Yesterday, I attended All Aboard, an “open gaming meet” held at Robinson’s Galleria. An open gaming meet is an event where the hobby gaming community is welcome to bring and play their favorite hobby games. Note that I did not use the term “board game” because the games played sometimes do not have boards – these are just simply tabletop games. Game designers also stop by showcase both their unpublished games and promote games that are already on the market. All Aboard is a monthly open gaming meet that is held every last Saturday of the month, and while I’ve attended two All Aboards already, yesterday was the first time that I almost spent the entire day hanging out at the event.
When I got there, I met Dylan and participated in his demo of Jab, a real-time card game that simulated boxing. Dylan himself is a game designer and according to him, he playtested this game when it was still a prototype for his friend who actually designed this game.
Jab is a fast-paced game for two players that aims to capture the feel of being in a boxing match. Basically, the game consists of several card types. The body cards which composes the boxers and marks where “punches” are “landed”; each boxer has a Head, Left Torso, and Right Torso. The punch cards are placed on any one of the three body cards to show where the punch landed. Combo cards add to points that are totalled at the end of each round whenever a boxer completes the punch combination showing on the card, and counter punches both add to points at the end of the round but can also help stagger and knock out your opponent. To win, you either have to knock your opponent out or get more points than he does at the end of a round.
I played a couple of games with different players and I managed to get a good feel of the game. I hope it’s available next All Aboard, because I’d like to try that game again. After Jab, I managed to facilitate a game of Last Night on Earth for three newcomers. We played the “Die, Zombies, Die!” scenario where the Small Town Heroes had to kill 15 Zombies in 15 turns. The Heroes won, and even though I was the Zombie player and I lost, I had a lot of fun. Some highlights of the game were when Sally, the high school student, ended up having a one night stand with the drifter named Jake Cartwright; the numerous times when the Heroes would try to shoot at the Zombies with their revolvers only to run out of ammo (I yelled “Get a one!” as the players were rolling their dice and they ended up rolling a one!); Father Joseph, normally a vicarious priest, charging a horde of Zombies with a chainsaw and failing to kill even one and eventually breaking the chainsaw; and the three newcomers sharing their resources and discussing what they needed to do in order to win. It’s always a pleasant sight to see strangers cooperate even though they don’t know each other that well.
I then moved on to a game called 7 Wonders, which is a card drafting game where you choose a civilization and draft cards that you need to build an empire.
I played two games, building my Wonder and establishing the civilization that I was randomly assigned by playing resource cards, creating guilds, developing military strength, creating other historical marvels, and the like. Even though I thought I had a good grasp of the game, I ended up being last place in a group of 6 in the first game, and I ended up being 4th in a group of 5 in the second game.
The concept of the game is simple but what can be complicated is how you earn points. Both times, the facilitating players had to make use of virtual Apps to tally the end game results and determine who won. Without these Apps, I can imagine that it would be a little tedious trying to compute for each players total points earned. As a player though, I can see that it’s going to take some more games before I can understand what strategy I need to take in order to earn the most number of points that I can.
The last game that I played is a one-on-one game of Invasion From Outer Space with a guy who has played Last Night On Earth a lot of times already. Since this was his first time to play IFOS, we just played the Invasion scenario. I think he assumed that the Martians would behave the same as Zombies would and I also think he saw that the Carnival Heroes are more powerful than the Small Town Heroes, so he got too aggressive at the start of the game and tried to engage the Martians without building up resources first. Well, when the Martians are underestimated, they fight back so I ended up getting the win.
After the event, I was mentally and physically exhausted but it was worth it. I normally don’t interact a lot with people but with very few friends at the event, I had to go outside my comfort zone yesterday and actually started befriending other people. Overall, it was a good way to spend my day.
*Please note that the images posted here aren’t mine; I just got them off various websites via Google images.