I came very close to winning the Birds Of Prey tournament this year,
but I really must say, the sense of having a conspiracy that is
Out To Get Me is getting to be rather strong. We had...
- In the first round, I was facing the game designer.
- After I won the first round, by being the only plane on my side
not to be damaged or shot down, a bonus unscheduled table was
done later on, with less-experienced players. Since nobody
managed to do anything at the bonus table, my defensive success
was watered down in the match scoring.
- In the second round, after the scenario started up, we
found out that the current state of rules revisions hosed
the plane I was flying in several ways, and didn't touch
the opposing plane at all. So it looked like a fairly even fight
before that, but after the rules hosings, we were at a disadvantage.
- Also in the second round, the eventual tournament winner
rolled well and scored a kill on a half-decent crossing shot, while I latched
onto the tail of my target, and in three (much better) shot
opportunities, could only damage him.
- ...and my target was getting advice from one of the game
developers on how to defend against me.
So, I played the weaker planes and played them well, but the bonus
tournament table crippled my score, and the dice finished me off. My
game was solidly better than average, but I did miss some
opportunities. Perhaps next year... As it happens, I actually liked
the 2nd place prize better than the 1st place prize. Nonetheless, I
wanted that win.
mjperson, whom I have raised from a nugget pilot in this
game, played very well. We don't quite understand the match scoring,
but he must have been very close to placing 3rd. He made a heroic
defense in the first round (he was playing the same outmatched side as
mine), pulling 10.5 Gs and graying out to avoid one missile, then
pulling 10 Gs and tearing his plane apart to avoid the next. In round
2, he was my only teammate to score offensive points, and he was
playing with good big-picture awareness. For his first-round
performance, he received the "Live in Fame, Die in Flames" award.
On Thursday morning, I went over to what is known as the "Duke Area",
named for Duke Sefried, who is the Alpha Miniatures Guy at Origins.
Duke is a Sick Man (TM), not in that playful way that we describe our
dear friends who are goofy characters, but rather in that
going-to-die-soon way. There are sad signs all over the area,
entitled "Time Marches On", looking for good homes for the miniatures
stuff that will be orphaned when he passes on.
Since the games weren't crowded, I got to play one of his games with
him (we were both Moors, bent on sacking Valencia, opposed by some guy
named El Cid). And he seemed pretty darn lively then. I always
wander by the Duke Area and ogle the terrain tables and the hundreds
of painted miniatures, but I've never stopped to complement him on his
art; so I'm glad that I got a chance to play his game with him.
In one of the other miniatures setups, I played two runs of the same
game on opposite sides; biblical Israelites (led by Saul, with David
running around the battle) vs. Philistines (led by Goliath). When I
ran the Philistine left flank, I did a wide flanking movement that
just took too long to develop. When I ran the Israelite right flank,
I faced a more balanced flanking movement (and some new house rules to
let it develop faster), and got an amazing turn of luck...starting
with one of my units making a spontaneous and apparently suicidal
charge, and ending with that unit eviscerating two larger Philistine
units. My Danite Light Infantry definitely had God's Wrath behind
them, and they surely would have made it into the Bible in our little
version of history...
I also played a Star Wars space battle using the "Full Thrust" system,
commanding one flank of an Imperial force that was holding off a Rebel
advance while some grease monkeys are frantically repairing the Super
Star Destroyer behind us. We didn't play all the way through, though
I think things were tilting fairly solidly in our favor by the end. I
was recognized for an innovation in trash-talk; sneering "You Rebel
Scum!" was de rigeur for the Imperial players, but when it came time
to take out Admiral Ackbar's ship, I fired my torpedoes, calling out
"All right, Ackbar, you're fish sticks now!". Full Thrust has rules
for a variety of universes and plays quickly. It's definitely a game
for cinematic-nerds rather than simulation-nerds. Since I get all the
simulation I need in BoP, I had a pretty good time.
In his yearly act of irony, the BoP designer handed out prizes on
Sunday morning, including $43 in Origins Bucks to myself and Mike.
We had about fifteen minutes to spare before hitting the airport,
so we bought 43 quasi-jade-colored dice for use in Empire Of The Dragon.