Dexcon 09 report

Morristown continues to be a joy to get into and out of. And if need be, there's plenty of town right outside the convention center to take a break from glaring lighting and wide hallways.

I'm convinced that if you stay there you need to specify a room on the Eastern side. Better view (sunrise) downhill over palatial new jersey and not the divey ghetto restaurants across the street from the hotel. The 14th floor was completely brand new suites: excellent beds and faux-Ian Schrager design.

I only attended thurs and friday but got some good gaming in...

thurs.

- a fae-based game of PtA with the always lovely Jeff Colyer. a soft pitch session made the game a bit of a sprawl. on the upside i got to play with phil and rachel walton (it was awesome to finally meet rachel.)

- finally got a chance to play Contract Work. The game played smoothly (only two players). Surprised at how gamey it is. Wanted the physical pieces to be more evolved so that i could differentiate the slips of paper that were flying back and forth. would love to try it again.

fri.

- fun game of Final Girl run by Brett. It may be the first time i've ever played in a game with Rob Bohl (an awesome player as well as gm). large cast of indie gamers around the table. i'm afraid i was the weakest player in the bunch. the system generates a lot of fun and will only improve.

- had to shuffle things around to fit one Bill White game in and managed Ganankagok Jeepforged as my final run at the con. Bill's auto-hack really wanted a healthy amount of participants to round out the cast of characters it now invokes. Bill, Rachel, Rich, Matt and myself were the actors. it was my first run at any sort of larping and i'm fortunate that my position as The Stars let me adopt a more director stance in play and not as much first person acting. again, i think i was the worst element in this game.

Interestingly, this newer form of Ganankagok offers some advancement (improvement?) over the tabletop game. with the pre-gen characters pooled together... the story evolved more organically. also, the meta-narrative from the Stars, Sun, and Ancestors offered fulfilling counter-balance.

I don't know where Bill is with printing the tabletop game but he has a more solid oracle deck printed this time around. The card design could be tightened up a bit but boy am i itching to buy this game.

...

far too much air conditioning in the IGE section. ridiculously cold. still, it was lots of fun. thanks to the gms and organizers.

Comments

  • I'll write more later, but a) thanks for the kind words, Eric, and b) you're crazy thinking you're a weak player.
  • Hey Eric --

    I'm glad you played the Ganakagok jeepforged; you are being too modest. The scene that you and Matt played as he pled with the spirits for guidance was really nice, and I enjoyed how you pushed the confrontations between the two clans. I wished more folks had signed up; next time I'll do what Luke did for Poisonous Ambition (the "Orc larp") and put the sign up sheet where the rpg sign-ups are, rather than with the larps.

    I'm glad you like the new deck better; I think it's a big improvement over the previous version. The new book is better looking as well, and both should be available via IPR pretty soon, if all goes as planned.

    I would say that the tabletop game is more novelistic while the larp is cinematic (or maybe theatrical). I heard Rachel say that Joanna Corcoran described the difference as that while in the tabletop game you're inside your character's head looking out at the world, in the parlor larp you're with the gods looking down on it. That sounds about right to me.

    I ran two sessions of Ganakagok "classic," one with mostly experienced players and one with all novice players. I realized more than I had before that the game requires exercising different creative muscles than most people are used to flexing, and so there's a learning curve: people get better at playing the game. Watching Andrew Morris play Ganakagok is really a pleasure, because he has taught himself how to weave the game-mechanical procedures into playing his character.

    I also ran two great games of Spirit of the Century: rocketpack-wearing Marines in 1937 China ("Yangtze Rocket Patrol") and another round of "Rex Rich and the Warlord of Mars" (the one where you were Tan-Gliil the Man from Mars last year), this time with seven players. It was a ton of fun.

    I also ran a Trail of Cthulhu game that I really liked. It was the second time that the guy who played young Bob Heinlein was a fan, and the joke became that the only explanation for how Robert Heinlein became who he was is exposure to the Mythos. It was kind of funny.

    The only other games I played were Serial Homicide Unit and WEGS. I recommend both. SHU is a police procedural where you try to stop the killer from striking again while at the same time trying to live the lives of the potential victims, not knowing if the axe will fall on you next. WEGS is no-holds-barred monster-bashing with a quick and dirty system that's really well constructed: it draws you in. I was the only one who managed to escape the Troll Lord's pig roast after a three-hour melee. 4E has nothing on this game.

    The last thing I did was hang out with
    Dave Petroski, Bob Manning, and his girlfriend Kat. We "playstormed" a time travel game that Dave has wanted to work on for a while and sort of figured out how to represent time travel paradoxes game mechanically. So that felt like a step forward.

    So that was my con.
  • Here're some pictures I took.
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: Robert Bohlyou're crazy thinking you're a weak player.
    s'kind of you but i feel like i'm too selfish of a player and don't open the door for others strongly. this is primarily a problem of me not playing often enough and some of my innate only-child, socially shy bullshit. yet another reason why i should drink before i game.

    nice pics. what the hell are Squishables and why do they have Matt in thrall?
    Posted By: Bill_WhiteThe scene that you and Matt played as he pled with the spirits for guidance was really nice, and I enjoyed how you pushed the confrontations between the two clans. I wished more folks had signed up.
    I felt weird about killing people at first but thought that thinning down the herd of pcs/npcs might make things easier for us. also, as The Stars... it seemed like a likely role to play. I'm not sure how to respond to the game as my first larp/jeepform activity but my take-away from it was very positive. i enjoyed that the acting scenes were short vignettes. i liked that we returned to the table to reconvene the next scene. i really liked revolving around Matt during the scene above. i suspect the audio on that might not have been picked up but let me know if you launch the actual play on that anywhere.
    Posted By: Bill_WhiteI'm glad you like the new deck better; I think it's a big improvement over the previous version.
    if you haven't already gone to print on this, i'd like to discuss the layout and legibility of the decks with you. i took a couple of quick pics during play and have some questions if that stuff is still flexible. Otherwise, it's moot.

    Sad to not also play the regular Ganakagok that Laura and i were signed up for. That and SotC would have rounded out the con nicely. My takeaway from Serial Homicide is very positive. It's such a smooth system. The Millers seem to play it very straight and i'd love to give it a shot a bit off the wall some time.
  • Erik, you played my favorite character of the entire con.

    I realized when I ran my second session of The Final Girl that in the first game I forgot a hugely important rule. Oh, the dangers of running a game without even glancing at the rules for three months.
  • ? Bret, what rule? How did the second game compare to the first in length of play and quality? And... when you get the next round of revisions down... let me know and i'll run an outside demo for you. fun fun.
  • Erik, apparently they're this model of stuffed animals that Matt likes a lot.
  • edited July 2009
    Hee, it totally looks from the pis like I wasn't in that InSpectres game, but I totally was. I must have been in the bathroom.

