Tag Archives: gaming

Your New Favorite Support Piece: The Mystical Elf

As part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! HeroClix set, there’s one figure you’ll definitely want if you enjoy strong Support pieces. Let me tell you about Mystical Elf!

Image credit: HeroClixWorld

How to Play Mystical Elf

This little lady is meant to be played close to her teammates so that Mystical Healing can go off and so she can more effectively use Prob and Support. As for defending herself, her Barrier, Phasing, and Willpower make her hard to target and pin down for long. Her 8 move, 10 attack and fairly high defenses most of the way down (including that fantastic 19 on last click) are good enough stats to ensure that she’ll be sticking around for a good portion of the game at least. All this for 50 points–not bad!

Additional Functionality: The Trap/Spell Mechanic

Notice the “Trap/Spell,” “Graceful Dice,” and “Skull Dice” rules–these can be used on another friendly Yu-Gi-Oh! character to enhance Mystical Elf’s usefulness even more. Whenever she would be defeated, you can instead turn her into a Spell or Trap card as described. (Skull Dice would be a nasty surprise for your opponent if you’re playing against a beatstick team, and Graceful Dice would be an excellent boost for a character who needs Prob.)

Also, you can include her dial facedown at the beginning of the game for 7 points if you don’t have room for 50 points or don’t want to use her Support characteristics. Just choose your friendly Yu-Gi-Oh! character and set the dial facedown on their card, and you’re ready to play!

Final Note: Trap/Spell Legality

Whether Trap/Spell functionality is legal in standard Golden Age games is hotly debated on HCRealms at the moment, but both an official judge and a forum moderator have said that individual venues can house-rule this to be legal or not. Just ask your local HeroClix judge whether they allow Traps/Spells before building your team for standard Golden Age events–if they say no, you can always play Mystical Elf as a regular Clix piece and get most of the benefit. She’s versatile!

What No One Tells You About Collectible Gaming

Collectible gaming–buying plastic figures and/or cards to play in games with others–is a fun pastime for quite a lot of people, myself included. But there are a few things about the hobby that I didn’t quite understand before I got into it:

You will end up with “extras” that you can’t sell for any money, period.

No matter how seldom you buy stuff for the game, no matter how much you try to sell instead of trade, you will ALWAYS end up with extra figures or cards that nobody seems to want, not even on eBay or gaming-specific trading/selling sites. There are two ways to deal with un-sellable extras: set aside a box in your closet for them and forget about them, or give them away to new players who need to build up their collections. (I’d personally recommend the second way, given that nice veteran players gave me a lot of extras when I first started playing Magic and HeroClix, and I’ve kept some of those cards and figures to this day.)

Storing your collection so that it won’t get damaged will become somewhat of an obsession in itself.

Take it from me: once you’ve spent actual money on your collection and/or acquire something you REALLY want, you’ll be invested in taking care of it. This often means buying special padded miniatures boxes to keep your figures from getting damaged, card sleeves and/or toploaders for valuable cards, etc. Not only that, you have to be concerned with keeping your collection away from sunlight (fades everything), water, dust, and excessive heat (the latter especially with plastic/rubber figures, which can and will begin to soften in hot cars). (As OCD as all this might sound, it’s worth it if you ever want to sell or trade these items later–Near-Mint and Mint condition items sell or trade best!)

You will never be “done” collecting unless you cut yourself off cold turkey.

Admittedly, this is how collectible games stay alive–always creating new stuff for us to collect. There’s always one more figure to complete a set, one more card we don’t have. But this can be quite a strain on the wallet…and on the arms and back as you struggle to move your collection! Once you start collecting, if you’re deeply involved in it, you won’t ever be quite done fleshing out your selection of figures and/or cards, unless you set goals of routinely upgrading and cleaning out your collection to only keep the stuff you play and enjoy. Which leads me to my last point…

Your collection can reach ridiculous sizes in a very short time.

Without regular pruning (and heck, sometimes even WITH regular pruning), your gaming collection can swell to fill a room corner, a closet, a room, or even your whole house (I’ve seen it happen!). Even if you’re trying not to buy new stuff, purely trading out old for new, your collection can take over your living spaces quite easily. (See: my “gaming shelf” in my closet, which is so shamefully overflowing that I’m not even taking a picture of it, LOL) If you want your collections to be enjoyable yet contained, you have to be really proactive about containing them!

