Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dex Con 2011 - Everybody Loves the Funny

My second con in three weeks just happened, and it's Dex Con in Morristown New Jersey. It's one of the largest local cons in the North East for gaming (where I include Toronto and anything 8 hours away for me, your geography may vary). I love this convention for a variety of reasons. I've gone there now for I believe it's six years and I've gotten to know a lot of the people there very well. A lot of my best friends when it comes to gaming are there, and so my glasses are coloured by that.

It's also a place where a lot of the NE Indie designers show up to test their new games. The joke is that if a game survives Dex Con then it's good to go. Most of the games that I've made have been improved from the feedback that people are more than willing to give. It's a great place to make your game that much better. That being said, let's talk about the games I did run, or that were run.

Critical!: Go Westerly
Wow. This con was the con that really showed me that this is going to be a good book when it comes out. We had three games go off, there might have been four but the midnight to 4 am slot isn't one that I can do easily anymore, which I'm going to call a 100% success rate, which always surprises me.

We ran two instances of You All Meet in a Tavern, though Geoff ran them off on a different adventure than the one that was written, and there was a lot of good times had. I think the best part of the game I ran was Brennan, who was playing Marten, was quite gentlemanly and made sure that all the gold was split evenly between the party. I think much to the surprise of the other players, who then expressed their guilt over the fact that they did try to screw over Marten at various points in the game for gold. I was amused greatly.

Geoff told me about his game, and for me the best part was when the player realized that crawling through an earthen tunnel to get to an actual dungeon meant that they were on a dungeon crawl. The other best part was when they awoke the giant stone idol because the thief wanted to make it look like the victim they were rescuing had escaped.

Hoggart's Follow was one of those game where you had an idea of where you wanted it go to and the player end up going completely the opposite direction. I had wanted them to try to gather the pieces of the only map that was created of Hoggart's Castle, but instead it ended up as some sort of political intrigue game where the Guards and the Guides were busy fighting each other, so that the Maids (I had to try to come up with something funny, so I came up with Ninja Maids) had to find a way to defend the King and Queen from being attacked. That was the hope anyway, but it did end up turning a little more serious than I had intended which just proves that it's hard to be spontaneously funny all the time.

Ultimately there was a lot of interest in the game, which makes me anxious to get it out. I need to talk to the artistic folk and see if we can't get this done by the end of the year. It's really something I think will do well.


I only ran one game of Geasa, because I made a mistake and they ended up duplicating the Critical! stuff rather than the Geasa stuff, but it was a lot of fun. We ended up telling a story of post-war London with a Streetkid who was looking for his parents, a pub owner who was a pillar of his community, a noble woman looking to get a better sense of the common folk and a constable that was still on the take for the remnants of the Axis.

The game ended with the Constable being run off after capturing the orphan Streetkid by the Pub Owner and his local mob. There were some great moments, Eric playing the Fae to the Noblewoman ended up making her obsessed with Stags even though he didn't spend a die. It's just another moment that shows you can do a lot as a Fae even if you don't have any dice.

Ultimately, I would call this a super successful con. It's given me that extra push to get Critical! done, which I may or may not be working on ... right now. I just hope I can get most of it updated and organized before Game Chef kicks in. Damned Shakespeare theme.

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