    Squishables are awesome! The reason they came to the con (Anna and I each have one) is so a) both could be together in one place and b) we could get Rob to take photos of them gaming. I'm planning on submitting some of the photos to the Squishables website in the hopes that they will post them. They have lots of pics of the animals doing cute things, but none of roleplaying.

    Erik, you're a fine roleplayer! And I'm not just saying that, you know what a snob I am.

    Edited to add: it's hilarious that like half the album is the Squishables pics. Thanks again Rob!

    Matt
  • i enjoyed that Rob's take-away from the con was at least 40% Squishables (at least according to the pics.)

    and thanks all for the support.

    xx, eric
  • My own con report:

    DexCon, Episode 12: Where the hell is everybody?

    Wednesday night: RPGA 4E. What. The. Hell. This was the fifth adventure for level 1-4 characters I've played, and it was insanely overstatted. When the PCs are missing on 16's and the bad guys are hitting on 8's and 9's, you know something is wrong. We had a well-balanced party (and players who knew what they were doing) and a strict but entirely honest GM, so it wasn't about the people. Just some good ol'-fashioned piss poor level design. Still went up to Level 3 though.

    Thursday AM: With Great Power. This is the first time that I can recall that I actually walked from a game. It was 2 and 3/4 hours into the slot, and we were only just beginning to wrap up the first conflict. I said I wasn't having any fun, explained why, and left.

    Before any of you jump to the wrong conclusions, it wasn't an issue with the game, which I think is brilliant. Nor was it the GM, Kat Miller. It was the other three players, who were simply way too slow-moving for me to have any fun playing with them. It didn't help that all three of them seemed to know each other, at least as con buddies but it seemed more like they all game together back home.

    It's not necessarily awful when people from home gaming groups game together at cons, but it can be weird. In this case, it seemed to be a disconnect between me on the one hand and on the other a group of people who had no expectation that the game would move at anything but a snail's pace. My hat is off to Kat for her patience and skill at GMing, though. I would not have been nearly so forbearing in her place, although I also have a very different GMing style than she does.

    Thursday afternoon: Michael and Kat Miller's new game, Serial Homicide Unit. I felt weird playing in a game with Kat so soon after ditching in the middle of the morning session, but I talked to her just beforehand, and the game went really well! It's a neat game, and I want to play it with my non-gaming, Law-and-Order-loving aunt. (Luke Crane made some comments to Michael along those same lines; I believe his precise words were "get this game out of the RPG ghetto.")

    The game is about both the victims of a serial killer and the police squad looking to track him/her down. All of the victims share a "profile," the characteristic being targeted by the killer. In this case, we chose "adultery," so the game was full of some reasonably intense emotional gutpunch stuff typical of many indie games, but not over-the-top or unjustified.

    Favorite memories from that game include Bill White's portrayal of an arrogant young composer from China, my victim-PC's lover, and my own portrayal of a cigar-chomping, "all-American" land developer intent on building condos on top of historical land in Bethesda, MD.

    Thursday eve: Misery Bubblegum. It was me, Rob, and Rachel, with the game's creator, the brilliant and hilarious Tony Lower-Basch. (I really, really want to meet someone named Tony Upper-Basch someday, and get the two of them in the same room, and then take a photo and tag it on Facebook.) This is an amazing game, also tending towards the emo gutpunching stuff. We were playing members of a high school band that was threatened by romantic tension between Rob's and Rachel's characters. We actually played two sessions (did I mention that it takes less than an hour and a half to play a complete session of Misery Bubblegum?); Tony became very attached to one of the NPCs during the first session, and I volunteered to GM a second session, since my character had really pretty much finished his arc by this time. (I still played him as an NPC a lot during the second episode.)

    The first episode hit pretty close to home for me in a lot of ways: high school students, rock band, unrequited love, etc. The second episode was less emotional for me personally as I had insanely offered to GM a game I had literally just learned and the text of which I had not read. I spent a lot of the session trying to just figure out what I was doing, frame effective scenes, etc. Tony of course was able to help me while still PCing, and my fellow players were all very patient with me. The session ended very well, I think, and overall it was an awesome experience and quite frankly made me feel like something of a bad-ass gamer for being able to pull it off.

    Friday AM: Spirit of the Century: Yangtze Rocket Patrol, GM'd by the aforementioned Bill White. Awesome! Spirit is interesting with only 3 PCs; this was a very different experience from playing Rex Rich with him at a previous con. (In particular, it was nice to get through the entirety of the scenario.) I really enjoyed my character, an over-educated but totally ineffectual Harvard grad Boston blueblood. He was, of course, the ranking character in the unit. Leadership skill? Resolve skill? Why would I need either of those things? :-) Any chance to make fun of people who went to Harvard is A-OK in my book.

    It was a damn good thing I was playing though, as neither of the other two players had ever played before, and I was able to direct our strategy such that we didn't totally get our asses kicked in encounters designed for way more PCs. (It also helps that Spirit doesn't scale linearly, or else Bill would've had to scale back the encounters, which might not be a bad idea anyway when there are few players.) Spirit with Bill also totally rocks my world because of the excellent physical setup that Bill brings, with maps and little squares of paper to move around on them and other handouts. I'm a decent Spirit GM, but I'll never in a million years be that prepared.
  • Friday afternoon: Bill again, this time playing his "Jeepforged" version of his own tabletop game, Ganakagok. Never before, and hopefully never again, have I attempted to play three characters simultaneously during a LARP. Awesome game (Rachel was in this one too). I loved the mix of mythopoesis, tribal politics, and interpersonal drama——we really and truly hit hard on all three of those levels of story. It was engaging, dramatic, straightforward, and fun and only two and a half hours to boot. Inuit tragedy FTW.

    Friday eve: 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars. My first, but hopefully not my last, encounter with this incredibly gory space marines game. Mechanically, it's sort of like an elegant, functional version of Munchkin. I also had a really hard, interesting time playing my character once I decided he was a compulsive liar. The other players really riffed back with me on this, realizing that literally nothing he said was true. It was particularly ironic on the last of the three missions when I was promoted to Sergeant over their heads.

    Saturday AM: Luke Crane's LARP version of Poisonous Ambition. I didn't enjoy it as much as I do Luke's revolutionary tabletops. My LARP standards are also insanely high and rarefied, because of my background with my college gaming group, who do *amazing* LARPs with stunning regularity.

    Saturday afternoon: InSpectres. I finally got to actually play a game by Jared Sorenson! Hooray! It was GM'd by Michael Miller, and I had a really good time with it. InSpectres is basically Ghostbusters: The RPG, mixed with a bit of reality show-ness, and the mechanics do an interesting job of representing the genre without being heavy-handed. The math is tight, and when the narration flows fast and free the game really hums.

