Friday, May 31, 2013


Last weekend I went the inaugural Berserkon Event in Duluth MN. I will say, I went expecting ePic Fail. I had not been impressed with the coordinators communications with the teeming masses, and I was disappointed in a failure to respond to my efforts to make a contact between them and my historical miniatures wargame friends.  But, I was happily disappointed.

This is not to say I don't have complaints, but I did manage to keep myself entertained, primarily with boardgames, and one off indie RPGs.  I will cover that after I gripe. Not a full on rant. I did much of that prior to the event.

I think this event benefited greatly from too much space. Coordination of events seemed poor, but the huge swaths of terra made it possible to easily set up a pick up game for anyone interested. Several events I heard about on Sunday didn't seem to go off.
The price is not competitive with other, larger, Cons. Not a problem for locals, as we save fuel and hotels. But outsiders are paying a premium, and more than they would pay to go somewhere local. 

A three day holiday weekend and you don't take advantage of the third day. Ok, it is Memorial Day, and some might see that as Crass. So pick a different three day weekend if that is your concern. Friday afternoon was a wasteland. I considered creating an twitter account just because I was bored..

Next the miniatures world is larger than GW. LakeSWATT did a nice job with their miniatures event, by all accounts. But, I certainly didn't want to play a tourney when there should be a host of opportunities to play new things. I do appreciate the painting class they put on.. it gave me an opportunity to try blending.. by the schmeer method, as I call it. I don't have patience for the layered method. I ramble..

Things I did do.. and enjoyed..

Artimes Starship Simulator.  This was a hoot,  and it was busy most of the con. For 40 bucks in software, (hardware is another factor, nothing unusual, and your crew can probably provide much of their own..) you can command a starship. Or serve as communications on your friends. Or whatever. That is the price for a crews worth of installations. If you get a chance, try this out.

Power Grid was a pretty decent game, complex enough to be a challenge, simple enough to be approachable.  I would recommend it.

Watched a bit of Standard Action  I had seen the first two seasons on the web, and watched some on a poor screen with lousy sound quality in an nearly empty "theater space" at the Con while I ate and checked facebook. And I crushed a bit on Edda who was there with some other guy from the show.. my inner fan boy found an outlet, for a few minutes, then I drove him back into his Ikea storage cube..

Played a bit of Bare Bones RPG.. late on Fri. The game has a simple, OSR feel to it, with a few add on bobs to push the RPG aspects. The primary mechanic for that is the traits you self assign - one good, one bad, one more for humans (I was human). They added a fate point like mechanic for working them in and playing them up. I took Blind as my bad trait. I was an archer/priest.. I took snap shoots at sounds as a good trait. And Zealot to the phrase my religious texts "Make the whole world blind, that they may see..".  I think I spooked the other players when I threatened the local eldars with hot pokers to purify their souls, but in the end, everyone actually thought it might be a good Idea..

Saturday began with Last Night on Earth.. which was an ok game. I have trouble with a mechanic that lets Zombies act intelligently and gives them options. Might improve the game play, but it breaks my suspension of disbelief.

Painting class was next.. I chose an Eldar from the box, in part because I don't own any, and in part because I wanted something I could approach in a completely different way than the IG I am used to.

     add pic here..

Then I talked a couple guys from the cities into a game of Flash point..  which went ok. I promised I would return after a scheduled game of

Werewolf. I had heard of this and played a game online. Pretty much strictly a social game, trying to suss out which players are werewolves eating everyone else and betting a villagers life that you have pegged it correctly.. Eaten once, Hung Once, Nailed the werewolf once.  An ok record. Werewolves are tricky..

Returned as promised, and played Conquest of the Fallen lands, which was a quick and tricky little game. I was led to believe it was out of print, but that appears to be an error. 

Sat eve got to be late for me. Went to dinner with friends, then went home and cobbled together a kit for demo-ing Song of blades and Heroes. I had been considering doing this, or perhaps Hordes of the Things. I decided I didn't feel comfortable with HOTT rules, which are simple and written for an English professor.  I had loaned my SOBH to a friend, and when I tried to retrieve it, he couldn't find it, so I had tabled the idea. But I knew Sunday had little of interest going. (I think Pandemic was Sunday.. ) So, I dug in my Geek Pile and found another copy, and spent the night pulling figures, and terrain, and printing up Warband rosters, and reprinting them with built in QRFs.  And finally went to sleep around 4 AM, which meant I was late arriving in the AM to Con, which meant I couldn't demo anything before (ah .. that's when that was.. ) Pandemic, so I spent the AM re reading the SOBH rules, which was probably a good thing..

Then Pandemic.. game is good, I had played it before. It is high on my list of cooperatives.. but it is a short list.. so.. not much to say.. Play if you can.. We lost in the end.. with only one disease left to cure..

 And a local chap ran a FATE rpg game he is kickstarting called Time Heroes, a serialized and somewhat silly saturday morning cartoon themed game. This episode was called Rise of the Plushies, and involved trying to stop a time displaced H.P. Lovecraft from melding thousands of animate Cthulhu Plush Toys into a full size Eldar God with cybernetics. I am not sure where the Cyber came into that. But since it did, and since I was a Cyberprincess ala Inspector Gadget.. I eventually got a chance to hack directly into his firm ware. I don't think it was I that ultimately took him down, but, I did insert a bit of viral code called "stop hitting yourself...". I think he would have eventually beaten himself up..

Finally,  I set up my game table and started playing SOBH solo. . The ref from the Barebones game wandered over, and I talked him into taking control of a Warband. I was using my Fractal Cave terrain and Mage Knight figs and the Techno Dwarves were trying to rid the caves of Orcs (me)..

The terrain is my "Fractal Caves" concept.. It was not finished, and looks way too green. I started building it for a battle in the Womb Of Hrihayel, from my Tekumel campaign. I have since toned down the green, and it blends better with the cave formations you see above. They are cast from Hirst Arts molds. I purchased them cast from... hmm. I don't recall, but a licensed seller.*

The demo was successful, though I messed up a few rules and completely forgot to utilize my hero special rules (which grant some auto activation successes), and the Orcs lost, their shaman scampering off into the caves..

So I start breaking it down, as the place is really getting thin. And then I was approached by another gentleman from the twin cities region. We both admitted to being a bit brain dead, but we decided to try another game. He took the Orcs, I took the Dwarves, we cut the Orc Shaman, and several Dwarf warriors to balance, so as to avoid the complications of magic casting. And played a quick game.. It was pretty well balanced, for a bit, but the Orc Poison did it's work and eventually the upended the mounted Dwarf leader, and broke the morale of the few remaining Dwarves..

So two games of SOBH.. And I have a nearly grab and go demo kit assembled.

* I do have a small and growing collection of Hirst Arts Molds. Probably should start using them..