Day of the Dead Strategy: Timing Spirit Effects

In Evan Raisner’s new game Day of the Dead, players should adopt Dr. Logan’s philosophy and train their zombies (preferably for combat against other undead). Unfortunately you do not have a freezer of dead military personal for your army of Bubs to feast on like Popeye with spinach; however, in Evan’s game a team of undead are enhanced each round through three different spirit effects: Double, Power-Up, and Unearth. Power-Up boosts the value of each fighter by two for the purposes of winning fights only. Double activates the power of a fighter twice. Unearth lets the player choose one of his cards (including the spirit card), and unearth it; he looks at the top three cards in the respective deck and replaces the old card with one of them. During the course of the game, each player must play two copies of each of these effects. The effect a player chooses each round will make all the difference.

X + 2 = I Beat You

Don’t underestimate the importance of Power-Up. Yes it’s the most boring effect you can use. Using a card’s game text multiple times and looking at new cards always trumps basic math. But boosting your undead army’s value can result in winning more fights, and winning fights is pretty damn good. You don’t earn points for how many times you activate Spook’s unearth effect. You earn points by turning opposing undead down, and Power-Up does not mess around when it comes to helping out in this department. Opponents find a Power-Up spirit card incredibly infuriating when both players manage to play similar strategies, because the plus two from the Power-Up spirit card will squeak out victories or break ties.

Once is Good, but Twice is Real Nice

The most successful strategies in Day of the Dead work off of undead fighters with synergistic powers. Once a player fills the field with undead that work together, expect him or her to drop a Double into the spirit zone. Nothing hurts more than your opponent scoring ten points off of Twin copying Hoard because of a Double spirit effect. Try saving your Double effects for later in the game, or when you can set up a situation that pays off big with multiple effects. Look for fighters like Mimic, Spook, Hoard, and Greed to take advantage of doubling. Also try to arrange your fighters so the powerful effects happen first in the chain. If the undead fighters you want to double do not activate until the later turns, this could prevent you from switching your fighter from a loss in an earlier fight because it could switch your spirit effect to something other than Double.

Unearth the Phoenix

A smart player knows when to lose. The Unearth spirit effect can help you win a fight, but most of the time it shines when you want to set up for a bigger turn. Unearth also provides the fastest way to change a fighter for a particular battle. Unearth can allow you to switch a losing Gray into something with a higher value. Depending on what you draw off an unearth effect, you could set up great synergistic set ups like placing a Paranoid next to a Forget. Don’t fear switching out an undead for a new one that has a good effect but will lose the fight. Just make sure you choose an undead that has a spirit effect you may want to switch to during the round. Unearth also provides the best way to improve the quality of your hand, since players are not permitted any type of mulligan in this game.

Did I Just Hear You Say “Get a Free Copy?”

Interested in trying Evan Raisner’s Game?

Check out the Kickstarter page here: Day of the Dead.

Don’t forget to watch the video, ask questions, leave comments, or support the game if you’re interested. Your donation could award you with a free copy, some exclusive promos, and or a limited edition playmat.

Let us know what you think.

If you live in the PA, NJ, or DE area, feel free to contact us at Next Level Card Games and we will try to set up a demonstration.

