Posted in Fan Friday

Fan Friday – GenCon

The Best Four Days in Gaming.   Yup, I’m a fan.  I’ve been going to the con for 4 years now, a relative newb compared to many.  But it is a great experience every year.  Held nowadays in Indianapolis (rather than Lake Geneva (where the GEN in the name GenCon comes from)) in the late summer Gen Con is a gaming treat.   Thousands upon thousands of gamers gather for fun and the love of the hobby.  Gen Con is a place to make friends, meet your on-line friends, play your favorite games and discover new games.

The first year I went I made it a point to try and play new things, I discovered 7th Sea, Spy Craft, and Dark Heresy.  I picked up Monte Cooks brand new game Numenera, and Fantasy Flights new Star Wars game Edge of the Empire.  I hung out with old friends, stayed up way too late and probably drunk a bit too much a night or two.  It was a blast.

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Since then I’ve involved myself more in the hobby than ever before. Bolstered by on-line communities and the friends I made that are as passionate as I.

The second year I tried my hand at GMing.  I joined the ranks of Monte Cook Games’ Numenera GMs and enjoyed the heck out of it.  GMing at a con is a great Experience.  If you’re a GM but the thought of GMing at a Con scares you, let me say, Con GMing is easier than GMing your home game.  At a Con, the people are there to have fun and learn.  Everyone is usually super chill and actually listens to the story you are crafting and want to be active participants.  No lengthy side topics or distracting phones or laptops.  Your players are there to have fun.  GMing at Gen Con is invigorating.   I have GMed at every GenCon since then.

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Last year I tried something else new LARPing.  Yup.  People that LARP seem to enjoy the heck out of it, and who am I to judge.  So I figured it was time to see what all the fuss is about.  So I gave it a try and had a blast.  The game I was in was Science Fiction in theme.  There were about 12 of us.  We were passengers on a spaceship.  A ship that suffered a catastrophic failure/accident/malfunction.  A ship that wouldn’t have enough resources for all of its passengers to reach its destination alive.  It was a game of hard choices, intrigue, self-sacrifice, and gut-wrenching betrayals.   It was a game that left me Emotionally drained.  But it was a game quite a few of us were talking about till the wee hours of the morning over quite a few beers.  It was a great time.  Something I want to do again.  This year I have my eye on a Cthulhu LARP or two if I can get one to fit in my schedule.

So it’s not too late to grab a badge for the GenCon 50, a plane ticket to Indy, or find a place to stay.  You won’t be sorry you went.  You’ll have a great time, and you might even see me there.  Heck, I might even buy you a beer.

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Posted in Fan Friday

Fan Friday – 7th Sea 2nd Edition – First Impressions

At my first GenCon something like 5 years ago, I decided to play a bunch of games I had never had the opportunity to try.  (I recommend all avid Role-players use Cons for this purpose) One of the games I was able to get into was a 7th Sea 1st Edition game.  All I really knew of 7th Sea was it involved pirates in a colonization era society.  Which sounded great to me.  The game was one of the highlights of GenCon that year.  It was a blast.  I was impressed with a system that rewarded players for doing cool daring stunts and not always take the tactilely sound approach.  Coming back from the Con and looking up the system, I found it hard to find, out of print, and none of my players too keen on the idea of jumping into a “dead system”. ( I hate the idea of a “Dead System” it is more like a mature system, you have all the material there you will need. You can still play even though it isn’t in print)  Funny how they would want to play WEG Star Wars but not 7th Sea.  I didn’t call them on their hypocrisy.

Flash forward a few years and John Wick is reviving his game via Kickstarter for a 2nd Edition.  It was a no-brainer for me, he had my money.

