The Jaded Gamer

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LOBstercon Nov 2012 Blog Post 2 of 5

Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
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Anyway, how's your sex life?
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Microbadge: Offline from The Geek for a while
I am blogging all week on the excellent experience I had with London On Board down at LOBstercon in Eastbourne.

This is blog post 2 and, perversely, is about day 1.

DAY 1 - It's Napoleon vs Beowulf

Chris and I were planning to come down at lunchtime before his employer stepped in and made him go to a lunchtime meeting, meaning we couldn't leave London until rush hour, so we crawled along all the roads listening to Frank Zappa and Alan Partridge (one after the other. They never collaborated, sadly).

Best line from I, Partridge on the way down?
"You effing b---h" his eyes seemed to say, I imagined.
Our twin room was just round the corner, at the Sea View Hotel, and we got the distinct impression that the owner thought we were a couple, advising us on a lovely place for dinner and then suggesting a walk along the beach. She was 100% lovely and 200% wrong, but it's nice to be appreciated. We spent all of 10 seconds in our room before grabbing the monstrous bags of games I had brought and heading to the York House to get started.

I had it in my head that since we were so late and dinner was pretty much starting that we'd have to concentrate on a two player game early on. Sure enough, everyone was already playing games when we arrived.

The slight error was that for our first game I had selected a monster 10 a side game of Duel Of Ages.

For the uninitiated, Duel Of Ages is a really simple system that goes on forever if you let it. It's core mechanic - comparing colours on a chart and then rolling less than the given target number on two dice - is so simple as to be insulting, and it is a monumentally fiddly game with loads of slightly different areas to score (all of which using that one core mechanic).

It only gives you any pleasure at all if, like me, you love the concept of Napoleon's team vs Robin Hood's team - of Attila The Hun riding a mountain bike and firing a bazooka at a Martian Flying Saucer.

But to reiterate. All that has to happen in your head, mostly because you're just rolling dice and trying to roll below a target number. For this reason we did not actively invite other gamers to join in. if they'd specifically asked, I'd have happily given up half of my team (keeping track of ten tiny, very similar chits is not that easy) Your average eurogamer would last half a turn I would think before running away screaming.

Unfortunately this and the fact we decided to spread out over three tables in the vast and empty downstairs area (mainly so I would not have to shuffle the fully expanded equipment deck, which got a table to itself) made us seem a little aloof on arrival, which we really weren't. I think we were just a little spaced out from the three and a half hour drive. Sorry to anyone who got the wrong impression!

In any case, in the game I went against my normal "smackdown" game plan (grab all the strong natural melee characters and kick ass asap) in favour of one where I had two characters whose core special ability was to give bonuses to others -
*Napoleon gives extra movement to colonial characters but is made of glass. I stuck him in my HQ and since I had four other colonial team members he was invaluable.
*General Gavin gives a bonus to honourable characters. I let him be more mobile and in fact he got the first kill of the game, sniping flicker on overwatch after grabbing the Spencer Carbine from the vault.

Having taken a casualty, and being behind in the modern and colonial labyrinths, Chris' team concentrated on stealing my lead in the royal tournament (which Sir Gawain and Grunt achieved easily) and dominating the future labyrinth. Beowulf used his almost unmatched melee skills to tear Billy The Kid (or Kidd?) in half, before getting punched in the face by Mick The Lion - who gets to match his opponents skill anyway, costing Beowulf any advantage.

In the end, the difference was the Ruins, where I took an early, and unbeatable lead. Final score was 3:2 to my team white, after two and a half hours.

There were a lot of dice rolled and I hesitate to recommend the game to BGG's typical user as it is a little random and old fashioned. I love it, though.


Then we played four rounds of Zendo, a game that I was recommended by several people.
They were right, of course, it was a great game - I already have some rule ideas (unoriginal, I am sure) I want to try out next time and will definitely be playing that again. I think everyone got so annoyed at the prime numbers rule they all went to bed.

Well either that or it was 1am already. I forget.

So it was a low key start to the proceedings, the highlight of the evening being Chris' accidental flirting with the waitress at the Chinese round the corner. We'd popped over to grab some food before kicking off the game of Duel Of Ages proper after setting it up.

Because we wanted to get back - partly to play the game but also because I was nervous leaving my stuff in the empty downstairs room - we sprinted through dinner and asked for the bill pretty quick.

The waitress asked "do you always rush?"
Chris replied a la Bond - "No... some things are worth taking your time over..."

What a legend.
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