Well, Con-Jour has come and gone, and it was a bit of a bust for me. Friday evening, the staff and vendors probably outnumbered attendees. After goofing off for a couple of hours, sometimes chit-chatting with the reps from Steve Jackson Games, I packed it in and went home.
Bright and early Saturday, my son Christopher (a.k.a. Giant Boy) and I braved the icy wind and drove back to Clear Lake, Texas, for day two of the con. By lunch time, we had played a round each of Nanuk, Knightmare Chess, and Munchkin Cthulhu. Attendees during this time weren’t quite as scarce as hen’s teeth.
I stomped Christopher in Knightmare Chess. We both got stomped in Munchkin Cthulhu. While I sat down to write this, Christopher jumped into a Munchkin tournament. He did well and finished in the top tier of the first round. Christopher didn’t get to play in the second round, however, as almost all of the participants just sort of wandered off after round one and never came back.
But let’s revisit Nanuk for a bit. This is one of Steve Jackson Games’s newest products, and it’s a hoot. Nanuk is sort of like liar’s poker, but with caribou, seals, and polar bears. Players take turns bidding how many animals they can hunt within a certain amount of days. Eventually, someone thinks someone else is bluffing, and they pronounce “DOOM!” upon the hunter. The other players can either join the hunter or the doomsayer. Cards are played. If the hunters win, they get to divvy up the cards plus the doomsayers’ ante. If the hunters lose, the doomsayers divvy up the cards. Players score points based on the cards they accumulate during the game. Nanuk plays fast, is easy-to-learn, and handles up to 8 players. Unlike some games, Nanuk actually plays quickly while becoming funner in direct proportion to the number of players you have. Best of all (from my perspective), this is not a gamer’s game. It’s a great family or party game. I need to save up my loose change so I can buy a copy. You should too.
I also dropped some eaves on a game of New Gods of Mankind. This high-concept, indie RPG casts players in the roles of ancient civilization gods. It looked like an interesting game, and the main book was definitely well done with a clear layout, easy-to-read fonts, and lots of evocative black-and-white art. There’s a thoughtful review of New Gods of Mankind over at RPG.net. I kind of regret not jumping in on the game. I’ve often been accused of having way too high an opinion of myself, so I figure a game in which I get to be a god would be right up my alley. I’ll have to look for this one at OwlCon.
Speaking of OwlCon, if you’re in the Houston area and are attending, I hear good things about Eric Seagren’s Scavenger Hunt of…Dooooooom! adventure. Last time I checked, he’s got slots open for players. Unfortunately, the rounds aren’t at times I can participate. I’m either going to be at Mass or else running my own playtests of our first for-sale product, a one-shot convention-style adventure suitable for those inevitable times when your regular game gets derailed by life.