I’ve always wanted to play a collectible card game in a competitive environment. There’s something about watching a deck take shape over weeks and months, toying with ideas and builds whenever new cards are released, and then testing the mettle of your creation in the crucible of a tournament. And when that’s done, you do it all over again, learning from your mistakes and capitalizing on your successes. Unfortunately, I simply lack the time that I’d need to invest in such an endeavor. I’d say, “Maybe if I were younger,” but I didn’t have all that much free time when I was a kid either. Maybe when I’m older.
Good thing Millennium Blades is finally here, because it satisfies my hunger with one of the most rollicking fun games I’ve ever played.
There comes a moment in all our lives when we must kick and throw and taunt and launch fireballs, to say nothing of the possibility of launching an electric uppercut. For many of us, that moment goes by the name
and pretty much centers around either standing in an unbearably long line or passing the time at a crummy restaurant.
I’ve long been of the opinion that the highest authorities in the land, the dudes who carry matching sets of nuclear launch keys with grave determination and a too-wide gait that hints at unbroken years of constipation, really ought to hire some regular guy off the street. Just to sit in on their super-secret meetings. To sip coffee in the corner and look bewildered while they talk about foreign policy. That way, when someone gets the bright idea to transfer control of the nation’s nuclear arsenal to a digital mind with genocidal tendencies, that guy can twiddle his thumbs for a bit before clearing his throat, leaning forward, and putting them straight.
“Hey, that idea? About the murder-bot and all our nukes? It’s, ah… I don’t know how to say this nicely, Mr. President, but it’s shit.”
And that’s how we’re going to prevent RESISTOR from happening.
In a lot of ways, Indines seems like the ideal tourist destination. It’s bright. Sunny. The people are exotic and vibrant, and have sexy, unfamiliar names like Kallistar Flarechild and Zaamassal Kett. The general populace has long ago gotten used to inter-planar travelers popping into existence left and right, so there’s nary a grouse to be heard about bloody foreigners or damn tourists or anything ugly like that.
While there’s a part of me that marvels at how it’s been two years since I reviewed Noir as part of the Minigame Library, and ponders at how much I have changed and grown and aged over the past 24 months, mostly I think of that part of me as an unoriginal nitwit. We’re reminiscing now? Thinking about how I was once a fresh-faced 26 year-old? No time for that — there are murders to solve. Poor Irma is too busy being dead to pine over her lost youth, so why should I mope over mine?
Millennium Blades is a game about a group of friends playing a game called Millennium Blades. And while you might think I’m being sort of a jackass since any game can be described that way (“Uno is a game about a group of friends being too bored to play anything but a game called Uno”), you’d actually be wrong. Because Millennium Blades really is a game about playing a game. And that game is called Millennium Blades.
Hold on, let me explain.
Argent: The Consortium was my favorite game of 2014 — which, sure, was a bit of a cheat, considering it didn’t release until early 2015. But such is the perk of being a gentleman thief who only targets overseas board game warehouses.
The base game was packed with variety. There were tons of treasures, spells, and supporters, certainly more than you could see in a single game. Every single room and even the workers who carried out your bidding came with an alternate B-side. Between the myriad possible university combinations, powers, spells, and victory conditions, it was possible that every game would be different in some way.
To that end, if you had asked me if Argent needed an expansion, I would have laughed in your face, spittle soiling your eyebrows. Now, I can’t imagine playing without Argent’s first full expansion, Mancers of the University. So what’s the deal?
Back in the day, our game group used to hold these little house tournaments all the time. Mostly Summoner Wars, though we could be counted on to make a lively competition out of nearly anything, from Omen: A Reign of War to The Duke. If we could play more than one match at a time, sharing table space and laughing about each other’s flubs, we were set.
Then, for whatever reason, we stopped playing like that.
Over the next year we occasionally discussed giving it another shot. Especially if we could hold a tournament using BattleCON: Devastation of Indines, because a colorful fighting game full of thirty asymmetrical characters, dead simple rules, and outguess-your-opponent gameplay seemed like the perfect sort of thing for a winner-takes-all brawl. Even so, our plans never coalesced into an actual event.
Well. A few weeks back, entirely unexpectedly, we were treated to a perfect situation: exactly eight players, all of whom arrived exactly at 8, nobody who reported needing to get to bed early, and every single one of them ready and willing to play.
It was on.
I might be more partial to the University from The Name of the Wind than I am to Hogwarts, but I don’t think there’s a single human being among us who can say they haven’t dreamed of being accepted into a school of magic. Ah, what a life! The power, the prestige. The non-committal make-outs with gorgeous magically gifted people. The, uh, education, I guess.
Now there’s one more reason to head off to magic boarding school. It’s Argent: The Consortium, the newest title from Level 99 Games, set in the perplexing world of Indines where people spend roughly 92% of their time punching each other. Now they’re punching each other with intrigue. Also the not-so-occasional fireball.