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Dominion Galactic Championship Summary

The Dominion Galactic Championship was held this past weekend at Gen Con in Indianapolis, IN. The tournament and the whole experience was unlike any of the other tournaments I’ve run in the past, and I’m glad I put this tournament on and went through the process of running a tournament at a convention. We had 48 entries in the tournament and had a deserving winner, Eugene Lee AKA ceviri.

I’ve attended Dominion tournaments at conventions before, but all of the tournaments I’ve run up to this point were standalone events. I’ve had people ask me what it’s like to run a Dominion tournament at a convention and I’ve also wondered myself what it would be like, and this was the time to find out. I’ll be making a separate post about what I’ve learned from this experience as a tournament organizer, to add to those resources, but I’d like to list a few of the big takeaways here that were more relevant to this specific tournament.

– It’s hard to promote your tournament when you’re running it at a convention. Thankfully, the fact that you’re part of the convention is its own promotion in a way. People are usually coming there for the convention and your event will be seen by a huge amount of people who don’t have to make a huge commitment to play in your tournament. There’s not much doubt that you will probably get more people to attend your tournament with less promotion work if you’re part of a convention. This is the largest tournament I’ve ever hosted by a significant margin — larger than I would be able to do without a convention setting.

– If you’re having trouble finding a venue for a standalone event, a convention will solve your problem. You’ll have the table space you need to have a tournament as large as you want, in a space suitable for gaming.

– You’ll end up doing more work jumping through the hoops you need to work with the convention regarding scheduling, entry fees, and whatever other rules the convention places on you. You’ll also usually have to buy a convention badge in order to run a game there, so you’ll be paying money to run your tournament as opposed to most venues which will be happy to just have a cut out of your prize pool.

– You’re more likely to have players who are much newer to the game in attendance, so you may want to take some steps to make your tournament more beginner-friendly.

For me personally, after this experience, I think I’ll be focusing again on standalone events in the future — I’m lucky enough to have multiple good venue options near me and I’ve already established a legitimate network to help promote my events, and I appreciate the extra flexibility I have to work directly with a venue.

It’s possible that I’ll run another tournament at a convention some day, but if I end up doing that, it will be at a different convention (not Gen Con). If that happens, I’ll be changing the name of the tournament, so I can confidently say that our first and only Dominion champion OF THE GALAXY was crowned this weekend!

All right, enough of that, let’s talk more specifically about the tournament. This one was a bit different in format because I wanted to be able to have a lot more people be able to play if they wanted to. There were four qualifier rounds throughout the convention, and players who survived their qualifier were invited to the finals at the end. It’s a bigger time investment for me but it allows for up to 128 entries and for people to enter multiple qualifiers if they want to.

The format was a giant double elimination tournament — last as long as you can before you lose twice. The longer you last, the higher your placement, and the more money you’ll win from the prize pool (if you make it far enough). The last one standing is called the champion. All games were two-player games, so it’s possible for a player to have a bye round, where they are either matched with an opponent who has already been eliminated, or just given a win if no such opponent can be found.

Here’s a link to the spreadsheet containing all of the kingdoms used for this tournament.

I’ll take a moment now to talk about the four kingdoms I designed for the later stages of this tournament.

Finals Kingdom 1: Hunting Lodge, Miser, Hamlet, Island, Cultist, Witch, Swindler, Barbarian, Experiment, Rats; Seaway, Tomb

The intent here was to have awful decks with so much junk in them, that Rats as the only trashing plus Tomb improves your deck to the point where the pile control you get (especially if you Seaway them) plus the immediate VP from Tomb and the synergy with trashing Cultists is strong enough that it’s game-decisive, even if you have more junk than your opponent. A lot of playtesting went into this kingdom which has so many cards from the banned list present, and I had the experience I wanted a few times during playtesting.

Unfortunately, the version of this kingdom where I tested the direct Seaway/Rats deck (aiming to 3-pile Coppers, Curses, and Rats) was done before Ruins were in the supply, and while that “degenerate” deck wasn’t fast enough to beat a Miser-focused deck that uses Hunting Lodge, the Ruins allow the Seaway/Rats deck to end the game too fast and with enough points for anything else to get going.