Resident Evil Deck Building Game: Best Character

Free. A radical price according to Chris Anderson, but a price people must begin to accept in the future. The future is now. Free is the cost of ammunition for your future arsenal. Free is not the cost of your character.
How Can a Character Have a Cost?
Some characters are more powerful than others. Some people prefer to play as certain characters because of their preferences from the video games. Wagering for characters allows players to choose characters in a fair way, without preventing someone from playing as the character they truly want to play as.
What is Wagering?
A player chosen at random nominates a character and starts the bidding at some amount of declaration points. Players cannot make bids in smaller increments than a half of a point. Players take turns around the table bidding on the character, until every player passes in one round. Players may pass one round of bidding but make a bid later if the same character has not sold. Once a character sells, another player nominates a character to bid on. A player may never nominate a character that has already been sold or a character that has the same name as a character already sold. At the end of the game, players subtract from their score the amount of declaration points they paid to play the character.
Won’t the Board Affect My Choice in a Character?
Below you will find a scenario for the Resident Evil DBG. It lays out which cards compose the mansion deck and which cards players can gain from the center. Check out the details of the scenario below and think about what character you would like to play as during this scenario.
World Be Free
  • Outbreak Mode
  • Standard Infection Deck
  • Sets Required: Base, Alliance, and Outbreak
Resource Piles (21 Total)
  • Ammo x10
  • Ammo x20
  • Ammo x30
  • Treasure
  • Parting Ways
  • Any Means Necessary
  • Struggle for Survival
  • Wesker’s Secret
  • The Merchant
  • Uroboros Injection
  • Desperate Escape
  • Fierce Battle
  • Green Herb
  • Red Herb
  • Submission
  • Handgun
    • Burst-Fire Handgun
  • Combat Knife
    • Survival Knife
  • Stun Rod
  • Flash Grenade
    • Grenade Launcher
  • Grenade
  • Flamethrower
Mansion Deck (60 Cards Total)
  • 1x MA-007 Nemesis T-Type
  • 1x MA-012 Rocket Launcher Case
  • 1x MA-013 Gatling Gun Case
  • 3x MA-014 Gatling Gun Majini
  • 3x MA-015 Cerberus
  • 1x MA-016 El Gigante
  • 1x MA-017 Executioner
  • 3x MA-023 Infected Bat
  • 2x MA-025 Duvalia (Las Plagas)
  • 3x MA-028 Kipepeo (Las Plagas)
  • 3x MA-030 Cephalo (Las Plagas)
  • 1x MA-031 Proto Tyrant
  • 2x MA-035 Los Illuminados Monk
  • 3x MA-037 Guardian of Insanity
  • 1x MA-038 Collapsing Floor Traps
  • 1x MA-040 Laser Targeting Device
  • 1x MA-041 Tyrant T-002 {only boss monster}
  • 2x MA-042 Yawn
  • 3x MA-044 Grave Zombie
  • 2x MA-045 Wasp
  • 2x MA-046 Web Spinner
  • 3x MA-047 Reinforced Zombie
  • 2x MA-048 Crimson Head
  • 3x MA-049 Reinforced Licker
  • 3x MA-051 Zombie Cop
  • 1x MA-053 Lisa Trevor
  • 1x MA-054 Kevlar Jacket
  • 2x MA-055 Antivirus
  • 1x MA-056 Laser Trap
  • 1x MA-057 Rock Trap
William Wallace, The Prince of Mid-Air and George Michael all fit both requirements: they love freedom and they are characters. Unfortunately players cannot play as them in the Resident Evil Deck Building Game (yet!). Of the characters available from the sets used to build this scenario (Base, Alliance, and Outbreak), what character would you play as? Which character do you think is the most powerful on this board? How much would you wager to play as a specific character?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information
For more information about Resident Evil: Outbreak, check the product page on
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Resident Evil Deck Building Game: How Would You Play This Board? #1

Leon, Sheva, Ada, Rebecca
Below is a suggested scenario to try with a group of friends. You don’t need four players, but it’s recommend. You need the Base Set and the Outbreak expansion in order to play. The details for the scenario are listed below.
Deck Manipulators
Injectin, Wesker’s Secret,
Escape from the Dead City,
Ominous Battle
  • Story Mode
  • Standard Infection Deck
  • Mansion Deck: 40 Cards (list posted below) 
  • Sets Required: Base and Outbreak
  • Players must choose one of the following characters when playing this scenario
Characters and Starting Decks:
Leon S. Kennedy (CH-026)
  • 6x Ammo x10
  • 1x Power of the T-Virus
  • 2x Standard Sidearm
  • 1x Returned Favor
Ada Wong (CH-006)
  • 7x Ammo x10
  • 2x Master of Unlocking
  • 1x Hangun
Sheva Alomar (CH-004)
  • 7x Ammo x10
  • 1x Deadly Aim
  • 2x Bolt-Action Rifle
Rebecca Chambers (CH-010)
  • 7x Ammo x10
  • 1x First Aid Spray
  • 1x Shattered Memories
  • 1x Green Herb


Handgun, Assault Machine Gun,
Bolt-Action Rifle, Six Shooter
Actions, Items, and Weapons
  • Injection
  • Item Management
  • Wesker’s Secret
  • Umbrella Corporation
  • The Gathering Darkness
  • Ominous Battle
  • Escape From the Dead City
  • Green Herb
  • Handgun (Burst-Fire Handgun)
  • Assault Machine Gun (Full-Bore Machine Gun)
  • Bolt-Action Rifle (Semi-Automatic Rifle)
  • Six Shooter
The Gathering Darkenss, Green Herb,
Umbrella Corporation,
Item Management
Mansion Deck
  • 1x MA-012 Rocket Launcher Case
  • 1x MA-013 Gatling Gun Case
  • 3x MA-015 Cerberus
  • 1x MA-016 El Gigante
  • 1x MA-017 Executioner
  • 1x MA-041 Tyrant T-002
  • 2x MA-042 Yawn
  • 1x MA-043 Nemesis 2nd Form
  • 3x MA-044 Grave Zombie
  • 2x MA-045 Wasp
  • 2x MA-046 Web Spinner
  • 3x MA-047 Reinforced Zombie
  • 2x MA-048 Crimson Head
  • 3x MA-049 Reinforced Licker
  • 2x MA-050 Grave Digger
  • 3x MA-051 Zombie Cop
  • 2x MA-052 Eliminator
  • 1x MA-053 Lisa Trevor
  • 1x MA-054 Kevlar Jacket
  • 2x MA-055 Antivirus
  • 1x MA-056 Laser Trap
  • 1x MA-057 Rock Trap
  • 3x IT-002 Yellow Herb
Game Ends when someone defeats Tyrant T-002 (MA-041) or when all but one player is eliminated from the game.  Cards that start in a player’s deck that do not have supply piles in the center are removed from the game entirely if an effect removes them from a player’s deck.
What strategy will you use to succeed at the table? Do you think the game state could allow a player to turn into a zombie and still win? Which character would you like to play as? How many negative Decorations would you take in the beginning of the game in order to play as the character you want?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information
For more information about Resident Evil: Outbreak, check the product page on
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Penny Arcade the Game – Gamers vs. Evil Strategy: Top Five Gamer Cards

