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Continuum - Day 3 and After Con thoughts

Sunday really made my time at Continuum. Firstly, I got to play in games rather than referee them twice, which was great because that's why I go to Continuum. Secondly, I managed to sell most of the pile of stuff I had ready to eBay in the Bring and Buy sale. Sure, it may not have reached the prices that eBay may command, but I got a reasonable return on it all and recovered a lot of time at home which would have been spent preparing stuff for auction.

The first game kicked off at ten o'clock in the morning, and was one which I was familiar with; Graham Spearing's excellent Wordplay. The game was another playtest of the system, and was set in Robert E Howard's Conan universe. It was a direct follow on to a game I'd played at a Tomcon earlier this year, and by an accident of luck for me, and probably bad luck for Graham, I ended up with the same simple Turanian Tribesman (okay, sorceror) as I played last time. I had a real blast, especially as I got to play with the excellent Mark Galeotti, writer of much HeroQuest material that I admire such as Mythic Russia. His character was a librarian and gladiator, and I suspect our scheming may have been a little hard on everyone else. However, the system worked beautifully, and we nailed a few more of the awkward questions which you can only find by playtest.

After lunch, I ducked out of playing, as I wanted to see what would happen with the auction, which I had two items in, and also sort out my bring and buy stuff. I managed to persuade Neil Ford to run a demo game of 3:16 during the early evening. I should hang my head in shame here, as I was meant to be running it as well, but had dropped it with the extra game of Conspiracy of Shadows I ran.

The 3:16 game was an absolute blast - basically, it's a cross of Aliens and the film version of Starship Troopers. You play a squad of soldiers taking part in Terra's Xenocidal Crusade to make the universe safe for humanity. The group really got into character and although we only played for 90 minutes, we got through character generation and a complete mission. We'd have happily played more if the closing ceremony hadn't started. I got a surprise in this; all the GMs were asked to come up and pick up a game book as a thank you for running, which was unexpected and very kind.

After the closing ceremony, Graham, Duncan and I dug out my copy of Iliad, which is a superb card game of the Trojan Wars. What is fantastic about the game is that it has strategic and tactical elements which make it quite difficult to call as you jockey to achieve 12 victory points. The key one is that, although you start with 12 cards, you only replenish your hand with 3 each turn. This adds a real resource management challenge to the game. The next challenge is that there are two types of conflict in the game - Thanatos and Gorgon. Thanatos rounds are the standard games, which you don't want to loose as they cost you victory points if you come last. Gorgon rounds are brutal on resources as you have to keep playing to stay in. You can't pass and stop committing cards in the same way you can in a Thanatos round as stopping means you fold from the round. So you need to be very, very careful about whether to commit to them. Thanks to some luck on my part by winning a battle for Helen for Troy (5 victory points) and my conserving resources while Graham and Duncan went hell for leather at each other, I managed to win the game in a Gorgon round. I really enjoyed the game, and definitely want to play again with a bigger group.

After this, I went to bed. I had a relaxed morning , and then had the long drive home.

I really enjoyed Continuum, and want to be back in 2010. Highlights ranged from meeting old friends, to playing games with new friends, and just generally escaping from the usual way of things. Lowlights? Missing Nathan and Jill, the heat in my room, and the general scramble for games. However, I had a good chat with Graham on the latter (as he was Games Tzar) and we came up with some good potential solutions.

A great long weekend.