Saturday morning, I get off of work at 7 AM. By this point I’ve been up since 5 PM the night before, and normally would be going to bed in an hour or so. Instead, I run home, feed the kitty, and grab my stuff and head over to Tim’s to hop in the Jeep and head to Platteville!
I’m unable to really sleep on the way, being a light sleeper. It snowed lightly the night before, so the roads are a little snowy in parts, and the highway has only one good lane for some stretches, but the weather is much nicer than last weekend. 105.1 cuts out between two glacial mounds. You can tell when you’re in glacier country: they have small fences to keep the glaciers at bay.
We were spurned in our attempt to check-in early at the Super 8, and headed off to the con. We got slightly confused finding the student union, our google.maps directions were wrong and had it on the wrong street. Tim ended up driving the jeep over several wide sidewalks that we thought were roads. We got our badges, looked at the funky Platteville student union, and looked around a little bit.
There was a room full of people playing Halo. I tried to shark them, saying “oh, is this halo?” “can I play?” “what are the controls?” Sadly, none of them jumped at the fresh meat, so it was just me and Tim. I played lightly for a while, hoping to lull onlookers, but when it was clear they were more interested in watching some World of Warcraft spoof video on the internet, I kicked Tim’s butt, with a come from behind comeback.
I then got to play a real game, where I lost 25-4. Sadly, my fashionable bright pink space marine stood out on the map like a sore thumb, and I could hardly see my greyish opponent. He may also have been better than me. It was a good game, and I had to work for my kills, so no harm done.
Event Win/Loss: 1-1
Total Con Win/Loss: 1-1
Total Hours Without Sleep: 18
Tim and I wandered around, met up with Rebecca from our Madison playgroup, and played You Have Been Sentenced, a game where you make sentences out of randomly dealt words or phrases. I won, beating Tim by only a handful of points. I was not impressed by this, which may have been partially because of the lax standards of the group. (Something in Rebecca’s sentence about picher’s mounds dripping soap on babysitters. Sureal and grammatically accurate, but far too nonsensical.) Afterwards I admitted I was a writer, and had a secret edge.
Event Win/Loss: 1-0
Total Con Win/Loss: 2-1
Total Hours Without Sleep: 18
At some point around here, breakfast was had. I had a cheeseburger, and Tim and I split a 32 oz. soda, which is to say, I had a 32 oz. soda and shared some of it with Tim. The dealer room is checked out, and I buy Betrayal at House on the Hill for $20. Someone is jealous of my purchase later.
Shadowfist: Whirlpool of Blook
Don’t blame me, that’s how it was printed in the Platteville Schedule.
We’ve got me, Tim, Rebecca, John (Monnett), and Jim (Sensenbrenner) for our draft. Jim TOs, but particpates in the draft pool so there will be more packs. He declines to rare-draft, building a Hand-Monarchs (I think) deck. I suggest we play a crazy five-way exhibit game at somepoint, this does not materialize. We test Jim’s new foundation draftstack, which seems to be a resounding success.
I go for Architects early on, with Hand and Shadow Syndicate as possible secondaries. I get four good Syndicate cards (Salary Man, Inconvienient Debt, 2x Wall Running), but after the SSG packs, it’s not enough. I end up drafting far more good cards than I need, and end up packing a 55 card mostly architect deck with a splash of Hand, running 2 $10,000 Men, Elsa Winterhagen, a Conversion Drone, 2 Bonechills, a Blood Eagles, a Leaping Tiger Troupe, a Desdemona Deathangel, and a Redeemed Pirate for hitters, with a Napalm Belcher, 3 Buddhist Monks, 2 Plasma Troopers, Hammer Harrison, and new Dr. Curtis Boatman in the slightly-fearsome spot, with a nasty Orange Sage, Rise of the NeoBuro, Blood of the Valiant, 3 Imprisons, 2 Expendible Units, an Arcanovirus, and a Wave Disruptor for support. And also a MegaTank.
Rebecca was playing Architect/Jammers, which really surprised me since lots of Architect cards were coming back to me, and I was utterly convinced there was no other archie at the table; many of her cards were from SSG, so it wasn’t just a last minute splash, either. Tim had Ascended and Four Monarchs, and felt unsure of his deck capabilities. John had Lotus and Dragons.
Game One sees an early Rise of the NeoBuro, little discarding on my part, and me generally running away with the game. Boatman and the Orange Sage (both brought into play thanks to Smiling Heaven Lake) and two Guard Towers make attacking me a difficult prospect. The turn I win, I ponder for a few minutes, and Tim remarks that “that’s Willow’s Game Face. You can tell she’s going to win this turn.”