By Brian Durkin
Going green requires an environmentally conscious mind. You need to know how to prioritize the best cards for taking down bosses. The following list breaks down the best tools for cleaning up all the points.
Honorable Mention: Sorcelator
Although Sorcelator does not provide a lot of tokens or power, Penny Arcade provides players with little options for drawing cards; therefore, anything that draws cards should immediately grab your attention. A card that replaces itself theorethcially keeps your deck size down. This helps players see their best cards more often and sooner because a smaller deck lets players reshuffle faster. Sorcelator also enables players to build strategies that do not focus on just one resource type.
#5: Werewolf with a Top Hat
Werewolf in a Top Hat
Of course you should really only consider a strategy of building up both resource types if this bad boy, I mean wolf, is in play. Werewolf with a Top Hat gives players a huge boost in both resource categories simultaneously. Cards like World’s Biggest Grape seem unplayable when creatures with fancy head gear lurk on the table. Players should consider picking up Werewolves even in a deck dedicated to tokens. Three tokens from one cards still provides a big boost for taking down bosses, and the extra power will come in handy near the end game to pick up some extra points.
#4: Faerie Candymancer
Faerie Candymancer
Another sly way of picking up extra points involves removing negative values from you deck. Nothing rewards you more for deleting PAX Pox then Faerie Candymancer. The mechanic of deleting pops up in every deck building card game, and players should take advantage of it. Remember the benefits of drawing extra cards to keep you deck size down? Well deleting literally keeps your deck size small. The fact that Candymancer provides two tokens as well insures you won’t lose too much purchasing power as you thin out your deck.

#3: Robot Cowboy Angel
Robot Cowboy Angel
You may not need Faerie Candymancer to remove PAX Pox if Robot Cowboy Angel stops you from ever receiving any. This cards shuts down PVP attacks better than anything else in the game. The fact that it discards to draw two actually benefits you when players use an attack card. It also puts you in a position to absorb a hit from Laser Squid if you don’t draw another PVP Defense card. Even if players don’t attack you on their turns, the Robot replaces himself on your turn. You really can’t ask for more. Well you can, but don’t get greedy. The only thing this card doesn’t do is provide the player with tokens.
#2: Pickle Recognition Engine
Pickle Recognition Engine
If the Robot draws you into this card than theoretically it can add a lot of tokens. Players need to dedicate their decks to a Token strategy in order to maximize the benefits of this card. The more green cards you acquire, the better the chances are that this card will always provide five tokens. Since this game does not restrict the amount of cards  you can buy in a turn, you will almost never waste the extra tokens the Pickle Recognition Engine provides. Almost no other card in the game will help you take down Green bosses faster. Almost.
#1: Bat Milk
Bat Milk
Yes. You read this card correctly. It’s the most broken card to ever exist in any deck building card game system. By itself it provides an engine to delete cards from your deck and draw a bunch of cards. Assuming you buy enough copies, this card can lead you to draw your entire deck. When this card hits the table, anyone not playing Gamer will lose. Whoever buys the most copies of Bat Milk usually will win. Some test groups in the area have already nominated banning the card from play because of its negative impact on the game. If your friends still allow it in play, make sure you corner the market on this deadly dairy product.
Do you agree or disagree with this list?

Let us know what you think.

Additional Information

For more information about Penny Arcade: The Game – Gamers vs. Evil, check the product page on

If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Deck Building Game Strategy – Tips and Tricks to Win in any Scenario

