I went to the GASP Game Day (Gamers Association of Southwestern PA) for the first time yesterday and give it a double thumbs up...
Game Day is a FREE monthly event (second Saturday, from 11 am - 12am), held at Legions Games on Perry Highway in the North Hills. Legions is the craziest game store I've visited. Not much stock for me, as primarily an RPG player, but for war gamer types, it's totally insane. It's a giant basement room in a shopping center. Probably over a dozen tables set up with terrain for battles, tons of miniatures, and a friendly, helpful staff. They do have a pretty nice selection of board games and some stuff for RPG players, but this place is really designed for the war game enthusiast.
Anyway, I showed up around 2:30, played 4 board games I've never played, with people I've never met, then started a Labyrinth Lord campaign (again with folks I'd never met).
When I got there, one of the GASP organizers, Don, Da King on the GASP forums, jumped up and introduced himself to me, then took me on a tour of the building and introduced me to some guys who were starting a game. As the first game was ending was ending, another guy came over looking for players for another game. After we wrapped that up, two other guys approached looking for players for yet another game. Everyone was really helpful and inviting. No awkward down-time or anything.
Kingsburg is a resource collection game, where you play a Lord developing a region of the country. You roll dice to influence different members of the kings court and gain resources (wood, stone, gold, military power, etc). Players use the resources to develop their region and purchase military support. Developments in the region lead to extra resources and points. At the end of 5 years of development, the person with the most points wins. It's a fairly simple mechanic, but the strategy could get fairly detailed, I assume. We played in less than 90 minutes, I'd guess. I'd definitely play again. Fun game.
Another resource collection game. I was told it was sort of like a stream-lined Peurto Rico, but since I'd never played Peurto Rico, that didn't mean much to me. In the game, you play as a business, exploring the world, looking for resources (yep, another resource collecting game). This time, there is no dice rolling. It is more directly a strategy game, removing a lot of the luck from the equation. Again, I'd play this another time. The guys played with were super nice and helpful while I was getting started. Again, we wrapped it up in less than 90 minutes, I'd guess and again, I'd play it again in the future.
I had read about Pandemic, but it sounded a bit intimidating and, to be honest, way out of my league. You play as a team of researchers from the CDC, attempting to quell 4 diseases that have broken out across the planet. The goal is to find cures for the disease before they turn into a full scale epidemic. Each player takes a different role. Some are better at curing, others are better at research or moving resources around. Once we got going, it really wasn't bad at all. The mechanic is fun, and even though we we were playing using the "easy" rules, and we lost (it's a collaborative game, where you play against the game, so either you all win or you all lose), I think we all had a blast.
In Cave Troll, you play a group of adventures, looting a dungeon. You get gold for controlling squares. In your crew, you have generic adventures, other heroes, like knights, barbarians and thieves, and even a couple monsters, like Wights, Orcs, and the eponymous Cave Troll. It played pretty fast and loose and was fun. Probably my least favorite of the 4 games I played, but still cool. The game is packaged, with some alternate rules, that allow the special heroes and monsters to operated differently, which was kind of neat.
Labyrinth Lord Campaign
Labyrinth Lord is an old school D&D clone, reworking the rules for 1st edition Red Box (1981, Moldevay).
This was the reason I went out to the Games Day, and it ended up being a ton of fun. The DM, Tim Harper, clearly has a lot of experience and did a great job. Unfortunately, only 2 or the 4 or 5 players that were supposed to show made it, but Tim took it in stride. We each rolled up a character and a retainer, 3d6 straight. I ended up with a fairly dumb thief as my main character, with a terribly weak and uncharismatic wizard retainer. The other guy created a fairly dumb fighter, with a wiley halfling retainer.
The four hours blew by as we explored the buildings along Daarve's Hill. We killed a zombie and some sleeping half-demons, made buddies with a crusty old dwarf and some weird ass gnomes. Gained a bunch of XP by finding a big stash of gold and gems buried in a room, and not once did we move a mini around on the table or have to worry about using the right power at the right time.
I highly recommend checking out a GASP Game Day in the future. November Game Day is replaced by their annual convention GASP-Con, a full weekend of gaming. I'll be there!
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