Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Short Side Trip

I still plan on writing up Meridian and my thoughts on super-powered cities, but I think I should first report on yesterday's gaming experience.  My friend Allen was in town from Austin, and staying with his friend Kerry.  Both of them are long-time gamers; in fact both were members of Aaron Allston's original Strike Force Champions campaign back in the day.  Kerry is mostly into miniatures battles now (and Middle Earth) and wrote his own set of rules for minis combat set in Tolkien's world.  Yesterday, they had me over to help stage the Battle of Dol Guldur.

I've never really been much of a minis gamer.  For the most part, minis are props, or in the case of HeroClix or Battletech (which I haven't played in probably twenty years), something to be moved around on a board with demarcated spaces.  This, on the other hand, was classic tabletop minis, with lots of 15mm scale figures, tape measures, and Styrofoam terrain.  I think the last time I played a game like that was 1984, which means not in the entire lifetime of Ryan, Allen's son-in-law and our fourth player.

Allen and Ryan played an army consisting mostly of dwarves and elves, with some human mercenaries, ents, and Beornlings.  Kerry and I were the goblins, who had sheer numbers and a few trolls going for them.  I picked the goblin warg cavalry and let Kerry take the foot. Because of how the other side chose, this matched me up against Ryan, who was equally new to this, and let the two veterans face off.

My side of the battlefield.  My warg cavalary was arrayed opposite dwarven pony-riders, elven charioteers, a unit of hippogriff riders, and in the back, human heavy cav.

The next four or five hours were fun, but very slow fun.  The game isn't particularly difficult, but there are a lot of steps in each turn, which often led to a lot of discussion and clarification along the way.  The command and control rules were especially troublesome, so mostly, I just suggested courses of action my units could theoretically pursue and waited until Kerry nodded.

Mostly, I got my butt kicked, but I kind of expected that.  My little green dudes managed to put some hurt on the elves, but they were mostly there to die hideously and did so in droves.  I wasn't able to stay all the way through to the conclusion, but just before I left, our trolls managed to kill one of the dwarf captains, which was going to cause serious command and control issues for the good guys, so the battle was far from settled.  I guess I should drop Allen a line to ask how it turned out.

Anyway, it was an interesting window on an aspect of the hobby that I rarely if ever partake from.  And a good time hanging out with fellow nerds.

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