Near/far away


I do tend to overthink things in both life, and games. While it sometimes serves me well in games, it rarely does in life. As for thinking too much about Shia LaBeouf, I make no apologies.

This comic comes from a long conversation I had with a good friend about gender differences. The crux of the conversation was that, after so many years of dealing with men, they can still surprise and frustrate by, well, by acting like men. I could but apologise for my gender, while at the same time wonder if I could use the conversation for a comic. Which probably warrants another apology.


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Click track confusion

Writer_smallerClick track confusion

Those of you that play Netrunner are probably shaking your heads right now, or nodding in sympathy with Aileen. But, honest to God, this gets me every time we play. So you can just imagine how well I handle the actual game itself. I do think I kind of love it though. I think.

Netrunner looks similar enough to an ordinary, garden variety collectible card game. You draw cards every turn, and then play those cards based on the resources you have. You grow stronger each turn as you play cards. This continues until you defeat your opponent. But a closer look shows that while Netrunner appears to be similar, this is merely familiar skin stretched over the exoskeleton of something wholly new, different, and not a little intimidating. It’s a game of careful resource management, planning and strategy – not just in the deckbuilding element, but in the gameplay itself. It’s a game of cat and mouse where the mouse is just as likely to turn on the cat. The gameplay is quite mechanical and rewards cautious thinking. But equally, it relies heavily on bluffing and misdirection. I didn’t know what to make of it when I started, and to a certain extent, I still don’t. The game is utterly unintuitive. It doesn’t ‘click’ halfway through your first game. Not in the least. The elements that make it up don’t necessarily interlock in the manner in which you would expect. Both sides have several paths to victory, and I never have any idea which path to follow. And that’s after more than 10 games.

Of course, that is not to say the game is not well designed. It’s brilliant. It is a compelling and evolving deck builder that is built with scaffolding raised by none other than Richard Garfield, the Father and Founder of Collectible Card Games. And it’s the highest ranked card game on Board Game Geek. It rests just one spot outside the top ten, in fact. Despite its odd form and a learning curve that would make a statistician cry, it gets its hooks into you very quickly. It is puzzling and tense, gripping and dramatic. I am certain its design is brilliant, I just couldn’t explain how.

We keep dipping in and out of it, but never stay long enough to immerse ourselves in it. Always too many other games to play. Also X-Wing. Still so much X-Wing. X-Wing is, in fact, looking to be the game I have played the most of in a long, long time. And despite this eating up time I would love to spend on Netrunner and countless other games, I can’t say I actually mind. Not at all.

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At twice the price

Writer_smallerAt twice the price

The first three panels in the comic, taken on their own, is a story you hear a lot. In fairness, it’s more joked about than seriously recounted, but it’s a joke I hear too often to not be supported by a strong scaffold of truth.

I don’t have this problem with Aileen, and Aileen doesn’t have this problem with me. Perhaps this is a problem in and of itself, of course. A not-insignificant pile of as yet unplayed games with several Kickstarters on the way would attest to this. That’s beside the point (at least it is in today’s blogpost; the point has, however, been filed away for future source material).


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The problem of choice

Writer_smallerThe problem of choice

So when I said last week I was super-busy with work and other terrible non-comic things and would have a blog post next week, I of course didn’t meant this week. I meant next-next week. Have some much needed time off coming up, so I can recharge my batteries, put more time into the comics, and play some games.

What’s everyone been playing?

What should I play?

Can I be in your gang?


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Putting the “C” in CEO

Writer_smallerPutting the “C” in CEO

Games released by Fantasy Flight Games crop up a lot in our comics, you may have noticed. If you were wondering, this has nothing to do with anything as coarse as corporate sponsorship or paid content. Neither do we share their frankly, rather worrying over-interest in Cthulhu. Mighty as he may be, we do not see him as a being to be deified, worshipped, summoned, or even one to have a drink with of a Friday evening when no-one from work is coming out and gosh-darn-it it’s been a hard week doesn’t a man deserve just one drink, and  really he was the only one answering his phone and sure, he’s not the best conversationalist, and those tentacles can keep you out of more discerning establishments, but what’s the harm, it’s just one drink with an Elder god, right? What could go wrong?


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First thing’s first: over on BoardGameGeek the auction for the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund is raising a huge amount of money and you should check it out. It is a great way of giving back to the gaming community. And I know the gaming community is worth giving back to because we’ve met many of you, and know you to be friendly, welcoming, and supportive people.

If you’re interested, you can find it here, and you can bid on a guest appearance in a Tiny Wooden Pieces comic here. If you are the highest bidder when the auction ends, we will also ship you signed, colour print of the comic in which you appear. If you are one of the many who have already bid so generously on this item, I would like to thank you.


5 Comments on Netrunn-aaaargh!