Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Too little sleep, not enough food, plenty of games, and way too much beer.

I am back from the WBC and the title about sums it up. I am sorry that I did not get a post up form the con but there were not internet connections in the rooms and well I never stopped playing games long enough write one up anyway.

So here it is, Malloc's week of gaming in Lancaster, PA.


I roll out of the house a little late, about noon and after swinging through the local Beer warehouse managed to get the the hotel at about 1:30pm. This meant I missed the game auction, probably good for may wallet, but I was a little bummed about that. I was the first of of the group of guys we were packing into our hotel room to arrive, so I checked in and started lugging my supplies for the week into the room. I tried this year to brig games that I had not had the chance to play yet and that were, on average, too long to pull off on a weeknight. I also had about 3 cases of beer too last me the week, an air mattress, sleeping bag, toothbrush and deodorant (I try to buck the trend and actually shower at these things) etc etc.

My brother "Bobby Tweaks" and our friend Phil 'The Steak" White rolled in next and I helped lug their pile of shit and more beer into the room, fetched ice and finally we were ready to play a game. Expecting others to arrive rather soon, we grabbed Nexus Ops for a little simple, quick dice tossing action. I like this game, it plays in about 1 hour, can be explained in about 5 min to a newbie and other than some crappy components plays just great. I thank Ubarose for the suggestion to replace the monolith with a shot glass, now you get 2 energize cards and a drink for controlling the center. If I recall, "The Steak" kicked ass in this game, sending me and "Tweaks" packing in a hurry.

After that I jumped in to the Collector/Auction tournament. This old School game is popular with the game group. I actually won a copy of it during the annual Joie-Boardgame Marathon last year, but had never played it. Anyway the game again plays fast and can be explained even faster and I had some time to kill. I rather enjoyed this one for a auction game, it has just enough going on to be a good little filler of a game.

After this G-bub's and the Joie showed up so we lugged in even more shit and beer fromt he parking lot. The only other game that night was the 1st heat of Gangsters. I don;t remember much about this game other than I didn't win and spent most of the game making sure the very manipulative player across from me went down with me.


Wednesday was going to be my busy day. There were lots of events I wanted to play in, Crusader Rex and Titan to start. CR was at 9 am and I was expecting to get eliminated quickly and head up to have my ass handed to me in Titan that afternoon. As it turns out I won my first 2 games and made the semi's in Crusader Rex. That took 8 hours out of my day. In the semi's there were 3 of us left and one was going to get a bye, I didn't want to spend another 8 hours going for 1st place (I am there not to win but to play games I can not play elsewhere) so I dropped out and took 3rd place. After the Crusader Rex Marathon I needed a break so what did I do? I played Republic of Rome! I had not played this one before but it was high on my want to try list. I was able to get into a game and picked up the mechanics rather quickly. As for actually understanding what I needed to do to win well, that that took more time. The game ended quickly in about 4.5 hours and I think I was 3rd out of 5. It was fun but certainly something that I can only do at a con. On a side note, my buddy Joie played in the other RoR game, his game lasted about 9 hours and in the end Rome Fell and they all lost!

After those two games my brain was more fired than normal so I went and played can't stop, one of the best press your luck games out there and just some good old fashioned dice rolling fun. After hours on Wednesday was another game of Nexus Ops, this time a 4 player game and I think "the Steak" won again, but I can not remember as it is all a big blur (I really was fried that night.)


I got up early again on Thursday and hit the breakfast Buffet, with nothing better to do I sat down for some Power Grid. Now my luck at any game tourney goes like this. I always play in games where I am paired with a bunch of good players and one total newbie, or just a fool. This probably has to do with my not sticking in there until the later rounds, but PG was exactly this way. Anyway I was the one who had to bit the bullet and bid on a 6 Plant that I didn't want in order to keep another player from being able to power 15 plants before Phase 2. This action pretty much guaranteed that I would not win on any tie brake. In the end I ended up 3rd on the Tie Break with the winner having like 100k 2nd having like 60k and me at about 7k. Power Grid is a good game but I find that too often it comes down to the flip of the Plants at the end. For example in this game the leader was forced to pick up a shitty 4 plant and could only power 14 (same as me and one of the steam brothers) This put the woman I outbid for the 6 plant in a good spot since she should have been able to get a good plant, except she top decked a bigger piece of shit plant and was only able to power 13, she was done! This seems to be how most games of this end and that doesn't seem right to me.