By Brian Durkin

Different starting flagships for different scenarios
Star Trek TNG (The Next Generation) adds several new features and variants to the DBG (Deck Building Game) genre. Except for Resident Evil, no other DBG can compete with Star Trek’s several different types of play: Exploration, Borg Invasion, and Klingon Civil War scenarios. Each of these different scenarios forces players to adjust their strategies, but some general rules still apply. Besides general DBG strategy, the Star Trek DBG demands that its players learn how to exploit certain parts of the game.
Diplomatic Immunity
No matter what cards make up the Space Deck, you need to add cards to your deck that provide Diplomacy. Upgrading your flagship gives you the best chance of victory. Think of swapping to a new ship as a way to bank the bonuses you accumulated in one turn, and then you use those bonuses every turn after that! The winner of the Exploration scenario usually comes down to one of the first people who won a diplomacy battle. In order to defeat stronger Borg Cubes, players will need stronger ships. Even though the Klingon Civil War scenario provides many different ways for players to boost their stats in combat, winning a diplomacy battle to change your flagship still pushes you ahead. Every player needs to prioritize cards that provide Diplomacy.
Examples of cards with Diplomacy
The Search for Spock
No matter how many plus searches you receive in a turn, you will never find Spock (remember this is Piccard Trek); however, don’t forget about your free search every turn. This game mechanic allows players to mix up the board so they can try and find that one card they need. It’s a great way to dig for cards with Diplomacy, or remove them from play so other players can’t gain them. Don’t fret about hitting a Barkon Wormhole. When playing against several opponents, you cannot rely on a card staying in the Starbase Search Area. Too many cards will leave play because of searches or players gaining them. I recommend using every instance of search available to you in a turn and to search away characters over maneuvers and set ups (some exceptions apply to this rule). I prefer to clear the Starbase Search Area of characters because only one copy of any character exists in the deck. By removing them  you eliminate the possibility of any player gaining the card until the deck reshuffles.
Tricorder and  Barzan Wormhole
Space … The Final Frontier
Examples from the
Exploration Scenario
These are the decisions of any starship player. It’s continuing dilemma, to explore into possible death, to not explore and miss out on new missions and new ships, to boldly explore where no wimp has gone before. Never forget to explore when you should, but how do you know when to explore? This really comes down to the scenario, but as a general rule of thumb explore any time your starship has significant Speed and Diplomacy. The Space Deck always contains fifteen starships you can take over in a diplomacy battle. You really shouldn’t explore in the Exploration scenario unless you think you can win a diplomacy battle. You can try and rack up points by exploring with just high Speed and Attack; however, the high variance of different requirements for missions makes predicting what you need difficult. Revealing missions also just makes the next player’s turn that much stronger, because he or she has more information and can possibly work towards completing the missions in play. Winning a Diplomacy Battle against a powerful starship will put any player in a position to explore freely for the rest of the game, so I recommend only exploring when you’re ready to take over ships. Players should explore more often in the Klingon Civil War versus the Exploration scenario. Most of the cards do not harm players and players won’t keep missions in play for their opponents to complete. You could win the lottery and hit an Influence card.
Examples of friendly cards from Klingon Civil War
Want to influence the discussion? Do you players could use more pointers?
Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Additional Information

For more information about Star Trek the Next Generation Deck Building Game, check the product page on

If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Gosu Strategy: Back to Basics

By Brian Durkin
Do you like Race for the Galaxy? Do you like the mechanics and card interactions of a trading card game? Do you like goblins? Well then Gosu is the game for you. Even if you don’t fit into any of the above categories, Gosu provides a unique gaming experience that all board game players should try out. Players need to demonstrate tight resource management in order to succeed in this game. How do you do that?
Cards in Hand?

A frequent question in high level tournament play, the amount of cards in a player’s hand equals his available resource pool in Gosu. Cards are everything. You need them to pay costs. The more cards you hold, the more options you have available to you. Most importantly, without any cards you probably don’t have any plays! The simplest way to keep your hand size up comes from draw effects. Unlike other games, Gosu does not have a standard draw phase; therefore, you must rely on abilities to replenish your hand. Mind provides one of the most effective ways in balancing the scales. If you’re almost out of cards and your opponent(s) hold a hand full, slap this guy on the table and the game will change fast.
Sometimes You Must Go Minus to Go Plus
Goblins with (+1) abilities

Many goblins give you bonus effects and draw you extra cards if your opponent(s) have more victory points than you. Take notice of how many of these types of goblins you draw. With a grip of several of these types of goblins, you may want to concede a round or two and maximize their benefit. The additional cards from these characters will sometimes push you over the edge, allowing you to take a commanding position after initially falling behind. Be careful of discard effects from you opponent. When you pass early, a hand disruption strategy will foil your ability to hold all these types of goblins for more epic turns in the next round.
The Rainbow Tastes Bad
Leave your craving for Skittles at home. Attempting to support all five colors of goblins on your field will inevitably cost you too many cards. You may end up with every color after several mutations or in the final round of the game, but this should happen by accident. Do not plan to support every color. The cost of discarding extra cards for each level one goblin and mutating several times to achieve this goal with not return an appropriate amount of utility to your army. Focus on no more than three colors.
Level Three Goblins with Draw Abilities

Don’t Block the Box
When concentrating on a couple of colors, avoid filling up your first and second row too quickly. Take advantage of the mutate mechanic, and always leave space for level one goblins that will not cost you anything. Take a look at the picture below. Assume you have Meka Goblin Fiddler in the first position, Ancient Goblin Psi in the second position, and Meka Goblin Scout on the end. Instead of discarding two cards to play Fire Goblin Teleporter in the fourth slot, mutate out Meka Goblin Fiddler. Both ways will cost you two cards, but now you leave yourself with two spots open to play three different colors of goblins for free. Since Meka Goblin does not have a mutate power, you don’t even have to worry about not maximizing his effect.
Replacing Meka Goblin Fiddler with Fire Goblin Teleporter
by paying the mutate cost.

