Or: Sure, I’ll walk a few miles for that.
Sorry for the long delay everyone. My workload has about tripled and I find I have very little time to, well, goof off like I used to. What you are reading now I put together over the course of many, many days (weeks, crap, it’s been a month), one paragraph at a time, just because I really wanted to get something down on paper (screen) while it was still bouncing around in my doofy head. What follows is a long, rambling tale about one socially awkward fellow’s take about a GIANT convention that he had the privilege to spend 3 days attending. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, however, and in those 3 days, there was maybe 6 hours of actual convention attended.
The rest was just walking and sadness.
If that’s not your bag, then you can skip the next posts. No problem. I’ll get back to my game playthroughs at another time. I will mention the following games in these posts: Chiseled, Pittsburgh ’64, Dreams of Another Tomorrow, Gloom/Frosthaven, The Dresden Files, The Fate System, Spirits of the Century, Pax Transhumanity, Bios: Origins (2nd edition), It’s a Wonderful World, Nobilis, Bulldogs!
I ended with that one because the punctuation comes with the title. So if you’re interested in those games, you can just scan through until they come up. So let’s get to this:
This was not my first PAXU, which I will call PU from now on. No, I won’t call it PU. That’s just wrong. I’ll just call it the convention. Anyway, this was my third convention. My first was just one day and was kind of a blur. My second I went on behest of Fog of Love and spent 90% of the con demoing their FABULOUS game. I loved that, but didn’t really get to see what else was happening. So as a birthday gift, my wonderful wife got me the 3-day pass so I could actually see what on earth happens at this thing. I was also privileged enough to get that Friday off of work, so I could be in from the doors opening on Friday until closing on Sunday.
So things started out….not so great. I got up relatively early. The doors opened at 10am and I’m only 10 minutes from a train station. It’s an hour ride to Jefferson Station, which is literally underneath the Philly Expo Center, so I needed to catch the 9am train to get there. I’m up, I’m dressed, and it’s about 8:30 or so. There’s a pretty big pile of dishes left over from breakfast with the family, so, sure, I’ll take care of those before I leave.
And suddenly it’s 8:55. Oops. Not sure how that happened, but train #1 missed. So another cup of coffee is poured and I wait for the next train that leaves at 9:55.
Okay, it’s a little before 9:45 and onto the road I go. Maybe cutting it a bit closer than I should have, but I should have plenty of time.
And then I get behind the SLOWEST PERSON IN THE WORLD. I drove down a road that has a 35mph speed limit (and I drive slow, ask anyone, I would do 35 on this road) and this driver was doing between 15 and 25 the entire drive.
I pulled into the station as I watched the 9:55 train pull away.
So now I had another hour to kill. Yay for internet based phones and a vivid imagination.
And naps. Naps are cool.
Finally on the 11 o’clock train bound for Philly! Hooray!
I’ll refrain from discussing loud “WE’RE ON A TRAIN DADDY” and total mansplaining the bejezus out of the railsystem dude (do you have to repeat each stop to her after the conductor announces it, really?)…let’s just get to the con.
Let’s start with this: The convention center is BIG.
That’s three blocks long and one block wide. And I’d include the Reading Terminal Market in that, so there’s another block there…because if you’re at the Convention Center, you go to the Market to eat. Because you’ll probably want to die from all that walking, so why not kill yourself with calories, too?
So even though the train comes out right under the convention center, I walk about a half block (inside, mind you), before I see any stuff.
I see security, I see nerds going to and fro, but not the convention itself. But it’s still area I have to walk through, and I’ll have to walk back through to get to the train back home.
I already regret that my sneakers gave up the ghost last month and I’m wearing my leather Chuck Taylors I bought for work. They’re awesome, but not for walking on concrete for hours.
Conservative AND pretentious!
So into the Expo area I go.
No sure how they made the picture look so empty, but it was MUCH more crowded than that. And this was on Friday. When people should be at work. Eep. I worked my way through the crowds, trying to catch a glance of booth after booth, though getting close enough to talk to anyone would have involved a lot more gumption than this little gamer would never have.
