My first session on Saturday was another run of The Sprawl, using the same scenario as I ran at Day of Games, The Essilor Sterilisation. Stuart played Bertrand, an Infiltrator on the run from Fox’s military program; Jo played Lilliana, a Fixer hunted by Therma AG; Alistair played “John” the cutting edge cyber-Killer, also hunted by Fox; Rachel played Kate Richards a journalist (Hunter) regularly employed by a local community watch-cum-government-cum-vigilante organisation. Their Links phase resulted in Therma AG’s countdown clock going all the way to 0000, so I decided the whole extraction mission was a set-up from the start. They bluffed their way into the building and reached the prisoner before they were busted by a computer security expert who saw through Kate’s technobabble, and fled the scene in a sub-contracted helicopter, wounded but with the target. They lay low for a while, licking their wounds, but that only gave the corp a chance to close the net. They delivered the target and got paid, then were ambushed by a Therma AG strike team as they were about to split the money. They broke out of the Therma trap with judicious use of firepower, manoeuvring and a covering fire hose, but Kate went down in the firefight and bled out as they raced to the house of the street doc who, unknown to them, had sold them out and gone to ground.
In the afternoon I played boardgames, including Conquering Corsairs, the deck building game of fantasy pirates that Rob and I are working on.
After however many years of playing in them, I’d volunteered to help GM in the Grand Strategy game, Sun and Starships, so I spent the evening bent over a map adjudicating movement and drawing combat cards. It was fun, but full on in a way that playing isn’t; more constant busy-ness, less frantic scheming. It seemed to finish in a more satisfying way than many other of the recent Grand Strats with most of the maps seeming quite stable, although the penultimate few turns without Civil War saw a lot of largely inconsequential movement on my map, then a lot of action on the final, Civil War, turn. The pirates worked pretty well, but still more combat-y than I would have liked.
Sunday morning I played King of Tokyo (a quick, dice-based, monster fighting game), Tobago (a cute card based treasure hunting game), Zombie Dice (which was much more fun than last time I played it) and a second game of Conquering Corsairs. Then in the afternoon session I ran The Essilor Sterilisation again.
This time, Mutu played Knock, a Killer drummed out of the LG military for “excessive enthusiasm”; Ian played Sly, a retro-stylish Soldier delivering a cutting-edge tactical skillsoft to the black market for a Blackwater-Verizon R&D programmer; Mark played the teen schoolgirl Hacker, Core, on the run from her father, the Head of Operations of the mega-agri-corp Valdez Combine; Carla played Roadkill, a young Asian speed junky with a flashy red vectored thrust racer hunted by a Detroit racing gang. Core hacked Essilor, subverted the cameras and gave Knock a fake secure ID allowing him to enter the facility and almost walk out with the target. The head of security went to confer with the in-house computer security manager and the team decided not to wait for the result of that conversation. Knock fought his way to the roof and escaped in Roadkill’s racer. As Core and Sly sedately left the scene in a nondescript sedan, Knock was firing out the window of the racer as Roadkill burned for LAX airspace to lose the alerted corporate security forces. Some hot shit manoeuvring later and the team was scouting out the meet site. The assigned strip mall location had a suspicious number of security teams watching, so Sly relocated the meet and made the exchange, but Roadkill had been made and a brief chase, sharp collision and violent skirmish followed before the team could escape with their money.
The auction and prizegiving followed. I won Best GM for my two games and grabbed a copy of Microscope. Carla won best player and Best Single Session went to Phil and his Dresden Files game. I picked up the two maps from the Dark Sun box for $2 in the auction. We weren’t playing in the LARP so Kirk, Tony and I adjourned to chez Tony for beers and another game of Conquering Corsairs.
I had a restless night’s sleep and nursed a headache for much of Monday, which limited my big plans to run The Sprawl, Conquering Corsairs and Microscope. Instead, Rose ran Conquering Corsairs, I ran The Sprawl and Microscope fell by the wayside.
The third game of The Sprawl featured Sly (Soldier) and Core (Hacker) from the previous game, so I ran a different mission, The Cazares-Bell Obselence. As well as Ian and Mark reprising their characters from the previous game, we had Crisy’s Infiltrator, Blue, still employed by corporate mercenary outfit Black Sun, and Python, Phil’s impeccably groomed ex-Agency Hunter. Hired to track down and neutralise an escaped Cyber-soldier, the investigation eventually decided she would be a useful asset, especially after a brief encounter and firefight between Blue and the Cyber-soldier left Blue hospitalised. The final encounter saw Sly offering her a place in the team with Python at hand and Blue covering on a nearby rooftop.
Not feeling energetic enough to run another game, I played Tobago again and Ghost Story (a kind of very hard kung-fu Arkham Horror), watched the end of a Marvel RPG game, then began my journey back to Rangiora.