So, we had two game conventions on Labor Day Weekend. That’s not actually unheard of, though it hasn’t been an issue for me in around 20 years. I decided to try the one I hadn’t been to as the bar was set so low from the one within walking distance of my house that I’m getting to the point of rather just not going to these things at all.
Was it better? I guess. It was maybe similar to two years ago for the con I usually go to. I didn’t do a whole lot, but that wasn’t entirely the con’s fault … well, no, actually it is. I get grief for not being more into the local conventions, but really, if they had more interesting sounding events, I’d be more into them. If people actually showed up and played CCGs I wanted to play, ran RPG systems/genres that didn’t leave me uninspired, and so forth, maybe I wouldn’t take days off or game outside of the cons.
Friday, I tried to get into a game run by a GM I know, someone I played with years, many years at this point, ago. Twelve people signed up and I wasn’t one of them. With my usual Friday night GM running a game at the same time, I played in his game. So, it was a lot like any old Friday for me, except we started earlier and the players were far more cooperative. We played until 1AMish.
Since I knew that the only game I signed up for on Saturday was cancelled, I went back to bed Saturday morning to recover. I had arranged to play V:TES Saturday night at someone’s house, so I built a couple 4cl decks and headed for the con around 3PM. I demoed Battleground – miniatures combat with cards instead of minis. It was fine. I hardly ever play wargames or miniatures, but it’s not because I have anything in particular against them; it’s just I’d rather play other stuff. Well, I do have something against games that last forever with a winner clearly decided early on or by chance, but that’s not a lot of games. Battleground could have been simpler, not the demo which was simplified, but even the rules posted at the booth. I wasn’t sufficiently motivated to buy what they had at the booth, unfortunate that they had neither Conquistadors vs. Aztecs, which would have been funny for my Solomon Kane game, or stuff from Your Move Games that wasn’t Battleground.
Played two long games of V:TES. One was funny for my Lucretia, Cess Queen being too “powerful”, effortlessly employing and equipping past +1 intercept and surviving every combat with the powers of Celerity and Fortitude. Kostantin showed up to threaten to steal my prey’s Ivory Bow, so I discarded my own. My prey bringing out Miguel Cordovera made the game goofy, with my prey Bowing his own Miguel. I’m pretty sure he never used Miguel to bleed his prey, while I ousted him by rescuing Miguel from torpor and bleeding him out with him. The second game was less silly, but I won the metagame by playing a deck with Guardian Angels and Flak Jackets and Merrill Molitor against two decks that did aggpoke, including one where Basilia got the Ivory Bow. It was a long grind, but early into Sunday, my final opponent played Frontal Assault when I had four minions and he had four pool.
Went to bed at 2AM, set my alarm for 6AM. Rolled out of bed at 5:45AM. Even though I knew I was in an 8AM game (my second choice on my priority slip), I gave up and slept for a while. I built a couple of Ultimate Combat! Decks in case my sealed UC! event at Celesticon turned into casual play and headed to the con. Allergies, from lack of sleep and probably the dust on my UC! boxes, annoyed me.
I ran into P-ers immediately, who had come over from the other con, and after playing a game of UC! and Magic while my friend built a Traveller character, I played a match of P. Then, with only the two of us for UC!, I played a couple of constructed games of UC!. We cracked starters and drafted a couple of boosters from the expansion – first UC! draft for me, ever. He got power-hosed in game one and got me just before decking in game two with his vastly superior card pool.
What makes UC! such an oddity is just how close so many games are. It’s why I believe it’s the best balanced and most fun CCG ever made. My game early in the day saw my opponent on one hit point when he knocked me out. The final limited game saw us both at two cards left when I took exactly enough damage for the KO. I do believe that you have to have fast power generation in the first couple of turns, assuming your opponent does. Monday I started contemplating mulligan rules since you can’t use Magic style mulligan rules very well. I think allowing a mulligan for either 3 hit points of damage or 4 hit points of damage per mulligan might be worth trying out. The other possibility is, of course, to just discard your opening hand since decking is such a huge threat in the game, though I wonder if Instant Replay or Favorite Technique decks can abuse that too easily.
The game also involves precise thinking, but analyzing UC! in greater depth is probably better as another post.
Suffering from allergies, tired, and with my UC! opponent off to do other things, I went home and had no intention of going to either con on Monday since my planned Solomon Kane game didn’t have enough players to make it important enough to run. (Hope Tom recovers from his surgery.)
So, Monday was a lot about thinking about the need to do something for my HoR2 campaign and a lot about sitting on my sofa watching TV or lying on my sofa sleeping.
It should be interesting what happens next year. A lot of folks want there to be only one con, either because they want to see people they see at cons or because it will make for better gaming.