Thursday, 19 April 2007

Session Report--Atlanta Debauchery

Ameritrash...alive and well in Atlanta, GA.

I had to travel to Atlanta on business so one of the first things I did was look up Robert Martin and Michael Barnes to see if I could hook up for a gaming night. They have a weekly gaming night every Thursday at Mercer College.

Here's what got played:

Alien Chariot Racing Game That I Don't Remember the Name Of: We started off with an old chariot racing game of some kind provided by Steve Avery. We had six players and the rules explanation was...uh....well, let's just say this game has a lot of weird stuff going on, 50 different ways to take damage, lousy components, but a hell of a lot of theme.

I managed to wipe out on the very first corner after my beasts frenzied, I got run over by both Robert and Michael, but I did manage to to at least stab the other players a few times. Steve won.


At least it was fast. Ameritrash? Uh...yeah. Except the naff components, this was lots of rules (I still am not sure what the heck was going on for most of the game) and tons of flavor.

Mission: Red Planet So I get to choose from a fat stack of games and I see this game. I'm a big fan of Citadels, so this should be awesome, right? The game played fast and was pretty much over before I knew it. It's all area control with Citadels roles tacked on.

Robert ran away with the win with 48 points, I had 30 for second place. With so few turns (only 10) you've pretty much got to play your turns like a machine, it's totally an efficiency exercise with a ton of randomness in it. It's not bad, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I'd hoped I would.

It's important to note that it took Michael about twenty mintues to get the box lid off.

The Gothic Game: Both Mike and Robert insisted that we were going to play this one. I'd never heard of it, it's a roll and move game with a macabre sense of humor. I mean, the Dracula figure is a penis-shaped pawn. You roll a dice every turn and that's how you move. Every room has random cards that make all kinds of crazy shit happen to you. You want to talk narrative? Here's how my game went:

1. Wander around the entrance
2. Taking damage by being in the same room as a guy who'd had crap dumped all over him...literally
3. Finding a spiked dog collar that never was useful, but was certainly fashionable
4. Getting bitten by a poisonous asp that I couldn't manage to dump on anyone...this paralyzed me long enough for a vampiric Barnes to slaughter my little guy.

There was even their variant where if you didn't use the little cup to roll the dice, you instantly died. Everyone kept trying to pass just the die to everybody so they would be killed by the mysterious "Must Use The Cup" Phantom.

This is a game all about just making a's not about winning (I'm not sure you can even plan on trying to win this)...I was offed too quickly to see some of the cool stuff, apparently Barnes' vampire ended up taking a beating and an eventual bath in the Moat. My corpse laughed at him.

At this point, a cool guy named Will had set-up War of the Ring. Seems like my love for the game made me a big target for an opponent for him. I wanted to get in on the Dragon Dice but I love WOTR and I didn't want to let Will down after he'd setup the board. (Heh...yeah, like I was going to pass up a chance to play my favorite game.)

We used the expansion which was my first time trying that out. It was weird that it didn't make as big a splash as I thought, but just the addition of Galadriel is HUGE. I had an extra die pretty much right away. I played the Freeps because Will had played three times in a row as the Shadow. He had been teaching other players (the same as me, each time I've played it's involved teaching someone else) so he was glad to get a chance to play with someone who he didn't have to teach.

I'd been tangling with him some militarily because moving the Fellowship was risky (he'd have three-five eyes pretty much all the time) but I kept pushing them when I could. Like I said, Galadriel was huge because Lorien was never even attacked.

Once my defenses started crumbling I pushed the Fellowship pretty hard...Will was surprised because I burned Elven Rings early and often getting them moving. I hit Mordor with 3 corruption and in a good position militarily (most of my strongholds were reinforced). However, over the span of the next two turns Minas Tirith fell faster than expected thanks to Siege engines, and I hit TWO eyes in a row moving through Mordor...taking 8 corruption, all the way to 11. I moved again and drew a one, which Gollum nullified by revealing us.

It wasn't enough as one stronghold I hadn't defended well (The Gray Havens) came under assault via the Corsair ships. It was all "Hulk Smash" and the hopes of the Free Peoples were crushed. Didn't matter--the next tile I would've drawn would've killed me.