What Do You Think?

Have I accurately described a collectible gamer’s life? Let me know in the comments!

My Favorite MTG Angel Ever Printed

As far as favorite creature types go, Angels are number one, and have been since I started playing the game. I’ve collected one of most of the Angels printed (minus a few of the really expensive/hard-to-get-hold-of Angels), and I even have an Angel deck put together. To say I’m an Angel fan in Magic is an understatement.

But who is my favorite Angel? Surprisingly, not Akroma, as awesome as she is. Instead…

image credit: MagicCards.info
THIS not-so-little lady became my absolute favorite Angel when Shards of Alara came out. Sure, she costs 3 different colors of mana, but she has lots of fun things going for her as well:

  • Shroud, meaning she can’t be targeted even by burn and kill spells
  • The protective “redirecting damage” clause
  • That crazy high toughness; she might not have as much punch as Akroma, but she can take more damage!

In short, Empyrial Archangel is a different flavor of Angel–less ROAR and more steadfast, less aggressive and more defensive. She’s almost like a Planeswalker Lite, since she takes damage for you. In this way, she’s very, VERY different from most of the other Angels, especially the ones which were already printed at the time she came out, but this is another plus for me. I like playing high-defense, life-protecting stuff in Magic anyway, and having all that on a favorite creature type is just icing on the MTG cake.

Sure, she may not be a battle-leader; heck, you probably won’t be sending her into combat at all, either for attacking or blocking. But Empyrial Archangel isn’t meant for that anyway. She’s meant to defend those Life Points of yours in a very different way, an unexpected way (for MTG Angels, at least)–not with a sword, but with her wings. She is one of the few Angels that exemplifies a quieter, humbler power…even while she blocks your way with an 8 toughness. 😛

Guimp.com: Smallest Game Site in the World (Literally!)

guimp_actualsize The screenshot at left is the actual size of Guimp.com, home of the tiniest miniature games, Flash toys, and galleries I’ve EVER seen. Right within that 18×18 pixel square is where all the magic happens. Zoom in and get ready for itty-bitty pixel fun–awesome things DO come in small packages!

How to Play the Games

guimp_games Click the beginning water-drop animation to be brought to the home screen (pictured above), then click “Flash” and you’ll see this screen. Click the left and right arrows to browse through the catalog of fully-playable miniature retro games and other Flash delights–to activate one, click the word and it will bring up a loading and instructional screen. Then you can enjoy your favorite games, like the following:
Pong (woot!)
Pacman (mad skillz required)
Piano (this is awesome!)
Simon Says

Other Available Games Not Pictured Here:

  • Asteroids
  • Tic-Tac-Toe
  • Football
  • Life
  • F1 Racing
  • Maze
  • Space Invaders
  • Drum Machine
  • Fruit Slot Machine
  • 3D Arena (REALLY COOL)

Other Attractions

guimp_site If you click “HTML” at the home screen, you’ll get to browse through the World’s Smallest Blog, Graphics Showcase, Art Gallery, Haiku Gallery, Famous/Pop Culture Gallery, and Webcam, as well as news and links. Also, don’t forget Guimp’s CafePress Shop–click left once after you click “Flash” and you’ll see a link to it.


All in all, Guimp.com is a wonderful little game and timewaster site (to pardon the pun). If you’re feeling nostalgic and want a tiny taste of retro gaming, or if you want a crazy novel take on gaming, click and enjoy!

HeroClix Tournament Ideas


HeroClix tournaments, at least in my neck of the woods, are a fairly big affair. Everyone brings their strongest figures (usually out of the very newest sets), and most people spend their team-building time (and most of the week before the tournament) trying to figure out how to break the format for maximum wins in 50-minute rounds. In other words, there’s a list of reasons why I’ve quit playing the tournaments; I’m a casual player, I don’t have the money for updated figures, and I hate trying to play within a time limit.

But what if tournaments weren’t always cutthroat like this? What if there were a few tournament days thrown in there where the competition is still there, but the challenge is a little different? Read on to find out what I mean!

