[Dreamation 2012] How Was It?

Spill, fools.
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  • I was unfortunately not able to stay the whole weekend (two-thirds of the family took ill), but it was enjoyable enough while I was there. Getting oriented was difficult at first, since the place is so big, but I got it down pretty quickly.

    It was nice to finally play some games again after a long absence, and all of the games I tried were completely new to me. I'm not sure I was the most entertaining person at the table, but I tried my best. No one seemed to mind.

    If I had any real complaint, it's that a newcomer like myself can feel really lost in the crowd. It seemed like everyone I met had been to Dreamation multiple times and knew everyone else, so when it came time to go to the bar or out to eat for lunch, folks who knew one another slipped away en masse. My family might have spent less time wandering around in the rain on Friday looking for somewhere to eat if we'd had some guidance from an old hand or two.

    I almost feel like there should be a newbie's reception where people can be introduced to the veterans. Throw out some bowls of chips and pretzels, set up a couple water coolers and let people shoot the breeze for an hour or so. Encourage mingling with new faces. I got to know a couple of people on my own, but it's different than actually having a dedicated time for meet-and-greet activity. Or maybe that idea is totally unworkable. Who knows?
  • Great time.

    I'm looking forward to Pax East, Gen Con, Camp Nerdly, Connecticut Con, JiffyCon, Recess, and many more but it would be very hard to top Dreamation 2012.

    One thing I forgot to mention in the above linked thread, I had 2 boardgame players in my games (1 who had never tried an RPG). Some of the gamers from the other parts of Dreamation (which sometimes feel too separated) seemed to have wandered into the RPG area this year looking for fun. Several of my friends who mainly play Pathfinder tried indie games this year.
  • I had a great time at Dreamation. It was a good year. Numbers seemed high, as did the energy. And there were lots of indie choices that also seemed to have full tables. I played in seven games either as GM or player. I'll see if I can get through them chronologically in a few posts.

    --Skulduggery [GM]: My first and favorite game of the convention. Game mechanics are from Pelgrane’s Dying Earth RPG with the setting filed off. We did not detour too far from the game’s roots by choosing the setting as Jack Vance’s Gaean Reach. We deviated from the Skulduggery book, which has pre-generated adventures and characters (of a sort), by creating the characters randomly and establishing the starting situation through consensus. The characters found themselves marooned on a tropical planet forced to deal with cunning natives and dangerous wildlife, an exotic native princess and the cannibalistic survivor of previous expeditions—and space pirates. It felt very Vancian—dark but humorous in its way. The one thing we thought did not work were ‘taglines’, which are used to refresh skill pools. In the future, I think I will try to incorporate some kind of PTA-like fan mail scheme to replace taglines.

    --Sorcerer (&Sword) [GM]: This was a letdown; only two players showed up out of four that were registered—plus one alternate! They were good players but a little passive, perhaps expecting a more GM-driven game rather than pursuing character goals. My plan for the game, with four players, was to have a starting scene for each of four Sorcerers with the other players playing the Sorcerer’s demon and NPCs that would present the Sorcerer with choices or other need to act, all of which related in some way to the demon’s Need or Desire. This plan requires the demon player to be involved, and the Sorcerer’s player to recognize the significance of filling the Need. I knew I was in trouble in the first scene when, after listening to the two NPCs’ offers, the response from the Black Knight was, ‘neither of your offers interest me.’ And actually, the demon’s player ‘got it’. At some point he said he wanted to figure out a way to make the NPCs fight for the Black Knight’s services (the demon’s Desire was Competition) and take both of their offerings (which addressed the demon’s Need). Ah, well. Actually, there were many lessons learned for me in this game that I will incorporate in the future.
  • edited February 2012
    Alright, here goes.

    Monsterhearts

    The Ghoul, Viktor, freaks out at the mall when confronted by a jackass in a leather jacket. Knocks him to the ground, tears into his jugular. The Ghost, Spencer, tries to protect the girl who's still in love with Viktor (and on whom he totally has a crush), and winds up trying to beat the ghoul with a pole and going darkest self, vanishing from sight and becoming imperceptible. Viktor is not much put off. The Hollow, Summer, having attacked another girl in a dress shop and gone darkest self, hears the commotion and charges out, attacking Viktor but truly trying to get Viktor to hurt her. Viktor pounces on Summer and starts chewing on her neck. The Witch, whose name I cannot remember but will add once I get home and check my notes, tries to cast a binding on Viktor right then and there. The spell goes off, and Viktor's stopped, but he starts turning into a genuinely dead, cold, corpse, completely incapable of motion. The Queen, Regina, comes out with her boys, Ramon and Reyes, carrying out (read: abducting) another girl, Amanda, who saw their highly illegal designer drugs spill out across the floor, only to behold this entire mess. Regina pops a pill to gaze into the abyss, and sees that the only way to fix it is to ask the girl to wish for it all to stop. Amanda, the source of the wish that had created Summer the Hollow, wishes that today had never happened. Everybody wakes up again, the same morning. It never actually happened. but all of the assorted monsters remember every moment of what went down.

    Kagematsu


    Very hard for me to pick a favorite moment here. So instead, (not-so) short sentences!

    Men possessed by ghost bears! Healing plums, the source of corruption! Rika cannot accept she has lot her husband, and faints in the face of ghost bears! Ayame, Rika's daughter, uses her mother's fainting to get closer to Kagematsu! Kahori introduces herself to Kagematsu by berating Naora for not being a better master to Kahori's little sister Eri! Naora seduces Kagematsu LIKE A BOSS (favorite exchange: "I use the desperation, 'insult his manhood.'" *roll* "You get it!" "I smile coyly to imply that I was kidding when I insulted his manhood."), but then the roll in the hay is interrupted by encroaching ghost bears! Kahori, Rika, and Ayame all plead with Kagematsu to save the village, but the attacks of the terrible creatures interrupt them every time! Finally, Naora sets Kagematsu's heart aflame, and he sets out to save us! In the aftermath, poor Rika (crazy goatherd lady) is dead, having sacrifice herself for the lives of those around her, while Ayame becomes something of a recluse, Kahori becomes a village leader, and Naora finally accepts the love of the only man, she has found worthy -- Kagematsu.


    Psi*Run: Days of Future Past


    Tina turns out to be T.I.N.A. Don't remember what the letters stood for exactly...something like Tactical Intercontinental Nuclear Armament. Yes, that's right. Tina was a nuke sent by Eurasia to take out the east coast of the United States, along with the Master Mold and all the Sentinels there. The Sentinels are turning the Empire State Building into a nuke, to retaliate. The Shadow Saint uses his shadowy teleportation powers to get Tina to the Empire State Building, and then exerts himself on a level no one thought possible to teleport almost every person on the east coast to safety in about 5 or 10 minutes. Afterward, he turns to smoke and dissipates.

    With the clock counting down to Tina's detonation, the Hoarder fuses with a Sentinel, taking it over, and flies his friend (unnamed, but whom I shall call Ooze), to the Master Mold sentinel. There's a time machine inside, and Ooze has to use it to go back in time and prevent this from happening. That redhead who had been Ooze's girlfriend turns out to be the Phoenix, and she and the Hoarder try to hold off the Sentinels as Ooze races for the time machine. Tina detonates. The Hoarder is taken captive and flown out of the range of the blast, ultimately to Africa and the secondary Master Mold, where he is dissected, atom by atom. Ooze triggers the time machine, goes back in time, and stops the designer of the Master Mold by accidentally eating a hole down through the crust of the earth, to the earth's core.

    Apocalypse World


    Big Playboy, the Faceless, turns out to have been the murderer of Sawtooth, the child of Nbeke the Hardholder and Pandora the Touchstone. He's discovered by Sundown the Brainer, and promptly takes a chainsaw to her, cutting off pieces of her face and slapping them over top of his mask, to become a Brainer himself. When the crazies attack the hardhold, Lemuel Squeaks the Marmot (and bane of Nbeke and Pandora's love life) convinces Nbeke to find Big Playboy and base the defense around the Faceless. (My memory gets a little fuzzy here.) Lemuel Squeaks is going to figure out Big Playboy committed the murder of Sawtooth. Big Playboy responds by humming a strange tune, and a gigantic worm the size of a subway car erupts from the floor of the hold, ripping off one of Lemuel's feet. It turns its attention to Big Playboy. His last words, before the worm crashes on him and eats him, are spoken to Nbeke the Hardholder: "For you, boss. For you."