After PG I goofed off for a bit wasting time until me Team Event, Stock Car Championship Racing card Game. (I like taking bullshit mindless games for my team event, don't ask why) I missed the 1st heat in this one, but you only needed to finish in the top 3 in any heat to make the finals. I had brought along my own car for this and was able to dive the Ricky Bobby Laughing Clown Malt Liquor number 26 to a 3rd place finish. Good enough to get in the finals and so I managed to free up my Friday schedule a lot.

Now that I was qualified, I wanted to go and play some open games. I found my buddy Tom in the open Game room where he camps out for the entire event. (something I am doing more of each year) I had my un-played copy of War of the Ring in my room and Tom agreed to play with me and teach me the game. How much of a dickwad am I for not playing this thing. It was great and will certainly get more playtime this year now that I know how the thing works. Also sometime during the WotR game is when Ubarose finally figured out who I was and came up and said hello. She and her gang of friends began breaking out Arkham Horror on the neighboring table and so I was able to watch that as well while playing WotR.

After Frodo dunked the ring on my ass (next time I will know what I am doing Tom!) I had to go play in another round of Gangsters. This was a great game, with 2 guys who were already in the semi's being placed at my table and a 3rd very good player filling out the group. I was beat up pretty bad by these guys and coupled with some amazingly bad rolls (all 1's until i needed to buy game members then all 6's) I came in a solid 4th. Anyway it was probably the best played game of the whole WBC for me, as everyone knew what to do and it was good fun even if i took it on the chin. I also should take time out to give props to John Pack, the GM for Gangsters who always makes it a great game. This year he had shirts with the different cop playing pieces on them that you could win if you were able to bribe that cop during play. In addition to the shirts he had counters for his new variant game that includes rules for 5 players (the one in the original sucks) and some new advanced rules to make the game a bit more crazy.

Afte gangsters it was pretty late so I went to find some more open gaming. Tom was about to play winners circle, I sarcastically told him it was good (I didn't want to offend the people who were breaking it out and pimping it) and so he played it. Ubarose and clan were still playing Arkham Horror and so I headed back to the room for a bit to get more beer. By the tie I got back (with G-Bubs in tow) Tom had split, after one round of winner's circle he couldn't take it anymore and said he had to goto bed. Uba and clan were still playing Arkham and so I watched them fight the big bad monster (they won). I finally ran into my friend Rolinda and she, rob, and guy named Dan and myself played catchphrase. It is one of those electronic games that works a bit like the old game show $25,000 pyramid. Normally not my 1st choice but at 2am with werewolf as my only other option it was just about right. The game ended up being rather fun and I am glad I played it.


Friday was a pretty free day for me. I got up a little late and ate breakfast with the intention of heading down to the vendor area to see what was there. Due to this delay I missed out on the $50 copies of Tide of Iron (Damn!), I did pick up Galactic Destiny (its Republic of Rome in Space) and Formula Motor Racing (back in print and $15). After realizing that I blew the cheap copy of ToI, I headed up to the open Gaming area. I found Ubarose again playing through some horrible euro (Leonardo DaVinci I think, can't remember, but it was crap.) After looking over my new game we decided to play Struggle of Empires. Tom was back and wanted to try it, as did Uba and crew. I had not played in at least a year and was up to try it again. We played but we totally fucked up the setup (thank you Martin Wallace for the well written, easy to reference rules!) so I won't go into it and leave it at that.

The SoE debacle caused me to miss the final round of Gangsters, so I had some more free time, and busted out A&A:War at sea with some guys I met there who were itching to play. I had been buying mini's like a crack addict because I am a sucker for anything involving WWII naval combat. It is also a game I can play (with extremely simplified rules) with my 4 year old boy. I remembered to toss my mid sized collection into the car so we were able to play a pretty good game of Jap's VS Brits. This game is super simple, but lots of fun. I could stand some house rules to add some less gamey tactics but out of the box it is playable and the mini's rock. We managed to take out the Hood with the Fatal Flaw rule. (roll 4 6's to hit and that fucker goes up in flames) This pretty much made my day, so I give the game a thumbs up.

