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Subject: Shadowfist vs On the Edge rss

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UA Darth
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Any opinions on which is better? I'm looking for the better of the 2 for 3 player games.

I figure that since Shadowfist came out afterwards it would be more refined...?

Also, do Shadowfist or On the Edge starter packs have any fixed cards?
 
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Brian Bankler
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Well, I played OtE a few times and it was OK, not great. I greatly prefer 'Fist.

Anyway:
1) Play whichever you can get opponents for.
2) Fist is still alive. Hopefully a new set this year. I haven't seen anyone playing OtE 2 years after it came out.
3) Fist starters (the last two sets) are fixed, not random. OtE is random.
4) OtE has a serious monkey deficiency.
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Eric Jome
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I dearly love On The Edge. It's a good game... and it is so cheap that you could probably pick it up and enjoy it as well as Shadowfist, which will be more expensive by far.

Shadowfist is a complex, involved game that is very innovative in its mechanics. It takes a little playing to get used to it. And playing with a very small number of players requires some careful deck building to be truly even among the players - Shadowfist has ways to come from behind, but often the only way to stop the leader is to have the other players work together against them. In my view, Shadowfist works best with 5 players, pretty good with 4 or 6, fair with 3, and unplayable at 2 without a lot of special considerations.

Still, it is a fast and exciting game with a cool theme.

On The Edge on the other hand is very much like Magic - it will be very easy to learn and play, but doesn't have the same level of complexity and innovation that Shadowfist has. On The Edge is Magic with an unlimited number of colors; instead of cards having color, they have a keyword related to some aspect of the background. For example, characters who work for the aliens invading the Earth are all labelled with Kergillian and there are special "land" cards (Resources) you use to build around them... so for every keyword you have another deck.

But On The Edge is pretty simple. It never really had a chance to grow to something more interesting with lots of deep strategies. It is more of a storytellers CCG, being based on a role playing game. On The Edge is really best with 4, very playable with 3, fair with 5, unplayable at 2 or 6+.

I'd be inclined perhaps to pick up Shadowfist as I like meatier games, but as I said, On The Edge should be cheap if you just want to try it. I've played a great deal of both of these games over the years... and I like them both, though they are very different from one another.
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UA Darth
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Great, thanks for the help!
 
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David Arlington
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I pretty much agree with the above posters. On The Edge is a good game, but not as deep as Shadowfist. On the other hand, I think On The Edge is a lot better 2 player game (which I believe was an important criteria for you) than Shadowfist. And I think if you pick up ALL the On the Edge expansions (which should be cheap enough to do), it can be a deeper game than many people give it credit for.

(I had a friend once who was SURE he had On The Edge figured out and had constructed the unbeatable deck... until I beat him with something totally different that he thought would have never worked! )

One thing I like about BOTH games is that unlike some games where the background universe is usually just a distraction, the factions of both Shadowfist and On The Edge are very unique and flavorful. I think it helps that both came from or were developed in conjuction with role-playing games.

And sure, Shadowfist may have a few more monkeys, but only On The Edge has the Throckmorton Device!!

And hey, anyone in the northern NJ area interested in playing EITHER of these games, let me know!

Doc
 
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Brian Bankler
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I didn't notice the # of players part. I agree that 'Fist with two is not terribly interesting, but I think 3 is the sweet spot. Games take about an hour. With 4 or 5 you need to have a trick to just prevent all four players from attacking you. With 3, the leader has to face two opponents, which is doable (you are the leader).

Also, more players means more downtime.

To be fair, my 'Fist play group involves several top ranked players. That may affect the sweet spot.
 
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Zev Shlasinger
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Sorry I had to say 'hello' in this thread since two names popped up I haven't heard from in a while - Eric and Dave (Brian I saw recently!).

Zev Shlasinger, President
Z-Man Games, Inc.
www.zmangames.com
 
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David Arlington
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Zman wrote:
Sorry I had to say 'hello' in this thread since two names popped up I haven't heard from in a while - Eric and Dave (Brian I saw recently!).

Zev Shlasinger, President
Z-Man Games, Inc.
www.zmangames.com


Hey Zev, you've heard from me indirectly as I seemed to have purchased a bunch of the fine games your company has put out! So you've met some of my dollars by now, I'm sure!

(I am always thrilled to see what your company has become because I always thought you were a class guy. Good stuff comes back around!)

