Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wrapping Up Clout

Hi everybody,

The first thing I want to do is apologize for being absent for the last month. The following letter should have been written and posted over a month ago, but it kept being held up for one reason or another. Despite what the letter says, I have assembled 100 sets of prize chips and will be mailing them out on a first come, first serve basis. The Medallions are done with though. Now that the announcement is made, I can answer your e-mails and requests more effectively. I also have a temp now, which will take care of the ‘don’t have time for anything” problem. Without further ado, on to the bad news…

Back in November when Hidden City Games announced that Clout Marvel Heroes was being put on hold, we optimistically hoped that this was a temporary situation and that we could get the set released as soon as summer 2007. As I think many of you suspected at the time, that wasn’t realistic, though I was confident we could and would make it happen.

About a month ago, I too realized that relaunching Clout in 2007 was something we simply couldn’t manage. Too many things needed to happen to get Clout Marvel Heroes released, and few of them looked likely. At that point I had to decide how to proceed with Clout Organized Play.

Back in November, Organized Play’s purpose was to keep the Clout community alive and vibrant until we could get Clout Marvel Heroes launched. With the enthusiasm I’ve seen from the Venture Team, I have no doubt that we would have succeeded if Clout Marvel Heroes were waiting at the end of the tunnel. Though it breaks my heart to say it, it’s just not going to be, at least not for the foreseeable future. With no new product on the way and no budget for the events I’ve planned for Origins and Gen Con, the primary purpose of Clout Organized Play has disintegrated. It’s time to close up shop.

Starting immediately, no additional Clout tournament kits or support items will be shipped.

I will continue to process reports and award Venture Points until the end of April. I’ll do a final tally of points and let all Venture Team members know how many points they’ve achieved and how many spending points they have remaining. In addition, I’ll catch up with the award chips (CF Scout, Hunter, etc.) and all other obligations we’ve made to the Venture Team. This will be the last mass shipment of these items. Everyone will get all the awards and auction items due to them by the end of April. Venture Team members with more than 100 Venture Points will get special awards in the form of international promo chips.

For those of you with Venture Points to spend, I’ll continue to honor those requests for the remainder of 2007. You’ve earned those points, and I want to give you every opportunity to spend them!

Without a new expansion on the horizon, we felt it would be worse to string you all along and let Clout slowly wither away with substandard support than to wrap things up cleanly now and hope to maintain some goodwill with you folks, the fans and volunteers. If we ever manage to release Clout Marvel Heroes—or some other version of the game—down the road, I hope you’ll think well enough of us that you’ll be willing to give us another chance.

Thank you, and I’m sorry.

Adam “Wildcard” Conus
Organized Play Manager
Hidden City Games

Friday, January 26, 2007

February Clout Convention Events!

Clout is all about the community, and what a great one we've got. Thanks to the Venture Team, clout will be supported at the following conventions next month:

Ghengis Con - Denver CO 2/15 - 2/17

OrcCon - Los Angeles CA 2/16-2/19

More to come... (I shipped 6 con kits, just don' t know the cons yet...)


Friday, January 12, 2007

Clout Organized Play '07 FAQ

This FAQ requires a certain amount of "in the know" on the part of the reader. If you can't make heads of tails of this, please feel free to write me at ventureteam@hiddencitygames.com for more general information on Clout, CLINCH, and the Venture Team.

Q: It's 2007, why do the Medallions still say 2006?
A: Well, the easy answer is we don't have new Medallion stickers yet. =-) Actually, the original CLINCH 'season' was to start with the release of Defenders of Undersea (originally scheduled for release in Feb '06) and end at Gen Con SoCal in November '06. CLINCH didn't actually get launched until April '06 so we pushed the Nationals and Worlds to Summer '07. The new CLINCH Medallions will probably say "2007-2008" or simply "Season 2". I like the year better as it frames the age of the Medallion.

Q: Why isn't there a new Pirate chip?
A: Originally, the first set of Promo Prize Chips (Set 1) was to last from the release of DoU until the release of RR. When RR came out, the set of chips you're just getting now (Set 2) was to be released. As it turned out, we used Set 1 at the launch with RR stealing the Set 2 pirate chip. We were to go on-press with Marvel in time to produce a new Set 2 pirate chip (plus Marvel Prize chips) in time for the January release of Set 2. Those chips will still be produced along with the Marvel set.

