In previous years, Mongoose Publishing has held their open days at their offices, but this time they moved out to a sports centre on the edge Swindon Old Town.
This made it easier to get to and eliminated the usual fight for parking with Saturday morning shoppers, but an echoy room doesn’t lend itself very well to demos of RPGs (which involve lots of talking).
With the extra space, Mongoose was able to open up to some third party vendors who dangled some very tempting goodies in front of me. I was tempted to pick up some scenery models, but forced myself to resist the urge until after I’ve finished moving home.
Unfortunately, the event seemed smaller (in terms of attendance) than previous years. I’m not sure if this was to do with the room simply being bigger, or if people pulled out after Claudia Christian gave her apologies and spent the time filming episodes of Nip/Tuck.
There might not have been all that many people there, but there was plenty to see. Mongoose unveiled their shiny new license – Traveller. It is a game I’ve heard a great deal of praise for, but never actually got around to playing.
The new Conan book is out (running to something in the order of 460 pages) and using art appropriate to the tradition (kids, don’t show this one to your mothers, at least not without slicing out the outside margin on every left hand page).
A Call To Arms second edition is out, and looks nice. I didn’t get much time to look at it in the end, but it sounds like fighters have been made rather less useless.
There were also plenty of demo games going on. Since I’d arrived, looked up, and found Sam and Louise parked next to me, we ended up in a trio for most of the day, and we’d barely made it trough the door before being roped into a game of Paranoia by Ian.
A lowly team of troubleshooters we were not! No, we were destined for greater things and our BLUE clearance officers were responsible for the smooth running of an entire sector. We were, of course, suitable grateful to Friend Computer for the honour (“Oh ****!”).
If you don’t know Paranoia then “responsible for the smooth running” is code for “responsible for everything that goes wrong”.
Still, we managed to come out of it in one piece, even if we did have a reactor explode, a High Programmer drugged into insensibility, and unleashed a batch of scrubbots on our neighbours with orders to leak oil in treasonous patterns all over the neighbouring sector, and steal more oil when they ran out. Their poor little bot brains couldn’t cope and they went insane (and not in a good way, at least not if you’re anywhere near them).
Umm, obviously FEMB sector was being run by traitors and we only planted the evidence to expedite due process. Honest.
Kudos to Gareth Hanrahan for running a highly entertaining game.
Old Bear was running Kerakhistan Race of Death, a car racing game with machine guns based on the Battlefield Evolution rules. It was good fun, although I think the victory conditions need tweaking (people who have scored points in previous rounds are better off trying to end the race rather then score more points), but it was good fun overall.
Unfortunately, the race followed by lunch made it too late for us to join in any of the afternoon games, but it gave us a chance to look at all the goodies. Sam and Louise had a game of ACTA and I wandered around and did some catching up with people I haven’t had much contact with since moving away from Swindon.
Overall, it was a good day out.