Chi-Con 2013

Well, NaNo’s over. Did I hit the wordcount? Pfff. What do you think? I probably managed a third, if that, so I’m pretty annoyed with myself. Like I said last week, real life came in and smacked me around; it’s pretty much divine mandate that I cannot have a November without some kind of drama and distraction.

To blow off steam and enjoy myself, I went to Chi-Con yesterday, Chichester’s first gaming convention, arranged by my good buddy Jonathan Greenwood, who also organises the local Magic the Gathering events and regular board game nights. He’s pretty awesome.

Ian and I rocked up at about 11, met up with Other Gareth and Trev, and immediately threw ourselves into a hours-long gaming frenzy! Not only was there a massive stack of board games to borrow and play, but Jonathan had also managed to get stalls for Mantic, Steve Jackson Games, DogEared Games, and Black Box Games, manned by eager staff running demo games.

After a few rounds of King of Tokyo – always good for a warm-up when facing a day of gaming – we wandered over to the Mantic lads, and proceeded to have a massive Kings of War game!

kings

I haven’t played Warhammer Fantasy in at least 10 years, so it felt weird at first getting back into a game of big regiments and tactical movement. I’ve played 40k and Warmachine more recently, but those are very different games to something like the lumbering behemoth that is WHFB. Kings of War is an excellent rules system; I wouldn’t say it was simplistic, but it was definitely streamlined compared to WHFB. We managed a six-turn game in about an hour and a half, something that would normally take twice the time in WHFB. The dwarfs of Ian and Trev stomped the bones out of Team Gareth’s undead, but who cares? We had great fun, and besides, those dwarfs will die soon and join the ranks of the living dead, so who’s the real winner here?

skellies

zombies

Then, since we were with the Mantic guys, we decided to give Dreadball and Deadzone a whirl! I’ve already played a bit of Deadzone using the Beta rules, but Dreadball is new to me. The verdict? A very fun, very fast, very frantic game of American football IN SPAAACE with transforming robots and rat-people. Awesome.

This is the most sport Ian and I have played since secondary school.
This is the most sport Ian and I have played since secondary school. On the left is one of the Mantic lads.

And because I’m nursing a geek-boner for Deadzone, I had to give that a go…

deadzone

deadzone 2

Matt and Andy, the two Mantic guys, were great fun and did an excellent job of running the demo games. As we stood around playing Kings of War, we all had some good neckbeard chat about our collective gaming history (summary; GW bad), and they told me some juicy information about what may be coming next year; some more Kickstarter projects to expand on Dwarf King’s Hold and to fill the gaps in the Kings of War and Warpath model ranges, and perhaps even a skirmish equivalent of Kings of War, just as Deadzone is a skirmish version of Warpath.

Having finally exhausted the games at the Mantic table, Ian called it a day and went home; coward! Gareth had pootled off to go play in an X-Wing tournament, so fair play there. I went and tried out Stakbots, a card game from DogEared Games, which seemed okay; the problem was that the guy running the demo game seemed really impatient and barely explained any rules, so I wasn’t sure what I was meant to be doing. He pretty much ended up playing my turns for me, which annoyed me; there seemed to be an interesting strategy to the game, but the demo guy put me off, so sorry DogEared Games, you lost a sale there. 

To make up for that, Trev and I drifted over to the Steve Jackson Games table for a game with the lonely-looking rep. I utterly love Ninja Burger, but when I saw Munchkin Apocalypse, my interest was piqued.

munchkin

Munchkin’s a fairly decent game; I haven’t played it for a while, so I took a few turns to get back into the swing of things. It’s not my favourite game, not by a long shot, but it’s a fine little casual group game which can provide some laughs. What more could you want?

By now, Gareth had finished his X-Wing tournament, so we could sit down and play the game he’d been carrying around all day; Chaos in the Old World!

chaos

In CitOW, each player is one of the four Chaos Gods from Warhammer, though a fifth person can join in by using the Horned Rat expansion. We recruited a fourth player, and we were ready! Gareth was Khorne, god of battle, Trev was Slaanesh, god of pain and pleasure, Joe (our recruit) took Nurgle, god of decay, and I ended up as Tzeentch, god of magic and change. This was the third time I’ve played CitOW, and every bloody time I’ve played as Tzeentch! Truly, the Grand Architect of Fate must have a plan for me…

In CitOW, each god is trying to take over the world in their own way; Khorne is trying to kill stuff, Nurgle is spreading plagues in cities, Slaanesh is trying to corrupt nobles, and Tzeentch is just throwing magic and warpstone around everywhere and shrieking “JUST AS PLANNED!” at the top of his voice. You can also just straight up conquer regions, and reduce them to ruined landscapes by placing enough Chaos corruption. An excellent game; long, and quite complex, but really quite superb. Even though Gareth won and Khorne triumphed, it was very close by the end, as it always is!

By this point, it was getting late and I still had a long walk to the train station ahead of me, so we decided to finish off the evening with a game of Elder Sign, a game I’d played before briefly, but couldn’t remember if I’d liked or not.

elder

Elder Sign is from Fantasy Flight Games’ Cthulhu Mythos collection, like Arkham Horror; as you can see from the picture above though, Elder Sign is more cardy and dicey than boardgamey. Basically there’s always six missions on display, and you can go to anyone to try and resolve it; doing so results in loot and potentially Elder Signs (which are needed to win), failure means you lose health and/or sanity. Not gonna lie, I wasn’t wild about this one after playing it; it’s a punishingly hard game, and a game of it feels like an ordeal that you have to grit your teeth and bear. I was thinking of picking it up, but I think I’ll give it a miss now. Good thing too, seeing as I’m obviously going to spend ridiculous amounts of money on Mantic stuff now!

All in all, a great day, full of gaming and fun; what more could a geek like me want?

Gareth

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