One of the games played in the tournament ended up being a Seaway/Rats mirror, which fortunately was interesting enough, but it wasn’t what I was going for. I’m not quite sure how to fix that problem other than to replace Seaway with something else, but this is the board that was played in the tournament.

Finals Kingdom 2: Royal Carriage, Festival, Forager, Tactician, Priest, Candlestick Maker, Legionary, Mystic, Squire, Tunnel; Pathfinding

The intent with this kingdom was to build a deck where you put Pathfinding on Tactician, then call Royal Carriage on Tactician to activate multiple Duration Tacticians in a turn. Nothing else you can do here will increase the number of cards in hand, and the explosive payload of Priest gives enough reason to justify jumping through these hoops.

This game was played one time during the tournament, and neither player saw the multiple-duration-Tactician deck, opting to play a more “standard” double-Tactician deck with Pathfinding+Candlestick Maker as payload.

Finals Kingdom 3: Tiara, Bridge, Vault, Chapel, Stonemason, Villain, Altar, Bureaucrat, Bandit, Trader; Gamble, Bandit Fort

Bandit Fort stifles most money decks you can build here, with the possible exception of using lots of Vaults and few Golds. There is a powerful megaturn deck here, though, that uses Gamble and Bridge at its core. The deck thins with Chapel aggressively, gets a single Altar, a Villain or two, a few Vaults, and then aims to add Bridges quickly using Stonemason (aided by the cost reduction from Bridges) and Altar. Your turns should look like this: play a Vault, discarding everything in your hand, and start Gambling. You can use stored Coffers from previous turns to make sure you can play all the cards in your deck using Gamble. Without being attacked, this deck can consistently empty Provinces on turn 12 or 13 while Playing Villain at least once on most turns after the first 6-7.

This kingdom was played twice at the tournament, both times with one player going for the Gamble/Bridge deck and the other playing a simpler money density deck. Each deck won one of the games, but the Gamble/Bridge deck that won used Bandit to gain Golds, which served as the deck’s draw instead of Villain. This is an interesting variant on the deck I intended, with a few differences:

The Bandit deck doesn’t rely so much on starting each turn with a Vault, so it doesn’t have to be as thin and pick up extra Vaults for consistency.

Action cards drawn in the starting hand can’t be played unless the opponent plays a Vault consistently on their turn — there are enough Golds in the deck that a single Vault play usually does the job. That was the case in this game, but I question if this deck would be viable against an opponent who stopped playing Vaults and pivoted to a Gold flood to combat this strategy. The Bandit attack probably hurts a Vault-based money density deck about as much as Villain’s attack does, but potentially does less against the gold-flood pivot.

Having a large number of Golds is a significant amount of negative points from Bandit Camp, which is a liability if this deck allows the opponent to get enough Provinces before the megaturn. However, it can potentially enable some better turns in the midgame because you don’t have to try and save your Coffers for a megaturn.

Are these tradeoffs worth it? I’m not sure, I’d have to playtest it more. My gut says that Villain out-performs Bandit in the megaturn deck but I can’t be sure.

Finals Kingdom 4: Bank, Coin of the Realm, Astrolabe, Market Square, Transmogrify, Catapult/Rocks, Secret Passage, Throne Room, Haven, Crystal Ball; Canal

I actually had a different version of this kingdom finished before Seaside and Prosperity’s second editions were released, but then Astrolabe and Crystal Ball fit so much better into this kingdom than Scepter, I was really happy with the way this kingdom came alive and featured two of the newest Dominion cards.

Bank is great here with tons of enablers, but the only thing here resembling draw is Haven and there’s also Catapult, so you’re looking for ways to squeeze as much value out of your deck as possible to put into your Banks. You have Transmogrify and Market Square to help you gain Banks easily, you have Crystal Ball which helps you get thin quickly, then turns into effectively a cantrip with lots of money on it in your Buy phase, you have Secret Passage to help ensure that your Banks are the last treasures you play, Astrolabe and Coin of the Realm (easily gainable with Canal/Transmogrify if you have extra Coppers or Curses around), and Haven can help you bring cards from previous turns to give you bigger turns.

