Tabletop/LAN Meetup Weekend (21-11-2014 to 23-11-2014)

So, last weekend, I had a few friends over for an awesome time playing games with friends. It was a mix of tabletop games and video games, but seeing as noone’s collectively got any multiplayer games for a good while it was a bit tinged towards tabletop (For me personally anyway).

Friday

Ahead of anyone arriving I got the room set up, putting the smaller table on the window side of the room for desktops, and the larger table (with nice black tablecloth) on the other, for laptops/board games. I also bought down my own PC and of course a ton of board games – Just the 25 or so that I really wanted to play ;P

Chris (Atkinson) was first to arrive, coming along with his desktop and setting up opposite me. We mostly messed about individually (I think he was getting some stuff done in Heroes & Generals, while I failed hard at League). After a while, I suggested a board game of some kind, and as Dave messaged me at about that time saying he’d be about half an hour I picked something that’s pretty quick – Last Will.

Last Will

I recently picked up the expansion for Last Will, ‘Getting Sacked’. With this included, you not only have to be first to spend a huge chunk of money, but you also need to get fired – Unfortunately for you, your boss tends to never be at work, so you have to put some effort in to getting demoted to the point he finally kicks you out. It also adds a variable setup and some extra cards which we made good use of.

I went for farms early in the game, due both to a boss line that required me to get caught buying a farm, and a pair of early estate agents, one being an action-less buy/sell on them each round, and one that activates up to 2 farms without actions in a round. Chris A also picked up a couple of farms, though he only had a ‘use one without an action’. We also both got an old friend around the same time, giving a little more freedom on #actions (Though I was going for more cards/workers over the number of actions each round).

A little further in and we’d both made good work on losing our jobs (In my case, acting, and in Chris’ case, teaching). Chris did get a touch behind, possibly from bad explanation on my part as to exactly when you can get fired for certain things :S. As we got near the end of the game, Chris started getting rid of some really big chunks of money each turn and had a couple of cards to do so without properties (All of my money-loss was my farms, awkward as you can’t bankrupt yourself while you have property). Fortunately for me, my farm based power-spending dropped me to 0 with Chris stuck with his last farm – I think he’d have gotten to 0 the next round though!

So at this point, with that game taking probably 3/4 of an hour, Dave hadn’t turned up so we assumed he was stuck in a well somewhere. Or…that he’d left at 5:30 down the motorway towards Birmingham…on a Friday. We went back to playing totally separate games for a bit then (Though we spent ages looking up free-to-play games to see if there was any people would play – As well…there’s not been a ‘multiplayer game everyone buys’ for years…We failed =P)

I think it was Dan and Gretchen to turn up next (Though not long different to Dave making an appearance 3 times the amount of time after when we expected him ^^). Little-beknownst to them but they’d be imminently joining for One Night Ultimate Werewolf (I wasn’t planning on giving anyone a choice – As soon as we had 3+ people it was happening =P). While I’d not yet played it, a fixed time-limit social deduction game seemed a nice way to start an evening/couple of evenings ^^.

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

(Edit – Never explained the game..simple really, each player has a role, with there being 2 werewolf cards shuffled in with the roles. A night phase lets players perform special abilities, then the day has a 5 minute discussion after while everyone points a finger at another player. Everyone with the most votes dies – If at least one werewolf dies, villagers win, if no werewolves dies, werewolves win. SImple).

Our first game of ONUW was a basic affair, using the recommended setup – 2 Werewolves, The Seer, The Robber and a few Villagers. It was a table of skepticism as I explained, and when we woke up from the first night (Well…second night, Dan ignored the ‘everyone close your eyes’ in true ‘someone refusing to cooperative with the silly sounding rules’ style the first time). After a bit of confusion, I pushed into asking people what their roles were, and when people started talking ‘Well, I was the robber and stole his card which was X’ everyone eyes lit up a bit as they realised it wasn’t as solvable as it sounds from the explanation ^^.

We had a load of games over the evening, playing while people turned up (Handy and later Grant/Lee/Rich), I didn’t really track but someone thought it was about 9 which seems about right. A couple of highlights include a game where Grant lied about his role getting him killed, but turned out to be the hunter (A special villager who, when killed, kills the person he was pointing at) – A brief moment of ‘well damn he’s not a werewolf’ later, and we noticed he was killing Dan, who we considered suspect #2 at the time…So then Dan dies, and reveals as a Tanner (A special role, if he dies he and he alone wins), god damn! ^^.

We had loads of fun playing, and everyone got involved at some point (Even Rich who’d sat out the first couple of games). The last game was another highlight with 3 people being on the most votes (2-2-2), amusingly being the minion and both werewolves – clean sweep on the entire werewolf team (The minion is on the werewolves side).

