The first part was mostly about beer and the journey up. Now I'm there and I'm playing Twilight Imperium. And how did that go?
Not so well actually. Read on....
I’ve been thinking even more about how much I liked Michael “Malloc” Buccheri’s assortment of friends, who are my friends now. Ironically, before I left I HAD been feeling a little down, because I’d just had a guy tell me that he didn’t want to hang out with my gaming group anymore because he thought I (we) were – and I’m almost but not quite paraphrasing here – vulgar, sarcastic, and apparently needful of making myself (ourselves) feel good at the expense of others.
Believe it or not, and this is gonna surprise even the people who know me well, I’m sometimes prone to crippling self-analysis. So that guy’s remarks actually made me stop and wonder whether me and friends were too vulgar, sarcastic, and downright mean.
Then I met Malloc’s crew and I fit right in, even with Rob Olsson, who’s about the sweetest guy you could ever meet. In fact, now that I think about it, I’ve never had much of a problem, even though I’m a 30+ gamer who likes fart and sex jokes and who has no problem with banter and bravado as long as everyone’s sensitive to those gray areas that are occasionally off limits (like, no mama jokes at a table where one of the guys has lost his mom, and no fat jokes unless you’re ready for them to come right back at you).
So now I offer thanks to Malloc and the others. The bravado and bluster is (almost) universal. And that guy who said that crap about me and mine? Well, he’s just a giant pussy.
As I indicated in my first post about this, I was staying in a separate hotel thanks to Jay. My room was GREAT, but the hotel itself was a typical chain hotel – lots of comfort but no character. The Lancaster Host, where the WBC took place – had character in spades. While we were there, the whole place was teeming with people, all of whom shared a common interest – games, and many of whom had no problem with having a beer or six with friends. The hotel offered us daily buffets of artery-clogging food which we devoured without remorse. There was a pretty cool bar where you could get a decent beer after yours were “lifted” and you got tired of Natty Boh. And there were rooms – spacious, well lit rooms – full of games and people playing games, laughter and shouting and fun.
Absolute Heaven. I knew I was in for a treat when Malloc met me at the door with a Dogfish Head 120 Minute in hand.
First Session Report – Fucking Wormholes
Now, if you don’t know Twilight Imperium, some of this next bit is gonna make your eyes glaze over and your tongue loll out of your mouth. So I’ll use as many swear words as possible to make it interesting to the layman.
On Tuesday, after getting some much needed sleep, I sat down to play my first “qualifying heat” of Imperium, heretofore to be referred to as TI3 (Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition). I was playing the Mentak – one of my least favorite alien races, but the most “militaristic” that I drew. At conventions, I gravitate toward military races instead of peaceful ones, because a strong military is your best deterrent for those fuckers who think they’re playing Risk and who’ll just attack you because they think that’s the way to win.
To my left was Jack Jaeger, who looks like the dude from The Mentalist. And yes, his last name is Jaeger - that was not lost on me. Across the universe was a hybrid of newbie (Jeff Arnold) and Malloc, and to my right was Rob Olsson.
To understand how I eventually lost the game to my favorite asshole, Malloc (and the guy who was essentially just rolling his dice, Jeff), you have understand the game board/map. In TI3, there are Wormholes – a lot like the ones in Star Trek – which establish adjacency between two “systems” or spaces, even if those systems are across the table from each other. Well, in Malloc’s special map, there were 4 “Wormhole Nexuses” – spaces that were separate from the rest of the game board and only connected via Wormhole. And in each one of those was a planet which carried a Technology Specialty. To win, I needed SIX planets which had Tech Specialties, so it made sense for me to lurk in the Wormholes. By Round Five, I had pretty fucking big fleets of ships sitting in a couple of those spaces.
I was poised to strike the two planets I needed to round out my six, therefore scoring my “Secret” Objective as well as a “Public” one AND taking an Artifact (worth a point) from The Mentalist. Game over.
But the Mentalist must have read my mind, because when the next Political Agenda got presented to the Galactic Council, he and Malloc and Rob (and Jeff, sort of) voted to CLOSE THE FUCKING WORMHOLES, thus cutting my two big ass fleets off from the rest of the universe for the REST OF THE FUCKING GAME.
Second Session Report – Divorcing my Wife (Not Really, But Still….)
I took second in that game – a strong second which eventually guaranteed me a place at the final table. But I didn’t know that at the time, so on Wednesday I opted to play another game in hopes of winning a first place slot in the final instead of my then tenuous second.
This time around I faced Ben Stephenson, a guy named Jason, and a British? guy named Andy. We started late morning, and this time I was the Barony of Letnev – my favorite race. Also, I had an EASY Secret Objective (Expansionist). This game, like the first one, was in the bag.
Now, I will not cast aspersions unless provoked (OK, I will, but not in a public forum), but to give you an idea of some of what I had to deal with in this game, let me describe one particular situation that occurred.
A Political Agenda came up. It went like this: If we voted FOR, and it passed, then Mecatol Rex – the most important planet in the game, and one that is vital to a significant number of Secret Objectives – could NEVER be invaded the rest of the game. What that meant was that if it passed, Jason and Andy could NEVER score their Secrets, because both of their Secrets had to do with Rex. Ben and I had already made it abundantly clear that our Secrets had nothing to do with Rex, so naturally we were gonna vote for it.
And yes, at this point none of our Secret Objectives were not so secret.
Anyway, Andy votes FOR.
Jason is livid. He asks Andy WHY he would do that. He explains to Andy the ramifications of voting FOR – it will pass and they’ll be shut out of those points for good.
Andy says, yes, okay….
Jason asks Andy how he’s gonna vote. Andy says… FOR.
I swear to God, Jason was gonna come across the table. WHY, he asks, would you vote FOR?
Andy stares at him. Blank face. A face that would become familiar to us over the course of the game.
TI3 gets a bad rap for being a long game, but we’ve found that when everybody knows what he or she is doing, and pays attention, and moves quickly and decisively, the game usually only takes about an hour per player.
We started at around 11 a.m. We finished at 8 p.m. And you understand now part of the reason why.
And if that wasn’t torture enough, I spent the last 4 hours of the game at 7 points (out of the 9 needed to win), with fucking Ben sitting in my Home System.
And THAT was my wife’s fault. I’ll tell you why next time….
Once again, this originally appeared on my site at www.willkenyon.com. Please go there and give me some attention.