Posts tagged ‘games’

KitCon (or, Behind Again)

Saturday (11/16) was KitCon, the Elgin Area Gaming Leage convention. For the name, I’ve seen it subtitled “Son of FoxCon” (I live in the Fox Valley area. And yes, I actually saw a fox once.)

Upstairs was pretty much historical miniatures. I never ended up playing in any, although I was involved in a test run of one the week before. I’m not violently opposed to them, but I’ll generally choose something else first. Mostly, they tend to have really complicated rules, and people spend half the time looking things up.

There was a game of modern art in the morning, and I think the next thing was several rounds of double-set Carabonde. Carabonde (I don’t know if I’m spelling it right) is a racing game where you flick a colored token around a large puzzle-like track, with rebounding edges on some sides. The other sides are open, and if you go off, you have to stop there. On the other hand, if you can jump off the track and land solidly on another piece of track, you stay there.

The rest of the day got sucked down by a very long game of Age of Renaissance, a game on the scale of Civilization. The rules are generally clear and make sense, but the result is still a very slow game. Even with per-player reference and tracking sheets, certain aspects are in desperate need of computer assistance. Mainly, every technology you buy gives you a credit towards several others; soon, every tech purchase requires several subtractions. Keeping current costs written down might help, but the sheets didn’t provide a convenient space for it.

By the time that was over, the day was pretty much over; I had dinner and left.

D&D Builders and Home Improvement.

So proclaimed a truck I saw the other day. So of course my mind created an advertisement for them:

“Specializing in tunnels, pits, traps, (magical and otherwise) treasure storage and protection, as well as monster housing and training.

Ask for our dragon den special!”

The Take

Sleep forestalled me from listing all the new games I bought at GenCon. So now I’m picking up… For the most part I think there was a general trend towards faster and lighter games, that would be easier to actually play, especially with the less serious gamers.

Diskwars, which I had planned to buy some of as components for a game idea I have ;^) But I found them on sale for $2.00 each, $1.00 each for 10 or more. So I bought what appeared to be all ten basic armies, figuring I should have plenty if anybody ever wanted to play :-)

Vortex, three starter packs. I got these because it’s a pretty neat game (kind of like Magic on a board), and I figured with a couple of starters, I would have enough for a few people to play. Secondary reason was that I can probably hijack the tiles for Harmony prototypes. (Although, Harmony may be going round.) The starter packs were kind of weak; between the three of them, I was barely able to put together three two-army stacks. May be one reason they let you start with a fixed hand ;^)

Quo Vadis?, a , rules-light game that non-the-less gets some good negotiation. And there are still some advanced rules I haven’t tried.

A draft of the new Everway magic system, as free handout from Kat’s game. Still to be looked over in any detail.

Apples to Apples, a nice party game that’s good for a few laughs. Not that I was the only one who bought it. Makes me wonder if any gathering of our friends will be without it from now on…

Fvlminata, and Tali (dice) I already babbled about this, and I haven’t read any of since.

Crop Circle, which I got for free from playing the game, and wouldn’t have bought normally.

Burn Rate

Art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, Otherworld (see below) and Foxknot

De Profundis, next in the ‘New Style’ Line. From the short description, it looks like a GM less Puppetland, with lovecraftian themes.

Maginor, because the bits looked cool (but only because I’d been seeing lots of positive comments about the designer lately, as well.) Reading it over, it appears to be at least a decent game as well.

Virus Alert, a simple, fun little game I tried a booth.

Programmer’s nightmare, because it’s about programming, and it’s by Tom Jolly, of Diskwars, Vortex, and Wiz-War, to name a few.

I think that’s everything…. ;^

Otherworld by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law


Got back from GenCon this afternoon. We actually made pretty good time; no construction or backups in the way. I spent most of the afternoon unpacking and catching up on laundry and such. I signed up for a busy mail list after Protospiel, and even skimming I may not get through it all for a few days.

Wednesday I got into work a little early and thought that if things were clear I might even early. As it was I left over an hour later than I would have normally left. I called Crow to tell her that I wouldn’t be arriving nearly in time and she should just go ahead, but they wanted to wait. Which left me scrambling to get packed and out

And after all that, they were still getting packed when I got there to join up ;^)

So we headed out for Milwaukee. I had dinner in the car, since I had been in a hurry, and since I brought a whole bunch of food with me. Apple, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and some granola bars – I was, in short, well provisioned: that covered most lunches and dinners (there was a continental breakfast at the hotel) for the rest of con, except when I happened to be with other people in my group.

There were no major problems on the trip; except for a little confusion at the exit in Milwaukee, which was rather oddly designed. The hotel was circa 1920′s with a bit of the fancy lobby still showing. It was in decent condition, but certainly hadn’t been kept up as well as it could have. The big plan for the room was to get a suite for six: Me, Crow, Isaak, his friend, Emily, and Doug. Doug, we found out when we arrived, couldn’t make it. Which was kind of just as well, because two of the six ‘beds’ turned out to be a folding couch. kyrielle and Scott were there too, but got their own room.

