John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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HEX Demo Report

Last night I ran the demo of HEX at Jomini & Hawk , as noted in the previous journal entry. I should point out that the store is primarily one that sells board games of all sorts, primarily things like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and the military, strategy, and tactical games out there, as well as Magic: The Gathering and collectible card and card games, models and a few miniatures, and a limited number of rpgs (primary of which among them is D&D, but not a great deal of rpg stuff at all). It's also important to bear in mind that the folks who frequent the store are primarily French, as well as being board gamers and the like, so I wasn't really sure of how many people were going to play. Serves me right.

I arrived at the store early, and set up to run, and had my supper.I planned to run the Introductory scenario out of the rulebook, but rather than have the players choose characters from the best Archetypes for the scenario (as noted on HEX pages 232-233), I copied the 12 templates from the rulebook, and laid them all out for folks to choose from. By 6:30 pm, I had a full complement of six players ready to go. The players chose the following characters:

Big Game Hunter
Fortune Hunter
Intrepid Reporter
Lost Traveller
Mad Scientist
Rugged Explorer

Only one of the players was female, and she played the Intrepid Reporter.

What made the game for me was that it looked like I wasn't going to have any players at all, what with the board games going on and all. Several of the folks came over to see what I was running, especially after catching sight of the fetching artwork on my HEX t-shirt, and saw the various character sheets fanned out on the table. After taking a look, they asked me what the numbers meant - silly gamers should know better than that! - and as soon as I explained the basic dice mechanic, showed them what some of the terms meant, etc., they were hooked. After we finished gaming for the night, three of the players said they were hooked right after it took five minutes to explain the basic game rules and mechanics. The players struggled with the Ubiquity dice to begin with, having to get the hang of which dice were how many equivalent dice, but they liked the specialised dice and thought that it was much easier to use them after trying some sample rolls of their character skills and the like with regular dice.
The scenario started off exactly as in the book. The scenario ran pretty much as the basic framework allowed, with some funny and humourous scenes along the way.

* During the briefing about von Wartenburg, the characters started to call him "Wormburg" and "Wormy Nazi". During the final encounter with him (he managed to escape into the jungle, by the way) they called him this, taunting and distracting him, much to my amusement.

* During the briefing by Major Easton, the player playing the Intrepid Reporter wanted to see how much she could make him squirm (given the description of him) and attempted to seduce him. She failed to do so, but kind of shocked the other players, and played it somewhat flirty for the rest of the demo.

* The Polar flight saw some good interaction of the characters on board the Aurora, with the players getting very involved in all the weird stuff going on. Several of them got into this, in the vein of allusions of Poe, Conan Doyle, and the like. Lots of puns about "flying blind", being lost, and the like.

* The player playing the Big Game Hunter took the approach that he wanted to kill things. During the sequence with the triceratops in the clearing, he wanted to "kill the trykes" blocking their way to the plane, and had variants of this all the way through the rest of the scenario, with the rest of the players having to convince him not to do so as it would endanger them at some point.

Some things didn't go as planned. Several of the characters chose to head out straight for the ruins with a couple of villagers as their guides, and never even went to the village! The ones who did had to move quickly with Amundsen, but are still somewhat behind them. I set it up that some of the apemen have been conscripted into the Nazi work efforts in the ruins, but stuff worked well in the end, although von Wartenburg managed to escape as noted above.

Some of the notable moments in the game included:

* The Mad Scientist took a couple of demolition charges that he had rigged up on the little break in Spitzbergen. At one point, he wanted to blow the two triceratops standing in their way of getting to the airplane wreckage, but the rest of the party resisted this idea.

* During the fight against the T-Rex, the Big Game Hunter and the Rugged Explorer took down the beastie, with the help of the Mad Scientist, who stunned it for two rounds, thus allowing the two "weapon rabbits" to kill it. The party spent some 10 minutes of play time congratulating themselves on bagging their first dino - until the Fortune Hunter asked them how they were going to get it back to the Aurora!

* At the native village with Amundsen, the Intrepid Reporter did her best to make the tribe feel as if she was friendly, even going so far as to allow them to get her to taste all kinds of (gross) foods!

* When the Mad Scientist accompanied the others who set out for the ruins with just the guides, they got into trouble with the apemen, of course. At one point, he was being surrounded by some 30 of the beasts or so, and had the brilliant idea of overloading the stun rifle. I allowed him to do so, since it was in keeping with the game, and then when he had stunned a bunch of the apes in a 20' circle around him, he grabbed one of the apes spears, and started using that as a weapon, since the stun rifle was useless. Wonderful strategy!

* In the epic fight at the end, the player characters had the Big Game Hunter, who had the best Stealth, sneak around the ruins, amidst all the chaos, and set the demolition device the Mad Scientist had brought with him (see above). When the crystal came near the place where the charge was set, the characters triggered it while the apemen were hacking at it. Thus, the crystal exploded killing many of the apemen, most of the Nazis were dead, von Wartenburg had managed to escape (of course!), and the characters managed to befriend some more of the apemen after Roald and the others left them in disgust at the use of their "excessive force".

All in all, the scenario was a great bit of fun, the players enjoyed themselves, and a couple of the players asked where they could get a copy of the game. Really good demo, lots of enjoyment and action, and some wonderfully humourous moments.
Tags: demo, hollow earth expedition, rpg

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