Monday, October 1, 2012

Hurricon Post-Con Impressions

Hurricon 2012 was the second gaming convention I've been to; the first was Historicon 2009. There's quite a difference between the two and I have to say, I much prefered Hurricon. 

The convention was large enough that there were plenty of gaming options to choose from and vendors to give your money to, but small enough that I recognized people walking in the hallways around the hotel. And, to a person, everyone I met, was friendly and welcoming. I also found it refreshing that RPGs and boardgames were equally accepted and had participants. 

In addition to gaming, I spent some time talking to vendors - particulalry All the King's Men and Splintered Light. Both readily answered my questions and tolerated my fanboy fawning. Had I not burned through my budget at the latter, then i would have done so at the former.

As I mentioned previously, I played my first game of Pathfinder on Friday night. I never did get to play the dungeon crawl. Probably for the best. I don't see myself investing in the system, despite the widespread availability of gaming tables that feature it.

Saturday morning, I participated in "The Battle of Bloody Bridge". From the gaming grid: "at 2:30am on July 31, 1763. Captain James Dalyell is leading a force in a suprise attack on Pontiac." 

The rules were Woodland Wars - an out of print rules set to the best of my determination. They were relatively simple Leader/Extra type rules with one officer/leader per unit of 10-12 figures. 

I only had my cell phone, and the pics didn't come out all that great, but never the less, here's the setup with the British column moving towards the bridge. 

Waiting in ambush at the bridge are two large units of Native Americans, in addition to 4 smaller groups on the near side of the table and one smaller group, plus reinforcements in the woods on the upper right of the table.

The players controlled the native force while the GMs handled the British. Here's a shot of one of my warbands:

The battle ended due to time, although the GMs conceeded that the British could not win, given their positions and the fact that we hadn't even brought the reinforcements. I wasn't so convinced. All the British had to do was charge the natives and they were likely to break and run - the rules do not favor the Indians accepting a charge.

One of my warbands shot up the British artillery crew while the other player moved his warband in to finish them, but not before he captured the two wagons of supplies.
The rules use card activation and a combination of dice and cards for combat and damage. So, of course, I could not leave without asking for a copy of the QRS. I think the rules have potential for solo gaming and my Great Northern War project, specifically.

My next game was nowhere to be found (meaning I couldn't find the table), so I took that as an opportunity to head to my room for a nap, food, and to play a game using the Small Space Sci-Fi setup. One change I made was to reduce the grid squares to .85 inches, which gains me one extra row of 10 squares. Had I thought to change the margins, it probably could have been 2 rows of 10.

My final game Saturday night was "Dog Town" using the Gutshot! rules. 

There was a great deal of roleplay in this game. In fact, we each played a character with very familiar looking stats: STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON, CHR. 

We started out trying to escape an impending dust storm and avoid bandits that had been tailing us by driving our wagons and cattle to the town. 

In town, some of us did some exploring while others went to the saloon as the storm picked up - which ended up with one the players accidentally shooting another player as we tried to drag the latter from the bar. At least an hour or real time passed before we had a combat encounter.

The bandits turned out to be the least of our worries. It was the werewolves that were the trouble!

There were some hilarious moments as we ran around the table trying to avoid them, both to survive and to find a way to beat them. We actually managed to defeat them a few minutes shy of midnight - the official ending time for games on Saturday night.

It was a fun scenario, but there was far too much metagaming for my tastes. Many of the players were friends of, or at least familiar with, the GM and knew his style and were using that to guide their actions. Several times player knowledge of silver weapons came up - an impossibility for the characters as they had never encountered or heard of werewolves before. Still, it didn't detract from the fun , and made for some spirited exchanges between players.

Sunday morning, I left earlier than I originally planned. No one else had signed up for the dungeon crawl and frankly, had I gone back to the game/vendor room, I'd have hit the atm and then really blown my budget! 

Well, I did buy a membership in HMGS-South. I had so much fun and want to support it any way I can. And, I think I'd like to participate more next time, possibly running an RPG one shot (probably Labyrinth Lord, or possibly something with a historical theme).

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