    Big Playboy killed Sawtooth to get the child's parents, Nbeke and Pandora, back together. It worked. They never found out Big Playboy was the murderer.

    How We Came To Live Here

    He-Finds-A-Way confronts White Corn Woman, about he wants to marry Her-Hand-Is-Broken, and how his love's marriage to His-Aim-Is-True is wrong. White Corn Woman is incensed. They yell and scream at each other, until He-Finds-A-Way calls her a stupid old hag. She is shocked into silence. He-Finds-A-Way takes that as a sign of his success. He goes to Her-Hand-Is-Broken, but White Corn Woman leaps up and physically attacks him. He-Finds-A-Way winds up beating her until her arm is permanently useless.

    Later, Antelope Woman comes to the village. His-Aim-Is-True cannot help himself, and rushes out to her in her attractive, seductive state. He-Stands-Like-A-Mountain begins beating His-Aim-Is-True to death, for being weak enough to succumb to Antelope Woman. He-Finds-A-Way, brother of His-Aim-Is-True, ignores the attack and lets his brother die. He-Finds-A-Way instead goes to kill the Antelope Woman.

    The Dance and The Dawn

    (Queen) Isidore of the Veiled City: "You actually look feminine tonight, Danielle! How stunning!"
    (General) Danielle: "Yes. I had to take someone other than you as a model, and it worked out wonderfully."

    Also, no one winds up with their true love. Mariana chooses to remain in the court forever, and study dueling, instead of choosing between two wrong suitors. Isidore chooses to stay with the Prince, even if he might be soulless, because then she'll be a queen again.

    Monsterhearts (again)

    Summer the Hollow is a demon trapped in someone else's flesh. Summer used to be a happy, preppy cheerleader, and when the demon came in, became goth, dark, silent, and, oh yeah, an anatomical male, even though she continued to identify as female. Summer is having a bad day and is crying in the bathroom.

    Alice comes in and makes a snide remark. Summer bashes her head against the bathroom mirror. A piece of glass lodges in Alice's temple, and she falls to the floor, eyes open and unseeing, a pool of blood forming underneath her. Summer pokes at the body, unsure of why it isn't moving, She calls Patrick the Mortal, her lover, who has just talked his out of getting kicked to shit. He arrives at the girl's room, peeks inside, sees the body. Understandably, he freaks.

    Conrad, the Ghoul, watches all this, and comes by. He offers to help them, if they leave him alone with the corpse. They do. He starts eating Alice.

    Summer breaks into the janitor's closet to get the extra strength bleach. She does so by ramming a spike through her hand. The pain focuses her strength, and she tears off the door handle of the closet.

    They hide the rest of the body, that they didn't eat, in the drop ceiling, and clean up with bleach.

    Meanwhile, Vergel, or "Verge", the Werewolf, gets crap from Harry for sitting and hanging out with Arielle, the Witch. Arielle was Harry's crush from a while back. Harry puts his arm on Vergel. Vergel pulls Harry's arm out of its socket. The wrestling coach appears and starts yelling at Vergel, and Vergel makes a "sad puppy" face. The coach tells Vergel that he'll talk to the principal and make it all go away, but only if Vergel apologizes, and promises not to do this kind of crap in the future. Vergel agrees, happily, and says, "This is going to be a good year."



    So, short version: Wonderful.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarSpill, fools.
    Technically it ran very smoothly. a number of people reported back in the high affirmative. For me however, it was for me one of the least successful Dreamations i've been to. Saturday was markedly better over Friday but the net wasn't terribly favorable. So, one gamer's opinion.

    A nice game of Ashen Stars rounded out the con for me. Excellent group of people. Not sure about how well Gumshoe works in one-shots. Anyway, look elsewhere for cheerleading.
  • This was my first Dreamation!

    I was there wearing my retailer hat, as my store, Modern Myths, stepped in to carry IPR merch at the show, supplemented by some of our store stock.

    On that front, it went really well: sales were brisk, customer were enthusiastic, and I was really flattered with how complementary everyone was about our set-up and how pleased they were that we stepped in to handle IPR product. We sold out of several games that I was sure I had adequate stock on: Fiasco Companion, Burning Wheel Gold, Apocalypse World, and Murderus Ghosts all sold out. Shelter in Place, Psi Run, and Fiasco sold multiple copies as well, I just was smart enough to bring enough to handle demand. We had some graphic novels in the main dealer room, and they did OK, but it was the gamers who came through and made the show a big business success for us. I will be assembling a list of sales that I'd be happy to share off-list with any of the creators who are curious about numbers.

    On the personal/gamer side, because I needed to man our table all day, I only got to play in evening session, so 3 games. Luckily, all of them were a lot of fun!

    Thursday was a Bulldogs! Game run by Brennan, where I got to play the captain of our ship and be suitably Imperialist and quietly menacing. We recovered our cargo and made our deliver on schedule despite the thugs and reprobates who stood in our way. The system worked really well for the pulp style, and a mid-game complication that left one player feeling like he might have hit a narrative wall was resolved smoothly through some good table-talk and compromise.

    Friday night was Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, where I got to play Matt Murdock, lawyer for Bob Reynolds and in no way related to notorious Hell's Kitchen masked vigilante known as Daredevil. All of us were new to the game, and most were new to Cortex, but our GM was really excellent with the description and encouraging the players to lead with fiction and then figure out the dice. I really loved how it took a familiar situation and let us tweak it as we acted; it was Ike being in a What if? story, which I think will be a really strong selling point for the game!

    Saturday, I payed Jason's Elmer Sapp one-shot with John (I signed up for it on the strength of the description, and didn't know John was running it! Bonus!). It was a blast, creepy as Hell, especially when I drew 'the Monster' as my character description. So, enter a slender youg Pinkerton with prematurely greying hair and delicate pianist's hands who doesn't carry a gun, just a big buck knife and a couple of straight razors. The way we were piling on the horror without getting into gonzo one-upsmanship clicked really well for this scenario. the relative lack of codified rules was occasionally a drag, but there were also times where it kept us from getting bogged down. I really love these sorts of hyper-focused situational games for Convention play, and John's attention to detail and hyper-extrovert enthusiasm are always seem to kick things up a notch, regardless of any other factors at the table!
  • I was at the con from Friday 1PM till Sunday 2:30 PM, and I GMed three slots and played three slots. That's a pretty busy schedule.

    Ran:

    carry, a game about war. This was amazing. For the first time ever, I'd prepped the hell out of it, and it paid off in spades. I'd set the game on the eve of the Tet Offensive in the city of Huế. One of the players surprised us by telling us that he'd signed up for the game specifically because of the setting, because his father had fought in the Battle of Huế. He played his own RL father in this game, changing Sergeant Ramsey's nickname from "Ram" to "Underdog" (his father's nickname in Nam). During the Epilogue, four of the other players described how they thought Underdog adjusted to life back home, and Underdog's player scribbled notes furiously. He told us after that we'd been right on the money on a surprisingly large number of the epilogue predictions. It was a fantastic game.

    My Life with Master. I made four players squirm and groan in pain for four hours straight. One of the characters ended up eating sausages made of (not by) the butcher, for whom he'd expressed his unrequited love. That'll teach you to disobey the Contessa. But she got hers in the end, of course, as they spoiled her monster-creating ritual under the stars of the Elder Gods and all four of the minions surrounded the Contessa and strangled her to death.

    Moldvay D&D, B2 Keep on the Borderlands. I ended up with 11 players for this. 4-5 of them had OD&D (little brown book) experience. A couple had AD&D 1E or 2E experience. One player was a 17-year-old high school student who had played modern D&D and other RPGs. One or two people didn't really know D&D at all. It was a fun romp and a stroll down memory lane. I warned them of the potential for lethality but with 11 characters, the chance of a TPK is really small. We created characters in about 30 minutes, role-played at the Keep for another 30 minutes, and spent the rest of the time in the Caves of Chaos, specifically the lower goblin caves. They stumbled into the goblin common room and I told them that I wasn't going to put goblin babies in there. (Ha!) They used all kinds of creative tactics to deal with threats, but also a fair amount of straight-on door-kicking, bum-rushing, bow-shooting, and sword-swinging. We ended up with like five dwarves in the party, which was greatly amusing. I think the initial party composition was 5 dwarves, 1 elf, 2 thieves, 3 fighters. Three characters died during the game and I let them come back in with new characters; one came back as a magic-user.

