A while back, I mentioned that some friends are working on starting a gaming con in our hometown. This is great, because something like this is both lacking, and not easily accessible anywhere else. Indeed, these same friends have flown down for PAX before, as the closest con.
I don’t think we’ll have anything so big as PAX, which is good. I’m looking to have some fun, and hoping to see a lot of people turn up wanting to play games. To that effect, I think things are off to a good start!
You can see the con at its website, PlatypusGaming.org. There’s a spot for donations, and I’m sure this non-profit would not mind getting a donation if you are so inclined 🙂 I also love the look of the lending library – I have played and learned about a lot of games from these friends, and they are taking this and spreading it. And that’s awesome.
Meanwhile, I am planning on helping run the war games demos with a friend, so below the jump I’ll be talking through a bit of our initial look at this – and my first foray into the tabletop war game, Warmachine!
They turned to me because I have mentioned a past in playing war games. I do – with Warhammer Fantasy. I’ve mentioned this only in passing here on the blog, in part because I haven’t played in years. In moving, my armies didn’t come with me at first – when they did, a lot of damage (inevitably) happened. I also didn’t know anyone else who played and there wasn’t anywhere really to play.
There is now a gaming store in town where I could play, and maybe I should dust off and re-glue my armies to give them a go. There’s reasons for this. It’s fun. I’ve already got the armies. And it’s such a flippin’ expensive hobby – would be nice to get more value out of them!
Having this past got me asked to help with this at the con, though, and with doing a demo, a game with massive armies and a high price-point like Warhammer just won’t do. It would take forever to explain, and in the end, you wouldn’t be very likely to have someone who was going to collect and join you playing.
As one other passing thought, it seems there’s an expectation that my past means I’m also going to be good at war games. And maybe. The distinction I have is that I can say I have lost to some very good opponents, ones who have gone on to win national tournaments. They usually seemed impressed and surprised as I played them, and I made it not-quite-so-easy to walk all over me.
The other thing this taught me was sportsmanship. In Warhammer tournaments, your sportsmanship is a graded element, part of your overall score at the end. So someone really good at the game, but who knows it and is a jerk to you while playing, is not likely to win the tournament. Painting is an element too, and a lot of other factors, so it’s nicely rounded and leads to having a good time. But at first, I was bad at sportsmanship. I wasn’t losing well, nor did I win graciously.
Over time, I had to develop this skill, and this at least is one I hope to carry over into demoing other games!
So if we were going to demonstrate a game to people, and let them admire, watch, or even join in, we needed a game that we already had. Lo and behold, the friend I turned to had just that – maybe why I turned to him, right?
When I asked him, the one that made the most sense was Warmachine. This is a game with a steampunk aesthetic, where your leaders control giant mechs into battle against each other. Big mechs – small armies. Should catch people’s eyes, and be much simpler to get into.
When I took that chance to look online at it, I found the starting Battle Boxes were $50 from the game’s makers – meaning it’d be cheaper other places online! This is opposed to Warhammer, where looking at their site… you can get a battalion box for $110, which looks like enough to be maybe a quarter to a half of a tournament army. Then a main rule book and army rule book, pushing $100 more right there…
So, I don’t know if the Battle Box is enough to build an army for a tournament or something, but if it’s enough to play, that meets the initial needs quite nicely! There’s also quick rules that will come with it, and are available for free online… and the units all come with their own stat cards – which are not freely available online, but instead are a closely guarded secret.
Seriously. Looking online, people doing official sorts of reviews have to avoid directly mentioning unit stats. So they discuss everything in comparison to other things.
Anyway, my friend has two armies already – and a friend of his has a third. With the low price point, I was thinking I would get a fourth. Wanting to choose something unrepresented, I apparently stumbled on the complicated army, the Convergence of Cyriss – in this steampunk world of mechs fighting to the death, and mages that power them, these guys seem like Mathemagicians. MATH!
They look awesome, they sound crazy, and it’s apparently my job now to figure out how the heck they work. Oh, and also this game. Reading the quick rules helped, but I feel like I’ll need my army’s specific rules to really get a handle on this! Expect more posts to come as I learn Warmachine and my army, and as I dive back into the world of painting minis!