I did find the Fog of Love booth (the mile high string of heart shaped balloons certainly help) and I wanted to say hello to Jacob (and get the obligatory European hug), but the booth was hopping just as much as it was the previous year so there was no way I was going to upset the rhythm they had going there. I made sure to get a look at the faces of the people in the demos, and they were all smiling and laughing. What a great game.
I also saw the game being played in the open gaming area several different times. It made me happy. That game deserves to be played out in the wild.
A few elbows, maybe a headbutt and a stroller to the knee (I would have been a mercenary if it wasn’t for that…), and someone actually recognized me out of the crowd. Mind you it was “The Professor” Pilkus, probably the most social gamer I have ever, ever met. If you are in any boardgaming circles anywhere, you’ve probably heard his voice in a podcast, read something he’s written, or played something he’s had a finger in. The dude is everywhere, and it’s mainly because he’s the nicest dude you’ll ever meet. And if you’ve ever met you in person (even once!), he’s the kind of guy who will be able to pick you out of a crowd of 10,000 people and say hello.
I then found Larry Wickman at his booth for Gamewick Games. That may sound familiar because I just did the playthrough of Innsmouth 32…34….36…whatever that number is. He had a little booth where he was promoting his just successful kickstarter (“That’s my life for the next four months”) as well as selling the other sets from the Shuffling Horror series. He also had these swell new neoprene mats of the Shuffling Horror board.
Not actual picture of mat. Just picture this in neoprene, without cards or tokens on it.
Hey look! That says Innsmouth 32 on it! I was right with the number!
Anyway. I own the mat now, my first ever neoprene mat. Go me.
After exiting his booth, I stumbled across the hall and someone was just starting to explain a game I had a mild interest (due to its solo option). A deck “Deconstruction” game called “Chiseled.”
It’s from Copper Frog games and was a failed kickstarter from last year. They were going to relaunch in 2020, and they were still showing it off to drum up interest.
The idea is that you had a big ol’ (okay, maybe 30ish cards?) deck of cards, and through a common selection of 7 or 8 tools in the center of the table, you tried to whittle your deck down to where it would score more points than your opponents. It made a lot of sense considering the game was about making sculptures.
The interesting mechanic was that once a “tool” was selected, it got flipped and no one could select that tool again until all tools were selected, then they all got reset. Strangely I ended up winning by 2 points, even though my sculpture was only worth something like 4 points. The guy running the demo had 2 points, and the dude beside me had negative 10 or something. Apparently our play was odd in that it ended a lot quicker than most games go, but the timer is based on drawing a specific hand: If it ends up being all, um, body parts (ie. you have no “Scrap” in your hand), the critics get one step closer to showing up at your studio. And through the magic of shuffling, much of my scrap was shuffled to the bottom, so the critics speed walked towards my studio quickly.
The game was fast, the decisions were interesting, and it was a fine filler game. I wasn’t blown away or anything, and I could see if you were looking for something light and was a bit different from your standard deck builder (it’s the opposite of a deck builder) that could be played from 1 to 4 players. I just hope the kickstarter offers it for a low price. I wouldn’t pay much for it, as it should be just a deck of cards, but there you go. I’m not a great review guy.
A cross-check, boarding, hooking, holding and too many men on the ice later, I made it to the end of the expo section of the convention.
I didn’t get to actually see much, given the crowds, but it was a lot to take in. It was a shame I didn’t get to sit down and actually enjoy anything, but there was still plenty of convention left. So I flipped open my handy-dandy little convention map and looked for the Role-Playing game section. I’ve heard that the indie scene is powerful over here (much as it is in the New Jersey conventions I frequent), so I wanted to check that out.
Huh, turns out I have to walk to get there. Who knew?
After walking about 2 blocks, I head down the stairs and see some theaters, a “AFK” room (for destressing), a LARP area…and none of the rooms I was actually looking for. Huh?
I look out the window, and I see on the other side of Arch street the places I wanted to go. Oops, I didn’t go far enough, and I have to go back to the stairs, go up, go over the street (since I didn’t know where I could enter on the other side from street level) and then come down. Grrrrrrrr. I got really growly at this point. And that’s when I realized it was something like 3pm and I hadn’t eaten since 8am. LUNCH!
