Sunday, 29 July 2012

Hats, hatred, sand-castles and hentai

Also known as the 11th UKitP meetup, summer 2012.

(Which, as I finally get to finishing and posting this, was about three weeks ago)
On this particular occasion, the meetup was two things which I'd particularly wanted: 1, we were extending it, with some people hanging around past the main weekend; and 2, I was hosting (Well, me and Tasroth, Hazyshade, Qwaz and Serp, but shush, let me feel special).

OK, so there were a few worries about organising the meetup, mostly on the parts of other people - I worked on the principle of "It'll all be fine, most of the details can just be sorted once people are here", which worked out well enough. Only a little bit of stress when it suddenly went from a thing in the future to suddenly "Oh **** it's in just a few days and Minion's turning up early and I'll have to just take him to my rehearsal and he'll be bored out of his skull" and so on. Apparently he was OK though, and in any case it's what he gets for turning up earlier than everyone else (He also got less in the way of dinner, because we hadn't really thought through what he'd be having like we had for everyone else on the other days).

Right, let's get into accounts of events.

There's only so much I can say about this since I missed a fair bit of it due to participating in a G&S sing-along to raise money for Dauntless Theatre's trip to Buxton to perform Iolanthe in August. But that'll be an entirely different blog post. I mean, I did hope some of the Playgrounders might come along to support it, but of the three I thought might be interested, one was arriving too late, one had to cancel her trip entirely (:sadface:), and the third eventually had to travel up on the Saturday instead as the train she meant to catch was cancelled due to flooding.
Anyway, we went round to Qwaz & Serp's, having gotten settled in had to immediately go back out to collect DarkCorax. While Tasroth and Minion changed metro at Monument, I went up to check timetables for later, then walked down and got to them only just across the road from Central Station.  Who needs metros? Having got back, it wasn't that long before I had to go out again to get to the sing-along, whileTasroth and Qwaz were heading out to meet Succubus.

Five or six hours later, I returned to a house full of people.
Not quite like that - when I arrived back Tasroth was off fetching Etcetera from the airport. But that was basically it - lots of people, playing either Mario Kart or Smash Bros. Met everyone, played some games, took some of them home. Onto the meetup proper!

Alright, first, a video containing snippets of the meetup. Of course I missed out large chunks, so you'll have to read to find out about those. Next time I need to get more into the mindset of "video everything" so it'll work properly. Also I might actually note down specific things I want to get clips of in advance so I'm prepared.
Anyway, here's the video.
And now, to fill in the gaps:

Here, of course, is the bulk of things. This was the official meetup, the day of all the gaming. We arrived bright and relatively early at Bar Loco to meet everyone, and start games.

To the left, you may see pictures of the games other people were playing when I started playing the Order of the Stick game. Which only took about four hours this time...

I mean, we considered using some of the optional rules from the Shortening expansion, like the Wandering Xykon, but figured any time saved would probably be used up again by how long it'd take to figure out how said rules worked. The only way really to make this game go quickly is to actually just impose a time limit.

I freely admit that the OotS game can get a bit tiresome with how long it lasts. This is why I spent quite a bit of it away from the table, taking photos of other things which were clearly of much greater importance. For a start, two things which made it into the title of this post:
Hate-Boar hates you all.


But even more important, for the second time, a UKitP meetup had additional attendance via Skype!
She totally did make it after all!
Also, while talking to Koorly, we made a totem pole.

Now, moving forward to when the OotS game had finally finished, after 4 hours, that was when I recorded my first video clip. And then I played Braggart, which is an amazing game. Allow me to explain it to you briefly.

