DunDraCon 2011

Surprisingly easy to get to the con given all of the rain Friday.

Friday

Get in early enough to do something by 7PM, consider trying to do the L5R LARP that was happening at 8PM, but the organization left something to be desired and I lost interest while waiting.  Saw someone I didn’t expect to see (moved) and talked for a while and we settled into some three/four-player Dominion.

Ah, Dominion.  I was reminded, as I am pretty much every time I play, why I’m not fond of the game.  That we used random card draw with at least the base set and Prosperity seemed odd to me given how often cards just don’t work together to provide interesting or effective strategies, theoretically exacerbating the problem of there only being limited strategies to a game.  But, upon further thought, I’m not sure that’s quite the case.  I just think the game is fundamentally flawed by having a narrow, i.e. 1 or 2, optimal strategies within any given game.  While this may appeal to people with an interest in efficiency, my interest in efficiency isn’t in the doing but in the knowing.  In fact, the doing of clear effectiveness bores the hell out of me.  Maybe somebody would like to argue that the value in the game is that it’s quickly over and you can move on to the next one.  Hmm, that would be the argument people use for why Magic is better than other (more fun) CCGs.  Still doesn’t work – there’s no point in playing a game that’s usually unfun when there are plenty of others that are.

We, then, played seven-player 7 Wonders.  It was okay.  I think it has, at least with so many players, a problematic mechanic with regards to player interaction.  It’s not quite that there’s none across table, just that you have to really know what’s what to impact the game over yonder.  We so didn’t have that what’s what knowledge.  Being cognizant of how to draft games in a general sense and picking up games quickly (while often losing interest quickly), I can now lord over lesser beings with my undefeated 7 Wonders record.  I didn’t have too much trouble completing the Great Pyramids and got a last epoch boost in military to crush my neighbors for an eleven point boost, giving me the only 50+ point score.  Would I play it again?  I’d only say probably not just to keep my silly record intact, it’s actually … okay … inoffensive.  I just can’t say I’d care one way or the other.

Find out I didn’t get into a Saturday morning game, begin to think this DDC will be as awful as the last two were.

Saturday

Ah, not just a gamer anymore, an old gamer.  While gaming has decreased (at local cons), sleeping has increased.  No morning game = little morning left after getting out of bed.  Leisurely lunch over at the shopping center, continue creating characters for my Sunday night game, unable to get a V:TES game together, finally my 4PM game arrives.

Marvel Universe using BASH system.  Have about 50 Marvel supers to choose from (no cosmic powered or villains).  I can’t think of anything specific at first.  Yes, I have favorites expressed in my former buying habits, but I was trying to think of something different.  Not particularly wanting to go the mutant route and thinking more in the Avengers vein, I finally thought of Vision … One of the themes of the con for me was being chill.  When the GM read off names, I was almost tempted by Moon Knight, though I found out later that it was the crazy MK, so I was fine with not having to think that hard.

So, Vision, The Hulk, Captain America, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Shadow Cat & Lockheed, and Spiderman team up to defend part of New York from a giant Hydra robot.  As expected, Vision and Lockheed team up for the kill and The Hulk throws it out of harm’s way.  Other stuff happens, but really, does any of the minor characters’ exploits really matter?  Uatu shows up to speak aloud in our presence of the danger of Kang going 70 million years into the past to find a cosmic cube and to randomly create a portal to Doctor Doom’s castle where a timeship may or may not be.  Once there, The Hulk starts drawing fire, Shadowcat goes to find the defense system controls, Vision also runs some “shoot me ineffectually” forward positioning, Doombots show up, and eventually the timeship is secured.  With Spiderman at the controls, dinosaur time.  Wolverine squares off with t-rex, stampede comes through, Hulk smashes stampede, stampede smashes injured t-rex, we resume mission.  Hulk leaps on Kang’s ship, Nightcrawler bamfs us in, Shadowcat, Lockheed, Vision phase.  As expected, Lockheed and Vision bombard Kang’s forcefield with hotness, which eventually drops to the three-bladed Nightcrawler.  Shadowcat claims the cosmic cube.