The hotel was about a mile from the convention center. Which made for a nice walk there and back (one only get’s so much exercise at most conventions… ;^) ) Much of it was through construction, but where the sidewalk was unusable, that half of the street was also closed to vehicle traffic, so it worked. And rumors of rain were greatly exaggerated. :-)

Here is a loose reconstruction of my schedule.


Try to play Quo Vadis?. Found two games, no people. Read rules, and then went off to kill time and eat lunch, since it was probably too late to find something else.

Played Children of the Sun demo. GM didn’t get enough sleep, and had been using house rules at home so didn’t know system. Others in our group reported similarly inappropriate demo games. My conclusion was that the system had some good ideas insides it (which I could mostly take just from the demo) but way too much rolling for my taste. The world hadn’t grabbed me enough to justify a $40 book (or even $35 with coupon.) kyrielle valued it higher, but wasn’t planning to use wholesale either.

Ate dinner and got a brief look at the show floor. Tried to get into Quo Vadis? again with the same result. Waited around for a while, and eventually got into and won a game of Settlers of Catan on the BIG board. :-)

I think something else happened before or after that, but I’ve forgotten it.


Started off in Everway, run by Kat, whom I had played with last year, though under a different system. Some loose similarities in premise, but otherwise great fun. And a really rocking use of a blood bond (warrior’s, not vampire’s ;^) )

That got out early enough to try Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot.. A little like Nuclear War. Not really a bad game, but not really to my taste either. One thing I will say for it is that it draw an unusual number of woman.

Sometime during the day I tried to get into a game of Fvlminata (described more below) I was the only player at this time, even though the others were packed. *shrug*

I think this is where I got a second glimpse of the show floor before heading on to a Castle Falkenstien(sp?) game. Not sure whether the CF has no dice, stats, etc, or if the GM just wasn’t using them ;^) Interesting alternate history, though a little contrived, as in the middle of the game everyone remembered all the really important stuff that they had done before.

Did a whirlwind tour of the art show in the last minutes before it closed.

Isaak showed us Apples to Apples. We estimate that Isaak was responsible for over a $100 in sales to Out of the Box Games the next day…


Finally played Quo Vadis?. I brought Crow, Isaak, and friend with me. ;^) One real player even showed up a little late. It’s a nice quick game, so we played three times in two hours, which were generally pretty fun.

Continued the Roman theme with Fvlminata (that’s latin, (at least think it’s latin…) so it’s ‘Full-min-ah-ta’) Which comes from Terra Fvlminata, (‘earth armed with lightning’) the roman term for gunpowder. Well, at least in the game, where Rome has gunpowder. ;^) I won’t tell everybody to buy it until I can actually read the book, but it looks promising. -Magic works the way the romans thought it did. -One of the designers is an academic type who did the historical research. -Die rolling is partially based on a roman gambling game. -Attributes include humors (though I have yet to see what they do) -Skills are organized by the god that governs them.

Played Crop Circle Neat concept, pretty designs, kind of a boring game. But I got a copy for winning. If I ever want to cut the cards out… (I think they are still in a cheapass style prototype phase.)

Finally got a chance to go around the show floor. Decided to skip a game of Unknown Armies (now apparently in second edition) to properly finish out the floor, since we were planning to get early the next day. Bought lots of stuff. Have to do list later, since it’s getting late.

Tried to get into a game. People had sold last copy of game, and didn’t have any to play. On the way back, tried Burn Rate, and bought it.


We all had breakfast at a restaurant by the hotel. The some people left, and the rest went back to buy some stuff. Myself, having done quite the run of the dealer’s hall yesterday, went back for a better look at the art show. Especially Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, who I really wish had a book… because I like way too much of her art. ;^)

Random Coolness

Two gamers are getting married. Do you really think that they would have a normal reception?




Still no video.

Feeling fine, but still didn’t go to martial arts class, since I didn’t figure bodily contact was the best thing to do while I’m still coughing.

Got back to Linux for the first time since Protspiel. Figured maybe it had been long enough to hit ‘update available packages’ and then waited ten minutes for the list… It seems the next major release of my distribution came out while I was away, and they thoughtfully allowed people to download the new material. Unfortunately, I have a dial-up line, so I now have a package management tool that is nearly useless because it wants to download what I can only guess is several hundred megabytes of new or revised programs. CD version is on order. Maybe I’ll even get a few things out of it: working ICQ, sound, and extra trackball buttons ;^)


Still no video.