That evening I was able to get a 6 player game of Twilight Imperium III going. Ubarose and her gang filled out 3 of the races while G-Bub's, "The Deuber", and myself from my own crew made for 6 players. I was the Space Chick Pirates, Uba's Bro was Sol, G-Bub's was Mindnet, Ubarose and her man were playing Yin as a team, The Deuber was Muaat and Dan was the evil Hacan player. The game ran a bit slow at the start with only 3 of us having played and 2 of us knowing the rules. In the end (8hrs later) the evil Hacan pulled a come from behind Victory by getting his secret objective and taking the planet with the intergalactic porn collection on it. It turned out to be a close game, with 3 of us about 1 point away. Great fun and again all that played enjoyed the game, even the Sol player who took 2nd in the Gaylus tourny last year.


After the late night the day before I got a somewhat late start again. Finding myself in the OG room again with nothing planned and a Stock Car Final to attend in a few hours, I was looking for something quick. Uba's Bro. the Deuber and I played the End of the Triumvirate, its a euro but I had heard it was ok for 3 and has combat. After playing the combat wrong due to the ules sucking, I had Bobby Tweaks explain our mistake. We started over and Uba's Bro won via the military victory. I guess for a euro this one was ok. At least you could fight but it was still rather dry, didn't evoke any excitement and well.... you know... euroish. Luckily the game ended quick so I could go and Race.

Ricky Bobby was ready to roll, running in the race along with me was Bobby Tweaks. The final for this game is odd, in that they start using a different set of rules than for the qualifying rounds. This year they used the advanced rules for tire wear (something I like a lot) and the pit window rules. This was all good but no one really understood them. I have read the rules to this game and they are still not very clear. so we all ran a good race, whit nothing much happening for the 1st pit (around lap 80 or so) the second pit (lap 130) was different. 3 player chose not to pit. (I was not one of them) this put them one lap ahead, but they could not draw cards again until the end of the race. this meant that if we passed them we would be on the lead lap but we could never catch them, unless they ran out of cards. Also if a yellow flag came out before you got onto the lead lap you were screwed (except for the lucky dog) since they would all be able to pit. I managed to pass one of the cars and get on the lead lap with 10 laps to go, (read one more turn) when we top decked a yellow flag. One of the cars that didn't pit had un out of gas. Another (and about 6 other players) was knocked out of the race when he couldn't play a pass card to avoid the wreck. This left one of the non-pit players, another driver who managed to pass them (ironically him mother) and myself on the lead lap. Joining us was the Lucky dog (the leader of the 2nd lap) who is allowed to join the back of the pack on the restart (NASCAR rules)
So on the restart I was in 3rd with 4th being the worst I could finish. I played it safe, and went early and dropped a 2 wide card holding a hand full of blocks. (really I forgot that we could still switch lanes and race inside, but I think this works to my advantage anyway) The guy in 4th, now fuming that he couldn't use any of his pass cards dropped hi own 2 wide and the race was basically over. The kids mom ended up passing him to take away 1st. i was a fun race and I will play this one again next year. I will however suggest to the GM that the rules for the final be the same as the rules for the qualifying races. A lot of good players who never saw that kind of pit rules were screwed because they didn't understand the implications of pitting on a green flag while others stayed out. Anyway goo stuff and I got a 3rd place finish for my team event!

After SCC, I ended up back in the OG room. We busted out a copy of Worthington Games new Cowboys game. This game and also some silly looking Yahzee golf thing were the darlings of hte con. Everyone want to get them and play them. Cowboy's is a really simple move your guy around and shoot thing game. It has just enough flavor to be cool, but is really beer and pretzels. For example on your turn you can either move, or shoot. Thats how simple it is. In addition, you get a hand full of 5 screw cards to pay, one on your turn one on everyone else's turn. I have just explained 90% of the rules. For the flavor there are some nice little game maps that can be arraigned to for towns, etc etc. In our game I started in a bedroom in the brothel, and Joie started on the crapper in the outhouse. Good fun stuff.

