Legend tells of the Golden Isle where the sun never sets - a legendary island of riches, fantastic adventures, wondrous plots and endless bounty. A place where long forgotten intellectual properties could be found and once again return to the masses, re-imagined and re-packaged as something simultaneously 'new' and nostalgic at the same time.
Needless to say, the ruling cabal of the Magic Kingdom have more than a vested interest in securing the treasures of the Golden Isle before their rivals could do the same and so despatched their best agents aboard the Jolly Roger, the words of Grand Sorcerer Mickey ringing in their ears, "They must join us...or die! Have a nice day!"
Yes, I've been to 7TV day 2022 and things are about to get weird as I try to weave the eclectic mix of amazing boards and imagininative casts created by the frankly bonkers people who play this game into something that passes for a narrative.
The elite agents of the Magic Kingdom sent to acquire the fruits of the Golden Isle were:
Maleficent - Grand Magus (Star)
Quasimodo - Great Ape (Unexpected Ally)
Elsa - Wise Mentor (Co-Star)
Ana - Promising Apprentice (Extra)
Olaf - Water Elemental (Summoned)
Merida - Agile Archer (Co-Star)
Mum - Fabulous Beast (Extra)
Cinderalla - Enchanting Beauty (Co-Star)
Abu - Loyal Pet (Extra)
Snow White - Prisoner (Extra)
Act One - The Ruins of Dread (vs Adrian)
Shimmering on the horizon, the Golden Isle revealed itself. The Jolly Roger found a safe harbour and the Princesses were rowed across to the multi-coloured sands of the mountainous island.
Venturing inland, the Princesses came upon a mysterious ruined which seemed eerily familiar. However, before they could place it the air was split by a cackling laugh.
As expected, rival interests had also made their way to the Golden Isle, intent on claiming as many cash cows as possible with the intent of milking them dry.
Acting on behalf of the nefarious Web of Netflix, Skeletor and his Evil Warriors advanced with little caution, bickering as they came. They were emboldened by the notoriety and online argument that becoming an 'adult' animation had fostered.
Maleficent smiled thinly. Killing off beloved characters and making a few lewd jokes did not make them 'masters' of anything. She was live action. She even had a sequel. She'd show them who really had the power.
Eager to get on with the task at hand, Skeletor, Faker and Duplicat rushed forward to seize an emerging IP.
Skeletor wasn't sure how much interest there would be in A Flight of Dragons, the his instructions were clear: grab any old shit that we can churn out for people to bingewatch.
Meanwhile, Trap Jaw was surprised to find what looked like Princess Aurora tied in the centre of the ruins.
He thought the market had already been cornered in fairy tale princesses, but perhaps there was some mileage I'm a West End musical, or even a modern re-imagining about a girl in a coma.
He was so caught up in his thoughts that he didn't see the shadowy form of Maleficent stalking towards him
"I think you'll find she's taken," announced the bad fairy as Trap Jaw and the Hover Bots were rooted to the spot.
Suddenly there were Princesses everywhere.
Beastman and his Shadow Beasts were peppered with arrows by Merida as Mum charged in snarling and growling. As his pack fell before the onslaught, the cowardly henchman fled.
Just as Maleficent was about to grab the knock-off Aurora, Faker came bounding towards her on Duplicat, with Skeletor hot on their heels.
However, their charge was halted as a hedge of thorns sprang up around her, sending Duplicat and Faker sprawling and the great blue feline was pelted into unconsciousness as a flurry of snowballs were hurled through a doorway by Ana.
Realising that he should leave Maleficent to his minions, Skeletor made for the apparently softer target of Cinderalla, catching her with a vicious blast from his Havoc Staff.
Trap Jaw switched to his hook hand and lurched towards Maleficent, but was knocked out cold by hefty thwak from her staff.
Evil Lyn joined the pursuit of Cinderalla, as Skeletor was momentarily distracted.
A bevvy of Princesses were coming up behind him, Elsa and Ana in a heated argument.
The Queen of Arendelle was trying to explain that she dud actually want to build a snowman, but for some reason she couldn't.
Ana replied, "That's what you said during our entire childhood. I didn't believe you then either."
Skeletor and Evil Lyn closed in on Cinderella, who looked at each of them and suddenly a cruel smile split her bewitching features.
"Lyn, how would you like your own series where your character development isn't thrown out of the window once the abusive boyfriend turns up?"
Skeletor was momentarily confused and Cinderalla and darted in and kicked him with her stilleto heel. Abu leapt onto his back and the final blow was delivered with a blast of magic from none other than Evil Lyn.
"Tell me more..." she replied.
With their boss betrayed, Faker and the Hover Bots retreated and Maleficent ordered the Corporate Kill Squad further into the island.