    Played:

    Bulldogs. FATE-based space opera with a humorous twist. I played an invertebrate mechanic / safecracker named Gloop (pre-gen). Highlights of play include falling from the room into the middle of a firefight and getting baked at a contact's house. Lots of fun!

    Becoming. This is a fantastic new game in playtest. I played the "Fear" chorus role, opposite fellow players "Pain" and "Doubt" and of course the Hero. It's a competitive game with betting and diplomacy tied together with story-telling. It's a tremendous amount of fun, but not for the usual RPG reasons.

    Ashen Stars. Gumshoe system-based sci-fi with a humorous, hard-boiled edge and a bit of Star Trek tossed in. I don't think it's supposed to be humorous, but it's hard to be entirely serious with characters who are giant bugs or anthropomorphic badgers. I played a Cybe who was genetically engineered to be a cop, so I knew no other desire. I was the ship gunner and a kind of security officer. We executed a search and rescue mission under the passive-aggressive middle-management of our captain, who was a sort of corporate-douchebag team builder (think of the manager in Office Space). We investigated a genocidal conspiracy, blasted ravenous Zgh-zth babies with our disruptors, and skirted the line of space piracy. Fun!

    Socializing:

    Outside of gaming, most of my socializing happened after midnight. The hotel lounge and bar were packed with people I knew and I got to chat with people I hadn't talked to in a while. Saturday night a billion storygamers crammed into one of the "fishbowl" conference rooms in the role-playing area, drank illicit liquor, and talked way too loudly.

    There was a birthday party for Jason Pitre on Friday night. Thanks for setting that up! It was a great way to say hi to people, meet Jason in person, meet some new people, and partake of some free munchies.

    I ate most of my meals in the hotel this year. The stuff the hotel was selling near the registration table was edible enough and fairly cheap. The hotel restaurant was a bit pricey but fairly tasty. The bar has a Starbuck's for morning caffeine and a light breakfast.

    Issues:

    The con was great for me! No complaints!

    However, as I started to drive out of the parking deck, I realized I had a flat tire. We got the lug nuts off but the tire was rusted tight and we couldn't even kick it loose. I called my insurance company and they sent a truck. The mechanics had difficulty getting the tire off but managed to do the job with some tools and extra force (and a real jack for stability).
  • Two more games:--The New World: This is my brother Bill’s game in development. It’s near done. It needs some polishing in terms of how to handle rules related issues but the game works, and it does what it sets out to do: provide the framework to re-imagine a different history involving the founding of the new world. Interpreting the New World oracle cards as they are drawn is fun, as only oracles can be, especially when the card drawn for the situation is sometimes so uncanny. It’s a high demand game, for both players and the GM, in that interpreting the cards to establish situations and events requires creativity. For some, this will be energizing, for others it may be paralyzing.

    --Trail of Cthulhu (Castle Bravo): This is Bill’s TOC 1950s atomic horror scenario. It should be a movie! Lots of weirdness. I enjoyed watching the antics of the NPCs and the efforts of the other PCs, but I am ambivalent about the game overall. I don’t think my character was very successful in his efforts to figure out what was going on, but I don’t know what I should have done differently. And even with the knowledge of the necessary action to defeat the main villain, it didn’t seem to me that the ritual involved would affect him—or should affect him. This uncertainty actually created a cool moment of play. The ritual involved a sacrifice, and my character got to pick that sacrifice. Purely by chance, the counter representing another PC was closest to me at the time of the selection. Without even looking at the map, I said I would select the closest person to me. The PC selected had fought against my character, abandoned my character on a mini-volcanic island, pulled an NPC off an evacuation flight in order to make room for himself, and then survived the crash of that helicopter in the lagoon near the island. So he deserved it!
  • This was my first Dreamnation, but it's not going to be my last. The highest points were playing my first ever game of Fiasco (with a Cthulhu inspired playset no less), and the previously noted Monsterhearts game. My only regret is that Verge never lead a pack of reformed nerd werewolves in hunting down and devouring the football team. *le sigh* I'm going to try to screw up the courage to spring Fiasco on the unsuspecting attendees of my FLGS's next con (which, if previous experience holds, will be something like: board game table, Star Wars Miniatures table, board game table, Gamma World Table, Pathfinder table, D&D table, board game table.) What could possibly go wrong?

    We went to Dreamnation because we cancelled our trip to Origins this year due to surprise money trouble. I just lost my job and my fella has discovered the joys of going to the emergency room before his insurance kicked in. In a lot of ways, I like Dreamnation better than Origins. The endless flow of caffiene in the con suite was very appreciated, for one thing. It seemed like there were more story games on the schedule at Dreamnation. I played a session in a small conference room with only one game running and for once, could hear everything that was said at the table. It was wonderful. The drive was shorter and the whole trip was a lot less expensive for us, especially concidering at Dreamnation you don't have to pay for your games in addition to your badge, like you do at Origins. I found that Dreamnation had the variety of a large con with the intimacy of a local con.

    But alas, no Crazy Egor.
  • As above! This was my first Dreamation but it won't be my last. It was terrific getting to play some games I'd only read vaguely about online, and getting to stretch some parts of my brain I haven't used since 2007 or so. There were uneven portions -- getting into the rhythm of some games is more intuitive to me than others -- but on the whole it was a hella blast. High points included participating in the Spark playtest and playing Shadowrun, which just goes to show you.
  • edited February 2012
    Good but not stellar. It's odd. I enjoyed myself and plugged in the entire con but something just didn't gel for me.

    Minor divergence maybe for another thread... Honestly I wonder if it's me. It's like my view of people that really want to play games like they did when they were 15. My (ever so humble) opinion is that they are reacting to nostalgia more than game. I see how much I LOVED games in my youth but we change, evolve and it may be impossible to ever go back.

    Oh and we missed Judd.

    Voodoo Western: I ran two play-tests. One focused on character and setting development and the other on story development and game procedure. Both were really successful. I got some solid input and good suggestions. It seemed like everyone was happy with how the game was progressing and I think I found ways to streamline the experience. Despite one of my play-testers falling asleep. 8/

    Burning Wheel Gold: It was fun to play in Mel's ongoing world that I've probably experienced in two... maybe three... different systems. Everyone but one player had read the rules and most everyone had played the game. Mel plugged in what rules he could but the game was clearly about decision making and internal conflicts. It kinda digressed into a pissing match and one of the players did not play nice with the others (and not me for a change) making a bit of the game uncomfortable. Mel was energetic and congenial as always.

    Ashen Stars: What a fun game although it wasn't due to the mechanics (as Adam sort of intimated). It was roguish and silly. Frank just made me laugh through most of the scenario. Really fun group. Just players you want to see at the table. We all easily brought the fun to the table. I just think Ashen Stars (and Gumshoe in particular) misses the mark for games for me. I think there have been other recent games that scratch this itch better. Bill did a great job creating a fun and dynamic character pool which was not part of the system.

    Mortal Coil: I had to move my game to the evening slot which worked out better than I imagined. Most of these games are best with three to four players. Especially for con games. I remember running giant games successfully in D&D - even ran Poisonous Ambition for 15 people once - but I get a far deeper experience with small groups at conventions. (Albeit, last years eight player impromptu midnight BW game was awesome). We developed a fun world and got a little game play in before we were kicked out by the midnight game. We reconvened on Sunday afternoon and played another full slot worth. Good stuff.

    Socializing: More than I had done in a very long time. Hours at the bar. Connected with some people I knew but not well enough. I had plans with friends for the party so I missed it :(

    I needed to get my game on. I hadn't really gamed in about 6 months other than an hour here or there. Thanks all.
    - Don
  • Posted By: Sam!I was unfortunately not able to stay the whole weekend (two-thirds of the family took ill), but it was enjoyable enough while I was there. Getting oriented was difficult at first, since the place is so big, but I got it down pretty quickly.

    It was nice to finally play some games again after a long absence, and all of the games I tried were completely new to me. I'm not sure I was the most entertaining person at the table, but I tried my best. No one seemed to mind.

