Saturday, July 28, 2012

Historicon 2012 - day two

Bow before the Conqueror!

When signing up for conventions, I am always a little iffy about how many games I want to register for beforehand. My internal batteries can get depleted, and I know there will be a lot of distractions (vendors, demos, pickup games, food.) during a busy day of walking around. But I'm a gamer! It's what I do!

Friday was noticeably more crowded at the show. One of the games I specifically wanted to try out GASLIGHT, and my first game of the day had the very eye-catching name "The Conqueror Worm of Mars, 1889." Ten players, including Mr. Whitehouse. I ended up playing the Conqueror Worm death cult, revolutionaries against the decaying Martian aristocracy; we had unearthed an ancient and arcane machine, the eponymous Conqueror Worm. Teamed up with other Martian rebels and some Earthling allies, we were breaching the city (and secretly trying to reach a mystical artifact statue near the American camp.) Truly, though, my goal was to raze the city. Only from the ashes of our enemies could we rebuild a new, better Mars. The death cult and its high priestesses were aided by the rebel Earthling 'Konnorai,' unknownst to all an Irish anarchist whose red diaper was filled with various explosives. The first turn of the game, Konnarai took position hidden in some vegetation on a hill, the better to throw his bombs. (This detail will be important later.)

As happens throughout history, though, it turns out our revolution was a rebellion. Mighty airships crashed from the skies! Mr. Tesla and his terrifying lightning machines pushed back on our allies' advances. My High Martian forces, who to the Earthmen resembled 'flying monkeys,' had great fun dropping their 'biological bombs' from up above the expatriate British troops. Nonetheless, things were looking bad for us. I mean, as a death cult, we were very successful at the 'dying' part. It's the other half that we hadn't worked out yet.

Well, that looks bad.

In the last turn of the game, we managed to get one of the Martian shamen up to the mysterious statue. The necessary ritual performed, and a fierce black tripod emerged from its slumber deep under the Martian sands. Turns out these ancient cephalopods were psychically manipulating the cult to free them and their machines to reclaim Mars for their own! Oops, sorry everyone! The tripod crushed friend and foe alike, until it was destroyed by a lone Earthman with a brave heart and a speech impediment.

Oh, and I mentioned Konnorai above? Yeah, after deploying him in a great position to start tossing bombs... I completely forgot he was there. That's how effective his camouflage was! I doubt he could have turned the tide, but I do regret the chance to do a terrible Sean Connery accent.

GASLIGHT is a fun system. Scales well and plays quickly. I don't think it's something I could sell the local gaming group on, but the setting is a treat, and I could definitely find myself picking up the rulebook at some point. 
The gamemaster for the above, Jeff Wasileski, has his own report on the con, and the battle above on his blog: Oh My Ruritania! His photos even capture yours truly, striking a pose.

Lunch was salad. Such salad. Even one day of mostly fast food fare was a tasty but unwelcome change of pace. Speaking of food, also, I note this is the first convention I have been to where you can buy a turkey leg and a glass of wine. I didn't. (This time.)

One of my gaming dreams is still to own a nice dungeon like this setup I passed in the big hall.

The mechanised infantry suits pictured center above were rather popular.

The gents went off to their evening BattleTech Arena event, and I tracked down my next game: a playtest of the upcoming Battle Science: Secret Science rules by veteran game designed Bob Charrette. Titled "Code Red, Doctor Moreau," I took the part of one of the mad scientists, part of some secret council, sent as part of the 'punitive expedition' to punish Dr. Moreau for 'mixing the secret sciences' in his experiments. My force was steam powered automatons. I got the impression each of the 'secret sciences' would have their own style of forces, depending on their chosen fields. We also had some Minions on our side. Yay minions!

The steamtech elephant, a converted Zoid toy, was also a hit.

I won't go into too much detail on the rules, as I know they are a work in progress. There are definitely some interesting features, and I look forward to the finished result. The turn flow was a little different, breaking up movement into two parts which affected the rest of the actions. I did like how certain head scientists were Dominators, which meant they could try to sway enemy models to their side, and threaten enemies, and give grandiose speeches. Very evocative of the genre. And if the models are up to the Parroom Station's usual quality, and the ones on the table certainly were, they will also be tempting fare.

One last note from the game: the pics above and below were from just one unused corner of the table, and man, if that terrain isn't better than the stuff I game with regularly. Sigh. So much lovely terrain at the con.

Up next time: the Saturday finale. I win free stuff!

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