It was an awesome game night. I saw the website that Robert is working on, it looks awesome--you guys are going to be impressed.

Ameritrash is definitely alive and well in Hotlanta.


Mr Skeletor said...

Where was my invite you cunts?

Mr Skeletor said...

Wait-a-minute - mission red planet?
The biggest celebrities of Ameritrash get together for the first time ever, in what could be an event bigger than the gathering and you play mission red planet?
Fuck me, you deserve to be banned!

not billy sparkles said...

Just pulling something out of my ass here, but what would be the logistics involved in setting up an Ameritrashcon? Barring that maybe we could arrange meeting at a pre-existing con.

The number one thing I look forward to when going to any con is meeting some cool people that play games the way they were supposed to be played: BALLS OUT!.

Just a thought

Billy Z.

BagpipeDan said...

Fuck me, you deserve to be banned!


Mr Skeletor said...

If your balls are out i'm not going.

Anonymous said...

This coming from a man who posted an article entitled :


So sue if I figured that a little balls out action is what we were all after. ;-)

Billy Z.

Ken Bradford said...

Mr. Skeletor--

As to the whereabouts vis a vis of the aforementioned invite, you must understand that the given gaming event was necessitated to be invitation only.

Even though we called it, "The Gathering of People That We Actually Like and Who Are The Gamers Who REALLY Matter", we don't want you to feel excluded. I understand if you give Robert a foot massage he may consider placing you on the waiting list to acquire a consideration for an invitation.

In regards to Mission: Red Planet, I will say only this in my defense--it was in the stack of games Michael brought with him, so I am not solely to blame. The bonus is that I've now saved myself $30.

Ken Bradford said...

Incidentally, why does it smell like balls in here?

Julian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julian said...

I'm sorry to hear that Mission: Red Planet is disappointing, because I bought it yesterday. You could have arranged the trip for last week. Very thoughtless Ken.

Mr Skeletor, you're the biggest celebrity in Ameritrash. You're the only one with your own TV show.

Ken Bradford said...

I forgot to mention this about War of the Ring--we knocked it out in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Definitely makes a difference when both players know what they're doing. My previous games have been 4 hours+ teaching exercises.

Michael Barnes said...

Mr. Skeletor- you have an open invitation that's good from now on. In fact, last night I said to both Ken and Robert "We gotta get Frank over here". You just can't stay at my place.

In defense of MISSION RED PLANET- it's not a bad game at's a decent 45 minute Euro with cool art and a couple of good ideas. It's not groundbreaking or anything. I brought it specifically because I knew Ken was a closet Euro sympathizer (I believe he "rather liked" SAMURAI) and thought it would appeal to his sensibilities.

The chariot game was CIRCUS IMPERIUM...I played it a few times like 20 years ago and I didn't remember a lick of the rules. It was run by "Poor Ol" Steve Avery who butchered the rules so I ragged on him the whole time. I never did figure out what the werewolf deck was for and whether or not the net was actual useful.

THE GOTHIC GAME is a favorite around here but last night's game was strangely felt more like a Scooby Doo episode than DEATH SLAUGHTER IN BLOOD CASTLE. I did clean house as the vampire though, which was a first for me. The end was pretty great, I wound up branded by a hot iron in the Torture Chamber and being forced to run into the moat. Then the last remaining player got up in the tower and shot me with the Congolese blowpipe.

Not Billy Sparkles- AT Con is in the works. It will happen. The braintrust discussed it a little last night.

Ken's a great guy- and I do want to be on record that when I tested him he was able to perform the man hug properly- no cupping or pausing, 2 firm pats then break, arm bar in the front to avoid genital bumping.

Patrick H said...

Ameritrashcon should be an invasion of another con - bringing signage and loudspeakers etc...

robartin said...

Here's a list of games that Franklin turned down to play Misson: Red Planet:

* Dungeonquest
* Kremlin
* The Really Nasty Horseracing Game
* Family Business
* War on Terror
* Dragon Dice
* Dune

I mean, I was really trying here. As far as Mission:Red Planet goes, it wasn't bad, but it just made me want to play Dune, Dragon's Gold, and Citadels instead.