Neither side noticed a group of Amazons cautiously approach and begin tying ropes to the rather large and well developed IP they had been fighting in and around, ready to drag it back to their waiting delivery drones.
Act Two - The Valley of Gravestones (vs Mike)
As the Princesses pressed on towards the centre of the island the dense undergrowth thinned to reveal a huge cemetery holding the graves of those who had perished on the Golden Isle and franchises that had failed.
As they passed among the graves Snow White read the epitaphs of the fallen, never to rise again, except in parody: The Flashing Blade, Jim'll Fix It, Hawk the Slayer.
"Hawk the Slayer was rubbish!" said Snow White.
Across the cemetery a group of figures stood motionless, watching the advancing Princesses. The leader of the group, an Old Man, waved and simply said, "Hello there!"
Maleficent immediately recognised them as a small band of rebels who had repeatedly stolen IP and had escaped retribution by hiding in the barbarous depths of Italy, where copyright laws were...different.
They even had the temerity to refer to the Magic Kingdom as the Evil Empire.
She immediately ordered the Princesses to spread out. These so-called 'stars' of 'Lasagne Fantasy' films must not be allowed to escape justice again.
To slow them down Elsa waved her arms and a blanket of snow fell to cover the cemetery. Whilst the other Princesses shivered, Elsa just smiled smugly.
The cold didn't bother her anyway.
Before springing her trap, Maleficent spotted an opportunity to grasp the last scraps of profit that clung to the bones of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Bewitched.
"I'll give it to the Marvellous Commissions Unit. They'll use absolutely anything."
Spying the dashing rogue, Duc Solista, heading their way, Merida took aim and fired. However, the Duc shot first and Merida screamed in pain.
Mum bared her teeth and surged forwards.
"I have a bad feeling about this," said the Duc.
His feelings were proved correct as he was suddenly pinned in place by an arrow through the foot, before being charged by an enraged bear and set upon by a huge, yet somehow friendly looking, ice creature.
From somewhere in the distance he heard a woman's voice shout, "see Ana, I DO want to build a snowman!"
Just as things looked bleak for the Duc, the ice creature melted, mumbling something about summer not being as expected, and the Contessa Organza appeared and began snarling and growling in what appeared to be the language of bears.
Her diplomatic mission seemed to work as Mum was convinced that not only should ideas be free for anybody to use in a collaborative system of shared ownership, but also that she should turn around and rip her own daughter's throat out.
Merida was saved at the last minute by Elsa freezing the floor and commanding the wind to slide heir to Dun Broch over to beside her, only for Duc Solista to again hit her with a shot to the shoulder and Merida slumped to the ground unconscious.
Meanwhile, the Crazy Old Man had led the rest of the rebels forwards slowly through the snow.
The Kid and the Golden Knight had whined and complained about getting caught and being 'doomed'.
However, the Old Man just smiled and said, "leave that to me."
Suddenly he produced a roll of carpet from nowhere and ushered his companions onto it.
Some unseen power forced the carpet into the air, over the heads on the Princesses allowing the four rebels to escape the clutches.
Abu was about to give chase when Elsa called him back.
"Let it go."
With the rest of the rebels pressing forward. Cinderalla, who had stayed hidden until now, put her plan into action.
Quasimodo darted forward and calmed the enraged Mum before Cinderella, ever the negotiator, offered the Contessa a place amongst the Princesses.
Her eyes lit up as her collectivist ideals disappeared in the face of a massive pay check, and she immediately set about convincing her companions to sell out.
The hirsute Masticar Tabac agreed readily, but the Duc had one condition.
"Only if I can be in a film about archaeology."
The ruse had worked. There would be no escape for the Contessa this time, but the sequel to La Avventure Di Un Vecchio would still get made, but with a much reduced central cast.
Finale - The Tomb of the Jade Serpent (vs Alan)
The Princesses finally arrived at the heart of the Golden Isle: the Tomb of the Jade Serpent. The mythical place where ancient franchises came and had their souls judged to see if they were worthy to be reborn.
However, something was very wrong. The guardian serpent was angry that the tomb was being defiled by something that just wouldn't die...
...The Magic Roundabout.
Different languages with different stories, re-voicing, re-booting and even films had repeatedly failed to revive this ancient text, and yet it still walked, zombie-like, through the consciousness of popular culture.
The legions of the Magic Garden had arrived at the tomb to steal enough power to continue their cursed existence.
Despite the warning rumbles from the very stones of the tomb, they heedlessly surged forward to gorge their deformed and bulbous heads on the energy of imagination.
Zebedee was the first to feed, but the energy of the tomb transported him to a different plane of existence (the Nigel Plane).
Realising the danger these drug-induced hallucinations presented to all the formulaic animations in the world, Maleficent gave the Princesses a simple instruction: keep them away from the Serpent's eggs and the tomb would do the rest.
