This year at GaryCon the Vorpal Chainsword represented, except I ran something a little different than I usually do at Cons. Instead of running a modern or AD&D role playing game about He-Man or Back to the Future, I hosted and refereed a couple of the out-of-print Starship Troopers miniature battles under the banner of the Dead Games Society as a change of pace.
My thoughts on the old Starship Troopers game and the injustice of its sudden cancellation are well documented, and I decided that I'd put my dusty old miniatures out on the table and see how they fared after 10 years of being out of combat and off the table. I wanted to make them fight over the planet Klendathu from the first movie, however all my terrain I've built is middle-earth style fantasy forests and frozen cities for Frostgrave. But after a quick discussion with my FLGS, Pegasus Games, I was all set up. Pegasus generously let me borrow all the desert and canyon terrain I needed to run my games at GaryCon. When I returned the terrain this week as a thank you I donated a bunch of my forest and temple terrain to the store for folks to use. Better for it to get used than just sit in my basement, and I can borrow them back whenever I need to run a game. Win-win!
Running a wargame instead of a role-playing game at a convention brings its own challenges, but also is a good deal less stressful than when you're running a game as a Dungeon Master. You need a good deal more prep time than normal as you need to paint and build all the minis, and you need to make sure everyone has quick review reference sheets to use as they play the game. You can't improvise in things at the last minute like you can when running an RPG. You also have to go through the rules at the beginning and constantly check to make sure everyone understands what their units can do. But all that aside, once you've made all the handouts and painted all the minis the actual games were a breeze. It may be because attendees at GaryCon are expert-level gamers, but even though no one who participated in my games had played SST before I never really had to explain a rule twice. People caught on and got killing eachother right quick.
The games were two people per side, Arachnids vs. Mobile Infantry. The first game was a complete blowout for the Mobile Infantry. The Arachnids lost nary a bug while the MI got demolished. They even misfired a nuke at close range and nuked their own Marauder suits! It was a TPK for the mobile infantry but we all had a good time laughing at the craziness of the battle.
I also played in a few other games at GaryCon, including Aliens vs. Marines (homebrew miniature game), Scooby Doo vs. Cthulhu (Pathfinder mashup), and Castle Panic and Prizes (Boardgame with Wizard Tower expansion). I also scoped out a little Rohan vs. Uruk-Hai Middle Earth miniatures game (homebrew) for good measure. Lots of homebrew games at GaryCon this year, which was very cool to see.
Here's to some of the best convention gaming of the year! Game on!