And Franklin, I want to apologize for calling you "Ken" so many times. I'm really bad with names.

Ken Bradford said...

Hey--I thought we would have plenty of time for those. I didn't know I was going to get sucked into WOTR.

Next time we all get together (and we will, this was too much fun) I will choose more wisely.

To this day, I do not know who Franklin is. Are you referring to the honorable Senator Cobb from Florida?

Shellhead said...

I stumbled across the Gothic Game at BGG about a year ago, and have been craving a copy since then. It seems to be extremely out-of-print.

Ken Bradford said...

Wow--that means that Robert's copy was a super-prized item--it has a pewter Grim Reaper miniature that he has cherished since childhood.

Michael Barnes said...

It's funny, Robert brought DRAGONLORDS (of course) but he left his exquisitely painted Dragonlord figures at home. I think he was intimidated at the thought of showing them to Franklin who is known to be quite a critic of the fine arts.

Come to find out that WotR was the result of a weeks-long process of internet stalking...Will Kenyon is known in this parts as "Mister" FFG and I guess when he caught wind that someone new was rolling into town, he jumped on the opportunity to play WotR for the third/fourth time this week. So yeah, Will totally stole our new friend.

I was all about playing REALLY NASTY and maybe a round of DUNGEONQUEST with Franklin...thanks a lot Will fuckin' Kenyon, see if I play DESCENT with you now...

robartin said...

I did hope to see Franklin bring Will Kenyon to tears with a crushing War of the Ring defeat, but sounds like old Bill got the best of him.

Mr Skeletor said...

Many hours later and yet I still laugh when I see 'Debauchery' in the title, and then read the prime pick was Mission Red Planet.
You guys are such bad asses.

Michael Barnes said...

Well, the French are known for decadence, right?



Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in The Gothic Game - it appears there is at least one place on the planet that still sells it - of course, it looks like it will cost you $70+ to get it to the U.S. Perhaps robartin can post some really nice scans and you can make it yourself. I also like how its listed under the family section along with things like Apples to Apples and Rummikub. They also have the RNHRG, as well.

Professor Euro said...

Regarding Mission: Red Planet. It is as 'Trashy as euros get. The French have ever been Ameritrash sympathizers, due, I believe, to some misplaced paternal feeling toward Americans that has existed ever since they saved your asses (from the pale and pasty British, of all people!) in 1778.

Michael Barnes said...

Get a haircut Professor might lose tenure with that unruly mullet...

not billy sparkles said...

AT Con hunh? That'd be sweet. Whatever you do don't fucking do it in Hotlanta or my fat greek ass will melt faster than you can say souvlaki. That, and the fact that I don't cherish the idea of driving down to Georgia from Montreal.

Billy Z.

Patrick H said...

Billy - you from Da Ville also?

not billy sparkles said...

Yupper. Brossard beach.


Patrick H said...

Waste Island

Patrick H said...

Do you attend any groups? There is one started last month in Ile Bizzard - last Tuesday of each month.

not billy sparkles said...

I'd love to attend some groups but my schedule has made it next to impossible.

I work at the Casino, nights, and on a 6 day cycle. Which means that when I'm not working from 7:30 PM 5 or 6 AM, I have to deal with the fact that I work a 4 on 2 off- which means that if I have Fri Sat off this week, I'll have Thur Fri off next week.

Between squeezing in a D&D game once a month, getting a game night in once a week, and spending some QT with the wife, and soon to be lttle one, it's really hard to plan for anything else.
I'd still give it a try on a Tuesday that I'm free.

What cons do you go to? I can expect to go to GENCON once a year without allimony becoming part of the conversation-- although it's still up in the air this year, since the wife is due the 4th of August.

Damn me and my poorly timed urges!

Billy Z.

Patrick H said...

Ah yes the Casino. At least you have a regular night - I don't have anyone around anymore to game with regularly. Many gaming friends have moved westwards over the years. I found this night which was set up by one of the local game shops but they only play euro's.