I Now have the Rulebook and have read over almost all of it.  I’ve also read quite a bit of Wick’s pretty darn good Novel Daughter of Fate.   However, I hadn’t had a chance to get it on the table until recently.   A few of us in a Google+ community were lamenting the fact that we hadn’t played the game and there were no good Actual-Plays out there (besides ones of the pre-release demo adventure) that we could find to get a feel for it with. (seriously if you know of a good actual play let me know)  However, another member of the community came forward saying he’d played the game a lot with his home group and had been working on a Con adventure and would be willing to have us run through it if we’d give feedback.  Of course, we said yes and quickly assembled a party. Continue reading “Fan Friday – 7th Sea 2nd Edition – First Impressions”

Posted in Fan Friday, General Writing

Fan Friday: Tales from the Loop – First Impressions

 

Tales of the loop is an RPG from Miodiphious and the Free League.  It is set in the 80’s that wasn’t and uses the Mutant Year Zero ruleset as it’s framework.  Being someone that has quite enjoyed the Mutant Year Zero Rules, and movies like the Goonies and the show Stranger Things, which the game tries to evoke the wonder and magic of, I quickly backed this project when it showed up on Kickstarter.  I must say I am quite surprised by the finished product and not at all disappointed.

Mutant: Year Zero’s ruleset is and interesting game where you build D6 dice pools for actions and require a 6 on a die to succeed. If you fail the first roll, you can always push yourself and roll again with potentially additional consequences added to the situation whether you succeed this second roll or not.   In Tales from the Loop, you always take a condition if you reroll, like Angry or Afraid.  This aspect reminded me of Masks: A New Generations.  There is one exception to this rule, however, and that is a mechanic called luck.  Luck is a free reroll, and how many you get per session is determined by your age. If you Ten you get 5 if you are fifteen you get 0.

Another thing I wasn’t expecting in the game is there are no combat rules, there is no initiative, and your players cannot die. This may turn some people off but I found it refreshing and really fit the setting.  Your kids can still get into combat with an angry robot or a strange dinosaur, but you play kids you are not really going toe to toe with these things, instead, you basically must overcome them, like a quick descriptive skill challenge.  If you players understand that they can have a lot of fun with it.

I found in the quick session I ran it played a lot like a Powered by the Apocalypse game, which was super cool.   The game wants to make sure that you intermix the mundane life of being a kid in the 80’s with all the strange and fantastical stuff they are seeing.  So, dealing with your bully of an older brother, your parents fighting and the kid next door you’ve had a crush on since 2nd grade all play a part in the game as well.  It keeps the game grounded (while your parents might ground you when they find out you snuck into that ‘abandoned bunker’)

Character creation is quick and has a few neat world building and party connections elements thrown in.  It would help to have a few more character types for your players to choose from; as listed there are quite a few that are a stretch to see hanging out together after school. (Hick, Jock, Computer Geek…)

I grew up in the 80’s watching the 80’s adventure movies so this game really punches my nostalgia button, but I am not sure how it will play out for the younger crowd.  The rules I think would be really great for kids to learn and play and have a lot of fun, but I am would think the 80’s tech (Walkman, Arcades, large home computers) would be quite foreign ideas so the tone would be quite different.

Overall though, I think Tales from the Loop is going to be one of my new “Go-To” Games, also a game that I’ll probably use to introduce a few people to the great world of Role-playing.

Posted in Fan Friday, General Writing

Fan Friday – LARPs – A Beanduck Web Series

 

A couple of years ago, a saw a video on Geek and Sundry’s YouTube page about a web series called LARPs.  I personally was not a LARPer; I knew people in the Camarilla ( a White Wolf World of Darkness LARP group) in college, and I knew of the existence of boffer LARP, but LARPing wasn’t something that interested me.  However, something about this video caught my eye.  The production quality was top notch, these people obviously studied filmmaking, the acting was nothing to sneeze at either.   I quickly looked up the show and binge watched the entire first Season.  Then I went and helped Crowdfund the Second.

LARPs is a show that follows a group of gamer friends as they maneuver through life, while the characters they play brave a fantasy realm.  The writing and direction are quite good.  Each cast member is given their own moments throughout the series, and the show expertly weaves between the in-game drama, as well as the real-life drama.

From the tranquil forest opening of Episode 0 to the Epic Finale of Season 2, I can say I enjoyed every frame.  If you missed this series when it first came out, or overlooked it because you weren’t into LARPing, I highly recommend you give this short series a moment of your time.   You won’t regret it. LARPS is one of the best short form series on the internet.

 

While writing this article I discovered Beanduck now has their own YouTube Channel, and promises more original short film content. I can’t wait to see what they have in store.  Check them out here: Beanduck Productions