A cold wind blew through the pillars as Elsa summoned a blizzard to slow down the low budget abominations.
Princesses fanned out through the temple, looking for ways to contain the invaders and keep them from consuming the tombstone power.
But despite the snow, the terrifying form of Mr Rusty ploughed forwards and stood ominously at the entrance the tomb's main chamber.
Meanwhile, the nightmarish knitting spider, Penelope, clambered to the top of the stairs to feast on more of the power before Cinderella could stop her.
However, once again Cinderella's enchanting nature caught her opponents off guard. She pointed out that Penelope had only been allowed in three black and white episodes, and had been kept out of the dozens of episodes that had been created down the decades.
Realising that her companions had been holding her back, Penelope flew back down the stairs in a rage and imbued with newfound power, she spat spidery death down onto Mr McHenry.
Despite initially appearing to shrug off the arrows of Merida, Mr Eusty also succumbed, Boromir-like, to a hail of arrows.
Maleficent conjured a hedge of thorns to keep deadly Dougal and the insidious snail, Brian, from entering the tomb.
However, the wicked enchantress Florence broke free and rushed into the chamber.
Her mind-warping tendrils lashed out and ensnared Cinderella, twisting her m8nd to see a hideously inverted world where the Magic Roundabout were exactly the sort of show that the tomb wanted to revive, and the Magic Kingdom was the invading and defiling force that twisted all that was good in the world, sucking all originality and creativity out of it in a never-ending spiral of sequels, spin-offs and expanded universes.
Suddenly realising that this hellish vision was actually the truth (there were three Descendants fims!), Cinderalla flew into a rage and launched herself at Abu, kicking and stabbing him with her killer heels.
However, the rest of the Magic Roundabout were still hemmed in when the masonry started to fall, crushing all but Dougal, Brian and Florence.
However, they were left sprawling on the ground as the Princesses moved in for the kill.
Cinderalla sobbed as she saw what she'd helped to do. Competitors crushed, creative enslaved and the weird and unconventional destroyed without mercy.
Maleficent approached the statue of the Jade Serpent and begin to syphon all of thr power of the Golden Isle. The world would be cursed to an eternity of generic series that never paid off the set up and covered up bad plots with layers and layers of shallow intertextuality. Flims would only be made if an audience already exist and the only fans who would be listened to were the loudest and most obnoxious.
What had she done?
* * *
And so that was my somewhat bizarre day.
As ever with 7TV, the actual results of games didn't matter one jot as long as everyone had fun.
We each got a video case with a few freebies and most attendees took the opportunity to get themselves a t-shirt. I optimistically went for large - either it's not large or I'm not. I'm blaming the t-shirt.
There was a chance to quiz Karl from Crooked Dice and his nefarious collaborators on the many different 7TV irons that are in the fire - most notably 7TV: Eighties and 7TV: Dracula.
There were also prizes for best board, best painted cast and most sporting.
There were a whole host of great boards to play on.
I'm only sorry that I only got to have three games and couldn't try them all out.
The amount of work that had clearly been put in made my own Weathertop board look a little drab
I might need to up my game.
However, there was a clear winner and it was Mark's amazing temple of the Serpent God that I played on in my final game. Go back through those pictures and look at the level of detail he's gone into.
An astounding board.
Best Painted Cast
The array of casts was as eclectic as ever, with influences ranging from folklore...
...to cult film...
...or rabbit induced nightmare-fuel...
...some casts were even built to go with specific boards.
However, the winner was the Star Wars inspired fantasy team I faced in my second game, painted by Mike.
He even created a full backstory for the the Italian rip-off Star Wars and even the actors who played each roll.
Having played on the best board in my third game and faced off against the best painted cast in my second, my day was completed by having played against the most sporting opponent in my first game, Adrian.
I actually introduced Adrian to 7TV through a Masters of the Universe Facebook group and this was his first event and his first ever games of 7TV. He'd gone to the effort of making themed cards for his entire cast.
Teaching him how to play was a pleasure and it was excellent to see him walk away having not only won something but also thoroughly enjoyed himself.
And then something weird happened...they gave out a second most sporting award.
The reason this is weird is that between them, Elsa and Cinderella had merrily spent their day slowing people down and dominating them, which I was worried might mean opponents didn't enjoy games.
Seemingly this wasn't the case and I was rewarded with a Dad's Army platoon which will see service in my Bolt Action Operation Sealion force and in the 7TV feature pack Vlad's Army.
I feel very fortunate to have played such excellent people, against such excellent casts and on such excellent boards.
On top of this I was able to have an exciting road trip with Matt, JP and Craig.
The only slight downer is the day has stuffed up my numbers as not only did I get the 18 Home Guard, JP also gave me a model to paint up for my rpg character. More on that in a future post.