I don't attend any Cons of any sort. Vacationing has been a thing of the past - I have two girls under 5. Maybe the odd weekend to T.O. or NYC with the wife but nothing too far or long. Although they are growing up and it is becoming easier to move around.

I'm looking for recruits to bust out some AT goodness at the next night because if I don't roll any dice again I'll feel cheated.

not billy sparkles said...

Hmmm... I know a friend of mine that'd definately be interested.

Maybe we could organise a Dicefest one of these days. Get some guys together, a few beers, some good gaming, call us a few escorts-- well, okay maybe not the last part.

3 girls hunh? Poor bastard ;-), it's no surprise that Euro's just don't scratch that itch. I have a little girl on the way and I hope to god she inherited some of that geek gene.

Billy Z.

Patrick H said...

That sounds like a plan. We need to find a way to exchange coordinates without professor fuckface noticing. He might alert the Meepolice to any "gatherings of dice".

not billy sparkles said...

E-mail me at

Oh and Prof. Euro? DO NOT spam me...

Or I will find and rape you.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Rape! There's no funnier punchline than rape!

Patrick H said...

Got it. We'll be in touch.

not billy sparkles said...

Oh no.

Anonymous disaproves of my humour.

Whatever shall I do?

Do you read minds dude? Cuz if you did it would save me the trouble of telling you to go fuck yourself.

Patrick H said...

There goes anonymous again - this guy is a piece of work.

Doesn't seem to realize he's been banned.


Anonymous said...

Dude! I thought it was funny! I think rape is hilarous! Just like you!

Im going to rape you! Comedy gold.

not billy sparkles said...

Hey, just an afterthought, what can I get with comedy gold around here anyway?

robartin said...

How about a Mega-Micro-Super-Badge? They're on sale this week.

Patrick H said...

Better setup a paypal exchange - I want a goober badge indicating my propensity for drunken punch-ups.

Michael Barnes said...

Pat, you don't need that badge's assumed we all have a propensity for drunken punch-ups. It's not like BGG where you never know if some guy drinks chocolate malts or not without a badge.

But I would like to introduce a new feature of Fortress: Ameritrash. To get "AT Gold", you simply have to register as a "site supporter" by sending $25 via paypal to my email address. Each dollar is worth 500 points of AT gold, which may or may not be redeemable in the future for Magic Beans, Snake Oil, or a pass to the rooftop pool. And maybe some dorky, practically indecipherable 16k image files that indicate if you are a Woody Allen fan or what brand of stapler you prefer.

Shellhead said...

Session Report--St. Paul Savagery

Wiz War My copy of Wiz War was a "free" download from links posted at the Geek, only it ended up costing me nearly $30 in label paper, toner, and heavily discounted starter decks from Legends of the Burning Sands for card backing. Married couple Stu/Amy and my friend Darin squared off with me for a vicious four-way battle for treasure chests.

Stu and Amy love each other, but they are easily manipulated into attacking each other in games like this. Darin exploited the situation by looting one of Amy's chests, until I trapped him in a dead-end passage sealed off by a block of solid stone.

Things got crazy near the end, with all four players practically adjacent, including Darin's trapped wizard. There was fire, and teleporting and then I literally went all misty when Amy killed Stu's wizard. Amy and I got into a cartoonish standoff where I kept trying to win while she kept removing one of my treasure chests to prevent the win. Meanwhile, Darin freed himself and snuck away for the win.

Blood Feud in New York I know, I was warned about this game, but it was on sale for only $42, and there was just so many cool plastic figures! So I finally got this to the table for a five-player, just as Corey showed up.

Amy and Darin rapidly grabbed real estate and warily eyed one another along an undefined border between Brooklyn and Queens. Dissatisfied with Staten Island, I pushed into Corey's Joisey, then reached an understanding with him about airport access. Stu, our resident math and puzzle genius, rapidly built an alarming fortress out of the Bronx, while generating vast quantities of cash.

The rest of us became very worried about the Bronx, and agreed to team up against Stu. But the sheer tediousness of all the addition, subtraction and multiplication in this game kept the pace slightly sluggish.

We finally started attacking Stu, and then he quit because it just wasn't that fun. It's too bad, because we all wanted to like the game, but the pacing and balance were clearly flawed.

