Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fantasy Flight Games

This was Saturday, Day 2, of my nine days away from work.  It's not succeeding entirely because, well, work.  But for the most part.  Eryn and I did low key today.  Cup of coffee while I cleaned up a back log of things I wanted to blog about so I don't forget them, admired the new book shelf which I added to the kitchen because two bookshelves weren't enough for all our games.  Three aren't either - I have all the big box games on the bedroom upper shelves - Axis and Allies, Sid Meier's Civilization, Shogun, Tide of Iron - the sort of things you'd need a shelf apiece for.  But the others are now set up book shelf style so they're readable for gamers, and the tops of the shelves free of piles of games and available for bicycling knickknacks and the like.  I also made it halfway through cleaning up Eryn's pile of stuff that sort of mounded over one of the shelves and her little table.  We were long overdue for a decluttering.  Which is less a decluttering and more of a new pile destined for Goodwill this week (and the foodshelf, and Best Buy recycling, ad naseum).

Yesterday, I thought Eryn could help me go find a copy of a card game Troy at work wants me to play.  I was pretty sure I'd get soundly trounced without knowing how to play and, while the online rules are good, they don't really give you a feel for play.  So I looked up stores where I could buy a copy of Call of Cthulhu and what pops up?  The Fantasy Flight Gaming Center in Roseville.  Plans changed. If I was going to buy the game, why not get it directly from the source of the game.  And the web noted there was a cafe as well.  Eryn and I rolled up there just prior to opening at 10:00 a.m. to check it out.

Why had we not been up there before.  The place is amazing.  The production facilities are across the lot and this is the gaming/retail/cafeteria space.  Way over there is the front door, Followed by lots of retail and a huge Warhammer display for the miniature folks.  Eryn thought all the layouts and miniatures were interesting.  And if you hate painting, there are painters on sight who seem to paint for a fee.  The games are FFG only.  There were hundreds of them for sale, including some I've only seen on Kickstarter.  Now I know who pays the "get 10 copies" level.

And there were large play areas to the left of us in that picture and a whole separate hall devoted to card tournaments.  There was a mini-Magic the Gathering tournament underway.  In the room we were in other players were having a board game tournament with a game I didn't know.  And those two are playing Dead of Winter, which you can watch on Tabletop, and which I've seen played at work twice by Jon and Dan and folks.  It's pretty neat looking, although it looks more fun with four as opposed to the two in this photo.

Those are the guys having the board game tournament on the far side of the room.  And those can take a game and play it.  Take. A. Game. And. Play. It.  It's a damn game library.  We walked over there and drooled for 30 minutes before I pulled Call of Cthulhu off the shelf so we could give it a spin. It's not every game I've ever wanted to play, but it's more than enough.

It took us a while to figure out Call of Cthulhu until I realized it was like a cross of the iPad game and Magic the Gathering.  You use the cards to make "pools" of energy and then you can use them to play spells, events, artifacts, monsters, and investigators.  At least one color in the pool has to match.  And you have to spend the whole pool, so if your character costs one and you have five cards in your pool, you still spend all five.  You can add pools via means, but that's the gist of it.  The tentacle-y monsters are to mark which pools you've used and attract little girls to the table (not Eryn, an employee's daughter) who want to play with them like Fisher Price people.  Her dad said, "That's Cthulhu honey.  Remember him?"  At which she very excitedly nodded her head.  I like how Eryn's Tardis' (Tardi?) mirror the Cthulhus (Cthuli?) in this picture.

Anyway, take two factions, shuffle a deck with some neutrals, and use your pools to play your cards.  The factions differ in strengths and you try to win story cards from the center by investigating.  A point for strongest on the story.  A point for most investigation symbols on the story.  And extra point if you're uncontested because your opponent doesn't commit, you drive him/her insane, or you kill him/her.  The order of how you do those things and which stories are committed to is determined by the current player.  Two player game.  Lots and lots and lots of expansion cards (which we didn't play with).  FFG calls it a living card game and there are a variety of them, like Netrunner and Star Wars and Game of Thrones, in case you prefer scifi or fantasy to horror.

Check out the dork in the Reavers Steak House hoodie.  That was a present to myself recently.  I love it.  It's difficult to get it off of  me.  Eryn was amused that the barrista/cashier told me it was simultaneously cool and scary.  And note the trash bin behind me.  If you order food, or coffee, you can eat it at the table while you play.  Eryn actually had wings.  They were boneless and they included a fork without being asked (good planning), but no one blinked an eye about saucy wings and fries and grilled cheese heading out to the table.

We played a game and 2/3.  The first game was to figure out how it worked.  The second game was to take advantage off what we knew.  Eryn rocked the invulnerability of some big terror-inspiring monsters.  I had a mix of immunity from terror and damage dealing.  So the second round decks played against each other nicely.

She realized I was taking photos.  The place got more and more full as the day went on although there were usually some tables available and it appears you can reserve a table or two if you're a group.

We finished off our gaming (note more people) with a game of Cthulhu Fluxx.  Eryn destroyed me the first game.  And we both lost the second game until I dug through the 24 cards I'd just swapped and realized that one of them said "if you both lose, you win."

There were a lot of people playing Star Wars miniatures, a favorite of my nephew Ollie since we got him two sets for Christmas, so I include this photo for him.  The above-urinal advertising has a slightly different flavor at FFG than it does at a bar.

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