Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Recent Gaming 9-29 to 10-5

#WhatDidYouPlayMondays #GameLog for 9/29 - 10/5/2015

Card Games: Dark Gothic / Colonial Horror, and Guillotine
RPG / Story Game: Forget Me Not
Board Game: Shadows of Brimstone
Video Game: Sir, You Are Being Hunted!

On Friday I played Dark Gothic with the cards mixed in from the Colonial Horror stand-alone expansion, as well as the smaller Smuggler's Den, Curse of the Werewolf, Dryad of Harper's Wood, and Forgotten Island expansions. I played this with Mark Walters and Laura Mortensen. It was a tense game that ended in defeat for all of us, as our second Villain was The Necromancer. He has two powers that make Minions move to the Shadows, and we kept drawing new Minions to replace the old ones. My deck was really working well and I had multiple turns where I had the cards in hand to defeat the Necromancer but couldn't because his Fight ability would cost us the game. Our bad luck in top-decking only Minions for two full rounds around the table eventually doomed the town of Shadowbrook.

Guillotine is more or less light filler, but it's always an enjoyable way to cap off an evening when the brain power or energy is starting to run low. Long enough to wind down properly, short and light enough to not wear out it's welcome as you do so. We play with the house rule that starting hands are only 3 cards, instead of 5. I first invoked that house rule at least a decade ago when doing demos at the game store I used to run, with the intention of making it easier on new players and speeding up the demos. What I found was that it actually enhanced the game greatly, and I've used that rule every since. With a full hand of 5 cards, there's often a card or two that you never feel the need to use all game long because you've got better options (so they just sit there dead in your hand). 3 cards to start opens up the need to occasionally play one of the weaker cards, and makes it feel more challenging. In the process it provides a little more variety to play experience, which is a good thing when you've had the game in your collection for 10 or 15 years. This time, Mark won, and Laura and I were tied for second place just behind him. 

On Monday I got together with Mark, Laura, Erik and Devon at Card Kingdom, and we played a fun RPG / Story Game called Forget Me Not. It was a riot. Our plot was over-the-top and our characters masticated all over the scenery. The Sheriff was crazy, the local avant-garde artist was murderous and possibly even crazier then the Sheriff, and eventually most of the town was driven just as batty as them by ergot poisoning at the bake sale (or the need for revenge). Very goofy and hectic. Pretty far from the tone of the source material (it reads as basically an unlicensed Twin Peaks RPG), but so damn much fun! I really love the way the randomized pregens and randomized subplots gives the game a solid structure, but mixes it up from one play to the next. Hugely enjoyable. 

On Thursday I went up to Flying Frog Productions' studio to help with playtesting and proof-reading of top-secret Shadows of Brimstone expansions. That's all I'm allowed to say about that at the moment, other than "OMG you guys, there is so much cool stuff coming up for Shadows of Brimstone! Trust me, you're gonna love it!"

Speaking of which, on Saturday and Sunday I spent a little time each night assembling miniatures for my own personal copy of Shadows of Brimstone. These were GenCon preview figures, stuff that will eventually show up in Wave(s) 1.5 or 2 of the Kickstarter. I built the Serpentmen of Jargono and the Masters of the Void deluxe enemy sets, and the Scourge Rats enemy set. The Serpentmen come with a Shaman who has magic trinkets and a deck of spells, and despite the name they are not purely restricted to Jargono (they can and do show up in the mines). The Masters of the Void has some sorcerers that I like to call the KKKultists of KKKthulhu. Tentacles protruding from creepy hoods. They also have a spell deck. The two spellcasting Enemy types each has a very different feel to their magic (and the "AI" that determines how they act each turn), and they really shake up the game quite nicely. Masters of the Void also comes with some other (non-spellcaster) figures that have mechanics that kind of invert which characters are likely to be effective in the fight. The high-initiative xp-gobblers in the party will have a hard time hurting Void Hounds, and the slower PCs will be able to claim a larger-than-normal share of the glory. Scourge Rats aren't nearly as "sexy" as either of those two sets, but they're mechanically simpler and seemed like a good choice to balance out the extra complexity I'd just added with the deluxe spellcasters. I've got several more sets to break out and assemble in the near future, but decided that I could play a session or two with just these three expansions (plus the two core sets and Caverns of Cynder) before I needed to add in more.

That decision left me with an hour or two open at the end of each of those nights to play a video game to unwind. I chose Sir, You Are Being Hunted! which I picked up inexpensively as part of a Humble Indie Bundle this week. It's sort of like a first-person shooter, except it's more about stealth than combat. That, or I'm just really bad at the combat parts. You're on a random archipelago that feels very British, and (as the name implies) you're being hunted by prim and proper robots. I am _so_ terrible at this game, but it's fun enough I'm sure I'll give it another go sometime soon.

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