Friday, July 8, 2011

G&G VI: Six Appeal!

For six consecutive years this motley assortment of iconoclastic nerds has gathered to play games, drink beer, and generally carry on in a completely immature but totally awesome fashion.  A weekend spent cursing, belching, and breaking wind, but mostly just laughing and enjoying each other's company.

Previous entries have expressed at exhaustive length both the rationale and the purpose behind this convocation of the Fraternitas Sub Terra, this "Brotherhood of the Basement", so I will not belabour those points further.  Suffice to say that an entertaining and only semi-debauched time was had by all, but that still leaves a little room for some specific recollections, and a few photos, courtesy of Earl and Mick T.

A critical part of 'setup'
Pete, Mick T and I commenced unpacking and setup at Belongamick in South Edmonton Wednesday afternoon, and others began to drift in that night, as Island Mike arrived after supper and Bytown Rob and first time attendee Peace Country Dave showed up later in the evening.  By happy coincidence, this also happened to be my birthday, so a number of exotic beers were deployed (premier among them, in my opinion, being the Killer Bee dark honey ale from Tin Whistle Brewery in Penticton), and we got a few card games in as well.

Peace Country Dave: welcome to th' club, brah!
Island Mike brought along a new card games; I quite enjoyed Guillotine, wherein you collect the heads of nobility in post-Revolution Paris, and your only real ability is using cards to change the order of the line so that the really pompous ones that are worth the most points are at the front of the line when it is your turn to pull the string.   Burn In Hell! is a Steve Jackson Game that has players competing to collect similar sets of the souls of the Damned (all drawn from history!), before the game ends when Hell freezes over.  A great game, but given the archetype we attendees tend to represent, we spent almost as much time discussing the historical factoids on the backs of the cards as we did playing.

We also introduced a new tradition which everyone seemed to enjoy: The Quote Wall.  I brought a couple of large, lined pads of Post-It notes, and tried to keep them handy throughout the various games.  Whenever anyone said something particularly funny, memorable, clever or just plain tasteless, someone else would use a Sharpie to jot it down and stick it on the downstairs cupboards.  By the end of the weekend there were about 45 of these notes adorning the cupboards, many of which were still provoking chuckles a day or two later.  Looking at it now, it's clear that neither "You put the 'bitch' in obituary," nor "Easier than shooting Timmies in a well," are going to have anyone comparing us to the Algonquin Roundtable anytime soon, but it still puts a grin on my face.  And no, I shan't be posting any larger pictures of the quote wall, because it is both highly contextual and somewhat incriminating.

Approx. 1/3 of The Quote Wall
We also got our first of many sessions of Bang! in, a spaghetti western card game I picked up at Mission Fun and Games' Birthday Sale (turns out this is just the kind of crowd to appreciate a game that comes in a giant bullet), plus some Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice.  Lots of gaming, and G&G VI hadn't even officially begun yet!  After this auspicious beginning, we finally packed it in just before 4:00 a.m., and Island Mike was heard to muse, "I'm grateful to discover that I can stay up to ridiculous hours just because I want to, and not because I have to."

Pop Tarts and Sap Vampire; a helluva breakfast!
After a hearty breakfast we got down to setting up the first big event: a 5000 point, Apocalypse sized Warhammer 40,000 game.  Two brand new, barely dry Imperial Guard armies fielded by Island Mike and myself would stand off the implacable horde of Scotty's Orks and Pete's Tyranids in a spectacle that would see over 200 infantry and dozens of vehicle models including tanks aricraft and monsters all clambering for supremacy in the nightmare future of the 41st Millennium!!

The game looked fantastic, thanks largely to the brand new tabletop Scotty had brought, which in turn was due in no small part to his rather laissez faire attitudes toward child labour and his uncanny ability to convince his offspring that gaming, schmaming, terrain making is where the real fun is!

"Lotsa armour, but all the infantry got et!"
There are probably a lot of reasons the game turned into the indisputable shit-kicking of humanity that it did: an unfamiliar army for us new Guard players, a complete inability to destroy Scotty's gargant in the first two turns of concentrated fire from damned near fifteen hundred points (!) of tanks, the surprise appearance of 30 well 'ard Orks that somehow missed being deployed with the other 70 of their feel-no-pain brethren; but in the end, I take a lot of comfort from the fact that it can only get better from here, and that this burned hand of a game taught Mike and I quite a bit about better ways to use the Imperial Guard.  At some point I will post something closer to an actual battle report, but for now, let's just let the wounds of shame scab over, shall we?

