Saturday, August 30, 2008

Magic: The Gathering Draft results (Iaşi, August 30)

Notice: Looking for the Magic: The Gathering community in Iasi? Be sure to check the dedicated blog and forum:

The draft was a success! We’ve had fun playing and we’re definitely iterating this event. We’re thinking about a constructed next week.


We haven’t been playing for any prize this time, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give credit to the players. Here are the standings for this draft.

 Pl  Name R 1 R 2 R 3 NBWSOSSOSOS
Mircea Pricop 8+ 5+ 2+3318
Iulian Avasiloaia 3+ 4+ 1-2711
Raisa Diac 2- 6+ 5+2417
Bogdan Solca 6+ 2- 7+2414
Alex Mîrza 7+ 1- 3-1610
Mihai Bîrsan 4- 3- 8+1413
Dan Ignat 5- 8+ 4-1315
Dan Diac 1- 7- 6-0510

Each round column has the following information: player number against which this player has played; "+" if this player won; "-" if this player lost. (This player means the player on the row you're reading.)


You may check out the photos on  Flickr and on  Picasa.

Looking forward to the next Magic event in Iaşi. Maybe the next one will even be sactioned, eh? Many thanks to LEX Copy Center, our cards supplier, and Amnesia Crem Caffe, our host.

Friday, August 29, 2008

First Magic: The Gathering draft event in Iaşi

Notice: Looking for the Magic: The Gathering community in Iasi? Be sure to check the dedicated blog and forum:

Yes, we’re drafting! It is the first public Magic: The Gathering event in Iaşi and we hope it’s the jump start for our local community of players.

August 30, 2008 update: Posted results and photos from the event.

What’s Magic: The Gathering?

Magic: The Gathering is a very popular TCG with an estimated six million players in over seventy countries. Read more about Magic: The Gathering in my introductory article, or on the official website.

What’s drafting?

In a drafting event each player receives 3 booster packs. After being seated around a table, each player simultaneously opens one booster pack, selects a single card, and then passes the rest to the next player. The process is repeated for each booster pack. Once the draft is completed, players then build their deck from the pool of cards/miniatures they received in the draft.

What’s with this event?

We’re gathering in Amnesia Crem Caffe, Saturday August 30. The event will start at 11:00, and everyone should register prior to that time. We’ve already counted 8 participants, but we can support up to 16 players, so feel free to walk in and register prior to 11 if you want to play.

We’ll be playing 3 or 4 rounds of Swiss-style tournament. In Swiss-style each player participates in every round and the player with most points wins the tournament. (3 points are awarded for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a loss.)

There are no prizes at the event, we’re just gathering and playing. The event is also not be sanctioned by the DCI. We hope future events will be sanctioned and maybe we’ll even player for prizes.

I think this event is going to be a success! Many thanks to LEX Copy Center, our cards supplier, and Amnesia Crem Caffe, our host.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Hacking" Basecamp: Greasing Those Time Reports

In a previous post I was talking about how we can use HTML tricks through Textile to better organize and document things in basecamp. Some things just can’t be done as simple, though.

Time reports

Basecamp Time Report (Before)The default time report view in Basecamp is useful especially when you want to review how the past time was spent. However, the view is sorted by clients instead of being sorted by day. That’s fine when you’re dealing with only a couple of clients, but when your focus is—per say—the past week and you’ve dealt with 7 clients things get messy.

Won’t fit without some grease

There was no easy “out of the box” way to deal with the issue, which is why we needed some extra help from a dear Firefox extension:
 Greasemonkey. If you want to use the following script, you’ll need to install the  Greasemonkey Firefox add-on.

Basecamp Time Report (Before)Now that you have Greasemonkey installed it’s time to get the script for the sorted time reports. I’ve uploaded the Basecamp: Time Report script on and version 0.1 is ready to be used! Once you have installed the script head to your local Basecamp and create a time report for a week to test it. Enjoy the beautiful time report sorted by day

I’m planning to update the script soon with more functionality, so be sure to check for updates.

Going back is easy even easier

If you ever need to go back to the per-client view, just switch Greasemonkey off by clicking it’s icon. Sure, it will turn into a sad face, but don’t worry about that yet.

Update: Group by project, Group by day

I've recently updated the script to add a button instead of directly changing the view. You'll find the "Group by day" link near the "Edit report" link.

There’s a lot more that can be done with Greasemonkey, and a quick look through the existing scripts on will prove just that. In an upcoming article about Basecamp Hacks I will show you how to print branded Writeboards.

Monday, August 04, 2008

One for All, and All in One

Note for the faint-hearted: The tone is for artistic purposes only.

