess, and made for wonderfully intense games.

I built my collection and went to tournaments. I actually drove to a store in Tacoma, Washington (about 2.5 hours away) for a regional promotion of Good and Evil, taking first place in the sealed deck competition with Sir Rhawn d'Ilchant, and 4th place in constructed with Yscar the Elder. I walked away with lots of booster packs, promos, and a die-cut Krun, and met some cool people there.

I challenged overlords and continued to participate in local tournaments. Unfortunately, the money was never there for me to be able to travel to GenCon and face dragonlords and Medusans, but I re-lived the glory of stories told by those that did on the Temple of Lore message boards.

After awhile, though, I started to drift away from Warlord. It started with the introduction of the stealth trait...I felt that mechanic was gimmicky and a big mistake. Later I turned in over 20 cards for the player-designed Call to Arms, but not a single one of my designs was chosen. Then I started getting boosters with misprints and lots of duplicates, making it hard to satisfy my completist tendencies. The game store near my house closed. The final nail in the coffin, however, was the release of Campaign Edition. There's nothing quite like supporting a company by buying $2000-3000 worth of cards, only to be told that many were no longer legal, including my favorite Warlord, Sir Rhawn. What was worse was having to re-buy cards I already had (reprints), and "new" cards being similar to non-legal cards - basically a re-branding of old into new. And they did this not once, but three times (!) if you count Epic Edition and 4th Edition (although reprints were kept to a minimum for 4th Edition).

About that time the World of Warcraft CCG was released, and I quit playing Warlord as I turned my attention to WoW (albeit short-lived), though I still bought some boosters during the Campaign & Epic format expansions. To me it's no surprise that AEG decided to shelf the Warlord brand, licensing it to someone else; I believe many people turned away from Warlord because they, like me, had many of the same issues, and expected Campaign & Epic Editions to add something new, something spectacular to the game, which was not the case. The introduction of traps, dungeons, and the Temple of Lore card were steps in the right direction, but came a little too late, and didn't "stand out" enough from other cards, like the way that a full-bleed card stands out from a regular card. Plus, the mechanics of the game almost never changed...how many times can you make a card that targets a character with strike, or a ranged strike, or a magic save? I could imagine so much more, but those who ran Warlord, though filled with good intentions, let it grow stale. Recycled. Stuck in a rut. Same old same old.

There's nothing wrong with the basic mechanics of the game. What Warlord does well - character vs. character combat, rank and file organization - still works. I still have lots of cards. I still want to use them from time to time, but it's hard to find others to play against. So the purpose of this blog is twofold:

1. Develop solo rules.

2. Introduce homebrew cards that re-imagine the Warlord universe. I'll expand on this more soon, but I'm talking about introducing terrain cards, event cards, dungeon exploration, quests, and much more - utilizing themes present in the Accordlands RPG. I hope you find these new concepts fresh and exciting.

More to come...

Disclaimer: the homebrew cards I create on this site are meant to be usable with Warlord cards. They will not use Warlord artwork or card names, as all Warlord trademarks and copyrights belong to Phoenix Interactive and AEG, but they will use modified adventures from the Accordlands RPG, plus some of my own invention. I have no wish to violate their copyrights. My ideas here are my own and do not exist in the current Warlord environment. As homebrew suggestions, they are not intended to infringe on Warlord, but instead to compliment it. Think of it as posting modules in the Accordland environment, but with cards instead of characters...

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