CHRISCON1

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CHRISCON1

Post by rogartheranger on 22nd July 2010, 11:52

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of hosting the world’s first “Chris-Con”!! This was essentially a board-game themed weekend (interspersed with some Doctor Who) which I held at my house in the company of my cousin Matt and his girlfriend Jess.

Here is a run-down of the main highlights:-

Friday 9th July:-

• We began our evening’s entertainment with a screening of the recent Doctor Who Series Finale (“The Big Bang!”) which got everyone in the mood for playing my forthcoming RPG scenario for Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space! (more on that a bit later).

• The decision is made to kick off the weekend with a game of Zombies!!! This was familiar territory for all players and we had great fun trying to stitch each other up with the undead hordes and numerous “But Wait” cards. Initially everyone tried splitting-up and exploring the city streets on their own in search of that elusive helipad. This proved to be a fatal mistake as bullets and health tokens began to run scarce and inevitably it wasn’t long before we had all been systematically killed-off and forced to re-spawn again in the city-square. After that unpleasent experience, we all began keeping within a relatively close-proximity of one-another until the helipad tile had finally been revealed (and placed by Jess), after which it was every man for themselves again!! It was at this point that I unleashed a great combo of But Wait cards that left poor Matt and Jess ambushed by dozens of zombies on every tile space whilst I nipped off to the helicopter relatively unmolested to win the game. My overconfidence at this point nearly proved to be my undoing as the final round of combat gave way to some dodgy dice-rolls that left me scraping home with just 1 life point (and no bullets). Phew!!
1. Winner: Hiss
2. 2nd Place: Jess
3. 3rd Place: Matt


Saturday 10th July:-

• We started the day with an early morning trip to Horsham for a browse around Battlequest Games, which I thoroughly enjoyed. After noting several games to check out online later, we headed back to resume our board-gaming marathon.

• Beginning around midday we started off with The Fury of Dracula, with some added atmosphere supplied courtesy of my CD soundtrack of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and a DVD of Hammer’s original 1958 Dracula feature (with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing). Suitably chilled (which is a feat in itself considering how hot the weather was), we agreed that Matt and Jess would play the 4 Hunters (Lord Godalming, Van Helsing, Mina Murrey and Dr Steward), whilst I adopted my favoured role as Dracula himself.

Matt had played this game with me several times previously and had enjoyed beating me on every occasion. I was determined however to change my run of bad luck by confidently declaring at the outset that my trail would remain undetected, whilst I effortlessly seeded vampire lairs across Europe, and turned all those who opposed me into my undead slaves (bwah-hah-hah). The reality unfortunately was that by Turn 2, my cunning plan had quickly unravelled after the Hunters declared, “But Wait” and used the ‘Newspaper Reports’ event card to uncover one of my last known locations. Before I could utter another “bwah-ha-ha”, they were all upon me and I was left suffering the indignity of getting arse-whooped with some cloves of garlic and a sharp pointy stake.

It took all my cunning to survive that encounter (just), after which I hastily fled to the relative safety of the nearest port with the Hunters in hot pursuit. After losing my foes at Sea, I went to ground in Eastern Europe and was able to start swinging the game back in my favour as I succeeded in maturing a vampire lair (undetected) to acquire some much needed victory points. The Hunters eventually tracked me down again to Karlstad after which the outcome of another near fatal battle left my chances of winning now hanging on a knife-edge as I tried to hang-on for the last remaining turn. The dice appeared to have forsaken me and for a moment it looked like the Hunters had me trapped.... – ‘But Wait!’ – fortune suddenly favoured me with a much needed Event card that allowed me to move to any location on the board within in a single move.... and with that....I was gone.....bwahahah!!!
1. Winner: Hiss
2. Runners-Up: Jess and Matt

Settlers of Catan: We all had great fun with this. My personal highlights included the frequent opportunities Matt and Jess had to keep unleashing the Robber upon one-another, plus my fast accumulation of sheep cards at the expense of all other resources. At one stage I was stuck with a large hand of 10 sheep (with no other resource cards) which nobody wanted to buy from me. I was so desperate that I couldn’t even give those wretched things away and so it was with much relief when the Robber eventually came passing by to enable me to discard half the cards from my hand. Eventually I managed to make my way to a nearby Port and was able to use the trading-post to sell my vast quantities of corn and sheep for the other harder to come-by items (ore and bricks) which then swung the game decisively in my favour. As my thriving civilisation swept all before it, I became the winner by a considerable margin with 10 victory points from several Cities, the Largest Army, and The Longest Road.
1. Winner: Hiss
2. 2nd Place: Jess
3. 3rd Place: Matt

Doctor Who Episode Intermission: I invited my guests to pick a Doctor Who serial from my comprehensive collection with the understandable expectation that we will shortly be enjoying a classic era adventure from the likes of Tom Baker, Troughton or Pertwee. What I didn’t expect however was for Matt to request the less-than-classic Sylvester McCoy adventure ‘Dragonfire’ (sighs), with Bonnie Langford, (nooooooo). As much as I love Dr Who I cant really excuse this embarrassing cringe-worthy mess of a story. I think Jess must have shared this view too as the ‘gripping’ narrative lulled her to sleep during episode 2 and thereby spared herself from enduring the rest of the serial, (makes mental note to choose the next Doctor Who adventure himself to avoid this situation from arising again).