Mutation from the Grave
Dark Goblin Avenger

Knowing when and how to mutate your level one goblins will preserve several cards in your hand throughout the game. Most level one goblins mutate for two cards, but all level one goblins with zombie mutation require three cards. I recommend that you avoid mutating a dark goblin with zombie mutation unless you actually use the effect to switch to a goblin from the discard pile. You cost yourself an extra card compared to the other level one goblins. A player needs three cards to perform a standard mutation on a goblin with a mutation cost of two (two cards to discard and the goblin in hand that will replace the old one). A level one goblin with a zombie mutation cost of three costs a player four cards if they replace him with a goblin in his or her hand (three to discard and the replacement); however, replacing it with a goblin from the discard pile only costs a player three cards, allowing the player to preserve a card in hand.
Is This Material Immaterial?
Some people might argue that some of the advice here splits hairs. A gamer might say, “Well what if the goblin in my hand is the best guy to mutate into play versus my options in the discard pile for zombie mutating?” I want to stress that many games, including Gosu, require some kind of “game time decision,” where no handbook or guidelines will explain every move. Just keep in mind that a couple of cards can cost anyone from winning, so make sure you take advantage of every opportunity to maximize the cards in your hand.
Any comments about this article? Post them below.
Let us know what you think.

Additional Information

For more information about Gosu check the product page on

If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Dominion Strategy: World Board Gaming Championship – Seaside

By Brian Durkin

Have you mastered the Intrigue only format for Dominion? Expect to survive the first two rounds in the Dominion tournament this year at the World Boardgaming Championship? Good. Hope you took a look at Seaside. Starting with round three the Kingdom will contain only cards from the third set. In case you forgot to study, check out the list below of the most important cards to look out for when playing this format.

10. Salvager
Buying extra stuff comes in handy. Trashing your original deck will pay dividends sooner. The fact that this card provides money in addition to thinning your deck really gives you a turbo boost. Even Chapel requires you take a turn off from purchasing during effective use. Salvage will not let you trash your hand in one fell swoop, but it does make buying some of the best cards in Seaside a lot easier.
9. Caravan
Besides trashing, extra cards help your deck move up the curve to five and six dollars a turn. Caravan really shines from its duration effect. This part of the card allows you to buy bigger and better things because you will start with a larger hand. The fact that it replaces itself without taking away your action for the turn keeps your theoretical deck size down. Back in trading card game history this type of spell earned the nickname cantrip. I guess eople needed a general term for this effect because these types of cards kept popping up.
8. Haven
Another cantrip, Haven does not add to your theoretical deck size. Caravan’s free card could help, but Haven allows you to plan for the future; it sets aside a card from your hand in the previous turn. This helps players save extra cash for future turns. Haven really shines by allowing players who build decks with lots of terminal actions to smooth out their draw, because it prevents you from discarding a terminal action without using it.
7. Fishing Village
Village effects provide the most obvious way to avoid the problem of too many actions in one hand. Native Village and Bazaar provide similar effects, but Fishing Village beats them for three reasons: It only costs three to buy, its duration effect allows you to use it twice, and it also provides money. Your next hand might not need the extra actions, but almost every hand wants extra cash. Fishing Village can turn a bad turn into a good turn if you draw more victory cards and Curses than money.
6. Sea Hag
What a witch. Not only does she give you a Curse, you need to draw it right away! In most games this will really slow your opponents down; however, you must pay attention to the set up when playing with Seaside only. Several cards can help players overcome this devastating attack card. Sea Hag would rank higher if it were not for all the good trash or trash like effects (Native Village) in this set. Try to “lookout” for ways to deal with Sea Hag so you can protect yourself and also not fall for the trap of building a deck around her.
5. Lookout
Talk about a hack for Sea Hag, this card takes the cake on stopping the best four cost card in the game. You will see this card more often when playing with Seaside only, so the witch’s stock goes down. Lookout ranks high because it self-combos; all the other trash effects come from terminal actions, unlike Lookout which you can keep chaining. Leaving a card on top will either prepare you for a better next turn and or set up a card to trash with another copy of Lookout. Playing several Lookouts will thin your deck fast, but you should try to end the chain with a devastating terminal action.
4. Ghost Ship
Your opponents pray to find the Lighthouse in the fog of their deck before your ghastly pirates start beating them down. Ghost Ship reduces the power level of your opponents’ decks by restricting how many cards they can use to purchase new cards and improve their decks. Also your opponents do not benefit from holding bad cards because they will just have to redraw them next turn. Do not forget this apparition draws you two cards, the highest amount a single action card gives in this set; correction, the most cards a single action allows you to draw and keep.
3. Warehouse
Players cannot deny the power level of Seaside. Almost every board will contain a powerful terminal action (or non terminal action). Whoever starts playing Ghost Ship first will pull ahead. Warehouse allows a player to find these broken cards first and faster than his opponents. If you see your Salvager sooner and draw through your deck faster, then you will trash more cards, which makes your deck thinner quicker, and then … notice the chain yet? Although you do not gain any card advantage, Warehouse improves card quality and ensures you see your best cards more often. Allowing you to draw first before discarding makes this card one of the most superior card cyclers the game offers. Who would not want to play the final two cards on this list as soon as possible, as fast as possible, and as often as possible?
2. Wharf
As mentioned earlier, Seaside offers no action equivalent to Smithy as far as gaining cards in hand. Wharf comes close by drawing four cards over two turns. Easily the best duration effect, Wharf guarantees your next turn will do some damage when you start with five cards. The extra buy does come in handy when the set up really promotes combo decks. Games that include Treasure Maps will really accelerate your ability to buy Provinces, so Wharf enables that you can buy more than one a turn. The only way to make Wharf better depends on how well you can improve the quality of the cards you draw with this impressive action card.
1. Ambassador
No surprises here. One of the best trash cards of all time, Ambassador surpasses all other cards in the set when it comes to exponentially increasing your card quality. It allows you to trash two cards at a time while dumping bad cards into your opponents’ decks. Win-Win. This card will warp more boards than anything else. You need this diplomat when available and you need anything and everything to support him in order to succeed at the table.
Honorable Mentions
Keep an eye out for Lighthouse. Preventing Sea Hag, Ghost Ship, or Ambassador from hurting you will go a long way. It also provides a great effect on its own without depending on your opponents playing attack cards to receive value from the card. After Fishing Village, Native Village provides the best multiple action and combo plan. It also gives the player a pseudo trashing effect, but watch out. You may use it too late in the game and remove a great card from you deck.
Native Village
Island on the other hand allows you to choose what you remove. It provides a great alternative to Provinces as well. Sometimes you must make a switch from purchasing Provinces near the end of the game, so you can score more points in the long run. Island allows you to keep pace with points without hurting the consistency of your deck. Anytime Island appears, consider trying an aggressive strategy that does not rely on Provinces to win. So many cards in Seaside cost players little money and the table will rush to fill their decks with them. This creates a lot of board scenarios where the three pile end of game rule might happen before the Provinces run out, so consider stocking up on Islands and or other victory cards.


