Monday, November 9, 2015

Post Con Day

As I always try to do, I have taken the Monday after a gaming con (in this case Gamehole III) off to recover.  I don't actually need to recover physically.  I'm not afflicted with Con Crud, and I managed to catch up on the sleep I missed from gaming until midnight two nights in a row.  I take this day off mainly to come down from my "gamer's high."

Usually when I leave a Con I am still high on the feeling of elation at having played games all weekend, with new people, sometimes with new systems, and always at least some new experiences.  But this time it's a little different.

I did manage to play some cool games, and even experienced a few new things that I hadn't before.  But it was all tainted a bit by some less-than-ideal situations.  First of all, I had to have my 12-year old daughter with me all day Saturday and Sunday, and it was her first con.  Now, I love her dearly, and she's a good kid.  But, anyone with a 12-year old daughter can guess at the trials entailed that aren't usually a part of gaming.  I'm not going to go into details, but it's safe to say that I got a bit overwhelmed at times, and it affected my fun.

But more than that was the disappointing gaming experiences I had.  First off, you have to understand that, IMHO, a Con Game has to fit certain parameters.  And those are that it has a quick setup, which leads to an exciting session, and it has a satisfying end.  A couple of my games didn't have all of that. One in particular had a meandering setup that took half the session, and ended up with no satisfying climax.  It was a game of Empire of the Petal Throne, on the world of Tekumel.

By all descriptions Tekumel is a fascinating setting; somewhat Burroughs-esque, with a healthy dose of classic D&D.  So, I was excited.  But, the adventure, while interesting in scope and theme, was like a Sword & Planet novel with all of the action taken out.  My character was a big warrior (random chance, surprisingly enough), but I never drew my weapon or engaged in any kind of combat.  Just a lot of RP, and much of it seemed unfocused with no real purpose.

I think that was the big one.  I also played in a Pathfinder 3d game, which is basically a miniatures wargame style setup.  It was a string of combat encounters with a thin veneer of context and setup.  In the end, our party of 7 was overwhelmed by increasingly difficult challenges, until the end was an impossible situation that ended in guessed it, TPK.  My cleric was the first to die.

Yesterday we had a 5E game through the Adventurer's League that turned out to be RP-heavy, involving an investigation.  My group included a CN sorcerer who was, at times, more of a hindrance to our progress than the enemies or the scenarios.  We ended with a single combat.  And guess cleric was the first to die again (maybe I should just avoid clerics).  And if you know how 5E handles character "death" that's no small thing.

On an up note, I did discover a neat little system called d6xd6.  Very simple mechanics, very narrative-driven, and a lot of fun.  My daughter and I played supers in the WWII Marvel Universe, and teamed up with Union Jack and Spitfire.  Very cool.

Despite the afore-mentioned downers, I still had a lot of fun,.  And my wife and I spent a lot of time today talking about games we would like to see, play, and/or run at future cons.  So, that was cool.  I may be running a game of Mutants & Marvels next year, and possibly something else.  We also came to the conclusion that there needs to be more games aimed at teens and tweens.  Stuff that is more suitable to their gaming styles.  She's working on that, and I may tailor an M&M game towards that demographic as well.

All-in-all, I still managed to have a good weekend of gaming.  And I absolutely don't regret it at all.  Already looking forward to Gary Con in the spring.

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