Berkeley Game Distributors

SITUATION: Watcher Field Agents
Before your Attack Phase, discard this card and roll a six-sided die. You may
make as many attacks this turn as your die roll.  (Restricted to 2)

This promo, somewhat harder to get than many, is not often seen.  However, it
seems to be making somewhat of a comeback recently, so now seems like a good
time to look at it.

Game mechanic questions first.  You currently can _not_ use Iron Will to
modify the die roll you make in conjunction with Berkeley.  Iron Will modifies
a chance of success: BGD has no chance of success.

BGD is a discard-to-use card, so you have to play it, and your opponent then
gets a chance to play at least one card.  Since you can't discard BGD on your
opponent's turn and gain any benefit, essentially this means if you play it on
your Turn 1, you can't discard it until your Turn 2.

Using BGD doesn't take up an attack slot.  Rather, it determines how many base
attacks you get that turn.  Normally you get one (unless you're Amanda - then
you get two).  The number rolled on Berkeley is how many you get instead.  Any
"additional attacks" that you get are added on top of that base figure.  You
may also play cards that require attack slots (Battle Rage, Bloodlust,
Berserk) in one of these attack slots, to get even more attack slots.

BGD is a Watcher Field Agent, but not a Watcher.  And it in no way limits your
ability to play a Special the turn you discard it.

The last demonstrates why Berkeley can be such a powerful card:  you can play
any Special the turn you use it.

So what Special should you play?  Challenge/SE comes to mind: your opponent
can't dodge at all on his next turn.  Of course, neither can you on your next
turn, so you might wish to be careful.

Specials that mess up your opponent's ability to play Specials don't hurt.
Renee Delaney, Carl, The Gathering, Forethought, Inquest, etc. are all helpful
here.

Timing is useful here for Location play.  If your opponent attacked you and
you know he is going to fail, play Lighthouse or Laundry Room before you
defend, then defend, then discard BGD and attack.

Don't overlook Flashing Blade here: it is almost as good as Challenge/SE, and
still lets you play a Special as well.

There are other Situations you can play that will thwart your opponent's
defensive abilities.  Master's Advance comes to mind.  However, you're better
off playing this on a previous turn, and then playing one of the Specials
mentioned above the turn you _do_ discard BGD.

The next question is, which attacks you should play?  This is fairly
straightforward:  playing BGD in conjunction with several Flurry Strikes, if
you roll well, is basic strategy.  Also, remember that if the last defense you
played was a block, _any_ Ripostes you play that turn can be made Hidden.
When making multiple attacks, Slashes are also useful, whether the basic ones,
or Connor/Duncan's diagonal versions.

The final thing to note is Berkeley's randomness.  To minimize this, though,
remember to play whatever Special you're going to use _after_ you make the die
roll, if possible.  If you're going to play Challenge/SE, roll first.  If you
get a 1, save the Challenge/SE for later.  If you get a 6, play it.

So who should use Berkeley Game Distributors?  Personas who already have
multiple-attack capability can take better advantage of it.  Yung Dol Kim, for
instance, can discard Berkeley and use Frenzy and his Persona ability to gain
even more attacks on top of the first 1-6.  He can use Trip or Cutting Room
Floor to make one of the many attacks that much more dangerous.  Run Away lets
him set up his first attack better, since if he uses it he can avoid the last
attack his opponent played.

Annie has Combination, which requires that her opponent play a separate
defense against _all_ of her attacks that turn, as well as giving her another
attack.  If she lets herself be hit and plays Dr. Sonny Jackson to avoid the
damage, she can then make one to six basic attacks from Berkeley...plus her
two attacks for being hit...plus one more attack for Combination.  And her
opponent has to play a separate defense against each attack.

Fitzcairn may have numerous attacks in any case, for use with his Combination.
By playing Fast Talk and discarding Berkeley, he can hopefully get a good
number of attacks and his opponent will have to Exert for defenses.  If he can
mix in a few Flurry Strikes, all the better.  Wait to play Fast Talk until you
see what you get on the die roll, of course.

