Playing With Myself, the Pilot

Sometimes, when you're alone, in the middle of the night, you just have to try an epic Dungeons & Dragons style board game.

Zack S. Westby Zack S. West

Welcome, one and all, to the pilot of what may be a new series if people aren't put off by the title. This is Playing With Myself, where I play a board game alone in the middle of the night and tell you exactly how sad and lonely an experience it is.

For the record, I am not a lonely nerd. I am a reasonably popular nerd with a few close friends, lots of aquaintences, and plenty of invitations I don't have time for. But everybody has downtime. Recently, I couldn't sleep, the internet was out, and my desk was too messy to really get anything else done. So instead of cleaning off my desk, I broke out a board game.

 

 

I know it looks like a lot of stuff, but it's a relatively simple game. And you're not here to learn how to play, you're here for a sad insight into my lesiure time. But I'd played it only once before, and not alone, so I had to spend some time going over the "solo mission" rules. It is possible that there is nothing more depressing than reading about the game you are going to play by yourself in the near future. Anyway, here's the setup.

I am Tarak, Half-Orc Rogue. I come from… wow, they actually have zero character description of any kind anywhere, except for that little snippet on the card. Apparently I'm going to have to give him a backstory myself. Born the child of an Orc Professional Dominatrix/Torture Master and a Human captive slash rape victim, Tarak grew up around around a lot of screaming and sharp objects. His mother hated him because she was a dirty racist, but she was a pro-lifer so she didn't have a choice. He learned to hide early because being seen meant getting beaten, which is sad until you realize that now he uses those skills to break into rich peoples graves and murder their weirdly monstrous pets. And that is where our story begins…

I have 'broken' into the underground lair of Meerak, a Kobold Dragonlord, having fallen in on the way (I presume) to steal a pair of magical pants from a famous dead wizard. My goal is to find him, kill him, and escape. But he may not be the only thing lurking in these blah de blah can I kill something yet? I explore the tunnels…

Oh no! A kobold dragonshield appears, as well as his orc archer friend! Seeing instantly that I am an abomination, the enraged orc (I may be incorrect about this, but I'm assuming orcs are a redneck analogue) shoots me on the spot. Right in the leg, too! What a fantastic way to begin. Well, let's see what I can do in return.

While I want to try and plead my case with the Klorc Klux Klan member, there is still a kobold in the way. I have a crossbow, maybe that'll help. Boom! Headshot! Kobold brains splatter on the floor. A little more graphic than I intended, and maybe not the best way to start a conversation about how half-orcs are people too, but what's done is done. I approach the agressor and get ready to hear some weaksauce fantasy racist slurs (they never have the impact of the real ones). But much to my dismay, he's already called in a big mean friend to "wipe up this little fauxrc". (See? It's pronounced Fork. That's stupid. And there's no way an orc would come up with that anyway.) Despite their tame insults, they are vicious fighters, so now is probably a good time to run.

In an attempt to improve my odds slightly, I stab the Orc Archer in the neck before I run. Again, it ends up spurting fountains of blood all over the wall like an extremely rusty hose. I can see that his giant friend with the big scary club does not think any better of me for this, so I turn tail and use my deft rogue skills to dash away from danger…

Only to run directly into a giant snake. And then he bit me. And poisoned me. Well, that sucks. How could this get any worse?

You see that card in the center that says Earthquake? If you're wondering why that's there, that's because there was a freaking earthquake. Fortunately, despite being poisoned and having a bum leg, I kept my bearings with the tumbling pillars and cracking floors all around, enough to decapitate that snake like Lorena Hobbit. Dodging the giant hunks of rock falling all around me, I head down another corridor.

I feel like I'm starting to understand the patterns of this game. Every time I try to run away from something dangerous, they put something scarier in my path. Now a Duregar Guard (an angrier Dwarf, if you can imagine it) and a floating beaked tentacled brain known as a Grell are on my ass. Apparently this place is more diverse than I give it credit for.

Now I'm poisoned, limping, the dungeon is about to collapse on me, and even if I survive that, a racially open minded brain monster will eat my intestines. It'd be nice to have some help, but as we all know, I am PLAYING WITH MYSELF.

Tune in next time for…

The Eviceration Proclamaition

or

Don't Tarak The Boat

 

(If the game looks interesting, pick it up at your local gaming store. If you find me interesting, follow me on twitter @ZSWest and check out the gaming podcast I'm involved in, www.pizzagamesandzombies.com.  And tell me your thoughts in the comments!  I might even respond…)