RogerBW's Blog

Handycon 2017 12 February 2017

This new convention happened just on the other side of High Wycombe from me, at a hotel that has some conference space. (Why would you choose to have a conference there? I suppose if you applied some sort of travel-time-minimising algorithm and worked out that you got the least total driving that way…)

With images; cc-by-sa on everything.


Apparently this sort of rail is intended for the infirm; but I've never seen them installed anywhere else, and my first thought was those too incoherent from alcohol to stand straight.

Friday started quite gently, with Splendor and a rare win for me.

We went on to Flash Point, on a two-storey board, and didn't do as well: even with four firefighters, we never really managed to get the fire under control, and ran out of damage cubes with five victims rescued.

The Bring and Buy was looking fairly bare, though it perked up a bit later.

I turned in fairly early (probably earlier than I would have if I'd been staying on site) so as to be well rested for


and setting up Firefly before the players arrived; I haven't had my own set on the table for far too long.

I ended up with four novices, one player with some previous experience (she took Nandi in the Artful Dodger, which is probably what I'd have done), and me; the story card was Patience's War.

I started with Womack at Meridian in a standard Firefly, and did some early shopping, only to lose the good crew to a Reaver attack on my first move.

The reavers came out quickly and continued to be very active for the whole game. (On the other hand we saw no piracy or bounty hunting.)

Every once in a while a few of us would meet, then scatter again.

Why, yes, Silverhold is the location for the first goal test, why did you ask?

This was about my third crew. They kept getting arrested by the Operative.

A confusion of Reavers.

Skunk was the perfect addition to finish off this band of nutters.

I was third to get goal 1, but went all-out after that for the other two, running out of money and using Saffron for all my Tech (I bet she's never been a ship's engineer before); and somehow I managed to break away and take the win. OK, so it did take around 5½ hours, but I think we were all still enjoying it. It's a social event as well as a game.

After some food, some more Splendor

and some Clown Standoff (more or less "Russian Roulette: The Card Game") followed by Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. This is one that's been sounding interesting to me for a while, and having played it in a group of ten I now know I want to buy it. Paul Dean of Shut Up and Sit Down recently mentioned, in a review of Tyrants of the Underdark, a combination of Mysterium and The Resistance as an example of blending game mechanics that don't often go together, but actually this pretty much is a combination of Mysterium and The Resistance. With one player sitting out as game master, roles such as "murderer" and "witness" are assigned randomly. Everyone has four murder weapons and four clues in front of them, and the murderer indicates privily to the GM which one of each is the key to the case.

Then the GM has to give clues: a location, an approximate means of death, and some others selected at random. Players discuss what the clues might mean and who might be the murderer, and can make one accusation per game, having to get the right player and the right weapon and clue… but one of them is the murderer and will be trying to deceive everyone else.

This time it was me.

In both the first two games.

So for the third one I took the GM role.

The murderer was caught every time, though I think this may even out with more experience.

The last game of the evening was Secret Hitler.

I had to come out as a Fascist fairly early, and while it went to the wire I was never feeling confident of a victory.

The quiz was enjoyable (and our team came second), but remarkably noisy. Applying modern game design principles, you really shouldn't leave all but one player on each team to sit around being bored during the marking; perhaps get volunteers to do it privily, maybe even volunteers from those teams, and let everyone else get back to playing games.

And so to bed, in time for


which started with some Red 7 as we waited for someone to arrive with Captain Sonar. Eight players, real time. In the end we lost, four to three, but it was a close thing and an intense experience.

On to Mysterium, where for the first time in my play of this game I was not the ghost.

There was a certain (justified) lack of confidence in me at first.

With some tactical play, most of us got to the three-card stage of the finale.

And ended up…

getting it right!

I finished my Sunday gaming with a couple of quick rounds of Coup, and faded out around lunchtime to get some rest. Yeah, I know, I'm getting old… but it's great to have my own bed to come back to.

[Buy Splendor at Amazon] [Buy Flash Point at Amazon] [Buy Firefly at Amazon] [Buy Deception: Murder in Hong Kong at Amazon] [Buy Secret Hitler at Amazon] [Buy Red7 at Amazon] [Buy Captain Sonar at Amazon] [Buy Mysterium at Amazon] [Buy Coup at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

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