Game two starts with me horribly hosed for resources; I discard roughly half my deck before I’m rightly in the game. Tim and Rebecca make some bizarre attacks, such as Tim attacking right to me when I have one site and nothing to defend it with (giving someone else the site soon after), and Tim attacking Rebecca when I have an undefended site with two body left. Everyone burns for power but me. I get out a Cave Network which leads to cheap resources, and I’m finally in the game. John is winning the game and builds up strong; he has at least two FSS, one of those lotus evil temple foundation sites, and another non-FSS. He has a Flesh Eater, a Demon Whiskey, a Big Bruiser, and another character or two. I get out a couple of Plasma Troopers, one with a Buro Godhammer and a $10k Man and start selectively whupping ass. A good burn gives me a Rise of the Neoburo + Leaping Tiger Troop to dig for the play of the play and take, and then the superleaping Tiger Troup plus a Hammer Harrison take Tim’s site that noone can get in the way of.
Event Win-Loss: 2-0
Total Con W/L: 4-1
Total Hours Without Sleep: 24
Tim and I go check into the Super 8, I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of the hotel room. It’s clean, doesn’t smell bad, and has reasonable accomodations for the budget minded traveler on the go. I give it 2 stars. We get dinner at Subway; my tummy is feeling a little funky, and I only get a half sub- and a 16oz soda.
Shadowfist: Who’s the Big Cheese Now?
Jim and John have been busy demoing; we have two new players and one of John’s old play-buddies who hasn’t played fist in 5 years. Everyone plays, we have 8 players, and 2 four player games going at a time. I repeatedly and erroneously refer to the event as the world championship, and am repeatedly corrected.
I’m playing my ‘Nazi Cheese’, which is big-ass architects (paid for by burns or Dangerous Experiments) with a splash of dragons for Golden Comebacks and Final Brawls. (Annoying weenie buildup seems to be very en-vogue in Madison right now.) It’s a nasty nasty deck, and perhaps a little slow to get going, and the Dangerous Experiments can be a notable anti-combo with the Dragon splash if they aren’t timed correctly.
Me (Nazi Cheese), Mike? Matt? (Purists, borrowed from John), Andrea (Dragons, possibly a modified 10kB starter), Rebecca (Monarch Good Stuff).
Matt hasn’t played in five years, Andrea learned less than two hours ago, and Rebecca is the Madison playgroup’s weakest player. I may be sleep deprived, but my kung fu is strong, and I’m a big shark in a small fishpond. I try to give genuinely good unbiased play advice, and I think I do a good job, but my early Char leads to quick board domination, and a fairly effortless win. Rebecca made a clever play with a Mark of Fire to try to take a heavily damaged site, but I thwart her with a 1-pt Aerial Bombardment and take it for myself. Meanwhile, at Table 1, Jim’s monkey deck wins the game.
Me, Jim (Monkeys!), Mike?/Matt?, Total New Player (Lotus Hoods, borrowed from John.)
Matt/Mike? and the new player are early leaders, I keep Jim in check with Final Brawls. Char weakens Matt/Mike’s Father of Chaos enough for someone else to finish it off. I manage to get a burn in and plop down a Elsa Winterhagen; despite having the fewest sites, I’m a popular attack target. The new player ends up supporting Jim a lot, and making some attack choices I was extremely skeptical of. He did have a well-used White Disciple and a Floating Restaurant that got lots and lots of mileage. I spend most of the game playing spoiler for Jim, keeping his mad monkey machine in check. Elsa attacks Jim, in an attack I’m sure will work and get me ahead. Jim Potlaches it to Mike/Matt, who wins a few turns later on game points when time is called. At table 2, John wins his game. At that point there’s 4 1-1s, and 4 0-2s.
Me, John (Dragon/Lotus, with a loose ‘Barbershop’ theme. I didn’t get it.), Jim, Mike?/Matt?
We all know this one is the final; some discussion about whether or not it should have a time limit, but some people have 9 PM games to get to. A game with lots of good plays. Jim has Funky Monkies, Brass Monkies, and Wild Gorillas. Matt/Mike? mostly plays defensively. I Dangerous Experiment, with only one Dragon resource in my pool, 2 FSS, and not much else, fully expecting my resource to get toasted, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Jim does something unexpected: he plays a Potlach in response, forcing John to toast one of my sites to prevent me from being at a play-and-take. I drop an Elsa Winterhagen and get a burn for power. More buildup. I’m at 2 sites, 1 bfv, with an Elsa. I play and drop an Agent Tanaka; Elsa and Tanaka go for Jim’s site, defended by a Brass Monkey and some 3 or 4 fight character. Jim has a 3 fight Bloody Horde and Mike/Matt has a Amulet of the Turtle equipped Paradox and a Void Sorcerer. Void Sorc blocks my Elsa, Paradox blocks Tanaka; I redirect the Void Sorc’s damage to Paradox to kill it during combat damage. (Rules discussion over whether this works with seperate Ambush timing windows. Consensus is that the interceptor is still dead, so Tanaka keeps attacking.) John doesn’t intercept, since it would only do 3 damage to Elsa and 3 to something of Jim’s. I’ve now got a 4 fight Elsa and a 3 fight Tanaka; I can’t remember Jim’s interception, but I ended up with a dead Tanaka and a point or two of damage on the site. I seem to remember Tanaka being the one doing the site hitting, so I think I might have final brawled right after the attack.