    If I had any real complaint, it's that a newcomer like myself can feel really lost in the crowd. It seemed like everyone I met had been to Dreamation multiple times and knew everyone else, so when it came time to go to the bar or out to eat for lunch, folks who knew one another slipped away en masse. My family might have spent less time wandering around in the rain on Friday looking for somewhere to eat if we'd had some guidance from an old hand or two.

    I almost feel like there should be a newbie's reception where people can be introduced to the veterans. Throw out some bowls of chips and pretzels, set up a couple water coolers and let people shoot the breeze for an hour or so. Encourage mingling with new faces. I got to know a couple of people on my own, but it's different than actually having a dedicated time for meet-and-greet activity. Or maybe that idea is totally unworkable. Who knows?
    Sam? That's what the Con Suite was for, exactly as you described :-)

    Also, any of our staff members would have been delighted to help you!

    >>>Vinny
  • Last three:
    --Pittsburgh 68: Larry Wickman’s game in development. This was great fun! It is a zombie horror simulation using special cards representing characters, different types of zombies, weapons, and special effects just like in the movies. It’s not actually a roleplaying game—nor does Larry consider it one. A neat feature of the game is that although the game starts with one zombie player, as other players lose their characters to the zombie horde, those players then also become zombie players. The pressure on the surviving characters is all too real! In our game, 12 starting characters were whittled to one remaining—the kid sister—who sought to escape in an empty cellar but was chased out and then faced six or seven zombie attacks before her turn would come up and end the game—and she survived! Either the zombies missed their attacks or she fled each potential hit. It was great. Perhaps the best part of the game is that as characters are killed, they will sooner or later return as zombies themselves!

    --Burning Wheel [GM]: With six players, this game was too big. There was not enough spotlight time for each character and one player was high maintenance. We did not advance beyond what I had expected to be simply the first scene of the game. Still, I had a good time running the game and I think the players enjoyed it enough. In this game, set at a masquerade ball in a fantasy city, the adventure begins with a scream. We then flashback to the events earlier in the evening that led up to the scream. This is the first time I have run this adventure where the scream I had planned was not the actual scream in the adventure! The most important lesson I (re)learned running the game is that subtlety is not the GM’s friend. Because I thought we would have more time, I was slow to introduce bangs. Next time, straight to the bangs.

    --Castaways: This is Dave Petroski’s game in development. I enjoyed playing this game. Its strength is also its weakness: there are a lot of physical pieces to the game. The game uses player character sheets, dice, tokens, chips, a countdown tracker, and cards for locations, objects, rewards, threats, and other categories. Once we got a handle on all the pieces, play went pretty fast and it was fun to be handling chips and dice and tokens. But I imagine the production costs for such a game would be phenomenal, and it felt something like a boardgame without the board. The key to initiating the endgame involves collecting the various plot cards, and possessing plot cards increasing the individual character’s chance at survival. So there evolves a natural struggle between players to obtain the cards—rivalry, if not outright conflict, like you might see in a survival movie or long-running ‘castaways’ type TV show. The one flaw, perhaps, is that roleplaying seemed to be disconnected from the mechanics in the game. Our characters had names…but so do the characters in the game Clue.
  • Posted By: SalviusPosted By: Sam!I almost feel like there should be a newbie's reception where people can be introduced to the veterans. Throw out some bowls of chips and pretzels, set up a couple water coolers and let people shoot the breeze for an hour or so. Encourage mingling with new faces. I got to know a couple of people on my own, but it's different than actually having a dedicated time for meet-and-greet activity.
    Sam? That's what the Con Suite was for, exactly as you described :-)
    You know, I only went to the Con Suite once and didn't even think that it was a place for socializing. I guess my overall reaction is based mostly on my time at the bar on Friday night when everybody seemed to know everybody else... except me. I guess next time I need to make the Con Suite a bigger part of my Dreamation experience.
  • Sam,

    Most of us were once people who didn't know many people there. We met more people by gaming with them, hanging out with them at the bar and lounge, and putting in the time. You just have to insert yourself into circles and say hello. People generally are inclusive!

    Friday night, you and I were to have a drink together and then I couldn't find you, or I'd have introduced you to a zillion people.

    Anyway, my point is that you have to take ownership of your social situation and change it. Everyone else did that, and that's why they seem to know everyone else.
  • Sam, I totally hear you. My first Dreamation was exactly like that. It took me two conventions to feel like I was seeing familiar faces and wasn't so much of an outsider. So I can relate!
  • Posted By: Adam DrayFriday night, you and I were to have a drink together and then I couldn't find you, or I'd have introduced you to a zillion people.
    Yeah, sorry about that. We got separated and then I found myself talking to someone from our carry game, so it wasn't a complete loss. You were about ten feet away from me the whole time, but you had a lot of people around you.

    Oh, well. Maybe next time.
  • Posted By: Bret GillanSam, I totally hear you. My first Dreamation was exactly like that. It took me two conventions to feel like I was seeing familiar faces and wasn't so much of an outsider. So I can relate!
    I'm definitely glad my experience wasn't unique. That makes me feel better.

    I think what might have helped is if I'd made arrangements with various SGers to meet with them for socializing. As it was I bumped into a couple of SGers randomly, but that's not as effective as saying, "At X o'clock, let's all get together at the bar and have a drink between games."
  • I know the feeling (as others said), most of us have had a friend vouch for us. Others are just damn personable. Put this on your calender for next year: At Midnight go to the Bar. I got there at 1120... grabbed a beer, and claimed a table center stage (next to the lovely wedding!) and waited for people to flocculate (great word) in my general vicinity, they did.

    Other news, I had one day of gaming. One new game (Bulldogs!), which was great. I now have somany friends going that I can't see everyone, and missed some opportunities to catch up. and still I missed the people that could not make it.

    Looking forward to Camp My Birthday, I mean Camp Nerdly.

    Jason
  • There will be no cats at Camp Nerdly, Sam. I think it's even a rule. And it's within an hour or so of you.
  • edited February 2012
    I have to say I enjoyed the hell out of myself. It was my first con, so I can't compare it to anything else, but I had a great time. I finally got to play Dogs in the Vineyard and it was like a revelation. Elmer Sapp was a fantastic experience (perhaps a bit more immersive than I would have liked - I'm not 100% sure of everything I did or said as the only surviving PC in the last chapter). I enjoyed the Shab al Hiri Roach and Apocalypse World, but each game had a player that was quite vocally not enjoying himself so that sort of brought down the mood a bit.

    The only real downside was sleep walking through work today. I'm not looking forward to seeing the mess I've left myself. Still, I would definitely do it all again.
  • This dreamation was really great for me at least. I would say 8/8 on games with only a single hiccup or two along the way.

    I was the ghoul in Brendan's Monsterhearts game above. I hadn't played before, but the less "cool" vampire feel of the ghoul was a lot of fun. The ending scene he described was terrific, but we also had a great time in all the teen angst of being totally confused. Also, Sam! was in this game as the ghost, and in case he is worried did a great job of portraying his seventies-era ghost. It worked really well givenour characters were set up as friends, but shared a love interest. I've seen that fail before, but I was very pleased with how it turned out here.

    I played in Time and Temp, which was an all around good time, involving a rag tag assembly of Elvis impersonators, warlord's assistants and frat boys.

    I played in a Dread Scenario (Crush Depth). I take some pleasure in actually reaching the MacGuffin that no one had before. It told me to kill everyone, and I basically played along, but still.

    I played in Nobilis 3rd Edition, where I played the lord of Fairy Tales sent to Dreamation to infiltrate the others games and collect things only available there, such as a token of love from kagematsu. Tons of fun moments here, but I definitely had the most fun when another player took the Hunger Games from Misspent Youth into her domain and my character decided that they needed to be ended.

    Played Remember Tomorrow. The overall effect was not what I expected, but we basically ended up playing a very effective game of the Island of Dr. Monreaux

    Played A Taste For Murder, and had a real blast. I didn't kill the guy, which was good because it turned out he was my father. Unfortunately I did sleep with a girl who... turns out was my sister... but then later discovered that she was not actually my sister, so I guess that makes it ok. We both just had our parents wrong.

    I played in a game of Dogs in the Vineyard, which was extremely intense, and even gathered a small audience.

    I played in an Apocalypse World game, which aside from a single hiccup went really well. I played the touchstone and just wish I had figured out the characters philosophy earlier in the game.

