Sunday, 12 May 2013

Herr Dr Jonez, I prezjume? A great participation game

Went to the Ducosim convention on Saturday. Mainly to pick up a few boardgames I was looking forward to (one of them a present). I felt that was the best way to support the club now that they seem to be in a bit of trouble.

Three teams racing to catch the Lost Ark of the Convenant
I got to join in Jan-Willem van der Pijl's excellent Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark participation game. The game was simple enough to be picked up in 5 minutes, there was enough action to keep your attention and enough chaos to prevent the game bogging down. The teams were assymetric (dr Jones and sidekick, Nazis, Wu Manchu clan, Corto Maltese, rocketeers) with good differentiation between expendable minor characters and your stars. A simple stats chart kept it all together.

My team, led by General Stahlhelm, dr Kriepstein and herr Flick

There's movement, long range fire and close combat stats, but more important are the stunt stats (crucial for jumping from one speeding truck to another, but also for dodging bullets, cars and fists). In case you were doing something really dangerous (eg jumping from one speeding truck to another) a cojones test was required. I also liked the 'oneliner' ability which allows main characters to bluff their way through.

Jan-Willem kept it all together, maintaining the pace and firmly but politely deflecting distractions from the players. He rewarded creativity and guts and kept weak players engaged.

Team Stahlhelm's final but unsuccessful attempt to wrest the Ark from their competitors
Of course the action hero movie type of game allows for memorable actions and grotesque events, and it is surprising how quickly you warm even to bad guys like general Stahlhelm. Before you know it it's International-Talk-Wiz-A-Fake-Zjerman-Akzent-Day.

The game terrain: providing an arena, some props and little cover

The miniatures, accessories and terrain were an eclectic mix from different manufacturers, handicraft and Queens Day free market shopping. I'd say maximum effect with relatively limited effort. Hats off!

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