Dave
 
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UA Darth
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With Shadowfist, what edition would be the one to start with? The rereleased Zman edition? The Z-man edition is just starters? Which expansions?

And I'm confirming, On the Edge starters are all random?
 
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Eric Jome
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Yes, On The Edge starters are entirely random. So are the boosters. The game was famous for it's very effective collation - it was really the hard work of the makers and their careful attention to card layout at the printers that made it so amazing. There was even a special league format where you bought just a 60 card starter, cut to 40 cards, and played for ANTE against other players. It was called the Omni League.

Where to begin with Shadowfist? Check out the wikipedia page on the game.

If you can find it, I'd highly recommend acquiring the 10,000 Bullets "base set" as a starting point. The starters for this set are very playable and enjoyable, even just on their own. Year of the Dragon, much older and likely harder to get, was also quite good. Unfortunately, you may have to just start wherever you can find cards...
 
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Joshua Kronengold
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There's a place in my heart that deeply still loves On the Edge...but I must respectfully disagree with Eric regarding the ways in which it outclasses Shadowfist -- particularly in that it doesn't.

Shadowfist dueling is a nasty, brutal sport -- but it's a lot of fun -- and in particular, it's a lot more fun than OnTE dueling. OnTE is all about the grind -- you don't play any more cards than you have to, getting card advantage via daring abilties and killing your opponents cards, and eventually use that card advantage to win. Very like magic, in many ways, which is also a card advantage game (and in both magic and OnTE, you can sometimes also win by building a quick engine and using it to churn your way to victory before your opponent can get an unassailble card advantage). Fist is far more dynamic -- you have to build a dueling deck, not a multiplayer one, but until the game's over, it's hard to say it's truly over, since a quick burn might turn things around, and you draw your hand up to 6 every turn.

In multiplayer, again, the advantage is Shadowfist -- it's much more of a team-up game. But 5 is way, way too many; Shadowfist is firmly in the "permission win" set of multiplayer games (like Kill Doctor Lucky, Munchkin, and Illuminatus, though I think it's better than any of those--to end the game, you must win against the opposition of all the other players), and as such, the game gets longer more than linearly as you add players. So 2 is great (but brutal), 3 and 4 are optimal, and 5 is too many. OnTE is less of a permission win game (it is to an extent, but it's entirely possible to bypass permission and just win with the right deck), but it's a far less nuanced and interesting multiplayer game in the first place -- and the "one card draw per turn" rule makes it very hard to come back if you get pushed down far enough, whereas one of the best parts of Fist dueling is that until and unless you run out of cards or someone wins, it's -always- possible to come back and take sites after the titans fight it out for a while. (but -if- I was playing 5, I'd prefer OnTE's Vicious Circle variant to an open 5-player Fist game; 3 hours is far too long for an average game of Fist).

In the manner of ease of learning, while Fist does have a lot of hidden (or not so hidden) complexity, not that much is needed, and the manner of play and winning is very straightforward, whereas OnTE's true tactics and strategies can get pretty arcane.

In the manner of "bang for the buck", one must take into account a number of factors: 1. Fist has a lot more current players, so it's a lot easier to find Fist players (I haven't managed an OnTE game for, um, I think 5 years if not more). 2. While OnTE is much cheaper, with a lot of cards still available on heavy discount, it's far more rare-centric than Fist is. 3. Fist is a better game than OnTE is (as much as I love it). So unless one is thinking of the "cost to open a few packs and play", I'd say that Fist has a lot more bang -- much more repeat playability, more likelyhood of being able to hook up with existing groups, an active play community and company and online community.

Finally, while I must admit that Fist has -more- monkeys than OnTE has, their common heritage (in the form of Robin Laws, mostly) has, in addition to interest in exploring in-ccg locations (did you know that Shadowfist in early playtest had sites stacked three levels deep -- just as characters are in OnTE?) has resulted in quite a number of OnTE monkeys (or rather, baboons) -- Patrol Baboons, Molly, queen mother of baboons, and the ever-lovable Cheap Baboon Trick (as well as some baboon-like dogfaces).

Starting with Fist -- the best approach, I think, is to show up to a group (there are a few scattered around) and play draft; it puts you on a more or less equal footing, and you end up with cards at the end (probably more than you bought, as players shower you with their "spares").

