Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Winter War Journal 2012 (Day Two)

Warning . . . I'm not sure how lucid I am today.  Sinuses started acting up at work and I'm on nighttime cold medicine at the moment.  You have been warned!

Tuesday morning I started the day with the Deathwatch game that I signed up for.  I had mentioned to my regular Deathwatch GM that there was a Deathwatch game, so he signed up for the event as well.  At least I think that was the sequence of events.

Our GM was familiar with the 40K universe, and ran Dark Heresy, but this was his first shot at running Deathwatch.  Now, it's true that Deathwatch and Dark Heresy run on the same underlying RPG "engine," but to torture the analogy a bit more, Deathwatch has a lot more horsepower.

After some discussion with the GM, he decided it was best to ignore squad modes and solo modes, especially since he was fairly new to the game and because we had at least one person at the table that had no experience with any version of the 40K RPG rules.  I had a lot of fun, but I missed my squad mode once in a while.

The GM was going to run with a lot of terrain and a whole city set up for us to explore.  Unfortunately he didn't have the room in the roleplaying room that we were in, so we went with a simple battle mat and minis.  Which is amusing, because our weekly Deathwatch game doesn't use minis.

While I am a huge,  huge proponent of gaming without minis if it is possible, it was kind of interesting to get to actually play Deathwatch with minis.  That having been said, I don't think they were strictly needed for the scenario we played.

I was playing Dark Angel in this session.  If you know about 40K, and that I usually play a Space Wolf, you will get why this amused me.  I was fairly quiet, spoke only in very short sentences, and was especially secretive.  About as far away from Rangar Then, my Space Wolf Devastator as I could get.

I was especially proud of the fact that I burned two fate points trying to figure out if a suit of armor that belonged to a dead Space Marine was from the Dark Angels, without alerting anyone else as to what I was trying to figure out.

Recap of my Dark Angel's session:  Failed to throw a grenade through a window, had a hard time killing an ork with a power sword, tried to interrogate someone into learning my language, killed a chain axe and a Berserker of Khorne, and was killed in the line of duty when our Devastator Marine blew up the Bloodthirster with a missile.  Even with the abbreviated set of rules, but I did miss my outgoing, over the top Space Wolf.

For the next session, I had the honor of sitting with Loquacious and helping out at the Gopher booth.  I got to be (oddly enough) a gopher and get stuff so as to not leave the shop unattended.  Lo was horribly beset by a lot of "friendly fire" ribbing about a wide variety of topics.  The booth appear to be steady, but not mobbed  (a few would form, from time to time, but the actual buying process was pretty painless).  Despite this, this year was really good for the store, so either the company made the time and effort pass without note, or fewer people were buying bigger ticket items, or both.

Any way you slice it, though, things went well.  I didn't really look much at the other vendors this year, so I can only say that I hope they did well, even the guy that has made it a Winter War tradition to hardly ever be open once he arrives at the show.

Manning the shop was followed with an expedition to Hooters.  The company was good, and the conversation was hilarious, but the service was slow to non-existent and the food was lacking.  I'm told they had a deficiency in staffing that night, so I guess one cannot judge a Hooters by it's aberrant night, but we had some pretty disgusting shrimp, an uncooked chicken sandwich, and my own sandwich seemed to be lacking the medium wing sauce that it was suppose to be marinated in.

It was a close call getting back in time for my last slot, a Call of Cthulhu game.  I'll let all of you in on a little secret that I didn't share at the table.  One of the guys was a "Cthulhu virgin," but he wasn't the only one.  Since I had the nice 30th Anniversary bound rules with me, I guess everyone assumed I had played before, so I didn't disabuse anyone of the notion.

I've read all through the rules, and CoC was one of those games that I've always wanted to play, and was on my gaming "bucket list" to play, but it didn't happen until last Saturday at Winter War.  It was worth the wait, as the session was great.

I know there is an incredibly small readership for my humble effort here, and I don't know if the GMs/Authors of the scenario routinely re-run their adventures, so I'm not going to spoil anything.  I will say that I really enjoyed playing my sanity damage, and was pleased to actually come up with something in the course of roleplaying my mental damage that caused others in the party to make yet another SAN check.

I was also really stupid and forgot to get a picture of the prop for the adventure, which would have been great.  Ah well.

Suffice to say, I was not disappointed with my first Call of Cthulhu session, and I'll specifically be looking for my GM again next year, if I don't end up booking myself solid with games that I'm running myself.  Great GM and a really fun table of guys playing.

Also, as an interesting side note, at least for myself.  The rulebook the GM used was published more than a decade before my version of the rules, and we had virtually no real problem with how the rules worked in the game.  I'll give up a few clunky mechanics and a little bit of intuitive game design to embrace a set of rules that is pretty recognizable all the way back to the start.

Tomorrow, if everything goes as planned, the grand finale that is day three of the War Journal.


  1. Call of Cthulhu hasn't changed much in the (oh, my goodness) 26 years I've been playing it. I can't speak to first edition, but I can to every one since then.

    It continues to be my wife's favorite game to play. Next time I start a campaign, I'd be happy to let you know.

    And can I add how very jealous I am that you have the latest special edition? I got the last one (that I know of anyway) - the faux leatherbound with foil Eleder Sign and sewn-in ribbon bookmark. The parchment-style pages in that one add a nice touch. I'd love a chance to look at yours at the Gopher sometime to see if I need to cave in about buying it.

  2. I'm betting your version is a bit nicer. I like the anniversary edition I have, but it doesn't quite have the bells and whistles you describe. It's got the nice cover, and heavier stock paper than the paperback version of the rules, but no parchment style paper or ribbon.