I finally, after almost ten years, bothered to go up to Kubla Con. This is one of the largest board, miniature and roleplaying gaming conventions in America (though certainly no Gen-Con) going on Thursday through through to Monday. Even after the conventions ‘official’ hours rooms of the hotel where the convention remain open and the gaming can continue.
I only ended up going for three days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday was the shortest as I showed up after work, got my badge and looked around to get a bearing on the place. It also meant that most of the official events for the day were finished or at least had already started. I did manage to get into one game, Command and Colors: The Great War, with a few other people. The normally flat hexes were brought to life by some wonderful home made terrain by the person running the game as well as spiced up miniatures, painted up to bring out the detail of the British and German troops and tanks. The game itself was light and quick, though certainly wasn’t exceptionally tactical. I left shortly after that to head back home in ordered to get back early the next morning.
The first event of the day was a homebrew World War II 15mm system made by combining the rules from several other WWII games of the same scale. The specific scenario being played out was Rommel’s offensive at El Haffa so the table was filled with tanks. The armor rules and how penetration worked on these tanks I though worked out pretty well but there were some weird things with movement and during the opponent’s turn there really was very little interaction. The wide open desert terrain which, while historical, also lead to a decent amount of “whose dice are hotter” in order to get desired results as opposed to careful maneuvering. This was especially the case for my side, the British, who by and large just sat upon their defending hill and waited for the Germans to come. After that ended, the next few hours were a bit of a disappointment as I and my friends failed to get into several events. The most disappointing for me was not managing to get into the only 40k RPG being run during the whole convention.
It did mean that I got to then play in the evening a Western themed game called Desperados. This one was a real blast, something literally, as everyone played outlaws trying to get to the bank safe, blow it open with dynamite, and get out of town with the gold. It was far from a tactical game but it was a ton of fun. It also had a great activation system, with every model having a card assigned to it and those cards then shuffled together. When your card is pulled, you active so it means you have to play around all possibilities and not off of knowing that you will go first or second.
Two other games that I watched a bit, but didn’t play were the LARP Vampire the Masquerade and a Waterloo – 1815. The Waterloo game was huge, it have over a dozen people playing it and it took more that 14 hours to complete. And while Vampire the Masquerade certainly isn’t up my vein, I appreciate its focus upon politics and social intrigue as opposed to goofy combat as a lot of LARP tends to do.
I’d planned to stay all night playing games until Sunday morning but I felt that sleep might be a better call so I went home. Luckily Sunday was a bit of a later start. The game I was signed up for then was a historical samurai miniatures game. This I found to be the most disappointing of everything. Despite looking beautiful on the table with it’s painted up lines of samurai troops the activation system was pretty bad. Every unit had maybe a 50% chance of activating every turn, even when the enemy units where right in front of them, or they just needed to walk forward a little bit. Turning around was a pain and every attack involved a ridiculous amount of additions and subtractions to your total roll that was all rather tedious and made the game drag on. After this had finished, after a rather dishonorable victory with running most of our units off the field, several of my friends and I found a free table in the game room and played through Scythe. Despite having played it a bunch of times, I am still terrible at it but I can admit that it is an excellently designed game based almost entirely around skill and with minimal luck involved. I attempted then do do a roleplaying game, the only one that I’d gotten into the whole time, but for a variety of reasons just wasn’t feeling it and went home shortly after.