DieCon 2019 wrap-up

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.

Our game schedule. We got all the games we wanted.

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.

Getting started at Ye Olde Abandoned Asylum. That pentagram bodes well…
Welp, we’re out. This guy ate both Beth’s (jedi, left foreground) and my (stormtrooper, upper right) heads.
See those two dudes in the upper right? Don kills them later with a shotgun.
You can count the survivors on one hand.

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.

Center: there goes our f**king cannon, thanks Don.
Right flank: before the French cavalry could regroup and charge the Swiss, Hungarian light horse with javelins harried the pikemen.
Also right flank: Here comes the flower of French nobility, massed and charging.
Left flank. the Swiss were sneaking around in the trees, but the French detached a squad of crossbowmen to flush them out.
Left Flank: The French pikemen provoke the better trained and better equipped Swiss into marching into charge range…
…. and slaughter them, then wheel and go after the remainder of the Swiss arqebussiers that survived the Landsknecht mercenaries in the vanguard. They were blocked from retreat by a small swamp, and fought like men possessed.
Left Flank/Center: the French gunners made short work of the Swiss crossbowman, then wheeled to attack the remaining pikemen’s flank. Sadly, they didn’t survive, but the Swiss invaders were all but wiped out at this point. Decisive victory to the French.

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.

This is my monster. That Flight power did me precisely zero good.
Close up view. He’s like a giant mantis-dude. With a disconcertingly large… well never mind about that.
My mantis-dude stalking through the city try to reach Don’s mech so I could claw him into chunks. Don is the reddish robot at top-center. The guy on the upper left is “Sword-Boy” and was very much the toughest guy on the field.


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.

Look at those little bags of corn! LOOK AT THEM!
I’m getting creamed here (I’m purple)

SUNDAY: Wingspan

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.

This is apparently the only copy of Wingspan in Christendom right now.
My game board. You place birds in your nesting areas, gather food and lay eggs, and try to accumulate points. You can’t just sleepwalk through it, there’s a lot of strategic thought that goes into it.
near the beginning…
… last round.
SWEET VICTORY! A glance at the scores, however, will give you and idea of the different sorts of point accumulation strategies that were in play – it was almost as if each of us had a completely different strategy.

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.

First stop: the crypt under the Cenotaph. What do you know, a crypt with undeads mucking about.
Don’t everybody run in at once!
Next stop: Founder’s Flame, where some drakes tried to eat us and the fountain itself kept bloooping out fire elementals until I put a stop to it by casting Cure Serious into the water.
Last stop: Ordelia’s mansion. Hey Rogue-meyer, take a crack at that door… [DM: “It’s already open.”]
Us: *knock knock* Four vampire spawns and a soul-eater: “Whoooo is it OH IT’S YOU TIME TO EAT NOM NOM NOM”

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.