My Day at CelestiCon

On Labour Day weekend at CelestiCon, Edmund and I had a great time playing in two of our friend Alan’s hacks, both Powered by the Apocalypse: Just Sentinels (an adaptation of another hack by James Mullen, Just Heroes, to the setting of Greater Than Games’ Sentinels of the Multiverse cooperative card game); and Mass Effect (a hack emulating BioWare’s critically acclaimed video game series.)

You need to check those out, they’re great. I love the way Alan tweaked the Apocalypse World engine to fit two different settings; it feels like he’s put a lot of thought in the various moves. It  was my second time playing Just Sentinels and both times we produced fiction that went spectacularly well with the original Sentinels of the Multiverse game and comics. The first time we had Legacy, Absolute Zero and Tachyon as player characters (I played Tachyon); this time it was just Edmund and I playing The Wraith and Nightmist respectively.

It was our first time playing Mass Effect but the third instalment since Alan runs it every year at CelestiCon (we attended a different convention on previous years.) We got to meet with three returning players, Nic, Renee and Xander, and they were fantastic.  Everyone was so good at riffing off other players’ ideas!  I had an absolutely wonderful time.



Our first encounter with Iron Legacy

“We regret to inform you that Iron Legacy will not be speaking at tonight’s League of Evil dinner. Legacy, Tempest, Chrono-Ranger and Nightmist will bring him flowers.”

We got two of the expansions for Sentinels of the Multiverse during the holidays, “Shattered Timelines” and “Wrath of the Cosmos.” We’ve faced, and eventually beaten, every villain until the only one left was Iron Legacy, so that’s who we faced for our dinnertime game.

He hits hard, but Nightmist got rid of all four of his ongoing cards at the end of the first round. After that, it was just a question of hitting as hard and as fast as we could; with (heroic) Legacy boosting our damage by two, Chrono-Ranger shot Iron Legacy to tiny ribbons.

We’re horribly pleased with ourselves, and we’ve decided that we can’t play again for a while. We’ll switch back to Mice & Mystics at dinnertime!

RIP Iron Legacy

Today’s Ups and Downs in Gaming

I did a chunk of writing on the War of Ashes RPG today, which was good. I’m in the finicky portion, finalizing everything and tying the game together, making sure the examples of play reflect the final changes, etc. It’s harder for me to write a bunch of small inserts than one long section; I don’t know if it’s like that for everyone.

Old-Style MicrophoneIn the afternoon we had an episode of a Skype-based role-playing game that runs on a biweekly basis (or nearly so). The GM and four players are at one end, Edmund and I at the other, so that a single connection. Unfortunately, the players tend to be constantly talking, so the microphone has trouble picking up our responses; there isn’t always enough of a pause in background noise. We’re used to it, plus Edmund chose to play a taciturn character, so we expect this to affect our input. On the flip side, I made the character most skilled at social interaction, so I actually often do a good deal of talking, so for me it evens out. Usually.

Today, though, was frustrating. About 60 to 90 minutes in, the other four players wanted to go on what I thought would be a short side-quest. It was clearly something they would enjoy, and just as clearly something my character would be dubious about, so they didn’t mention it in character, and as a player I didn’t express an interest in joining. I had just had an extended scene so I was happy to wait for my turn again. They did ask Edmund’s character along, since this PC is a gun-bunny, but he already had a plot thread in play so Edmund declined.

The side trip took three hours, including an extended shopping expedition. It was not rousing for us, but everyone has to have a chance to do something fun, so we let it ride. I do think the GM had not expected this to take so long, but at the end he offered to wrap up the plot thread that had brought us there in the first place, so we cheerfully agreed. Naturally, the secret meeting with our contacts turned out to have attracted an ambush by competitors. I opened my mouth to answer—I play the ship’s captain—and two of the players promptly acted without giving me a chance to even put a word in, ending the scene.

I instantly went from tired-but-agreeable to pissed-off-as-all-hell. I told them this was the opposite of fun to wait all afternoon, be invited to play in one last scene and then be completely written out of it. The GM, stung, suggested that maybe I didn’t like playing via Skype. This “excluded middle” argument only poured oil on the fire, and I hung up the call. I’ve since decided I will wait until I’ve had a day or two to cool off before getting in touch.

