Sunday, March 23, 2014

And Darkeness Fell : The New Year's Game For 2,393 A. S. - The Weekly Update for Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

The players' eye-view of yesterday's game.

The game-master's eye-view of yesterday's game
There are days when it pays to get up out of bed in the morning. Yesterday was one of them; I think I have run what I think has been the very best game I have ever run in my time in gaming.

Yes, that's right; I think that this is the best game I have ever run in some forty years of fooling around on the game table. Ever. And I include the infamous "Great Mos Eisley Spaceport Raid" game of some thirty years ago.

I had wanted to do something really special for yesterday, as it's the occasion of the annual Tsolyani New Year's Party; I had my first international visitor, and my wonderful brother and nephew came up from their home in southern Minnesota for the day.

I used one of our adventures that I am writing about in my book, "To Serve The Petal Throne", as the basic scenario; Salarvyani mercenaries cause trouble in town, which is nice but not spectacular as a game. Yes, it has five 'sides', in your classic Braunstein tradition, with lots of double-dealing, bribery, action, and nice scenery; again, nice, but not spectacular.

And then I got to thinking.

"You know, Chirine," I said to myself, "this looks all very well and good. Nice scenery, decent figures, and a fun scenario. It just doesn't 'send' me, though. What can I do to make this a truly memorable game for everyone?"

And I thought for a few more moments, and began to laugh.

And then I reached for the master dimmer for the track lights that illuminate the game table in the game room, and I slid the dimmer down to twenty percent - just enough to have a glow on the table, but not enough to see much of anything. You couldn't really see the buildings, the ships, the figures, and all the detail and time that I lavish on my miniatures.

Laughing like Ming the Merciless over the captive Earthlings, I then reached into one of the bins of game accessories that line the walls of the game room. "Nothing can save you now!" I chortled.

My demented thought was that since this scenario takes place at night, why not? Why not have a real night game? Now, I did assume  that - in the best adventuring tradition - everyone would bring torches, lanterns, oil lamps, and the occasional "Light" spell; it was my job to simulate that on the game table. But just how to do that?

IKEA. IKEA, for all your obscure gaming needs. A few years ago, I had bought some of the 'SOLVINDEN' battery-powered LED lights for possible use as spell markers in games. These are little domed lights, and very nice; we lat used them as table decorations at Prof. Barker's memorial event, two years ago, and it seemed a very fitting way to remember him as well as simulate the lights that the little people on the game table would be carrying.

Thinking further, I also got out the little LED 'tea-lights' we have; these are also battery-powered, and are small enough to fit inside the buildings on the game table. They also have a flicker circuit in them, and the effect of lamps inside the buildings was magical. The moon, seen over the harbor, is a electro-luminescent item from a range of Halloween items; I have several, and they look pretty good.

The reaction from the gamers was everything that I had hoped for. The game went well; we had the lights off during movement, and on during the resolution phases. There was a lot of collisions in the dark, which made for a lot of laughter, and a lot of just plain fun all the way around. Three bottles of bubbly, a light buffet, and friends having fun; what more could one ask for, eh?

It was a very good way to start the New Year...


Please scroll down to the previous post, and have a look at the various links; the Kickstarters i've been interested in have been very successful so far, and are well worth your having a look. Mike Burns' Ancient Egyptians are ending on a high note, and Jeff Dee's is just beginning.