So I found a seat (which took much more walking and time to find) and I sat and ate the sandwich I had made at home. I forgot my waterbottle at home, so I walked to the little giftshop thingie to buy one after my much needed eating, and saw a line a half mile long, so I walked into the expo room to walk around the handful of food carts there to see which one had a small enough line that I could just buy a soda so I could use that bottle for the rest of the con (they have nice bottle fillers all over the place, so you don’t have to pay ridiculous amounts of money for bottled water). 30 minutes later, I found a mac & cheese place that only had 1 person in line. I got a bottle of Sierra Mist. $5.25 please.
I’m really far away from the RPG space at this point, since my wandering for water/soda took me back into the expo space so I said “eff it, I’m going to find and play a freaking game.” So I headed to the Open Play area.
This picture is a lie. There’s no way that those 3 chairs on the right of the shot were open.
Does that trigger anyone elses’ anxiety? Awesome.
So I walked through, either looking for a space I could sit and set up my own game and a “Looking for Players” flag, or looking for others with “Looking for Players” flag.
Walk, walk, walk, walk, walk, Oh look, a looking for….nope, they’re in the middle of the game, they must still have that up from before….walk, walk walk, oh another fla…nope, they’re already playing…walk, walk, walk, Oh, an actual “LFG” sign up with a big video screen and everything! Awesome! There’s only a few games listed here, but I’ll go check them out! Oh, they’re full, too. Um, whatever that game is, that’s not where they say they are. Um. Okay, well, I guess that doesn’t work. Walk, walk, walk. Is anyone sitting there? Or is that just that groups stuff sitting there? I’m too much of a social wuss to ask, and I’ll just assume it’s a group that’s going to get a Looking for Group flag or something, so I’ll just keep walking, even though it’s been a half hour of walking and not finding anything.
Ah, the First Look section, where a bunch of games brand new from Essen are showcased. Neato. And look Pax Transhumanity and Bios: Origins. I received those 2 days before the con started. Nice to see those there.
And there’s 4 people at Bios: Origins. Let’s see how that’s going, since I’m not doing anything else. And those games are right on the edge of a walkway, so it’s not like I have to knock anyone over to check it out.
It’s then I notice the “Looking for Teacher” flag.
“Do you know how to play?” They ask with child-like eyes.
“Can you teach us?”
“Sure, let’s go.”
So the next hour and a half of my con is spent running these guys through the basic game of Bios: Origins.
Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE teaching games to people. This blog wouldn’t exist otherwise. But a few things got to me as I was thinking about this afterwards.
- I was doing someone’s job. – There are volunteers with the Pax staff who are there to work with the First Look games and teach them to people. While that person did stop over and say hello while I was there, they clearly were doing a lot of other things and was happy I was there to help.
- I stood THE WHOLE TIME in the walkway of the area. What the hell was I thinking?
After an hour and a half, I finally excused myself because they seemed to have picked up on the game. I was thirsty as all get out because I had talked almost non-stop for over an hour. Those guys didn’t even know my name. No one asked. I didn’t get a handshake. I get thank-yous as I walked away, but….
I don’t know. Like I said, I enjoy teaching games. It’s a little bit of performing (which is something I used to do) and a little bit of gaming (which is something I do a lot), so since I derive joy from it, I should just shut my yap, right?
But as I got my bottle filled and I sat on the floor outside of the expo hall, feeling the pain in my feet and the soreness in my throat, I was like: Why did you just do that? Was it because I wasn’t doing anything else? Was I that desperate for attention that I was willing to stand there for so long, and now I’m whining about it?
As I said to my wife afterwards: “I dunno, I just want a Coke for it all.”
Which I guess is why I have my Kofi Page.
So in a fit of depression, I walked into the Expo session and bought Dreams of Tomorrow
I didn’t get a demo, but I got to hear a bit of the pitch and see two people playing it. And it’s got a solo option. And I read one review.
