I've been amusing myself recently contemplating an ideal gaming event, and naturally it's dystopian opposite. It's a humanist trend to think of heaven and hell in human terms (think of Supernatural or the super hilarious The Good Place ). My Uncle the priest thought that in heaven we'd be able to do whatever made us happiest. And next to being fed pie by Mrs. Rabbitman, gaming with my friends makes me happiest.
You're in a damp cold basement with weak fluorescent lights and a cement floor.
There is only one table covered in that bright green rolled grass paper. Buildings are craft paper and tape. Trees are green sponge on popsicle sticks. Other terrain are random pieces from Warhammer and 40k box sets. All thrown down without logic or a sense of story. Rivers are blue felt.
The armies are old, sloppily painted Minifigs and Hinchcliff figures. Many are broken and riders are missing from saddles or lean clumsily. They are based upon irregularly shaped unpainted pieces of cereal box card that flex when you pick them up, causing figures to pop off.
The rules are from Empire Press. Lots of enormous charts that make an actuarial accountant swoon. Layers of detail that in fact obscure any realism . It's a multi-corps big battle and you have to track how many rounds are in each skirmishers cartridge box. Which edition you're playing changes every turn.
Your fellow players all have bad hygiene and poor social skills. They argue over everything.
The snacks are hickory sticks, ketchup flavoured chips, unsalted nuts and weak American beer.
Win or lose, it's because of a random dice throw and a rules argument. Losing is a bitter cheat and victory tastes like ashes.
The room is large, seemingly endless. There are big sunny windows, and a thick carpet and plush curtains absorb the echoes. The wood panelled walls are adorned with artifacts and paintings of famous battles.
There are many tables for each of your favourite periods, and even some periods you always wanted to play but never got the chance. The ruins of Stalingrad on one and rolling Bohemian countryside on another. The forests and mountains of Middle Earth compete for attention with the North West Frontier. All full of detail; farms and fields have livestock, villages have villagers. There are flowers along lanes and in meadows.
The armies all would win awards. Each one has amusing rear echelon vignettes and baggage elements. Every troop stand is a mini diorama. You can play each period in different scales and operational levels. Roman cohorts battle in dark forests. Medieval knights clash among hamlets and hedges. Lines of tricorned musketeers engage in elegant maneuvers across rolling countryside. Dusty gurkhas relieve embattled forts just in the nick of time.
The rules are known from memory by everyone and there are no arguments. Play flows seamlessly and every dice roll gives a plausible result. If you win it's because of superior strategy. If you lose its because your opponent was better and defeat is accepted with good natured grace. The room is naturally filled with your best mates and those good folks that you've met on blogs and Facebook with whom you've always wanted to play, if you only lived closer together. Naturally they have good hygiene, excellent manners and dress like the Mad Padre.
Refreshments come from a fully staffed bar and kitchen with the cooking done by Nigella Lawson. There are side tables so that drinks and food are not on the table. Attractive servers glide among the leather chairs and they are quite happy to move that unit that is just out of reach.
The tea is always strong and hot and the pastries are fresh. No one ever gets cheezie dust on the figures.