Summer is coming to a close and I was able to get the kids up to Colorado before school started. We were supposed to go in June but I got COVID so that derailed things and we pushed it to early August (replacing our pilgrimage to Gen Con). We’re still figuring out how to work out the kinks in getting “back to normal.” At the same time, I got a chance to get in some gaming with friends. With me coming back into town, we tried to pull another Cabin Con together but only three of us were available with the late notice and the normal cabin out of commission for renovations, it was more of a jump start to realign.
Friends Sean and Reese were able and willing so we headed up to a VRBO up in Grand Lake and plunked down for about 3 days of gaming. We shortened things by a day due to my drive by with the family but were still able to relax and refresh our gaming connection. The altitude had an effect on me now since I was going from 630 feet to about 8,000 feet higher. Nothing to be done about it though so I soldiered on.
We kicked things off with an evening game of Dice Forge. I always like this game as it has that Dominion feel but with dice. Dominion has more variety as a system since it has so many expansions out but if you weren’t hitting this all the time, it’d be fine. The edge it has over Dominion besides dice is the continuous action as you do something on everyone’s turn. It makes the game more engaging as you aren’t just stuck holding cards until someone finishes up.
Reese dialed up the way-back machine and brought Magic Commander decks from the Forgotten Realms set released earlier this year. This was the first time I’d played Magic in years and I’d never played the Commander format before. It was quite fun seeing the game again and watching all the crazy interactions that can happen in that system. Reese looked like he was going to steamroll but Sean’s deck surged late and just overwhelmed him while mine petered out quickly in the beginning and ceased to threaten anything or anyone.
I also built a white/black deck to mess around with a bunch of booster packs Reese also brought. The new dungeon mechanic is interesting I like the Forgotten Realms vibe that is injected into all the cards.
We knew we wanted to hit some minis games but the table was not the normal 4×4 required for Infinity so we went out to find some boards to create out own. Once that adventure was done, we built a crazy mix-match map that would allow us to hit Infinity, Relicblade, and Frostgrave in one setting.
The various themes were that the central medieval setting is a West World-esque amusement park for Infinity. Relicblade only needs the 2×2 in the center and then Frostgrave is the inverse of Infinity where the snow melted around an advanced older civilization.
Minis games would have to wait as we actually wanted to hit Adrenaline. This game doesn’t work well with three players but luckily the designers made an AI bot that works very well to play spoiler and not make the 2v1 triangle limit the experience. There are a lot of variations to the game that I’ve never explored. I’ll have to bring this out more.
We also brought out the Duke and hit a few games. This game has always been a nice filler and palate cleaner. Reese had me dead-to-rights a few times in our second game but I was able to weasel out of several close calls and come back, ultimately trapping his Duke in a corner play.
Sean and I hit some Relicblade as well but I’ll do a full write up later, along with our Infinity game.
Reese took the chance to hit a few solo games like Grove, Maquis, and Ragemore. All sounded like winners with Ragemore seeming the most challenging.
I pushed for one of my favorite games in Fire & Axe. With less intro and cards-to-the-chest mechanics than Blood Rage, this viking game is more accessible and easier to throw down on the table. Reese has always been a fan of occupying as much territory as he can and he got to the apex of this strategy with all his figures out on the map, something we’ve never seen before. Ultimately, it was his undoing as he focused on the cheaper and easier-to-get cities, neutering his score in the end game.
We pulled out The Crew as a light co-op. I loved Spades as a kid so this game is heavily in my wheelhouse. The brilliant idea to turn it into a multiplayer co-op is great and extremely well done.
To end our weekend, we threw together new Frostgrave 2nd edition crews and made a run at the crazy map we built. We sketched out the scenario involving a mad Giant in the center, consuming heroes for her devious purpose. This would follow the great worm scenario in the book with a giant replacing the worm.
On the fly, we decided otherworldly humanoids inhabited these stasis chambers and on a high enough roll they would break open with angry inhabitants.
We had seven treasures scattered throughout the board, several were in the high tech zone so, as we are wont to do, we made them contain advanced tech if recovered. I’ll make a table for them later similar to what we did long ago when modern zombies started coming through our Frostgrave portal.
Soon, the Giant emerged to look for unsuspecting victims. My crew was the first team with unobstructed sight lines so she made off my in my direction. Luckily, I fog-walled the path in front to have her focus instead on Reese’s crew next turn.
Sean’s Sea Pirate crew were disadvantaged with a large wall hemming him in his corner. Ever the clever wizard, he used the crumble spell to eat a hole straight through the wall and get access to that central treasure.
Also, one of the stasis creatures emerged on my side of the table and started blasting us with fel magic. It seemed to have unlimited supply of these magics from the weird and noisy stick it was carrying. I wanted that stick.
Reese’s crew scattered after seeing it’s terrible might (missing figures with gusto but doing terrible damage to where they were just moments ago). I pressed the attack and sent my team valiantly forward. Knowing my wizard was steeped in the dark necromantic arts, they knew this mortal shell was temporary and could march forward with no fear.
The creature tried to fight back but was no match against my troops. With the creature’s stick in hand, I just needed to get them off the map to study it and make use of its power.
Meanwhile, Sean and Reese fought over some tech treasure on the far side of the map. Their battle went back and forth claiming the treasure but Reese’s crew prevailed, killing many a sea creature. Sean also decided to battle it out with the angry giant. Though the beast towered over his crew, a sustained onslaught prevailed and the giant was laid low.
With the giant gone, my wicked crew made haste for the central treasure. Taking hits from all sides, Sean’s crew withered and I came in to rip the treasure from his creature’s grasp.
A bothersome skull spirit (in weird technological fashion- spells were just getting straight up weird at this point) occupied two of Sean’s force and I focused on the treasure carrying coward. I got to him and slew him where he stood but had not enough time to pick it up and claim it. In the ensuing rush to flee the place, Reese actually ended up with the treasure (as per the end scenario rules).
In the end, I got one tech treasure and one regular one (the yellow is the stasis creature’s stick). The game was a little rocky at the beginning as we got back into the rhythm of the game but ultimately played well and was a lot of fun. In typical Frostgrave style, it was easy to develop a compelling narrative to make for an exciting time. Even though I called a few audibles during the action, everyone seemed ok with them and it didn’t seem to wreck the experience.
After Frostgrave, we cleaned up and bid farewell to our temporary lodging. I later found Colton and twisted his arm to throw down some Relicblade but we only had time for a quick rules intro and some sample engagements. Until next time, Colorado and the friends that lie within its boundary!