When I got back from Gen Con, my buddy, Pete was in town for a job interview and some apartment hunting. He ended up staying until this morning. On one hand, this is great because Pete and I really get alone well and we talked and laughed a whole lot.

On the other hand, I am still exhausted from Gen Con, just because I haven’t been able to get that alone time, with me on a couch or futon with a book and no interaction. There is this feeling that I’m running low on batteries; I have overslept for work the past two mornings.

Tonight I should have time to myself and be able to take it a bit easy and re-charge.

Rapid Fire Gen Con Thoughts and Links Part II

The seminar I did with John on Marketing and Play went well, I thought. I learned a ton just hearing John talk and his talk and outline got good stuff out of me. I read something where John was being hard on himself about it.

Being at the Playcollective booth was really rewarding and fun. I like those people.

Misery Bubblegum was the game that Bret and Ellen came home after Dexcon raving about. I was skeptical. When Tony was at a table with Anna and Julie, all people I’ve wanted to game with, I sat down because of the company, not to play a damned RPG about teen angst. I was wrong. It was fantastic and was without a doubt my finest gaming of the con. Oddly, it was about another punk band; Flaming Taft is joined by Microwave Poodle, the teen emo-punk band on the rise.

Luke Crane: “Face to face interaction is like flushing the toilet bowl on the shit of the internet.”

Jared Sorensen: “I saw these people who were talking about who could beat who and what was going to happen this season and what happened last season. And they were dressed up as their heroes. Football fans are weird.”

Luke and Julie and Vincent were having this interesting discussion about the rhythm of RPG play. Free play -> conflict -> dice -> character sheet -> free play, etc. There was interesting stuff going on in those conversations.

DarkPages is reading like Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics: the RPG.

The Magic Burner is burning a blue hole in my gaming shelf.

Jeff and I had interesting conversations on the way back, thoughts about Ashcan seminars for Dreamation where people with not fully baked games could meet up and run a mini-session for a few hours and then talk about how it went…kind of a cross between the Indie Design Roundtable and a game slot.

Game Idea #1: There was this mention of health insurance in the original Cyberpunk RPG and you could get this full-on insurance wherein a hover-ambulance would come in and get you if you should get hurt. I always wanted to play those cyberpunk EMT’s.

Thought thought of getting to both make a statement about U.S. healthcare and play bad-ass EMT’s in a hover-ambulance feels too good to pass up. Also…cyberpunk city tiles.

Game Idea #2: Punching the World, the FATE fueled game of The Authority, the JLA and the Watchmen. Characters don’t change but the player who spends the most Fate points get’s to put an Aspect on the world.

Game Idea #3: Kings and Queens of October, a setting for 1st Quest or a DarkPAges imprint?

Also, I need to read Eero’s Solar System and pillage it for 1st Questy goodness. More on October later.

Rapid Fire Gen Con Thoughts and Links Part I

I introduced Princess Solo in our Episode LV Star Wars Primetime Adventures game after mentioning to the guys that our cast needed a strong female character. After she tore through her scenes and connected to every character and his issues, I threatened her. I have never seen so many people reach for their Fan Mail so fast. You’d have thought they were reaching for bottles to break on a table in a bar-fight.

We got through two episodes and were hungry for more. It was amazing to see us all get better over the past year at the techniques (scene framing and PTA’s stakes setting) that make PTA hum. We got better at gaming.

Eero’s dry as the Sahara sense of humor: “I designed Zombie Cinema to replace all other games. They are now not necessary. This is the next evolution of RPG’s.”

Zombie Cinema might be my favorite buy of the con. It plays in 10-30 minutes and its just damned fun. Also, it is packaged in a VHS case.

The Spanish game designers who stopped by the Playcollective Booth. They made a post-apocalyptic Lovecraftian setting in which the Dreamlands have crashed into the Middle East (among other catastrophes).

I have this urge to take another week off and just GAME. I want to play these games I brought home and I want to play them something fierce.

