I've just returned from a short holiday, but my holiday gaming started before I even left. I had a few hours just waiting around the house before we started our journey. I decided not to let any of it go to waste!
First up was a dice game based on golf and called "Golo". It uses a handful of special D12s. My round of golf was exceptionally average, quite a feat considering I had two holes in 1!
Next up was a very very quick game of Zombie in my pocket. Moving into the first room, I was smacked down by a horde of Zombies. The second room was the target with the totem, nothing bad appeared but when I spent time to search for the totem, I was smacked by another horde of Zeds! Considering I was already very ill, it wasn't worth running away, and so the Zeds got to breakfast on my brains.
The next game was a real oldie. It was Game Workshop's "Chainsaw Warrior". I took I.R. goggles, wire cutters and a blaster. I went into that big 'ole apartment complex and started in on the trouble I found. I lucked out going through the first room deck. I managed to find an awful lot of empty rooms in which I only found 3 wandering zombies. I have never voluntarily taken wire cutters before, but during this game they were used four times to get me out of traps! I also found a secret passageway that let me bypass ten rooms! Sure I got bitten by a zombie, and irradiated twice but that's pretty normal in this game. Then just a few cards into the second deck I was finally worn down and the zombie venom took me out.
Then it was into the car for a four and a half hour long journey.
Somewhat tired I reached our destination. I admired the view for a couple of minutes and then broke out "Friday" for a quick session of helping Robinson survive the island. Right from the start it went really well. I made best use of all of the cards, and tried to limit the amount of life I spent destroying "zero" cards. By the time I got to the Red pass though the deck, there were only two cards left! Then onto the pirates. The first one was only a minor issue, but I asked my wife to pick the second one, she is after all a lucky charm for me...an unlucky charm as it turned out. I got the 57 point card to defeat. Sheesh! I started drawing cards, using every ability from every card to destroy ageing cards, doubling others, drawing more, then it came down to spending life to draw more cards. I had to use the abilities on those too! In the end I got a win, my first ever win of Friday, with only two life points left!!!
As night time drifted round I realised I'd forgotten to bring a book to read in bed. What's a gamer supposed to do? I pulled the Lore starter deck out of LoTR:The Card Game and had a read through the cards. I'd not looked at this one or played with it, so it was a bit of surprise to see how many healing cards are in the deck.
The first full day of holiday featured an afternoon snooze, followed by some graphics work on a card game I've been working on.
An early evening two player bout of Death Angel. It was the first time for my son, and he had no idea just how difficult this game was. I could tell he was ignorant of the true misery of this game, as he sat down with a beaming excited face, rather than grim concentration and angst. We managed to journey to the first room before everything went to crap. A killer event card moved all the genestealers onto a single marine. We struggled to whittle them down but we lost a marine with every attack and it was a quick demise to the stack of 10 genestealers crawling along the column.
With another loss to this vicious game I raised the oft stated question. If these are the toughest marines in the best armour the emperor can supply why the hell can't they hit anything with their blasters, and why the hell can bugs open their armour like a poorly made tin can?
Really, it is a good game, but it makes no sense with this theme, or rather the theme gives a lie to these being awesome soldiers. A better theme that would fit these mechanisms nicely, would be to replace the space marines with Strom Troopers from Star Wars and replace the genestealers with Ewoks!
Once again, bed time found me without a book, so I turned to a copy of the "Hero Kids" RPG that I had printed from the PDF for digestion while on holiday. Big bold print suited my aging eyes. I'll review that in a subsequent post.
So onto day two. I tried to solo LoTR:The Card Game using the core set's Lore deck. Wow. Tough. I ground out a defeat as the locations piled up their threat and prevented me from making any forward progress Nine threat was more than I could handle. I was all for giving up, and cheated to see if there were any cards coming up that would make a difference. Well, there was a Gandalf card a few turns away, but at a cost of 5 I would have been stuffed long before he became affordable. So I did give up. What did I learn from this game? Despite having a couple of good heroes there is a lot of chaff in this deck. Denethor seems pretty rubbish. I'm wondering what good being able to have a peek at the bad guys deck is supposed to do for you. So you know what the next card will be. Big deal, doesn't seem to change anything.
