Saturday, October 29, 2005


Ah Holloween...

So long as many brains consumed, we are happy.

With this in mind, we reached for two All Hollows Eve favorites (?)... Betrayal at House on the Hill and Zombies!!!

We started out with Betrayal. After lowering the lights, putting on scary music and surrounding ourselves with as many black and orange snacks as we could think of, we delved into the madness which was: Invasion of the Firebats!!!!

As the priest, I had a mostly uneventful run searching the house. I would gain a point in something, only to lose it immediately in the same room. I had no equipment, no omens, nothing. The house was developing in quite a wide open fashion, but there was this one... long... dark corridor. It was there that Luch, as big, bumb "Ox", stumbled across the omen which triggered the haunt. Only, it wasn't him who went insane, it was I. An evil portal to HELL was opened in Luch's room, and Firebats started pouring through. He ran, as did the others. Craftily, the forces of good headed to the rooms which would allow them to exorcise the demons and close the gates. It took too long for me to find an effective weapon to attack them with, and the firebats couldn't come fast enough to prevent them from acheiving their goal. It was a victory for the forces of good.

In our second game, I switched my character to the professor. There was a little boy, a fortune teller (Madame Zostra!) and a jock. We searched the mansion and were suddenly confronted by... OURSELVES!!! Our evil twins singlemindedly pursued us until we were able to finally take them down with our "very sharp axe" and "Pulsating Spear of Power". I'm happy to note that I killed no less than 3 of the devils.

Last year we played this and it didn't go over very well. I had since played a few games with another group, and had enjoyed it more. Figuring that just about anything is worth a second shot, Shemp Luch and Kozure agreed to pull it out again for the occasion. Luckily, it went over much better this time! It's still not a very good game, in the sense that it's poorly balanced, poorly documented and not nearly as scary as it wants to be. What it does do, however, is succesfully capture the goofy "b" horror movie experience. I still feel that the game doesn't really get going until "the Haunt", and the process of stopping, reading the book and finding the appropriate pieces for the scenario can really slow the momentum (in fact, I would attribute last year's poor reception largely to the delay caused by the scenario we played, "Bugs", which had a huge amount of counters to find and special rules to absorb). Still, I have to compliment the designers for finding so many different fresh experiences for each haunt. So far, no two I've played have been similar, and many have been quite original. This game isn't about thinking too much, it's just about having fun while you're on the ride.

Speaking about not thinking too much... thought requires a brain. Brains, well, they're meant for eating.

Next up was Zombies! I'm not sure if we've ever reviewed this here, but I won't bother. All you have to know is that you are in a city hopelessly surrounded by hordes of Zombies. Luckily, you have bullets. Unluckily, you have very few. Players are racing to rack up a number of kills (which vary by # of players), or find the helicopter pad and be the first to reach it. As everyone started on their killing spree, I headed for a corridor of zombies which I intended to take down for a quick body count. Unfortunately, the only body count to be had was mine... Others were more successful, with Luch emerging as the leader and Kozure not far behind. We all ganged up on Luch, which knocked him pretty hard and left him struggling to get to 20 (the goal for 4 players). Meanwhile, the Helipad was revealed and it became a two horse race (Me and Kozure) to get there before Luch got the last kills he needed. I held back my ace in the hole... a card which let me control another player's movement for a turn, until after Kozure cleared the path to the Helipad for me. I then played the card and dispatched 2 or 3 zombies to board the helicopter and win!

We played with some "quick play" rules we downloaded from Boardgamegeek. I'd say the game is significatly improved by them, as mauch of the useless and distracting dice rolling is eliminated in favour of fixed values (ex: at the end of your turn, choose 3 zombies to move 1 space). It was fun, many brains were eaten, and that's what matters.

See you next week.

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