Game Storm 12 In 12 Rounds

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The first challenge was the hardest: the new pre-con scheduling system, whose name I wish I knew so I could warn you against it. After that, it was all easy.

The next was warming up for the Munchkin tournament qualifier with a lower-stakes game of Star Munchkin, featuring all the usual puns and silliness (worst spotted: the Klaatu Barada Necktie, allowing you to wear any number of body armors, thanks to its ability to pull any outfit together). This version also has one new rule involving weapons: any of it various rhyming hand weapons such as the Maser, the Laser, the Banana Fana Fo Phaser, etc. can be combined, Alien-like, into one. Also on the weapons front: keep your eye out for Sergeant Schlock.

That evening, all the hard work and practice utterly failed to pay off at the qualifier, which was Super Munchkin plus its expansion, The Narrow "S" Cape. But I did get a nice shiny 2010 Munchkin Silver Piece for amusing the GM by pumping up a level 1 monster to a ridiculous level to get rid of all the add-ons I'd been accumulating.

In between, I tried out Snow Tails, a dogsled-racing game with a mechanic that would also work perfectly for simulating drifting, with different artwork.

Another domestic game was Ubongo, which is a great one for all you Tetris fans. Each turn, you get a card with a shape that you have to fill in with a specified set of tiles. You have your choice of 3 tiles for the easier game or 4 for the harder one; we played a round of each and the 4-tile one does lead to people sometimes being unable to figure out their card before time runs out. Once you do that, you then grab counters which are randomly distributed on the board, the object being to collect the most of any single color. The faster you finish your card, the more latitude you have in picking counters. I absolutely loved this, and yet I know I will never play it again because I know no one else who enjoys Tetris.

The first playtest of the weekend was Gold is For the Greedy. The setup: Your party has hacked its way through the dungeon to arrive at the treasure vault at the same time as up to 3 others. The inevitable happens. Interesting mechanic which uses large 4-sided dice to represent characters, and the first game I've played in a while in which suicide bombing turns out to be a pretty useful tactic.

Later, there was something so new it didn't have a name; the author was calling it Knights for the time being. It's based around, you guessed it, knights, but not so much fighting as going out to claim territory in order to collect taxes. Useful tip for would-be game authors that I picked up here: old editions of Risk are great for collecting the anonymous little wooden counters, which can be repurposed to test out your own game system.

Game Storm doesn't traditionally have much in the way of RPGs, but I wound up going to two interesting spins on D&D. One was XCrawl, which is set in a futuristic world where dungeon crawling has become a televised spectator sport with strong overtones of pro wrestling. I had great fun setting up a character, but not so much actually playing-- not the game's fault, more a GM who couldn't keep control and one player who totally did not listen to the instructions when we finally started playing.

On the other hand, the preview of the new Gamma World was unadulterated enjoyment. It's based on D&D 4.0, which I don't think much of, but only kinda-sorta, in the way that the original Gamma World was very loosely based on the original AD&D. Character creation started with each of us rolling 2d20 and the GM then informing us of our character's race and special ability. I got a anthropomorphic hawk-being with the power to generate electricity. Chris, joining me for this one, somehow also got a hawk-person, this one with super-speed. Our companions were an empath, a giant, a plant-being with gravity-controlling powers, and an intelligent cockroach swarm. The rest of the game continues in the same vein-- sounds wacky, but really gives you something to work with as a roleplayer. I think I will need to get a copy of this one.

Sunday afternoon, I think it was, I went over to the open gaming tables and pulled out the copy of the Myth Adventures board game I'd acquired at Kumoricon. (No, I'd never heard of it before either.) True to the promise of the open gaming setup, potential players started walking up as soon as I put out the marker indicating a game forming, and there was a full set before I even finished setting up the game.

The game board is a grid of squares with special things to do on nearly every one. Reading through the rules before, it looked like a mess, but things actually moved pretty well once everyone got the hang of it. Note for next time, though: everyone needs their own copy of the list of special instructions-- having one person try to read them out across the table in a noisy room leads to someone losing their voice.

The last game I played was another one new to me called Wits & Wagers. In this one, everyone is given a trivia question, and then players work in pairs to come up with a guess for it. Then all the guesses are laid out, and everyone bets on which one they think is closest, with the payoff for guessing correctly based on how far from the median that guess is.

I selected my partner on the basis that anyone with a T-shirt with "SCIENCE" on it in big letters would be at least halfway decent at a trivia game. I should have waited until discovering that the host for this game, the con chair, was throwing out the usual questions in favor of Game Storm trivia, starting with guesses at the number of attendees back at its first event at a banquet hall attached to a Denny's (117). So we did terribly, but so did everyone else and it was an educational experience.

Game Storm has now grown into the high hundreds, and I hope that it keeps growing. 'Til next year! And to spend the time until then...

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