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Monday, March 30, 2009

GameStorm 11

My first blog posting was on GameStorm 10, and since last year, I've been awaiting another GameStorm, and this weekend was it. GameStorm 11 - good times and great oldies! Here's what I played, and some thoughts about the convention, games, people and whatever else crosses my mind during the typing of this post up.

Friday - March 27th
First day, pretty excited, I am looking forward to playing some games that I am familiar with, but with new people. My Tuesday night game group is great, but I like meeting new people, too. The first hour or so was spent wandering the con and familiarizing myself with the layout; where the RPG's are, LARP, vendor room, etc. Then, I was ready to try my first game.

SPANC
I skulked around, and found a game I hadn't played before; SPANC by Steve Jackson Games. SPANC stands for Space Pirates Amazon Ninja Catgirls. I do not lie. I rate this a 2 out of 10 on the BGG scale. The game is obviously for teenage boys with no need for thought during gameplay. The game is completely ruled by dice rolling, and really has no redeeming value from any strategy standpoint whatsoever. The game is played with two to four players, and each assembles a crew of 4 randomly drawn characters, and assigning one as your Captain. Each character has 4 atributes: Space Pirate, Amazon, Ninja, and Catgirl. The game is played in rounds until one crew gathers 10 Loot. Each Round introduces 4 challenges, which have a skill related to the 4 Attributes. A roll of the dice, looking for a lower number than the challenge rating. Roll lower, continue to the next challenge. If you fail a challenge, your crew member gets knocked out and cannot continue. First person through all 4 challenges, gets a loot and toy boost. Challenges can be rewarded with Loot and / or Toys. Loot was already explained. Toys are gadgets that add Attribute mondifications - usually in the positive. The game is primarly focused on scantily clad anime girl art. Toys are items like Camoflage Bikini, vibrating swords, and Poolboys. The game is super silly and provides male eye candy (Softcore TNA), so if you're looking for that type of game, you might like it. I didn't care for it at all.

Agricola
I've posted for this game before - see my clay animeeples posts. I played this game with a new person and another that was teaching. We played 'family' style with no minor improvement or occupation cards. I've played this way before with 2 people, but was surprised how good of a game it is without the cards. It's a greatly balanced game, and the cards add a lot of variety and adds a ton of replay value, but the basic game is still a great game. A solid 8 on the BGG scale.

PS3 Games - Rock Band - Street Fighter
I got into the console gaming room a few times over the weekend and got to play the new Street Fighter IV game and some Rock Band, too. I had fun playing with new people.

Dragon Dice
One of my favorite games as of late. An old TSR game, but the rights and all of the original die molds were bought by SFR Inc. A collectable dice game, each die is a unit in an army. Each die has a value from 1 to 4. 1 = common, 2 = uncommon, 3 = rare, 4 = monster. You construct an army with 10 races to choose from, then battle your army against your opponent (or opponents) trying to gain control of 2 terrains. Using Manuvers, Missles, Melee and Magic to win. It's got a decent amount of strategy, and still has an element of luck. And even though I didn't like SPANC due to it's reliance on luck, this game at least has a lot of strategy to it as well.

Saturday

Titan
One of my all-time favorites! I hosted this event again this year, and got 4 players. Dave E and Ben from my regular Tuesday night game group, and Dave B, from my Dragon Dice group. Dave B was a newbie, but we had a few fellow Titan fans stopping by the table giving him advice during the game. I think this was great for people to help out, because any advice from us would be suspect. Ben was the first out (but I am sure he wasn't disappointed), then Dave B. At that point, we had 5 hours in the game, and Dave E and I compared Titan stacks and agreed that my Titan stack with a serpant was probably more powerful than his Titan stack with almost Hydra growth. Dave E's Titan was stronger because he was the one to manage to eliminate Dave B and Ben, but it was still only a 9 Titan. Dave wanted to go to dinner so he basically conceded, though we were both ready to stop playing.

Tichu
I quick errand into Portland, and back, then I was ready for a lighter game. I found a friend who I knew liked it and she was sitting with her friend who's husband was off enjoying the Con, and she was bored. We both thought Tichu was a good try for her. We wrangled up a fourth, and I commenced teaching Tichu to 2 new players. The game is a trick taking game, but uses poker hands for tricks. Each player doesn't (and sometimes cannot) play each time play comes around to them. The first person to go out is the winner, but the round continues until 3 of the 4 are out. It's hard to explain and teach (as I found out) and is best experienced. I enjoy this game quite a bit.

Sunday

Serenity RPG - SerenityRPG.com (site's down?)
I played this last year with the same GM. It was a fantastic game once again. Last year, it was a kidnapping rescue job, this year, the plot was more party intrigue based. There was questionable cargo on the ship, which had a datadrive with important secret data on it, and several characters had instructions or personal desire to get this data. The ship was attacked by Pirates and boarded. We managed to fight them off (I was playing the Mercenary of the ship, so I managed to get 3 of the 5 AND managed to stay unharmed - WOOT). After the fight, the intrigue started. I was going to search the cargo while everyone was in the common room (impromptu infirmiry) getting patched up by the medic. I found the cargo and with it, a small bomb - I assume meant to blow the crate up. I managed to get the bomb off the crate, switch the data drive with my dupe, and re-package everything. Then, I announced my finding of the bomb to the rest of the ship. After a lot of arguing, it was determined that myself, the Capt, and the First Mate were going to open the cargo and search it. I was able to open the crate, thus keeping the rest of the crew ignorant of my previous breaking of the seal of the cargo. After the rest of the crew sees the contents, I feign disinterest due to it not being any sort of weaponry. The rest of the crew search, assemble, dissasemble and generally do everything imaginable to the computer in the cargo box with no idea if what is so important about it. We take a day or so to get to our destination planet to drop to sell the cargo, and during that time, each interested party member manages to get a crack at the data drive to do whatever nefarious deeds they needed to do to it. When we land, we are approached by a man who's name I recognize, but he is an impersonator. I let the Captain sell the cargo to the imposter, knowing I have the data drive, and this would send the heat somewhere else, and not to my contact. I follow the man, and while out of the ship, meet my real contact, pass over the data drive, and let him berate the captain for selling the cargo to the wrong man.
Suddenly, a group of armed men with military grade weaponry suround the ship and inform us we are leaving with them - these are my full employers; the Syndicate. A few dozen meters away from the ship, the Alliance shows up, too, and a massive fire fight ensues.
The last fight wasn't played out due to time and energy constraints, but everyone got the ending they wanted. Then, we did the Big Reveal. I was successful in getting the data drive to my Employer, and that I was an agent of the Syndicate. The medic is an Alliance officer, the passenger had interest in the datadrive, but was sent to destroy it with virus / worm software. Turns out, the Alliance ended up with the virus laden data drive. That'll teach 'em.

The venue was a Hilton in Vancouver, WA, and it was nice. we had roving hotel employees with carts selling snacks and pizza - that was new. I am sure some people appreciated the fact that the food came to you, but I didn't think it was all that great. Overpriced con food on wheels - not impressed. Also, parking was a pain, and there was very limited free spots - I ended up paying for parking the whole weekend. That was annoying.

That ended my GameStorm. Looking back, I didn't play as many games as I probably could have, but I had a lot of talking time with a slew of folk and I did have a great time. I already registered for next year.