    Saturday eve: I ran a pickup game of Mouseguard, which remains one of my favorite games EVAR. I had a full crew of four, three of whom were strangers (although one of them was in the InSpectres game earlier) and one of whom I knew and who in fact had played MG with me GMing before. We had a really full, intense session, with some great roleplaying all around.

    Sunday AM: How We Came To Live Here, Brennan Taylor's new game-in-progress. I like it a lot, but it was a tough slog mechanically and felt kind of slow. I would like to play it again sometime after reading the text and also when it's not Sunday morning of a four-day con and I've had a bit more sleep. And for the record, no, I most emphatically did not acquire 10 Corruption and become a Demon within 4 scenes. :-)

    Matt
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: Double King? Bret, what rule? How did the second game compare to the first in length of play and quality? And... when you get the next round of revisions down... let me know and i'll run an outside demo for you. fun fun.
    At the beginning of the game there are three scenes where nobody dies. This allows you to set up some relationships and I think dealt with some of Rob's criticisms of the game. The second game was a similar length but was less frenetic and crazy and more focused.

    I'll work on an alpha draft of the rules here soon, though I might do one or two more "in-house" playtests to try out a rule that Dave Petroski suggested in the second run before I send it out into the world.

    As for a Dexcon report, good times. Apart from the hangouts I didn't do a huge amount of gaming. I ran two sessions of The Final Girl that were a lot of fun. One was about some D&D players who accidentally unleashed Satanic forces on the gaming convention they were attending. There were tentacles, miniature armies coming to life and attacking their players, a convention organizer who'd made a deal with the devil, and it was all survive by a young kid.

    The second game was smaller (there were four of us) and it was about a group of adventurers who had accidentally unleashed an ancient evil on their last dungeon crawl and it followed them back to town and killed them one by one. This one was a lot of fun, and it let me play with the pacing some and find what worked. We had a TPK and the innkeeper was the one to survive the evil.

    I was a little disappointed that my game about a midnight showing of Twilight being attacked by vampires a la 30 Days of Night didn't go off, but I will recycle that premise.

    I also got to play Contract Work. I've been playtesting this with Russell for a few conventions and I'm really interested in its development. We hit some bumps but that's what playtesting is for. I'm hoping to reprise my assassin who is a master of bartitsu and fisticuffs sometime in the future.

    Oh! And tipsy conversation with Kevin Allen Jr. helped to crystallize an idea for Sympathy for Monsters, which is a game I really, really want to work on but have been struggling with for about a year to form into anything substantial. Hoping to do some work on it here soon.
  • Posted By: DeliveratorFriday AM: Spirit of the Century: Yangtze Rocket Patrol, GM'd by the aforementioned Bill White. Awesome! Spirit is interesting with only 3 PCs; this was a very different experience from playing Rex Rich with him at a previous con. (In particular, it was nice to get through the entirety of the scenario.) I really enjoyed my character, an over-educated but totally ineffectual Harvard grad Boston blueblood. He was, of course, the ranking character in the unit. Leadership skill? Resolve skill? Why would I need either of those things? :-) Any chance to make fun of people who went to Harvard is A-OK in my book.
    I have to give my brother Mel credit for writing the Yangtze Rocket Patrol scenario. I did tweak the pre-gen PCs a little bit, though: originally they were all the same rank, but I decided that the PCs should be located in an organizational hierarchy. I also gave them each a hometown. In line with the war movie genre, though, I picked the most ineffectual leader to be the one in charge, the best leader to be the non-com under him, and then gave him subordinates with their own issues. I would have liked to have had a few more players for this scenario, so that some of those inter-character relationships could have been brought out. As it was, the guy who played Pvt. Mike Newhouse from Brooklyn (also named Mike) had to do all of the "buddies but rivals" stuff single-handedly with his NPC companion Pvt. Joe Pulaski from Minnesota. Still, it was good pulpy fun.
    Posted By: DeliveratorIt was a damn good thing I was playing though, as neither of the other two players had ever played before, and I was able to direct our strategy such that we didn't totally get our asses kicked in encounters designed for way more PCs. (It also helps that Spirit doesn't scale linearly, or else Bill would've had to scale back the encounters, which might not be a bad idea anyway when there are few players.) Spirit with Bill also totally rocks my world because of the excellent physical setup that Bill brings, with maps and little squares of paper to move around on them and other handouts. I'm a decent Spirit GM, but I'll never in a million years be that prepared.
    I was glad you were there to give a tactical direction and a sense of urgency to the action, but it wouldn't have been so bad for the Yangtze Rocket Patrol to have been knocked around a little bit, captured, taken to the Mountain of Death, and continued the adventure from there. Wouldn't it have been fun to have had to rescue Betty Barnes from Hong's Menagerie?

    I liked that adventure a lot.
    Posted By: DeliveratorFriday afternoon: Bill again, this time playing his "Jeepforged" version of his own tabletop game, Ganakagok. Never before, and hopefully never again, have I attempted to play three characters simultaneously during a LARP. Awesome game (Rachel was in this one too). I loved the mix of mythopoesis, tribal politics, and interpersonal drama——we really and truly hit hard on all three of those levels of story. It was engaging, dramatic, straightforward, and fun and only two and a half hours to boot. Inuit tragedy FTW.
    This pleases me, especially because you are a tough critic. I think the jeepforged mode of play has a lot going for it. I sense that there's a ton of hesitation, uncertainty, or even resistance from some tabletop gamers to this style of play, maybe because they think it will be unfun, awkward, or maybe even embarassing, but it's really a blast.
  • I think when you have all inexperienced players, SoTC tactics are completely unintuitive. What you really want to do is keep putting Aspects on the big bad guy (and also making Declarations, like that the underlings will run away once the boss is taken out), then have one person make a ginormous hit to take him out. People who are used to "roll to hit" play just won't pick up on that right away. It can be the GM who teaches that technique, but in any case, if no one does, it's not just that it makes the PCs more likely to fail—which, as you point out, can be fine—but it makes things take much longer, and the scenario therefore less likely to be completed.

    Matt
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: Bill_WhiteI think the jeepforged mode of play has a lot going for it. I sense that there's a ton of hesitation, uncertainty, or even resistance from some tabletop gamers to this style of play, maybe because they think it will be unfun, awkward, or maybe even embarassing, but it's really a blast.
    I would probably NEVER have done this if i hadn't been pushed into it by you and Matt. that said, i had a really good time and would do it again in friendly company. i like both versions of the game. it certainly helped that everyone else involved was comfortable with the jeepformed element and it seemed to be only me that had to deal with some awkwardness. that security was definitely a plus for me.
  • edited July 2009
    Wednesday: Got to the hotel early, so I headed off to the Wine Library, which is only a 15 minute drive from the hotel. Picked up a few nice wines that we never got around to drinking. Also bought some tequila and vodka, which we ran through easily. Showed up to run my 10pm slot of Pareidolix, and found a tableful of players waiting, which was a bit disconcerting. At five minutes before start time of the first convention slot, I'm usually telling one person that we'll need at least one more player to run, so they should check if there's another game they can still get into if no one else shows. It's probably because I was running a Firefly scenario. No one had played the game before, so that was cool. They also decided to play Alliance characters, so that was cool as well. I forgot they were bad guys, so I missed my GM mark a bit in places.