And so onto the evening where the encroaching east coast dark summoned forth Shudde M'ell to attack the Miskatonic. Joe Diamond and Jacqueline Fine leapt into action and ran around collecting Elder Signs striving to fight off the unending stream of monsters. I've never played a game of Elder Sign where so many monsters came out of the bag!. In the end old Shudde came out of hiding and we laid into him with everything we had. We got our share of licks in but the card-count-down won the battle for the bad guy (cheating)!
Now, I think our game play was exemplary under the conditions, but that the conditions led to us losing. What were these conditions? My wife was watching a kitchen sink drama from the sixties in glorious black and white! I hate these films. Full of whining idiots bemoaning the the social stigma of the day. To me, it's all boring pointless waffle. How anyone can call that entertainment I don't know. Still, she's never understood the appeal of giant fighty robots either.
So onto the next day. My first game was another run at LoTR:The card Game, but with my first custom deck. I'm still playing the first scenario, and opted to mix Lore and Tactics in a 45 card deck. I took Gimli and Legolas from Tactics and Beravor from Lore.
It was a surprisingly easy win. There was one time where the locations started to build up and I feared getting trapped in a too high threat situation, but a timely play of Gandalf jumped me passed that issue. I had loaded Gimli with the Citadel Plate and Dwarven Axe, thinking to use him to pound the bad guys. In the end though, I ended up pitch most of the enemies as Legolas, in order to use his defeat-enemy-progress-quest ability. He did get pounded, but every time I was able to use the Daughter of the Nimrodel to heal him back up. After one play, I feel it's a good deck and I'm itching to use it against the second scenario. I think next time, if given the choice I'll give the armor and axe to legolas to aid in progressing the game, regardless of the threat in the staging area.
It was time to do a little RPG work. In this case continuing to flesh out a couple of sub sectors for the ongoing Classic Traveller I'm running. It's a slow process for me. Not the numbers but trying to come up with a few lines to describe each system. A rationale if you will for the stats that were generated. Managed to finish off one sub sector and start on the next. This second one looks to be more interesting as it has lots of yellow and red travel zones.
I might also say that my holiday is not all game related. I also started reading a book by the amazing Harold Coyle, of "Team Yankee" fame. This one is called "Trial by Fire" and is a military fiction book, I've wanted to read for quite some time. U.S. Forces vs Mexican in a limited fashion. Of course some of the scenarios from this book "might" make it into my Traveller campaign. :)
I'm also a wee bit of an author, so late into the night I continued work on my Science Fiction gamebook. About a week ago I finished the last editing pass. The next step which I started on this night, was to run the raw text through my gamebook validator. This is a program I wrote to check for basic errors in the structure of the game book and boy oh boy, two hundred and fifty problems! I managed to work my way through them and started formatting the text for publication.
The next day of the holiday really was more work than play. More formatting of the game book until it was done. Then I started on another editing pass through this formatted text. Often viewing your writing in a different format allows you to see things you overlooked before. It was true here too. I only managed to edit the first 50 entries (of 402). More tomorrow. But then it was back to working on my space game. I managed to draw four asteroids and a battlestar as terrain and focus points for scenarios.
Game wise, the only game I got to actually play was a two player game of LoTR:The Card Game, where I played with my custom deck and my son worked with the default Spirit deck. Again we went through the first scenario and it was a breeze. The Spirit deck held up it's end of the bargain and so did mine, however we really lucked out by reaching the third card and the Ungoliant Spawn was already in play and hacking Gimli to pieces. I lost Gimli, but we got there in the end with our second LoTR victory of the holiday.
The next day led us back to Elder Sign. First I solo'ed a game against Cthulhu and kicked his butt (wait for it). Then I coached my son through his first solo. At one point I mentioned that he was missing an opportunity to put dice on the next task and he calmly pointed out that "he wasn't going to cheat like I had". I grabbed the rules and to my horror discovered he was right, you CAN ONLY work on one task at a time. There went my joy at defeating Cthulhu. I was a big cheating b*stard!
In other news I finished up the art work for my card game, proof read the next fifty entries in my sci fi game book and wrote up the details of four more planets for my Classic Traveller game. All in all a good day of gaming related endeavour apart from the Cthulhu-incident which will not ever be mentioned again (but at least now I know how to use those spells!).
No more games, as the next day was tidying up the place and driving home.