I’ve previously mentioned that Fantasy Flight Games has a new Living Card Game (LCG) coming out called Warhammer 40,000: Conquest. Needless to say I’m pretty excited about it… Perhaps not as overly geeked out as I am over Imperial Assault (see previous story), but it was one of the games I was most excited for prior to GenCon (since then Abyss has slid down a bit and Five Tribes has moved up to just below Conquest and Imperial Assault for the post GenCon stuff). Anyhow, I can’t wait for it to come out.
Sadly, I don’t have a play group to play it with. I’m sure plenty of people at the Boardgamers of Greater Akron will be playing it, but it is a bit of a drive to Akron from where I am, and I don’t know anyone local who’s into LCGs. So being able to play the game over the Internet is always a sweet deal. Sure one could use Skype and just put the webcam on the table, but that requires a playlist of people to play with a much larger table than my desk, and a few other complications. Lucky for us, there are methods of playing LCGs, TCGs, CCGs, and other games over the Internet. For card games the two main platforms seem to be OCTGN and LackyCCG. This post will focus on the OCTGN plugin, but I know there is development ongoing for a LackyCCG plugin as well (by another person than the one who did the Conquest one). OCTGN is presently Windows only (though they mention they would like to do a Mac version and touch screen version eventually), while LackyCCG is multiplatform including Windows, Mac, Linux and iPad.
Before we continue, let me note that I am in no way involved with this project, either the LCG itself (although, FFG, if you want me…lol), OCTGN or the plugin being discussed below.
So what do you need? Well first is to get the OCTGN client. If you will want to play with others you’ll also need to create a free account. There are advantages to subscribing, but that’s mostly beyond the scope of this article, though I’ll mention one when the time comes. Then once it is installed, log in, click the Games Manager tab, then from the drop down list select OCTGN Directory [NOTE: To get the game to list, once in OCTGN click “Add Game Feed”, name it something like OCTGN Directory or whatever (that’s what it is called in this) then put in this URL: http://www.myget.org/F/octgngamedirectory/ in the Feed Url/path spot, then click Add. It will populate the list. ] and scroll down until you get to Warhammer 40K Conquest LCG and select Install on it (Note in the image below the option is to Uninstall, that’s as I’ve already installed it, first time it will be a green Install button). NOTE: If you can’t find the game listed, please see John’s comment in the comment section below for details on how to get it listing.
(You are also, if only for moral and legal reasons, you need to have a physical copy of the game and any expansion packs you are using in OCTGN. The rules for the game can be acquired from FFG’s link for the game if you need an electronic copy, but you can always refer to the psychical rules as well.)
An important note. The game images are censored for copyright reasons. You get the card, and it more or less looks like the real cards, but it will lack the official artowrk and flavor text. The important game text is there and the game looks great and is perfectly playable without the real game images. All the pics and any video in this article will be using the default set that comes with the plugin. This is where the subscription to OCTGN helps. If you subscribe to OCTGN, you can drag and drop images from sites like CardGameDB or an image you made yourself, to the deck builder. Otherwise you have to individually scan each image, crop and size it then import it in manually, which is well beyond the scope of this article. Now of course people have already done the work of creating an image pack, but such things are not allowed to be discussed publicly since each person is supposed to do the work themselves. However, once you’ve built your own image pack (you made it yourself right), it is imported into the game via the Game Manager tab and the Add Image Packs button, select the image pack and you’ll have the images to pay with. The game is playable without them, but if you feel the need for the images, just recall copyright law prevents you from discussing such things in any public forum, and I won’t link any such image packs here and won’t approve any comments asking for or linking to image packs.
Okay, with that disclaimer out of the way. We move on. I’ll discuss making a deck later. For the first couple games, use the decks that come with the plugin.
For our first game we are going to play offline and get used to the controls. You do this by launching a second copy of OCTGN. It helps if you have two monitors and can put one copy on one and the other on the other monitor. It still works without two monitors, it just makes it easier. You can only login with your one account on one of them. For the test you don’t need to be logged in at all, both can be offline. If you are online with one copy, you’ll need to start the game with the one that is offline. (You could make two accounts and play online with both accounts, but that complicates thing when it is easy enough to do offline.)
