RogerBW's Blog

Stabcon 2020 25 January 2020

This long-running games convention had another instance at the start of January. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

Friday

Travel was direct and pretty good; three and a half hours out, including a stop for fuel, and three and a quarter back.

My first game of the convention was V-Commandos, playing a couple of single terrains with a friend. The first two went quite cleanly, with no spotting and no alarms.

Another friend new to the game joined us, and we took on the battleship terrain, which ended up with some of the team sandwiched between blocks of enemies.

This would have been the medal-winning moment, when the medic sneaked in under the nose of an élite enemy to retrieve a first aid kit, then ran back to treat his wounded mate.

Except, alas, that with both the explosives planted two of the three of us were pinned down and badly wounded. My sapper was already on the way to the exit, so was forced to set off the charges as he left. So still a victory, but a close and imperfect one.

I was wandering around when I spotted someone setting up Wacky Races: The Board Game and jumped in. To gamers of an age to have seen this as children, this is clearly hugely tempting; and it turns out it's also not an entirely terrible game! (I know, I shouldn't be surprised by this any more, but I remember what licenced computer games were like in the 1980s and 1990s.) All right, there is a lot of luck involved and it's not a masterpiece of strategy, but there are definitely meaningful decisions to be made.

Saturday

At the last few Stabcons I've mostly been boardgaming, but this time I took along and ran my Cthulhu Hack scenario The Last Thing Civilised (which may turn out to be the first of a series of "CSI: Arkham" adventures). It went rather better than on the first run (thanks to the Cambridge group guinea pigs for their advice).

Then into the main room and a couple of games of Flash Point: Fire Rescue, first in the merchant ship (which started badly, looked good for a bit, then fell apart quickly):

and then in the hotel, which I think is one of my favourite boards. Lots of role changes on this one, and I ended up hauling victims out as the Paramedic.

There was time for another V-Commandos run with the new player from Friday night and a couple of others, and this one went a lot better. Yes, the alarm did go off briefly towards the end, but playing as the sapper I didn't once need to fire my BAR.

Then off to Michael Cule's excellent Gumshoe adventure Ho Ho Homicide, about which I shall say nothing further because if you are very fortunate you may get to play it one day.

Sunday

More RPG in the morning, run by that new V-Commandos player and set in the world of UFO. We tracked down a landing site in a remote part of Washington state, got slightly blindsided, and had to chase to catch up with the invaders. I've never actually seen the series, but it was easy to get the hang of being a slightly different sort of Men in Black – even if terrible dice luck all round the table (using a tweak of the Blaster RPG) meant that, while we should have had about 50% or higher success rates at most of our rolls, we ended up failing about three-quarters of the time.

Finally, a game of an original Cheapass edition of Lord of the Fries (I have the later Steve Jackson Games deluxe printing):

and Tobago, first game with the copy I bought second-hand at Essen – and I won! All right, against two novices, and I got some of the rules wrong (it's play a clue or move, not and move), but we still had a good time and it's one I want to play a lot more.

Then home again into the gloom and darkness.

[Buy V-Commandos at Amazon] [Buy Flash Point at Amazon] [Buy Lord of the Fries at Amazon] [Buy Tobago at Amazon] and help support the blog.


  1. Posted by Phil Masters at 08:37am on 27 January 2020

    The Wacky Races game sounds good, but I can’t help thinking that if it simulates the source material correctly, the eventual winner should be randomly determined with no reference to what happened during the race.

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