    Overall this was a great Dreamation for me. One of the most interesting things was all the new faces in a bunch of my games. A fair number of people were there who I had not met before, or came over from the D&D tables, and I'm really hoping to see them again next year.
  • Posted By: BlazmoIntoWoweeI have to say I enjoyed the hell out of myself. It was my first con, so I can't compare it to anything else, but I had a great time. I finally got to play Dogs in the Vineyard and it was like a revelation. Elmer Sapp was a fantastic experience (perhaps a bit more immersive than I would have liked - I'm not 100% sure of everything I did or said as the only surviving PC in the last chapter). I enjoyed the Shab al Hiri Roach and Apocalypse World, but each game had a player that was quite vocallynotenjoying himself so that sort of brought down the mood a bit.

    The only real downside was sleep walking through work today. I'm not looking forward to seeing the mess I've left myself. Still, I would definitely do it all again.
    Hey Keith,

    We played in the same Dogs and AW games. Yeah, that issue in AW was probably the down point of the con for me. The game itself was still fun, it was just an overall uncomfortable position to be in.
  • Dudes, I did my best to engage that guy in AW. I wasn't even lying about the Divine Machines. He totally could have sacrificed you to them, and Merciful would have made him like a King of the surface world or some crap. But, oh well. I'm just as happy any time I get to give a Hardholder a bloodbath to preside over where no one learns anything and nothing gets resolved! Sorry I wasn't able to blunt the influence on the rest of the group.

    Re: the stuff that I played, I'm going to lazily steal from my own G+ post (if you are awesome, find me on G+ like seriously for reals):

    Apocalypse World: My Hardholder (Nbeke) and the Touchstone (Pandora), estranged lovers whose son had been murdered, making their way arm in arm through the holding (The Museum of Natural Fucking History), handing out their weapons and armor to the civilians to defend against the onslaught of giant worms from outside, inspiring their followers with their solidarity with each other... then emerging from the liberated weapons cache armed to the teeth and ready to kick ass and take names. It was the sex/death/metal nexus of AW, all in one scene. Even if Nbeke and Pandora never quite got to have sex because of the cockblocking Marmot. As Brendan points out, though infanticide is an unorthodox method of couple's therapy, in this case it worked.

    The scene where we inspired the holding was seriously one of my top three favorite RPG moments of all time (another one was the first ever time I sold out playing Misspent Youth - and that's the one that got me coming *back* to Dreamation).

    Under My Skin: I played a gay cop in a strained relationship with a travel writer (Naveen). But my favorite moment was when David (me) and Steve (the unemployed IT guy) shared a quiet drink, David feeling out Steve about whether he might have any attraction to guys, and then we both decided to follow our better angels and just hang out as friends.

    Bulldogs!: I played a robot, "The top of the line MedBot of the model year 4321!" "So..." "You will not find a finer refurbished one-hundred-year-old-robot anywhere!" I was the medic. "We have defeated our enemies! Drugs for everyone I like!"

    Unfortunately, the game of Shelter in Place I'd signed up for didn't get the minimum needed to run. Oh well. The game sounded cool!

    I also ran Apocalypse World. Though it was a bit more ultra-violent than would probably be optimal (hey, trying to kick six PCs ass into gear simultaneously... I had a way to set up some quick PC-NPC-PC triangles, which worked OK, but if I run another one-shot, I'm totally stealing Brendan's simple-in-retrospect idea of just making a schism in the Holding and inviting PCs to line up on either side of it), I thought it was at least fun (for everyone except That Guy... or at least for me, which is pretty cool as the MC). The Hardholder gave me the gift of telling Imam she didn't care whose head she brought her, the Brainer smeared feces all over a gang-leader's genitals on the Angel's loving advice, a whole lot of people died, and no life lessons were learned at all.

    I described the idea for my Lacuna game to Adam on the way up as, "I'm pretty much just going to work out my feelings about torture at the players for about three hours," and I delivered! Inexplicably, they had fun. People with too many body parts in the wrong places, rogue agents, disobeying Control, and lots of pushing on the issue of following the rules (though I made him up on the spot, I really loved the rogue agent who tried to explain to them that he was just some guy, and that pointing a gun in his face would not force him to make the scenario make sense for them... plus he pointed out that they were breaking every rule on the list, but still for some reason not willing to break the rule of "complete the mission"). I had one player, who had only played more traditional games before, tell me afterwards that it was the most fun she'd had at the con by far. Which is gratifying, but I hope she found an awesome indie game that *wasn't* being run half-assed...

    Plus, the epic indie mead rager. I learned all about Joshua Bryce Newman's awesome new game, Ghost Pirates! Plus, we talked Occupy.
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: Daniel LevineDudes, I did my best to engage that guy in AW. I wasn't even lying about the Divine Machines. He totally could have sacrificed you to them, and Merciful would have made him like a King of the surface world or some crap. But, oh well. I'm just as happy any time I get to give a Hardholder a bloodbath to preside over where no one learns anything and nothing gets resolved! Sorry I wasn't able to blunt the influence on the rest of the group.
    I know, I honestly have no idea what I would have done in that situation. He didn't seem to want to engage the story, and you were not the only one trying. Overall I thought the game went well. I loved Imam wandering around looking for an interesting head to collect.

    I honestly didn't mean to criticize, and apologize if it came across that way.
  • Nah, I didn't feel criticized, I just felt I needed to say that I really was trying.

    And when your gang leader says, "OK, whose head should we get?" and the Hardholder says, "I don't care," that is a beautiful gift that an MC should stroke and treasure.
  • So it appears that almost every person I gamed with this weekend is on this forum? Awesome. Hey Sean! Hey Jim! Hey Daniel! And Daniel, there was nothing on heaven or earth you could have done to persuade That Guy (tm) to make interesting decisions. As Sean said, several of us were trying to push him into action. I think the first bad sign was when he stood by the table for ten minutes before the game trying to decide to join us or leave. I think he decided to leave, but his body sat down anyway. If you can't get into interacting with Imam, well, there's no helping you. She was a fascinating NPC, like a ten-year-old with a machete. Damn shame she got beheaded.
  • Posted By: BlazmoIntoWoweeI have to say I enjoyed the hell out of myself. It was my first con, so I can't compare it to anything else, but I had a great time. I finally got to play Dogs in the Vineyard and it was like a revelation. Elmer Sapp was a fantastic experience (perhaps a bit more immersive than I would have liked - I'm not 100% sure of everything I did or said as the only surviving PC in the last chapter). .
    Dude, you have NOTHING to apologize for from that Elmer Sapp game! Any dead girl stitched to the backside of your mortal enemy would be LUCKY to have you, coat-full of dynamite and all.

    (Seriously, that was a great game, and I really felt like everyone totally came through...)
  • edited February 2012
    This was my first Dreamation GMing (at least officially).

    All games were a success (I don't normally say that). I ran:

    - Friday 8pm : Dogs in the Vineyard

    This was a pickup game for my friend Ajit and his regular gaming group. His first game of Dogs was a testament that Dogs games can be non-violent and deeply emotional in a soul searching, let's all work and grow together kind of way. This game was head shot after head shot. Ajit was surprised by what Dogs inspired in his friends! That said, it was a very cathartic gaming experience for all the female players. This game can be described in 1 word. Pathos.

    - Saturday 9am : Psi*Run, X-Men Days of Future Past

    Action packed in a non-silly way. The players really pushed the game which is crucial because this is a very GM hands off game. It's incredibly easy to run and it gave my voice a break! I really liked everyone's characters. The end was also incredibly epic. This is the 5th time I ran Psi*Run and by far this was the most successful game so far. It's perfect for people who are new to RPGs. 1 of the players mainly plays boardgames but they were roleplaying their heart out.

    - Saturday 2pm : Dogs in the Vineyard

    This was the opposite of the first Dogs game! Instead of being cathartic and violent, it was tense, emotional, and quiet. I've been collecting a series of "quiet" GM techniques that I employed here. We had many reveals and lots of subtext followed by moment of uneasy silence that built and built and… till it exploded, but rarely with violence. Out of the 100+ Dogs games I've run, this was in my top 5. All the players did a fantastic job and the emotions were so thick (and entertaining) that the alternate player who couldn't get into the game stayed and watched the entire experience for 4 hours!

