Origins 2002: When In Doubt, Buy Things

I was feeling kind of low Saturday morning, and then I realized: I have made no purchases! This is obviously the problem! Three games and a one-inch hex mat later, I had no more troubles and my life was perfect.

  • Got to play MechWarrior for a couple rounds at WizKids. Mechs indeed have five numbers on the dials, not four: they have two different kinds of attacks, each with its own distinct range. Even though the heat dials only have six slots on them, they’re pretty subtle. They work by giving penalties to the slots in the dial that they line up with. They also have little special-effect color patches, giving your Mech plenty of interesting ways to stop bloody well working. Apart from that, there aren’t lots of differences from Mage Knight, really. There are three dice instead of two, and that doesn’t change it up much. I’m sure the special abilities are all quite different, but we didn’t play with them. One MK player pointed and said “holy crap” when he saw the one that lets you take control of a captured unit.
  • Got to play TransAmerica in its import version. It’s mainly about laying your track such that it isn’t maximally useful to anyone else. You have a hand of five cards, one from each region on the map, which you have to connect, using your track and everyone else’s. The secret goals imply bluffing, but you don’t really have time to bluff, as our play group found out. There’s some doubts as to how replayable it’ll really be, and there are some kludgey things about scoring and ending the game, but on the whole this should be a really good time. It says it supports two to six, we played with four; I’ll be interested to try it with two. This may be set to compete with Carcassonne in that respect.
  • Got to play Fightball, upcoming from . It’s like Brawl but with more depth. I was definitely doing more thinking, because each decision means more. You lay out a playing field modeled after a basketball court, with a red zone nearest each player, a surrounding blue zone, and a green three-point zone on each side. Player cards have lots of numbers on them, but it only takes a glance to know how that card’s going to perform in the zone you need it in. You play a player, then a ball of the appropriate color, then a shot card, and if all those bonuses add up to 10, you make the shot and get the points. Trouble is, your opponent can play their players as blockers, reducing your total. It was fast, it confused me, it was fun, the team with the girlie art isn’t necessarily that great, and Julie put a sheep on my head. Bravo!

I tied for sixth place in the Icehouse tournament – I won a game, tied a game, and didn’t get put in the icehouse. Now you can sleep at night.