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Old December 13th, 2013, 06:55 AM
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chas chas is offline
Join Date: June 23, 2008
Location: USA- NY - New York City
Posts: 5,147
Blog Entries: 64
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The New York City Gang Of Four


All gaming groups have a natural life, depending on the personal circumstances of its members and group dynamics. After 5 1/2 years of fun, one of our members has finally moved away far enough that he won't be able to attend regularly, if at all. It seems like the end of an era to me, and while I'm sure we'll still be active in various ways, and visit back and forth when we can, I'd like to take the moment to thank my three pals for years of exciting and varied Scaping fun! I've been gaming since the 1960s, doing solo adventures, had local game pals and eventually groups, and even been a long time member of a large gaming club here in New York City. I've done board gaming, miniatures, and role playing over the years, and attended occasional conventions up and down the East Coast. But no gang has been so committed and consistent; and with rare exception we've met monthly, mostly at my apartment, for all that time, playing Heroscape, one single but very flexible game system.

What was to me "Charley's Cobras: Heroscape Division" got started as just a part of my more general gaming. The copyright on my original Rise of the Valkyrie box says 2004. Another old gaming pal picked it up for me with the first couple of expansion sets that year, and I was off. Our site join dates show how early we got organized enough to weigh in here; my date being around the time of the group's formation:

Taeblewalker: May 9, 2006
Sherman Davies: July 16, 2007
Chas: June 23, 2008
Kolakoski: July 15, 2008

I met Kolakoski when he contacted my gaming club here in Brooklyn, looking for an opponent to play Battle Lore. One day when we finished a game early, I had purposely left a Heroscape board set up on the table nearby. As we had a bit of time before he had to go, I suggested we give it a whirl. And so I unleashed him on an unsuspecting Scape World! He became an expert on army building and tactical play, winning or placing high in the Islandscape tournaments we attended in the summer. I enjoyed visiting his home on Roosevelt Island for games. This is that tiny bit of land next to Manhattan that you can visit taking the famous NYC Aerial Tram, although its also convenient to me by subway. For years I would make reference to him plotting on his "Secret Island Base," since although Brooklyn where I live is part of Long Island (home of Griznakh and his gang off to the East, which I visit also), this island is considered pretty exotic even by us NYC dwellers. I'd also go see him perform in singing and dancing show reviews there, where his lovely wife is involved in their performing group's organization and other local social "politics." It was K. who gave our group the name that stuck, as there were clearly four consistent core members.

Sherman Davies was in the only organized Scape group in NYC that I knew of at the time, which was playing at one of the first game stores in NYC which had playing tables for customers and hangers on to use as a gaming location (now out of business). The manager of the local comic book store (now defunct) had been talking about (t)his group (which he then soon left), and I met SD for a couple of sessions there. All of the other members soon dropped out, and he and I started playing at my apartment, which, my being a retired old bachelor, is pretty much dedicated to gaming, watching DVDs, and other related activities. Although I had almost no computer skills, he got me up onsite here, and remained a steadfast pal, introducing me to Super Scape through his amazing customs, which culminated in my Great Supers Card Hunt last year, when I compiled hard copy of was to become about 1,200 custom cards, some of my own design. SD could throw up a usable, playable map in almost no time at all, and really knew his Scape cards; today he is a member of The Inner Sanctum designing our C3V cast of characters that keeps our game fresh and alive.

Taeblewalker had a great place up in the famous and magical City Island in his native Bronx, of great local color, fantastic sea food, restaurants, and even a local folkie cafe where he and other would perform. I soon began to sleep over, and it was a haul from where I live, and spend entire days gaming Scape and other games, and attending some great game days he hosted there. TW is also a member of the Inner Sanctum, and I got to participate in some of his CV play testing, and even had some input on a new card or two, like the Cathar Spearmen. TW is a very active site member like the others, and he writes many strategy articles, soon for our reviving publication. You can also see his name in the fan made custom manuals for our major game variations. I also got him into Battle Lore, which he plunged into with great abandon, designing races which its prolific author Richard Borg was not able to publish officially for the game, such as Elves and Lizard Men, to supplement the game system. Together we tried out almost all of the many expansions to that game, now technically defunct like Scape officially, but not on the tables of its devotees.

The Gang of Four's Scape games were often very different from each other's. Rotating as GM each month, one of us selected a map and scenario, to chart a new path in his own version of Scape. Check out Kolakoski's old blogs for some of our more interesting games, some of which passed into Scape legend and were tried out by other Scape community groups through the site, such as Pirates! We played large point games on big maps, usually four player, although we occasionally had a temporary member or one time visitor to supplement our ranks. The unusual thing was that all four of us stayed as the core group through the years, something I have never seen before in all my own gaming history. We recently had a great 'final game' with all four of us, and it was as much fun as when we started out! There's nothing like a group project where the interests and tastes of the members overlap enough to provide great fun for all concerned!!!

I'm sure I will continue to Scape and experiment with its many, many variations and possibilities. But it was this great group that allowed me to explore the game system all this time, and I want to thank you guys for the many fine experiences. Together we were able to offer each other many different visions and versions of Scape, while still feeding all of our enjoyment. This has included multiple boards that were somehow connected, theme games, Valhalla Society games (no guns), wild scenarios with differing rules and victory conditions, practice tournament games, supers games, all the Official scenarios published during the later life of Scape under DnD Scape, and many customs games with C3V/VC figures. There were mysterious islands to explore, teleportation portals to use, castles, steamy swamps, underground dungeons, battles on Valhalla with General Wars (even one including the Generals themselves), icy mountain passes, burning deserts, custom terrain enhancements, and many, many, many others. Scape On, guys!

By the way, Tablewalker is now located about three hours north of The City, in that vast region of New York we call "upstate" (everything outside the NYC limits). He's now in Monticello, NY. Although he's just now settling in up there, if you live in that region, you might have the opportunity to game with and hang out with him and his wonderful (Scape and other game playing) fiancee. So get in touch with him here onsite and say hello. You'll be glad you did!

I have to apologize for the shortness of this post. There's so much more to say. Normally I'd put it in a blog, but many people don't read them, and I wanted our numerous pals here to know about what is going on in The Big Apple. Things change, so seize your Scaping opportunities as they arise, rather than taking them for granted. I'm glad I did.

(Edit: December Two Thousand Eighteen) While this thread runs chronologically, I just want to mention up front for any new readers that we have actually continued the group to over eleven years of fun together!)

Last edited by chas; December 15th, 2018 at 04:08 AM.
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