Q: I have extra prize chips. Can I still award them as prizes?
A: Of course! Particularly if your players still want them. If you'd rather shelve the old chips in favor of the new ones, that's fine too!

Q: 10 players just showed up to my tournament. Can I hold a Rally tournament right now?
A: If you have a Rally prize kit, you are free to hold your tournament any time you have enough players. I would really prefer that Rally events be announced in advance so players who are interested are less likely to miss the touranment. If you have the kit already, it would be acceptable to have a standing announcement that any time 10+ players show, a Rally tournament will be held in place of a normal Throw-Down.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I love the snow. We've got about 4-5" and I couldn't be happier. Made a snowman, threw snowballs at my wife (she threw at me first!) and generally had fun with my 5-year old for as long as we could stand the cold.

Good times.


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year!

Hi everybody!
I told you I was working on things for 2007. As most of you know, the old tournament prize chips are no longer available with your tournament kits. Starting with next week’s mailing, there will be new prize chips for 6 of the 7 factions (new Pirate prize chips were to be produced with Marvel, darn it!). Also look to the bottom of this document for the new Venture Point Catalogue, including several international promo chips which I see no reason to keep around, gathering dust.

Warlord Kharn and I will continue to work on the Living Rulebook and I hope to have a new version of that done by the end of the month, taking all the comments from the Forum into account (which, of course, forces me to disregard about 49% of you…sigh) My goal with the Living Rulebook is to encourage the maximum amount of deck variety, reduce rules confusion, and make sure black doesn’t win everything all the time. =-) The LR will focus on tournament level rules rather than on ‘how to play’.

Everything listed below is for Venture Team Tournament events. Events you can run yourself in your store or even in your house. Things like Nationals and such, which will be run by HCG, are not included.

Comments are welcome. I’m working sans editor, so pointing out typos is even a good idea!

Adam "Wildcard" Conus

Venture Team 2007

Throw Down
Throw Down tournaments are the basic CLINCH tournament held by individual Venture Team organizers at local stores, clubs, and rec-rooms all over North America. Play format variety and creativity is encouraged for Throw-Down level events.

Requirements: Open Tournament, 6 player minimum
Judge Play?: Yes, if there are 9 or less players.
Play Formats: Any (1-on-1, multiplayer, team, Limited Faction Selection, Max Stacks, etc.)

Medallions: Winner : 3 Point Victory Medallion.
Faction Winner: 1 Point Faction Medallion.

The next level of CLINCH tournament. Rally events are roughly analogous to “qualifier” tournaments. Rally Tournaments may be held up to once per month by any tournament organizer provided the attendance requirements are met (subject to approval by the HCG OP Manager).

Requirements: Open Tournament, 10 player minimum
Judge Play?: No
Play Formats: 1-on-1 (strongly recommended)

Medallions: Winner : 4 Point Victory Medallion.
Faction Winner: 2 Point Faction Medallion.

Medalist events are ‘invitational’ type events where only players who possess an adequate number and assortment of Medallions may participate. Medalist events should typically have better prizes than standard Clout tournaments. Medalist events may be held by HCG Staff or be arranged in advance for convention play or store play by experienced Venture Team Organizers.

Requirements: Standard Medalist Tournaments – 10 Points worth of Medallion to play.
Ace Medalist Tournament – 5 matching Medallions to play.
Judge Play?: No
Play Formats: 1-on-1 (strongly recommended)

Medallions: Winner : 4 Point Victory Medallion.
Faction Winner: 2 Point Faction Medallion.

Tournament Notes

Reporting a CLINCH Tournament is worth 4 Venture Points. Reporting a non-CLINCH tournament is worth 3. Additional details about the tournament as well as suggestions are always welcome.

