Last week I got to partake in some (very brief) Strange Aeons games. Being that I’m in the same town as the game’s author-owner, every once in a while when I game with Uncle Mike I get to do something a little out of the ordinary. And last week was one of those every-once-in-a-whiles.
Had I not been amidst a lengthy drought of Strange Aeons, I think the games I played that night could have easily been classified as being terrible. But when one is parched, having been wandering across the desert, one doesn’t check to see if the water at the oasis is cold enough.
Game one had me privy to helping play test a new mission for the still-far-off-on-the-horizon second edition of Strange Aeons. It was essentially the (quite) standard “Fight” mission but with some crazy set up rules. My Threshold team faced off against a mob of rat swarms and a giant vermin….and the game was finished in about ten minutes—it would have been over a LOT sooner had we dispensed with pleasantries and conversation. There really isn’t much to report about that game—actually there is; it’s just that I have no pictures, so words are the only tools available to me for relating how the game went (and I’m not feeling up to building walls of text this evening).
The game went south from the start. Despite having my agents exactly where I needed them, my character got charged by the giant vermin almost immediately…and was taken out with a major injury in one round of fighting…which terrified my agent with a civil war saber and after three rounds of close combat was taken out with a major injury by the same giant vermin. Throughout this, my agent (Beatrice) with a double-barreled shotgun kept losing her nerve whenever she tried to shoot…seeing as how her last run-in with a Serpent man had resulted in her gaining Balistaphobia and she now had to test her resolve before pulling a trigger of any kind. Not surprisingly, the mob of rat swarms got the jump on Beatrice and took her out of action with a major injury as well. The game was done almost as soon as it began and my whole team had to roll and see what lingering ill effects they were to gain from being rolled by rats—and they beat the odds! Every single member of my Threshold team was taken out of action with a major injury, BUT they all rolled a full (ie: non-eventful) recovery.
For game two my opponent and I rolled “Monster Hunt.” In Monster Hunt, my whole team must destroy the single Eldritch creature that was on the board—an easy mission for me, I figured…seeing as how I was a low-points team so no big monsters would be showing up (in Strange Aeons, the bad guys in each mission are tailor-made to equal the points value of the Threshold player’s team) and my leader was armed with dynamite!
Well, despite having my character and Agent Beatrice being taken out of the game with major injuries, I managed to win the game. The bad news: though I won, my “Character” —the leader of my Threshold team— died: my list had to be retired and I had to start up a brand-new Threshold team from the beginning once again. Oh…and Agent “too scared to pull the trigger” Beatrice also died.
This is where the really cool “something out of the ordinary” thing happened. I guess Uncle Mike was feeling sorry for me, inviting me to game only to see me lose twice and lose my whole Threshold team in the process. As we were wrapping up, we were talking and the idea came out that “what if” it were possible to salvage a team despite the leader having been killed? Essentially, story-wise, it would be a case of the agency seeing the merit of keeping the Threshold team together, seeing as how they were effective and were proven in the field.
The talk started circling around the idea of “Field Promoting” one of the lesser agents on the team—not one of the owning player’s choosing but the agent who was worth the most points—the thinking being that sometimes it’s fun to have a story continue despite the main protagonist’s departure. So that was the direction we decided to go—all under the auspice of the possibility that this may be an optional rule in a future Strange Aeons expansion or article as well!
Despite the horrible losses I suffered, the night ended up being fairly serendipitous, seeing as how I finished more agent / civilian models at the end of last month…seemingly with no use for them any time soon. I now have total use for (if not need of) those agents!
Well, that’s it for my Threshold team for now; with luck, I’ll be playing some Strange Aeons tonight. We’ll see how a team of “agents” with no “character” leading them fares!