Origins 2009: Day 4

Saturday began with the North Market waffles that my friend Cory and I had been craving all week. Strawberries and cream topped waffled consumed, I headed to my Spirit of the Century game.

The game was run by David Moore (@vandermore) of The Gamemaster Show and included Mur Lafferty, Chris Miller of The Secret Lair podcast, and a host of friends from Twitter and Balticon. We spent the last few weeks creating our characters online – which was one of the best character creation sessions I’ve been in – and it was a blast to finally get to see them in action.

We each created 1920s, pulp versions of ourselves, recast as fictional characters. Drawing on my time as a newspaper reporter, I created Clayton Berkshire aka Clayton Jones aka The Constant Sentinel. He was a world famous reporter for the London Times who covered the Great War as a stringer and was so horrified by what he saw that he created the secret identity of the Sentinel.

The game went well; we fought against the evil Doctor Van Clamp who want determined to open a portal to hell. He factored heavily into several of our back stories, and it was very, very cool to have the villain show up in a new chapter. We ended up having to cut the final combat down to a quick narrative encounter, but it was a hell of a lot of fun regardless. Plus I got to play with folks I’ve been friends with for years, but never gamed with.

Once we were done with Spirit of the Century, we headed over to the open gaming room to play Arkham Horror with the Innsmouth Horror expansion. It involves the Deep Ones rising up from the depths to invade the town of Innsmouth. What I liked most was that the expansion’s “Deep Ones” invasion track was advanced by having portals “bounce” because they tried to open in a sealed location. Sealing portals is a favorite strategy of ours, so I think this would mix things up nicely.  The other great thing about the game was the people. Mur Dave and I have often geeked out about our respective Arkham game nights but never played together. Geeking out about the game in real time was fantastic.

I had to leave the game for my sole Call of Cthulhu event of the con. “A Night To Remember” was set on the Titanic during it’s tragic maiden voyage. We all played actual passengers on the ship – including the unsinkable Molly Brown – investigating the true reason why the Titanic struck that iceberg. It was a short session, lasting only about two and a half hours, but it was fast paced and rewarded creative thinking. It was a bit odd playing real people in an unreal environment, but once it got moving everything clicked.

With CoC done early I had time to join the Blackrazors for a game of Race for the Galaxy. It’s the card game equivalent of 4X strategy games like Master of Orion or Civilization, with 1-4 players (5 with the expansion) racing to build the biggest galactic empire/republic/trade federation/whatever. It’s not a particularly social game as the is no trade mechanic, but it does scratch that CCG, world building itch with i’m a non-collectible way. I found the resource building/spending mechanic to be a bit frustrating, but that’s probably just because I was tired. I definitely want to try it again.

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