February Gaming Weekend.

 I've started thinking about a February Gaming Weekend. For the past 17 years, i've organized some sort of gaming event around my birthday at the end of February - the Annual Wargaming Birthday BasH! Sometimes its been a single afternoon or evening - usually a multiplayer miniature game of some sort with a few friends. Other times it's been and entire weekend of gaming - either a campaign or a mini, invitational con. Other times, just a few games with the family... 

I’m really trying to stay positive and plan as though we WON’T be in a FIFTH Wave of Covid… or STILL Be riding out an extended (never-ending) fourth wave!?   (Not that there are going to be any more restrictions of movements or visitations, regardless of how many die, this government had made clear!). But, these things often work out better if there has been some planning beforehand…. So I am thinking about it and trying to make plans… 

To get started, I recently catalogued all of the previous events on a separate page, recently...

Wargaming Birthday Bashes

A couple predate this blog - I was lucky to find a couple pictures of one of the pre-blog games (going through back-up CDs from previous computers, sifting through piles of old pictures)... but could find nothing for the first one... 

Putting this together and reviewing all these events, brought up a rollercoaster of memories ranging from pure joy to total despair. These constitute some of my favourite gaming memories, ever. Simultaneously many bring up feelings of soul-crushing misery and utter  despondency… 

Every year there was that one person (or two, or three) that insisted on RUINING ALL THE FUN (for ME, at least, They probably still had a great time!).  Whether it was the constant complaints about the system (the tabletop game itself and/or campaign rules), or their constant demanding for rulings about stupid bullshit they should have known the answer for if they read the rules and weren’t trying to seek advantage through rules lawyery, or just finding loopholes in either the game rules or the campaign rules and totally exploiting them…. 

There are more than a few of these people that have also showed up at many of these events that ALWAYS caused trouble and made me never want to run one again…  I've tried to stay positive in game reports and not mention these things plainly... Ignore it… "Let it go"... But it happened and, looking back at them, even now, I wonder, is the stress they cause worth it?!

Some I can simply NEVER invite again (finally got that solution through my thick head). A big problem is a few of them still live here in Saskatoon and THESE are the people that are almost ALWAYS available… and worst part is... some of them are truly generous, fantastic human beings… Y’know, OUTSIDE of gaming… 

On the flip side, there ARE about a dozen people that have come to multiple games over the years that totally make it worthwhile and never cause any sort of trouble or headaches. They are the reason I have carried on. They would be my DREAM TEAM of players for a game weekend… Unfortunately, over half of them don’t even live in Saskatoon and it is a big deal for them to get here… especially in February… especially in the middle of a pandemic… 

How does one get a Dream Team of players to show up, while not hurting good friends (who are terrible people to play games with)? 

That being said…. Problem Person(s) played in the Necromunda game (the last big one I ran in 2020, both at my Birthday Bash and again at ToonCon… I won’t say which it was the Problem Person(s) showed up at…) and didn’t cause much trouble… I think this was largely due to scenario design. There was a need to work together, to a certain extent (if the common enemy, played by me, was not stopped, EVERYONE LOST!! And Karloth Valois and his horde of Scavvies and Plague Zombies were NO PUSH-OVERs!), and there was no great benefit to being a dink (each had secret, individualized objectives and victory points - mostly points were awarded for dealing damage to Valois and his crew... but each gang had ONE other gang or gang memeber that they had some sort of vendetta against and could gain points by taking ONE specific character out.).… so… no one was really THAT much of a dink… 

I also find it hard to make plans and get things prepared when I get a luke-warm commitment from many people… Which I've gotten a lot of over the years, and especially the last few. “Well, I’d LOVE to… but we’ll have to see… I can’t plan that far in advance…” when it’s, y’know, just two months away…. Somehow people can make plans to go on holidays, or go to weddings, or go to (AND/OR ORGANIZE) larger conventions up to (and sometimes more than) a YEAR in advance on a specific day/weekend/week… but can’t say if they can make it to my thing until the week before…?! WTF!? 

The last wargaming weekend I'd planned (a Necromunda campaign in the fall of 2019) which I had done SO MUCH WORK FOR (painting multiple gangs for people to use if they didn't have one and a bunch of terrain)... got cancelled because I got a bunch of "maybes", which turned into "NOPEs" in the last week or so coming up to the planned weekend for the event. (Luckily I was able to make use of it all in the following Birthday Bash/ToonCon event) 

(Except for the problem people… they can ALWAYS commit and will definitely make it…) 

Anyway…. 

I digress... 

Back to THE PLAN

This also happens to be a BIG ONE - as this will be my FIRST HALF-CENTURY celebration

(Seriously, how the fuck did I actually make it this far!?) 

(Ooh! Maybe I should start the day with a half-century ride!) 

(but, like, a metric half-century... and only if its NOT -40°C!?) 

AND, my Birthday IS on a Friday, so it seems like it would be fun to use that to kick off a whole WEEKEND of festivities! 

