Madhouse Minicon 2015

The highlight of the year for Wisbech True Gamers, Madhouse Minicon is three days of board games, card games, role playing games and other tomfoolery.

Originally founded for the players of the online game DungeonWorld it also welcomes local game fans to join the friendly get-together and take part in all manner of amusing games.”

So the above quotes from the private Facebook event page tell you basically what Madhouse Minicon is. It started this Friday evening and finishes later today.

This is the first Minicon I've attended. So let's look at my gaming experience for the two days I attended.

Day 1 – Friday Night

The first game of the evening for me was taking part in a four player game of the DC Deck-building game.

This was my first time playing the DC Deck-building game. So what were my impressions of the game? I wasn't really impressed. There was some interaction between players when you forced players to discard cards or take wounds (cards that waters down the players deck and gives negative points at the end). But it was weak for a competitive deck builder. This seemed more about buying cards that gave you more power to buy higher valued cards than your opponents for the end game add up of points. For me this was such a weak superhero game. The DC Deck-building game doesn't come close to Marvel Legendary. The only reason I can see people buying this game is because they are DC fans, and boy if they do they will be disappointed.

I'm glad I played the game, because I would have remained curious about it. So curious I might have spent good money on the game. Boy would I have regretted that.

After the game I asked the poor owner of the DC Deck-builder if he had heard of or played Star Realms. To which he responded he had a copy. “Cool, did you want to play a game?” I asked. Within minutes we were setup and duelling in space. Now you know I love Star Realms, I think that has been established well and truly on this blog. So I was in hog heaven playing a couple of physical games. I narrowly lost the first game, and comfortably won the second.

While playing Star Realms a game of Sheriff of Nottingham was going on. Which while observing it, re-affirmed my believe that the game isn't for me. You really do need people prepared to ham it up and get into the roles in the game (which one or two weren't in this game) for it to really work. Otherwise the game kind of falls flat.

Next up continuing the playing new games to me experience was a four player game of Lords of Waterdeep.

I liked this game a lot. The game has you playing a secret Lord of the city Waterdeep. It has a worker placement mechanic with some take that interaction with other players. I liked that there was a limited number of turns, stopping the game going on forever. It was quick to pick up the basics of the game. Overall a very nice game. Plus I came joint second in the game. This will definitely be added to my wishlist.

The final game of the evening was Qwirkle, the third game of the evening I hadn't played before. I suppose you could as the owner described it call it a game similar or in the style of dominos.

Another game that I enjoyed playing. Simple rules to learn, so quick to pick up. Did I enjoy it enough to add to the wishlist. Not at the moment. But I'd gladly play a game or two if some-one whipped out a copy and said who would like a game?

Day 2 – Saturday

The con started back up at 10am. On my way in I stopped off at The Luxe and made use of their August promotion of all cinema tickets are £4 during August to buy a ticket to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Once one or two others turned up it was time for the first game of the day. I was going to be starting the day of with another game I hadn't played before Sentinels of the Multiverse.

With free coffees and teas fuelling us, our four chosen heroes battled it out with a super villain. Often when it comes to superhero card games the majority of players are either Sentinels or Marvel Legendary fans, with the DC Deck-building game a poor third (and having played it now, I know why).

So to have this opportunity to play the game was ideal for me. In a way I feel that it is wrong to compare Marvel Legendary with Sentinels. Marvel Legendary is a co-op deck building game, while Sentinels is a co-op hand management game. You play a pre-constructed deck in Sentinels. Although the Ironman/Hulk type character I was playing did seem very thematic. And it is at this level that I feel that the two games can be compared. Which of the two really carries off the superhero theme? For me I think Sentinels may edge it.

However I feel that Marvel Legendary is the better game, and more fun to play. I kind of felt that Sentinels was an ok game, maybe a bit biased towards the villains. Would I play the game again? I think I'd be ok with playing it again but wouldn't go out of my way to. I don't think it's good enough to go on my wishlist.

The second new game of the day, Antimatter Matters. This is an educational game!!!! It tries to teach you through game play like physics stuff! The game has three ways to be played, the default competitive, a team mode and co-op. The flavour text on cards is all science like and educational. It was hard but I managed to block out that side of the game, I was determined not to learn. The game is basically role and move, do the action at the location, possibly mitigate the role with a move card. There is a bit of planning, working out routes that get you the symbol required to get the elements required to build your electron and proton. Plus the game can also be made more challenging by adding a side board for the player that also needs completing.
Even though I won the game (victory is always sweet) I felt the game was ok. An enjoyable experience, I'd play again.mbut another not good enough for the wishlist.
Below a couple of misguided Magic players. Everyone knows Android:Netrunner is by far the superior game. I even trolled them about it ^_^
My last game of the day was Five Tribes.
Three of us played this game of mine. It was my first play of Five Tribes since buying the game. I enjoyed playing the game, despite one player having a little hissy fit because he was losing, didn't really understand the game. They even stormed off at the start of the scoring. Another first for me, an adult behaving like a little kid because of a game. They apologised later for their behaviour.

Day 3 – Sunday

Decided not to do the last day.

Final Thoughts

I enjoyed the games I played, but the question is would I go again?

For me despite that I knew one or two of the people there. This event came across as cliquey. At the Top of this post I quote that this event was for gamers and welcomes local gamers. However the event page itself on Facebook was private, and the event wasn't promoted (to my knowledge) to the general public.

The majority attending also were players of the online game DungeonWorld. For which they had a little “icebreaker” game for those people specifically. Not only did it exclude those of us not players (admittedly most likely just myself) it took out a table for a good twenty minutes and paused play while a large number decided to do the trades that the “icebreaker” encouraged.

Adding to the feeling of the clique was that the local players attending all seemed to be from the same gaming group. Apart from myself and one other I think everyone else was either a player of the online game or this gaming group or both.

The experience of the little temper tantrum on the Saturday kinda ruined the experience for me too. A couple of families attended, with their kids then taking up one of the larger gaming tables for their junk and playing on their Nintendo DS/3DS consoles.

On a whole I enjoyed playing the games. It's just everything else around it I didn't.

I think this would have been a great opportunity to promote gaming in the local area. However I think this was missed with the limited visibility of the event.

To answer my initial question for these final thoughts I don't think so. That's assuming that after reading this they invite me again!!!


One thought on “Madhouse Minicon 2015

  1. Although I have heard of the Madhouse Minicon, I have never seen it advertised. I didn’t know it was still going. Bit of a shame really as there are other players in Wisbech which might have got involved.

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