Fun and Games

Things have finally turned around on the gaming front! Last week I made two new friends and got back into the swing of things!

On Tuesday I met Dan and his friends. Dan lives in Chicopee, and is largely interested in board games. I went to his place and brought over Zombies, and we played a really fun session of that game. Billy put paid to the notion that the black guy always dies first in the horror movie by beating everyone else to the helipad for the victory. They were a great bunch of guys and we had a really good time.

Then Friday I returned to role-playing. I met up with T.J. and his friends in Amherst to play Shadowrun. Now, I’ll be honest, Shadowrun is not my first choice for an RPG. The idea behind the game is that it’s a cyberpunk world where, for some reason, magic and magical beings (Trolls, Dragons, Elves) have become part of society, which I think is a little redundant and silly. But it is something other than D&D, and the group sounded like a good group, so I went along. I’m glad I did. T.J. is an excellent GM and got us immersed in the world pretty quickly. The other players came up with interesting characters and, even though we came within a hair’s breadth of absolutely botching our mission, we somehow pulled it out.

My character is a Russian Ork named Misha. In a world run by corporations, he’s a Communist revolutionary, clad in camo fatigues and a red beret. (Yes, think Monsieur Mallah from the ‘Doom Patrol’ comic.) He’s also the weapons specialist, so he has lots and lots of guns. He’s getting ready for the glorious revolution. I decided to have him shun cybernetics as being ‘bourgeoisie,’ but this has elicited gasps from people who actually know the game (I’ve only played it once before) and I’ve been told that I may want to reconsider this.

Shadowrun will be a more or less weekly thing for a while, and eventually we’ll switch to something else. I still wouldn’t mind running a brief Star Wars d20 adventure, or a Pulp Heroes game, or Mutants and Masterminds, or Urban Arcana, and I’m still looking forward to the Gamma World d20 book coming out soon from White Wolf, but this Shadowrun game and the group I’m with seem like a whole lot of fun.

Saturday evening, Dan came over with his girlfriend Jen and we played more board games. (Unlike RPGs, Becky enjoys board games, so meeting Dan was also a plus for her.) We started out with Guillotine, which I had heard a lot about but never played, and we really enjoyed it. Then I brought out Dungeonquest, which is a game that no one else enjoys as much as I do. Dungeonquest’s main drawback is that it’s almost 100% luck, and unfortunately this time the luck was not going well, so it wasn’t a good round. Maybe the game just isn’t as good as I think it is. Anyway, once that was done (Becky was the only one who made it out alive) we played Dragon Delta which was a really interesting game involving building a bridge across a river. It had a pretty simple mechanic but was quite tricky and fun.

Becky and I really enjoy board games, so it’s great to meet someone who is equally interested. Dan gave me the hook-up to a good web source for games, Funagain Games. We even talked about possibly hitting some of the sealed deck Magic games over at Most Excellent Comics and Cards.

(Speaking of which, Most Excellent is right near my house and so when I first got here I chose it as the place I’d get my comics from. Since then, however, I decided to change to Modern Myths in Northampton. I have nothing against Most Excellent, it’s just that Modern Myths is a better fit for me, since it carries more of the indie comics I like and Role Playing Games. This weekend I went in and told the guy at Most Excellent that I was switching, which I had been dreading doing, as I felt bad, even though it wasn’t because of anything wrong with his store. He was way cool about it, though, so that was nice.)

So it’s been a very fun week. New friends, new RPG, new games, it’s all good. We’re settling in!

As long as I’m here talking about my weekend, I may as well also tell you about the movie we saw, ‘Matchstick Men’. What I’ll say about it is this: if you want to see Nicholas Cage in a great performance, by all means check this out. If you want to see a good movie about con men, by all means check out ‘The Sting’ or ‘Paper Moon,’ because you’ve seen everything in this movie before, done better. There are elements in it that are telegraphed from a mile away. And like many movies of this nature, don’t stop and think about it too much after it’s over, or else you’ll realize it didn’t quite add up. Fortunately, it was directed by Ridley Scott, so if you didn’t like it, just wait 15 years and he’ll come back and tell you what it was REALLY about.

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