RogerBW's Blog

Whartstock 2018 12 October 2018

Whartstock is the best gaming convention that you aren't invited to; it's the annual-ish gathering of the Whartson Hall Æthernauts.


People had a long way to come, and rolled in during the afternoon. After chat and decompression, we didn't fancy starting an RPG, so played one of my ongoing favourites, The Resistance, in the basic mode. This wasn't entirely helped by the same two players being spies both times.

We went on with Legendary Encounters: Alien, a beast of a game that's oddly flat: the artwork is all drawn (no credited artist) rather than being photographs from the films, and while it's set up so that you can use any of the films' plots as the basis for the challenges of your game, it seems they all come down to "survive the bad cards for long enough to reveal the good cards". And you're not playing a character from the films; you're playing someone generic who can, to some extent, take on some of the attributes of the characters from the films. Things went quite badly for us. I enjoyed this for the company rather than the game, and I'm unlikely to be in any rush to play again.

Some of us turned in, and the others went on with Xenon Profiteer, which was a win for me, but only by a single point. One of the things I love about this game is how easy it is for new players to learn.


We started the day with a second outing for Jason Thompson's Dreamland RPG (The Love of Asisilon, the same scenario I'd run at YSDC Games Day the weekend before). The players leaped immediately to fill their word pools, but as things progressed we found we slowed down on word use and concentrated on narrating. It's a very interesting design, though I suspect not one that I'll run a lot.

We decompressed with Port Royal, which is a bit more disconnected from its theme than I really like; but as long as you don't think of it as anything to do with actual ships, pirates, etc., it's quite fun. (And I won.)

A remarkably pretty chocolate. (There was, er, quite a lot of very fine food.)

Nick ran Simply Red by Richard Watts, a short non-Mythos scenario from Blood Brothers 2. In fact it's a slasher film, with a normal suburban family (OMT) meeting Bad Things. I got to play the dog, with the best equipment list I've ever had on an RPG character.

Traditional dice luck happened.

It was getting a bit late for more role-playing, so we gave Khan of Khans a go – it's clearly designed for people who like counting cards, particularly ten decks of about ten cards each, and there's not a great deal of flavour… but it's a Reiner Knizia game so one expects not much flavour. It's perhaps a bit too push-your-luck for my taste, but it has some tweaks to make that more interesting.

Last game for the evening was a couple of rounds of Human Era – as a third(?)-generation social deduction game, with a "middle" faction, this worked a bit better than The Resistance. (But again, the same two players were cyborg and machine each time.)


People had to leave around lunchtime, but Mike came over to run Suns of the Desert, an adventure in the world of Tékumel – using the HeroQuest system. I'm still not a big fan of that system, but the game was great fun, easing us into a world that I suspect has often been held in too much reverence by those of us who saw it from afar rather than getting their hands dirty.

(Normal die for scale.)

"And after all, I might roll a 1."

(Audio recordings of most of these games will appear over the next few weeks.)

[Buy The Resistance at Amazon] [Buy Legendary Encounters: Alien at Amazon] [Buy Xenon Profiteer at Amazon] [Buy Port Royal at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

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