Not the kind of research I usually do before buying a game, but I was grumpy at this point.
It’s a roundel game. But instead of a circle, it’s a set of 4 cards with a top and bottom that can be flipped and swapped around by player actions. I’ve only played 2 solo games of it, and have been pretty underwhelmed by it, but that was against the Easy and Medium bots, so there might be more to it with the Hard bought or in Nightmare mode. Which introduces a horse meeple.
That’s almost worth the sale right there.
After the purchase, I walked back to the open playing area looking for a place to play my new game.
I couldn’t find a place to park my little butt. At this point, it was nearing dinner time, and if spaces didn’t have people in them, they had half eaten dinners. Was that people claiming territory? Was it just the dinners of the gamers sitting a few seats over? I have no idea. Either way, I wasn’t going to try and get near anyone’s half eaten Chinese food to put my brand new game.
But wouldn’t you know it, in the First Look section, a gentleman was sitting at Pax Transhumanity and the rules were being taught to him by one of the Pax Unplugged staff! Awesome! “Mind if I play, too?”
BOOM! I GET TO PLAY A GAME! After Chiseled, this would be my second played game in about, what, 10 hours of con?
I told her to just continue the rules explanation, sitting quietly, not wanting to be “That guy” and muscle in and take over or mansplain or anything. But then…
“So the barrier cost for the Research action is the number of uncovered barriers, but if there’s another players cube on the idea, then the cost is doubled.”
“Um, that’s actually not true.”
Shit. I just “Well, actuallyed.” I resisted the urge to run, to scream, to pee myself (I may have a little), I probably blushed a whole lot. I did manage to feel really, really awful.
“Oh? You know how to play?”
“Ye…It’s just, it’s not the other player’s cube, it’s whether it’s subsidized work or not.”
I start sinking into the chair, like the scene in Get Out, the convention going miles away. She hates me. This guy is probably rolling his eyes: “Great, I’ve got a know-it-all showing up in the middle of this thing.” I feel like I’m going to throw up. I sit on my hands so I don’t slap myself in the face.
“Go ahead, I’m sorry for interrupting.”
She’s looking down at the play aid. “No, you’re right. You’ve played this before?”
*mumbles* “A few dozen times.”
“Do you want to explain it?”
Oh crap. What does she mean? Does she honestly want me to explain it? Or does she want me to just shut my hole? I am totally stepping on her toes here, it’s her job to teach this game, and who the hell am I (I didn’t even make it into the rulebook)?
“NO! No, I just, thought I was helping. Go ahead.”
“It would make me feel more comfortable if you did it.”
Okay, those are the words I needed to hear. I guess after seeing me successfully teach Bios, and struggling a bit with this, passing the reigns didn’t feel like a “loss” or anything. She left after the first minute or so of my explanation, so my anxiety did ping a bit, but I also just figured she had a billion other games to teach, so there you go.
Either way I got to play a fun 2 player game (It didn’t seem bad as I was able to actually sit and play this time). And hey, if you were that gentleman, post in the notes, because I wrote your BGG screen name down wrong. I’d love to get in a VASSAL game with you!
And that ends day 1. The expo was closed, I was out of granola bars. I would have had to eat a real dinner (and after spending $5.25 on a 20oz bottle of soda, I didn’t want to spend more money on food) and it was something like 7pm, so I decided to call it a day. I had all day Saturday, and I needed to let my legs heal a bit. Peace out, Philly.
Saturday started with me going shoe shopping.
No joke. New Sketchers and then back to the train. I had a new plan this time. I brought a few more games, and I planned to stake out a space in the open play area and set up a “Looking for Players” flag and just have at.
I did another quick sweep of the expo to see if I could see anything that I missed before, but again the crowds were pretty huge, so I didn’t see anything I couldn’t see before. I was able to take a few pictures of the new Gloomhaven stuff and send it to my group. I’m looking forward to that, even though we probably have 2+ years of Gloomhaven goodies to play through before we’ll even TOUCH Frosthaven, but it’s nice to know we’ve got that much adventure looking for us.
