Sunday, June 5, 2016

G&G XI Day 3: Stellar Trackers and Stratocasters

Friday afternoon saw us playing our fourth annual game of A Call To Arms: Star Fleet Battles, certainly the longest name of any of our marquee events. ACTASFB uses an elegant set of game mechanics, but the greater part of our joy is just how danged good the game looks, especially when played on the custom mat Earl commissioned his artist friend Jeff Shyluk to make.

Scavengers of the Harp Nebula!
After last year's provocative 'every man/Klingon for himself' scenario, we returned to a team-based venture this time, with the Federation and Klingon Empire battling over the survival pods from that bloody conflict. Five counters were placed along an oblique line representing the fabled Neutral Zone, and whichever team took the most off the board would be declared the winner.

"Sir, they are aft of us now, and shields have no facing in this game..."

Normally moving and firing alternates between sides, but in order to speed things up, we used a set of 8 Star Trek-themed Uno cards and proceeded in numeric order from them. This not only prevents intra-team debate as to who exactly should be given the privilege of moving last (a distinct advantage in this game!), but also keeps late movers from getting too smug about firing first, as that gets randomized too.

"I know port is left, it's just hard to tell when the ships are upside down!"

Both Mikes, Jeff and I formed the Klingon squadron, while Earl, Rob, Pete, and Scott made up the Federation. Pete even came appropriately dressed!

Captain X. Pendable, reporting for duty!

A shocking development.

Our plan to concentrate fire on the middle of the line while tractor-beaming the central objective counter seemed sound enough, but even the reinforced front shielding of my D7 Battlecruiser, Vengeance, were insufficient against the crushing firepower of Constitution-class heavy cruisers, and I was destroyed on the second turn of the game, my precious cargo left drifting amongst my own wreckage.

A cunning plan is no match for cruel dice...
Vengeance, Klang's Wrath and Bat'leth Galactica.
In the end, the Federation was victorious, but hardly unscathed, and the losers were left to drown their sorrows in Klingon warnog. Coincidentally, both teetotallers were on the Federation side, so you don't think that could mean...? No, I won't countenance it!

The weapons dice are fickle, as they always seem to be.

Warnog is traditionally served in the largest vessel available.
The game was interrupted briefly while we took our traditional outing to a comic book movie, and this year X-Men: Apocalypse (my review here) got us out of Mike's house and into the sumptuous luxury of the VIP Cinema for a while. Upon returning and sorting out our stellar conflict, we moved into another traditional event: Rock Band.

Jeff had recently purchased Rock Band 4 for his PlayStation 4, and we added the expense of a new library of songs to the event , with each of us selecting 5 from the 2000+ they have on offer.

"The vocalist picks the song, and the instruments play along..."

We try to keep a modicum of competition alive at this stage of the event, but Bluetooth limits forced us to cap participation at three musicians per side, it simply became fun for fun's sake.

The Master at work.
Really, as a means of getting a bunch of middle-aged straight guys to do karaoke, Rock Band did exactly what it was supposed to, and a handful of us played late into the night.

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