    - Saturday 8pm : Elmer Sapp

    This could have gone poorly: playtest, immersive personal horror at a convention, lack of codified resolution rules, and innovative yet unfamiliar GM structure (at the end of each chapter a PC dies and becomes a co-GM). But it flowed reasonably smoothly. And there were at least three moments that creeped the hell out of me. I had a nightmare about one of them (the 25 years ago flashback) later that night. It was way more intense than I was expecting. Definitely a success.

    - Sunday 10am : Marvel Heroic

    Pure over the top, lite hearted, action packed, epic fun!

    Electro electrocuted the entire Hudson River. Colossus landed on and crushed Count Nefaria in 1 shot! Spiderman saved passengers from crashing helicopters. Daredevil and Iron Fist took out oceans of D level supervillains with ridiculous fashion sense. Human Torch was the only light left in NYC! Iron Fist and Daredevil had some horrific scenes with Carnage including flashbacks where they relived the moments where they almost let someone they were trying to protect die. Iron Fist made a deal with Carnage, "you let the shield agents go and you are free." Daredevil beat the holy hell out of Carnage. Shield offered Daredevil a job. Human Torch beat Electro by making fun of him.

    Human Torch called in his brilliant brother in law, Reed Richards, who built a complicated machine to bring back all the electricity in NYC that of course required the combined powers of the present heroes, the captured Electro, and the empire state building. Picture Colossus holding Electro and "powering up" NYC.

    We attracted quite a few audience members who I kept turning into co-GMs!
  • Posted By: jenskot- Saturday 9am : Psi*Run, X-Men Days of Future Past

    Action packed in a non-silly way. The players really pushed the game which is crucial because this is a very GM hands off game. It's incredibly easy to run and it gave my voice a break! I really liked everyone's characters. The end was also incredibly epic. This is the 5th time I ran Psi*Run and by far this was the most successful game so far. It's perfect for people who are new to RPGs. 1 of the players mainly plays boardgames but they were roleplaying their heart out.
    Man, now I'm really bummed that I missed that game. I hate it when real life keeps me from having pretend fun!
  • Posted By: jenskotOut of the 100+ Dogs games I've run...
    Holy shit.
  • I had a great time at Dreamation this year! My husband and I took turns hanging out with our two-year-old so we could both play. That meant I could only play three games, but they were all good! And I didn’t get to talk to nearly as many people as I wanted to, but the conversations I did have were great.

    Kagematsu – Brendan did a good quick summary, so I’ll just add that Terry did a great job making sure we had fleshed out the village a bit – it’s easy to gloss over that and develop it in play, but taking a few more moments to talk about it gave us some really evocative locations to set scenes in. Despite the ghost bear-men trampling their horrors all through the village, we had all done a lot to rid our Fear, so we saved what was left of our village. Hooray. And Kagematsu picked my lady at the end. She didn’t even have to throw her desperate naked body at him, so y’know, WIN!

    Under My Skin – (parlor larp version) this was the game I was most looking forward to at Dreamation and it totally delivered! (If you’re unfamiliar with it, basically, established relationships are tested with a New Flame and decisions have to be made – but you see all sides of what’s going on so it gets really interesting.) So allow me to gush a little. Emily did an amazing job getting the game started and the pacing within the time frame just right (we had to skip some scenes, but it didn't feel too rushed thanks to Em). The stories were tight and interwoven. I don’t think I was bored for a second - seriously. Even when I was just an audience member, other people’s stories impacted or shed light on mine, for one. But even more than that, their stories were interesting and a pleasure to watch. Conversations between characters flowed so naturally and believably – eliciting gasps, groans, and laughter from everyone else. Even though there were moments of intense drama, and in-game anger, there was a lot of laughter too, without pushing it towards silly. And everyone was super-respectful of each other.

    I don’t have time to go into much detail, but in game, I was playing a painter trying to make it big but struggling with the drag of financial issues and other mundane problems. Her New Flame (played by Ajit, who was amazing) was exciting and they were on the same wavelength and things were progressing quickly. In the temptation scene you have to make the big choice of crossing a line in your established relationship or not. You have a conversation with your New Flame while people are simultaneously playing your over-the-shoulder devil and angel consciences. James (who also played my character’s husband) played her devil conscience and delivered possibly the best/worst line of the game, “You know he’ll take you back” (in reference to her husband after she crosses a line of going off with her New Flame). It felt really cool then to accept the conscience angel’s hand, and recommit to her troubled marriage (because doing the awful thing in game is usually the direction I go in – in this case doing the “right” thing felt less predictable, more exciting).

    I was in the Apocalypse World game with That Guy too. It definitely made for some frustrating and awkward moments, but overall I had a good time. And I really wish we could have had another session to play out the fallout from everything that went on. Like, we sort of managed to be allies for a few moments, but I can’t imagine that would last after processing what happened. And I guess we’d still have to deal with under-flesh disease maggots…

    -Rachel
  • So what the hell was THAT GUY's deal? Whisper me if you don't want to say publicly. Please? I gotta know!
  • Posted By: lumpleySo what the hell was THAT GUY's deal? Whisper me if you don't want to say publicly. Please? I gotta know!
    No, tell us all! I want to know, too, because I was supposed to be in that game!
  • edited February 2012
    OK, I think That Guy's influence is being blown out of proportion a bit - it's not like he pissed all over the table or anything. I'll keep this as neutral as possible, since I don't have anything against him or anything.

    Basically, we had one fellow show up who started out unsure about whether he was actually going to play, and then was a bit difficult to engage once we were playing (he played The Savvyhead - I've posted my thoughts on why Savvyheads seem to not always work quite right in the games I've run over on G+, since he's not the only guy I've seen have some of the same disappointments in being The Savvyhead). It was hard to get him to come out of his workshop in the fiction, was really the thing.

    For context, a word about how I set it up. I didn't want to run the session from a cold start entirely, so I had a setting, one Front (that leaned heavily in the "oh shit deal with this RIGHT NOW" direction, since I figured I could always dial that back if the PCs were creating sufficient drama on their own), and I slapped down three NPCs in the middle of the table that I made up while the players were filling out their playbooks - Imam, the chief of the Hardholder's gang; Rice, the Hocus' sister; and Gnarly, the leader of a gang that was *basically* allied to the Holding but not part of it. Then for each player, I asked them a question that tied them to one of the PCs (for future reference, overall, this worked OK, but I think Brendan's thing of having us all basically align with a faction worked better...). For Spector, I said, "hey, one of these assholes has been leaning on you and making you make shit for them, who is it?" He chose Imam.

    I think my first mistake was not just dropping him right into the action. When the Hardholder's player gave me that gift of saying, "oh, just get anyone's head," I sent her after Spector, but I framed it as "OK, so you're in your workshop..." when I should have done something like, "OK, so you're in one of the crazy working food dispensing rooms..." or something. I was thinking world-logic and trying to give him the benefit of the booby traps he had when Imam came to take his head off, but it set us up so that he was starting dug in and I had to get him out.

    But, he also didn't seem that interested in getting out. And, when I used the workspace move to get him out, he seemed actively annoyed (as a player) - he wanted to make some stun grenades, and I said, "OK, sure, but you don't have the right chemicals. You can get them from Rice or her contacts at The Hole - we already knew Rice had access to drugs - or you can raid the Hardholder's armory for them, or if you want to synthesize them yourself from scratch it'll take about a week." So he just said, "OK, I guess I can't do it." Then a bit later he tried to use the SH move that lets you show up somewhere with appropriate equipment to say, "OK, I show up in my workshop with the chemicals I need." When I shut *that* down - and, probably, in a one-shot I should have just let him do it - he got visibly upset and clearly thought I was being unfair. Anyway, at the end of the session, as I was thanking everyone, he just stood up and said, "I really felt like I didn't have much to do," and left. I may have said something unkind under my breath, that I shouldn't have, but I was tired. Oh well.

    He wasn't particularly disruptive. At worst, it was an awkward situation where time I invested in trying to draw him in may have been taken from time I could have spent with other players/characters, and yet if I didn't at least try to draw him in, I felt it would have been failing in my MCing duty to fuck with everyone roughly equally.

    So there's your explanation of That Guy with a sprinkling of "hey, if anyone has good MC practices for this sort of situation, I'm all ears." The latter if for no other reason that, while I don't have a That Guy in my home AW game, I do have some players with a tendency to turtle to a lesser degree.
  • I had fun, although I felt oddly disconnected for much of the time; maybe I ought to chalk that up to external stressors though - hard to say. Also, I didn't get a chance to pre-register, so that didn't help.