So then I found a table. *gasp* Yes I did. It was early enough in the day that I managed to find a space big enough that I was able to squeeze in. I wiped all the crumbs off of the area (c’mon people!) and set up Dreams of Tomorrow to play out a solo game. It’s new and eye-catching. It could draw in some people whom I’d naturally say “Want to play?” I also stacked my other games up closely beside me, in case anyone would be interested in those. Then I played.
Every few moments between turns, I looked up, trying to make eye contact with passers by.
Eventually the folks beside me were growing (no, they weren’t mainlining mayonnaise, they were gaining more people to their group), so I felt I should move my stack of games to give them more room as I could tell one looked a bit squeezed.
I looked around some more.
I checked my phone again and again, the folks I knew that were also at the convention would occasionally update their locations, so maybe they were looking for me.
No updates. Nothin’.
Okay, so that was that. Packed it up and gave the group beside me more much needed elbow room (I was at the edge of the table, so I didn’t have to worry about the other side).
At this point, I was a bit hungry and grumpy, so, to hell with it. Suicide seemed like the only choice. Suicide by food, that is:
Photo by N. Santos for Visit Philadelphia – Used without permission because I’m a nobody.
If I thought the convention was crowded, Reading Terminal Market was worse, but that’s to be expected. It’s the Greatest Place In The World(tm) if you like food. I totally wanted to get something at Keven Parker’s Soul Food cafe, but I would have been waiting for a loooonnngg time, so I went to Hunger Burger instead.
It’s okay, everything is good.
One fantastic burger, mac ‘n’ cheese and vanilla milkshake later, I could return to the convention.
I burped a little just typing that. MAN it was too much food.
I entered the convention from the RPG side of things to see how things were over there (given my experience from the previous day). I didn’t dig out my map or anything (I was holding a vanilla shake after all), so I just wandered and found a Fantasy Flight Games RPG room. I decided to walk in and see what their big banners and such were proclaiming.
“Can I help you?”
I mean, “Hi.”
So a dude approaches me the second I walk in, and as I look around the room, I notice there are no other people walking around. Oops. Did I just walk into a private party? Why is the door open, then? Why are there big signs like “Ooooo, look at our cool RPGs! I mean, don’t come in and look at them…but OOOOO”
“So, um, there’s an Android RPG?”
“Yup…it’s based-” and he explained how the game is based off of their other systems but set in the Android universe. I saw a pile of books and such off in a corner of the room. Were they for sale? Could I look through them? I suppose I could ask the guy, but for some reason I was getting this real “I’m not supposed to be here” vibe. Like I should have signed up for the RPGs in this room at some previous point, and since I didn’t, “OUTWORLDER” was flashing on my forehead like some neon cowboy from the 60s. So I slowly back-walked my way out of the room and made for another room.
Ah, here was….Well, I completely forgot what company this was…but it was a boardgame company. Anyway, I walk in and..
“Can I help you?”
I mean, “Hi.”
Again, I look around and this guy and I are the only ones standing in the room, everyone else is at a table playing one of their boardgames. At least this time I saw the games for sale with a price list and a cash register, so that was clear, but again, this guy stood right next to me “to answer any questions,” so wandering around to look at things seemed verboten. Didn’t know I needed an escort, but I guess my vanilla shake looked like it could be spilled at any minute.
I would never spill that thing. It was too good, but they didn’t know that. How could they? I never offered a sip. So I guess it’s my fault.
So I back walked, again, out of the room.
I had enough of this side of the convention, so I finished my shake, finally let the empty cup fall from my clutches, and walked the 4 or so blocks back to the other end of the convention.
New shoes were doing well.
And look at this, two folks sitting down at Bios: Origins. Need a third? Yes?!
I can play!
And teach…which I guess is okay, but no biggie.
Had a blast with these two as we struggled to take over the world together. They picked up on the strategies pretty quickly and I ended up only winning by one point (those Hobbits are tricky!).
Yay! A good 2 hours of happy fun playtime!
Not long after that, I was on my way out, and I passed a small group of folks setting up a game called Sabotage:
I LOVE the artwork in these games.
