Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fright Night 2008 - Wellington

So after a bit of searching I've found a pretty cool gaming group here in Wellington. While table top gaming has certainly spread around the globe, it is not exactly "main stream" in New Zealand. The relative remoteness of the country combined with the overall lower population base makes gaming a relatively rare past time. But I also think as a result of that, the game enthusiasts I have found seem more open and more mature than a lot of others I've known.

NZ doesn't really celebration Halloween in any fashion. But these guys and gals have come to appreciate a good horror game to mark the season. They have established a "Fright Night" mini convention in October which I was just lucky enough to get in to due to a late drop out.

Fright Night is broken up in to two sessions of about a half dozen one-shot adventure games of various styles. The two games I got in to were Geiger Couter hosted by Micheal Sands and Hot War hosted by Sophie Melchior. Both games were based on systems I had not played before. The underlying theme in both was the idea that player who overcome an obstacle in the game get to then decide what direction the game takes next. I've dubbed it "collaborative" style--although I think you might also call it "interactive."

The first session game was based on the Geiger Counter system which is designed to facilitate the creation of a classic "survival horror" movie. Mike picked out the idea of a viral meme overtaking human hosts and our group of 7 players was off.

Eclipse Mining Station is about to confront terror when the Princess Dawn cruise liner arrives with more than a message of of a plague stricten Earth--it transmits the plague itself. Viral nanobots make the jump from computer virus to attacking the original computer--the human brain. Infected victims are driven to blood and revenge and there is no where to run. There is no one to hear you scream. There is only darkness in the Total Eclipse.
Each of us created a character concept roughly iconic in the movies. I was Dallas a heavy industrial engineer--big, bald and black. Dallas was smart, hard working and always looking for that way in to early retirement. Eclipse station was 4 years of hell, but the pay was extraordinary. But when the station is plunged in to chaos by a nano-virus. Dallas takes his opportunity to raid the station vaults of the mined gold. But Dallas had to confront the menance in the station hanger bays. Using the massive cargo loader he fought to a stand still as wave after wave of infected zombies were crushed in his claws. In the end even the powerful man and machine couldn't hold them off. Dallas crashed over a tower of fuel barrels and blew it all to hell.

Mechanically, each player started with 2 six sided dice. Each turn one of the player would get to create a "scene" involving one or more other characters, but not their own character. The scene would resolve itself in some natural way and then the next player would make up a new scene with other characters. As things progressed the characters confront "the menace" where the player rolls their 2 dice and some one else rolls for the menace. If the player rolls higher, then the player can describe how they beat the menance. If they fell then the player must pick a "condition" from a short list--things like "lost", "pursued", "injured", etc. The conditions dictated what kinds of scenes their characters could be set in to next and if there would be advantages or disadvantages.

The second session was a game based on the Hot War game/setting. In Hot War the world outside London has been wiped away. World War III erupted in 1963 in an exchange of weapons more terrible than just nuclear bombs. Twisted weapons stolen from the crazed Nazi laboratories were unleashed one after another resulting in a world distorted and completely changed. The near dead still walk as soldiers, the boundaries outside London simply seem to warp in to nothing. People who leave the edges of reality never return.

Sophie had a number of pre-gnerated character to use. One of them was an American Air Force pilot, Brad Harris. Since I was the only American at the table, I felt it was a sign for me to play Brad. You have to remember that here in NZ, I am the one with the funny accent. Kiwi's all sound normal to me now, but I guess I still sound funny to them. But it was good. I didn't feel weird or anything. It was a good game. Mechanically, Hot War was similar to Geiger Counter, but more tradionally directed by the GM. Hot War came pre-loaded with a lot of great flavor.

The whole thing lasted from about 4:30 to midnight. We played in an old historic building called Turnbull House right next door to the Beehive building. This is conveniently 3 blocks from Wellington Station so it was super easy for me to get there on the train. It was coincidentally a bit rugby night and I did have to tolerate a number of happy drunks on the train... haha! But it was a great time.

No comments: