Sunday, February 25, 2007

DunDraCon XXXI!

This is one of the wonderful things I saw at the last gaming convention I went to: DunDraCon 31 in San Ramon, CA. A dude called 'Scott' made this game board/map for A Game of Thrones boardgame. He had plastic horsemen with domino bases that worked very well. All the pieces were huge and easily handled by the players. It looked like it would have been a blast to play. I watched it for about an hour then went on to other things...

The topmost picture is of one of the legends of 1st edition Dungeons and Dragons, Erol Otis! His artistry graced almost every adventure module in 1st ed. D&D and some of his best remembered pictures were in the Monster Manual and Fiend Folio. I didn't have a chance to talk to him, this one guy that was up there was hogging his time, but it was nice to finally, after a couple decades, put a face to the name!

The convention lasted from the 16th of February to the 19th. I was only there for a couple days, the 17th and 18th. On Saturday, I played a great game of Power Grid (first time I played it, and though I keep hearing how this game sucks I couldn't help but have fun playing it). I jumped immediately from coal power plants to nuclear which raised a few eyebrows. I also tried to corner the market on coal which worked until Phase II. Needless to say, I lost, but I had a lot of fun, as usual.

I then played some Risk: Star Wars which totally sucked. Avoid this game at all costs. I guess it didn't help that with one exception I was playing with retards, but even sans retardation, just keep this game on the store shelf. A game cannot exist on theme alone.

I jumped in on a game of Arkham Horror (one of my faves!) and played Monterey Jack, the Indiana Jones wannabe.

Here is the game layout during a critical phase in the game. You will notice that my cardboard pawn is in 'Lost in Space and Time' with the Scientist. Wunderbar! For those who aren't in the know, Arkham Horror is a Lovecraftian boardgame that hangs very close to a role-playing game in that it is cooperative. i.e. all the players are trying to beat the game rather than each other, which I love. I am really starting to appreciate cooperative games more and more. Games like Doom: The Boardgame, Arkham Horror, Shadows Over Camelot (which I experienced later that Sunday and finally bought). I just think they rock. I am a social gamer as I have said before, and there is no more of a party atmosphere than a crowd of good-natured people having a go at one of the Ancient Ones in 1927 with a bottle of whiskey and a Remington rifle. :-)

After that I hosted a five-player game of Caylus which would have been more fun had not one of the players (Tim, I believe) acted like a total ass for the latter half of the game. He lapsed in and out of interest in the game. Maybe he was off his medication or something -- who knows?

The next day I came in to see if my friend Jonathan was going to play some Dreamblade with me, but I later learned, he had already left almost as I was coming in. I played another game of Caylus with this guy named Sam (I think he was Russian due to his accent) and Steve (who was really cool). It was a very long game. Too long. Sam had us whupped and he was taking forever to figure out his strategy and squeeze an extra few prestige points. Overkill...

Oh, I almost forgot, we also played a game of El Grande which I totally lagged at.

Then me and Steve played a game of Shadows Over Camelot with a full house of 7 players. Though this was my first time playing it, this game was total blast. I played Sir Kay and sat back, gathered white cards and finally tried to deal with the Black Knight and then the Saxons. We nearly lost the Grail Quest and after a couple false accusations, the traitor was discovered to be Sir Palomides the Saracen Knight. By the time that game ended it was already past 11:00pm. I wanted so much to stay and play Drunken Pirate Bar Fight, but I had to work the next day (I didn't get President's Day off), so that sucked.

I drove home and wondered when I would get off my lazy ass and finally blog this stuff.

Just so ya know...