June 14, 2010

StruebCon IV

In mid-May, I attended StruebCon IV, a gaming convention hosted by Polymythic Steve. By "gaming convention," I mean a bunch of dudes taking over his house, playing games non-stop, and drinking his beer (also non-stop). The attendees are members of the StruebSquad, most of which are DC area gamers that Steve has assembled over the years. Others, such as myself, are from PA.

So what is with the “Strueb” stuff? It’s derived from Steve’s name. I should point out that Steve himself named neither the event nor the squad, but rather the group named both after him because he brought both the ‘con and the group together.

The guys do a great job with this. Hans worked up convention badges and DohJoe (of LaserPup fame) had commemorative dice made.

It was a lot of fun, although Chaos learned to ride her bike without training wheels while I was gone. It's not easy knowing I missed that. It wasn't intentional (Mrs. Frost didn't make the attempt without me), but was simply a matter of Chaos trying out a neighbor kid's old, smaller bike and taking off on it.

Anyhow, StruebCon is mainly a board game event, with a smattering of miniature gaming and one RPG event (mine). The board game library amassed by the Squad is damn impressive, so it's a nice chance for a RPG guy like myself to play games I've never heard of before.

The big hits of the convention were:

  • Dominion – This is non-collectable card game that is a deck-building game. You have to balance amassing action cards with point cards in order to win in the end. I get the sense it’s the Settlers of Catan of the moment (i.e., it’s the hot game going around).
  • Ricochet Robots – A real brain tester of a game. You can play with as many people as you want, as long as they can see the board. Players must mentally find the shortest way to move a pawn to a randomized board location. The concept is amazingly simple. Finding the short path (or any path at all) is amazingly tough.
  • Werewolf – This is a blast of a party game. Players sit around accusing one another of who are the werewolves while the wolves silently execute the others. It’s funny, I completely forgot I had played this before as Mafia until Hans mentioned this alternate name on the way home.
  • Battlestar Galactica - I didn’t play this myself (I opted for a game of Puerto Rico and Ambush Alley instead). I don’t know much about other than it’s a cooperative game based on the popular TV show remake and involves one or two Cylon (i.e., traitor) players. From the shouts and rants I heard, it looked like a great game. DohJoe played a Cylon and from all reports played it like a damn master. He used the fact that it was everyone’s first time playing (himself included) to his advantage, using his seeming naivety to throw off suspicion.
  • Ambush AlleyI’d been looking forward to playing this game and was happy to finally
    get a chance to do so. As advertised, it was a down-and-dirty miniatures, modern warfare skirmish with a high body count. I played once as the insurgents and once as the US forces. I lost both times, but enjoyed the hell out it. The rules are a bit sketchy at times, but I’ve grown to see that as a plus. We just settled ambiguity with a die roll and move on (e.g., “I’m not sure that is enough cover or not. Hell, evens it is, odds it is not.”)

I myself ran a Castles & Crusades event and I officially became a C & C Ambassador for the event (well, for this and for GASPCon coming up in the fall). I’ll write more about that particular event in a separate post, but in short, it was some good late night fun and God bless the guys for staying up to play.

StruebCon IV was another rousing success. Many thanks to the Polymythic Steve and Mrs. Polymythic Steve for the beer, the brats, the omelets, and the kick-arse gaming.

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