International Tabletop Day!

TableTopDay2014Dear Readers,

thumbs_geekandsundry_logoThis weekend I took part in the ultimate of nerdy, gamer extravaganza! I’m talking about International Tabletop Day. This is an event cooked up by Wil Wheaton and the other members of Geek & Sundry, a YouTube web channel that celebrates all things geek culture. Table top board games are a new thing for me. It’s not something I grew up with. I’ve never played Clue, my first Monopoly game was in high school and I don’t think I owned a board game until my teens. It hasn’t deterred me from becoming a fan!

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New games: Betrayal at House on the Hill, Arkham Horror and Last Night on Earth

Last weekend I kind of splurged in preparation for Tabletop Day. I bought three games, one of which I’ve played before, Betrayal at House on the Hill. Just after I was introduced to the game, it sold out everywhere and I couldn’t find a copy for less than $400, so when I saw the reprinting on sale–I snatched that up! Next I got a game I saw on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop show called Last Night on Earth. It’s a zombie game–no surprise. I bought Arkaham Horror on a whim. My deciding factors were based pretty much on the number of expansions for it. I figured, if there were that many, the original game must be somewhat good, right?

Some of our other games include:

  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Dead Panic
  • Settlers of Catan
  • Munchkin
  • Munchkin Bites
  • SmashUp
  • Killer Bunnies
  • Pandemic, my personal favorite
  • Fluxx–Cuthulu, Zombie, Star, Monty Python, Monster

As you can see, the collection is growing, rapidly!

Our local shop had a great turn out. I wound up playing with both friends and strangers.

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Above: Munchkin Delux. The starter pack doesn’t come with that many cards. I’ve added five expansion packs to the starter deck.

First up, we had a mostly friendly game of Munchkin. It’s good to note, or warn people, that relationships have been destroyed by this game. You see, Munchkin encourages backstabbing and general double-crossing. I’ve heard people liken Munchkin to Dungeons & Dragons without the character creation or story. Mostly, you’re battling it out against your fellow heroes to reach level ten. Along the way you fight monsters, gather loot, add armor. The real game play comes in during the fighting the monsters phase. You see, while your friend is fighting a monster, you can offer to help them in exchange for something (loot!)–OR–you can make it more difficult for the other player by giving the monster attacking them bonuses, or adding another monster. You have to be careful who you decide to back stab, because chances are they’ll get an opportunity to repay the favor!

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Above: Betrayal at House on the Hill. This is a snapshot of the “house” about halfway through the game. You can see the basement, ground floor and second story sectioned off if you look closely enough.

We also played a game of Betrayal at the House on the Hill. This game is a bit like being part of a horror movie! The game starts with a group of people entering a creepy, haunted house. As you explore rooms, there are items you can collect, omens that foretell of the haunt or spirit in the house and events that can either harm or help you. It’s neat, a bit complex, and kind of a long game. At some point, you and your fellow friends will uncover the “haunt” at which point one of the players will turn into the bad guy. This is usually some plot to open the gate to hell, sacrificing someone to a demon or other crazy, creepy act. You’re then trying to escape, fight back or close the portals to hell. Each and every game turns out differently. ((Unless you’re my friends, then we end up with the exact same scenario each time!!))

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Above: Star Fluxx, a game that starts off with two simple rules: Draw 1, Play 1. After that, all bets are off where it goes!!

After Betrayal, we had a limited amount of time to play, so we opted for a few games of Fluxx. At this point we own several Fluxx games, but our favorite continues to be Star Fluxx and Cuthulu Fluxx, just because they have some more complex game plays. Star Fluxx takes all of your favorite science-fiction shows and mashes them into one game. Each and every game of Fluxx is different because the rules change with each person. You’ll have cards that tell you to draw more cards, others that tell you to play more than one card. Other cards will limit the number of cards in your hand, and still yet others tell you what you have to do to win the game. And it just keeps changing!

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Above: Me cast as Rebecca Spewing for the dinner theater.

We had to leave the official Tabletop Day time early because I’d procured tickets for a murder mystery dinner theater. I’ve seen these advertised and I thought it sounded like loads of fun, so we got tickets. All I knew going in was that there was a theater element involved to the meal. I had no idea they would draft one person from each table to actually participate in the evening’s performance. Yeah! I wasn’t ready for that. We sat down and complete strangers said I should be the one to sacrifice. Our mystery theater was themed after the show Dallas. Appropriate since we were at the Southfork Hotel and the show takes place at the Southfork Ranch. I played the part of Rebecca Spewing and had two pages of lines in three scenes. It was a hysterical, very off the cuff performance that I really enjoyed. I won’t spoil the performance. We were told each time it plays out differently and the murderer changes to keep it interesting and fun, still, I won’t spoil who the culprit was.

All in all, it was a really awesome weekend spent with friends and having loads of fun. If you’re inclined at all to play games, I highly suggest tuning into the Geek & Sundry channel for a little Table Top and even check out your local shop for some demos or advice!

Sidney Sig

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