To the future … with Kang!?!  We try to find his honey and he stops messing with our centuries.  Uatu gives him coordinates, he leaves, and the world changes.  We not so smart.  Uatu is not himself, nor Thanos, nor a bunch of other supervillains that may come to mind, but Apocalypse.  Nightcrawler bamfs a speeding semi into Apocalypse, mutants unconsciousify Apocalypse momentarily, but he recovers to full strength, so The Hulk jumps him and gets casually flung aside, leaving Captain America to go all steroid freak on Apocalypse and make him not so living.  Dr. Strange is found to restore our reality.

On the one hand, having a bunch of superhero nerds note nerdy things is interesting, on the other, it gets distracting.  The game was basically a series of combats.  In and of itself, that’s reasonable for a superhero game, but things dragged.  The Doom castle stuff was especially slow as none of the weapons had any effect on The Hulk or me.

Oh well, it was the first scheduled RPG I got into at DDC in three years.

Sunday

Old people sleep.  Nice leisurely lunch at the shopping center, followed by reading the adventure I was running, followed by, wait for it, a pick-up game of V:TES!  Once upon a time, you could play all con, all night.  One DDC, we had a 17-player game, while the finals were going on.  These days, it takes incredible effort just to get people who don’t play anymore to fill out a four-player table for a single game over a four-day convention.  No one got ousted.

My game was full but in a weird place.  It turned out to be a pretty good room for us.  I had two extra players (8 total), so the extra space was nice.  What was I running?  The intro mod to HoR3, New Beginnings.  I had two players deeply into it playing twin Bayushi brothers.  They did an amazing job acting out the scene of Akodo meeting Ikoma.  Things went longer than I wanted and I was losing coherency six hours in, but I didn’t feel as badly as I usually do after running a RPG afterwards.

Monday

I slept through my alarm.  That happens, on average, about once a year.  I woke up a bit after 7AM (going to bed around 2AM, not falling asleep much in between – bah, only old people need sleep).  Got ready to go down to confirm that I was in an 8AM game.  Checked the sheets.  Didn’t see my name.  Checked the program, had an interesting realization.  Checked the sheets again.  Found my name, for my 10AM game.  I had a crummy parking spot anyway and Monday was not going to see a full parking lot and I don’t really like any of the food around the hotel, so I drove over to another shopping center and got a sandwich at Nob Hill.  Drove back, packed, took my stuff to the car, waited in the game room until other people arrived. Yup, the usual things you do before your game begins on the last day of a four-day con.

L5R – but not HoR.  This con was ridiculous for L5R when you consider how D&D and Call of Cthulhu prevalent it typically is.  The LARP, a L5R related game at the same time as the LARP, my game, this game.  Though, this game was billed as having Call of Cthulhu elements, so there you go.

I decided to play the Miya character.  I think we were all rank 2.  We had a Shiba bushi, Isawa Earth shugenja, Soshi shugenja, and Kakita bushi.  We were on our way to a matchmaking event.  In my case, I was the official herald for the event with a personal interest in improving the prospects of my three daughters.  I got the assistance of one of the matchmakers as things were progressing adequately until the Shiba started in about “terrible slaughter”.  An agent of the Lying Darkness was shapeshifting and we confronted it, had a nice dinner, then confronted it and its fellow Lord Moon Lobby in a cave.  Did we survive?  Don’t know.  In the end, four of us were trying to scramble away from a shadow beast coming through a gate while the Soshi shugenja cast a spell to send a message for help.  So, whether Hiromi, Kasumi, and Miwa gained husbands or lost a father is a page left unwritten.

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One Response to DunDraCon 2011

  1. Andrew Haas says:

    “No one got ousted.”

    Highlight of the con.

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