Have you played Seaside only games were smaller point card strategies prevailed? Do you think Native Village, Lighthouse, Island, and or any other card should make the list? Do you think Sea Hag can fight through the hate included in Seaside?
Let us know what you think.
**Special Thanks to Vishu Doshi for his input on this list.

Additional Information

For more information about Seaside check the product page on
Interested in purchasing a copy of Seaside? Try the following links.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Dominion Strategy: World Board Gaming Championship – Intrigue

By Brian Durkin
The World Boardgaming Championship takes place all this week in Lancaster, PA. I hope to see you at the Lancaster Host Resort for some gaming. If you would like to know more about this event, check out the Boardgame Players Association website for information about the WBC.
The Dominion tournament at WBC continues to draw huge crowds as one of the most popular events for non-collectible card games. If you plan on playing in this event, you need to learn the format ahead of time. This single elimination tournament will only use Kingdom cards from Intrigue for the first two rounds, so your survival depends on your ability to play with these cards. What cards should you look out for in this format?
10. Tribute
Limited only to the Intrigue expansion, this card earns a higher ranking than usual. The potential Kingdom set up could benefit a player from adding this card to his or her deck with all the split action cards in Intrigue. If players begin to build Scout decks or buy Nobles just as a Draw/Action engine, Tribute will feel like a Grand Market. This card depends on a lot going right and might not deserve a spot on the list compared to other cards; however, in this format you should reconsider its power level. 

9. Pawn
Almost every deck will benefit from a Pawn. The biggest advantage comes from how the modes keep this card relevant regardless of the game state. Early on it helps draw cards and or provide actions, but later in the game it can provide an extra buy if you really start producing a lot of money. Do not over extend on purchasing this card. Playing several Pawns in a row just tortures everyone for wasting time, because you still will just end on one terminal. Unlike Ascension not every card adds points to your score.
8. Torturer
Smithy is good. Smithy is better when all your opponents must discard two cards or take Curses. This terminal can do a lot of damage. Torturer does not give your opponents any good options unless they possess trash effects. Torturer’s power level diminishes in this format because of several cards deal with Curses. Do not avoid a Curse strategy. Certain boards will allow this to succeed; however, even a mediocre card like Upgrade can mitigate the power of Torturer. Actions that trash make Torturer essentially just a Smithy, so seek out cards that provide multiple actions. Multiple actions allow for more card drawing and you distribute more Curses. More than one Torturer can create a situation where most trash effects cannot keep up.
Shanty Town
7. Shanty Town
Need to juice up the power of Torturer, Shanty Town does the trick. This card screams, “Combo with me!” Shanty Town’s presence on the board boosts many other cards, such as Conspirator. This set provides an incredible amount of good terminal actions, so Shanty Town will really take your deck to the next level. Of course many times you will not draw off of the first Shanty Town. Who cares? No real loss when you now can play two Torturers. The next card on the list can even help set up Shanty Town’s additional bonus.
6. Courtyard
This card will benefit every player. In decks without multiple actions, it allows you to put a terminal action card on top for next turn instead of discarding it with no effect. In Shanty Town combo decks you can set up what you need. Courtyard digs three cards deep to find more actions if you already earned extra actions. You want to find these powerful actions as soon as possible and Courtyard makes that happen. A great complement to any deck considering four of the top five game warping cards for an Intrigue game include terminal actions.
5. Swindler
Swindling first will put you far ahead of your competition. It enables better purchasing power and probably floods your opponents’ decks with Curses. Although many cards in Intrigue minimizing the effect of Curses, Swindler does not need to hit a Copper in order to do damage. Sometimes taking away a player’s Torturer to give him or her a Duke will solidify your lead. Only one other attack card surpasses Swindler on this list, but first you must remember the most powerful ability when playing Dominion.
Trading Post
4. Trading Post
Trashing cards out of your deck enables all degenerate decks and combos. No other effect with accelerate your deck’s power level like removing the lower quality cards. Trading Post removes two bad cards from your deck and allows you to acquire a good card, not to forget the fact that this does not count as your buy for the turn. With one play you can trash two Coppers, gain a Silver, and buy a Swindler. Not bad. Trading Post diminishes the power of cards like Torturer and next card on the list.
3. Masquerade
It sends a bad card to your neighbor. It draws you cards. It trashes. Enough said. It creates another reason why Torturer does not make the top five cards. Masquerade even competes with Courtyard’s ability to smooth out your draw. Masquerade changes every game it appears because even a card like Swindler now does not do as much damage. Masquerade still cannot protect you from one attack card.
2. Minion
Ever play against a Minion deck before? If you said yes, did you want to kill yourself after watching your opponent destroy your hand and proceed to play four more copies of this card? If you said yes then you know you need to pilot the Minion deck as oppose to feel its wrath. No other card self combos as well as this attack. You play several copies for money and then use your last copy to refill your hand. Look out for cards like Mining Village and Bridge because they synergize well with Minion. Most Minion decks need  trashing to reach crazy levels of power.
1. Steward
Nothing trashes better than this card. At a cost of three, you do not fall behind when someone opens with five Copper and beats everyone to Trading Post. Trashing two cards at a time helps fight any player distributing Curses. After you finish trashing all the bad cards, it still provides a relevant effect of either drawing cards or giving you two dollars. You need to build a deck around this card every time it hits the board.
What cards do you love to add to your Steward decks? Do you think you would build a different strategy if Steward appeared on the table? What other cards shine when playing with only Intrigue cards? Do you think a Duke strategy can work or will most players race for Provinces?
Let us know what you think.

