Midcon 2001

A personal view from John Cudmore
MidCon is a strange convention, I always have the feeling that it is a collection of HouseCons cobbled together in a hotel and this year was no exception. Attendence appeared down, both in the general gaming area of the Ariel Suite, and the Diplomacy room.

Unable to get away early on Friday, I punished myself with a 430 am start on Saturday morning, a 630 am train and an 815am arrival at the hotel. This allowed me to place myself in a quiet corner of the Ariel suite, outwardly appearing to be digesting my morning newspaper but with an ear open for any gossip as the 'old hands' appeared. Thus I found out re the debarkle of registration of Friday night with convention organisers not arriving 'til 8pm, a National Diplomacy championship that had one board of five players and the usual 'attendence is down this year'. 930am saw the usual suspects arriving from Chez Richards. Paul Richards (PSR), Richard Minson (RM), Paul Hoad (PH) and Don Clarke (DJC), whereupon the Games Began!

Mwaaa! Brains!! Was the chant as we went into a new game called Zombies from Journeyman Press. A tongue in cheek simulation of a George Romero gorefest where the players shotgun toting pawns struggle through the streets of suburban America on a map built by the players as they go along. A hand of action cards helps to Attack of the Zombie Fetishists!!involve players while the first player to the Helipad(the last tile revealed) or the first to kill 25 zombies is the winner. We seemed to be having so much fun the players conspired to place the helipad about as far away as possible, resulting in an overlong game till near lunchtime. But it gave us (no PSR probably) a chance to hammer the rules. No review until I play some more games. Game highlight PSR grabbing the keys of an empty car for bonus movement, then suffering a brain seizure courtesy of Paul Hoad and driving back towards the zombie hoards! Winner Richard Minson (25 kills)
Rules options to try?
PSR: When you're dead, you're dead rule.
Various: Hide helipad in the last n cards, where n = number of players.

A hurried hotel curry later we had a five player King of the Elves. Five rounds makes for a longer game and more strategy options that was lost on some players including myself. Too much draw three, discard four shrinking players hands. Better to bite the bullet on a turn and save cards for a big round later. A convincing win for Richard Minson.

I came back from a rest room break to find a -shock!- woman sitting in my seat. Fears were allayed when our guest was introduced as Lynne, a friend of Paul H's who was up for the day. In deferance we dropped down a notch in complexity and got out Ave Ceasar, the card and chariot racing game that is quite tactical as you only have a fixed ammount of movement for the whole course. After four races around various tracks the winner was Don Clarke.

Our next game, Order Fircht und Adel, is always popular. Lynne managed to grasp the complexities after a few turns, helped by a long spell of PSR as king which meant she was getting a coice from the last two cards. I always seem to do well at this game for no particular reason that I chose low target characters like priest or magister so I rarely get killed or burgled , and of course by chosing assassin or thief is another way to avoid an unproductive turn. This gave me, John Cudmore, a convincing win.

With Don kipping at PSR's and Don having a previous engagement the remaing four retired to Pizza Hut for dinner, filling but quite standard fare with good company. Returning to the hotel JR, Sue-ellen and Cliff Barnes at play!and the search for a four player game, Richard M reached into his voluminous bag and drew out McMulti, and old OOP game of oil dealing and much sort after given some of the admiring glances from the old guard who passed by. Low complexity rules were soon grasped and my JR Ewing instincts took over. Except it was more like Digger Barnes as some poor die rolls left my derrick strewn country without a single gusher for most of the game, and failure to grasp the intracies of the international oil markets left me trailing, with another convincing win for Richard Minson.

With the time at 1030pm the early start was beginning to tell and I headed of to my hotel bedroom lucky to get a double for the price of a single. I also totally missed a detonation in the centre of Birmingham luckily the whole bomb did not go off, placed as it was in a street crowded with revellers.

After an 815 am breakfast and a morning stroll I was digesting the Sunday papers when Paul Hoad and Richard arrived. No show from the boyos meant we started a three player Sherlock Homes Card Game, always a popular filler. Two quick but a long final round gave Richard another convincing win. By now the stop outs Paul and Don had arrived and majority consent was for a game of Age of Exploration, with five players the campaign game was not considered an option and so we were playing the discovery game with the first to four victory points the winner. Despite the low threshold it was very close fought, with PSR denied a quick win by Paul Hoad and I reporting his discoveries first. PSR managed to find an isolated bay in North America and managed to get back for a win. Commiserations to Hoad, who's VP laden expedition foundered on the way back to Europe.

Declining an early lunch and with Don keen on watching Liverpool play football, the remaining four plumped for that classic Ephrat und Tigris. I'm not overly fond personally but don't mind playing this. I still have trouble figuring my way around the more subtle aspects of this one. This game was characterised by a low number of monuments, and I got suckered into an unwise combat with Richard Minson that fractured a valuable empire. My only consolation being that my other target at the time, PSR, laid exactly the same trap for some other poor schmuck. Close game in all with a win for PSR. Given that the scoring is quite complex I have included it below.

 

Red

Green

Blue

Black

Treasure

Minimum

RM

13

3

15

8

1

4

JC

16

6

15

13

1

7

PH

5

8

6

8

2(1 unused)

6*

PSR

13

20

8

11

1

9

Not wanting a stressful end to the weekend I decided to call it a day for MidCon2001, I had a very pleasant time in most convivial company, thank you lady and gentlemen. And to those people reading this report and thinking of attending MidCon a caveat. MidCon is attended by active members of the postal hobby who tend to know eachother well. They tend to hang around in their own little bubbles (I'd be the first to admit my complicity in this cf the above) I would not recommend attending unless you spend a few months subscribing/playing postal games and get to grips with some of the personalities, or attend ManorCon, a much friendlier and better attended convention.

Parthian Shot
Will there be a MidCon next year? Yes.
Will there be a MidCon in 5 years time? I don't think so.

Paul Richards Review http://mysite.freeserve.com/MurderInk/cons/mid01.htm
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