(Edit: Thanks to Jim for the story of what really happened: he had a Brass Monkey, who kills Tanaka, and a Marmojet which slows down Elsa slightly.)
Golden Comeback brings back Agent Tanaka. No other character on the board is bigger than 4, and Jim’s site (Monkey House?) has 4 body left. Mike/Matt? reveals a Stone Garden, of all possible sites, which I Whirlpool. Never thought I’d Whirlpool a Stone Garden for the win.
I jump up and yell “Who’s the Big Cheese Now?” loud enough to startle the whole room. Booyahs are said, prizes are handed out (I got Cheese. Jim got Cheese for Best Theme, and one of the new players got Cheese for the ‘best-combo’ play on a Die on a Evil Twin of the Queen of the Ice Pagoda, with some other convoluted things in there.), photos were taken.
All hail the Big Cheese.
Event W/L: 2-1
Total Con W/L: 6-2
Total Hours Without Sleep: 28
With exhiliration and lots and lots of Mountain Dew in my soda, I have a second wind. Too tired to just go back to the hotel and sleep, Tim and I hang around and see if there’s any games worth playing. They’re watching anime in the video game room, and tell us we can’t play video games. They weren’t using all the TVs, so I’m not sure what the problem was. I didn’t press the issue.
John was playing in a game of Heroquest (the RPG by Robin Laws, not the Milton Bradely board game), and they needed another player, so Tim and I decide to give it a go. I had previously played Heroquest somewhat briefly but was not terribly impressed, but I’m still willing to give it a fair shake.
The GM (who eerily reminds me of Hunter, one of my former Madison comrades-in-gaming) spends about an hour describing the culture and situation of the local area (Orlanth), and Tim and I exchange knowing glances of Simulationism. I’m mostly bored. Characters are assigned, there’s three male warrior types, and two woman types. I take the Matchmaker. The scenario involves a inter-clan feud and a marriage arrangment, so I’m actually in an ok position (I reason), despite not getting to play an Invincible Sword Princess. I spend five minutes searching my character sheet for a skill that can remotely be justified for combat use, and settle on “Butchering.” I have personality traits like “Motherly,” “Kind,” “Caring,” etc, but also “Nag” and “Unmerciful to Enemies.” I go for the twist, and play the most unpleasant Matchmaker ever. Tim (my boyfriend), who is playing my in-game husband, is the brunt of my abuse. I actually enjoy myself a little bit, berating and hitting people with my spoon in character.
A combat breaks out, with clanless bandits attacking. I have no combat skills, and it turns out the other female PC has actual useful spells like summoning an Earth Elemental. I come up with a cool plan about threatening to curse the enemies, the GM says it’s not a very gutsy action so I end up going at the end, and warns me it might not be too effective at charging barbarian raiders. (I tell him, ‘you haven’t heard my curse yet,’ and smile.)
I threaten them with sterility and the withering of their loins with a fiery monologue; with a good roll I scare a good portion of them into fleeing. (I figure an essential part of a matchmaker’s duties is to cajole men into doing things by threatening to deny them the possibility of sex. And I also had “Aid Contraceptive” as a (broadly-defined) magical ability, so it was by no means an idle threat.)
My interest in the fight quickly dwindles as it goes on; I assist Tim by berating him with my Nag skill of 4 W 2. The fight takes far too long. With boredom and exhaustion catching up to me, Tim and I say we’re ducking out, and given the time the GM decides to give up the ghost too. He explains the rest of the plot of the scenario, which was really detailed, but far too long for a 4-hour con game at the pace he was running. Also, it seemed that my character didn’t really serve any real role other than being a MacGuffin for Tim to angstily backstab in the final scene because of his secret character motivations. However, I was commended by an observer (the GM’s wife, I think) for my roleplaying, who said she’d write about me on her blog.
Event W/L: Not applicable.
Total Hours Without Sleep: 30
I’m hungry, so we go get food at the Country Kitchen (called Bitchin Kitchen by the locals), which is really good and hits the spot. Then it’s bedtime, and I get some very well deserved rest.