To start a game, select the Play or Spectate tab (you need to be online to spectate a game). Click the Start. Now if you are offline with both copies, it might help to name one Player 1 and the other Player 2, if one or both are online, they’ll need to have their account name in the Username spot. Give the game a name. Passwords are only an option offline local play or online if you Subscribe to OCTGN (in the image below you will notice the password field is grey as I took it online from an a). From the drop down list pick Warhammer 40K Conquest LCG (if this is the only game you have installed it should be easy enough, I believe it generally defaults to the last game you played). A couple side notes before we go on. The “Hide Uninstalled Games” allows you to either hide games you already have or show everything being played at that time. The Play button can be slid to join as a spectator.
To join a game. In the Play or Spectate tab, click the Orange arrow going in a circle and select the game you wish to join. Once both players have joined, the first player’s screen should look like this:
Generally you will want a Two Sided Table no matter what (a true solo game like Solitare, or co-ops Lord of the Rings LCG is about the only time you’ll use Single Sided). You can allow spectators or not. Clicking the red X will kick the other player and they won’t be able to rejoin that session. Click the green start button to begin. You will get a screen that looks like this (without the red text and lines obviously):
The areas are:
- The big gray area is the Table. This is where cards will be played.
- The Chat and move log in the lower left will record all actions made and where you can chat with one another.
- The Resources area is where the you and the game track resources, initiative and planet types collected.
- The Hand is where your hand will be dealt. You will move cards from here to the table, usually be double clicking, which puts it on the lower spot on the table then you drag it to the position you want. You can manually click and drag a card from the hand to the Table, but you will have to manually adjust the resources, where double clicking will automatically deduct the resource cost of that card.
- The Deck is the deck you are pulling cards from.
- The Discard is where discarded cards go.
- The Planets Claimed spot is where planets go after they have been claimed. It starts collapsed, double clicking it expands it.
- The area above the Resources is a player control and allows control of the table to be passed back and forth… I actually am fairly much a newb on OCTGN, so that does provide confusion at times. 🙂 I do know plenty of players seem to ignore using it.
The first thing each player needs to do is click the Game menu, select Load Deck, then navigate to the saved decks. The plugin comes with the game’s default decks built in. There is a Deck Editor you can use prior to starting a game to create your own decks. The OCTGN Deck Editor will not check to see that the deck is legal, and I don’t know if the plugin checks or not. If you create your own Deck, just ensure it is legal. Some deck editing websites will output an OCTGN deck file and will normally validate the deck. I am not going to cover deck creation this article (I’m really bad at it). For now we are loading the decks that are included with the plugin. Card Game DB has forums where people have built and discuss decks and can serve as a good starting point when you are ready to build your own.
Once both players have loaded their decks, the first player should right click the Table and click Setup. The game will move the selected warlord out and draw the starting player’s hand. It will also ask who’s going to be the first player. Confirm who’s the starting player. The second player also right clicks the desktop to automate the drawing of their hand.
Both players look at their hand. As you hover over cards and other game elements, the game should zoom in on the card so it can be read easily. If the player needs to take their one allowed mulligan, they may right click in their Hand area and select Take Mulligan.
The first player may select the green arrow next to their name, this will put a pause sign on the second player’s screen next to the first player’s name indicating they are taking their turn. This doesn’t prevent the second player from playing or doing other actions. As I noted, not all players seem to use this. Hopefully some OCTGN expert can shed some light on those and proper use of them.
From this point on one pretty much follows the rules of the game, and this article won’t discuss the rules. You can read those yourself. However a few basics and how they relate to the plug-in.
As noted before, if you double click the card you want to move from your hand, it will automatically deduct the resources required to pay for the card. If you drag and drop you will need to manually adjust the resource counter. After you double click, the game will ask if you need to reduce the cost by an amount due to card effects on the table. The game doesn’t track what all is on the table at all times, so that is a manual adjustment, if you mess up, you can manually readjust the Resources right after you put the card out.
Keep in mind, all actions are recorded by the chat log, so if you attempt to cheat, the other player will be able to see it in the log. If you accidentally move a card to the Table, you can, if you opponent is agreeable (generally should be if you made an honest mistake, just as in a real game in person), you can manually drag the card back into your hand and readjust the resources.
Most actions can be found by either right clicking the Table or a card. A few common examples:
- You can set your Servo Skull by either right clicking the Table or pressing F6. Once you are ready to reveal it, right click the card back that was in it’s spot (not sure why it changes to a card, but that may be a temporary thing) and choose Flip Card to reveal it. Once flipped back to the Skull side the players will be able to see which players picked what by hovering over the proper Skulls
- You can exhaust or ready a card by right clicking it and choose Exhaust/Ready.
