First Games Night of 2013

Our first games night of 2013 was a success! Not that I was expecting a failure, but the previous one (almost a whole year before) had two guests. This time we had four, meaning we could fill out the full six players in some games! We were expecting another (so we could have filled out an entire crowd for Kill Doctor Lucky) but for some as yet unexplained reason he chickened out.

We played a few games – started off early in the day with the keenest players, with a quick round of Toy Story 3 Yahtzee with Fred. I don’t think he realised that people were coming round just to play games, but he was telling everyone that they were his best friends and thanking them for playing his game nicely so that was cool. We were thinking about having a demo game of Warhammer earlier in the day, but I haven’t read the latest rulebook in a long time and haven’t had a chance to get it back from whom I lent it, so revised that down slightly to a demo game of Gorkamorka or Necromunda, but a cock-up by Homebase means that our study is filled with a bath until I get time and assistance to fit it. The bath conveniently blocks off all access to scenery, models and rules so that’s completely removed.

Before the main event I managed to teach Chris and Mark how to play Dreadball, as I threatened before – I spectated/refereed and taught the rules as they went along although by the end of the game they were only really checking numbers with me. I got to play against Mark the following day, and although it was only his second game he was only asking me “is it this many dice and that number for success?” and was usually right. He’s even considering picking it up to play against his brother, since it’s so quick to learn and play and as a veteran Blood Bowl player he’s already keen on the small-team miniature games. I think it also helped that he won both games, and managed to make the Forge Fathers succeed every speed test they had to take! Chris too was keen to come round and give it a try again someday. When I’ve got the models painted, I’ve now got a total of five players willing to join in a one-day-league (including myself). It’s just a shame that I only have four teams to go around until Season Two!

As much fun as Dreadball is, it’s only a two player game and I can’t teach everyone to play at the same time so we played a couple of rounds of Thunder Road before more guests turned up. Thunder Road is a fun and fast game based on a Mad Max style race through the desert on the straightest, longest road ever created. It’s really quick to pick up – although the helicopter mechanic was a little bit strange and took a while to grasp before I really understood it, it wasn’t complicated and once I properly grokked it there was no confusion at all. It’s a great four-player game and I’ll definitely request it be brought back another day. The Wikipedia page has the rules available for download, if you want to take a look. I’m not sure whether the game is available anymore, but maybe it’s somewhere on eBay.

I had to duck out to keep putting the kids to bed (and Jen was pretty much unavailable the rest of the night with more of the same) so I missed a couple of childless games of Toy Story Yahtzee, and resolved that the next games night will absolutely 100% have a babysitter. It wasn’t nice that Jen wasn’t able to play in most of the games of the evening, and we had originally planned a babysitter but there was a last minute change of plans.

ultravioletdragonFinally, we started to play Order of the Stick with some of the Shortening rules. I put in Wandering Xykon but left out Backstories, since I couldn’t remember the rules well enough to want to put in even more mechanics. I figured that we’d get Xykon out early and see how that worked. Unfortunately, we all had big and nasty monsters so the first level was entirely unworkable for the whole of the game. For an example, the first monster out was an Ultraviolet Dragon (roll a D12, add your defence of 1, and hope that it somehow gets higher than 18). Other dragons, big Ogres, and named NPCs filled out the rest of the first floor.

It took a while to remember and relearn the rules as we went, and it seemed to take too long before we even started trying to attract Xykon. I wonder if I got some of the rules wrong in the skim-reading, I’ll have to check that later. At some point we decided to just start the dungeon collapse and end the game without Xykon. When that happened the game finished fairly quickly, so next time I think I will assign a time limit and start the collapse at that point. Another reason it may have taken so long to get to the Xykon stage is because we had 5 ½ players, so obviously each person has less time to get at monsters and gain experience.

Everyone enjoyed it, even the ones unfamiliar with both roleplaying games and the Order of the Stick comic, which is always a bit of a worry to me with really niche games like that.

For the first time in a long time, we didn’t play Kill Doctor Lucky – I noticed that we were expecting another player, and it was one of the only games we have that advertises up to 7 players (and still optimistically expecting Jen to be able to join in) so I put that aside until they got to us. They never turned up and Order of the Stick ran on so long (I was enjoying it too much to notice that it wasn’t really any shorter a game…) so Kill Doctor Lucky remained on the sidelines.

Next time, as I mentioned before, we’ll definitely be organising babysitters. I think I’ll make a shortlist of games to bring out for the evening (Zombies!!! hasn’t been out for a while, nor has Talisman) and read the rules in advance. If I put Order of the Stick in again, I’ll really have to read the rules first so I can be more helpful with it and try the Shortening rules properly – I’m sure I missed something or got things wrong. I’m aiming for the middle of April so we can try and attract some people who always seem to miss our games nights.

All in all, an excellent night and I look forward to the next one!