Monday, August 22, 2011

Portrait of a Total Party Killer

Our little Saturday soiree, the South Texas Mini-Con, was good fun—at least for me. (Next year though, we'll make sure to not have to turn away so many people from the doors because of the Fire Dept. capacity issue.)

In the morning I jumped in on Desert Scribe's four-way Starfleet Wars game. I have to admit though having read and dug his fine paean to the old school starship mini game at Super Galactic Dreadnaught, I was a bit intimidated when I saw that player handout come with a calculator for computing our ship's power supply each turn. 

Ok, ok that's a bit of an understatement, rather I felt like cowering in the corner, batting my hands in the air, and wimpering like a little girl at the thought.

Seriously though, turn calculations aside it was an easy game to get into. Each turn your ships are faced with an interesting resource management question: how do I split up my power supply into movement, defense, or offensive capabilities? Most damage detracts only from said power supply and with no facing or vector rules it makes for a nice quick game with good tactical choices at every turn. 

My brave Avarian fleet (i.e. the People of Bird-like Stature) weathered well at first. I conducted a first-turn "preemptive attack" on my neighbors the People of Feline Stature and took out one of their wee destroyers pretty quickly. But then things went South, I then proceeded to commit that classic error of multi-player wargame—getting into a clobbering match with the Cats instead of paying attention to the scenario objective, an alien relic from the lost Mag'Uph'Un Empire (nice one, Mack).
Bravely running away, I am
The Space Roaches and Fishies did pay attention however. With the Roach ships making contact and landing boarding parties while the Fishies pounded them from afar. Toward the end the Birdies and the Cats stopped their genocidal war almost, almost in time to stop the roaches from winning. But just not quite.

The second session saw me sitting in at Brad's AD&D game which I thought was supposed to be us playing monsters defending our dungeon from erstwhile heroes, but instead I was given this pre-gen:
Albert aka Presto
Groan. We were playing the roles of the spunky cartoon characters from the D&D cartoon series. Likely this could have succeeded with a more mature, less bent-on-total-chaos-and-destruction group than ours, but...well...we were that group.

“And the Bullywugs won't not be able to help themselves 
but to imagine the cruelty their brothers endured at our hands, 
and our boot heels, and the edge of our knives.”
Later, Brad would ruefully say that he expected us to self-destruct the scenario, but was surprised that it would come first from me--apparently the flood-dam was opened when I had Presto turn psycho-tunes in the first five minutes. And here I was thinking that carving a swastika Inglorious Basterds-style on a living bullywug's head was a perfectly acceptable interpretation of the character!
"@#%^& you, Chris. Payback's gonna be a bitch."
Session three was my own Empire of the Petal Throne game, a run through the same Sarku-infested section of the Jakallan underworld that my Google Plus groups have been worming (pun so intended) their way through in the last few weeks. In the interest of keeping suspense up there I won't spill too many of those beans.

Suffice it to say that they found the mysterious steel chimes MacGuffin in less than four hours time—the Google groups having spent two sessions going everywhere but the tomb that holds them—and then managed to die one by one until I had a TPK mere minutes after doing so.
Jason Braun's warrior falls into the spiked pit. One down.
The Priest of Thumis misses his Dex check on the way back.
Hating it. Scratch Two.
Bad time to lose initiative in the first round.
Chop, chop, chop...
My first TPK in 25 years, where's my flippin' medal?

Overall a positive experience, my main regret was not being able to play in every session: Ed from Two-Hour Wargames' gladiator and chariot-racing games looked awesome as did Don's When the Navy Walked scenario involving a steampunk German “ogre”. (And both fine people to boot, makes me want to jump back into minis again, it does.)


  1. The label on this post made me laugh...

    Newbie: 'what's TPK mean?'

    Old Schooler: 'social mixer'

  2. Sorry we missed it. I would have liked being killed in your game. Um I think that would be the third time.

  3. Why am I not surprised Brad expected everyone to SELF-DESTRUCT the scenario? -- I laughed so loud I think I hurt myself.

    Next year you must consider bringing in a bit of help to manage all those people trying to sneak in. 8-)

  4. In my own defense, you should show the edited sheets.

  5. Man, that did sound like a total blast. I had every intention on going but real life just crashed all those plans. But plan to crash the party next year.