It’s a hidden movement team game of spy versus super-villain and we had a blast. I was on the spy team and we lost pretty horribly. Not as horribly as we thought we would, but we were pretty clumsy spies, and there were a few times we found ourselves standing right on top of the villains. You’ve got to play VERY smart…
We….we were not.
While the game is heavily over-produced, so everything has fancy pieces and looks super-awesome, it’s probably a bit much for what the game is, but after a long day that wasn’t all that great for me, it was a good way to say goodnight to the con.
I’m trying to speed this post up now that we’re nearing the end of December (and the year!) and I haven’t finished it yet. So I apologize for kind of sprinting through Sunday.
I immediately went to the RPG section and found (with a map this time) the Games on Demand table. It’s a convayer belt of indie games being run on the hour. I took a look at the upcoming events, and I saw that Brennan Taylor would be running Bulldogs!, his very own game in a little over 2 hours. That’s something I could get behind, so I set an alarm on my phone and headed to the main area.
I spent some time surfing the PAXU boards to find out: What am I doing wrong? Why do I feel like I’m not doing anything and whenever I interact with another human, why is it so damn awkward? Sure, I got two wonderful games in the previous day…but out of 16 hours, that was 3 hours of success and 13 hours of failure. Somewhere I read: “If you set up a game and get a looking for players flag, you will succeed.” So, that’s what I decided.
I didn’t pack nearly as many games (they’re heavy!), but I grabbed Pittsburgh 64 and my new playmat and looked for a table. I found one since the crowd was a bit smaller on Sunday morning. I rolled out the beautiful mat, set up the cards, made it look all sorts of pretty, put out the looking for players flag and sat.
I managed to find one member of the 1 player guild whom I had been trying to run into the whole freaking con, so that was nice. Staying put in one location finally made that possible. Unfortunately he was also on his way to the train, so that was the end of that, but it at least was an interaction.
While sitting and staring, I saw someone sit down a row down and a table or so to the side of me. Mind you, his hair was a normal color, so I had to look a few times to make sure, but it turned out to be Fred Hicks.
For those unfamiliar, I’m a bit of a Fred Hicks fan boy. My first foray into “Indie RPGs” was a game called Don’t Rest Your Head:
It’s messed up, but fun. Like, REALLY fun. But nothing, and I mean, NOTHING, like the next game I found in the Evil Hat catalog. This was a big ol’ game called Spirit of the Century.
This was a game that let you play out the pulps of The Shadow, Indiana Jones, Doc Savage and just about any 1930s super(ish)-hero you can think of. And it also introduced me to The Fate System, an RPG system that uses Aspects to drive the story forward like numbers are used to drive most conventional stories.
And it. is. brilliant.
On a lark, I ran it for two friends. She became a swarthy pilot, he a swarthy explorer. Before they knew it, she was running for her life as the natives on a lost island were chasing her as a well of souls was opening up and he could answer the ubiquitous: “What do you do now?” with, “I roll into the well of souls.”
Because that’s what heroes do.
She managed to get to the plane JUST in the nick of time (duh) and rescue him as he dangled from the edge of the well holding onto a native’s spear that he had jammed into the earth.
And the kicker was they didn’t care about that. The real juice was that the whole time she was pissed off that he never noticed that she was flirting with him during the entire episode. Because that’s what her Aspects made important. And it was a memorable experience (this was, what, 15 years ago?).
We have since used the Fate system for (nearly) ALL of our RPGs. Our last game was Seven Seas, using Fate. Before that, Call of Cthulhu, using Fate. Before that The Dresden Files…which uses Fate right out of the tin. You get the idea. It just works for our group and has given us hours and hours of entertainment.
And much of it was thanks to Fred Hicks, the guy sitting a few tables down from me.
I had been sitting alone at a table for a half hour. I was tired and grumpy, so I decided to go against the screaming voice in my head and go say something.
So I approached and merely thanked him for all the work he’s done (he is also amazingly transparent with his business practices, promotes diversity in gaming, and does his best to just not be a douche in any of his life decisions, so kudos for that) and thanked him for the last decade and a half of gaming that he brought me and my group.