Jamaica: It was now time for some piratey-themed adventure as we raced our ships around the coast of Jamaica whilst battling one-another to acquire as much treasure as possible. Jess managed to take an early lead, and quickly acquired several treasure chests and cannon-balls which she used to devastating effect to leave Matt and me floundering around in her wake. However, as the game continued somehow we both managed to gain some lost ground as the tide turned in our favour and in a stunning finale all 3 ships managed to cross the finish-line at the same time. With victory to be decided by dubloons and treasure, we all counted up our earnings and were surprised to find that Jess’s considerable horde held a horrifying secret – “it was all Cursed I tell Ye!!!” With her treasure somewhat devalued by this shocking revelation, it was left to me to romp home to yet another victory!
1. Winner: Hiss
2. 2nd Place: Matt
3. 3rd Place: Jess

Movie/Dinner Intermission: ‘Blade Runner’ – after realising that my guests had never watched this classic movie, I quickly decided to rectify this unforgivable omission and show them the ‘final-cut version’ of what I believe to be one of the finest sci-fi movies ever made. Matt was extremely impressed although Jess was left somewhat confused by the ending (until we explained the meaning of the unicorn dream).

Ave Caesar: Back to the boardgaming with two games of Ave Caesar in which competitors had to race their chariots for 3 laps round a quasi-variable track (whilst stopping to Hail Caesar after either the 1st or 2nd lap). This was fast and fun, with everyone taking the opportunity to exploit the periodic bottlenecks to hold-up their rivals. Despite leading for most of the race, I was ultimately pipped to the finish line by Matt after I found myself stuck with a hand of three 6’s. A second game quickly followed, in which I was able race up the field from last place to win.

Game 1:
1. Winner: Matt
2. 2nd Place: Hiss
3. 3rd Place: Jess
Game 2:
1. Winner: Hiss
2. 2nd Place: Matt
3. 3rd Place: Jess

Formula De: With everyone keen for more race-track action, we decided to try out the Monacco Grand prix courtesy of Formula De. This was fiercely contested with all cars variously taking their turn to lead the race every few turns. With no clear leader it remained neck-and-neck right til the end, when in a risky gamble I managed to take the last corner in 4th-gear which then gave me the momentum to accelerate up to 5th gear on the home-straight and pip Matt to the finish line. Another victory for the Hissmeister (or should that be Michael Hissmacher perhaps? Lol)
1. Winner: Hiss
2. 2nd Place: Matt
3. 3rd Place: Jess


Sunday 11th July:

Doctor Who Intermission: After the previous debacle of Dragonfire, I was determined to re-address the balance with a classic Tom Baker serial: “Terror of the Zygons”. What more could you want? Its got Tom Baker, Sarah-Jane, The Brigadier and UNIT and a great race of repulsive looking aliens to battle – hurrah!! We all agree this is the mutts-nuts and decide its time to start playing some Doctor Who RPG this afternoon.

Accused: This was one of Matt’s favourite games from last time he visited and so was unsurprisingly the next item on the playlist agenda. After yesterdays decidedly one-sided results, both Matt and Jess were determined to even-up the scores. The object of the game was to convince the other players that you are innocent of a murder that has been recently committed. Each player has an alibi consisting of 3 different locations that they have claimed to have been visiting during the last 24 hours. They must then collect as many innocence-cards as possible to support this alibi whilst also trying to ditch as many Guilty cards (DNA, murder weapons, Witnesses, Motives etc) that might tie them to the scene of the crime. Some guilty cards are easier to ditch then others, - i.e. weapons can just be thrown away, but witnesses for example need to be either bribed or murdered to keep them from testifying, and Motive cards can only be removed by planting them on other players. Jess soon proved herself to be particularly adept at this with bodies of witnesses soon piling up whilst she ditched all her motive cards on me. After presenting her evidence at the Trial, we had no other choice but to declare Jess to be completely innocent of this heinous crime. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite so lucky with no innocence cards to back-up my alibi locations (Jess stole them all from me), and a handful of guilty evidence all tying me to the murder scene (Jess planted them all on me). With a negative score-line from the Jury, Matt and Jess gleefully sent me to prison and thereby earned their revenge for all the games I had won the day before. To rub salt in the wounds it then emerged that Jess herself was the true guilty culprit of the murder – a travesty of justice I tell you!!!
1. Winners: Jess and Matt
2. Loser: poor poor Hissy who wouldn’t hurt a fly Sad