    Thursday: Played Hearts and Poison, and didn't do too well at either. Then I had another full table for Pareidolix, including one of my players from the previous session, who liked it enough that he came back for my Dresden Files scenario. All the players but one were familiar with the novels and/or TV series. It was a bit unusual in that there was one player who had never played an RPG before, and one who hadn't played for a least 20 years. It all came together nicely, even though the players ended up failing and becoming beholden to the White Court.

    Friday: GMed the "psychics on the run from the government" scenario for Pareidolix with another full table. Had another rocking session. Then I got to play in a Ganakagok session that was very fun, and a bit unusual in that it was all purely village politics and social interaction. After that, I visited my friend Ryan's steampunk LARP setup, and it was super-sweet. He may yet get me back into boffer LARPing.

    Saturday: Had an alarm malfunction, so I overslept and was late to my 9am session of steampunk Pareidolix. No one seemed to be waiting on me, so I'm hoping no one showed up. I felt super guilty about that. I was also pretty bummed, because that was the session I'd most been looking forward to running. Came in second in the Jungle Speed championship. Boozed it up with some friends before roping three in to playing J. R. Blackwell's Shelter in Place zombie LARP. Two of them bailed because they're teenagers (and hadn't LARPed before), but one stayed around to play. Had a lot of fun with the game, although there are some mechanical fiddles that I think need to be cleaned up. Went to check on the poker tournament, and found that my girlfriend was kicking some serious butt. In the end, she won the whole thing, along with the $250 shopping spree.

    Sunday: Went to the dealer's room with Krista, and she bought me a matched pair of kukri knives with her poker winnings. With my voice almost burned out, and sleep deprivation setting in, I was half-hoping no one would show up for my last session of Paroidolix so that I could just go home early and sleep for a day. Before the session, I was talking to a friend I know from boardgaming, and he decided to sit in and play if anyone showed up. Three more people sat down, and we were on our way. We had a really awesome game, and came up with a crazy awesome world. I was a bit nervous about a fifth player who heard us brainstorming and decided to join, but he was able to pick it up as we played.

    Overall, attendance seemed really light, though I had full tables for all my games. I really missed hanging out with indie folks this year, as I didn't get to do a lot of it.
  • Dexcon 12 - Is that an echo or is it just the crickets

    Attendance seemed way down this year, at least on the Indie side of things. The big room we typically fill half of at Dreamation had a paltry 4 tables going in most slots with the populated sessions seeing 6 to 8 concurrent games. I did note a few pick up games, but not many.

    I ran a bevy of games with 2 sessions feeling mixed and the other 4 rocking pretty hard.

    Wednesday night - ran "After the Rise" which is a free survival horror add on for SotC. I had some new folks to SotC/Fate at the game, but eventually everyone found their footing. My scenario needs work on this one, and felt unfinished at the end, but generally it was good.
    My take-away on that was that SotC is great fun, and Zombies are fun, but maybe wait until later in the con to get the energy up, and pack a bit more conclusion into the scenario. Probably not the best starter game for folks.

    Thursday morning I played in my friends John's Deadlands game, Desolation Ridge. We had a good group with most folks being new to Savage Worlds. I got to play, but also be handy and teach some rules, so that felt good. Oddly the rules for Gatling guns seem a bit underpowered. Weird, but it is the weird west...

    Thursday afternoon I ran my first slot of "Merchant of Dreams" using PTA. I've found the pitch + character gen + series arc + "invariably everyone wants to do the pilot episode" to be too much for a 4 hour con slot and ultimately unsatisfying since no-one's issue get resolved. So I've been (blasphemous to some) working on partially pre-generated shows and characters for PTA.
    I went a bit looser with this scenario, only really having an idea of the pitch I wanted - A modern day tale with Fae, something Gaiman or DeLint-esque and having a theme of loss.
    We got a muddled character set, one set of characters being a bit more comic, and the other being a bit more dark. The idea of loss was hard to pull in on some of the characters and ultimately I think the premise failed. Not to say the game wasn't fun, but it didn't rock on toast like some PTA play I've had.

    Thursday night I ran Spirit of the Tentacle, a SotC (obviously) scenario not written by me, but by a New Zealand gentleman for a scenario design competition for a Wellington NZ convention. I had 5 players, most of whom were either new or light on SotC. It definitely rocked with a Cthuhlu meets 20s New York vibe. Plenty of daring do, a few really good one liners, and I got to say "Its not science, its SUPER science" in my best mad scientist impression.
    The scenario came with lost of good notes on running the adventure and which aspects to compel on which players. It made running it much easier than my previous After the Rise game.

    I spent Friday morning gutting and rewriting my Merchant of Dreams PTA game. By the time the 2pm slot rolled around I had 6 partially pregened characters, a relationship map, and had liberally stolen everything that I thought worked from the previous session.
    The game went much better, and while it still felt like a Pilot episode it worked and everyone enjoyed themselves. I may run this one again with a bit more tweaking and a few more NPCs.

    Friday evening I ran episode 2 of "Cold Sleep" my scifi PTA game. Originally we pitched and played the pilot at Dexcon last year. With only a few modifications to the characters we played Episode 1 at Dreamation and it went "over the top" well. The first run of Episode 2 did not disappoint. Even with the player in the spotlight walking into the game cold, the game found its feet early and went to a very satisfying conclusion. I also got to beat on Dave and his character's issue as he reprised his role as Father Alvaro, and now I owe him a spotlight episode.

    Saturday morning I played some WEGS with Larry and the Jersey boys. A fun time with a Trojan Pig which ended in my glorious death (critically failing my don't die roll). Always a blast.

    Saturday afternoon I got to be Snap Redstone teenage engineer in Rex Rich and the Warlord of Mars. It was all kinds of over the top pulp goodness thanks to Bill. There was a science off between Dr. Einstein and Professor Plank, a zeppelin aircraft carrier, and I managed to escape the final scene by rescuing a group of young German ladies and sailing off in a stolen zeppelin. Good times.

    Saturday Night it was time for another run of Episode 2 of Cold Sleep. This time with Shawn reprising his role as Dirth, the spotlight character - the one everyone watching loves to despise. I won't spoil the ending, but I did record the session, and it rocked hard. I burned through all but two points of budget, that just kept coming back to me as people bought cards on conflicts. It was every bit as good, but different than the previous night.

