Gamestorm 2018

Last weekend was my local gaming convention which I go to every year.  Personally, I think I have had better years at the convention.  A few factors from seemed to converge, none of which were the fault of the organizers, but taken as whole probably reduced the overall experience for me personally.

  • I couldn’t really afford the vacation to take Thursday and Friday off, and Friday evening I had Kaigan which I didn’t really feel like I should delay this week.   This meant I couldn’t stay up late for events on Thursday, and only really had time for one event on Friday.
  • All my friends who went this year were working the con to get in for free.  Normally this is not a big deal but the rooms their department was running were fairly spread out and they were actually pretty busy this year and our schedules didn’t line up as well as they normally do.
  • The online sign up system for events seems to be taking off.  I’ve been ignoring it up until this point but I will have to change that next year, a lot of events I wanted to do were completely booked before the con even started.
  • I was still doing a lot of scheduled events, which are pretty fun, but it is very difficult to pack them tight enough to keep from having a lot of downtime in between like you can in games with your friends, particularly when a lot of them are full as I mentioned above.

All things considered though, I definitely still had a good time, and happily signed up for next year (ever year I think that next year I want to run some events, so we’ll see in a year if I actually do it).  Highlights of the con include:

  • D&D: Got in a session of AD&D 1e and a session of 5e in, somehow I ended up being a dwarf in both
    • The AD&D game was done by a normal attendee, who had clearly been running it for a while, seems like he took a break around when his son was born, but now ran for him and his friends.  He had a binder full of maps of his campaign world and clearly put a lot of thought into it.  We tried to help some Druids whose grove had been corrupted and came REALLY close, but ended up dying to a Shambling Mound due to some bad luck and the fact we skipped the magic items that would have helped us.  Fun times overall.
    • The 5e game was done via the official adventure’s league, and was technically a “Learn to play” event.  I’ve played 5e a handful of times, but I saw a sign up sheet for this particular session had only 2 names on it and started soon and fit my schedule.  I grabbed a cleric pregen and played through a short intro session with a father and son pair.  The GM we had was really solid and enabled a lot of new player shenanigans, up to the climax of the adventure being the father’s character fashioning a improvised lasso and then critting to capture the boss mage that way, who I then held hostage to get the grunts to surrender.
  • Shadowrun: Was done by the organized play group we have in town, I’ve never really been besides at cons, but it is fun. It was last year when I last played so I wasn’t really comfortable with the subsystems anymore, as a result I ended up grabbing a pregen fist fighter instead of the decker that group needed more.  It turned out I was the 3rd string just counting the guys who punched things, ignoring the guys with weapons.  Honestly it was a good example of why I don’t like RPGs with large groups (we had 7 counting myself plus the gm), and there were some good players and some bad players there.  I ended up not contributing very much, but the good players at the table were actually very entertaining to watch, so even as a mostly observer it wasn’t a bad time.
  • Lazer Ryderz: This game is all kinda of aesthetic, coming in what looks like an old 80s VHS box set (complete with coloration that makes it look like it has been around that long to) and generally just captures the feeling pretty well.  It’s basically a board game version of the tron light cycle game, and you race around the table leaving a laser behind you and trying not to crash into other people’s lasers, with the goal of the game being to collect 3 of the prisms on the table by driving through them.  I won with a pretty amazing come back, so that might influence why I liked it so much.
  • Zendo: A fun puzzle game where you have colored 3d shapes and have to try to guess a secret rule that one player knows.  We played it last year in a tupperware container, but this year we found a reprint and had fun playing it, even if there was one rule we spent over a half hour and didn’t figure out because the player who knew it made an example that was intentionally tricky (which I was okay with, but it meant we got less games in overall as a result).

There were a few other things I tried that weren’t really worth mentioning, but nothing I played that was really bad, which is nice.  I hope that next year I have that Friday off, but we’ll have to see how things shake out.

 

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Not Quite Dead Yet! A Quick Recap of the Last Month

Wow, it has been almost a month since I posted anything here, that’s my bad. Been a bit hectic during my normal writing time and on top of that I was busy with some fun gaming stuff as well.

The Good Shepherds: We’ll start with the bad news. Since I last posted about the Shepherds a full month and a half ago we have played exactly twice. The second time being on the 26th, during which we finally all came out and admitted that we didn’t feel all that much investment in the game. It’s a solid group, and we wanted to keep playing with each other, so we decided to put the Shepherds away and try a different game for a while. Right now it is looking like we’re going to be playing some version of Mage, I’ll keep you posted.

