Sunday, August 8, 2010

GenCon 2010- Day 4

Day 4 was pretty much just a pack up and go sort of day, with a little bit of final purchasing before getting back in the car for a ride home.

There was one relevant detail, though. I had missed it initially, but one of the guys from the Clan Grand Melee messaged me on Twitter, looking to meet me. Turns out, one of the line developers that wasn't at GenCon saw my angry tweet about the event, and wanted to try to make amends. He sent along a painted 'Mech as a peace offering, and Joseph, the bloke from the game, passed it along. It was much appreciated, and the chance to talk about the game after I'd cooled down a bit was almost as good. CGL seems to like to structure these things like the fiction says they should be, which I can respect, much as single-elimination stings. Apparently there is talk about upping the Battle Value next year to allow Medium 'mechs if there's going to be water on the board. I suggested having a second table already set up and sending downed mechs over there to continue playing, even if they're not eligible for the win, just to keep people from feeling like their time is wasted, and apparently someone in the Powers That Be dug that idea, so maybe it'll be in effect next year. Like I said, I can dig that they want the Grand Melee to be the way it is described in the events, but in tourneys for other systems, even if you know you're irrelevant after losing game 1, it's still fun to get to play the next few rounds.

GenCon 2010- Day 3

Day 3 was largely recovery from Day 2, with a hell of a lot of Malifaux thrown in for flavor. Slept in until about 2, which would be much more luxurious if I hadn't gone to bed at 7:30AM, and headed over to the convention center for a 4PM Malifaux tournament. Now, I must admit, that with some of the other big releases lately (WHFB8 in particular), I was NOT prepared for this tourney. I hadn't gotten a chance to play lately, and I had just skimmed the new book. The local "scene" (which pretty much consists of 4 of us playing occasionally), which I was dominating pretty handily, is missing a couple of the armies that can really give the Ortegas fits, apparently. Round 1 was against the new Ophelia Special Force, which is a Goblin army with a group of goblins dressed like the Ortegas. It's about as silly as it sounds, but damn if they aren't effective. There's a couple of bizarre things going on there (like an ability that can deal damage through solid brick walls with no save or attack roll), but the hardest for me to deal with was the sheer number of models. Malifaux does not have a system for balancing unequal numbers of activations like Battletech does, so being outnumbered three to one just means that you have to show your hand earlier. I got smoked pretty badly.

Round 2 was against a Leveticus warband. He is a seriously weird dude. His entire warband is designed around him actually dying over and over again, and getting put back on the table at the end of each turn. Unfortunately for my opponent, he drew the Slaughter objective, which requires you to kill more Soulstones worth of models than your opponent, and a Master kill is worth 10ss. One of my Schemes was "Family Justice", which requires me to kill 3 models with Perdita's Execute ability. I managed to achieve it on Leveticus alone, which along with a kill from Nino Ortega put him 40 points behind. Apparently because of our game, the design team is going to look at the rules for Leveticus in that context. Hilarious game, but due to secondary objectives, I lost it 2vp to 1.

Round 3 was against a Ramos warband. Playing against Leveticus showed off a lot of the model replacement shenanigans in the Malifaux rules- Ramos is built entirely around them. Combining Steampunk Arachnids into swarms, creating new ones entirely, summoning electrical constructs, the whole game was about weird mechanical things showing up and slowly crunching away at my army. When time was called, the game was pretty much a draw, but he had me dead to rights- lucky for me it was a slow bleed.

The terrain for the tournament was the prototypes of the new TerraClips terrain. It was, in a word, horrendous. Badly warping, with clips that were difficult to play over and were not holding buildings in place. Given Wyrd's attention to quality and the usual level of polish on WorldWorks's stuff, I was appalled. Rumors were rumbling around the tables of it being cancelled, of the designers being angry, etc. There's a posting up on the Wyrd site here: Apparently they are delaying them until they get fixed. Hopefully they'll get it sorted out, since it's also the first time for WorldWorks selling a physical product. The art is pretty decent, but given the quality of the newer stuff in WorldWorks's fantasy line, I'll probably skip TerraClips- for what they're asking, a flat baseboard with a sewer printed on it is pretty weak.

