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Sunday, November 14, 2010

GASPcon XI (the morning after)

Well...this was it.  I, as my wife-to-be put it, finally received my "nerd badge."

If there was any doubt that I was ever otherwise, yesterday confirmed for me what I had truly become...and it was everything I hoped it could be.

Yesterday, Paul and I attended Day 2 of the Gaming Association of Southwest Pittsburgh's aptly named GASPcon XI and I think it's safe to say we both had a blast!  Paul will be reporting his angle of everything so I thought I'd just run through the "minutes" so-to-speak and hit some of the highlights.

8:30am - We arrive at the majestic Best Western at the Parkway Center "Mall," which rests high atop mighty Greentree Hill.

"Only the Best"
(I really should be in advertising)

8:45am - We collect our passes (the aforementioned "badge") and FREE BOARDGAMES and mosey in to the Main Room.  The convention itself has been expanding steadily over the last decade and now consumes the entire 8th floor of the hotel.  Although it is early, there still a good number of eccentric German boardgames being played and the RPG'ers appear to not have slept at all.  Our first event of the day is a game called Frag-O-Rama and we head over to the scheduled table, M1.  It's empty so we sit and wait...

The early birds getting their worms (and Mt. Dew)

9:05am - While we were waiting, a fellow approaches and asks us if we were getting ready to role-play. We reply in the negative and tell him we're waiting for FRAG.  He tells us that the event is, in fact, being held at table B2, "where it was held last year."    *sigh*   

Rookie mistake. 

9:10 - 11:30am - Frag-O-Rama!  Probably my favorite game of the day.  It's intended to create a 3D miniature version of the classic, first-person Doom DeathMatch experience.  As someone who personally lost a couple years of my childhood to this game, I have to say it succeeds completely and is just about great in every single way.  My only regret is that, believe it or not, it's completely free!  Check out the rules here.  It's very fast paced, and relies on a d6 for movement and a d10 for attacking.  Power-ups and new weapons are lying all over the place and are represented by cards, which is where the free part comes in.  

I'm basically too lazy to print, cut-out and glue my own stuff and besides, this guy worked really hard on a great game and deserves the money.  Somewhere out there, there's gotta be a publishing company that could be all over this game. Thanks. (gets off soapbox)

The Dungeon.
11:45am - The FRAG-O-RAMA bloodbath concludes and we collectively wipe our brows.  I break even with 4 kills and 4 deaths and thanks to a last minute piece of drama that ended with me being vaporised by his plasma gun, Paul finished with 5 kills and 4 deaths.  Jerk.  

We depart for lunch and head over to a nearby Wendy's where we have the fortune of watching a disgruntled customer throw his pair of double-cheeseburgers against the dining room wall and storm out. We think it had something to do with a cup of melted cheese. 

2pm - We arrive back at the hotel for our second scheduled even of the day, a Lord of the Rings miniatures game scenario.  Neither Paul or I have ever played this before, but heard it was a bit like Warhammer and 40k so we figured we could bumble our way through.  It actually ended up being a lot of fun.  The terrain and miniatures were awesome and the scenario was well thought out.  

As team evil, our job was to try and delay Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas from getting across the board to help out their companions, who are fighting Part II of the battle today.  We held them up for 17 turns or so, and lost everybody on the field in the process. My only beef with this game is that it is heavily weighted in favor of the hero's, but in a pitched battle when both sides had selected even armies, I could see it working pretty well.  

The battlefield.

Team Evil deploys.

Gimli gets jumped and Aragorn flees.  Typical. 

The trap is sprung!

4:30pm - We finish Lord of the Rings and with a bunch of time to kill, we decide to to avail ourselves of the Game Library and check out a game called Lost Cities.  Specifically for two players, this is a card game where you're a millionaire who funds expeditions to ancient locations around the globe.  If the expedition doesn't pay off though, you're in the hole and losing points/your fortune.  We played three rounds of this in just under an hour and it was super easy to learn.  Once you get going though, you realize how much strategy is involved.  Highly recommended!

Get that money!

6:00pm - We head over to the Little Caesar's inside the K-Mart next door.  Who knew Little Caesar's was still a thing??

Luke-Warm N' Ready

7pm - This was it, the reason for our existence in these hallowed halls.  The Battletech Poker Run event.  Weeks of preparation, painting, discussions, and money spent all brought us to this moment.  We were ready. 

We got our asses kicked.

Paul got stuck in from the beginning and did pretty well, taking some cards and dealing out damage.  I, on the other hand, was cursed by deployment and proximity to a sadist who seemed to take personal pleasure in making my day long.  Very long.  

Paul surveys the battlefield...with disgust.

My Marauder had problems from Turn 1.

In the end, Paul went for broke with a Death From Above attack (the Battletech equivalent of a top-rope body splash) and promptly rolled one dice-pip short of spectacular success, instead crashing violently to the ground before being set-upon and kicked to death by two opponents.  

For this effort, Paul earns my Man of the Match award!

The competitive Battletech world is a cruel mistress indeed, though you can't learn without taking a few on the chin, or stomach in this case.  We limped, crawled, and exploded off the battlefield but we had a great time with this scenario.  I learned a lot about the game by playing with some vets and everybody was really helpful with rules and tactics questions.  This group has a monthly game down at a local store and I will definitely have to check this

So, 11 hours after it began, our day at the GASPcon XI came to a close.  I had no idea what to expect going in but I was pleasantly surprised.  Everybody was incredibly nice and positive about just about everything and I left with a great feeling inside.  This has definitely whet my appetite for some new games and Paul and I have already begun to discuss terms for our Second Edition Warhammer 40k grudge match.  Details of this to follow!

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