Betrayal at House on the Hill Darin's friend Cat showed up while we were playing. She used to work for Fantasy Flight and was apparently one of the developers who worked on the Blue Planet rpg. We had just discovered that Stu was the Mad Bomber, so we made Cat just sit and watch. If she had shown up a few minutes earlier, during the pre-traitor phase, we would have dealt her in.

We were all terrified by the Mad Bomber, until it became apparent that he was too busy working on his bomb to come after us. Also, Amy and Corey's characters were both highly skilled at de-activating bombs. Three turns later, and we were re-enacting the final fight scene of Deathproof from Grindhouse. Poor Stu.

Mall of Horror Darin heroically volunteered to make a food run for us, just as Vincent showed up and we were setting up Mall of Horror.

Stu, Amy and Corey were all sitting near each other, and they worked out an unholy alliance that dominated the game. With Stu as the Security Chief, they always got to go first, second and third each turn. Also, Amy and Corey controlled the parking lot for most of the game, giving them about 2/3 of the cards.

Despite sympathetic pleas to go easy on the new girl, Cat was still ousted first, less than halfway through the game. Vincent and I were more wily survivors, and hung in there long enough to see the Security HQ overrun with zombies, leaving the Trimuvirate without intel. Then the parking lot alliance fell apart when a surprise zombie attack caused an unexpected betrayal that ousted Amy from the game.

The rest of us all survived with at least one character at the end, but I came in fourth with my lone gunman. Vincent managed a surprise second place win by flying under the radar, but Corey was the big winner with both his strong guy (or as he called him, "the circus freak") and his pin-up girl.

Slasher: the Final Cut I played this game regularly with the gamers that I hung out with in the mid-90's, but I have forgotten about it in recent years, because the game box looks just like a VHS movie and tends to end up on the same bookshelves as my old VHS movies. So four of our group had never played before.

Since Slasher is only designed as a six-player game, I grabbed a couple of pennies and declared that I would play " Honest Abe" and made bizarre comments in a Lincolnesque voice. As the game progressed and the jokes flew, some players started calling me Penny, until Amy finally declared that I was "Babe" Lincoln.

By chance, we all started in the Living Room, and before the first time around the table, the Slasher was in there, slashing away. We quickly determined that Jack (Darin) was the Slasher, but were distracted from killing him because Alice (Amy) got "Caught with Your Pants Down" and then tried to have lesbian sex with Diane (Vincent).

Although that set the tone for the game, play was sluggish due to the four new players, and the fact that Cat kept getting everybody's real names mixed up with their character names. Worse yet, play tended to bog down as people kept forgetting who's turn it was, despite the inherently rapid pacing of the game. My old crowd could easily handle a seven player game of Slasher, but this group was overwhelmed.

Finally, Honest Abe cornered the Slasher in the bathroom, where he was menacing Carol (Cat). I had a fistful of attack cards, including club, knife, gun and chainsaw, but a flurry of plot twists left Mr. President bleeding to death on that dirty bathroom floor. The game proceeded sluggishly, despite me resorting to pointing at people every time it was their turn. Finally, they gave up at 10:00, because people had to work the next day, and I promised Stu and Amy a ride home.

Overall, it was a pretty fun day, but I was discouraged that we only finished three of the five games. Maybe my friends don't have enough attention span to be real AmeriTrash players.

Ken Bradford said...

Thanks for the report, Shellhead! Sounds like a solid day of gaming. "St. Paul Savagery" indeed.

To make Mr. Skeletor happy, you guys should have totally worked in a game of "Lost Cities". Then you could've put "Savagery" in BIG BOLD TEXT.

Michael Barnes said...

Yeah, but there's a consolation prize for the erstwhile Mr. Skeletor...

Darin exploited the situation by looting one of Amy's chests

And in-game lesbian sex. That should keep him happy for a while.

Shellhead said...

Actually, Diane (Vincent) successfully defended against the lesbian sex (played a Defend card), leaving Alice (Amy) to apparently masturbate in the Living Room while the Slasher and the other victims just gawked.