**Special Thanks to Vishu Doshi for his input on this list.

Additional Information

For more information about Intrigue check the product page on
Interested in purchasing a copy of Intrigue? Try the following links.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. Many gamers know how to play this game and enjoy playing with anyone.

Tichu Strategy: How to Play the Dragon

By Brian Durkin
The Dragon
If I had to pick one card I would love to open with I would pick the Phoenix; however, I will never complain if I draw the Dragon instead. His ability to win any single trick creates crucial information knowledge for you and possibly your team. With great power comes great responsibility. Do you keep it for yourself or pass it to your partner? Do you bomb your own Dragon for the points, or do you let the opposing team take the points in the trick? Which opposing player will receive the Dragon trick? Considering these questions will improve your ability to maximize the Dragon when your team controls it.
Who Gets It?
You can answer almost any question about Tichu with just one simple phrase: it depends. In the majority of tricks you win with the Dragon you will pass it to an opposing player. Only someone with an amazing hand or reckless player will bomb their own Dragon for points. Convention suggests passing the Dragon trick to the player on your right. The theory argues that if you go out the lead passes to the left, if each person goes out once they receive the lead then the player to your right will go out last. Follow this convention when in doubt, but you should consider some other factors. Count how many cards each player holds. If the player on your left still holds ten cards while his partner only possesses two cards, then you probably should give the Dragon trick to the player on your left. Try to study each of your opponent’s play styles and skill level. If the player to your left appears new to the game you may benefit from exploiting his or her lack of experience.
Standard American Convention
New players and most seasoned players will follow the most common Tichu convention: pass the Dragon to your partner. The Dragon will benefit the team no matter who holds it, so the theory suggests passing it so your team will know each hand which team holds the Dragon. With such a common convention popping up in almost every partnership, you should learn how to meta game this strategy (using imperfect information and projections about future events as a basis for decision making). Count how many hands you know you can win and afford to lose since your team does not possess the Dragon. If your team does not follow this convention you will need to pick up on tells to figure out who holds the Dragon. If the opposing team follows the convention and knows they control the Dragon, one of the them might play a single Ace with authoritative confidence; confidence you can pick up on and infer that your partner did not keep the Dragon for himself.
You Don’t Follow the Convention?
Do not forget to assess your partner’s ability and play style. When playing with a new partner or new player the information knowledge of the Dragon or passing the Dragon may not benefit the team. Some players do not feel confident to call Tichu or just assume the opposing team always monopolize good cards like the Dragon. Playing with a timid teammate could change your mind on whether or not to pass the Dragon, but building up his or her confidence with the traditional Pass the Dragon convention might benefit that player’s growth. Assuming you allow players on your team to keep the Dragon, you usually want to keep it in any hand if you feel you need it to win a (Grand) Tichu bet. Even without a Tichu call, one player on the team will hold better cards and the other player will end up facilitating their partner’s goal of going out. Keeping the Dragon in a lesser quality hand that contains low single cards or the Dog could help your partner if he or she ends up in trouble. You can steal the lead from the other team and your next play will help pass the lead back to your partner. The Dragon also guarantees that you will interact with the table. Some hands contain all combinations but none that provide a good way to win the more popular types of tricks. The Dragon allows you to enter the game and start playing the types of combinations you need to see in order to empty you hand.
Today’s Challenge
You opened the following fourteen cards after deciding not to call Grand Tichu.
Dog, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 7, 7, 7, Q, Q, Q, Dragon
How would you play the hand above? What do you pass to each player? Would you ever consider calling Tichu under any circumstances with this hand? If an opposing player calls a (Grand) Tichu before the pass, does that change which cards you pass? Do you try to play a supportive role on the team or do you take a position of trying to go out first?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information

