Thursday, March 8, 2018

Decklist Generator

In the past few days I was working on a deck generator. I have one written in Google Sheets but that is not particularly easy to use and takes time to generate the code. By accident (posting the output on my Facebook wall) I found out that Paul Leicht created his own decklist generator to use in his articles on PureMTGO. He let me scavenge the code and I decided to use it and create a decklist generator that everybody could use.

This is a fairly simple generator that doesn't load data from database which has its pros and cons. My previous decklist generator was fetching card sets and creating links based on that which took a while since there are many Magic cards around. The easier way is to just create a link out of the card name and forget about other stuff. So that's basically what this script does. The disadvantage of that is that I have no way how to tell the deck generator how to sort cards so those who would like to use this will have to sort the cards themselves.

If interested in a deck generator you can try it out. The decklist generator can be found at

The decklist generator can produce a visual deck view, text view (on the screenshot) and can also show draft picks. See the link above for more information.

If you run into any problems, please let me know and I'll fix it.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Rising Sun

Some time ago, when I was very unhappy with everything Magic I was invited to play Rising Sun, a new area control board game by Eric Lang (CMON) who is well-known for his earlier game - Blood Rage. Rising Sun is a game which probably got the most successful kickstarter project and the person that invited me to play was one of the backers. We got to play with the truly awesome Kickstarter version.

The game is set in (mythical) feudal Japan where clans are trying to fight over provinces and the rule over Japan. The base game is for 3-5 players and I'd recommend playing in odd number of players because you form alliances of two.

There are 5 or 6 clans (the sixth clan is in the Kickstarter version), each having beautiful minis, and special ability. There are Koi clan which have the ability to exchange coins and Ronin as they please making them rather unpredictable in battle (and also good at winning battles with Force), Dragonfly clan that is able to move all around the board/map without restrictions and they can also summon anywhere on the map, Bonsai clan doesn't pay a coin cost (Train cards are free, same with building a Stronghold), Lotus clan has the power to choose whichever Mandate they want, Turtle clan has moving indestructible Strongholds that also contribute Force in battles, Fox clan (the 6th clan) has the ability to place a Bushi at a province where they do not have any Force at the start of each battle.


There are four phases in the game named after the four seasons - spring, summer, autumn, winter. Three are being played out, Winter is a scoring phase. Each season consists of the following phases.

At the beginning of each season there is a setup phase. During it players will obtain coins, provinces where battle will happen are chosen along with their order, hostages are returned, and cards that can be bought are revealed.

Tea Ceremony
After that comes tea ceremony where players can form alliances. Alliance is very powerful because allies of active players also get to do special actions. Allied players do not battle each other.

Political Phase
There is a stack of 10 Mandates. There are five different Mandates in two copies. The active player takes four Mandates and chooses one they like and put it on the gaming board and resolve it.

  • Betrayal - this breaks the alliance in which the active player is. The player loses Honor. Then they remove one unit of two players and replaces it with their own unit of the same type (Daimyo is immune to this effect).
  • Harvest - gives 1 coin to each player. The active player and their ally then can gain rewards from Provinces in which they have the most Force.
  • Marshal - allows the players to move their units by 1. The AP and their ally can build a Stronghold anywhere for 3 coins.
  • Recruit - allows players to summon a unit (including Oni) at each of their Strongholds. Shinto can be summoned at a Kami card. The AP and allied player can recruit one more unit.
  • Train - allows players to buy cards that can give them additional abilities, ways how to obtain VPs, hire more ronin or hire Monsters.

After three Mandate turns there is a Kami turn (That is again followed by two Mandate turns and a Kami turn, and once again two Mandate turns and a Kami Phase)

Kami Phase
There are seven Kami cards in the game. At the beginning of the game 3 cards are chosen and placed on their respective places on the board. During the Political phase players are able to place one or more of their minis on the Kami cards. During the Kami turn the player with most Force on the Kami card gains the favor of the Kami. For example Amaterasu moves a player to the top on the Honor track.

