Tuesday, September 16, 2014


MY GRADE: Celesticon was an A minus for me (after consideration I upped it from my previous B plus to A minus score). 

At the rate it is going it might turn into my top con over a long period of time. This shouldn't make my other con children feel neglected or lead to fratricide.   

BTW, if you missed my review for Celesticon 2013 you can go here:

Here's a brief summary (by Shannon Mac standards which means long for others) of how it went:
FRIDAY BATTLESTAR GALACTICA BOARD GAME (core + partial Pegasus including Pegasus ship and rules but not Cylon Leader nor New Caprica): a six player game in which we made some distinctions about the sympathizer card (not to be confused with the sympathizer Cylon card). I played Admiral Caine and stayed human the whole time. The humans were lucky with jump tracks and had a win before the Cylons could do serious damage (they did damage plenty, though). For pros we used core plus Pegasus minus Cylon Leader and New Caprica. I absolutely adore the latter but it adds 45 minutes and some people don't like the sudden change.
Final "score" for the first BSG game. 

OTHER PLAYERS: Tye and Mell, Greg G., Thomas C. and Derek.

FRIDAY SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT: the loyalists won and Augustin was a pro as he spotted the traitor even though his father urged him to not do it (it was a very close game in swords meaning one accusation error and a white sword flips to black and we lose). Next time I play I will likely do the squire start to make it more challenging. I've played 8 games now and have won them all so gotta make it more challenging and maybe get the Merlin expansion, too.
One knight is not typically enough to claim Excalibur

Looking good but notice the Morgan Le Fay/Despair card combo. A hard hit.

Not enough knights to get the Holy Grail but I didn't want to say anything so that it would be more challenging. 

Ian and Augustin had a discussion about how awesome they were at spotting traitors, I told Saul this was a humble brag and he accused me of influencing such mannerisms (since I have known them for a time). I thought I was the epitome of humble. No? Renee? Tyson? Frank? Back me up!

OTHER PLAYERS: Saulster “Don't you do it, Augustin!”, Augustin the Pro, Blaine, Dru J. and Kenneth.
"Enter The Dragon". That's right. I went there.

And thus do the catapults build up against us

Augustin catches the traitor to the disbelief of his father!

My character, Sir Kay, half brother to King Arthur

FRIDAY CTHULHU DARK (run by Scott MacPherson who will also be a GM at DOW 2014): the only RPG I played but it was probably for the best as it was so compelling other RPGs would have been quite challenged to match up. Scott brought in music to suit the period of the 1990s which was just a fraction of the personal props he brought to the table. I played a nerd kid who loved comic books and video games and somehow got to use a 1940s collectible BATMAN graphic novel to save the world. I kid you not. A good group of players which added to the quality of the game with themes of loss, regret, making up, nostalgia, the old adage that you cannot go home again and various theories about (CENSORED!) . . . and also (CENSORED!).

 I think I was the only one who did “you know what” at the end of Act I but Scott would have to confirm.

OTHER KNOWN PLAYERS: Morgan H and Jason F.

UPDATE: Scott M. told me that Morgan gave away a fair amount and Jason F. to a lesser degree. So it wasn't just me. Heh.

SATURDAY DELTA GREEN/SPETSNAZ GAME (scenario by Adam Scott Glancy): we had a full house in this one and the group was good enough to stay up for ten hours from 6pm to 4am. I was going to warn them at 3:45am that we were almost at 4am but they were so excited with the climax within the climax that I didn't say anything. A lot of fun and especially fun as two of the people who came by to watch had been in the playtests and privately whispered how this group was doing things totally different from them. I may need to tighten this one a bit but it will still be ten hours if run again (and that includes breaks and setting things up as there are some complex characters and details about this Soviet Union setup).

Here's a list of the 8 starting characters (all played eventually):







Thanks to Adam Scott Glancy for writing this one. Thanks to Shane Ivy for generously giving a prize of the Unspeakable Oath issue which has this scenario within. Congrats to Sean P for getting it. Thanks to Scott M for not needing his priority slip (like myself since I did the early bird) so that we had 2 priority slips to put on the table as prizes for the players. Congrats to Amanda and Dan.
Special thanks to Music Man Andy for doing the music. I'm not sure if I want to run this scenario without you doing the music (it was soooo awesome) so we'll have to talk about mid February 2015 and end of May 2015 as a possibility for future runs (Dundracon and Kublacon).
Lastly, thanks for these people for dropping by for a greeting: Morgan H, Felipe, Tyson, Victor and did I leave anyone out?

MY PRO PLAYERS: Amanda, Dan, Samuel F., Glen, Scott M and Sean P.