For more information about Tichu check the product page on
Interested in purchasing a copy of Tichu? Try the following links.
The above link provides the first edition. For red card backs, use the Amazon link with the picture to the side of this information.
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with just about anyone. The entire staff and most of the MtG community knows how to play this game and enjoys it.

Ascension Strategy: How to Win Solo Games

By Brian Durkin

Snapshot of Today’s Challenge

“The bickering that came in war’s wake must end. A Godslayer must take up arms a second time. The Fallen has returned.” – Ascension: Return of the Fallen Rulebook
Are you ready to fight once again? Are you prepared to do this journey alone? In order to tank a god you will need to know what support cards will allow you to slay the mighty Samael. Before entering the ring with The Fallen, draw upon your experience for guidance.

Arbiter of the Precipice
If It Works Then Don’t Fix It
Minimizing your deck size still pays off during solo play. Samael can acquire points fast, so banishing alone will not make your deck degenerate; however, you still need to see your best cards as often as possible to keep pace with The Fallen. If banishers do not present appear try acquiring constructs or heroes that draw cards. This strategy at least keeps your deck from theoretically growing. Building your deck this way will exploit a powerful hero and allow you to defeat a god.
Find the Achilles Heel
In order to defeat any enemy you must know his weaknesses. In solo play, Samael suffers from his inability to choose which cards to defeat or acquire. Take advantage of his tunnel vision by planning on cards to come back to you on future turns. For example you may need to prioritize acquiring Arbiter of the Precipice in a game with other humans, but Samael cannot take Arbiter until it finds its way to the end of the center row. You might find it difficult to break your normal habits of play at first, but remember that taking on a god requires some new ways of thinking. You need to exploit every advantage, especially anything that involves the center row and what Samael will defeat and acquire.
God Complex
Askara of Fate

If you can manipulate what cards Samael will take at the end of your turns you put yourself in a great position to win the game. Prioritize cards like Seer of the Forked Path and Askara of Fate. Effects that banish cards from the center row allow you to control everything in solo play: what cards Samael acquires, what monsters Samael defeats, how long the game will take to play. Assuming you do not defeat monsters yourself, preventing Samael from defeating monster through banish effects extends how long the game will last. This puts you in a great position to acquire better cards than Samael and ultimately score more honor tokens.
When to Let Samael Tap Out
Combining all the fore mentioned strategies can create degenerate scenarios. If you banish your entire starting deck, acquire only constructs and heroes that draw cards, manipulate the center row so no one defeats monsters, and earn more honor than Samael through acquiring cards you could theoretically continue the punishment forever. Of course eventually the deck or center row will consist of only monsters. You might find yourself in a situation where the last honor tokens must go to someone; however, that does not mean the game will end. Hopefully through your expert control of the board and deck building you assembled a deck that can take infinite turns. Do not know about this combo? Check it out.
Infinite Turn Combo
  • Banish Tablet of Time’s Dawn
  • Hedron Link Device or play Dimension Diver
  • Use Reclamax’s effect
  • Replay Tablet of Time’s Dawn
  • Repeat

You can insure the combo works on a consistent basis with other support cards. Rocket Courier X-99 makes it so you do not need to draw Tablet of Time’s Dawn and replay it because it will start in play again. Any player able to take infinite turns will usually pilot a deck that draws itself every turn as well. Lucky for you the almighty Samael just consumes and does not understand which cards he should take away from you. Punish his ignorance by taking the banish effect cards. With a deck that decreases size over time and controlling the board you will end up in a position where you might score infinite honor tokens. Be the better god and mercy rule Samael. You need to finish up that game somehow so you go tell your friends about it.
Today’s Challenge
You start a solo game. You open with the five Apprentices and the center row contains the following cards in order from their distance from the center row.
  • Arbiter of the Precipice
  • Askara of Fate
  • Wolf Shaman
  • Snap Dragon
  • Hectic Scribe
  • Tablet of Time’s Dawn

What would you acquire first? How do the cards Samael will acquire affect your decisions? What do you acquire on your second turn? Do you play in a way that attempts to prevent Samael from acquiring Tablet of Time’s Dawn?
Let us know what you think.
Additional Information:
For more information about Ascension: Return of the Fallen, check the product page on
Interested in purchasing a copy of Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer? Try the following links.
You can purchase Ascension: Return of the Fallen from here:
If you live in the tri-state area, consider stopping by AU to pick up a copy and play with the staff. Almost every staff member knows how to play, and most of the MTG community that hangs out in the store enjoys playing pick up games as well.

Alternate Universes – Ascension