Devil Survivor: We got 2 sessions in during the last 4 weeks, one I had to miss because of a dental appointment, and the one this week Caine’s player had a scheduling conflict. I’ll include a more detailed recap when I write up our next session, but the short version is that our pair of heroes have armed a rebel group with the demon summoning program and Caine got himself a new demon.

And here is a quick rundown of the fun stuff that kept me from writing about fun stuff.

Triforcebearer: A lot of the writing time I DID have was dedicated to this instead. It is a collection of Zelda races as classes for Luke Crane’s old school dungeon crawl game Torchbearer. It was a pretty fun exercise making them (even if a good chunk of the class abilities are just lifts from existing classes), not to mention I am happy I actually FINISHED a homebrew, instead of just stopping at the half-baked idea stage. I haven’t got a chance to playtest them yet, but I hope to do so in the future if I get a chance.

Video Games: Probably really my primary hobby, even if I blog about RPGs more often. The fact that you don’t have to schedule play time with several other busy people contributes to that a bit, I’d say. Eitehr way the last month or so has been a sweet time for gaming for me, with some highlights including:

  • Breath of the Wild – Probably an obvious one given the fact I just mentioned my Zelda homebrew above. It’s a high quality game, and the ability of the switch to play it on the go is pretty neat as well. I still actually have like 10 shrines left to get before I get all of them. Might not be my favorite Zelda game of all time, but it is really close.
  • Nier: Automata – Picked this up after hearing some really good things about it, and was not disappointed. is solid in both the story and gameplay department, something Platinum Games, does really well. Would highly recommend
  • Persona 5 – Just came out Tuesday, and I have had class and other things keeping me from diving deep into it, but I have been hyped about this game for a while, hopefully it lives up to it.

Gamestorm: Just this last weekend we had our local gaming convention here in the Portland/Vancouver area, focuses on boardgaming and RPGs and all around a good time. When I first went, I’d go with a huge group of friends and we’d just check out games from the game library and hang out together the whole con. As folks got busier and the price has gone up, less of my friends go, and this year it was just down to me and a few that were working the convention. I spent a lot of time in organized games with randoms this year, which has some of its own charms. Some highlights:

  • Twilight Imperium – Game was scheduled to start at 9am. I ended up leaving at 8:30pm. It took a while to set up and tear down (the game owner had been at it an hour before we were scheduled to start), but most of that time was just due to the fact that we were playing with 7 people. I generally don’t much care for “I have to wait for my turn” as a complaint in board-gaming, but it was a lot of downtime in the game, and there were so many people that you couldn’t really interact with them. I think it was worth the time investment, but I think I would prefer to try it with 3 to 5 players instead of 7. At least I get the gamer cred for having finished a game of it!
  • 5e – I wanted to get some D&D in, and they had a lot of slots open. I grabbed the wizard pregen and named him ‘Mizzerio the Great’ and spent my time speaking in the wizard voice. Not exactly a deep character but was fun for a big con game. I generally prefer 4e, but 5e isn’t really a bad edition altogether. Killed some Kobolds and lava demons, and had a good time all around.
  • 13th age – Killed more kobolds, AND a corrupted dragon! I hadn’t played 13th age before but it was pretty neat. Fun fact that in both this game and the 5e game the Kobolds attacked us immediately after my character tried to greet them. Not like you show up to con games expecting to talk your way out of a fight, but the parallels were pretty funny. GM did a good job getting some roleplaying in for everyone considering how many people we had, so that was nice.
  • Shadowrun: Anarchy – tried out Shadowrun’s new “lighter” version. Still a pretty big book, but it is noticeably smaller than the 5e one, so I guess that counts? This session was early morning on the last day of the convention, so there was literally only one other player for this game. Our goal was to kidnap this guy, and drop him off at another corp (who didn’t want him there). The kidnapping went smooth as it could go, we basically convinced the mark to walk right up to our van and my Troll gangleader just put him in a choke hold and off we went. The other place was guarded, and we thought we could try to talk our way past them, but then they asked for my ID (which I did in fact have a fake one, but it was in much smaller print than my characters real, criminal id). I pulled my gun on them and we got in a fight. I ended up arrested, and my partner ran away cause of some bad luck with dice on our parts. Mission failed, but still a fun time.
  • Battlestar Galactica – Got a chance to play this with about 5 people. There were no cylons in the first deal of the cards, so the human side did really well and had practically won by the time the cylons second set of ids were dealt. I and the other brand new player were both dealt Cylon cards at that time, and so we had no real chance. Still a neat game though.
  • Dungeon Busters – A cute tiny game about beating monsters in a dungeon. Play the lowest card and you get points if the group still beats the monster, but lose points if the group loses. Really small but I thought it was fun enough to grab after the convention.

I’ll try to keep you all more up to date in the future!