We had another bout of all playing random games then. I got a few rounds of GunGame in with Dan (Or whatever CS:GO calls it), where I didn’t do shockingly but certainly worse than Dan (So long since I’ve played a shooter!). I played a LoL game with Handy too (Just bots), but his laptop didn’t seem to approve of the updated graphics on Summoners Rift so we left it at just the one ^^. Pizza’s happened thereabouts, with me putting a few in the oven for the sensible people while some got ordered from rip-off-inoes. (I have literally no idea why people refused free pizza, but whatever).

People dropped off in general between 1 and 4am, with people disapearing to another room to sleep, asides from the 4 of us that slept in the LAN room.

Saturday

Saturday started with a plan, a plan to consume lots of Bacon and Sausages. Ian, who had only just turned up that Morning, volunteered to give us a lift to the supermarket by blocking everyone else in on the drive, so me & Grant went along with him and grabbed a ton of supplies. On getting back, my Mum/Gretchen seemed to happily take up the mantle of cooking it all, which I don’t think anyone had any particular need to argue with ^^ (Gretchen also did a ton of Eggy-Bread, which I absolutely approve of!). Full up on a ton of eggy bread, bacon and sausage later we got back to games ^^.

Smash Up

Just a 2 player game on this occasion, I played a game of Smash Up with Chris (Handy), which sadly noone else seemed interested in. We random-number-generated our factions, with me ending up with Elder Thing Carnivourous Plants and Chris with Secret Agent Cultists.

It was certainly an interesting game. As I was Elder Things, I spent a colossal amount of time throwing madness cards in Chris’ way, leading to the majority of his actions being spent to get rid of the things. He got a few thrown back at me when he got his star spawn, forcing me into rushing the base to get rid of the thing (Which was annoying, as I had a spores card that could have made it an easy base win for me, but would have kept it in play longer). I made a mistake following that as I played a card that had Chris discard any madness (He had none, which I unfortunately didn’t realise) then shuffle his discards back into his deck – I.e. I gave him back the bloody star-spawn!

Chris got into the lead and stayed there for a good while, but I was able to crawl my way up to the point I could trigger the endgame at a risk. The risk being that I had 3 madness cards (-1VP) and had no idea how many Chris had, when capturing the only base I could without giving him the win meant I was either tied or 1 point ahead – if he had no madness I was screwed. (Well, it would have caused a tie, but Chris was well set to win the next base, particularly as I was out of minions in hand). I also had no idea how much ‘before a base scores’ power Chris had, as the spies have a lot of such cards and can often muddy the waters greatly even when one person thinks they’ve won.

So, I dropped my elder thing (the 3rd or so time, yay for things letting you retrieve from discards and then being on the second run through the deck ^^). I also got spores onto the base so each of Handy’s minions were at -1. Further to his disadvantage was he had a cultist there which he could have buffed by 2 power by drawing a madness – That would have put him into leading I think (except he chose not to because madness) but I had a card that would have been ‘+2 power per madness in opponents hand’, direct counter ^^. Turned out to be a win for me, by a single point (15 to 14 I think, or 16 to 15). Can’t believe I scraped it back as I was a good few points behind up till near the end, ^^.

Command and Conquer Generals: Zero Hour

Moving back to video games, we decided to give Zero Hour a shot. The last couple times we’ve tried at LAN’s we’ve had problems where you get 1-20 minutes in and the game goes ‘synch error’ and kicks everyone. Fortunately Dave, Master of Daves, had a copy with a patch that fixes this and after a couple tests to make sure it wasn’t a trick got ourselves into a 5 player game (+ 3 AI’s).

In our first game, I played the USA Super Weapon General, while the others went a mix of China and GLA (I don’t think there was any other USA). My plan was simple, build ridiculous amounts of defenses (Emp patriots ho!), 6 or more supply drop zones and 3 airports filled with aurora alphas. The reason for my turtling with turrets was purely because everyone was whinging before the game that USA Super Weapon General was OP and I assumed I’d get rushed.

Nope. Actually I got totally ignored. Chris A was the first to attack me, dropping GLA tunnels in my base. They mostly just got screwed by my turrets, but he did get at least one in at the back making me half kill one of my buildings in killing it with an aurora alpha (I had literally 0 infantry or tanks). People also used general powers on my first airport a few times to destroy it, although they left my other 2 alone (Presumably they just didn’t know where they were) – an odd choice particularly as one was barely defended. Also going ignored were my supply drop zones, which pretty much meant I could afford to replace every aurora I lost.

