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Back home in Melbourne after a long trip to and from Adelaide. This is the first time, I calculated, that I have been anywhere by myself (that is, without wife and or kids) in the last 17 years. Strange stuff. How time flies. So it was with quite a bit of excitement that I boarded the plane all on my lonesome to see my good friends and play silly games – just like I used to when I was in my 20’s.

The weekend went well, I think. Certainly busy for me as I was detailed to run the Strange Seas game. After two solid days of being on stage, as it were, I was exhausted. Much as I come across as outgoing, it takes it out of me being the Ringmaster.

The convention was billed partially as a purely Historical event. But that always going to be compromised as the population density of Australia simply does not allow that degree of specialisation with any hope of getting more than a half dozen visitors through the doors. As it was there were only three out of 20 games that were not historical, mine being one.

The photo at top here shows the set up for Strange Seas. It was a 28mm B Grade movie pirate theme, the design of which was to attract the kiddies and get some lightweight fun happening. From what I can tell this was successful as the game was in continuous operation, everyone seemed to get into the swing of it very quickly. And finally, I was awarded the Best Table award by popular vote. Trophy to come! The table itself was designed and built by Alan with his usual attention to detail using the 1′ tiles provided by Back 2 Base-ix. It was raffled at the end of the show and I was delighted when it went to my new friend Gustave: an appropriate reward as he had spent an awful lot of time with me helping run the game.

The Strange Seas rules were designed by Greg and showed his typical flair for fast mechanics designed to keep the action rolling and allowing opportunities to tell stories with toy soldiers. Squads of 8 miniatures plus captain were placed around the board. Players took command of a scurvy band each and had to traverse the board to various objectives. The objectives and bands of antagonists were placed in such a way as to ensure the players would be forced into conflict somewhere.

Combat resolution was by simple bucket-o-dice with equally simple saving roll. Movement was abstracted to our standardised 6″ stick, with the squads clustering around their leader in a nebulous fashion. Randomisation was provided by the Aye-Pad 2.0, a chart that showed which of the other non-player squads you could command this turn in order to thwart your opponents. It was a cut-throat, knockout competition, and the winners of each round received a snazzy pirate ring.

Would I ever play Strange Seas again? Not if you paid me. But it ran well, had no design glitches, and seemed to provide a lot of people with a dose of harmless fun and entertainment. Job done.

Check out the comprehensive photos here.

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