    This was a strictly playing con:

    Steal Away Jordan I pretty much chalk this game up as a "getting into the swing of things" game. The GM did a fantastic job despite a pretty bad disconnect between one of the players and the rest of the group, but the game see-sawed between deep, emotional exploration and gonzo revolution power fantasies. Pretty... pretty weird.

    Voodoo Western This was awesome! I've never playtested anyone else's game, so it was neat to get the full rundown from Don, and get to critically analyze the impact of the mechanics on play. Don and Seraphina were excellent co-facilitators (despite Don's disappearance at a crucial rules-juncture), and the mechanics did a great job of balancing determinism, oblique strategy, immersion and strong framing. A very neat experiment of a game.

    Oh, and the fiction was fun too! I gotta admit, I felt a little out of my league playing with the other fine folks in my game (Rich Flynn and Ralph Mazza, and unfortunately I didn't catch the last guys' name but he was awesome). I played a huxster-schemer on the verge of ruining himself with every action - very humorous, but I could feel desperation and poignancy lurking at the edges of the character.

    carry. a game about war. This game had echoes of the first game - more raw emotional tensions interspersed with gonzo warfare. It didn't help that the player who wasn't quite connecting in Steal Away Jordan was in this game, too - I think it cut my starting investment a bit. This game, far more than the first one, involved me wildly flailing to find something consistent with and interesting to the other players, and (it seemed) mostly failing.

    Adam did an awesome job though, and I, personally, got to do some fun things. He really highlighted the elegance and ingenuity of carry, and I'm pretty determined to giving it another go with a group whose agenda more clearly aligns with [what I perceive to be the] agenda of the game.

    Fiasco I rounded out my abbreviated stint with an awesome game of Fiasco. I'd never played before, but we dove right into the Dragonslayers playset and churned out a beautiful, awful mess, involving some very crass Blood Cultists and a unisex pair of asskicking dragon-hunters. Suffice it to say, one blood cultist got raped to death by strangely-well-endowed tiny pink fairy demons.


    I tried to get into John's Dogs game on Saturday afternoon, but it was not meant to be, so I packed it up and headed out. Sounds like I missed a helluva show.
  • Daniel: I see. It happens. I don't put the savvyhead out on the table at con games for this very reason.
  • Ooh! Ooh! "That Guy" is the guy who famously came up to my PTA game and said he hated TV and thought that television and roleplaying were contradictory things that had no purpose being put together.

    And whenever anyone even asked if they could help him, much less make a suggestion, to break the several-minutes-long silence lock, he would get nasty.

    I really don't know what's going on there, it's fascinating.
  • And in the actual spirit of the thread:

    I played two amazing games of Misspent Youth, mostly with people who'd never played it before or with whom I've never played it. It was fucking great. The new scenario creation style streamlined things wonderfully and we ended up with a full 7-scene session every time.

    I also did a playstorm of Sad & Miserable: The Secret Lives of Stand-Up Comics with an amazing group of very funny and smart people. The game finally has half of a design, so it's a real thing.

    Finally, the first game I played was a quite-fun game of Dungeon World where Matt Webber ran us through the first Dragonlance module, Dragons of Despair. I jumped on playing a kender immediately, and Matt suggested I replace the halfling bonus to thrown weapons with some kind of kender taunt thing, maybe based on something from the Bard playbook.

    We wound up with: if you taunt someone, roll + CHA. On a 10+, the opponent can do nothing but argue with you or sputter in apoplexy until you stop. On a 7-9, the opponent can do nothing but attack you. Also, the thief-class has a poison that operates like old school Charm Person, where it lasts until forever unless you fuck up. When I got to 2nd level, I got envenom, and so I was able to do Charm Person on a stick. We got straight to the bottom floor, and I was able to keep the dragon busy with my taunting while the rest of the party solved the dungeon.
  • My name only has one "b", dammit! Even if it said otherwise on the con schedule...

    The guy who played his own father in carry is my roommate!

    That Guy from the AW game: I actually know him a bit from the NYC boardgaming scene. He's definitely a That Guy, though fine to play boardgames with.

    The Savvyhead "show up with the equipment you need" is clearly intended to allow you to show up in other peoples' scenes, not by yourself!

    My own games were mixed, but overall not bad.

    Highlights:

    -Dungeon World DragonLance, as noted above by Rob, and also in the thread I started earlier today.

    -Finally getting to play Time and Temp. Michael Miller did a great job as GM. That game is also just the right level of math/grid nerdity/crunch for me!

    -Shooting the Moon: Love in the Time of Robot Revolution. I have now completed the Emily Tetrafecta (BtI, StM, UMS, SiS)! Publish more games, Emily! It was a great game, too; essentially it was this song/video in RPG form

    My personal lowlight was my Sunday 10 AM - 2 PM game, a rerunning of what had been a very successful BW scenario, essentially a microdungeon-ified version of the first hour of Final Fantasy 1. My players were good, I just made some poor judgment calls and--rare for me--had pacing issues that resulted in not having a real ending.

    Matt
  • Sorry for the misspelling, Matt. Actually, the Dreamation-GM-report-sheet spelling was in my mind when I wrote this.
  • I got a chance to lose big time in a game of Mobile Frame Zero. That might have been the highlight of my Dreamation.
  • Posted By: Zachary Donovan.

    Voodoo WesternThis was awesome! ....

    Dude! This game was great! Thanks for your input! You all really brought a great deal to the table. I was thrilled to see it get a great reception (and yeah, I threw a wrench into the play test by leaving for 10 minutes to see what happened :p)
  • edited March 2012
    This was my first time at Dreamation and I had an absolutely incredible time. Let's go in a chronicalogical fashion just to keep track.

    Thursday 8pm: was the first playtest session for the Spark RPG where the group collaborated to produce one of the most grimdark settings ever. Imperial politics, honour-duels and dishonour-eaters made for a very interesting game world. I was comforted that it was possible to

    Friday 9am: I had my second playtest of Spark with a premade setting/character set. I had a trio of dedicated players including jeffwik who dove into the game with panache and dedication, exploring how the game works in campaign-lengths.

    Friday 2pm My playtest session imploded with insufficient players, so I jumped into a playtest of Project Ninja Panda Taco which was a ton of wacky fun. We had a few slip-ups in terms of the procedures and the emotional reaction to the game was not quite perfect, but it was a barrel of laughs.

    Friday Evening My astounding girlfriend threw me a surprise birthday party and invited the other game designers at the con to attend. It was great fun, albeit far too brief due to a Larp that kicked us out of the room. I enjoyed meeting a number of you face to face during that event.

    Friday Midnight Microscope was excellent, starting with the touching personal story of a father who feared to abandon his sick daughter's bedside until the dust storms left him no option. New beings, the Tunan, were discovered in the underworld; beings who constantly reused the same 1001 souls lifetime after lifetime. It was a short session, maybe 2.5 hours long, but it was a blast and worked better them I expected.

    Saturday Morning This was the second cancellation of my Spark RPG playtest, but It gave me an excuse to jump in on a session of Shooting the Moon with Emily Care Boss. It was the most emotionally powerful game I have ever played in my life. I can't descibe it in words, but the other people at the table proposed an option which was absolutely devastating and for the sake of the story, I agreed to take that path. This was one of those few session that let me grow as a person.

    Saturday Afternoon I played in a playtest of Brennan Taylor's new game "The Art of Power" where I tried to portray a commoner in a noble's world. Lots of fun with some novel mechanics and a lovely theme. Check it out if you can.

    Saturday Evening This was the penultimate playtest session of Spark, with Rob Donoghue doing a masterful job with his frank and accurate criticism of the game. I also had the loyal triumverate of loyal players. Many flaws were detected and my game will be dramatucally better based on everyone's feedback.

    Sunday Morning I say in as an observer in a game of "Becoming"; currently a rich and fairly balanced betting game with only a light sheen of fiction on top. I believe that the comments will help the designer continue to refine the game system.

    Sunday Afternoon I ran a 7 player session of Dungeon World, Curse of the Bloodstone Idol. I hacked it to include an ambush of caniblalistic halflings and a prince of the Quasi-demi-paraplane of snow. I was really feeling the lack of an initiative system hurt the game, but it was still a pleasant experience on the whole.