But what format to take…? A weekend long campaign of some sorts - either tabletop miniatures (which could be competitive or co-op/semi-co-op) or a role-playing game? Or something more like a mini-con with a number of different events/games over the weekend. 

I think my favourite option is a co-operative, tabletop miniature adventure campaign - where the “players” are all on the same side and have one character/hero and/or a small unit of some sort, that fight against antagonists controlled by a GM (i.e. ME!) - and play through a series of linked adventures - possibly requiring collection artifacts or clues or completing objectives before they can move on, and culminating in a BIG BOSS BATTLE at the end of the weekend…?

But a lot of that depends on who is available that weekend, how much of that weekend they are available, and what they are interested or willing to commit to playing.  

Over a weekend I generally, mentally break it down into 5-7 game "slots":

  1. Friday Night
  2. Saturday Morning
  3. Saturday Afternoon
  4. Saturday Evening
  5. Sunday Morning?
  6. Sunday Afternoon
  7. Sunday Evening ?

So... Campaign or Mini-con?


CAMPAIGN

Role-Playing Game or Miniatures?


ROLE-PLAYING GAME

Advantage to role-playing games - if things do go sideways, Pandemic-wise, I could always switch to Online… like I did for my birthday this past year. 

  • Fate? 
  • Wrath & Glory? 
  • Something Else!? (unlikely) 


MINIATURES

Competitive campaign/mini-tournament OR a co-op/semi-co-op tabletop adventure (like RPG - but miniature combat focused where all the Players are on the same side fighting enemies controlled by a game master - i.e ME!) 


Competative Campaign/Tournement

Competitive campaigns/tournaments I could potentially run... 

  • Hordes of the Things
  • DBA
  • Necromunda
  • Kill Team
  • 40K Combat Patrol
  • Frostgrave
  • Stargrave
  • Warcry

  • The Silver Bayonet

While a LOT of fun... there are almost always a LOT of problems with these... 


Co-op/Semi-Coop

As mentioned before, this is probably more most favourite option. Running a series of tabletop miniature adventures where all the of the players are (more or less) on teh same side, battling against foes controlled by ME - ultimately culminating in some kind of "Epic Boss Battle"!  Some of the games I have and could again run as a cooperative or semi-cooperative :

  • Savage Worlds
  • Age of Sigmar
  • Warcry
  • Kill Team
  • 40K
  • Necromunda 
  • Song of Blades and Heroes
  • Frostgrave
  • Stargrave
  • The Silver Bayonet
  • Warhammer Quest (like Blackstone Fortress or any of the Age of Sigmar ones...) 


Team Option (Semi-Coop/Competitive)

The "All Quiet Campaign" - two teams with multiple players- each player commanding a squad or Kill Team within a platoon or similar larger formation... it uses set terrain representing a stagnant part of the front where the fighting has more or less ground to a halt. The teams are holding that section of the line for a period of three days and three nights. A series of six scenarios are played over that time period. Not all troops are used for each mission. Some are active (on the mission out in No Mans' Land), some can be on stand-by (sentries, holding the trenches or whatever), some are out-of-the-line and resting... Quality of troops degrades if they are used twice in a row (i.e. without resting)...?


MINI-CON

There are definitely some advantages to running a "Mini-Con". I can mix it up and play some different things. There could be somewhat less prep involved - especially if a few of them are board games and I dont have to worry about an airtight campaign system. Also, no one has to commit to WHOLE weekend - people could “sign up” for just ONE slot. 

The weekend could look something like:

  • Friday Night - One-Shot Role-Playing Game
  • Saturday Morning - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Saturday Afternoon -  Miniature Skirmish 
  • Saturday Evening - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Sunday Morning -  Board Game
  • Sunday Afternoon - Board Game 
  • Sunday Evening - Board Game 
OR

  • Friday Night - One-Shot Role-Playing Game
  • Saturday Morning - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Saturday Afternoon -  Board Game 
  • Saturday Evening - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Sunday Morning -  Board Game
  • Sunday Afternoon - Miniature Skirmish 
  • Sunday Evening - Board Game 
Just to mix it up a little... 

OR... have the one-shot RPG on the Saturday evening, half-way through...

OR... it could be ONE board game on Sunday... but, like, a bigger one with many players taking all day to play... 

Lots of possibilities here... 


COME-AND-GO CAMPAIGN

A third option I've been considering since I started this planning and writing this a week or so ago is a "Come-And-Go Campaign. This would be a semi-co-op miniature campaign - involving a number of linked scenarios played over the weekend that create a bit of a narrative... BUT... it could involve DIFFERENT characters/groups - played by different participants that could show up for just one session, or ALL of them. Ideally, there would be one or two that would play the entire weekend and would be the "Lead Heroes" that assemble the varied groups of allies to fight... whatever it is that they are fighting...? 


OR... 

...maybe I'll just play some games with my family again, like I did last year... 

Kind of still leaning towards co-op tabletop miniature adventure... possibly with come-and-go option... 

Source: saskminigamer

February Gaming Weekend.