This kingdom was used for the tournament finals, which were recorded on video. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

I’ve been running Dominion tournaments since 8 years ago, this is my thirteenth tournament. I’ve put a lot of work into each one, and a lot of work into constantly improving the way things are run, both for the benefit of the players and for my own benefit. I’ve also put a lot of work into promoting my tournaments and establishing a network where people can find tournaments like mine not only in the Midwest, but reaching out to people who are willing to travel even farther just for an event like this. My beginnings were humble, and no part of getting to where I am today has been easy, especially given the last two years.

Both tournaments I’ve run this year have had people there who heard about them through my promotion and networking — people who love the game are able to find a place to play the game they love, face-to-face, with other people who feel the same way. Every time I give this experience to another people or group, I’m reminded of when I had that experience for the first time, and also of the friendships I’ve made with people because they showed up to my tournaments in the past. It’s so validating to see more and more people show up to this because of the other people in the past that have had positive experiences. It’s not often that you get to directly see the results of your hard work.

On top of this, there was a sizeable group from the online community that travelled to Gen Con because the tournament was happening, and got to meet up in person. Many of them travelled from across the country for this, and I was specifically told that it wouldn’t have happened without the tournament. It’s another instance of that validation I was just talking about, but this one went a few levels deeper.

My relationship with the online community informally ended many years ago, and it was not on good terms. There is still bad blood between myself and the other people involved, and it is for that reason that I didn’t have any expectations of interacting with the online group, beyond knowing to watch them closely because I expected them to play well and make it far in the tournament.

The tournament finals came, and this is when that online group planned to all be at the tournament to hang out and hopefully also be playing in the tournament. They had come together to somehow find a Hinterlands 2E Update Pack (which I had not been able to find in time for the tournament) and gift it to me as a thank-you for organizing the tournament, which was such a nice gesture by itself, but they were nice and welcoming to me as a part of their group whenever I had downtime during and after the tournament. It was such a positive experience for me and it meant a lot that they would be as welcoming and thoughtful as they were.

I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I had entered with such low expectations of how that interaction might go (which was not justified, by the way — none of these people had anything to do with any of the stuff that caused me to leave that community), or the fact that most people, especially me, have been so starved for real, in-person human connection over the last two years. But I really enjoyed this group of people and I was really happy them came to the tournament, it was way beyond what I thought could happen. It’s making me rethink my position of not wanting to be “a member of the online Dominion community” after many years of being glad I wasn’t.

Dominion Galactic Championship!

It’s official! I’ll be hosting a MASSIVE Dominion tournament at GenCon this year! GenCon goes from Wednesday, August 3 through Sunday, August 7, 2022 and it’s in Indianapolis, IN. My tournament will be taking place on Thursday the 4th and Saturday the 6th. ALL games will be 2-player games. Here’s a link to the GenCon events page that will help you find it, you’ll be able to sign up for events starting Sunday, May 15, 2022.

The tournament has four qualifier rounds — you only need to sign up for one of them. Three qualifiers are on Thursday at 10AM, 1PM, and 4PM; and there’s a fourth qualifier on Saturday at 10AM. If you survive your qualifier then you’ll be able to show up for the tournament finals, which will be held at 1PM on Saturday, where we’ll play until we have a winner! Qualifiers are 3 hours and the finals will be up to 6 hours. Each qualifier can have up to 32 people, which means the tournament can have up to 128 entrants!

The tournament is a modified double elimination tournament; once you lose two games you’re out. Matchmaking will be more of a Swiss-style, and there are some rules to handle tie games gracefully, but the objective is to survive as long as possible in the tournament. The ten players who survive the longest will get cash prizes! Here’s a link to a Google doc with more detail on the tournament format.