Connor in the Mountain Cave (and using Bagpipes and the extra Master slots to
take advantage of Master Race) can do nearly as well, Hidden-wise.

Other Personas can adapt as necessary from these strategies, or come up with a
few others.  Typically, Berkeley lends itself to a wide range of strategies.

So overall, Steve gives Berkeley Game Distributors a _5_.  It can be a
dangerous card for many Immortals.  The main problem is BGD's randomness.
Currently, there is no way to modify the die roll (unless you can convince
your opponent to use Cursed in your favor - good luck :) ).  Still, playing
your Special after the die roll can often minimize your waste of such cards.

What Our Other Raters Say:

Jeff - Not a bad generic card at all, this card lends itself to many, many
combinations.  Most fun in my opinion is a Fitz deck: Fast Talk, Flashing
Blade, Berkeley.  Add Scotland the Brave, Bright Blades/Kurgan Q, and Practice
Practice to taste.  Main problem is the same as with most combos:  it's hard
to use the elements of it separately if you don't get the combo itself.   Also
of use in supplementing an Annie deck against a non-attack deck (though I
personally prefer The Prize: Attacks due to BGD's randomness).

Hank - I've never gotten this card to work well.  I've tried it in many decks,
but IMHO there are better Personas and better ways nowadays to make multiple
attacks.  Rolling a 1 with Berkeley just sucks.

Alan - Great card for those Personas who lack an inherent multi-attack
ability.  Combine with Flashing Blade for optimum effect, and let the attacks
fly!  Only downside is it's relative vulnerability, being a Situation, _and_ a
Watcher Field Agent.

Jim - This is a fun multi-attack card.  It works well for Duncan combined with
Scotland the Brave for multiple Power Blows.  It is also go for use with Slan
and some of the other Immortals who lack an easy method of making multiple
attacks.

Wayne - I've tried using this card and every time I do I roll a 1.  I think
that there are better cards for making multiple attacks.  I prefer using
Events rather than Situations.

Prodipto - Berkeley Game Distributors is like a "poor man's" Battle Rage (and
only because of its ability, not availability).  There's a little risk
involved, since you might roll a 1.  However, some of the attack monsters
(Slan, Kurgan, Kern) can make great use of it.  The other point to note is
that it is a discard-to-use Situation.  This means it's cumulative with the
"three B's" (Berserk, Battle Rage, Bloodlust).  So you could discard a
Berkeley, roll a 6, then play a Bloodlust and wind up with the ability to play
20 attacks.  Berkeley attacks can be avoided with a Dodge, so I recommend
using Flashing Blades and Lunges judiciously.

Allen - This card seems to have a fair reputation, but it is never one I've
really taken seriously.  Flashing Blade gives it a boost, but there are many
other ways to make multiple attack strategies and most seem superior (or at
lest more reliable.)  Then again, maybe dice just don't like me.  It does
(almost) get you a Battle Rage without losing one Ability, but I would only
use this card with that don't have any means of their own to make multiple
attacks.

Bruce - This is an interesting card that I have seen frequently in gimmick
decks, but there are a lot better ways to make multiple attacks now, some of
them even allowing multiple Power Blows.

Stealth Dave - Berkeley Games is a good card for small attack decks, but its
usefulness is somewhat limited and success relies heavily on luck.  You can't
use die roll modifiers with it because there is no "chance for success", so if
you roll a one, you're out of luck.  On the other hand, with a Berkeley in
play you can play another Special while making multiple attacks.  Your
opponent will be in quite a bit of pain if you're lucky enough to roll a six
with six Flurry Strikes and a Challenge/SE :).  However, in today's rough and
tumble tournament scene, reliability is the key success, and Berkeley Games is
not.

Ratings Overall:

Steve                   5
Jeff                    6
Hank                    4
Alan                    6
Jim                     5
Wayne                   5
Prodipto                7
Allen                   5
Bruce                   3
Sdave                   4

Average:                5.00

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