Let’s take a look at some Lorwyn/Shadowmoor pairs who’s metafore I don’t get very well.

The Shadowmoor set brings 5 cards each definitely having the metafore of a crowd. The name’s the first thing to give them away: Kithkin Rabble, Faerie Swarm, Crowd of Cinders, Horde of Boggarts and Drove of Elves. The tricky part, though, is that they’re not actually crowds when they get in the game. They’re just a single creature packed with some ability that deceives you into thinking _“Wow, that’ll win my games!”_. And they do win your game if you’re playing agains the right deck. And when do you best feel it’s just one pathetic creature? When you bring your elder into play.


Kithkin Rabble and Wizened Cenn

Kithkin Rabble is in play and you’re playing Wizened Cenn. Because there’s a new white permanent in game, Kithkin Rabble would become a 2/2. When Wizened Cenn’s rules take effect, each other Kithkin in play should take +1/+1, so Kithkin Rabble becomes 3/3. But wait, I should be having a rabble of kithkins there (judging by the rules two 1/1 kithkins in this case), shouldn’t they each get +1/+1? Shouldn’t Kithkin Rabble be 4/4 instead? Or have the Kithkin gone back to farming, now?

A 3/3 kithkin with Vigilance and a lot of potential would work well for both defense and attacking, but what if your opponent plays an Incinerate on it or what not? You may play Spectral Procession in response if that happens, which will make you happy, but that’s not my point.


Faerie Swarm and Scion of Oona

Faerie Swarm is in play and you’re playing Scion of Oona. Since we have a new blue permanent in game, Faerie Swarm would become a 2/2. When Scion of Oona’s abilities take effect, Faerie Swarm becomes 3/3. Hold on a second! What kind of faerie trickery is this? That swarm, if we’re to call it that, should have 2 faeries by now, each getting it’s +1/+1. That Faerie Swarm should have been 4/4, which proves you can never trust Faeries.

Sure, a 3/3 with flying looks good on the table, unless you meet a withering spider in your way… You wish your hand had an Unsummon now, don’t you?

Black and Red

Crowd of Cinders and Incandescent Soulstoke
Horde of Boggarts and Mad Auntie

We’re not even getting started on these. Aside of the fact that Crowd of Cinders and Horde of Boggarts aren’t really crowds, their lords aren’t really their color (respectivelly)! Incandescent Soulstoke is all red and glowy, like most flamekin in Lorwyn, while the cinders are black. Mad Auntie is all black and stinky like a true Lorwyn goblin, but boggarts have turned red (an worse, some even green).


Drove of Elves and Imperious Perfect

There we go again: Drove of Elves in play and you’re playing Imperious Perfect. Suddenly the Drove of Elves is a 2/2 just because there’s a new green permanent. Imperious Perfect’s ability takes effect and before you blink the Drove of Elves is a 3/3. Wait, what? So there’s an elf stading near me, which gets +1/+1, but I can see many more there in the back, behind the trees! Don’t they too grow stronger at the sight of the perfect? She’s beautiful for all of you!

In spite of the agony in a planeswalker’s heart, this combo I find the best of the five. Every turn the Imperious Perfect will summon another green Elf Warrior, which will be for real, not like the ones in the crowd, which will pump up the crowd’s power and toughness. Also, the Drove of Elves is almost untouchable by your opponents, since they can’t target it. Well, that unless they hit you with the incredibly cheap Pyroclasm.

Call for a real Crowd

All of those five creatures work well in many decks, but I’d still like to see a real Crowd creature card ability, like “This creature is X separate targets, where X is the creature’s toughness”. So if you play a spell that lets you pick a target, you can only pick one in the crowd. If it attacks, however, they attack as one. Reminds me of banding, but you only need to play one card.

Of course each creature would be 1/1 by default, something like “P/T are equal to the number of lands you control”. But what if you Incinerate one of them? What, it just regenerates right back? Not very fair… unless maybe it’s black.

Maybe we should use counters instead… “This creature comes into play with X individual counters on it, where X is the number of lands you control as you play this spell. Whenever a land comes into play under your control, put an individual counter on this creature.” Fate Transfer would be a bugger right now, but that’s just life. But what if they play “Unsummon”?

Well, obviously counters can’t be spells, so we need to have “When an individual counter is removed from play, remove it from the game instead.”

Now to refine the initial rule a bit: “If a spell would affect this creature, it will act as if it were X separate creatures, where X is the number of individual counters on it.” How nice! So if I play Incinerate now, it will only remove one of the counters on the crowd. Pyroclasm still freaks me out, but then again—life.

I guess this is the mechanic I was looking for. It still needs some polishing, but it’s ok for the night.