Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Business Gamer Travel Tips #1 - Bring the Rulebooks!

I know, I know. All the readers of The Vorpal Chainsword just want to see that second Shadows of Brimstone Core set review.  Believe me, I want to play another marathon game session of Brimstone more than anyone. However, like many of you, I must maintain a big fancy corporate job in order to support my serious and debilitating gaming problem. And also like many of you, I spend many a night in hotel rooms wishing I was panting minis, setting up boardgames for arriving guests, or playing video games on the ol' Steambox setup.

But alas, those are not always options for us tie-wearing power lunchers. Instead we are left with hotel bars, iPad app games, and Netflix to fill in the time between gaming weekends. But I finally, FINALLY had the most obvious revelation one could have, after so many drunk games of Elder Signs:Omens and half-watched episodes of Supernatural.

Why not use this time to actually learn all the complex rules to boardgames that no one ever really learns? Games like Arkham Horror (all those damn expansions!), Fortune and Glory (how do those damn Villains work in co-op games again?), or World of Warcraft: The Boardgame (actually, scratch that one, too much damn work).

Boardgame rulebooks are notoriously poorly edited, and usually have no index and minimal pages to cram in all their rules, so searching through them to settle rule disputes while actually trying to play the game often ends up a matter of "...bah! Just roll a die for it, I'll have to look it up later." However, what makes them so difficult to search through also makes them perfect carry-on baggage. They're not just super light-weight but they're often very info-dense. Perfect for absorbing while traveling on a business trip.

For my most recent trip I brought along a few items I picked up at GenCon this year, but hadn't had a chance to go through yet. Most notably, the new Mars Attacks miniatures wargame from Mantic Games and Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients!

Now, let's Synergize our Core Competencies and get down to Business.
I also brought along a couple thin supplement books I picked up: a Pathfinder desert adventure 'Risen from the Sands' (from Free RPG Day), and the new Ripples from Carcosa from Chaosium to steal ideas...uh, to use as research for my upcoming GameHole Con 2014 game, Shadows Over Eternia: He-Man vs. the Cthulhu Mythos!
Shameless Plug.
(Yes I also had the Players Handbook with me to reference as I wrote up characters and monsters, but obviously that has to go in the checked baggage because that book is too darn big for carry-on purposes.)

Of course I needed to get my Shadows of Brimstone fix, so brought along the City of the Ancients rulebooks. I wanted to get a real good understanding of all the rules before we play our next mega-marathon of Brimstone.
Mountains of Madness + Dynamite = Old Fashioned Chaosium Fun
 But a game you may not have heard of that I really enjoyed reading through (and can't wait to play) is the new Mars Attacks! - The Miniature Game from Mantic Games. I picked this guy up because of my deep-seated fondness for the old 1980's Topps Trading Card art style. And Mantic doesn't disappoint, with true levels of Topps-style violence and ridiculousness on every page.

Ackackackackack! Zzzzzap!

*Sqruuunnch!* Starship Trooper Arachnids?! I already love this game!

Also: The book contains Rules.
This game looks really fun, and I can't wait to play it. It comes with a basic paper fold-out map showing city streets for the battleground, a bunch of plastic ruined buildings that snap together for terrain, and minis of Army guys, Martians, and Hero Civilians (the human player uses both Army guys and hero civilians). The game also uses cards for effects that have all the sweet art like from the original trading cards. I really have no idea how well it plays yet, but it certainly is an easier read than I expected. The rules seem like they'll be fast to teach and are pretty smooth. We'll see though, we'll see.

Uh, what point was I trying to make?... Ack! Look out, Martians!

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