    And then there was sleep followed by the trek home. I had a blast and managed to feel like I learned a good deal about running PTA and SotC. A goodly number of the players at my PTA games were new to Indie games and I got the idea that they would be returning in the future.
  • Wednesday: We didn't get lost, walking 20 minutes out of our way in the freezing, raining February, and then have to walk 20 minutes back. Yay! I discovered Bill was double booked as a GM, so had to move the Trail of Cthulhu game. He even ran it twice. Alas, I had filled all my slots.

    Thursday: Breakfast at the 24 hour diner. Shopping. Napping.

    2 - 6 pm: PTA, the more sprawling "Merchant of Dreams" run. Like forlorn1 said, not bad, not by any means. Merely not awesome.

    8 - midnight: Pareidolix, Dresden setting. Who cares if we lost? It was a blast.

    Friday:

    9 - 1 pm: With Great Power: Truth and Justice. This was a blast. It helped that two of us had played before and that the third was a very quick learner. It went very, very warped in a Dark Horse way.

    2 - 6 pm: Dread: In Short Supply. My first time playing Dread. This was Macross, not horror. Well, actually, it was kind of horror. I'm not familiar with Macross, but that wasn't a problem. And yeah, it gets real tense when the tower gets higher and hole-ier.

    8 - midnight: Call of Cthulhu: As the Hearse Goes By: Solid game, with one of our number an, ah, olive oil salesman, yes. Good at opening locks, because sometimes, a person's not home for a delivery and forgot to leave the key, and you can't just leave all that, ah, olive oil lying around outside.

    Post-midnight chatting with Tom Lynch, Oscar Rios, and other folks.

    Saturday

    9 - 1 am: Misery Bubblegum: Hospital Station Trinity. We only got through one episode, but it was a lot of fun. I played a doctor based very loosely on Susan Calvin. Shawn was the robot Nurse Betty, totally fixated on making Dr. Jim very happy for the rest of his life. Michael Miller was the hospital administrator, with Stephanie as his sister the sales rep from GenEdict. Bob Manning was the lab tech. And Adriana Morris took up a concept Tony tossed out: What if Deanna Troi had padded her resume and lied about being an empath? Wacky Hijinks Ensued.

    2 - 6 pm: Call of Cthulhu: Part One of Them Thar Hills. Really well paced, starting with a gunfight, and then a mission of mercy, with the weirdness slowly racheting up. I wasn't signed up for Part Two, so Oscar let me know what the second part would hold. It's beautifully devious.

    8 - midnight: Savage Worlds Deadlands Reloaded: Blood on the Snow. John Farrish runs solid, well paced games. And, he added a fan mail rule, which meant chips flowed out to the players, which meant we were far more willing to spend them.

    Sunday

    9 - 1 am: Monsters and Other Childish Things: You Know What I Did Last Summer. Fun, though fatigue poisons were really kicking my ass by now. Everyone played someone else's monster, and the various monsters scared the various kids, which meant their monsters got into the act and things went from there.

    Then, Josh and I got a lift home from Mindy, a woman who lives about 10 blocks from us, but whom we only see at DexCon and Dreamation. We lured her in with the new edition of the Arabian Nights boardgame. It plays well, though I'm still learning some of the subtle differences. The obvious ones I got at once.
  • edited July 2009
    Days 1 and 2:

    Wednesday, 7/8/09

    On Wednesday I didn't have any scheduled events. I wandered around for a bit, got to register early, signed my name up for games I wanted to get in that I wasn't scheduled for, and coordinated with Jenn from TrapCast about setting her up for some of these games, too. I went out to dinner with Matt Weber, Kat Miller, and her friend Michelle.

    Thursday, 7/9/09

    It was my birthday! I turned 36. It was also Kat's birthday, and while she was facilitating Serial Homicide Unit, Joanna Charambura brought chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting on top. They rocked.

    So did the game. Our victim profile was "adulterers" and it produced a really interesting result in play. My civilian was a secretly-gay Democratic US congressman whose hope—a game-relevant term—was to be able to live honestly and happily. In his way—another thing that happens as a consequence of character creation—were quite a few things, including the fact that he loved his wife and children, was a devout Catholic, and feared for his political career. In the end, he had a happy ending. He was outed but his constituency took it well and his wife and he had already worked out an understanding before he was forcibly outed.

    When I saw that one of the investigator roles was "psychic investigator," I loudly and vociferously insisted on playing him. If we had "real" psychic powers working in the game it really would've soured me on the experience, I think. Instead, I played the psychic as a con man and investigator who was just really observant and intuitive. I don't like the psychic's presence in the game, though, and if I played it again I'd probably ask that we find a different role that does similar things.

    At 8 PM I played Misery Bubblegum with Matt, Rachel Walton, and the game's creator, Tony Lower-Basch. He GMed the first episode, and Matt took over for the second episode. We played a high school band, and my character was the left-back-twice, stoner bassist. He was really good at bass player and really really nice guy—his "types" were Naive and Coach—who wanted Rachel's character to fall in love with him so the band wouldn't break up. At least, that's what he wanted in the first episode.

    In the second, he decided he really wanted her to love him. I made her by having the most powerful card in the game—"Say what you really feel"—attached to my guy. I got a card on that card by coming to her home and waffling on saying how I felt, getting the scene type to change, and taking the card off it. Now that the "say what you feel" card had been "charged," it was the most powerful card in the deck. It could not be beaten. So I initiated a challenge, staking that if I won she would love me. The counterstakes were that if I lost, the band would break up, but the poor girl didn't have a chance. It was awesome. It worked in-fiction, too. I finally told this girl I loved her after being a mumbly dork for a long time, and her heart melted.

    Oh, and at this game, Rachel brought the makings for strawberry shortcakes for my birthday. It was delicious. I got to have two birthday "cakes" on my birthday. Rocked.
  • Friday, 7/10/09

    I woke up early to get to Bret Gillan's playtest of The Final Girl, his slasher-movie game. Bret informed us that since there were six players, we'd be playing in "massacre mode," which meant that at the end of each scene, everyone but one character would be dead. It turned out later this was a mistake, that we were supposed to have a round—or was it more?—of scenes where no one dies until every character had been introduced.

    Anyway, the game was set in a small, Mid-Atlantic gaming con. There were many jovially-mean references made to real people and real person "types," which I will mostly refuse to talk about. I made Jane the Slutty LARPer, though, because I wanted to see the slutty girl survive until the end. She never does in horror movies, and she didn't this time either. However, she did get to go out awash in blood and demon gore, wearing nothing but jeans and an unbuttoned leather jacket, heroically slashing apart tentacles with a chainsaw.

    I think The Final Girl is a very strong start. There're some kinks with the narration rights but it's amazingly fun for something so nascent.