Towards the end-game, the other players were having an intense war, and I bound my aurora-alphas’ in teams of 2 to numbers 1-6 and just played poke the strongest player. As noone teammed up or let up agaisnt one another to attack me, this meant everyone got wiped out fairly quickly, leaving me the win. Apparently USA Super Weapon General really is OP (Not that I built any super-weapons)…at least when you get left to your own devices. (I mean Chris A did attack me a few times, and I think a group of about 6 tanks were sent my way at one point, but well…they needed to do more than that when I had 3 times as many base defenses as anyone else).

Game 2

Next up, on account of the whinging, I avoided USA altogether and went for the China Nuke General (Not that I built any superweapon Nuke’s…I really don’t pick very smartly). I got my base built and..well then I got my ass kicked by the AI next door playing the GLA Toxin general, as apparently toxins > gatling turrets. This hit my really hard and lost me ~1/3rd of my stuff, before Dave also got annoyed from their other side and wiped them out. As I rebuilt a bit I started pushing at Dave, as letting him get too strong as the China Tank General would have been an emporer overlord death for all.

We possibly pushed against each other too hard, as following Chris A’s elimination (No idea what it was from) we got ourselves mostly taken out too, except I had a second base I was building up so Handy wiping out my first was only a setback. I also set up a third base and made a ridiculous amount of hackers that I spread around to keep myself rolling in funds, so I could try and build enough gatling tanks to beat his ridiculous mini-gunner armies (China Infantry General). Unfortunately for me, he did his due and kept knocking down my main (2nd main anyway) bases force despite his war with Ian, who was the only other person really still going properly.

A shock reentry on the field was Dave, who apparently still had a black lotus running around, which he used to steal my command centre for a fresh start. He swiftly took over the centre of the map to start building up anew (There was resources to farm there whereas the sides were pretty much empty). This wouldn’t bother me, except when I moved my secondary army up to try and hit Handy, I realised Dave had built a load of gatling turrets on their move route and I lost a ton of stuff before I realised it was just getting slaughtered.

Next up…Handy defeated Ian. It was pretty much GG there, and in another half an hour or so of benny hill escaped from me/Dave he finished off the last of our stuff for the win. No idea if we could have beaten Handy had we worked together more (Me/Dave that is) but he controlled a hell of a lot of the map ^^. Had a fantastic time though, C&C Generals is just about my favourite RTS game of all time!

Galaxy Trucker

Also on Saturday we got in a game of Galaxy Trucker, with 6 players. Its’ a 2 to 5 player game, but tacking a 6th on just meant I had to use different ship boards to everyone else, and that we wouldn’t be able to do a 4th round (As there just wouldn’t be enough pieces, though that could be fun ^^).

One of the big problems with Galaxy Trucker is experience-advantage. As such I suggested that if me or Rich were winning at the end of a round we had to deal with a rough roads card the following rounds. In the first year however, Ian managed to take the lead by but a credit or two over Rich letting him get away with no penalty. In the second year, with me somehow only screwing up a little playing the ring-ship, I somehow got enough points to be leading, and got myself stuck with a rough roads as well as confusing ship board for year 3!

In our final year, things got a bit more interesting as both Rich & Handy opted to play alternate boards too (Rather than the boring space-invader-ships everyone else was running!). These were the base game alternates for round III, which is to say the Enterprise ships (3A). There was a fair bit of unfinished-ship syndrome this year (Though I suppose the same was true for the earlier years, but I suspect it was lack of tiles rather than experience this time). I was playing ship IIIC, which means I get no centre module and ended up with barely any crew (Which apparently was thanks to Ian having ridiculous amounts), though I managed to build my ship with again only one piece messed up – Its’ a really fun ship, as the edges all wrap around so you have to leave spaces for turrets/engines and you get to be all haphazard and silly in building it ^^.

In the race part of that 3rd round, lots of cargo-gaining opportunities came out earlier, and I dropped out with 26 value in cargo (So I had to sell for half) under a gamble that enough bad cards would come out to kill the points for anyone left in the round. Some pain did occur, particularly to Handy and Ian, who’s ships practically distegrated, but as far as winning for me was concerned, Rich escaped unfortunately near to unscathed (Along with the sole other survivor, out of 6, though I forget who ^^). He unfortunatey also had an utter ton of cargo and took the win! Should have forced rough roads on him damnit ^^ (Mine I should mention was that I’d have to pay 1 credit or cargo per crew before the last adventure card, but as I dropped out earlier, it had no effect). Such a great game though, super-happy to have played it!