Then I sheepishly returned to my table and wondered if he was now starting to text his friends for help: “I’ve got a stalker! SAVE ME!”
I don’t know if he did. I don’t know if I was that weird guy. I probably was. But I was bored. I was depressed, and one of the things that helps me is the games this guy makes, so I wanted to thank him.
After one hour and twenty-three minutes of not a single person approaching me, my very pretty playmat, my Looking for Players flag or anything, I decided that the advice given was not 100% true and packed everything up.
Ironically, I ran into a member of that very same gaming group in the expo hall soon after. He had been at the con the whole weekend and I only just then ran into him. Yeah. It’s a big place.
I checked my phone. It was still about an hour until my Bulldogs! game, but I figured with the long walk to the RPG section, I should start meandering my way there anyway so I don’t miss it. Which would totally be my luck at this point.
When I arrived, they were just finishing up the announcements for the games just starting, and there were two that were still looking for a player or two to fill the game up. So that was a dilemma: Wait an hour and play a game I’m interested in with the game designer (and good guy, from what little I know about him), or get in a game right now because, hey, right now?
Oh, what the hell. Let’s do one right now. There were two games, I don’t remember the other one, but I chose Nobilis, a game where you play god-like beings. Neato.
So, the conceit of the game was certainly interesting. We ended up playing ourselves…if we were given god-like powers. I was a god of Loyalty. Huh. Not sure how that would have changed my life, but it was fun to think about. We were charged with a simple scavenger hunt by our boss. We were to “jump into” the other games that were being played at that time, and collect things to bring back to the big god ball thing that was being held later.
I’m hazy on the details. It sounded cooler than that.
So the GM walked around to find all the games that were being played in the room, so we knew what game worlds we could jump into, and then made a list of things for us to collect, things like:
- a cursed item
- a foolish plan, brilliantly executed
- a scoundrel’s lucky item
- A bad idea
There were some really cool things he came up with, but I can’t remember them now.
So I’ll sum up the weirdest part:
We jump into Scum & Villainy (Star Wars with the serial number filed off). We get the foolish plan, brilliantly executed. We turn it into a Story so that we can “keep” it and bring it to the party. To keep the “story” going, we make a sequel to the story to get another item we were searching for. The sequel has all the standard things you would get in a (Disney with the serial number filed off) sequel. THEN we made it an ACTUAL movie with a movie set and everything, where one of us was an intern working on the set.
Having god-like powers is fun.
So we took a reality, made it a fiction, made it into a meta-fiction….
Then we went to the past to ANOTHER movie to find “An Alchemical mixture gone wrong,” to get the Flubber (from the Robin Williams movie, two of our players were only 16 and didn’t know the original) that was originally made for the movie but proved too dangerous, which is why they used that awful computer animation.
While they did that, I used my Anchor to Anchor Robin Williams to me so that he would still be around when we would return to the present. That was important to me. No one else cared, but from one guy with depression to another, if I could go back and convince him to stay around, I would in a heartbeat.
Anyway, to sum up, Inception had NOTHING on the story we ended up playing. It was a lot of fun.
Sunday finished with me playing a game of Its a Wonderful World with two folks:
This is a nice game blending tableau building and card drafting that plays quickly but still makes you think, and sometimes think hard. One player picked up on the strategy a bit quicker than the rest of us, and she ran away with the game, but it was still a fun game, and one that I now own because of it.
And there you have it. My incredibly wordy con experience. It only took me 3 weeks to write!
Next year, I think I’ll just go on a Sunday, sign up for an RPG, hit the expo hall afterwards and then try to get in a game. A plan of attack is needed to properly experience the convention, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet. Clearly my own social awkwardness contributes to a lot of it.
But we’ll see what next year brings. I can’t stop going to a con that’s only a quick train ride away due to my own failings. So we’ll just keep chugging along.
For those of you who read through all this…congratulations! I won’t beg for kofi.com money or anything, because you’ve earned a respite.
I’ll get back to the fun stuff next year.
Which is tomorrow.