And … Action

Last year was pretty pathetic in terms of gaming but the biggest letdown was the amount of events I went to.  One.  One event out of a whole year.  I know, rubbish isn’t it. Sure there was the Butterfly House and MAGE but I organised those so they don’t really count any more than a home game does.  Which brings us to one.  Surely I can do better than that this year?

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Well the weekend just gone (26th Jan if you are counting) I (we as Matt was with me) made a start by going to Board in Brum near Birmingham.  This is a venue that I haven’t been to before but will certainly be going again.  It has a well stocked shop (with stuff from a decent range of manufacturers) several 6×4 tables and decent toilets 🙂  Thats always a good start.  The fact that the very reasonable £10 fee also included food from the local chippy was an awesome bonus.

The reason that we went was to take part in the 2nd 7TV day that has been run there by a guy called Mike Strong – there are a lot of Mikes who play 7TV it turns out.  We’ve talked about 7TV from Crooked Dice in the past but if you’ve missed that heres a quick recap.

7TV bills itself as Inch High SpyFi as the basic premise is your models (a cast) are part of a TV show and that the game that you are playing is actually an episode of that show.   The SpyFi bit comes from that fact that the game is heavily based on the spy TV shows of the 60s and 70s such as The Avengers and Man from U.N.C.L.E   Your cast is made up of Stars, CoStars and Extras and each is worth so many ratings (you get around 100 profiles in the game so far).  You build your cast to the rating level of the game (we were playing 30 rating games which gives around 6-7 models) and then play out one of the scenarios given in the rule book.  Its a UGOIGO game that uses a limited resource (plot points) to control both activation and special actions that your characters might be able to do.  Finally it uses a countdown deck to ensure a special event happens every turn.  These are all TV based so you get things like Continuity Error where two cast members will suddenly switch places.  For me it is hands down the best set of skirmish rules I have ever played as by its very nature it gives the cinematic game experience that I love.  Sure there are individual genre based rulesets that have the same effect on me (Dead Man Hands springs to mind) but the power of the 7TV ruleset and the inherently balanced nature of the possible cast members means that it works across genres and makes for an excellent gaming experience.

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Having said all that I would be a liar if I didn’t admit to some pre event nerves as we rocked up to the venue.  Suppose the other players weren’t into the game for the same reasons I am and were actually looking for a more competitive gaming event that I was hoping for – it had been billed as a campaign day but that means different things to different people.  Suppose, suppose, suppose.  Sure I had talked to them on the 7TV facebook group but online personas and all that.

Of course all these worries were for nowt as you couldn’t imagine a nicer bunch of gamers who were all there for the same reasons that we were and who all had the same attitude to the game as we did.  I thought I might have gone over the top when I worked out my cast as I had created my own fictional TV show, had worked out that it was cancelled after 6 episodes and knew who the big bad in each one was.  Turns out that I hadn’t as all of my opponents had done exactly the same 🙂

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So onto the event itself.  I won’t bore you with a play by play but the day started off perfectly when our esteemed organiser told us that the 7TV studios were in financial trouble and that we would have to deliver advertising lines during the game (gaining extra plot points depending on how and when we delivered it) and it basically went from there.  I had 3 fantastic games full of cinematic highlights as Jonny Chan kicked and punched his way across the set pausing only now and then to deliver his carefully crafted lines to the camera.  Winning and losing didn’t matter, it was the taking part and fulfilling what Conrad likes to call the social contract that was the important (and indeed, only) thing.

I should also mention the sets (boards)  They were all provided by the players and were all fantastic.  So much effort had gone into them and it was a real pleasure to play on fully painted terrain for a change – so many of my home games are in MDF city.  It’s really going to force me to up my terrain game and actually paint stuff.  I’ve chucked some pictures of them in this post but my shoddy photography doesn’t really do them justice so apologies for that.

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A special shout out should go to Wayne, one of the players, who works for Wargames Illustrated.  He very kindly brought along a lucky dip containing loads of OOP miniatures which had enough for all of the players to get one each.  I got an awesome Dan Dare type model that i will be painting up for a future cast.

And speaking of painting (did you see what I did there???) one of the prizes at the end of the day was for Best Cast and I was absolutely gobsmacked to walk about with the prize for Jonny Chan and friends.  The other two awards were for best board and best sports – yes no gaming prizes awarded – and the event was all the better for that.

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On the drive home Matt and I were buzzing with ideas for boards and casts as there is going to be a lot of 7TV in our future.  Oh and if the Spy thing puts you off, this year will see the release of settings for Post Apocalypse and Pulp (my personal favourite) and the beauty of the ruleset is that it can be easily expanded into any genre that you want to go.

The next event at Board in Brum in on 21 September and there is a pulp themed day being put on by Wargames Illustrated on 6th July

Fantastic day, fantastic people and a fantastic game.  If you aren’t playing then you are missing out.

Did I deliver that correctly Mr DeMille?

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