Entry fee is $8, though you must also be registered for the convention to sign up. $6 of every entry fee goes to the prize pool, where first prize will be just above $300 (if the tournament fills up). Normally, players who make the finals and survive for three games will cash.

All expansions and promo cards may be used. Kingdoms will be randomly generated, but then tweaked and filtered by me for maximum fun and rules clarity. The last few kingdoms will be designed by me.

I’ve had ambitions of hosting a large tournament at a convention for quite some time now, I’m super excited that this is actually happening! Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about the tournament. My contact information is in the event descriptions and also under the Contact tab on this blog.

I will mention that there is another Dominion tournament at GenCon this year that I’m not affiliated with. The games in that tournament are 4P games, which I have some opinions about. But if 4P Dominion is your cup of tea, there is another option for you this year at GenCon.

Dominion: Spring 2022 Tournament Summary

On April 9, 2022 I hosted my 12th in-person Dominion tournament. It’s been a really long time since the last one I hosted, between the pandemic and my own health issues. I was personally very excited to just leave the house and do anything at all that I enjoy, and that’s what happened. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of attendance this time, but we had 17 people show up, including two groups that drove for about 12 hours just for the tournament.

Overall, it was just really nice to see a lot of people I haven’t seen in a very long time, plus I got to meet some Dominion enthusiasts that I hadn’t met before. It’s such a change from the way life has been for the past few years, and I imagine that most of the people who played felt a similar way.

The spreadsheet which contains all of the info about the tournament, which is all of the kingdoms that were used and could have been used, is here. It also contains the four designed kingdoms that were used for the elimination bracket. I’ll talk about those designed kingdoms here as well later on in this post.

Our winner this time was Dale Montgomery, who has a story with my tournaments that I love to tell — at one of my earliest tournaments, Dale and his wife showed up and were still learning the game. After being eliminated early on, Dale left the game store with a huge stack of Dominion expansions. Every time he comes back he shows more skill and gets further in the tournament, until this tournament where he finally took away first prize. It’s nice to see not only someone who became hooked on the game in large part due to my tournaments, but also to see someone work hard at getting better at the game and then have that shown as the winner of this tournament. On top of that, the Montgomerys have been such a huge help to my family the past couple of years; it’s hard to imagine the win going to someone more deserving.

My next tournament will be in 4-6 months or so. I’ve submitted a 128-person tournament to GenCon 2022, which is still in the approval process but that looks like it’s going well. If that goes through, that will probably serve as my big Fall 2022 tournament. If not, I’ll have another Cincinnati tournament, aiming for September or so. If you want to stay up-to-date on all of the IRL Dominion events I plan to host, as well as the ones other people in the Midwest are hosting, you can keep your eyes on this blog, and also check out this Facebook group.

Now let’s talk a bit about the designed kingdoms. The first two were kingdoms I intended to use for the Winter 2019 tournament, but the finals were snowed out. I quietly published the spreadsheet containing these kingdoms, but they didn’t get much discussion because I didn’t specifically talk about them in that post. I liked these kingdoms a lot and I don’t think anyone out there was practicing them, so I put them in this tournament along with two other freshly designed kingdoms (that actually contained some Menagerie cards 😉

Finals Kingdom 1: Urchin, Fortress, Scheme, Throne Room, Gladiator, Familiar, Cobbler, Market, Horse Traders, Fool’s Gold; Barracks, Save — This kingdom started just to see what would happen when Mercenary/Fortress was the only source of draw. It turns out you have to jump through a lot of hoops to make a kingdom that can possibly be fun to play with Urchin in it. First, the only thing in all of Dominion up to Renaissance that can prevent most games being over by turn 4 because of Urchin collision is Save. Second, Mercenary/Fortress isn’t that good for draw and there’s a brutal discard attack around with Mercenary, so I had to build in a ton of reliability into the kingdom on top of Save, because Save by itself still gets hit pretty hard by Mercenary’s attack, so we have Horse Traders, Barracks, Cobbler, and Scheme to help out here. Finally, we have very efficient payload cards in Fool’s Gold, Market, and Fortune. That accounts for most of these cards…

It turns out that the Mercenary split is pretty important here (yes I just said that unironically) so I put in Throne Room to take some of the pressure off of that, and finally I added in Familiar as a trap card, but I guess it can be good if your opponent doesn’t really try to thin their deck (or forgets the Save exists) as a win-more card. In any case, it took a lot of playtesting and stuff to make this into something that can only snowball if a player doesn’t take advantage of the right resource at the right time. Even with everything I put into the kingdom, this one is a brutal slugfest.

