RopeCon 2013, part Saturday (MustaJumala)

I was thinking I’m going to be brief about Saturday, but apparently that was not in the cards. Less pics today, because I just forgot to take them.

Hearty breakfast (read: a lot of calories), although apparently the hotel wasn’t ready for the influx of overweight nerds as much of the food was subpar compared to last year. There were a lot more con-goers at the hotel. Perhaps I’ve now completely corrupted the whole scene with my personal need for a comfortable bed.

2.1 Adventures in Going Big or Going Home
or
… well, I’ve got nothing

Saturday morning, I took part in a Barbarians of Lemuria game. Its a Sword and Sorcery game in the spirit of Howard and other pulp fantasy writers. You get your share of strange monsters and rascist stereotypes of native people. Both were prominent.

I had some experience with the game from last year. At first, I was going to play a character with some magic and go against the stereotypical warrior. Then I saw the other players making similar characters, so I started from scratch (which doesn’t take long) and made a warrior. Not stereotypical, necessarily, but someone who can do damage with his mighty axe.

The game itself is not very deep. You hit things and you do your best to make it seem cool, so there’s a lot of leaps into huge monsters, chopping off heads, using the environment to your benefit and stuff like that.

Now, I had a secondary goal. I had promised to take part in the Live Bloodbowl tournament. So, I needed to get out of this game on time. Thankfully, the GM had managed to wrangle himself a spot on the game run by D. Vincent Baker, so he had a time limit as well.

I didn’t manage to kill myself in the game, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. I did leap at the face of a giant sea serpent while seasick, then to the top of its head after it had thrown me down, threw an axe at a native, thereby losing my only weapon (although I did kill him against the odds), and later on I tried to get eaten by a giant worm/snail monster. Admittedly, I did let the red shirts take some of the risks, because if I die, I die like man, in combat, not like a red shirt, in a trap.

2.2 There’s an Actual Ball?
or
The Awkward Sight of Shirtless Nerds

Lauri has some pictures of this, so maybe I’ll edit this later on to add them. We’ll see.

There wasn’t any mention of this on the RopeCon website, but we had knowledge of this beforehand, so we had assembled a team. The team did have a few last minute additions, because of scheduling, but we had a team of four dwarves and a kraken disguised cleverly as our ogre reinforcement.

The other teams were our nemeses, the orcs, the undead and two different hobbit teams. For a single elimination tournament, five is obviously a very inconvenient number of teams. I guess we sort of got the bye for the first round… I don’t know. I couldn’t really follow what was happening. I do know we lost our only game to the orcs (who had… some insider help), but I personally got a moral victory by achieving more takedowns than being on the receiving end, so no problems there. Although, we dwarves don’t know when to quit, so wait until next year, Joonas. We’re not quite through yet.

All in all, too much waiting around. Some players were very good, like the Cute Hobbit (anyone there knows who I’m talking about) seemed to always read the situation very well and anticipate what the opponents would do. Wasn’t enough though. Generally, not really a spectator sport, although we made some attempts of being a more of a spectacle. On the other hand, there’s only so much you can do with a bunch of shirtless, overweight nerds.

Life of a Vorthos
or
Nice Idea, But Not Really For Me

As defined by Mark Rosewater, Vorthos is the kind of player who is mostly interested in the flavor. Keep this in mind. I am not such a player, which you should also keep in mind.

I went to a demo of a game called Serpent’s Tongue. Their preferred web address seems to be www.BecomeMagi.com. Its an interesting idea and I bet there are lots of players out there who think this would make a great game. I’m just not one of them, being more on the Spikey (out there to prove something) end of the spectrum (I probably shouldn’t call it a spectrum, but you get what I mean).

The basic idea is that you have spellbook. Actually more literally than in most games. You insert spells into the book and cast them from there. This involves both verbalizing and in some cases hand motions. This is where they lose me. If verbalizing and the motions had actual in-game meaning, instead of being a simple exercise in reading the cards correctly, I might have enjoyed it more.

The demo put its emphasis on the flavor, so the game mechanics didn’t shine that much. From what I saw, its a game of adversarial reasoning, in other words trying to outthink your opponent by being able to predict how he or she will play the game. I can’t say the tools for this are really there, because I saw so little of the game itself, but I suppose they are.

I don’t think the emphasis on flavor is a mistake. If the game is about that, why go elsewhere?

Again, this is not a game for me, but if flavor is your thing, you shouldn’t let my stance deter you from buying it. Also, I’m not sure they want it publicized, so I won’t put the code here, but they did have a special price for con-goers. If you want the code (which is eligible until August 4th of 2013), contact me. I’ll see what I can do.

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