Once a year our group of gaming friends will get together for our annual Geekend. Where we hire out an old country estate for a long weekend full of wargames and boardgames. This is something we have been doing for a few years now and I would highly recommend. Most of us are getting to that stage in life where we are getting married, moving away and starting families. As a result, it can be difficult to set time aside for meeting up and gaming on a regular basis.
Ian, Kieran, Euan and myself agreed to bring an official end to our Tale of Gamers Challenge at the Geekend. As it’d make a suitable finale and we’d be playing some 40k over the weekend with our armies.
We all made sure we got at least a few games of 40k in while we were there, though it became apparent that Kieran takes rules disputes very seriously!
Replacing RPGs with Dungeon Crawlers
Last year I had decided to run two separate, intertwined Rouge Trader RPG campaigns that involved everyone that attended. It was my first time running games for up to 7 players a session and had decided on doing two of them! Although everyone seemed to really enjoy these, I wasn’t able to play anything else that Geekend. As all of my time was taken up DM’ing the RPGs. So this year I’d decided early on I wouldn’t be doing the same, though still wanted something to fit that exploratory/RPG gap. Thankfully this year Games Workshop released Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress. A dungeon crawling game that made for a suitable replacement with minimal effort required on my behalf.
If you haven’t tried Blackstone Fortress, it’s a sci-fi dungeon crawler, where players each control one character each. Together they form a team that goes on excursions into an ancient space station the size of a small moon. OK, the character development isn’t huge, although you can acquire loot that can be traded for items and artifacts that enhance your character. The game runs pretty well and supports 4 players, with easy drop-in/out mechanics. A 5th player can”control” the enemies but they are somewhat limited and are mostly controlled by a D20 table. My only real gripe with this game is that it can be annoying to find a specific rule as they are scattered across 3 books, none of which have an index or contents pages. Otherwise, it’s a solid game and those that have tried it have all thoroughly enjoyed it so far.
Small Competitive Games Proved Popular
One of the standout games from the weekend was Warhammer: Underworlds. Not many people had played it or were overly familiar with the rules. So we did spend a lot of time getting to grips with them. I’d planned on running a Tournament and we made a good attempt at getting through it. Seeing as we had a lot of intro games due to a lot of rules learning.
Despite the slow start of our tournament, we did get quite a lot of games in. Some of the guys really embraced Underworlds, enjoying the deck building and competitive aspects. Having a pretty small buy-in also makes the game easier to pick up as well.
Trying Something New
Having two-three days worth of gaming is a great way to try a whole host of different games. Which was pretty good as we had a mixed crowd with both wargamers and boardgamers. There was a good variety of different things to play and try out.
Playing board games next to the roaring fire is a great way to spend an evening. Especially with games like Arctic Scavengers and Battlestar Galactica as we debate who’s most likely a Cylon!
During our stay, Ian erected a full painting studio in the kitchen and was giving out tips, advice, and lessons throughout the weekend.
Hosting your own Geekend
We learned from previous events and decided to include the food budget within the cost. Which we arranged to be delivered, allowing us to focus on important stuff (gaming with mates). Instead of having people disappearing all day in small groups of 2’s and 3’s to go food shopping. It certainly made for a good improvement over last year.
For anyone thinking about doing their own Geekend, I’d highly recommend it. Splitting the cost of hiring a venue between a number of friends usually keeps the costs down. For 3 night’s stay and all our food, individually it cost us less than the price of a budget hotel. Personally, I prefer it over attending gaming events as there are no time constraints
Same time next year lads?