Finals Kingdom 2: Pirate Ship, King’s Court, Sacrifice, Bandit Camp, Trading Post, Ducat, Beggar, Mining Village, Storyteller; Trade, Keep — This was loosely inspired by a ladder game I played years ago, where Pirate Ship was actually good. It doesn’t take too much to do it, you just have to be able to play enough Pirate Ships to destroy all treasures, plus Pirate Ship has to be the only source of virtual money. So that’s what I designed this kingdom around.

There are many things that look like virtual money here: Sacrifice, Beggar, Mining Village and Bandit Camp. They are very temporary, though, and won’t work as sustainable solutions for any deck that wants to, well, do anything at all under lots of Pirate Ship attacks.

If both players go for Pirate Ships, it’s an interesting dynamic. The person that gets more Pirate Ship tokens is usually at a huge advantage, so you want to start playing Ships ASAP and also trash all of your treasures as quickly as you can if you see your opponent getting Ships. I’ve never had a game go to a stalemate before but it could theoretically happen, which would be so cool I wouldn’t even be mad that it would be a problem for a single-elimination tournament bracket.

Finals Kingdom 3: Mint, Rabble, Fairgrounds, Haven, Crown, Animal Fair, Improve, Sheepdog, Leprechaun, Merchant; Way of the Rat, Exploration — I wanted to make a kingdom around a few cool Menagerie synergies: Crown and Mint were already around, but throw in Way of the Rat and Sheepdog and you really take it to another level. I chose Animal Fair and Improve for payload here. You really do have to build a lot because of Rabbles, and Crown being the only village, it’s important to use all of the tools at your disposal to get as many of them as possible.

When the eventual tournament champion played this kingdom, it was against a previous two-time champion who was undefeated that day. Dale tried a Mint opening, planning to turn the Haven into an Animal Fair, which worked out but IMO left him a bit behind. I had intended to have Havens be the way to set up a Mint a bit later on (and the Havens are still useful later because there is no Estate trashing). With a crazy last shuffle, Dale was able to pull out a win with two consecutive explosive turns, though.

Finals Kingdom 4: Develop, Snowy Village, Black Cat, Treasurer, Magpie, Laboratory, Bank, Vagrant, Monument, Band of Misfits; Way of the Turtle, Gamble — I started making this kingdom wanting to just have some fun with Gamble. Make it so that you want to spend all your money every turn just Gambling, and then making jokes about having a Gambling problem. And I believe that did happen here, but I wasn’t content to just have the Gamble/Monument deck, I wanted more, so I made the big draw focus on Develop, Gamble, and Way of the Turtle. Now you’re happy to hit basically any type of card with Gamble.

What I didn’t expect to have, though, is the experience we have actually playing this kingdom. There are just so many possibilities with what you can do at so many points in the game, the decision tree just explodes so quickly and it makes your brain hurt so much. It’s not clear to me what kind of deck you actually want to try and make, it’s not clear to me that you actually want to have a concrete plan. So many things are good and your deck composition can change so drastically in just one turn because of Develop, I’ve tested this kingdom over 30 times and I still don’t really know what is best to do here. All I know is that you can do so many things and they are all really good.

Dominion: Allies First Impressions – Results

Over the last week and a half or so, I collected the general first impressions of the new Allies cards, asking people to rate them on a scale of 0 through 10. This post is meant only to present the results of that poll, but this time I’m able to give a bit of commentary on cards where I maybe have very different ratings than the average.

Here’s a link to a spreadsheet with the raw data for this poll, as well as the results I’ll be referring to here.