After shooting up all our friends we played a game of War on Terror, you know that game that the fuckers at Essen thought was too naughty. I picked this up from my FLGS before the con just to play a late night game of this crazy assed game. I was not expecting much, but this thing turned out to be an ok little risk variant. There is enough in there to make sure we play this every year at the WBC. It is fun take that world domination action with a hilarious tongue in cheek theme. Why people made a big deal over this thing on BGG is beyond me.

Slap Shot was up next, as it was 11pm on Saturday. I went down and play this having a great time. For some reason the rules were dumbed down this year, I was not fond of that but anyway you play this one it is great fun. A kid at my table was the 1st to get caught whining and have to goto the penalty box. There is a guy dressed as a ref who will blow the whistle and come over and drag the player to the front of the room where he has to stand for 2 min. Good stuff... I lost as my team got taken apart ad I ran out of time to rebuild it.

Headed back to the OG room for our final Gangsters game. A traditional game with Bobby Tweaks, Joie, G-Bubs and myself. I found Joie still playing C&C:A and so I jumped into a game of Villa Paletti with Uba, Her man and some poor unsuspecting chick we roped into playing with us. This is one of those simple dexterity games, but late night at a con these are good fun.

Joie was finally ready and so we got our Gangsters game going. As usual it was a bloody affair with lots of screaming and cussing. This year we had competition in the form of a group of guys playing lifeboats, but in the end we were louder. The game took a long time I thin we finished it at 5:30 am. At one point G-Bubs looked at his watch and said" Gentlemen, in 24 hours I will be getting up to goto work" Bobby Tweaks played a great game and had us all on the ropes trying to stop him. In the end we all ran out of steam and he took a 10 joint victory.

That was about it for Malloc at the WBC. I did see some interesting things. Jerry Taylor was there with 2 copies of Wars of the Roses. This game looks great, the artwork is fantastic on both the board but especially on the units. I did not get to play but watched a game while playing Crusader Rex. Comments were mixed, most liked it but a few said it was very chaotic. I have it pre-ordered and don't plan on canceling it. Jerry was optimistic for a Christmas release. I also say a pretty cool SciFi based CDG game. Something that is needed, and a prototype of a game where you play repair crews running around a WWII battleship putting out fires and stopping floods.

Well thats about all I got for a trip report, I will have some more comments later about gaming and things I noticed at the con later.



Ken B. said...

This sounds like it was ridiculous amounts of fun.

Gary Sax said...

Sounds good...

How is galactic destiny? I'm curious to hear if you get it on the table.

goldenboat said...

I love the idea of a penalty box for whiners, but how on earth do you dumb down the rules to Slapshot? I mean, it's "war" with trading and an occasional die roll (not that I don't like it a lot).

Pat H said...

How many people generally attend?

Malloc said...

Slapshot... they leave out the rule that you can not play the same person without playing everyone else.

there were about 1200 people this year.


goldenboat said...

Color me dumb then because I don't think I even knew that Slapshot rule existed.

This is what comes from playing hockey without a helmet.

Tom Hazlett (Southernman) said...

Fuuuuucccckkkk !
How on earth are people allowed to have a week of beer and games - shit, that is not on !
Looks like I need that lottery win this year (or start chasing rich widows) so I get to come across the pond for a real Con.

I'm interested in the variant rules and pieces for Gangsters - I've got a copy that I'm planning to get out now I have an extra game group to go to, are the rules/pieces going to be publicly available or was it just a con thing ?

And really cool that you got to rub shoulders with Uba and crew - what gaming is about, fun with mates.

Thaadd said...

Damn, that does sound like alot of fun.

I think I would get murdered though, if I tried to get some sort of road trip with friends/coworkers and escape the week before GenCon. I wish it was not in convention season...

I've played the War on Terror once, and it was really funny to see how MAD one person got when I innocently put some dudes in her country. She spent the rest of the game trying to kill me. I would like to play the game again...

Our Balaclava did not fit, either...

MWChapel said...

I have had a hell of a time getting people to play Galactic Destiny with me since I got it. I may have to wait till BGG.CON to get a game going.

Mr Skeletor said...

While this was on I had a fun weekend moving house. :(

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