Doctor Who Adventures in Time and Space: With time running short (how ironic for a game about a Time Lord) we opted to use some pre-generated characters that roughly matched the skillset and character-types that Matt and Jess would want to play in a full game. Jess opted for a ‘scientist’ as this character-type closely matched her own chosen career path and therefore could be modelled after herself. Matt preferred to chose a more military oriented character. After initially mulling over possibly choosing a UNIT trooper, he eventually decided to play a Torchwood Operative. My initial plan had been to run one of the pre-written scenarios called ‘Arrowdown’ but in a last minute change of plan I decided that this would take too long and so opted instead to make-something up off the top of my head. Thinking back over the classic-era Doctor Who I decided to adapt Episode 1 of the Davison serial “Earthshock” which I updated so that I could use the RTD-era Cybermen and David Tennant’s Doctor. For use of the Doctor, I decided that I would play the role myself for certain key scene-setting points, and then pass over the character sheet to the players to share between them as an NPC for the rest of the game. That way everyone gets to try playing the Doctor which keeps all concerned happy. All that was then required was some music from my Doctor Who soundtrack and we were whizzing through time-and-space to some Earth caves in the 26th Century. I’m sure you’ll understand if I keep the plot details a bit vague as I may wish to run this same scene for the main-Thursday group.

The essential mechanics of the game are that players start with 12 story-points which they will be required to top-up and spend throughout the scenario in order to help discover clues, influence the plot, change the outcome of dice rolls, power-up gadgets, and carry out numerous heroic activities. Where a requirement arises to make a dice-roll there is a basic rule to follow whereby the GM sets a difficulty level which the player must equal or beat. They achieve this by taking the appropriate Attribute stat from their character-sheet and then adding this to the associated Skill stat. This total is then added to the outcome of a dice roll from two D6’s. Depending on how well you pass or fail this roll will determine the outcome of the feat they are trying to achieve, which can then be adjusted by spending story-points if required. As the players will both attest, fighting monsters head-on using conventional weapons is not advisable. Cybermen in particular are rock hard with heavy duty armour that reduces all damage by 10 points – which means they rarely get scratched by conventional weapons. In addition Doctor Who monsters like the Cybermen are also typically armed and extremely dangerous – with most weapons are marked with the ‘lethal’ attribute which means that if they hit you - you’re dead!! Aside from being realistic this also encourages players to think outside the box and consider other alternatives before going into combat – and perhaps realising that more often then not the Doctor’s tactics are more advisable such as relying on the power of words to talk-down his enemies whilst employing his wits and ingenuity to extricate himself from certain death!

Given our time restrictions, the game we played was only a short-scene setter in which I tried to pack as much incident as possible before ending on a suitably dramatic cliffhanger. I would certainly be up for playing more of this soon so that I can fully explore all the possibilities inherent with this system, so let me know if anyone’s interested in trying out a full game?

Memoir 44: After dropping Jess off at the station, Matt and I returned for one final challenge – a quick game of Memoir 44. Matt chose the Sword Beach scenario and so we set-up with me playing the Nazis and Matt the Allied troops storming the beach. Although this was Matt’s first game of Memoir 44, he picked-up the rules very quickly and was soon wasting no time in overrunning my defences and earning the required victory-points. Despite a spirited defence and some late kills by the Nazis, the Allied troops were eventually able to push inland and capture the city of Caen to win the game.
1. Winner: Matt
2. Loser: Hiss (oh how the mighty have fallen after Saturday’s success) Sad

And with that game concluded, the inaugural ChrisCon drew to a close. Exhausted and extremely happy from a busy weekend I set my sights to the future and then inspiration hit me for a follow-up session to celebrate my forthcoming birthday........ Very Happy

COMING SOON:

“CHRISCON2: THE HOLIDAY SPECIAL”

(Date: Saturday 31st July – early afternoon / Venue: My place)
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rogartheranger
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Re: CHRISCON1

Post by Renny on 22nd July 2010, 16:54

Hiss

Excellent write up as always. Four stars, ten out of ten etc.

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Re: CHRISCON1

Post by Digger on 22nd July 2010, 17:24

Far too many wins for the Hiss-meister!

As Ben would say "cheeeatin!"

Sounds great, shame about the date of 'Hiss-Con', sorry 'Chris-Con' 2 as I will be unable to attend!

Nice write up!
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Re: CHRISCON1

Post by Renny on 22nd July 2010, 21:52

I prefer Hisscon as well. Please sign me up for the next Dr Who RPG game and let me know when it starts Very Happy

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http://rennyscorner.webs.com/
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