War Phase
During the setup phase provinces where battles can happen where randomly chosen in a certain order. If there is only one player in the province, they claim the province. If there are allied players, the one with biggest Force (Honor being the tiebreaker) takes the province card. If there are two or more opposing players they battle. Each player will take their coins and hidden bidding begins. There are 4 War Advantages and each player may want a different Advantage. Based on what is the best and if they can win the battle or not they bid. Amount of coin is a public information which makes it easy to figure out how to bid. One though needs to understand that there may be more battles and the coins are lost in the battle if one wins (the losing player receives the coin). During battle resolution the player with most Force wins the battle. The other players' units are removed from the province. The winner then distributes their spent gold among the losing players evenly.

  • Seppuku - allows the highest bidding player to kill all their units and gain 1 Victory point and Honor or each unit. At first I wasn't really sure what this would be but it is actually a very powerful Advantage, especially if your clan is not a military one. This way you can earn a lot of VP and also keep yourself high on the Honor track.
  • Take Hostage - the highest bidder gets to take one unit from another clan and return it during the setup of next season (note that units can have different power so this can result in a big difference in Force).
  • Hire Ronin - the highest bidder can add the Force of Ronin tokens to the total Force of their army (Ronin don't go away after they are used in one battle, they stay for all battles during one season).
  • Battle Resolution
  • Imperial Poets - the winner of this bid gains 1 VP for each unit killed during the battle.

After three rounds that go like this there is Winter which is the scoring phase. During the game each player can get Victory Points during Political Phase and War Phase but additional points can be gained at the end of game. Some points can come from the number of province tokens one obtains during the game. Some points can be gained from Season cards. The player with most VPs is the winner of the game. In case of a tie, Honor is used as tiebreaker.


The game is truly amazing in every aspect. The first thing I saw were the minis, game board and tokens needed in order to play. The kickstarter version has truly amazing tokens and additional minis but even the normal version of the game has nicely done cardboard pieces. Everything is nicely illustrated and I had the urge to paint some of the minis when I would get the chance to do so. As for the rules and game play I had to wait a bit. Our first game did not even last longer than 2 hours which surprised us and gave us more time to play more games.

I like the way how the game is played and what kind of politics or diplomacy it requires. Even though playing this game with a group of very competitive players makes it a very different experience I suppose. It is not a simple game and one needs to plan ahead and then somehow steer other players to help achieve your goal. Every mistake will punish the player a lot. If you fall behind, you probably won't recover. There is no deus ex machina to save you (there is an actual element of variance in the game otherwise the game wouldn't be that much fun, it's most probably not going to totally screw one player or make another win out of the blue though). Everything needs to be coldly calculated ahead and that takes time. Figuring out which Mandate you want to use depending on your Clan (each clan has an unique ability, some are military focused, some are more politically focused) is relatively simple and deploying units takes a while but it is the War Phase that will take a lot of time. If there are more battles you need to fight, you will have to carefully think ahead. There's nothing like 'I'll try this and then I'll see'. You need to fight your battles with a very specific strategy and then know the probabilities of being able to win or lose and act accordingly. If you know you won't win, there is always something you can do. You need to devise a different strategy and that may work well too. Timing is very important in the game too which adds even more complexity. Honor is way more important than I originally thought.

The downside of the game is that setup may take a while if you use the original packaging and don't buy something where to store your minis in a better way. The minis can be a problem for some but I seriously love them. The detail is just insane. Putting everything back in the box is quite a puzzle!

This game is certainly one of the best games I ever played. It is not a game for everyone though because of its complexity and also the fact that the game contains relatively a lot of 'pieces'. I wouldn't recommend this game to casual players.

Verdict: 4.5/5

Monday, February 26, 2018

Rivals of Ixalan Collected Stories

The Rivals of Ixalan (RIX) story seems to be complete so I decided to produce Collected Stories out of it. There are ePub, mobi and pdf versions for you to download.

*I'm not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by Wizards of the Coast.