    The 2 pm session is where my worst disappointment of the con came in. I played Dread (with, among others, Phil Walton, Frank Hablawi, and Jenn) that really frustrated me. I felt railroaded and ignored and I felt the rules were actually broken to suit the GM's vision of the way the game should end. I didn't read the thing close enough to realize that it was going to be set in the Robotech world. I know nothing about Robotech, but whatever. That's fine. I can interact with canon I don't know shit about and that really had nothing to do with my problems with the game.

    Throughout the game, the GM was largely unengaged in our characters and in fact frequently interrupted our inter-character roleplaying because he'd just finished reading his adventure notes and it was now time to say what he felt like saying. Each of the five or six of the other players answered 14 questions about our characters which are supposed to let us skip pulling from the Jenga tower. In some cases, they make things more difficult for us, too. Anyway, almost none of that material ever came out at the table. And it's not like we were rushed for time; we finished an hour and a half before the slot ended.

    All over my character sheet were tons of things about how my character was an arrogant bitch who had problems with authority. We were on Mars, and were shepherding these 12 trucks that came up to our waist level in our mechs. They were going to pick up missiles from an abandoned base for use in the war effort. There was a moment where my girl got out of her mech to try to get past some of the base's defenses. I had previously said that she liked to take her gloves off when in her mech so her hands could move faster. When I got out of my mech, the GM asked me, "You get out of your mech?" with this glimmer of joy in his voice. Rolling my eyes, I said, "I put on my gloves first." Oy vey.

    Anyway, we're at the place, and we're about to leave, and the GM makes sure to say a few times that we have eight trucks. None of we players notice; somehow our characters missed four of the trucks we're focused on guarding driving off. Anyway, he tells Jenn to pull. She asks for what. He refuses to say. I'm irked. This either breaks the rules, or breaks the spirit of them; you're supposed to be making informed decisions about whether or not to pull, whether to risk death or be guaranteed failure. I suggest she can choose to fail but she chooses to pull and he allows her to realize what we, the players, missed, that there are four missing trucks.

    We report this back and our brass tell us that they don't care about that. There's a medical team in danger! We have to abandon these vitally-important trucks and send five walking tanks to investigate missing medical officers. My girl goes, "yeah sure," and then tells the others she's going to stay behind and interrogate the drivers. My reward was to be left out of an important conflict, and to be told that I wouldn't be able to even roleplay questioning the drivers.

    This is about where I checked out and started to get really annoyed. I don't mind missing the conflict, really—although it would've been trivially easy to have me catch up with them—but not being able to engage with my plans made me mad. The railroading continued. The GM had decided that the big fight would take a pull from each of us, no more, no less. The fact that earlier one guy had done three pulls to overcome battle-stress-freezing to convert that into his being a crack shot didn't mean he got to pull less than the rest of us.

    In the end of the game, I was trying to find a heroic way for my character to die but couldn't. Finally I decided after we got back home I'd circulate to the media some pictures and discussions my character acquired records of about a military-ordered-and-covered-up execution of prisoners who had intended to steal and sell medical supplies. I succeeded in my pull to find someone who I could leak to. The GM narrates this character being shot after he publishes his story, and his revealing me as his source. We were ordered to deny any knowledge to the civilian review board. When it was my turn, I said, "She tells them everything, including that she was told to cover it up," and the GM said the military takes her off in secret and executes her, then makes her out to be crazy, and no one believes her. This is another breaking of the rules. The GM isn't allowed to kill your character unless you knock the tower over. Rather than fight, I reached out, knocked over the tower, then said, "She tells them everything, including that she was told to cover it up."

    This game really angered me. I think it brings up one of the few problems I have with Dread. While any game is susceptible to a GM breaking the fun, I think this one is particularly susceptible to it. Everything in the game is subject to a mother-may-I? check with the GM and you have very little leg to stand on in reference to other rules. When and how many pulls to make, and whether to respect the other players' interpretations of whether the things on their sheets should let them skip pulling from the tower, appears to be subject to GM whim.
  • Anyway, I finished the day on a high note. I got to run Misspent Youth for Jenn, Rachel, Ben "Spookybeans" Morgan, and a guy who I was in a gaming group with before I left New Jersey for Massachusetts, Martin Gille. Thanks to a conversation with Luke Crane and Jared Sorensen at NerdNYC's Recess gaming event, I had recently changed almost every single game term to make it simpler, clearer, and/or more thematic. With the exception of constantly slipping and calling things "conflicts" when I was supposed to call them "struggles," the terminology stuff worked great.

    Our game was about a company that had created a touch-telepathy technology that was available only to rich people. Psylutions, Inc. found, however, that there was an alarming rise in mind-viruses from people sharing one another's minds. They were exploiting, dissecting, and experimenting on poor people, hoping their hybrid vigor would hold the solution to the hidden problem. The clique were the school's druggie kids. They wound up getting sent to a juvie camp set up by Psylutions and breaking out and publicizing the fact that the tepe technology was responsible for this epidemic that no one had until now known about.

    It was a great game and a great capper to a mixed day.
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: Robert BohlFriday, 7/10/09

    I woke up early to get to Bret Gillan's playtest of The Final Girl, his slasher-movie game. Bret informed us that since there were six players, we'd be playing in "massacre mode," which meant that at the end of each scene, everyone but one character would be dead. It turned out later this was a mistake, that we were supposed to have a round—or was it more?—of scenes where no one dies until every character had been introduced.
    Yeah, whoops. I remembered in the second game that there are supposed to be three scenes where nobody dies. This has always been the rules, but after not playing in three months and being kind of nervous about running it it totally slipped my mind. I think this would have prevented a lot of your criticisms about not being able to develop characters or relationships.
    Anyway, the game was set in a small, Mid-Atlantic gaming con. There were many jovially-mean references made to real people and real person "types," which I will mostly refuse to talk about. I made Jane the Slutty LARPer, though, because I wanted to see the slutty girl survive until the end. She never does in horror movies, and she didn't this time either. However, she did get to go out awash in blood and demon gore, wearing nothing but jeans and an unbuttoned leather jacket, heroically slashing apart tentacles with a chainsaw.
    Her and Tara the hippie drifter (I think that was her name) fighting back to back with a chainsaw and a metal bannister against tentacles was my favorite moment of the game.
    I think The Final Girl is a very strong start. There're some kinks with the narration rights but it's amazingly fun for something so nascent.
    That game made me realize that I do need to set strong boundaries with narration. I'd always had a sort of gut understanding of who should be allowed to narrate what, but this was my first time playing with people who would very aggressively take control of narration. Ahem. ;)

    I'm ironing it out in the draft I'm writing up now. I'm actually hoping to have a playtestable version of the rules by this weekend. And thanks for the kind words and the feedback.