Too Few Players
If fewer than the required number of players attend an event, the event may be held and all non-Medallion prizes may be awarded.
Too Few Factions
If the required number of player attend, but there are still medallions remaining (in case all players play one color, for example.) the tournament organizer may keep the remaining medallions for themselves or save them for use as prizes in future tournaments.
In Clout, ties are ties. In a finals-type situation where a winner must be determined, a single game playoff should be played. If time does now allow a single game playoff, a single chip target toss for accuracy may also be used to break a tie.
One-on-One vs. Multiplayer and other Formats
Clout is, by design, a casual game placing fun above strict competition. As such, we’ve worked hard to stress a wide variety of light, fun, formats. This works fine at the Throw-Down level when the prizes are modest and the players (for the most part) know each other and are friends. Once the prizes increase, even as little as from Throw-Down to Rally, the intensity of play increases to a point where we recommend the standard 1-on-1 Clout format as the preferred format.

Holding your Own CLINCH Tournaments

All Venture Team members may request tournament support directly from Hidden City Games at no cost. We reserve the right to say no, but won’t do so without a good reason (example: we’re all out of what you’re asking for!) Please provide at least 2 weeks lead time on all tournament requests and 1 month lead time on all convention requests.

Requests must be sent via e-mail to ventureteam@hiddencitygames.com Please include:

Kit Requests:
# Item Requested
______ x Standard Throw-Down (max order 4 per month)
______ x Standard Rally (max order 1 per month)
______ x Six Playmats (max order 1 per month)
______ x T-Shirt (max order 1**)
______ x Give Away Promo ________________
______ x Rally Give Away Promo (w/Rally Event only) ___________
______ x Convention Kit* – Booster Prize
______ x Convention Kit* – Starter Prize

* Rally and Convention Kits available only to experienced Venture Team organizers. Date of event/s also required upon ordering.
** T-Shirts are generally limited to 1 per Venture Team member, at the discretion of the OP Manager
Prize Kits
Standard Throw-Down Prize Kit
Contents: 8 Throw-Down Medallions (1 Winner, 7 Faction)
8 Prize Chips (1 Winner, 7 Faction)
Standard Rally Prize Kit
Contents: 8 Rally Medallions (1 Winner, 7 Faction)
8 Prize Chips (1 Winner, 7 Faction)

Prize Kit Add-Ons
Six Playmats – Available with a request for 4 or more Tournament Kits.
Venture Team T-Shirts – Available with a request for 4 or more Tournament Kits (Limited Quantities Available, please specify size when requesting the shirt.)
20 Chip Give-Away Promos – Available with any Rally or Throw Down request. Combination of Helm of Leadership and Shrunken Heads to be given away to the players for attending the tournament.
20 Chip Rally Give-Away Promos – Available with any Rally or Special Event request. Mechanical Raven, Whale Call, Staff of Many Wonders. (I’ll always ship the chips, TO’s may request the specific chip, depending on availability.)

Convention Kits
Standard Convention Kit
Contents: 5x Standard Throw-Down Prize Kits
1x Standard Rally Prize Kit
3x Venture Team T-Shirt
50x Give Away Promos (Helm of Leadership or Shrunken Head)
50x Give Away/Prize Promos (M. Raven, W. Call, S. of Many Wonders)
Prize Product:
1 Box Base Set Boosters, 1 Box DoU Boosters, 1 Box RR Boosters
1 Box Base Set Starters, 2 Boxes Base Set Boosters

Venture Prizes
Venture Points
Each Venture Team Member is awarded points based on their activities. These points accumulate and may be spend on a number of Items and Promo chip not available any other way. In addition, as Venture Team Members reach Venture Point milestones, special award chips are also periodically shipped as a reward for participation.

Venture Award Chips
These award chips are shipped out at no cost to the Venture Team Member upon reaching specific Venture Point milestones
1 Point – CF Scout
12 Points – CF Hunter
25 Points – CF Forrester
50 Points – CF Warden
100 Points – International Promo Chip
+50 Points thereafter – International Promo Chip

Venture Point General Store
Venture Point Purchase Requests should be sent to ventureteam@hiddencitygames.com
Allow up to 4 weeks to process and ship requests (they all get done at one time, one per month.)

This list replaces all previous Venture Point Spending lists.