In game terms, that meant that Alice took damage but Diane did not. Talk about rough sex.

Pat H said...

Was your experience with Blood Feud that poor? I was considering picking this one up in a few days.

Shellhead said...

I personally liked Blood Feud, but the other four players lost enthusiasm as the game went on. The problems?

1. One of our players realized during the out-loud reading of the rules that he should spend all of his money developing property for the first few turns, in order to build up gigantic cash flows. The slow movement of characters without vehicles ensured that nobody would be able to attack him immediately. On turn four, he started hiring outrageous quantities of thugs.

2. That same player happened to be player one. In a game with consistent play order and a limited supply of stuff to buy, player one enjoys a potential advantage in terms of acquiring things.

3. There is a lot of math every turn, which inhibits players from fully enjoying the theme of the game. First, you are adding up all of your territories, then adding on extra amounts for illicit activities and penthouses. Then you are multiplying that total (which is generally in the hundreds of dollars) times your number of family members who aren't clumped together. At the end of the turn, you will be spending that money on various properties and hoods, leading to a great deal of subtraction. The calculations aren't challenging, except when an indecisive player keeps analyzing potential purchases.

4. The combat was slightly tricky to learn, though it does play very quickly.

The math thing could be easily solved with a spreadsheet to quickly calculate player income and purchases. Alternatively, a simplified resource system would work, like just letting players acquire thugs or limos and then let them trade up for better quality manpower and vehicles. The first player advantage is more problematic, and only offset by the freedom of the other players to attack that first player.

I would still like to play this again soon, but it will be harder to get Blood Feud on the table next time unless I have a completely different group of players.

Some good things about Blood Feud:

1. Excellent plastic figures.
2. Great board.
3. Two rules that encourage attacking instead of defending, which speeds up the game:
a. attacking Hitmen get a surprise attacks that kills defenders before the wounded ones can retaliate.
b. with the attack phase at the start of the turn and the shopping phase at the end of the turn, it makes sense to attack people and then buy anything that that goes on the market after being killed/destroyed.
4. A very comprehensive cheatsheet for each player.
5. Lots of diagrams to clarify various rules questions.
6. Great flexibility for players to cut deals, trade hostages, bribe each other, or pay protection money. The rules tell you exactly how to exchange personnel, goods, and currency without limiting the actual deals themselves.

Michael Barnes said...

Shell, you left out that this game smells like a toxic waste dump in the middle of summer.

Pat H said...

Would the bidding on swords mechanism (lets say pistols) from Shogun work to offset the turn order?

Would adding chips under thugs etc help to keep someone from grabbing all of them. I heard this was a problem.

The stink is not good - I heard Nexus Ops stinks out of the box also and I was considering this one too.

Shellhead said...

I bought my copy of Blood Feud last December, and I immediately noticed the strong paint fumes. I opened up all the bags of figures and let them air out for about two weeks before putting the game in with my collection. There is still a faint smell, but you can no longer get a cheap buzz from sniffing the figures.

Bidding for initiative is a great idea, and to keep the game moving quickly, it should be a single blind bid from each player at the start of the round. That would give players something else to spend money on, and would offset a runaway first player problem.

I'm not sure that I follow your point about buying thugs. The big problem is that a player who has invested heavily in illicit activity (whorehouses or opium dens and the like) will soon be able to afford to buy thugs, enforcers and hitmen by the dozen, when there are maybe 40 of each. We were all buying thugs until the turn that Stu bought all 17 that were left. I skipped enforcers and bought several hitmen, which was good, because there weren't any left by the time I got another turn.

Attaching poker chips to the bases of the dudes would aggravate a minor problem with this game, the lack of stacking limitations. Stu had two different hordes of henchmen that were too numerous to fit on their respective map sections. This is easily solved with an army token type thing... in our case, we had some small change on hand to mark the locations of the hordes.

Pat H said...

Thanks for the timely tips Shellhead. I think I'll pick it up as the theme works well with the friends I game with. A few house rules should clear some issues.

Shellhead said...

Let us know how your Blood Feud house rules worked out... I am very hopeful that this game is fun with just some minor fixes.

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