    As a side note, I also realized that in past games I've asked people what their favorite horror movies are but not what their favorite kill scene is (which is what I did this time). The latter made me uncomfortable in a way I can't put my finger on. It almost seemed like talking about what kind of porn you like with strangers.
  • edited July 2009
    Saturday, 7/11/09

    By now, getting up at 7:45 am to get to a 9 am game was starting to be difficult. On most nights, I didn't get to bed until 2 am at the earliest. Anyway, Luke's LARPified version of Poisonous Ambition—a story about orcs fighting for dominion that already exists as a Burning Wheel scenario—was this morning and so there was no way I wasn't going to get up for it. I got to play with Jenn, Rachel, Matt, and a bunch of other really cool people (too many to mention, really, or I'd spend all afternoon finding links and still forget some people).

    Given that Luke said he wanted those who had played demos with him more often to be in the lower ranks, and that I play at almost every Double Exposure con with him, I expected I'd wind up with a goblin and was really looking forward to it. My surmise was good; I wound up co-goblining with Miguel. I played Scavenger and he played Nightseeker. Their sheets were identical as far as I could tell.

    Anyway, we only had one real motivation on the sheet, which is that we hated He Who Bears The Lash (HWBTL), the orc in charge of beating everyone, and played by Matt. Miguel and I had a ton of fun playing up the sniveling, whining, puling nature of the goblins. I think we played pretty smart, staying close to the things we did well and making sure to go around and get support before we did anything. Our major gambit was to steal the leader's (called The Named) whip and hide it beneath HWBTL's bedroll, then to let The Named's wolf, Wrath, know about it and get him in trouble. We were successful, but it didn't matter. After the whip's finding was revealed, something else happened to distract people and we spent most of our resources getting something done that no one cared about anymore. And because everyone had OOC knowledge that we were responsible, and there was no specific encouragement for everyone to play into the dramatic irony of knowing as a player that something happened and allowing your character to be duped, there was no fire for anyone to play up the theft.

    There were a few "problems" (I scare-quote to indicate that it's from my perspective; this may be in keeping with Luke's design goals) along this line. My character was very sneaky, but I can't sneak. I go up and listen to people plotting—which my Instincts tell me to do—and they immediately whip me and tell me to get away. Like I'd expect a lot of Vampire parlor LARPs, there was a shitton of whispering in corners and stuff. This was stuff I wasn't really expecting to see in a story about blustery orcs.

    Anyway, it was a pleasant experience and there's a lot there. And this is I think the second time that Luke's run this, so there were definitely some kinks he's working out in it. However, I'm unclear on his design goals for the new rules he's written for the game. (Note: you can't properly call this Burning Wheel; the rules are way too different.) I suspect the only kind of LARP I'm going to enjoy is something more like Jeep, where if something's going on in character, everyone is watching and appreciating it as audience, and where there's heavy expectation that people will use and play with dramatic irony.

    There's a lot more I could say about this, but I'll move on to my second session of Misspent Youth. This one I think I dropped the ball on somewhat. The Youthful Offender players all seemed to enjoy it a lot—which I'm very glad of—but I don't feel like I did it justice. The YOs were Peter Woodworth (a former White Wolf freelancer who was very kind to my game when he read it), Russell Collins (fellow game designer, and husband of Misspent Youth's artist, Jennifer Rodgers), Phil, and Anna Melton (Matt's girlfriend). The YOs were the "Explorer family," a housing-and-interest-group unit in a future boarding school on a planet which was being terraformed. The Academy existed to shape the minds of the planet's next generation, and were specifically concerned with brainwashing the kids into believing that the little bugs that lived all over the planet were not sapient beings but were, instead, pests that needed to be destroyed.

    I think the problem I ran into was that I wasn't really feeling The Authority and instead of confronting my concerns, I pushed on. To be fair though, I thought there was potential so at least I didn't consciously suppress those concerns. Another problem is that The Authority was preying mostly on other people—the aliens—and not the kids themselves. Finally, I think I rushed a bit too much, pushing for conflicts at a rate of acceleration beyond my already-accelerated con rate. I feel like I didn't do these players a service with the game I ran, but they enjoyed it, so who am I to say?
  • My final game of the day was Montsegur 1244 with Rachel (facilitating), Jenn, Frank, David Berg, and another guy from the group I was in with Martin, Rich Flynn. I really enjoyed this game. When I heard there was a "harlot" character, I wanted to play Arsende something awful. I wound up being able to get her in a trade with Rachel because Rachel would've wound up with two martial characters and she wanted to make sure that these roles got split up. My secondary character was Garnier, a mercenary who was in love with a noblewoman.

    Looking over Arsende's questions, I pretty early on decided that she was in love with garrison commander Pierre, and also decided that he was the one who raped her when she was 15. The idea of the fucking horror of that really appealed to me and I was grateful to get the chance to play it out. It was important to me that Arsende not be a prostitute, but a woman who engaged in multiple sexual relationships partly as a way to give her, her niece, and her nephew a place to live. She was able to sneak out of Montsegur before it fell.

    I enjoyed Montsegur a lot. The only complaints I have are some annoying grammatical errors in the text we were given to read aloud that occasionally got in the way of comprehension and had to be interpreted.

    As a side note, I was particularly happy that, as they were breaking up their game, one of the Champions players sharing a room with us who had been listening in came over and asked us about the game, asked if we were history scholars, and wanted to know how it worked.

    I was going to jump in to J.R. Blackwell's zombie LARP, Shelter in Place. She talked about it a few Indie Game Design Roundtables ago and I really wanted to see what it was like because it sounded interesting. Also, she wasn't sure she was going to be able to run it because no one was signed up for it and it was the only reason she came to DexCon. I wound up rushing the end of Montsegur a little to get there on time, but it turned out that enough people were there to play and I decided to go to bed.
  • Sunday, 7/12/09

    I didn't wind up playing any games on this day. I was scheduled to play Brennan Taylor's game in development about quasi-Native-American mythopoesis, How We Came To Live Here, with Rachel facilitating and almost certainly playing one of the two GM-like roles. When I thought I'd be stepping into J.R. Blackwell's Shelter In Place, though, I had scratched my name off of my spot Rachel's game. Shawn came by and saw that and wanted in. I had played the game a couple of times before and I played the scenario that Rachel had prepared at Camp Nerdly, so I decided to let Shawn have my spot.

    I walked down to the convenience store to get some 5 Hour Energy, since I did the go-to-bed-at-2-am-and-wake-up-at-7:45 thing again and I had to facilitate the Indie Game Designer's Roundtable at 1 pm.

    When Michael Miller told us that there wasn't going to be one unless someone stepped up, I happily offered to. Going to more cons than ever in this past year had sensitized me to poor moderation and I had Ideas on how to do it right. I think I did an excellent job at it, but you'll all get to decide for yourselves. I recorded the entire thing and am going to release it as part of my podcast, The Independent Insurgency, one episode per game.

