Sunday, October 13, 2013

[Geekly Weekly Report] GUGacon! ...and other things

Having finished Blackbirds this week, I downloaded another of the books from my A-Z Reading List. This time I bought The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross, the fourth in his Laundry series.

For those who don’t know, the Laundry series tells of the exploits of Bob Howard: tech support administrator, computational demonologist and active field agent for the Laundry, Her Majesty’s Occult Secret Service. If you were to take the spy thrillers of authors such as Len Deighton, Ian Fleming, John Le Carre and others, add equal measures of HP Lovecraft, and a pinch of office comedy in the style of Dilbert or The Office, and mix them all together in a blender, then you’d probably end up with something fairly close to the Laundry series. The books may sometimes dazzle readers with jargon and technobabble, but that aside they’re well worth a read.

I haven’t started The Apocalypse Codex yet, but I’m sure I won’t be disappointed when I do.

Accomplishments Unlocked
In search of plot hooks for my DWAiTAS: Exiles of Time campaign which will be starting soon, I’ve been listening to a couple of the Big Finish audioplays featuring Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor: Storm Warning and Sword of Orion. So far, I quite like McGann’s Doctor - who never really had much time to shine in his TV movie debut - and his new companion, Charley. It was also fun to see (or rather hear) the Cybermen make their first Big Finish appearance in Sword of Orion.

I also watched episode 1.03 of Agents of SHIELD; sadly without Heather this time, as she was busy elsewhere this weekend. I think the series is starting to improve with this latest episode, though it hasn’t quite Grown the Beard yet. With only ten more episodes to go, I’m a little concerned that it’s not finding its stride quickly enough. Agents of SHIELD is a show that I feel has great potential, but we all know how short-sighted network executives can be when it comes to TV shows with potential for greatness, but which haven’t quite got there yet.

And finally, this Friday and Saturday was the GUGacon, a bi-annual mini-convention run by the Glasgow University Gaming Society. I was only present for yesterday’s portion of the convention, but I had a good time all the same.

Before the convention got started properly, I joined Mike of Nearly Enough Dice and Sandy for a short game of Lego Creationary. It’s like Pictionary, except instead of drawing pictures of things for people to guess the answer, you build stuff with Lego pieces. It was a close thing between me and Sandy, but I won it with a crudely designed Lego sheep, which Mike managed to guess correctly.

Then the con started off with a few presentations and discussion panels.

First there was a presentation by the Cosplay Society, giving tips on how to portray characters’ poses, body language, and doing accents, which was a lot more interesting than I had thought it would be when I sat down.

Then there was a GM workshop run by Blair, where we discussed running games in established settings, with Blair’s primary examples being Attack on Titan - he had recently run a one-shot in the setting using the Savage Worlds ruleset - and Pacific Rim, discussing what core elements needed to be included to do justice to the setting. He also interrogated me on the topic of suitability of systems to particular settings, asking me about my experiences with Adeptus Evangelion and Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (DWAiTAS); we agreed that AdEva was a poor marriage of system to setting, whereas DWAiTAS was exactly the opposite.

The last of these panels was a live discussion with Mike and Liz of Nearly Enough Dice, who discussed the importance of characters versus the importance of the world around them, which also covered the use (and potential pitfalls) of prominent NPCs within a setting. I had some thoughts on the topic which I didn't share until after the microphone was switched off, to avoid letting slip some potential spoilers for my DWAiTAS players in case they happened to listen to the show. I won't post them here for the same reason.

With all the talky stuff done, we got on to the gaming portion of the GUGacon. There were two gaming events which I was interested in (the board gaming tournament and the Iron GM tournament), but both were happening at the same time. After a moment’s indecision - and a coin toss to resolve it - I decided to join in the board gaming tournament, in which we played through three games: Ticket to Ride, Galaxy Truckers and Small World.

I’ll admit, I hadn't been terribly keen on playing Ticket to Ride at first. I had seen it on Tabletop, but it was one of the few games featured on the show that I actually hadn't cared to add to my wishlist after watching. Having played it, though, I may revise that decision. The rules were pretty easy to get the hang of, and I actually found I got really into it once we got going, and came second place with the longest route on the board.

Galaxy Truckers was next, and it was a little daunting at first. It took me - and, I think, the other new players - most of the first half to get a grasp of the rules. But once we’d played through the first half, we were more sure of ourselves and ultimately I enjoyed the game, coming joint second place with Mike Dyson. I’d need to play it a few more times before I decide whether it’s a game I’d like to own or not though.

Small World was the last game I played and, again, it’s not one that was on my wishlist, despite having seen it on Tabletop. I don’t know why; I’ve played it several times before and enjoyed it. It’s strange, but there’s just something about it that makes me feel it’s not the kind of game I would buy. All the same, I actually managed to come first in this final round of the boardgaming tournament, so yay me!


There’ll be no actual play post for tomorrow, since there was no actual RP at the GUGacon yesterday. Well, there was, but I wasn’t involved in it, since I opted for the board gaming tournament instead. I’ll hopefully be back with some RP-related stuff on Tuesday though. Until then, be seeing you!

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