Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Nazis At Grand Central Station

"So," I said to my wife as we stepped out of the house to take a walk with our daughter, "what do you want to do tonight?"

"I dunno," she chirped, "I hadn't thought of it."

"We could take Hollow Earth Expedition for a test-drive," I suggested, even though I've been sick and I didn't know if I'd have the energy.

"We could," she agreed, and we kept walking.

We purchased Exile Game Studios' Hollow Earth Expedition (HEX) last year at GenCon, for a number of reasons: it's nicely produced, the rules are elegant, the art is gorgeous, the author was tirelessly enthusiastic (it was Sunday afternoon after all, and he was still jazzed about his game), and we love pulp.

Plus: Nazis and dinosaurs. Sold!

But owing to ferret-like attention spans, it wasn't until just last night that we sat down to play; we'd made characters before, but never sat down to run the thing. She made a brand-new character, whom she hastily described as a scholarly-type with a thirst for adventure (and looking like Rachel Weisz because that was the first thing that came to mind) while I thought up some cockamamie scene which would lead to combat.

Combat with Nazis.

I gotta tell ya, HEX runs pretty smooth. There was lots of stopping to look stuff up, because we're newbies, but she didn't mind because we do this a lot. Still, the answers to our rules questions were, for the most part, simple ones; I couldn't find any chase rules and didn't feel like making any up (sick, remember?) and she felt like she needed more skill points to build with. Other than that, though...s'pretty easy. I daresay there's nothing really revolutionary about this game's design, but it has energy and direction, and that counts for a lot.

After our brief session, I took my questions to the publisher's fora -- and I had answers by the next morning. Good fan community. That's appealing.

I think my cockamamie thing about an Old Kentucky General's notes on the fate of the Maya may turn into a short campaign for our group.

PODCAST NEWS: Closer. Much closer.