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at Games University 1996

We attended this year's Games U. as quasi-civilians. That is, we ran some events but didn't work a booth — leaving plenty of time for playing in other events, schmoozing with folks, and generally having a good time.


Saturday we ran arena game demonstrations of Insecta. Sunday we held a full-fledged Insecta tournament, which was a lot of fun but also a bit strange.

The first thing the mutants ran into was the preying mantis, the darner dragonfly, and the milkweed grasshopper. Which then proceded to kick the mutants around the chamber. It was a formidable combination of Hive bugs to encounter, and several of the players were too new at the game to use combined arms effectively. Things got to a rough start when the first mutant casualty was the guy with the pheromone projector. None of the the three Hive bugs — the mantis, the dragonfly, or the grasshopper — is exactly a towering intellect, and a few well-placed propaganda bombs would have helped matters considerably. The mutants also fell (several times!) for the grasshopper's trick of blowing venomous goo into a hex stacked with mutants. Finally things got so gruesome that it was agreed to hit the big red button and start over.

The next time out the mutants were showing a better grasp of tactics, until things got strange. On the first ecdysis phase, the pheromone bug (played by Jeff Siadek of Gamesmiths, Inc.) brazenly chowed down on two other mutants' eggs, which he had been carrying for "safekeeping." Then, in the second ecdysis phase, the mutants couldn't agree how to split up the food. As any veteran Insecta player knows, disagreements over food division are resolved by combat — mutant against mutant. So, for the remainder of the tournament, the mutants engaged in a brutal free-for-all that left bug parts scattered across the floor of the chamber.


Saturday evening featured a live performance by The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets, the world's only Chthulhu Punk band. The author shudders to recall — let alone attempt describe — the grotesque and shambling horrors which stood upon the loathsome stage that evening. Suffice to say that I listened in growing terror as music — if "music" it can be called! — emanated from some nightmarish astral dimension to assault our merely human senses. What transpired next no earthly mind could grasp, so stark the utter evil which therein was revealed ... I remember but dimly the vile cultish rites ... the foul, malignant entities summoned from the blackness of the stage ... formless phantasms with blind, groping tentacles ... my frantic flight from the shrieking, slithering, viscous madness ... What use science or reason when confronting such a case? I merely set before you the facts as I witnessed them and leave you to draw your own conclusion as to my sanity or the veracity of my dread tale.


The FMG staff got in a lot of gaming over the weekend, since we didn't have to work a booth. MERP, Revolt on Antares, Dixie ... an interesting and eclectic assortment. All said, quite a successful Games U.

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