Games club: The Neverending Night of The Living Dead. Played a game called Zombies! Better than the card game Vampire Zombies From Outer Space (or something to that effect) but it still has some serious problems. Dead cards were an issue, (and I’m not talking about the theme, I talking about useless) and the game Just Doesn’t End. After about three hours we decided that it would end at midnight. About quarter to, I managed to kill zombie #25, despite the efforts of at least one (apparently masochistic) player. ;^)


So, Thursday night, I headed out for JenCon. I haven’t been out that way in a while, and I don’t think I’ve been to Cornell since last JenCon. Apparently, it’s been long enough since I have gone south on Randall Road that they have been able to build and open a Walgreen’s. That would make two in walking distance, although the new one would be a bit of a hike. And there is a Pier 1. I suppose a lot of national chains have been going in out there, but it simply seems that there is something inherently wrong about having a Pier 1 so close to my house. The people of Dominik’s don’t seem to mind closeness – they also built, and apparently opened, a new store since I’ve been by, what can’t be ten minutes south of their other store. And probably not ten minutes north of another relatively new one.

More than five minutes from my house… ;^) The Aurora Airport is building a new hanger, and I’m still getting used to the stop light on route 30 not too far away. Clinton, IA seems to be done with their not-entirely-good-looking wavy decorations, although that may have been finished last time I was through.

Cornell isn’t standing still either. They had one of the large T-cranes set up to work the Armstrong expansion, which looks to be rather tall. There was also signs of construction around Alumni Hall. A sign by the library (itself renovated only a few years ago) proclaimed a renovation of the walkways. Looked like they were going to repave the central walkway in brick, put in a more defined plaza in front of the library, and add a bunch of cris-crossing pavement around or through other places, such as ‘the rock’ and the flower garden between Bowmen and King Chapel.

Despite my would-be traveling companion backing out at the last minute, I still stayed with the friends she had thought to make arrangements with. In one note of stability, their cat is still not properly potty-trained, and the subtle difference between a litter box and a sleeping bag escapes him. ;^)

JenCon itself was great fun. The latest edition of Toon Wrasl’n was generally non-stop laughter as usual. (Bill Clinton escaped into the white house, but the proximity of the volcano, after the volcano was thrown there, may have corrected that) Little Fears was mostly running away, although we ended up burning down the monster’s house, beating up Cthulu, defeating Venom, and getting into lots of trouble. ;^) I didn’t get into Pokethulu as much, although the game has some good parts. It was slightly problematic for the premise, however, when the other players decided fists worked better than pokethulu…

Oh, and I legitimately won the booster draft Magic tournament this year. (As opposed to last year when I came in second, but first forfeited his prize on account of being the person running the event.) I’m starting to collect too many cards again, although I’m doing it a lot more cost-effectively. Maybe I’ll sell them cheap next year, if I go.

I took a pass, due to the hour of night, on the 35-person 1st annual senior challenge (Wraith, using D20, with THAC0, in the year 18something, and 30 pre- generated characters – a number that was extended due to popularity.) People got separated into factions, and then distributed character characters among their faction. The theory was that the king was going away, and a replacement was needed. The game was set up as a quasi-LARP, and the premise sounded mostly political. However, from what I heard, bedtime wouldn’t have been a problem, as the fighting started early and the game essentially became last ghost standing.

A group of alumni from Colorado came back to demo a role playing game they are working on. I’d never use the system (large die pools of twenty sided dice) as is, but there are interesting elements, and I don’t think that the urban fantasy setting has been overdone, unlike many other settings. Well, fantasy in general has been overdone, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping it’s popularity. ;^)

There wasn’t much of anything that interested me Saturday night, so I decided to head back early so I could have all of Sunday for other things (not that I’ve accomplished much.) The trip back was mostly uneventful, except for one thing. Right after getting back on route 30, I failed to notice Libson (not a hard thing to do) and it’s local speed limit. The Libson police car (I wonder if it is THE police car) did not, however fail to miss me.


I finally went out and asked if there were any local gaming groups. One local shop has a few game going on – pretty much the same game every week at a certain time. That’s where I met my current circle of local friends. But we tend to do one RPG for a while, and then change when it dies out. And they are pretty scattered, mostly southwards, and so tend to meet about 45 minutes. And it’s still pretty much just one night of gaming; much else is hard to manage at those distances.

Turns out there is a group in Elgin, probably half as far. It is a larger group; there seems to be a regular campaign upstairs, but random gaming downstairs. We played Titan (I think), Fossil, and I watched a game of…

Hamster Wheel?

It is a big hoop or wheel, with twelve or so ‘ledges’ inside. Players take turns putting variously shaped pieces on the ledges, such that a new piece must be ‘before’ any previous one. The weight of the pieces slowly but surely rolls the wheel forward, until some pieces at the ‘back’ of the wheel fall off. The current player then has to take those pieces. The object is get rid of all of your pieces. Odd name for a game. But I guess you get the people going “What the hay?” to look at it ;^)