Then Edmund served dinner and we played Sentinels of the Multiverse, trying some of the decks from the expansions we recently got: Expatriette, The Scholar, Captain Cosmic, and Nightmist versus The Dreamer in The Enclave of the Endlings. Expatriette and Captain Cosmic were incapacitated soon after we got The Dreamer to flip, but The Scholar and Nightmist managed to hang on just enough to eke a victory.

It was a nail-biting finish: The Scholar managed to clear the last Projection card needed, but we had to make it through the Environment turn in order to win at the start of the Villain turn. Nightmist played the ongoing that lets her use a power to look at the top two cards of the environment deck (I think it’s Astral Premonition), sending a card that would have killed The Dreamer to the bottom! A hard-earned victory in our first encounter with The Dreamer.

That left me time to do some more writing, wrapping up the day the way it had started.

Sentinels of the Multiverse: The Progression

Sentinel of the MultiverseMy husband and I encountered Sentinels of the Multiverse (published by Greater Than Games) for the first time in 2014—i.e., after everyone else—and we immediately loved it. It is a superhero-themed cooperative game, easy to learn and with fantastic replay value.

Also in 2014, we started replacing movie- or television-watching during dinner time with board games instead: some that got a lot of mileage included Mice & Mystics (Plaid Hat Games), Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert (GameWright), Zeppelin Attack! (Evil Hat Productions), Galactic Strike Force (Greater Than Games), Smash Up (Alderac Entertainment Group), and a smattering of others.

But our most-played was hands-down Sentinels of the Multiverse, which prompted us to get the Infernal Relics/Rook City expansion and the decks for heroes Unity and The Scholar, villains Miss Information and Ambuscade, and the Silver Gulch 1883 and Final Wasteland environments. (I’m sure we’ll get other expansions in 2015…)

We usually played with two heroes each, one of us also handling the villain deck and the other the environment deck. We worked our way through all the villains we had available a few times, then encountered them again in Advanced mode until we had managed to beat them all. (I think Citizen Dawn was the toughest in Advanced mode.)

We tried playing with three heroes a few times, but it broke the convenient back-and-forth of alternating turns between Edmund and I, so for our next challenge we decided to start tackling villains using only two heroes. We started during the holidays; so far, Expatriette and Nightmist have beaten Baron Blade in the Realm of Discordia; then Ra and Tempest beat Omnitron in Wagner Mars Base, and Ambuscade in Insula Primalis.

Now we’re done with the wimpy villains—things are about to get tough! Our own ratings for the villains’ increasing difficulty, different from the official ones:

  1. Baron Blade, Omnitron, Ambuscade
  2. The Ennead, Plague Rat, Spite, Apostate, Gloomweaver,
  3. Akash’bhuta, Grand Warlord Voss, Miss Information
  4. Citizen Dawn, The Matriarch, The Chairman

Expatriette Ra_0 Tempest

Update: On 1/11 Ra and Tempest beat Gloomweaver to a pulp in Silver Gulch 1883, and on 1/12, they squeaked to a victory over Apostate in the Ruins of Atlantis, with Ra incapacitated two turns from the end and Tempest ending with 1 HP!

Update #2: Last night Ra and Tempest beat Spite on Wagner Mars Base. Ra was not ideal, Haka would have been a better choice here, but we still managed it on the second try.

Update #3: Epic victory against Plague Rat tonight for Haka and Tempest, in the Realm of Disco(rd). At one point both heroes were at 2-3 HP left, afflicted with “Infection” and Plague Rat was back at full health with half a dozen Ongoings. Then the moment we’d been waiting for arrived: the Distortion “Imbued Vitality” came into play, so all ongoings suddenly had 6 HP and were the lowest villain targets. Haka used “Punish the Weak” and destroyed them all. Shortly before that, Tempest had just managed to put two copies of “Cleansing Downpour” in play. From then on we slowly crept up on Plague Rat, but then we started worrying that we would have to shuffle the villain trash—and bring back all the Infection cards. We finished him on his last card!