Idea #1: Draft-ish Tournament Out of Somebody’s Extras

Most Clix players have a huge box of extra figures lying around, figures they normally wouldn’t play with much, figures they’d be willing to trade. What if there was a tournament where the judge brought a huge box of extras and everyone built their teams on the spot, strictly out of that box?


  • Could be either a free or pay-to-play tournament (see last rule)
  • Extras box should be edited carefully to take out obvious “power pieces,” instead focusing on lesser-known pieces
  • Roll a dice to select the order of figure selection; each player then chooses one figure at a time until they each feel they have enough figures
  • Players get an hour to fine-tune their teams once the extras box is brought out
  • At the end of the tournament, players can either offer to buy any figures they really liked (if the tournament was free), or can take any of the figures they liked (if the tournament was pay-to-play).


  • Stops players from being able to search out killer combos online and acquire the figures before the tournament
  • Forces players to get creative as they search through unfamiliar figures to build a team
  • Introduces players to figures they might never have seen before, let alone played
  • Gives new or casual players a chance to try new figures and to even acquire them later if they like them


  • More experienced players can spot the better figures right away and scoop them up before newer players can get a chance
  • How do you define “power pieces?” Some figures are really awesome even though they don’t look like much (Checkmate Knight White and Experienced Destiny, anyone?).

Idea #2: Build a Team–for Someone Else!

This is a pretty simple idea; for this tournament, pure chance decides who’s going to play the team you built, and what team you’re going to end up playing with!


  • No players are told beforehand about the “switching teams” rule, just so people don’t build terrible teams for each other
  • Players are simply told to build a basic team that they feel represents their personal HeroClix style
  • All players roll two d6s at the same time; players whose dice rolls match switch teams with each other. (In the event that 3 or more people match on dice rolls, reroll between them to decide who matches up with who)
  • Once all players have been matched up and their teams switched with each other, allot 30 minutes for players to exchange team strategy ideas (basically “how does this team win,” “what do these pieces do for the strategy,” etc.”)
  • Play a normal tournament format with the switched teams; prizes should ideally be split between player and creator, because they are both responsible for any wins/losses. (See “Cons” below)


  • Builds community and cooperation as pairs of players walk each other through their strategies
  • Gives players a double challenge: play someone else’s figures AND someone else’s strategy!
  • Exposes all players, especially newer players, to how other people construct their teams–this can help new players understand what Clix strategy is all about and how they can find their own style.
  • Gives each player a chance to appreciate how another player thinks


  • Requires mature players (i.e., people who won’t break each other’s figures out of spite, try to steal said figures, purposefully make the other player’s team lose, etc.)
  • Splitting prizes between player and creator could create tension; you may have to award prizes differently (prizes go just to team player, just to team creator, etc.). If the issue comes up, put it to a vote, and then be consistent.
  • Depending on the players, there might be a few high-dollar Clix pieces on the table; again, players must be mature enough to take care of another person’s Clix figures.

Idea #3: Tournament Loser(s) Pick the Next Tournament’s Challenge

This isn’t a tournament challenge per se, but rather a way to reward all players for playing.


  • At the end of the tournament, either the lowest-scoring person or the lowest-scoring 4 players are asked what kind of tournament they would like to play next
  • Ideas are written down on slips of paper, which are folded and put into a hat or box; judge picks out an idea at random
  • The chosen idea may be improved upon/edited as needed, and then implemented for the next week’s tourney; ideas which were not chosen may be saved for later tournaments


  • Gives people who didn’t perform well in this tournament a chance to suggest a tournament idea they would be better at playing
  • Depending on the venue, this may be the only prize for losing players; it could make the experience better overall
  • Encourages creativity
  • Is another form of prize, similar to “Fellowship” prizes


  • Could possibly create a “drive to lose” in the other players, just to have power over the next tourney’s format
  • Losing player(s) could choose a terrible tournament format out of spite (this is why the judge should have power to improve or edit the chosen tournament idea)


As the above ideas show, tournaments can be challenging enough and still encourage creativity to win. Think about how you could implement these ideas at your venue!