The highest rated cards are: Island Folk, Peaceful Cult, Specialist, Clashes, and Royal Galley.

The lowest rated cards are: Sycophant, Gang of Pickpockets, Merchant Camp, Mountain Folk, and Forts.

The cards with the highest variance tend to be Allies, which makes sense because it’s not entirely clear what it means to “rate an Ally,” as for actual kingdom cards with high variance, we’re looking at: Forts, Swap, and Sentinel.

Now for the fun part, where I disagree most with everyone else:

Townsfolk: I gave this a 9 and the community gave it a 5, it’s the biggest difference. 5 seems way too low for this pile, and while I could see giving this an 8 instead of a 9, I feel like this is one that people will grow on for sure.

Forts: I gave this an 8 and the community gave it a 4.5; I wonder if the community rated this pile so low because Tent is on top — I think Tent is a fantastic opener and 4.5 seems crazy for this pile.

Carpenter: I gave this a 9 and the community gave it a 6. I realize I’m quite a bit warmer on Carpenter than most other people and my rating may go down in the future, but for right now I think it’s one of the strongest cards in the set, it’s hard for me to imagine a game where I don’t get at least one of them.

Merchant Camp: I gave this a 7 and the community gave it a 4.5 (but notably a lower 4.5 than Forts, I’m rounding a bit here for this post). Sure, there’s a downside in that this doesn’t draw a card but I think people are putting way too much into that downside and not seeing the benefits of having a much more consistent deck.

Contract: I gave this an 8 and the community gave it a 6. Did you know Silver is a good card?

Galleria: I gave this a 7 and the community gave it a 5. I could definitely see where I’m a bit optimistic on this card, I could definitely see where everyone else is a bit pessimistic on the “terminal gold” aspect of it. Time will tell who’s right about this (or if we just end up somewhere in the middle)

Modify: I gave this a 9 and the community gave it a 7. Modify is fantastic and I’m confident this rating will go up in the next few months.

Royal Galley: I gave this a 6 and the community gave it an 8. Finally, something where I’m less optimistic than everyone else! Giving an 8 to Royal Galley seems pretty optimistic to me. I’ll be honest, I considered a 7 rating but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, I just don’t think this card is that strong and there seems to be some real disagreement here.

Past this point, the rating differences get small enough that I’m not really sure there’s much disagreement at all. It will be exciting to see where these ratings go in a few months when we revisit card ratings, and how these ratings differences might change!

Dominion: Allies First Impressions

A new Dominion expansion was just released and it’s time to get everyone’s scorching hot takes on the cards in this new set! Here’s a link to a poll where you can give a 0-10 power level rating on all of the card-shaped objects in Allies. The poll will be open for a little more than a week (until March 23-24ish, 2022) and at that time, I’ll collect the data and present it here on this blog post. A few months later we’ll do the poll again and see how perceptions have changed.

Dominion: Menagerie (expansion) Cards Revisited

When this expansion’s cards were made public, I conducted a poll to measure the community’s first impressions on how powerful the cards were. You can read about that poll in this post. Last week I did another poll to see how those impressions changed, and this post will present the most notable results of that poll.

Before talking about it though, I’d like to link to a few things. First, the raw data for these ratings, which includes all of the data ever collected in any of my card ratings polls and will be updated as new ratings are collected. If you want to see the data for yourself and look for something specific, that’s where to go.

Second, there are two podcast episodes where Wandering Winder gives his first impressions of the cards, and then I give my first impressions of the cards. You can also listen to our revisiting episode where we both talk about our own updated ratings as well as how they differ from the community’s ratings and each other’s ratings.

Now that we’re done with that, I’ll present the data that I want to talk about in this post, focusing on how impressions of card power levels have changed in the months since Menagerie was released.

This table shows the cards whose ratings changed the most since the last time data was collected on them. It’s no coincidence that even though all cards were eligible to be re-rated, the ones we’re seeing here are all Menagerie and Renaissance cards. Those are the newest cards and they were at the top of the poll because I wanted the most new data on them.

