Free RPG day was good this year. Perfect weather and two places in town that were hosting it. There was TOO much good stuff to choose from so tough choices had to be made. We ended up getting SLUGS! of course, which is a ridiculous Lamentations of the Flame Princess spoof (yes, it has some good monsters in it, but the intro– teeing off on all non DIY publishers in a Donald Trump style diatribe must be read to be believed), The Derelict, a Cthulhu adventure, the Nights Black Agents/13th Age combo (the 13th Age adventure looks pretty good too) and the obligatory Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure. All of it kick ass stuff that will get some use (except the Nights Black Agents– we don’t play that) even if we just read it.
After the whirlwind of game and comic shops in the morning, Keneda (in town for the weekend), Sensless, Okyo and I got together and play Talisman with the Cataclysm expansion– with the new board only and not any other big boards. This meant no dungeon, no city, no Highlands and no Woodlands.
We did include the REAPER expansion cards (not the reaper himself) as I feel this expansion at least is absolutely essential. There were a few Frostmarch and Sacred Pool cards included cause we were sort of drunken by the time we started sorting to no ill effect.
Cataclysm, being a new main board an all, has some surprises. Gone are the standard places visited for healing, FATE and buying stuff. Instead there are areas where you draw new cards called “denizens” who represent effects from the old board, but randomized around. If the denizen originally belonged in the space you drew her, she will stay, otherwise they are one-shot cards. For example if you draw the BARMAID in the graveyard, she won’t stay but she’ll stay if she’s in the Tavern or Village. Cool stuff.
We also played with the new crown of command as the goal rather than the random center cards, which is more deadly for everybody as the person on the crown can be killed using it as well.
We played at first with only Cataclysm characters (draw one rather than the usual three and choose), then when one would die, replacements were randomized from the whole deck of characters as normal (draw 2 and choose, die again, draw only one, die again and you’re out!)
Here were the first set of characters:
Me: Black Knight
Okyo: Arcane Scion
This was a LONG game, about 1.5 hours per player. Why? We got drunk and were at least slightly drunk the whole time– with the game initiated via a shot of Jeppsom’s Malort for all and then beers. There was a lot of side saddle talk and wandering outside. Luckily no pinners or it would have ended prematurely with unconsciousness.
Despite the drunkeness and length, there was some excitement at the table. I’ve ripped on 4th edition despite it being my preferred edition of Talisman on account of it’s lack of deadliness, mostly due to FATE points saving the day all the fucking time, but we had more characters driven into the mud this game than any recent games I can remember. Cataclysm has some nastiness and by the third turn or so, an event came along and ripped all the fate from all players, so things were very risky risky.
After fate was gone, there was TOADAGE. The mutant met the wizard denizen and was promptly toaded. He lived long enough to land on his ‘stuff’ space and encounter the wizard again– and get TOADED again. There was another wizard that finally put the hapless toad-mutant to rest–and was replaced by the Barbarian!
More Toadage ensued as my black knight was toaded by the same Wizard denizen as the Mutant and didn’t survive; becoming toad-meat for a giant spider. A lucky draw got me the ELEMENTALIST.
Without FATE, we were all running weak and lifeless with no easy access to the chapel or city and naughty instead of nice denizens about. Pestilence came at just the right time and took out the Barbarian and Scavenger for their trouble. Keneda was on her last character–the Assassin.
The mid-game was long– maybe 3 hours long and the arcane scion was slowly building up, but refused to go to the middle. I got pumped quick with the Elementalist (not hard to do) and made a run for the middle, got lucky making it up but suffered badly at the Lich (replaced death on the STRENGTH side of the center region) and had only a single health going into the crown of command.
The command spell destroyed the Assassin and another character I can’t remember that replaced the Scavenger, but it wasn’t enough for my Elementalist, especially after the sharting. Right before the final turn to get to the middle, Okyo gambled and lost and had to run to the bathroom. He came back and despite the Elementalist at the crown of command, despite the humidity and Malort and Schlitz and underwear in the outdoors trash can, the Arcane Scion made it to the crown of command with a single life left as well and won the combat handily vs the Elementalist for the final win.
It was a good, albeit slow game. Cutting out all the expansions was a really good idea for this one, as there was a ton of new stuff in Cataclysm. I think I’d like to play it a few more times with just that set, the base adventure deck plus
Since in Cataclysm, no one knows where to go to get stuff until the denizens come out, it’s tough to get healed, get fate and buy weapons/armor. This is quite a shift from the old board where you know just where to go to get refilled.
Tobal 2 and Virtua Fighter 5
We played a surprising amount of both VF5 and Tobal 2. I just couldn’t get the hang of Tobal again, even with Ill Goga and Gren and failed miserably. My timing was WAY off. Matt, however, was all over it with Epon whopping ass.
Despite my love for Tobal, VF is the better game, with a shocking amount of incredibly nuanced characters and simply the best fight engine there is. It still looks GORGEOUS and caused a lot of yelling (same with Tobal) when the physics or throwing engines showed something spectacular (guaranteed throws and some of the reversals in VF are amazing to watch). Fighters are a million times more fun when you are all sitting around playing, on a console or arcade machine. This is why EVO and all those cons have such a strong following. Playing online is OK, but face to face with the crying out and yelling is where it’s at.
I’d like to imagine this day was like a typical Saturday in 1996-2000 or so, before everything changed. Those four years were (sad as it seems now) formative madness to the extreme.