- If a card or other action creates a Token Card, right click the Desktop, choose Create Token, create the appropriate token(s) from the popup.
Once you’ve moved your card(s), click the green arrow next to the other player’s name and they’ll take control.
(There is a right click End Turn option (you can also use F12). This brings up a Resolve Headquarters option, select the proper answer depending on what phase you are in. Given how it works in the build at the time of writing, I figure I won’t use it until the end of all phases and I’m ready for the HQ cleanup. Again, perhaps an OCTGN expert can chime in with advice.)
During the Command Phase you will have to manually move your Commander and any units with them manually to the planet you selected via your Servo Skull. You will also need to manually resolve the Command Struggle step and manually adjust the resource counter and draw cards as that planet and rules may allow. Players will also need to manually make adjustments for any planetary effects if the winning player decides to activate it’s abilities.
Combat will be resolved manually. To target a card, Shift+Left Click on the card doing the attack (you should have already right clicked that card and exhausted it per the game rules) and drag the arrow to the card being attacked. The other player may then respond according to the rules, any damage taken is done by right clicking on the card and Add Damage as required, and any shields used revealed to the table, then discarded.
In the above shot we see that Player 1 has exhausted their Raven Guard Speeder and initiated an attack against Player 2’s Nazdreg’s Flash Gitz and waiting for Player 2 to respond. Player 2 took 3 damage. It also shows Player 1 hovering over Player 2’s card allowing you to see the way the game highlights a card that is hovered over (if the card is upside down, the other player won’t able to sneak a peek at it). You can see what a censored card looks like. As you can see it is still very playable. I’ll also take this moment to note you can adjust visibility of cards. Generally you will keep the cards private, even from Spectators (to avoid the possibility of them passing information on to the other player). But if a match is being broadcast via Twitch/YouTube or whatever by a Spectator, you can adjust it so they can see the hand. I’m not sure if the game allows you to control which spectator specifically is allowed to access the card details…
If a card is to be Discarded, either via use of an action, damage or other causes in accordance with the rules, right click the card and select Discard (left clicking the clicking Del does the same thing). Of course you can also drag and drop.
The player that wins a Planet right clicks the Table and then selects Claim Planet. The game will automatically put it in their planets area and adjust the planetary resources according to what the card says. Once a player gathers 3 of any one planet resources the game will automatically end. If no player gathers 3 of one resource then follow the game’s printed rules.
After the Combat Phase has resolved, right click the desktop and select End Turn, answer Yes when it asks to resolve HQ phase. The game will give each player the proper number of tokens, cards and transfer the Initiative token. Any card effects that change this from the normal will need to be resolved manually after this.
That is the game is a very basic nutshell. It will require a few tests for you to get used to it, but the flow will make sense after a bit.
Upcoming will be a video of a playthough… odds are it will be full of mistakes, and goofs and shouldn’t be treated as an example of good Conquest game play, it will only be here to show what the game looks like in action via OCTGN. See the previous post noted near the start of this article for a video of the game being played for real by far better players…
EDIT: For those who like keyboard shortcuts, along with mouse clicks (this should be accurate as of 1,0,0,3):
- The Tabletop Board Action Menu
- Set Up CTRL+SHIFT+S
- Flip Coin CTRL+F
- Ready All my cards F5
- Set Servo-Skull F6
- Capture Planet F7
- Create Token F10
- End Turn F12
- STOP ALT+S
- I’m Done ALT+D
- The Tabletop Card Action Menu
- Exhaust/Ready F9 or Double Click
- Flip Card F8
- Add Damage F1
- Sub Damage F2
- Add Resource F3
- Sub Resource F4
- Add Marker(s) CTRL+M
- Sub Markers(s) ALT+M
- Discard Card DEL
- Bloody Warrior CTRL+B
- Restore Warrior ALT+B
- The Hand Action Menu
- Play Card Double Click
- Discard Card DEL
- Random Discard ALT+R
- Random Discard Many CTRL+R
- Mulligan CTRL+SHIFT+M
- The Deck Action Menu
- Discard Card DEL
- Peek CTRL+P
- Shuffle CTRL+SHIFT+S
- Draw Double Click
- Draw Many CTRL+D
- Search Top X Cards CTRL+S
- Discard Many From Top CTRL+R
Now hopefully I can find some local people (Board Gaming in the Akron/Canton Area) playing at days/times I can…