I was impressed with the running of the event. Things proceeded pretty quickly, players were friendly, and Malifaux continues to surprise me with how crazy they can make the rules and still have them interact in convincing ways. I think I'll definitely be looking into the events next year.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

GenCon 2010- Day 2

Friday was a LOOOOOONG one. There had been an Arcane Legions event that I'd wanted to go to, but it was supposedly sold out (found out 20 minutes after it started that it had in fact opened up, but too late), so we spent a lot of the afternoon wandering again. I spent a couple hours in the WoW TCG room- they are doing a weekend-long league that lets you play against anyone else in the league and get swag for playing. I played a bit against other starter-only players, had a pretty good time. I also ended up picking up a Dragon Dice starter and fooling around with that for a bit. Martha and I did a demo for WarGods of Aegyptus, which we were both very impressed with. With Greek armies on the horizon, I might be getting on that bus. It helps that they also have a beautiful Yeti army that Martha is eying. We wound up wandering around town for a little while, killing time getting ready for the big event of the day- the all-night Warmachine tournament.

Tournament-level Warmachine is an interesting animal. It's fast, insanely brutal, and played by a very particular class of gamer. The more I see of it, the less I want to play it. The setup for the tourney was pretty disorganized- we got there 15 minutes early and tried to get registered, and they told us to wait, which led to waiting in line and rushing through paperwork, annoyances that could've been saved if they'd just given us the signup form. There are apparently several different versions of the Killbox scenario floating around- I lost my first game because at this event, premeasuring the size of the Killbox wasn't allowed, and they started tracking it at turn 2 instead of turn 3. What really burns me is that the guy that got the free win off of me ended up winning best overall. There was a huge majority of Hordes players, and I think it really made a difference. Mk. II definitely improved on some of the inequities between Hordes and Warmachine, but I'm sure I was not the only player whose feat was utterly useless for several rounds (my matchups were Trollbloods, Rhulic Mercs, Trollbloods, and Trollbloods). Players bailing out because of the lateness of the hour led to me drawing a bye in the third round, but with the exception of the exceedingly pleasant gent that was playing Dwarves, the tournament was definitely not worth getting back to my hotel room at 7AM.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

GenCon 2010- Day 1

So, since last year, liveblogging from the show floor didn't go so well, I'm taking a moment to collect my thoughts in my hotel room (plus, this keyboard is much nicer than my phone). Today was mostly wandering the vendor hall, plus a Battletech event that I was quite looking forward to (more on that later).

I haven't gotten to sit down and check out demos just yet, today was more scoping things out, and picking up the "got to have it" items. The new Malifaux book is quite lovely (Martha is reading it at the moment, so I haven't gotten all the details yet), and the Battletech Hexpack: Lakes and Rivers is a giant leap forwards from the crummy paper mapsheets included in the current starter box. There was a show special on starters for the WoW CCG, so I picked one up on a whim and played a game- it's a decent "post-Magic" game, not the sort of thing that I'm going to rush out and buy a case of, but it's kind of a fun thing to have kicking around for a lull in the show.

So about that Battletech event. Total bullshit. Apparently the full rules didn't get posted until a week ago on the Catalyst Games forums, which I had checked a few weeks ago. There was very little info on the GenCon registration site, beyond "bring a Clan Omnimech". No weight limits, BV totals, etc. So I happily went to work on my Summoner, ordered some decals, tinkered with different variants, until I was pretty sure I was set to go today. I even emailed the contact address listed on the GenCon website to make sure I had all the details. When I arrived, they had trouble even pointing me to the right place for my event (which was not the table with the sign for the event on it). Once I got there, I discovered that it was really just a qualifier for the actual Bloodname Trial that's going on tomorrow (and I couldn't find tickets for earlier, oddly). Everyone had to pick from a list of five light mechs, none of which I was even remotely familiar with. I know there is a segment of the BT-playing populace that really likes lights, but while it's fun to run around the battlefield 9 hexes at a time, I can't think of a single other thing that recommends them. With armor made of tissue paper, they become incredibly luck-driven. So anyway, after a 30-minute delay, since half the table didn't know the rules that had been added, so everyone had to pick mechs, we get started. Turn one, I advance (walking, not running...) into a river. My mech immediately trips, takes one point of damage, and the right torso floods with water, rendering everything in that section and the right arm inoperable. Turn 2, I manage to stand up, catch a flight of missiles in the chest, and a lucky center-torso crit causes another engine hit, and I'm out. Elapsed time: 45 minutes, 30 of which were waiting to pick a mech and get started. The program specified 8 HOURS, which meant that the whole experience cost me $16. Easily the worst experience I have ever had at a convention. I will very likely not be bothering with BT at GenCon again, unless CGL seriously gets their shit together.