SUNDAY BATTLESTAR GALACTICA BOARD GAME (core + partial Pegasus including Pegasus ship and rules but not Cylon Leader nor New Caprica): so this was a game I did not win for those who say I always win this game. Actually, if I won all the time I'd probably get bored with it. That's part of its allure!
I was Baltar in this BSG game.

I played Baltar and became Cylon at the midpoint. Come to think of it I was a Cylon in this game and the third one but not the first. The humans had some good runs and there were some good suspicious discussions as to who the Cylons were. Tyson almost got brigged but in the end Rachel went there and Admiral Sean led the humans to victory with 1 fuel point left. A well played game and it was great to teach another person about the board game.
OTHER PLAYERS: Rachel T., Sean N., Tyson F, spawn of Tyson

Blurry pic. Fuel at 1 and food at 2 once the humans won the game. No doubt Tyson will take all the credit for that win. Heh.
SUNDAY TEKUMEL LARP: the husband/wife team that runs this did and awesome job with another LARP that I experienced at Dundracon 2014. Here's the link:
My character's name

I had only heard about Tekumel from Old School gamers but never saw it offered at cons. This LARP was my first experience and T. and Danielle did a wonderful job in introducing the fifteen of us to the wonderful tapestry of a non Anglo-French fantasy setting.

My bureaucrat character had a generational dream of almost 300 years completed after a great amount of brokering deals. I appreciate that T. took us aside individually and asked us what we were seeking. I wanted intrigue and roleplaying more than combat and gambling/drinking. I liked the little details such as finger snapping over applause, the strange clock noises made at every hour and the whole economical setup with the vanilla liquor (like tap water to us but sold for wealth in other provinces far away and most of the aristocrats didn't know its value).

OTHER KNOWN PLAYERS: Brian and Emily; Jeff D., 
MONDAY BATTLESTAR GALACTICA (core + Pegasus rules minus New Caprica + Exodus with Ionian Nebula, some cards from Exodus and Crossroads and tokens from Daybreak): Mike H. got us started in a BSG game that had Exodus expansions such as the trauma tokens, The Crossroads and the Ionian Nebula. I played in one of his games two years back with said setup but we never got to see the latter two in action simply because we (as in we the humans) got wiped out.
A really tight time for humanity. The only good thing was that we were close to jumping so we delayed while handling a variety of concerns.Notice all of the colonial ships in one space. We moved them there b/c we had so many fleet actions in one jump phase that it was our only option to protect them.

I was hoping to airlock someone with Calli's special skills but not this time.

What was amusing was the player who started as an admiral was under suspicion immediately and almost got brigged yet during the entire game he was never a Cylon. It turned out that we only had a friendly Cylon Leader the first half of the game and then Judy and I went Cylon at the Sleeper Phase. I was still admiral and waiting to betray the group when they XO(ed) me by killing one player with my special skill and then revealing as a “Frakkin' Toaster” but Judy had an event she played after Crossroads which killed the admiral. Oops.

The humans had two more on the jump track to get out of there but this card dropped their morale to zero.

The Cylons still won when an impossible card showed up and the humans and Cylon Leader were low on cards so there you have it.

Another close game as the humans were a few steps away on the jump track from victory.
OTHER PLAYERS: Mike. H, Michael, Judy, Mell & Tye.

TEKUMEL DISCUSSION: Just as I was leaving with we ran into Jeff Dee and had an awesome sit down discussion about Tekumel for almost an hour. He was gracious enough to share his vast knowledge with us and that's how I learned about the Tekumel foundation and many other aspects which made me want to play again and maybe even run it.

Arkham Horror with expansions

CLOSING CEREMONIES & OTHER MUSINGS: I finally ran into Art W and Andrew W at the bathroom faucets but where was Nick? Probably hiding in a stall, I suspect.

Amanda seemed to forgive Dan for his hobo murdering moves so that was good. Heh. 

I had my Ipad and WiFi at the hotel so I was able to surf the web for the first part of the prizes until they got to the raffle. Those keeping track will be glad to hear I am zero for four on prizes but Jason F. gave me his copy of a Tekumel magazine (because he already got a copy at a game) so I worked the system to get a prize. Victory!

Most of these shots in open gaming were taken on a Monday. Pretty good activity.
From the gaming blog of Jay White.

Hey, this looks like a full review. Oh, well. Half of you knew.

I ran into Jeff Dee again and introduced him to some people. He shared some more tales and told me that he and his wife would be returning next year so there will be more Tekumel games. He was nice enough to sign my prize as well and then I noticed T. (who did the LARP with his wife) had signed the article and I would have asked him to sign it but he wasn't around.

If that LARP is offered again I'd put it on your “A” list.
I got to see a lot of people and am grateful for such a friendly network which I consider a part of my “gaming family”. We may have our squabbles at times but we eventually make up. I'm also grateful for an agreed creativity that most of us just don't get with the “Mundies” in the mundane world.