2 pts - One Booster Pack (Base Set, Defenders of Undersea, or Redbeard’s Revenge)
50pts – One Booster Display Box (Base Set, DoU, or RR)
5pts - One Pre-Constructed Stack
30pts – One Pre-Constructed Stack Box (8 stacks, DoU or RR)
5 pts – Clout “Chip Holder” Keychain
50pts – Clout Display Tray w/Bag of misc. Chips

5 pts – Additional Award Chip* (CF Scout, Hunter, Forrester, or Warden)
5 pts – Season 1 CLINCH US Promo Chip Set
(Mechanical Raven, Cunning, Sunken Skull, Whale Call, Staff of Many Wonders)
10 pts – Season 1 CLINCH Prize Chip Set (8 Chips)
25 pts. – International Promo Chip – Mercenary Sorcerer
25 pts. – International Promo Chip – Distraction
25 pts. – International Promo Chip – Mirage Projector
25 pts. – International Promo Chip – Baliste (Ballista)
25 pts. – International Promo Chip – War Gods Banner
25 pts. – International Promo Chip – Double Strike
25 pts. – International Promo Chip – Lame Rotanti (Whirling Blades)
100 pts – Complete International Doom Chip Set (10 Chips)

* CF Award Chips only available to players who’ve already earned their first copy.
All items are subject to availability.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Clout Fans are Amazing!

The responses to the last post in my e-mail have been, well, really really terrific. What a great bunch of people we've gathered together (online, anyway!) for the express purpose of having fun for fun's sake.

M: What's that make us?
Z: Big damn heroes, sir.
M: Aint we just!

(Expect a lot of Firefly quotes from me in the next few weeks!)


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Clout, no Clout, more Clout, and Horses

Hi everybody,

Let start with some Clout news. Some not great Clout news.

Clout is essentially on hold for the time being. Right now Hidden City Games only has the staff and resources to support one product and that product is Bella Sara, a horse themed card/web game aimed at younger girls. Say what you like about this, it’s turning out to be a good choice because we’re having trouble keeping Bella Sara on shelves. There’s been a lot of concern that we’ll be dropping Clout in favor of Bella Sara, which is a fair concern, but not what we’re doing. We’ve got two Clout expansions more or less in the can, Clout Marvel Heroes, and the third Clout Fantasy expansion. Assuming Bella Sara is a success, it is our plan to launch Clout Marvel Heroes in the summer, run nationals and worlds as planned, and generally do all things I’ve been planning on doing for the last year. If Bella Sara isn’t a success…well…let’s not go there. =-)

What we are doing:

All organized play programs will be fully supported. In fact, Tuesday December 19th will be the last tournament kit mailing of the year and also the last tournament kit mailing with the current batch of prize chips. That’s right, starting in January I have 7 brand new prize chips for your Clout tournaments (why not 8, well I don’t have a new Pirate chip. It was to be printed with Marvel…sorry!)

Enhanced tournament support for conventions. Part of the ‘belt-tightening’ has our convention scheduled nearly cancelled, but that doesn’t mean we can't support those of you who’d like to attend the shows on our behalf. I’ve got a couple of different Convention kit builds (depending on your needs) and I can send those out to active VDT members upon request. I’ve also got a better system for keeping track of conventions, so I don’t miss any more shipments.

More events like the Turkey Shoot. Without a huge number of new chips for variety, I want to introduce new playing formats that stress different aspects and strategies for Clout. We’ve already got a number of great ideas on the table, and I want to run the next Turkey Shoot style event in February (a groundhog day themed event?). I’m looking for these ideas to come from fans, just like the Turkey Shoot did. If you have a great idea, let me know. It DOESN’T have to be holiday themed. In fact, I’d prefer it not be!

I’m working on all new tournament rules as well as a tournament rulebook, more detailed than the current rulebook with a lot of the clarifications players have been requesting (and a couple of the changes.) I’ll be working on that after the holidays, so expect that to be rolled out late January.

When it rains…it does pour a bit:

While it has nothing to do with what’s going on, I misjudged my demo kit supplies, and as such I don’t have the ability to build and ship any more demo kits (technically I could build one more kit, but it hardly seems worth it.) I only discovered this Tuesday, when I went to build and ship the current kit requests. If you have requested a kit, I won’t be shipping any more until I can print more inserts, again, after the holidays.

If you have questions, concerns, or just want to yell at me for not making Clout the “must produce” game on our schedule, I’m right here.

Merry Christmas!!!
Adam "Wildcard" Conus