Date: Thursday, June 21, 2012
Players: Marc, Sev, Ben R.
My first experience with Geiger Counter. We opted for an Old West theme, with bandits and lawmen aplenty, plus a rather voracious wind that drives honest folk to violence. Our characters:
Leader of the bandit gang, Whiskey Pete
The gang's muscle, Ruben
A farmer's beautiful and tough daughter taken as a hostage, Constance (survivor)
A remorseful sharpshooter, Little Deadeye (survivor)
A sociopathic sidewinder, Slice (survivor)
A bad girl and the leader's main squeeze, Dusty (survivor)
A corrupt sheriff, Sheriff Lane
An honest deputy, Deputy Hank
Farmer, and father of the kidnapped girl, Abraham
A federal enforcer out for blood, Marshal Carver
A loyal but still unproven young lawman, Zeke (survivor)
A reformed outlaw who used to run with the gang, Pickett (survivor)
The dramatic, suspenseful adventure began with the gang on the run. They detonated the walls of a canyon to block their pursuers, the lawmen, and journeyed on ahead. But the lawmen found another way around, and everyone ended up in a network of confusing switchbacks and red rocks. Only Marshal Carver had not yet joined the group, instead choosing to track them all from afar.
Meanwhile, a terrible wind began to howl, stirring the blood of all men and women it touched. The first to die was Ruben, who tried to make a pass at Constance and was gunned down by the (slightly) honorable Whiskey Pete. Tempers flared in both camps, as the outlaws argued about Pete's actions and the lawmen debated riding into a dust storm. The corrupt Sheriff Lane, his rich benefactor Abraham, and the honest Deputy Hank all ended up dead, while Zeke and Pickett became separated.
In the outlaw camp, Dusty and Constance began to form a bond, while Little Deadeye decided to defect. Pete and Slice went after him, but Pete met his end in the dust storm. Slice, Zeke, Pickett, and Deadeye had several encounters after this, each ending in some bloodshed, until at last Slice ended up splattered while Picket and Deadeye rode away. Meanwhile, Dusty and Constance formed a temporary alliance, especially after being attacked by Marshal Carver. They worked together to kill him, and things were going well until they came up Zeke. When Dusty tried to attack, Zeke gunned her down and rescued Constance.
In the end, four of our six survivor characters made it out. Zeke and Constance escaped the dust, as did Pickett and Deadeye. Both pairs rode away into the evening, hoping to put this terrifying experience behind them.
Great game! Three players means a lot of time in the hotseat, but it was fun to spend so much time roleplaying. One critique I have of the game is that it still has a bit of crunch. More than once we found ourselves trying to wrangle up bonuses as we rolled against the Menace, and there was definitely some metagame needed to choose a good Condition after losing a conflict. But beyond this, the setup put us right in the world, and our story rode to a quick, satisfying conclusion with few bumps along the way. I'd love to try GC again with a different setting.
I'm not sure I'd give Whiskey Pete a full "Honorable" achievement, but he certainly didn't take well to being disobeyed. So, blam.
I loved that the ominous and much-foreshadowed Marshal Carver finally showed up and was immediately killed, by the innocent hostage no less.
This is the first time I played it without a map. In hindsight it probably would have helped in a couple of cases ("are they in the canyon maze or the open desert?"). I think a good compromise might be a minimal map with just site names and simple icons if desired. Another thing we left out for simplicity were bonus dice you find at locations. As in, we're in a store room and I find a flare gun I can use to shoot the menace. I was tempted to throw them in somehow but without a location map it seemed easier to leave them out. In some genres they work well but in most they seem to fall flat.
And yes, for anyone else playing Geiger Counter, setting up the characters with internal conflicts is *highly recommended*. Even if there wasn't a menace, they should have plenty of reasons to be at each other's throats.
Edited by Ben Robbins on Jun 26, 2012 9:48 PM
|A former member||
I wish I was there. I really want to play this game.