Pre-UnPub Gaming with Eric
I met up with Eric Booth at our local FLGS to play some games on Thursday afternoon. After grabbing lunch, we started with a game of Roll Player. I rolled up a Savage, Free-Spirited, Halfling Thief and was extremely successful doing so, successful enough to take the win. I continue to love this quick playing, character creation game which I’ve now played at 1, 2, and 3 players, thoroughly enjoying it at all counts.
After that, we pulled out Stefan Feld’s AquaSphere which I hadn’t played in a long time, but I was happy to find that while pulling out and setting up the components, the game pretty much completely came back to me. Eric gave me a few reminders on small details and then we got down to it. I really enjoyed the game, especially how quickly it played with two players. Everything flowed really smoothly, and we were soon entering the final round in close competition. I lost to Eric by just a few points, slightly less than the number of points I had been forced to give up earlier in the game when I didn’t have a crystal or programmed bot to allow me to move past a barrier on the score track – argh! We finished up our session with Eric teaching me Onitama, a two-player abstract that I am apparently terrible at but that’s beautifully produced and very soothing. I don’t know that I’d search it out, but I can see how good it is.
Pre-UnPub Cry Havoc at the Ashtons
I actually had made plans to play a four-player game of Cry Havoc with friends that Thursday night. So after trying & failing to pack for the trip, I headed over to the Ashtons’ house to wage war against my neighbours and their friend Josh. They had all played a three-player game together previously, making me the only new player for this game. It was however, their first four-player game and since that adds in the Trogs as a player race rather than as a NPC enemy race, it was going to be different for everybody.
We randomly assigned factions, and I ended up with the highly-technologically advanced Pilgrims. Somehow I managed to assign each of the others to a race they hadn’t played before, unintentionally leveling the playing field a little bit. Ruth Ashton took an early lead with her Humans, flying up the score track and leaving the rest of us in a sad little clump. But as the game progressed, we all started to get going and attempt to catch her. Poor Jeff’s Trogs were getting pretty beat up, being participants in almost every battle in the game, leaving him struggling to figure out which battle to focus on with his cards every single round. Meanwhile Josh’s Machines were simply terrifying with their shred drones, and my Pilgrims apparently ignored crystals more than would be optimal. That being said, I did get enough crystals harvested to screw up my opponent’s plans in almost every battle I participated in, thanks to my Power Extraction skill and my Power Orb. And in the end, I took the win, though barely.
Getting to the UnPub: Designer Day
On Friday I first finished packing and then got on the road for Baltimore. The drive took about 90 minutes longer than the same drive last year, but I still made it into town around 4pm. After dumping my stuff in the hotel, it was time to head for the convention centre and start saying hello to everybody – my first hugs of the con were from Darrel Louder and Matt Riddle, which was a pretty auspicious start to the convention.
Soon enough it was time for my first game of UnPub 7 which was Pencil Park from Daniel Solis, his recent Roll & Write city-building game and of the games I mentioned in my pre-UnPub list of games I wanted to check out. It’s changed dramatically since this play from what I see on Twitter, but I highly recommend going to Daniel’s tweets and grabbing the PDF to check it out. The decision of what die to use as your area vs. type of development is consistently an interesting one, and it plays super quick letting you satisfy the gaming itch in just 10 min.
After the UnPub announcemnts, a quick slider & veggies break, and buying charity raffle tickets, I was looking for another game. TC Petty III mentioned his latest game, My Father’s Work, which I’d been interested in and so Matt Riddle, Dan Halstad, Ian, and I all sat down to a 3-hour game of multi-generational mad science. The game uses an app (i.e., Twine game) to tell an overarching story of the town and its relationship to the somewhat alarmingly numerous families of mad scientists living nearby. It plays over three generation, each building on the work of their parents, as they conduct experiments that will bring them closer to constructing their family’s grand opus while also choosing how to respond to what’s going on in the town as it goes through it’s own changes and evolves over the years. It’s sprawling and heavy and I love even bit of it – the app works really well with the heavy worker placement, and any game with Creepy and Insanity tracks is likley to catch my eye. I didn’t quite manage to build my time machine, but I did have the best and creppiest estate thanks to my Secret Entrance, Zoo of Curiosities, and, of course, the best Master Bedroom around.