Monday

[games] Carnage: The Aftermath

Last week was crazy busy (dinner guest one night, book club the night after, two dinner guest another night) and the weekend was uber crazy but good. Carnage Con #9: Carnage from Outer Space. I'll briefly talk about the games I played and then give my overall impression of the convention.

Friday afternoon: Illuminati
I had an interest in this game after reading a book about secret societies for my bookclub. The premise is: You're a secret society and you try to take control of various organizations. You want either nine organizations to be your puppets or to achieve your own special goal. I was the Bavarian Illuminati so I just wanted to have lots of power. If I can remember, I had the Supreme Court, Fraternal Orders and some other groups. I was able to buy OPEC and traded them for the Democrats and Secret Service. Then I bought the CIA and won the game. I won the game! And I won a copy of the game for being the winner! That was an awesome way to start the convention. This game was fun and funny.

Pick-up game: For Sale
I was wandering around the board game room and saw a couple guys playing Commands & Colors: Ancients. I sat down at the table to watch and two other guys asked if I wanted to play a quick filler game. We played two rounds of For Sale in 20 minutes. You start with money, bid that money to buy as much real estate as you can, then sell all that real estate for money- The winner is the person with the most money in the end. It may sound boring but the property ranges from cardboard boxes and sewers to castles and space stations (the artwork on the cards is funny). I will be picking this game up.

Friday night: Battlestar Galactica Collectable Card Game
Not too fun. I love the show but the game mechanics were messed up. Turns aren't clearly defined and random events affect whether or not you win a person-to-person or ship-to-ship fight. The only thing I liked was that the corners were gone from the cards- no right angles ever!

Saturday morning: Arkham Horror
I was interested in buying this game (based around Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos) but after playing it, I don't think I want it anymore. It was way too complicated and took too long. I stopped caring about winning a couple of hours into it and just wanted to kill my character off. Lots of down time while you wait for all the other investigators to do their turns. I would be willing to play this game again, to see if it flows better but I dread the thought of sitting my friends down, spending an hour explaining the elaborate rules and then "playing" for three hours.

Saturday afternoon: Zombies of Catan
This is a variant that someone made up to incorporate the Plan 9 From Outer Space theme of the convention. Your space ships crash on an unknown planet, you need to build human and zombie settlements. The zombies eat the humans because your space ships are fueled by human souls, etc etc. The premise and rules weren't totally worked out (I don't think the game had ever been play-tested) so that was a little frustrating for me. But everyone at the table had a good sense of humor and the game was fun. 3 out of 5 stars (but could be higher once all the rules are clearly defined).

Saturday night: Rise of the Dead, Part 1: The Arrival
This was only the second role playing game I've ever played. I picked this one because it was being run by the same creator/GM as my first one (which was played at a friend's house) and he does a good job of using props, playing music/sounds and getting the mood right. I won't go into detail about the story because they may not make sense (ritualistic human sacrifices occurring all over the planet, a red meteor in orbit around the earth, dead bodies not staying dead) but I had a good time. Role playing games are kind of hard for me because (a) I don't really know what to do and the actions I want to take (e.g. cleaning) might not make sense with respect to my character, and (b) everyone else talks at once and wants to do their own plan. I felt like my actions were frowned upon by some of the other players so I just started to go along with what everyone else was doing. Granted, this time there were 7 of us and the first time I played with only 4. I think I prefer smaller numbers.

Sunday afternoon: Mystery of the Abbey
This game was so great. Like Clue, only based on Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose. Who killed Brother Adelmo? One of the Franciscan Novices? A Templar Father? Maybe a Benedictian Brother? You walk around, searching other player's cells for clues, going to the scriptorium to read helpful books, going to see who the last person in confession was, etc. Every few turns a small bell (which comes with the game- so cute!) is rung and you all have to go to mass. If someone enters a room you are in, they ask you a question but you may put your finger to your lips- signifying your vow of silence (you don't have to answer). You need to be open to a little bit of silliness with this game. For a few rounds we were forced to ask all our questions in chant, like in Monty Python and the Holy Grail when the monks are chanting, Pi-e Je-su Do-min-eeeee. Our questions were like, "Have you seeeen a fat beard-eedddd Franciscaaaaan?" Another time we had to sing "Are you sleep-ing, Are you sleep-ing, Brother John, Brother John, Morning bells are ring-ing, Morning Bells are ring-ing, Ding ding dong, Ding ding dong". All the other gamers in the room were looking at our table, like, "Yeah, that's why we DON'T play that game." Whatever, I thought it was fun. I'm definitely picking this one up.

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My impression of the convention? It was awesome. So so so awesome. Everyone I talked to was awesome and I had a lot of fun. People told me that this is the best small convention they've been to because there is so much going on- board games, card games, historically accurate miniatures, war games, role playing games, live role playing games, video games, painting, vendors, movies and more. There's no way you could get bored or run out of things to do.

After my first day, I came home and told Dollar, "You have to come tomorrow. You have to. You'd have such a good time." He came and played 5-6 hours (straight) of Magic. He loved it. Later he played Pimps of Catan. He got to talk to a lot of people about strategic war games, which he wants to learn more about. The great thing is that everyone there knows so much about games and they'll talk your ear off about it. This game is better than that game for this reason but if you like this type of game you might want to try this or this...

And I had a moment of revelation there. I was chatting with one guy and we were mutually gushing about how great Carnage is. He said something along the lines of, "A lot us gamers are shy. I have a friend who stutters and you know what? It doesn't matter here. He's not reserved here like he would be around other strangers because he knows no one here will judge him." I thought that was really touching. It didn't matter what you looked like or sounded like (although, I wouldn't object to sticks of deodorant handed out to everyone upon registration)- just how you played.

I liked that I could try out all the games I had an interest in. Now I know whether I will enjoy the game I buy and whether or not I'll get a lot of replay out of it.

1 comment:

Shelby said...

I can relate to that gamer's comment about not being judged by other gamers. My boyfriend lives in England and is big into Raw Deal (he's #1 in the UK...RAR!), Legend of the 5 Rings, and a bunch of others. He's run game / comic shops for the past 10 years or so and has played CCG's and RPG's his whole life. I've met tons of really great people through the games he plays (even though I don't play them myself, mostly). Not only are they not judgemental about others physically, but they're mostly just plain NICE people who love to have a good time and make said time good for everyone else, too.