The starters are a good basis for a deck, though they're designed to be easy to play rather than good, and there are some good articles online on deckbuilding (and an active yahoogroup community.
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Joshua Kronengold
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shadowfist: starting points
Just going down the list, re Fist starting points:

Limited/Standard: huge card pool. Many of the staples that are still cornerstones of the deck today, also lots of chaff. You can still pick these up pretty cheaply, and there are powerful cards that were never reprinted (mostly, the faction hosers), so getting -some- standard is a good idea despite the chaff. The basic cards were deliberately overprinted -- making this a really good set for getting feng shui sites and foundations (ie, the basic cards you need to play at all) for the main 5 factions.

Netherworld: Some good cards, but -lots- of chaff. If you can get the later expansions, pretty much every good card in NW was reprinted later. (can make some arguments about, oh, specific uniques). Also, really expensive. Avoid.

Flashpoint: Avoid. All the good cards from here have been reprinted, and there's a -lot- of chaff. Moreover, the rarity scheme was screwy, with only one rare in every 4 boosters or so, and messed up uncommon distribution, so it's really hard to collect. Better to just trade for the cards you're interested in from here.

Throne War: Yes, definitely. Lots of really good cards, reprints of Netherworld staples like Violet Meditation and Pocket Demon, new powerhouses like Scrounging and the Dragon Throne, powerful feng shui sites, easy to collect, and as the first Z-Man set, most of this stuff was never reprinted. Also, very easy to collect, as it was a small set. One wierdness -- there are four Dragon cards in this set, and of them, only Dr. John Haynes is worth playing.

Year of the Dragon: Very good if you can get it. Good selection of Feng shui sites and foundations, playable out of the box, and also contains powerhouse rares in an easy to collect form (for example, you could buy a box of Netherworld hoping to draw a Ting Ting, or you could buy a Year of the Dragon Dragon starter and be guarunteed one).

Netherworld 2: Mixed. Really, insanely good if you want to play Monarchs -- pretty much every worthwhile card was reprinted (except for the Queen of the Ice Pagoda, and she's only available as a promo (redeemable with wrappers) or by hunting through Limited/standard). But some chaff, and not that much for non-monarchs, non-Jammers.

Shaolin Showdown: Mixed. A lot of fun effects, and some very powerful cards. But many, many coasters as well -- the Path cards, in particular, are rarely worthwhile (with a few exceptions). This one is very high on Hand and Chi cards, as well as Ascended.

Dark Future: Very good, and very well recieved. This was when the new team hit their stride; there were very few coasters and a new faction that was interesting and powerful off the bat. Heavy on Architects, Jammer, Dragon, and Purist cards.

Boom Chaka Laka: Mixed. A fair number of powerful cards, but more flavor. Not a lot of true coasters, though, and the theme is fun, if silly.

10k Bullets: If anything, better than Year of the Dragon, with more powerful cards per faction. That said, some of the decks are much better than others -- the Dragon deck (with Stephen Wu and Ting Ting, among others that are more specialized) is much better than the Architect deck deck (which only Has Gengis X and Magog). There's also a deck for every faction (at the time), including the at-the-time new Purist faction.

Red Wedding: Spectacular. Largely faction-balanced set with powerful and interesting cards across the factions.

Seven Masters: Really good. Most of the cards are powerful and good, and there's a a new standalone faction (that only appears in this set) which is worthwhile both standalone and as a mixin with other factions. Also, really good art.

Two Fisted Tales: Good set, a lot of interesting and disruptive mechanics. Good to draft from, though not a great base set -- as the new mechanics are generally the ones you use to power up or spice up a deck, not the ones you build one from scratch with (that said, this set is the cornerstone of the Hood deck).

Shurikens and Six Guns, Critical Shift: Like TFT, these are strong sets without a lot of coasters, but are generally filled with cards that provide -new- strategies rather than the basic cards of the game (that said, there are plenty of new and good foundations and feng shui sites; the cards that tend to not see a lot of churn are the core events and states of the game; easy to play cards that tend to flavor the faction they come from and provide effects not as easily or powerfully gotten from other factions (thus being the primary thing the faction provides in multifactioning) -- for example, character return and global damage from the Dragons, removal from the architects, theft from the Ascended and Lotus, and event and state cancellation from the Hand.
 
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Chris Turner
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Shadowfist FTW.
 
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