Recap: In Which We Bodysurf the Earth | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

Recap: In Which We Bodysurf the Earth

At last, at last! I was finally able to get Misspent Youth to the table and got in some play time. We had a few close calls with one member of our potential group becoming ill and another receiving some unexpected negative news. Still, we forged on and had a great time with this game.

During the course of the game, the Youthful Offenders knew a bomb had been planted and they needed to move to overthrow this action by the Authority. Perhaps thinking about riding the blast wave with his “Thrills” conviction, one player announced that he was going to, “bodysurf the earth.” Of course, no bomb had gone off yet, so I got a mental picture of what that would look like. I turned to him and asked, “Does that mean you’re just lying down on the ground?”

Whether because of the late (early?) hour or the image of our friend just lying on his belly on the floor, we erupted in laughter. A new inside joke was born and I was reminded about some of the best role-playing moments from our past. Misspent Youth certainly shot to the top of our experiences in record time.

Follow me past the cut for more, along with Operation GamerWife reports.

Misspent Youth. The plan is to play a quick follow-up story and then give it the full review treatment this Friday. So I won’t go into too many details here. However, our session was a complete blast (Bombs. Get it?). Set in an environment based loosely on the Hunger Games, our Youthful Offenders stumbled upon a plot by the Capital to destroy the leadership of the resistance. Eventually the Offenders discover the intent is to bomb their city. The players attempted to bribe officials, rallied some assistance, and saved the day through a combination of technological interference and direct strikes against the Authority. The Offenders lost four of the seven struggles and sold out on two of those occasions to achieve a victory.

I really enjoyed the narrative nature of the game. The game focuses very heavily on the story and the kinds of characters you play, rather than on the stats. In fact, a character has five “convictions”—each describing an aspect of their personality or background—and no set skills. Contrast that with most games (like the World of Darkness) where there may be a single line to set out your character concept and the rest of the sheet is taken up with numbers or dots representing skills and powers. This, combined with the communal storytelling aspect, really helped everyone “buy in” and participate which made for a fantastic time.

Setting up a Second Target

Pandemic. Operation GamerWife continued this week. During the week, my wife and I decided to plan a Board Game Night after work. I strategically put her in charge of picking the game and made a few suggestions. She decided to play it safe with Pandemic—a game we’ve played numerous times before. I also broke out the expansion and we decided to go with the Virulent Strain. And oh was that strain virulent.

We played with five epidemics and ended up getting two bad powers early on: (1) add two cubes to the city if there aren’t any, and (2) if a city outbreaks, then move the outbreak marker twice. We worked hard to cure those virulent blue diseases and squeaked out a victory with the outbreak marker on seven—one away from failure.

But, Operation GamerWife took an unusual turn this week as well. One of my good friends got married a few years back and we consequently saw him a lot less than we had previously. We planned an evening of dinner and games as sort of a “couples night.” So, we took OGW and trained it on the completely uninitiated wife of my friend. Our first game: Pandemic of course.

We played a four-player game on easy mode (four epidemics), but somehow, those first three epidemic cards came right away. They must all have been at the top of their piles, or maybe something got shuffled wrong. Our fates came down to the wire. Near the end, we only had the blue disease left to cure. One player had four blue cards, but there was no way to get him a fifth on his turn. And, at the end of his turn, he wouldn’t be able to draw (we were out of cards) and we would lose the game. It looked hopeless. Then, a miraculous turn of events.

One of the special cards we had received was the one that allows a player to dump his role and select a new one. I had a blue card to give, but I couldn’t get to the right city in time. That card got played, I abandoned my role as medic to become the researcher, and I was able to give him that last blue card on his turn. He had just enough actions to cure blue and we won in just the nick of time. A tense and enjoyable game.

Just one outbreak away from the end of the world

Carcassonne. With a play of Pandemic down, I thought Carcassonne would be a good choice to demonstrate that not all games are of the roll-and-move variety. I think my friend’s wife enjoyed her time playing, but she remained a little disengaged. Though she placed her tile about fifty percent of the time, the other half of her turns she would ask her husband or the group in general where the best place was and then place there.

Part of what makes Carcassonne a good “gateway” game into the hobby is that it provides the players with meaningful choices. By abdicating many of them, I’m not sure she got the full experience. Still, she tolerated the play and seemed to have a smile on her face the majority of the time. I’ll leave it to my friend to carry the torch from here.

What did you play this weekend?

Resolution Count: 5715 minutes.

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