RogerBW's Blog

Stabcon 2019 09 January 2019

This long-running games convention had another instance at the start of January, on a slightly chilly but not cold weekend. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

Friday

I went out by a slightly indirect route via a friend's place. It took longer than the M6, but it was much less dreary.

First game of the show was a new one to me, Dominion: obviously it's hugely popular, but I've played quite a few of the games that were inspired by it so it wasn't much of a revelation, and it didn't really grab me. Thematic disconnect is something of a problem, but I don't find the theme (non-fantasy mediaeval, but disconnected from any specific time or place) very interesting either. So it goes.

Some friends turned up and we played a couple of games of V-Commandos, first the GREEN training mission, which went reasonably well.

then the SILENCE gun-battery sabotage before D-Day. The dash up the cliffs went all right, but the gun battery itself was less of a success. (Hint to future Roger: do not ever rely on passing a stealth check if there is any other way of achieving your aim.)

We did nail the blockhouse (with Finnlock throwing in a TNT charge in his signature move), so partial victory.

I definitely want to play more of this, and I plan to set up a play-by-forum game soon, and/or amend the French-only version for Tabletop Simulator to work in English.

2-player Red 7 next, a series of games that turned into a series of matches. I still love this deceptively simple-looking game.

Since the other player had introduced me to Dominion, I thought it was only fair to introduce him to Star Realms Frontiers. Yes, of course he beat me, and it wasn't even especially close. (Those Moonwurms are rather nasty…)

On to a couple of games of Flamme Rouge, basic rules only, on the Ballons Centrale course. One-all and a tough fight.

And so to bed.

Saturday

Imperius arrived recently, and I played a quick game after breakfast. Tricky to get up to speed; I think this is one that needs multiple plays and will reward deeper attention.

I was setting up Realm of Sand for solo play, and someone asked to join; naturally, she beat me hollow. I like this game but I'm really not very good at it.

Available from the dealer: Call of Cthulhu cards, which seem to be like the index cards some GMs used to use in order to have stats for monsters and items ready to hand, but pre-printed. Um.

More Star Realms: Frontiers next, this time solo against the Automatons challenge. This looked tough at first, but I managed to build my power faster than the enemy.

I joined some friends for Lovecraft Letter, one that I don't play as often as I'd expected to when I got it. Four is probably about the right number of players, though I don't think any of the five or so rounds ended with a card comparison, because all but one player got knocked out first.

Next was Flash Point: Fire Rescue, in the two-door house with Tragic Events and one novice player. It looked bad at times, and two hazmats went up, but thanks to bonus victims we still got everyone out (except the people who would have been hard work to move, but this is a brutally pragmatic game at times).

Another play of Battle of Bury, a home-made game with interesting tactical choices that I first tried last year. We seemed to do a much better job this time, finishing in about half the turn limit…

Four-player Human Punishment next, and I'm sorry to say this dragged a bit. (I've played with five on TTS and the games whizzed by. Not sure what's going on here.)

Hut Alive is a game by a Nigerian designer which one of the others had received in return for a sponsorship of some sort; we rapidly noticed that the cards were isomorphic to a standard 52-card deck (though what order Health, Security and Education come in was not obvious), but we mostly ended up fighting the rules translation (which is the same as the description text at the BGG link). There may well be an interesting game here but it's hard to tell.

Xenon Profiteer next, and this was definitely a hit; it's enough of a twist on standard deck-building mechanics to be distinct from the standard games, and the theme of real science and engineering is unusual.

I didn't feel like going out for supper with the others, so I played some more Star Realms Frontiers solo, losing twice against the Blob Assault challenge (though coming closer the second time).

When they got back, we played Xenon Profiteer again, and then to bed.

Sunday

The first game of the day was Iota, which is somewhat Scrabble-like: you put down rows of cards that must either all match, or all differ, in each of the three characteristics (colour, number and shape) that each have four possible values. It quickly became apparent that one needs to have an eye for "dead" spaces in which no card can be put (because the two rows that would intersect there have incompatible requirements), and for spaces which are mostly dead because the needed card has already been placed elsewhere. I very much like this one, and I'll probably buy it.

Then several more games of Red 7, which I taught badly but they got the hang of it anyway. (I'm not completely convinced by the scoring, even so; it seems quite random, and while I like the elimination of the winning cards from future rounds I wonder whether a simple "first to win N games" would work better.)

The drive home (all but about nine miles of the M6 were under speed restrictions, very dreary), and sleep.

[Buy Dominion at Amazon] [Buy V-Commandos at Amazon] [Buy Red 7 at Amazon] [Buy Star Realms Frontiers at Amazon] [Buy Flamme Rouge at Amazon] [Buy Lovecraft Letter at Amazon] [Buy Flash Point at Amazon] [Buy Xenon Profiteer at Amazon] [Buy Iota at Amazon] and help support the blog.

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