Hullo dear reader! I’m back after an uncharacteristic pause on this here blog. It’s been a busy summer without a lot of time for gaming, I’m afraid. But now that the days are getting shorter and the autumn winds are picking up, I’m once again finding some time to chuck some dice and play with toy soldiers.
This month, my local game group had expected undertake an expedition to Olympia, Washington, to attend Enfilade, the annual game convention from the Northwest Historical Miniatures Gaming Society. Alas, the rise of the delta variant this summer convinced us to skip the convention. We had hoped to host a game or two, and it seemed a shame to let all of that prep work go to waste, and thus Majesticon was born!
For our inaugural event, we planned a modest weekend of games, with plenty of breaks in between to attend to other obligations. Four players participated, with a few more dropping by to hang out periodically through the weekend. John graciously hosted our games in his converted garage “War Room.”
Game 1 – Into the Haunted Woods
Saturday morning was the first session, and John had planned a two-part mini-campaign of Nightwatch, the monster hunting skirmish game from Patrick Todoroff (creator of Zona Alfa). In Nightwatch, players create warriors, rangers, alchemists, and wizards who band together to defeat evil denizens of the darkness. It is a narrative co-op game, which I’ve really come to appreciate in this era of meta-heavy, combo-centric games that reward absolute beatdowns of the opposing player.
The first session took place in a spooky forest, shown in the photo above. The players were tasked with journeying through this forest, dealing with any randomly occurring monsters, and sanctifying the three stone cairns placed on the tabletop.
Each player had one figure for this introductory game — not a lot, but good for a tutorial game as we learned the ropes.
The bad guys began to arrive almost immediately. Nightwatch uses a series of random tables to generate progressively more dangerous waves of enemies. The rulebook doesn’t describe them in specifics, but instead just characterizes their threat level and behavior … it’s up to you to find a suitable miniature from your collection. Is this mob of vermin a group of giant spiders, or bloodthirsty imps? This ensures that Nightwatch games can features a wide variety of monsters and assorted bad guys.
The baddies spawned from one of four portals placed around the periphery of the battlefield at the start of the game. Here they come!
For fun and cinematic glory, we decreed that each “vermin” unit would be represented by TWO (2) zombie models, to better represent the palpable fear felt by the characters as they journeyed through the haunted wood.
The bad guys did a good job of harassing the players as they explored the forest and sanctified the cairns. We got a good sense of the game mechanics, which equipped us well for game two!
Game 2 – Defend the Church!
After a quick break, we set up the battlefield for game two. Having reached their destination, the hunters had to defend a stone church against seemingly endless waves of foul demons and hellspawn. This session featured a much more dangerous array of enemies!
We were tickled pink to have a chance to build a tabletop battlefield featuring our collection of gorgeous hand-painted medieval village terrain. Much of what you see in these pictures comes from Tabletop World. This doesn’t even include Lawrence’s TTW collection — I’m convinced we could build an entire city with our shared batch of terrain!
One of the spawn points was located near an outhouse, and we were lucky that Vincent had a suitable array of models to represent the shambling horrors that poured forth from the foetid maw of the crapper. This was the catalyst for a number of toilet-themed jokes throughout the rest of the weekend. Don’t forget to wipe!
If game one was a walk in the park, game two was certainly a meatgrinder. The waves of enemies just kept coming! Each time a new group of bad guys spawned, John would roll randomly to see if they would 1) shamble toward the church and start attacking it or 2) come straight at the defenders! As the game picked up and the defenders began to get overwhelmed, the random rolls sent more and more monsters to attack the church.
Alas, despite our best efforts, the church was destroyed in an orgy of destruction and blasphemy. The defenders escaped with their lives, but just barely. A follow-up mission seems imminent, to reclaim the holy site from the terrible invaders.
All in all, Nightwatch was a blast to play. We agreed that the co-op mechanics provided a superb narrative framework. We all got big-time “Witcher” vibes from our two games.
Interlude – Lunch is Served!
What is a game convention without food? Luckily, John’s spouse served up a platter of delicious nachos, plus a carafe of hot coffee, to keep us fueled up and ready for more game action to come in the afternoon.
Game 3 – Goblin Slayer!
Our hunger sated, we gathered for another game in the afternoon. Vincent hosted the third session, a game of Open Combat set in the blood-drenched world of Goblin Slayer. Players each commanded a small 4-person team of warriors, and collectively we were tasked with defending a farm from relentless waves of goblins.
The game featured a wave mechanic where the groups of goblins, seemingly weak in their own, would return to the battlefield in their deployment area after being wiped out. There was no escape from the unstoppable green tide!
Through savage combat, magical mastery, and sheer force of will, the players gained the upper hand and managed to defeat several of the larger goblin champions in single combat. Slaying the big guys seemed to turn the tide in our favor, and the heroes prevailed in the scenario.
Open Combat was quick and easy to play, although we remarked that the rules struggled a bit with the big mobs of goblins. The game is definitely at its best when each player handles a small team of 5-10 figures.
All in all, day one of Majesticon was great fun! It’s been tough to get everyone together these days, so it was really nice to get some sustained game time (and hang out time!) with everybody.
Up next – day two!