SFX: Wagner's 'Flight of the Valkyries'
No points at all for being better dressed?  Bah!
The evening saw us playing the car racing game Formula De and more games of Bang! once Earl joined us and brought our numbers up to 8.
This nasty hairpin would take two unlucky drivers out of the race.

The only drinking and driving we tolerate at G&G!
The next day got started a little later, on account of we may act like teenagers, but we are most certainly not as resilient as teenagers.  We got stuck into some Robo Rally, as it also supports 8 players and prevented us from having to break into smaller groups.  Dave took his leave of us in the afternoon to return home to Grande Prairie as we began preparing to attend the Rammstein concert, which was an absolutely pyrolicious  and sporadically terrifying experience.

"What's under that tarp I wond- holy moley!"

The next day saw us getting into various interstitial and non-consequential games like Pimp: The Backhanding (a tasteless staple of the event since G&G IV) prior to setting up what has become, in many ways, the highlight of Gaming & Guinness: Circus Maximus, a hotly contested chariot racing game that forces competitors to balance their need for speed with their carnal desire for the utter destruction of their rivals.  Case in point: when defending champion Jeff began drawing ahead, he soon found himself not only surrounded by no less than 4 enemy chariots, but was in fact boxed in tighter than a veal calf.  When he miraculously extricated himself from that tight fix, he earned the grudging respect of the other drivers, thus was not savagely beaten by envious cohorts when he careened into first place and took home the trophy for the second year running!

"Ow! Ow!  Why isn't anyone going after the orange one?"

After a delicious chili dinner (and yes, lots of chili and beer did happen to have a somewhat deleterious effect on local air quality, what of it?), Jeff unpacked a variety of Rock Band games for the PS3, which kept us occupied long into the night.  it was my first time playing Rock Band 3, so we all enjoyed being able to crank out "Du Hast" by Rammstein less than 24 hours after having seen them live, and I appreciated having the opportunity to sing "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas.  Many classic songs of our youth found their way onto the playlist, like "Roundabout" by Yes, but also some new wave influences like "Killing Moon" by Echo and the Bunnymen.  My personal highlight came during Scotty's turn on vocals singing "Helter Skelter" in Rock Band Beatles, and having him do a full on spit take while drinking water once he realized I was loudly whispering, "GET MRS. POLANSKI" from behind him.
"Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for...THE UNCOMFORTABLES!"

Sadly, the recent Playstation Network hack met Jeff was unable to download some of last year's favourites like "Stonehenge" by Spinal Tap and "Gay Bar" by the Electric Six, so I might have to bring the Wii edition as well next year so we can get those in.  Still, we had all the music we needed to play late into the night as we continued to diminish the beer stocks to a shadow of their former selves.

"To crush your empties, see them drunken before you..."
The next day meant saying "Aloha" to our out of town visitors, and afterwards Pete, Mick T and I took a stab at Cosmic Encounters, an elegant card and board game which we (understandably) figured would have presented an educational challenge once G&G had gotten underway.  Perhaps next year.

The final assessment?  Another roaring success, even with a brand new attendee.  As our lives seem to become busier and busier, it is critically important that we make time for our friends and the things that are important to us.  We may joke about the criteria being how much beer gets consumed (96 Guinness, 24 Innis & Gunn, 24 Sap Vampire, at least a half-dozen Sleeman's Honey Brown, probably two dozen Strongbow, 12 Kenmount Road Chocolate Stout, a handful of Alley Kat Coffee Porter and about a dozen Glenn Sherbrooke), but the more important thing is how much time we spent together, and what we got for that increasingly valuable currency.

"We can add Earl in post..."
I'm already looking forward to next year!


  1. Great job Stephen. With your permission, I will pick one nit. Pimp was introduced at G&G II rather than G&G IV and, as a result, the occasion has sometimes been referred to as G&G II - The Backhanding.