I don’t think I did much else on Sat asides from conversation and League of Legends, which I’m apparently awful at in the presense of others (As while my mouse seems to get jumpy in the presence of too much electric, its’ at least partly me being bad ^^). I got sorted out with bed stuff by about 1am but didn’t sleep till 3 or so as Dave/Chris were still up (Well, chris was still up past that, but we had the lights off for sleep by then ^^)

Sunday

Ian did stay over Saturday night, but left Sunday morning, leaving just Myself, Chris, Dave and Grant still around (Lee/Rich being at MCM in the daytime). I’d set up Legendary the night before, but noone seemed particularly interested, so I suggested Myth instead which got much more of a response ^^.

Myth

Opting to play the Archer myself (I’m trying to get a feel for all of the classes), I gave the other 3 the choice of either one of the 4 other base classes, or one of the 3 extra classes I have from kickstarting Myth. Grant relucatantly took the soldier (He wanted the archer, but too slow =P), Chris the Trickster (One of the extras!) and Dave the Apprentice.

After briefly going through how the game works, we chose an initial tile and drew ourselves a chapter quest. The card had some text on it, but seeing as we promptly forgot about it (Leading to the 2 fighters that supposedly started on the tile being clearly dead) we set up 2 lairs (One Arachnid, One Rat) on the tile and got to laying down the pain.

Or should I say, the soldier and apprentice got to laying down the pain, while me and Chris prepared – The archer has to build up ammo while the trickster needs to get parts together, giving them a sort of wax-and-wane feeling. It wasn’t long though before we slipped in on the rat lair and ripped it apart with a powerful arrow from me and some hurty bangs from Chris. This pulled the arachnids from the other side of the tile (Which we’d carefully skirted away from), but at least there was only one lair for spawns now.

Of course, the problem with taking time to prepare and not being an immediate threat generating machine, is that rats, in their infinite cowardess, target you as a priority. Chris’ attack having generated more threat, I got the full force of remaining rats going for me. Worse still was that in a following round when I was tied to someone on threat, I had the lowest vitality, which is their secondary priority…I died. In the meantime, soldier Grant had moved off to the other side of the tile and happily tanked a ton of arachnids, as unlike the archer, the soldier isn’t comically squishy.

Eventually the 3 of them got the tile cleared, and we moved on. The chapter quest told us to move to a 6×12 tile set up as a tavern, and then have a drinking contest – We figured its’ unlikely we’d be drinking while fighting so spawned no monsters and got right to downing drinks in a vain attempt to outdrink the mighty marcus the ready. Each turn we had to roll a dice, and beat an ever increasing TN (2, 4, 6, 8, etc). Marcus rolled 3 dice, the priest in the room rolled 2, and the random fighter just one (like us). The fighter and our Trickster (Chris) turned out to be quite lightweight, out in a couple of rounds, while me, Dave and the Priest lasted a touch longer before being outed on the 3rd round. Marcus scraped through the TN8 round (was something like 2-2-8 on his dice) but Grant did not, leaving us passed out and shamed at our lack of ability to hold a drink, curses!

The next Morning, we moved to another tile and drew a chapter quest to kill the vermin, naturally we took this as being a way for us to pay for having a place to sleep after passing out, and happily went for it, onto a 12×12 tile with 8 rats per edge (32 of the bloody things!) – So many we had to proxy with arachnids and skeletons to make the numbers. To help us out, there were 4 traps on the tile which the quest said we should try to make use of to clear the enemies – Traps normally target heroes, but we figured that was a bit ridiculous and had them targetting whatever was closest instead (After all, they were set to try and wipe out the vermin!, and none of that cheek you!).

We weren’t long in, when a mini-boss got spawned (I forget how), for which we chose Keesi & Og (As Og is a massive Rat, being ridden by Keesi ^^). It looked like he’d hit hard so we focused the mini-boss while the traps shredded the lair (What…it was the closest thing to them ^^). Keesi & Og have 2 defense/health values, Keesi is 11 to hit but 4 health, and Og only 6 to hit, but 15 health – You can’t hit Keesi without buffs, but it takes some time to do 15 damage! Fortunatey I’d build up 4 arrows, and had a buff of 1 damage, and had an orions tears, with us already having got og to 7 health (I could deal 5!)…aaaand then I got murdered by rats. Did I mention that rats suck for the archer? ‘Cause rats suck for the archer.

Somehow, the others managed to deal with the rest of the tile (I was dead so early on I just went and did other things). I’m glad they did, but well, next time I play Archer I think the rats are going to be mysteriously absent no matter what the quests say! ^^.

Soooo…Yeah I think that was about it, =) Absolutely fantastic weekend, and I love doing it once (or more) a year as a way to get friends together and just have¬† good time =)

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