I need a nice, light and fast game for Sunday Gen Con gaming. Every year I kind of drool my way through a Sunday game that we are all just too tired to play. See Zombie Cinema above.

There are not enough hours in the damned day.

I spent way-way too much money on food. Holy shit it was good eating. Holy shit, where did my money go?

JRS aka Julie gave me a great library school pep talk that might have very well been the most important thing to happen to me all weekend.

I must wrestle Luke Crane.

Storn, I have your comp copies of Messiah and Houses of the Blooded.

Yes, I bought dice. No, I didn’t need new dice, not at all.

Being back in the real world is strange. You notice little things at first, like how every tenth person isn’t dressed like Boba Fett but mostly just that people aren’t having as much fun.

Gen Con Late Friday Night, Early Saturday Morning

There is this illusion, pointed out last night by Andy K, in which you do not feel like you have been away from home, at a con for a few days. It feels like the years of Gen Con attending are blending together. Gen Con begins to feel like some kind of geek Brigadoon, a con that has gone on in the mists as one continuous event.

Last night I referred to the hotel room as “home” – scary.

We played two episodes of our Stars Wars – Episode LV PTA game and I’ll post that up on the Forge when I have a moment.

The other game I have been throwing down on the table when I have a spare moment is Zombie Cinema, an adorable board game RPG that takes anywhere from 10-30 minutes.

Off to the exhibit hall to booth it.

Pre-Gen Con Hijinx

I love this pre-travel jittery adrenaline but it has been a tough week.

I got glutened at some point this weekend and I’ll spare the details but my stomach seems to have more or less knit itself back together and begun to digest food again. But this put a killing on my plans and I won’t be coming to the con with any 1st Questable stuff ready to run.

Today when I went to get my oil changed they pointed out how worn down my tires are. So, I went and got four brand-new high performance tires and an alignment. This allowed me to finish the second book of the Gentleman Bastards sequence while waiting but ate into my trip prep time in a big way.

Oddly, three games came in the mail this week. A Dirty World, 3:16 and Hot War are all in my hands. They each intrigue the hell out of me. Since Cold City was our post-Gen Con game last year, it might make a whole lotta sense of Hot War is our late summer/early autumn game this year if we should revive the Friday Night Posse.

I have to toss some copies of the Dictionary of Mu and my travel bag into the car next to the already-in-the-car booth flooring, double check my Gen Con Travel List, grab a cup of delicious Wegman’s coffee and go meet Jeff. It is the first time we are getting to hang out this summer, so I’m anxious to catch up and shoot the shit with my wayward brother of Kryos as we drive through the night.

I will be a booth #2039, the Playcollective booth. Please come by and introduce yourself if we’ve never met or check on in and let me know how you are doing if we have.

All that and Jeff too!

Oddly, the way it has worked out, the trip to Gen Con is just me and Jeff this year, which is kind of awesome, actually. I haven’t seen him all summer and I miss my friend, dammit. I’m looking forward to us unwinding, listening to podcasts and shooting the shit on the drive west.

In other Jeff-related news, he dropped some of his thoughts on his ashcan experience with the Front last year with Giants over at his Giants RPG blog.

1st Quest not ready.

I thought I would write a little bit tonight and look over what I already had and when the night was over, the 1st Quest Ashcan would be in my hands but it just is not so. The text has come a long way in these past weeks but it isn’t there yet.

I’m bummed.

If you were interested in 1st Quest, drop me a comment in this post and I will add your name to an e-mail list and let you know the moment I have a text I can share and ask for playtesting and feedback on.

That said, there’s yoga in the morning and next week there’s that convention to attend. I’m going to put this text down for this week and get my con gear together.

There is one setting, what was to be the vanilla fantasy setting of the bunch that has really blossomed this week in the re-writes. Dragon Knight has changed from a kind of boring fantasy setting to this pitch:

We play the fantastic dreamworld of a little girl who just watched her DVD’s of The Wizard of Oz, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and then all three Lord of the Rings movies before eating a bowl of sugary cereal and falling asleep.

I’ll try to have that one ready for some after-hours gaming.