This brought our total number of attendees up to nine, like the Fellowship of the Ring. Or perhaps more like the Nazgul; it can be difficult to distinguish...
Thursday saw Mike T. make it back in time for our very first game in Serenity Gulch. Despite the fact that I didn't get as far in building and painting the town and miniatures as I would have liked, everyone seemed happy with the 'work in progress' rendition we ended up with.
Friday afternoon was the introduction to the X-Wing miniatures game for most of us, and we were all suitably impressed: fast, simple mechanics, a fairly elegant movement system that has players revealing their pre-set maneuvers simultaneously before using a template to move their ship, and very well done models that come pre-painted.
Earl set up a scenario in which Darth Vader and a hand-picked squadron of Imperial fighters ambushed Luke Skywalker and Han Solo in retribution for the destruction of the first Death Star.
Totty selflessly sacrificed his two TIE Fighters, keeping the Millennium Falcon tied up at one end of the table while Darth Vader, my TIE Interceptor and two other fighters went after Luke and his escort.
Friday afternoon we schlepped down to Windermere for a VIP screening of Mad Max: Fury Road, and it was a great movie I intend to review later. Friday night was our opportunity to return to Rock Band, after Jeff went out to pick up a power cord for his PS 3. We were all a bit rusty, but with suitable amounts of liquid courage, a good time was had by all.
Saturday got off to a late start since the last of us wrapped up Rock Band after four a.m., at which point I put the chili together for Saturday night. Thankfully, a modest amount of prep work and the use of a slow cooker meant I got to bed a little before 5:30.
Would that as much planning went into the Call to Arms: Starfleet Battle game for the afternoon, but judicious application of a club-style 'Every Man/Klingon For Themselves' meant we were still able to finish by supper time.
Saturday's traditional chili dinner, like most of our meals, was taken outside. The weather broke Alberta G&G tradition by not snowing as well as being very, very warm. This also gave us a chance to take the group photo and show off the amazingly suave jackets Pete had made to commemorate our tenth (tenth!) year of Gaming &Guinness.
Thanks to two players thinking along the lines of, 'well, if a medium chariots good, then a heavy must be even better,' those scales tipped like a teeter totter after Shaquille O'Neal gets off his end. Of the nine chariots that started, only six came out of the first corner.
I took myself out of contention early on by swerving instead of braking to evade one of the heavies, but stuck it out and managed to finish the race. Island Mike was again the victor, taking the coveted Circus Maximus trophy back to Vancouver Island, with Earl and Scott rounding out the podium.
As always, G&G is a happy blend of the old and the new: new games, like Legends of the Old West and X-Wing and Wits & Wagers. New beers, like the Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen or the growler of Hogsbreath from Hogshead Brewing. And the old? Well, Saturday morning, that felt like us, frankly. But many tried and true games as well.
A decade later, I can't tell you how we did it: how we kept the momentum up on something that was initially a one-off event, prompted by the vision of filling a long empty basement with friends and games, and not having anyone need to drive home if they didn't want to. Somehow those first crude t-shirts made with iron-on inkjet transfers made it into an event, and captured the imagination of friends whose companionship I count among my most valued possessions, and whose commitment to fun and fellowship will keep this silly tradition going for at least another decade!