In Braggart, you imagine yourselves to be drinking buddies in a tavern, the tables occupied by all manner of heroic figures (Or so they claim), from all different walks of likfe (If you believe them). And you are boasting about your many great deeds, perhaps even betting on who has performed the greatest feats of heroism in their life.
So you start with 4 cards each, and someone starts with the 'My Round' card, which just means they go first that round. Each round begins with a draft - you draw, face up, as many cards from the deck as there are players, and everyone takes one. Then each person must make their boast. If they can't think of a suitably interesting story (Don't  have the right cards or just don't want to use them yet), they can instead go to the bar for inspiration (Draw 3 more cards). But if they wish to boast, well, that's when the game becomes hilarious.
If you're boasting, you can also use Ploy cards first. These allow you to get extra cards from other players, or exchange them with ones from the deck. Once you've made your ploys, you boast, using the other cards. To brag about your deed, you must play a Deed card and a Foe card - what you did, and who you did it to/with/for. Optionally, if you have them, you may also include a Scene and/or a Result - Where you did it and/or what happened afterwards. So you play your cards, tell your story, make it sound as impressive as possible, and hope no-one calls you a liar.
If someone has a Liar or Outrageous Liar card, they can change your story, exchanging a card (Or 2 cards for an Outrageous Liar) from your boast with one from their hand, making your boast less impressive and more embarassing while also taking your impressive story elements for their own future use.
(It should be noted that you can play it well enough just reading your stories off the cards, but it can be even more amusing if you elaborate on the stories and generally roleplay the drunken prevaricator you're supposed to be)

There are a few more details, but I won't get into them right now. Instead I'll just give you a hypothetical example:
I play Braggart against myself.

Nuclear War
And at last, the time had come. The moment had arrived when all the meetup attendees would do battle simultaneously, exchanging propaganda, secrets, and bombs in competition for whatever was left of the world once we were done. Nuclear War.
As you will have seen in the video above, there were 24 people playing Nuclear War. We were in teams though. 24 individuals would not only have been confusing for those who'd never played before, but also (even if the game contained 24 different countries, which I'm not sure if it does) really boring for everyone having to wait so long for their turn. I mean, it was pretty bad with just ten teams in that regard.
Also, of course, fitting that number of people into one room to all play the same game was problematic. In the end we settled on an L-shaped table setup, which meant we couldn't always see the people we were nuking (I hoped this would allow me to avoid being targeted by Tasroth, as he might forget I was there, but alas, it was not to be. I did, however, retaliate and destroy him utterly)
Interestingly, the game was quite far advanced before any regular nukes were fired. A couple of suitcase nukes early on, and propaganda was exchanged, of course. But initially people were taken out by secrets, and then took out others using their final retaliations, so in fact, the game was down from 10 teams to 3 before anyone actually got a delivery system and warhead paired up in the usual manner, and only a few were fired so before the end of the game. At which point, surprisingly, one team actually still had some people left.
Hate-Boar hated being a mascot. He also hates winning.

Time for special photos:
This may have been the best attended meetup we've had? Certainly the best attended that I've been to.
The waistcoat brigade: Now with added hats!

And the rest of the evening for me was taken up with Guy's Burning Wheel session - though sadly we didn't actually get through that much of it. He'd decided on thsi occasion to allow us to generate our own characters, rather than giving us ones he'd made. Being able to create our own characters was actually very interesting, just also very time-consuming. Perhaps an idea for the future could be if the players arrive on the Friday, to go through character creation then, so they don't take up a lot of time which could be used for the actual session. Or just go back to pregenerated characters.
Anyway, like I said, it was rather interesting. Without really meaning to, we set ourselves neatly into the orc hierarchy (Oh yeah, I hadn't actually mentioned - we were orcs). Fred made himself an ambitious politician, hoping to succeed or perhaps even usurp the Great One. Lime was a mystic (Although where mystics fall in the hierarchy was somewhat unclear), who went around constantly naked because he ran out of resource points before getting clothes and decided to just make it a weird religious thing. Grlump was a former slave who had risen to become whipmaster (And he then started turning him into an orc version of Javert), and I was a slave who was more or less the definition of downtrodden.
Now, the adventure on which we were embarking was to deal with a mystic who had run off with the  Great One's pet human. Only a little way into the cave where he was apparently hiding, we found a powerful flow of water coming from a statue's mouth. In order to test whether or not we could cross it, Lime pushed me in and I was swept down a well and away, to be fished out of the water further down by our villainous mystic, who started trying to get me on his side, talking about some sort of new order he wanted to bring about, where no orcs would be slaves, and everyone would have a pet human. Both in and out of character, I was unsure if this was genuine or just an attempt to get me to betray my former associates. Regardless, this was perhaps the perfect way to cause my character to question his loyalties. See, my idea was basically that his slavery was so deeply ingrained, he would automatically defer to other orcs, assuming them to be right and him wrong, and it would never really occur to him that there was an alternative. Now, while this meant offering him an alternative to slavery didn't entirely work because the concept was so alien and he didn't trust that nice things could actually happen to him, the fact is that the slavery being ingrained meant he had no reasoning behind his own perceived inferiority. He's a slave, other orcs are his masters, but he wouldn't so clearly distinguish between why some orcs should be his masters and not others, so at this point, where it seemed I definitely had theoption of switching sides should I wish, it simply became a question of avoiding trouble - i.e. trying to pick the winning side.
Of course, Purple Shard (The villainous mystic) might have continued to bring me round, and of course there could have been other potential complications, since Fred's character might have ended up switching sides as well, to further his own ambitions; but the basis of my character was simply a downtrodden slave, so his prime directive would always be to avoid getting into trouble, lest he be whipped (Or otherwise punished). It all came down to fear for that character.