The only comment I’d really like to make here is that I’m not putting too much stock into the ratings for Ways, much like for Landmarks — it’s not clear to me what it means for those things to be “powerful” in a more severe way than with just cards or events or other things in Dominion.

Dominion: Menagerie (expansion) First Impressions

It’s that time again, a new expansion! That means it’s time to collect the hot takes of everyone out there. I opened up a poll, inviting anyone to rate all of the card-shaped objects in Menagerie on a scale of 0 through 10. This post is meant only to present the results of that poll, in a couple of months I’ll make another poll to see how things have changed and at that time I’ll be sharing my own ratings and where I may disagree.

Here’s a link to a spreadsheet with the raw data for this poll, as well as the results I’ll be referring to here.

I’ll just give a couple of highlights of the data here. The highest rated cards are:

Seize the Day, Bounty Hunter, Mastermind, Way of the Chameleon, and Wayfarer. Bounty Hunter and Mastermind had particularly low variance, which is a good sign for both of them.

The lowest rated cards are:

Ride, Sleigh, Black Cat, and Way of the Mule

The cards with the most disagreement are below, but it’s worth noting that all of the Ways have a lot of high variance — this makes sense because they are a new concept, so they’re a lot harder to rate.

Way of the Pig, Cavalry, Populate, and Gamble

That’s all for now, check out the spreadsheet if you want more details, and stay tuned for the post in a few months where I’ll revisit these ratings and give a bit more commentary!

Some changes to the blog

Hi. So yeah it’s been more than four years since I’ve updated this last. I still have the fish tanks but I guess I don’t feel compelled to blog about them anymore.

On the other hand, I’ve been doing a lot of other things with my life, mostly focused around tabletop games. I’d kind of like a place for me to publish things that I want to write, so I decided to re-brand this blog and put it all here.

So this blog is just going to be a place where I write about stuff, whatever it is. It probably won’t be too much about fish anymore (though I may decide to post fish pictures here if I want to). You’ll probably see lots of posts about Dominion, other tabletop games, or whatever else I feel like writing about.

To start, I’m going to take everything I’ve attempted to publish in other places and move it here. That means the entire Power Grid strategy blog will get dumped here, and all of the Dominion articles I’ve written. All of that has been transferred over and I’ll be publishing it shortly.

I have several topics I’d like to write about in the near future. Many of them are Dominion-related, but not all of them. So you can expect some content here in the near future, and let’s see where this goes!

4/7/2011: News, but no pictures

Hi. I have news; some good, some bad. I don’t have pictures, but I have some pretty good excuses for not having pictures.

Saltwater tank: I noticed that Ruckus’ eye looked bad again, I also noticed both of Butch’s eyes were popped out really bad, and several other of the fish were “flashing” (that’s a sign of having the ich parasite). I was really worried, but then I woke up. What a terrible dream. Everyone is fine in that tank.

I haven’t seen Sunny in a while. Granted, he’s disappeared for a long time like this before and ended up in the overflow cup before, so I’ll have to do a thorough search before I say anything definitive, but Dantrell has recently taken to swimming across the tank just to attack Sunny, so hopefully he’s OK.

Planted tank: Yesterday the shrimp arrived in the mail. However, a majority of them were DOA. Someone is getting negative feedback on eBay! I’m might try and find a local breeder for Red Cherry Shrimp, but maybe enough made it to start a colony anyways. I’ll have to wait and see.

My excuse for not having pictures: I couldn’t catch any of the fish out of that tank without moving some of the plants, which stirred up the gravel and made the tank really messy and cloudy. Not to mention that any surviving shrimp were hiding pretty well because they were probably very stressed. Any pictures I would have taken would look like an empty, cloudy, dirty tank.

55G tank: All of the fish, including Torpedo, were moved to this tank last night. Torpedo seemed pretty disoriented at first, but I’m sure he’ll enjoy all the extra room he has to swim around. Except for the rams, this tank is now stocked. It will be really nice to get some more aggressive fish in this tank, because I’m not seeing much schooling behavior at the moment.

