Monday, May 30, 2011

An explanation for my performance last night

Dear random 3 guys I ran into online last night,

You may not remember me exactly, because there was a lot going on. I don't know how long you were all waiting for that magical 4th player to join up, but in retrospect I probably wasn't the guy you were looking for.

True, I wasn't the only one screwing things up. There was the guy who put a Ulamog down off his Lurking Predators, only to have one of the other players point out Lurking Predators required 6 mana to cast and he had only 5 available. He had to do a little backing up to get things right, but it wasn't that much of a hassle. And what a card to have on top of your library!

What was definitely a hassle was the guy acting like he had never played before. And that guy was me. Because I hadn't.

Oh I've played Magic The Gathering: Real Life Edition. I would consider myself well-seasoned, like a peppered flank steak, in this regard. I've built decks with Brass Men in them. I've played in game stores, kitchen tables and many various cafeteria spaces. I am old school.

What I haven't ever used before is this amazing new bit of German card-game playing software all the kids are talking about nowadays. My online magic playing experience, up until this very night, was limited entirely to intro decks in the Magic Online Free Trial Room.

Now we come to this evening.

I probably should have practiced a little first with the interface. But after spending an hour trying to reconstruct my EDH deck in the deck editor, I just felt like diving right in. Sink or swim, I figured.

The first clue that maybe I was a noob was the empty hand. Once I figured out how to draw cards, things got a little better. Until I realized I didn't have my general and had to dig him out of my library.

Many of these little confusions caused the game to slow down to uncomfortable levels. Fortunately I am a quick study and managed to pick up most of the nuances so I was doing okay towards the end of the game with the basic commands.

Except for two areas.

1) Passing the phases. Apparently its common courtesy to pass the phases through instead of just hitting "end turn." This gives the other players the appropriate time to cast spells they might be saving. It was explained very patient to me several times that an easy way to do this quickly is by hitting "control space".

Unfortunately, there is one more complication I should probably explain. I am using a Macintosh G4 Powerbook from 2002. I don't have a "control" button like you do. My "control" button seldom does the function you expect, instead I have to switch over to an "open apple" button for my "control" button needs. But in this instance, neither "control" nor "open apple" plus my space bar made any kind of progress towards advancing my phase.

Instead, I found myself having to go up to the phase menu and manually selecting each phase in turn until I found the phase I wanted to be in.

2) Another aspect of my unusual computer arrangement was the arrows. In this actually rather well put together program, there are arrows you can point to show targets of spells and defenders in an attack. I completely failed to ever get my arrows working. When you all insisted I "right click" to point my arrows at the permanents I was trying to target, I was fighting instead with a single cyclopean "click" button in the center of my trackpad.

Now here is another fun fact about my Mac…it can do right clicks. I actually right click all the time. But the way you right click is by holding down the "control" button (not the command button!) while clicking normally. But in this particular game, that action seemed to do nothing.

So I ground the game to a halt, and I was mana-screwed to boot.

So here are some promises I make before I dive into my second multiplayer game.

1) I will put my commander in my sideboard.

2) I will figure out how to muligan my hand until I have colored mana to cast my spells

3) I will read whatever support forum is required to figure out how the other Mac users out there are right clicking and command-spacing (or control-spacing?).

Note: I love the fact that Cockatrice even runs on a Mac, let alone an ancient machine like mine. The speed was actually quite snappy to my amazement. If Magic Online had a Mac client, I would still be out of luck because it would probably only run on Intel processors. (I ran the Trial Room on my wife's computer)

4) I will practice drawing my targeting arrows.

Until I do all of these things, I will stick to "paper magic". Which has being seeing a lot of Quicksilver Fountains lately. Which I was going to post about today. Until I randomly decided to give this whole "online" thing a go.

How did the game end? The winning player used a quickly-deployed Emeria Angel to manufacture a bunch of birds for a killer Radiant, Archangel. He used Catastrophe to get rid of the few lands I had played. Leaving me with Goblin Tinkerer and Goblin Balloon Brigade as my permanents. I hope you enjoyed that destroyed Mana Crypt. Which you apparently did, because it did nothing to stop your onslaught.

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