member, 1407 posts
 "Hugs for the Hugs God!"
 - Warhammer Fluffy-K
Tue 28 May 2019
at 23:46
The Decipher Counter
This is my favorite excerpt from Another Gaming Comic's real world D&D excerpts. The D&D excerpts are a great read if you enjoy reading highly dysfunctional "players vs. GM" stories that are funnier more then they are tragic however I use the term "Decipher Counter" all the time so I'd like to put it here just so its a lot easier for me to well as being an amusing piece of CCG lore that should amuse veterans and newbies alike!

According to The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, the term "Decipher-counter" originates from a moderately successful manufacturer of Collectible Card Games best known for its Star Trek and Star Wars licensed games.

The Star Trek game was so bad that the rules were more or less irrelevant. It was noted by those few people inclined to care about the game, that in order to even PLAY as the "Borg" faction, which was the primary focus of one expansion, you needed both the Ultra-Rare Borg Queen AND Borg Cube cards, each of which had a distribution such that you needed to purchase at least 3 boxes (retail $80 USD each) to have a good chance of getting either one.

Now, the Star Wars game was rather more successful since the game could be played without rares, with the caveat that you would almost certainly lose against anyone who DID have the rare cards. This didn't bother anyone too much because most players acknowledge that Obi Wan Kenobi SHOULD be able to beat up as many Stormtroopers as you can fit in a room with him. However, some game balance issues did arise, particularly when they tried to make cards that did anything other than fight. The vast majority of such cards were garbage, but occasionally Decipher would accidentally print one that was NOT garbage, which industrious players would quickly use to defeat all those regular decks that tried to win the game with silly epic battles between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Now the Decipher corporation had a design philosophy that forbade them from Banning or Restricting any cards they previously printed (because they felt that would negatively impact their integrity in the public eye). This left them with two options: they could either try to improve upon their rules to tighten up the overall design of the game and eliminate this sort of problem, OR they could print a card that "trumped" the problem card so thoroughly that those industrious players would be forced to give up and go back to beating each other with Lightsabers.

Most game manufacturers, when engineering a card for such a situation, attempt a degree of subtlety, assuming that clever players will find the new card to be a good solution, and the duller players will see this and copy it until the situation gradually rights itself. Decipher had a rather different view. Thus, if a card called Vader's Tea Party began to dominate the tournament scene by placing your opponent's Vader out of play and making him dress up like a little girl, their response would be a "counter"-card named Earl Gray Side Of The Force, which would probably have 2 powers. The first power would be to Add +1 to something you don't really care about. But the second power of the new Earl Gray card would read something like "If your opponent plays Vader's Tea Party, that card is lost, and Darth Vader returns to play on a planet of your choosing with a permanent +5 bonus to his Lightsaber attacks". However, in rare circumstances, the new Decipher-counter itself becomes a problem card. So if it became such a problem, then in order to rebalance the game-destroying power of Earl Gray Side Of The Force, they would print a new card, entitled Vader Gets Hung-Over, which wouldn't bother even pretending to have a general use, and which would read something a great deal like "If your opponent is so foolish as to play Earl Gray Side Of The Force against you, you may grab his card, tear it up, and then punch your opponent in the face several times for effect while sprinkling his brand-new Earl-Gray-confetti into his cup of tea."

Fortunately, the Star Wars license was soon taken away from Decipher and bought-out by the richer (and thus by definition smarter) CCG manufacturer Wizards of the Coast, who promptly ignored the existing product and produced two entirely new and boring games based on Star Wars, while Decipher kept all their old mechanics, used them to produce a brand new unlicensed game, and promptly printed a card called Up Yours You Moronic Monopolistic Bullies which allowed the player to violently mug any WotC employee they encountered. This brutal robbery card is entirely legal because the so-called Golden Rule of collectible cards games, as all police officers know, is that "Whatever the card says you can do takes precedent over any pre-existing rules or laws." This is and has always been true in the United States of America, because otherwise the Declaration of Independance card would be something of an exercise in hypocrisy. And to suggest that is simply madness.

Another Gaming Comic Source

This message was last edited by the user at 23:47, Tue 28 May 2019.

 member, 825 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Wed 29 May 2019
at 05:03
The Decipher Counter
That actually reads like an HHGG excerpt.