Sorry I haven’t been responding to emails but Don, Don’s daughter Beth and I were at DieCon all weekend. Basically, it’s the flip side of the Archon coin – where Archon is mainly about cosplay and the parties and gaming takes a distant back seat, DieCon is purely about gaming and has virtually nothing else. It’s a fun time and we played a lot of games. Here’s the highlights.
FRIDAY: Call of Cthulhu
Good game, albeit one the at reminded us that characters in CoC are pleased to make it through even on adventure – if there’s a Cthulhu “campaign” that lasts more than three games, I’d be shocked. Technically Don survived (Beth and I had our heads bitten off by an elder something) but all agreed that, considering what he’d seen and that he had the only working firearm (which, it should be noted, he’d already used to kill two people), the likelihood of him coming out of that abandoned asylum without having self-inflicted something terrible on himself was low.
SATURDAY: Battle of Novarra. 1513 AD
This was an absolutely splendid historical miniatures battle, GM’d by the inestimable Dave Schaffner. Don and I had played in his Civil War game last year and had an absolute blast, so this was an easy choice. We later made a vow that at next year’s DieCon, we were going to play in every Schaffner game (he usually does like three) that was available.
This game was based on an actual historical event, about which Dave gave a short precis about right before we started play (the man’s knowledge of this stuff is exhaustive). Don and I were both assigned to the French forces. The French and Italians lost this battle in history, and the general feeling around the table was that history was going to repeat itself, as it had recently in a pre-test round. However, after Don managed to blow up our only cannon on the first shot (this apparently also happened in the pre-test), the Swiss just couldn’t buy a break and we French ran away with it. It was a pretty significant blowout.
SATURDAY: Mechs and Monsters
This was a fun little playtest game, where the GM is actually using the convention to try out a game he’d written. We played two games – in the first, Don chucked me off the board in the first combat round and I sat on my ass for the next two hours (I did win a silent auction during that time, which was nice). The second game, I lived longer but the Mechs had augmented their already-strong forces while me and my fellow monsters didn’t have the points. Basically, the monsters lost both games, and it was pretty much all my fault. We did however, provide some guidance to the GM on questions like “how much damage should/could a submarine do when used as a club, compared to something like a firetruck?” It was actually a far longer and more erudite discussion than it sounds.
Don and I bought this game last DieCon because Troy Lavallee from Glass Cannon said it was his favorite boardgame. We didn’t play it until just a couple months ago. And as we will freely admit, that one night was both immensely fun and we maybe got through like three turns in five hours. The highlight of the night was texting rude messages to Mike P at like 1:30 in the morning. This, our second game, went a lot better, in large part due to Dan, our GM and trainer.
Let me start by saying that Dan has the ULTIMATE Scythe set. Our little game set is nothing compared to his. He has multiple boards, in multiple *sizes*, that extend, plus board inserts. He has little resin pots of corn and little metal (actual metal!) bricks of iron to represent resource tokens. He has airships. Airships! He has little perfectly sized plastic sleeves for EACH AND EVERY CARD IN THE GAME. And there are millions of cards in this game. He has little wooden trays for EVERYTHING. It was amazing.
And, he was a patient and informative teacher. We played a full game (Dan won – he and this other dude Kip had played before, and they were playing an entirely different strategic game that the rest of us were even intellectually capable of) but we’ve officially finished one game of Scythe. It’s a beautiful and fantastic game, seriously, and I can see why someone would invest so much on accouterments and supplements. Definitely looking forward to breaking out our own set sometime soon.
This is game we tried (and failed, sadly) to sign up for at GenCon this year. Mike D is a huge bird fanatic (he used to take people on walking bird-watching tours in Forest Park) and he’d recommended this game. Don and I both agree: Mike is going to absolutely love this game. First it’s genuinely a fun game to play. I have to admit I was a little dubious at first but it is, in a lot of ways, reminiscent of Scythe (turns of they are both manufactured by the same game company) but simpler at the same time. And like Scythe, the game materials are just beautiful. And I WON! We liked this game a lot.
SUNDAY: Pathfinder Society
Our last game was an old familiar one, A PFS module entitled “Mysteries Under Moonlight.” We played 7th level pre-gens and had a nice, rollicking time fighting undead and trying to solve the mystery of why three monuments in Magnimar were acting fluky all of a sudden (answer: vampires and some magical tomfoolery). I rolled a lot of Diplomacy and bursts against undead.
All together, great DieCon. I encourage you to come with us next year! June 2-5. As for this year, although we had some great fun, we think we’re going to stick closer to historical miniatures and rpgs next year, rather than the wider net we threw this year.