    J.R. Blackwell talked about Shelter in Place, Matt talked about his action movie game Showdown, Anna talked about her mythopoetic game, we heard from a guy named Toby who had a more mainstream game and who wanted advice on how to make sure he would write, Frank talked about his comedy game, and David talked about his world-exploration game Delve. I might be forgetting one or two. If so, I'm sorry!
  • Posted By: Bret GillanIt almost seemed like talking about what kind of porn you like with strangers.
    the game isn't even committed to paper yet and already you are teasing us with The Final Girl hacks, at least the title carries over nicely.
  • I talked about my version of DEXCON 12 on my LiveJournal. Thanks to all the players, GMs, and staff for making the con, and the IGE, a success!
  • Posted By: Robert BohlHere're somepicturesI took.
    If you play Misery Bubblegum, you get pie!?!?!
  • If you do on my birthday you get shortcake.
  • Hey Dexconistas, remember how Vinnie asked us to maybe do things differently after Dreamation? And there was a week of flying feathers and hand wringing followed by stony silence? Did anything change? Was the event organized differently? Or is Dexcon a completely different beast?
  • Nothing changed as far as I could tell. It probably wasn't even an issue because attendance seemed pretty low. One of my games cancelled, and I know one of Russell's Contract Work sessions didn't go off. There wasn't an issue as far as I could tell with a lack of room in games or a lack of tables.
  • Personally I ran more sessions of the same game, 2 each of my PTA scenarios. Most of the games I run handle 6 players, although PTA is always better with 5, so I didn't feel the need to increase the headcount.

    There was a discussion thread several weeks ahead of Dexcon about changing things - in which I asked if anyone could summarize what Vinny wanted for the folks on SG that didn't take the time to read the many pages of ill formatted blog that formed that communication. Thread kill for the win...
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarHey Dexconistas, remember how Vinnie asked us to maybe do things differently after Dreamation? And there was a week of flying feathers and hand wringing followed by stony silence? Did anything change? Was the event organized differently? Or is Dexcon a completely different beast?
    Kat Miller, Michael Miller, and I had a discussion about this on Sunday before the roundtable. We brainstormed a bunch of ideas but I don't want to step on their toes and name them. I'll point them at this thread.
  • edited July 2009
    I played Serial Homicide Unit with MSM, Michelle and Dave. Our particular game was middling, it didn't sing. But the game itself is a thing of beauty. MSM has managed to transcend our little, squabbling ghetto and create a bonafide game.

    @Rob -- You and Miguel were instrumental in the Named's demise. If she had had her whip, she would have been much more formidable when confronted. Don't discount your influence just because you didn't get exactly what you expected.

    @ Jason -- Vinny wore a suit one night, and I ran a 13-person game. So some things changed, but Space Nazi was still there in his regalia. At one point, Space Nazi walked into our room during the Poisonous Ambition game. Two full strides -- not peeking in the door like the other security guys -- into the room, he stopped, gave us his best impression of the Nazi officer smirking at the doomed and then turned on his heel and walked out. All 14 of us stopped in mid-sentence, turned and stared. Then, as he left, we burst out laughing.

    I do not like Space Nazi.
  • Well, one difference this convention was that I had full tables every time...maybe because so many of the "names" weren't there. On one hand, I'm cool with that -- I'd much rather be turning players away than folding a session for lack of attendance. On the other, that meant there weren't all these clusters of indie folks hanging out in the lobby, which isn't cool at all.

    Another thing that was different this time (which may be related to the attendance issue) was that I didn't have tables full of pink badges. Maybe folks were just more conscious about leaving room for the non-indie-crowd to jump in. Actually, now that I think about it, at future conventions, I'm not going to preregister for games that I've already had a chance to play, to give the new guy a shot.

    On the Space Nazi/Weasel issue, has anyone asked him what his deal is? It's hard to imagine, but maybe he's just not aware of the sort of negative emotions brought on by his costuming choice.
  • I've been consciously trying for a couple of years to pick my events so that I'm not pre-registering for two of the same game, except for Call of Cthulhu. Only one Misery Bubblegum game, however much it rocks.
  • Posted By: Robert BohlThis game really angered me. I think it brings up one of the few problems I have with Dread.
    It's interesting, Rob -- I've only played the game once, also at a convention, and I had a completely identical set of complaints. Like I literally could have written what you wrote, except that luckily I was not the excluded player (someone else was.) Dread, to me, is one of those games whose central mechanical conceit is so great that everyone seems to overlook the fact that there's no actual game, there. It's 100% GM fiat, and you get to play Jenga at (very) thematically-appropriate times.
  • Posted By: Andrew MorrisOn the Space Nazi/Weasel issue, has anyone asked him what his deal is? It's hard to imagine, but maybe he's just not aware of the sort of negative emotions brought on by his costuming choice.
    That fuckin' guy....

    He appeared in a local newspaper article after Dreamation that caused a friend to write the con staff and express his feelings of discomfort about him. The friend was promised by con staff that they would talk to him, but there was no change this year.

    More generally, someone else was complaining about the overzealousness of the security staff in particular this year. I don't know whether he reported his concern and other than the Space Nazi I didn't have any shitty interactions myself.
  • Weird, at Dreamation I had a legitimate security issue and they couldn't be bothered to take a break from their Arby's sandwiches. I talked to Vinnie about it, so it's probably my fault if they are now in mall cop mode. You're welcome.

    Fuck space nazis. Direct action is called for.
  • This was my first time at the new venue and I love it. I like how it's more spread out and there's more elbow room. No people crowding to talk on a walkway. I also like that there's tons of good food in walking distance. That was my biggest complaint about the old location.
  • I wrote an e-mail to Vinny after last year's Dreamation and was assured that it would be dealt with.
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarHey Dexconistas, remember how Vinnie asked us to maybe do things differently after Dreamation? And there was a week of flying feathers and hand wringing followed by stony silence? Did anything change? Was the event organized differently? Or is Dexcon a completely different beast?
    DEXCON is a different beast. Overall, it is a bigger, better-attended convention. It's one of the biggest summer gaming convention on the East Coast. However, the IGE presence is much, much smaller. We fielded less than half as many events, and most folks who ran games ran more events per GM.

    At Dreamation, the IGE presence is so large, that overcrowding is the main problem we face. If you boil down all of Vinny's suggestions, they revolve around growing pains. At Dreamation, we've generated lots and lots of enthusiasm and attendance for the IGE, and we've got to figure out better ways of meeting that enthusiasm.

    I've got some ideas that I've got to find the time to put into a form that people can discuss constructively. As soon as those 25-hour days I ordered show up, we'll be in business!
  • Posted By: Luke WheelI played Serial Homicide Unit with MSM, Michelle and Dave. Our particular game was middling, it didn't sing. But the game itself is a thing of beauty. MSM has managed to transcend our little, squabbling ghetto and create a bonafidegame.
    Thanks, Luke. Don't give me too much credit, though. Kat's the main reason that SHU is out of the ghetto. I guess I'm glad I lost the argument about putting in a hit-location table.
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