    It was great and I look forward to Metatopia and the following Dreamation. Thanks to everyone I met in the flesh.
  • I ran two sessions of Remember Tomorrow, both times I had 4 players. So I sat back and just helped the games flow.

    before we started each game, I took 20mins or so, to talk about cyberpunk. I stole an idea from Microscope and asked people things they wanted in the setting, a things they didn't. Also I asked why does life suck, for everyone but the rich? I also made two Pooled PCs to flesh out the cast. I looked for a role not filled by a Players and added them.

    In both games they shyed away from overt cyber gear. But each took their own take on what tech would dominate our lives.
    The first was about online profiling, reaching and effecting life. The second about what happens when people can become real biological monsters.

    My first session was about what happens when a Russian Hitman can't confirm that he did kill this guy. Because someone used his ID to check in some place else.
    Just to be clear, he had to check in Foursquare like to get credit for his hit. And at that same time, one of my Pooled PC was using his ID..
    He clearly was the star of that game, while the other PCs stories were side plots to his..
    Also featured was, a corporate cop that couldn't win, a dealer of authentic imitation goods, Hmm, I can't remember the last PC, but I made up a guy that was deleted and wasn't in the system. He had trouble with automatic doors.

    Tomorrow, I will share my second session of RT. And talk about what I played..
  • Posted By: Epidiah RavacholI got a chance to lose big time in a game of Mobile Frame Zero. That might have been the highlight of my Dreamation.
    Silver lining: it was the high point of Mike D's!
  • Posted By: ziphtMy first session was about what happens when a Russian Hitman can't confirm that he did kill this guy. Because someone used his ID to check in some place else.
    Just to be clear, he had to check in Foursquare like to get credit for his hit. And at that same time, one of my Pooled PC was using his ID..
    He clearly was the star of that game, while the other PCs stories were side plots to his..
    Hey, that was me! I was Gennady, the Russian-American hitman!

    I may have said it earlier, but this was a really fun game. It was the kind of thing where I wished we'd have at least one more session because so much stuff was coming up that would pay off down the road, given the opportunity. I'm still not sure why I didn't walk away from the gaming table and immediately buy a copy of Remember Tomorrow.
    I can't remember the last PC, but I made up a guy that was deleted and wasn't in the system. He had trouble with automatic doors.
    I really wished we could have brought him into the story more. His introduction was excellent. Another one of those things that would have been incorporated one or two game sessions down the line.
  • edited February 2012

    Mobile Frame Zero: Rapid Attack

    Posted By: Jim Crocker

    Posted By: Epidiah Ravachol
    I got a chance to lose big time in a game of Mobile Frame Zero. That might have been the highlight of my Dreamation.

    Silver lining: it was the high point of Mike D's!

    That MFZ game was fun! It was the only one I got to play (instead of just ref, which is a different fun). I had a theory about using the heavily-loaded ST-07s that I wanted to try, and it worked out pretty well, despite Mike's total pantsing* of one of my frames in the very first turn. It was a good pantsing, too: even though I won the game, Mike and Eppy both made me fight hard for the winning objective. If I'd had another armed frame to bring to bear, it would have been a different scene.

    It generated a piece of advice: when you have numerical and materiel superiority in MFZ, you start with a serious point deficit. To make that up, you have to inflict constant and serious point damage to both your opponents; that is, taking their objectives is OK if you have the opportunity, but costing them frames is the bulk of the work. Play Hammer & Anvil if you're confident the runner up is too invested in defeating the leader, or hit the leader hard and often, getting in position with your numbers to start hitting the runner-up when the score switches. And remember: trading frame for frame is to your advantage.

    Mendez (I think) made a really good suggestion about phrasing that I'll work into the editing of the game. He also came up with a brilliant plan for an army of his own.

    I reffed in two games over in the wargaming room, including the one Mendez was in. He way playing against two brothers, Stephen (18 or so) and Joseph (maybe 9?). Both were talented and fun competitors. Mendez played the Free Colonists, an army I designed as an all-arounder, which makes them a little hard to play. He won, though, with constant and desperate running, taking advantage of Stephen's very slow Legionnaires and Joe's deadly and fast, but short-range Ijad to capture an objective in the last turn of the game before retreating off the board.

    The other game was between Nick (Zipht), Andrew, and Evan. Nick took the advice I gave him about the Legionnaires and put it to good use, but Evan, playing the Free Colonies, took a risky gambit in getting Andrew's Ijad to run for his unguarded station, sacrificing two turns in getting to the fight. Andrew also took a bite out of Nick's Legion, only to discover why it's not good to do that, retreating and trading his own station for the one he'd gained. By the time he was fighting Evan's Free Colonials (The Freakers, as Eppy calls them), he'd lost an Ijad forward and their captain was bleeding dice too far away to help. I'll post some pictures up of the pile of parts that resulted when Andrew attacked. Initiative — the winning company — passed back and forth furiously in the last turn, thanks in part to a tactic of Nick's that I hadn't seen before, where he just damaged a bunch of frames early in the game, reducing their individual capability and not taking them out of the game until later.

    Shock:Human Contact

    I had a really neat game of Human Contact. I've been doing this thing where I start off with a few little enticing pieces of information about the colony where the encounter will take place. Just knowing a little bit gives the players enough to start much more quickly, turning a 5 hour game into a very practical 4 hour one. I'll do a PDF writeup of the situation at some point. This was the experiment that I started at Metatopia and will continue to do at cons. I'm very pleased with it overall.

    I played with Eve, Dan, and Rich, where Dan and Rich were each playing Protagonists and Eve and I were playing their Antags. This time around the Wechweh/Otechweh/Cycler system was much more of a solid system of cultures. The Academics who were bringing to them the light of civilization had a really hard time figuring out what was going on and how to manipulate the system. On the whole, the society decided to go it alone, turning down the contactor's paternalistic impulses. I'd love to catch up with that system 50 years later. It would be the first time I'd encounter another functioning, starfaring society. We find tatters of them all the time (which doesn't say a whole lot for the future of the Academy) but the Otechwans' mastery of design and engineering, coupled with the five distinct cultures of the system, could be a really interesting counterpart to the Academy in the galaxy. Not to mention that they seemed to have learned something from their small-scale democide of a generation ago that might obviate the large-scale population-reducing genocide that formed the compost that the Academy grew from.

    I was really happy about such a weird ending, actually. It was something not one of the Protags wanted (though both survived as better people), and really, neither of the Antag players was angling for it, but the dice don't lie!

    *This is one of those terms that sort of evolves out of play. It's where a frame suddenly has lost all its systems, but not the frame itself, so you lose capability but not points. It has only two white dice, which means it has to choose between fighting hand-to-hand with a disadvantage and defending with a disadvantage. In this case, I spent the entire rest of the game moving the guy slowly to the edge of the table in shame as though his pants were around his ankles.

  • Posted By: DeliveratorMy name only has one "b", dammit! Even if it said otherwise on the con schedule...

    The guy who played his own father in carry is my roommate!

    That Guy from the AW game: I actually know him a bit from the NYC boardgaming scene. He's definitely a That Guy, though fine to play boardgames with.

    The Savvyhead "show up with the equipment you need" is clearly intended to allow you to show up in other peoples' scenes, not by yourself!

    My own games were mixed, but overall not bad.

    Highlights:

    -Dungeon World DragonLance, as noted above by Rob, and also in the thread I started earlier today.

    -Finally getting to play Time and Temp. Michael Miller did a great job as GM. That game is also just the right level of math/grid nerdity/crunch for me!

    -Shooting the Moon: Love in the Time of Robot Revolution. I have now completed the Emily Tetrafecta (BtI, StM, UMS, SiS)! Publish more games, Emily! It was a great game, too; essentially it wasthis song/videoin RPG form

    My personal lowlight was my Sunday 10 AM - 2 PM game, a rerunning of what had been a very successful BW scenario, essentially a microdungeon-ified version of the first hour of Final Fantasy 1. My players were good, I just made some poor judgment calls and--rare for me--had pacing issues that resulted in not having a real ending.

    Matt
    Matt,

    I'm terribly sorry about that! I'm usually meticulous about spelling!

    >>>Vinny
  • Can someone point out That Guy™©® to me next con? Just for reference.
    ``Abel
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