I should mention, that there have been a couple of casualties so far in this tank: two glowlight tetras. It’s unreasonable to think that I can buy 50+ fish and not lose any of them due to the stress of moving, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. Hopefully I won’t lose any more.

My excuse for not having pictures: the pictures I want to take of this tank involve really seeing the lighting. In order to get the best pictures of that, I have to wait until the sun goes down so that light pollution doesn’t get in the picture. I was busy the last two nights in that window between the sunset outside and the sunset in the tank.

Yeah, I know I could adjust the lights manually to get the pictures I wanted, but how would you feel if someone turned on the lights in your bedroom and woke you up in the middle of the night to take pictures of you?

Quarantine tank: two more days! The two tangs are adjusting back to “normal” marine water conditions pretty well. It’s not their favorite thing in the world but they’re doing fine.

My excuse for not having pictures (well, video): I mentioned last update that I was going to try and get a video of something cute the tangs were doing. Well, they aren’t doing it anymore, so I’ll just write about it.

I’ve noticed a big turn-around in the Atlantic Blue Tang’s personality over the past four weeks. He used to be really, really timid, and wouldn’t even come out to eat until I left the room. He even let the Powder Brown Tang push him around, even though he was much bigger. This may sound crazy, but I think some of it had to do with losing the Naso Tang — The Atlantic Blue really liked him, and I think he was really upset for a while, he seemed that way, especially when the Naso died. He snapped out of it all of a sudden, which is why I’ve had to separate them. Well now they both get excited when I enter the room, and they actively beg for food, which is great.

A little education on the coloration of fish, specifically the Atlantic Blue Tang: Almost all fish have what I call “daytime colors” and “nighttime colors.” The nighttime colors are usually darker or more drab, and sometimes show patterns. For example, most of the tetras and the cardinals turn to a solid grey; Sarge, Ruckus and Butch turn mostly black, but Filet gets this brown circle with a white line through it on both sides of his body, and Dantrell gets covered in white spots. These colors show up when the fish are “sleeping”, but also when they are stressed for some reason. Basically you know they’re awake and happy if their colors are radiant, and this is increased by having a day/night cycle in the tank. That’s something I learned from keeping saltwater fish. The Atlantic Blue Tang’s “nighttime colors” are the deep purple that’s in all of the pictures I’ve been able to get. He’s basically constantly stressed because he’s in a small tank, and there’s another fish in the tank that he wants to be aggressive towards. These colors will most likely go away when he goes into the big tank and we’ll see his “daytime colors.” Now his daytime colors are interesting by themselves. As a juvenile, he will be a pale yellow, with some faint vertical stripes, but as he matures, his color will change to blue. The tang I have is still in the “yellow phase.”

So what the Atlantic Blue Tang was doing that I thought was cute — he’ll just be chilling in the tank, looking through the barrier, wishing he could harass the Powder Brown Tang. Then I walk in the room and I show him the can of food. I’ll see his colors briefly turn back to his natural yellow, and he gets really excited for the food, at least until I get too close to the tank and he puts his guard back up. It was just a great example of how you can use those colors to tell exactly how a fish is feeling. I’m really excited to see how he takes to the big tank and how that affects his colors.

2/12/2011: Two new tangs!

Well it’s been a long time planning it, but today was a big day! I’ve been doing a fishless cycle on a quarantine tank so that I could get two new tangs for the saltwater tank, and it was finally ready this weekend. I have two new tangs! They will be in the quarantine tank for about 6 weeks (at least) before they go into the main tank. Hopefully they will be fully recovered from any parasites they might have right now, and we’ll see who emerges as the dominant tank between these two and Filet. Here are some pictures:

In the picture of both of them, the one on the left is a Blonde Naso tang. He’s clearly the boss of the two of them in the quarantine tank. The other one is an Atlantic Blue Tang. The young ones are more yellow and as they mature, they turn blue. This one is very stressed out, and he might stay that way for a while. If it gets too rough in there, I might have to put a barrier in between the two. I’ll try and update as things to along with more pictures too.