Sadly, that was all we really got plot-wise. We seemed to be getting towards some sort of encounter between Purple Shard (And me) and the party, but unfortunately we were running out of time before the last metro back to Qwaz & Serp's, so we had to wrap up early.

Once back there, nothing more in particular happened. More Mario Kart and Smash Bros, some short tabletop games being played in the background. We played Consequences and I started out by filling in everything with G&S references. That's the only point of real note which comes to mind.

Sunday, once everyone was up except Qwaz, who hadn't really slept due to needing to transport someone to the train station rather early and therefore he pretty much slept through the day, began with werewolf.
Grlump put some interesting fluff on some of the games. Such as us all being zombies (Narrations consisted of "Brains brain brains brains brains brains, dead. Brains brains brains" and similar), and the one in which we were all hobos living in a small cardboard box, and the seer was a crazy naked hobo wearing nothing but a blanket.
Of course, Guy's decision to get so into character was a dead giveaway as to his identity, but it turned out he'd been killed during the night anyway.

And then, everyone having arrived, we headed off to pick up some picnic-type food before going to the beach. We wrote "UKitP 2012" in the sand, as seen at the start of this post, we ate,

we decided to build a sand-castle,
we did so,
and then we had ice cream.

And then more hanging out and gaming ensued, as it tends to.
I just really like this photo. Can't imagine why... :P
Including, during a late night game of Braggart, this wonderfuly little story from Castaras:
I told you there was hentai.
Surprisingly, no-one wanted to use Liar cards on that...


On monday, I got up bright and early to take Etcetera to the coach station and pick up Dragonprime from the train station, as he was coming just for the one day to catch the dregs of the meetup. This turned out to be a bit more stressful than anticipated - Etcetera's coach was really late and then it turned out Dragonprime had locked his ticket in the house and wouldn't be arriving until later than he originally said, but I only found this out after panicking for a while and then texting Serpentine.
So, reassured thatI wasn't abandoning a helpless american dragon steak priest in Newcastle all by himself, I went back home and pretty much everyone else was still asleep. Once everyone was up, at Serp's suggestion we went round to hers, taking all stuff with us so we could just all sleep over there for the final night. Also we took the remains of the picnic (Which was quite a bit of food). There was gaming , there were DVDs, I had originally planned to take everyone out to do karaoke, but that ended up not happening, there were more DVDs.
We slept, and in the morning/early afternoon Qwaz drove the remaining people two by two, hour by hour, to the train station, until the numbers finally dwindled down to only those who live in the area. Hung around with Serp for a bunch more hours watching DVDs to drag it out, but eventually I had to go home and admit it was over. And then miss everyone terribly.

Amazingfuntimes were had. Now to look forward to the next, though I know it'll be different again.