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.