Monday, August 29, 2016

Fan Expo 2016 Schedule

It's that time of the year again. I'd like to thank Justin Mohareb for inviting me again to Fan Expo this year. My schedule is basically going to be panels and board games and ... maybe an RPG if I'm feeling up to it.

General Schedule is as follows though note I'm going to probably moderate more than I talk when it comes to panels and I'm not going to have a fixed OMG doing this game here schedule for game stuff.


Noon to 5:00 pm ish - Boardgame room running games!

5:45 pm - Publishing Your Own Tabletop Game
This is a fun one, lots of people with ideas that they want to talk about.


11:15 pm - Writing Adventure Games
I haven't been on this one in a while, so it will be fun to talk about writing other game stuff!

12:15 pm to 4:00pm ish - Boardgame room!

4:45 pm - Board Game Design
It's going to be said with Eric Lang on this one, but there's going to be a couple of people here to talk about board game design! This one tends to be more full than the RPG one, but then again boardgames.


12:15 pm - Getting Started in RPGs
Do you want to know how to get into playing RPGs? I'm sure there will be a lot of people here that will more than happy to share their knowledge about this!

1:45 pm - Promoting your game!
Now you have a game ... what does that mean? How do you get it into people's hands? How do you run demos and con games. This panels was really odd last year since we had lots of people attend and no one had a game they wanted to sell. Maybe this year will be different.

3:45 pm - The State of the Industry!
What horrifying tales can we tell you about the game design industry. Hellfire! Brimstone!
Actually, spoiler alert it's doing just fine.

Anyway, see you there soon!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Gen Con 2016 - J'ACCUSE!

Gen Con has come and gone again, and it was a great event. If you look into what I've written in the past (there isn't a lot and it's stretched out over time so you could do your research) and you'll see that I have not always thought so. The fact that it gets better and better every year is a testament to the hard work and dedication of a large number of people who work within Gen Con.

That said, what did I do this Gen Con?

We arrived early enough that I was able to hang out with my Smirk and Dagger crew for a while but it came time to hit some events. First thing I ended up going to the IGDN social and running into a huge number of the IGDN folks there. It came a point in time where I still had all my stuff with me and it was getting crowded at Laughmillers so I left about 30 minutes earlier than I intended, then I ran into Matt and Michelle who dragged me back to the social. Which was great, and we sat down and also ran into Rachel Kahn and made introductions all around.

Then it was time for Trade Day, where it started to bode well that J'accuse was going to be just fine. Everyone we talked to loved the game when they left, and even people came forward to ask what it was about without us having to prompt them.

This was day one, and I spent all of the day at the IGDN room over at the Marriot. I thought I was only running one game turns out I was running two games that day the first one was Chill and the second one was Critical!: Go Westerly.

Chill - Cold Dark Earth
The game went well. This is about the fifth time I've run this adventure so I've gotten it down pretty well. They players were spooked, not in a terror kind of way but one player was very much "I'm getting what feels like conflicting information, but I know there's got to be some common thread here. I love this!" It really shows how awesome Chill is as a game because you can totally evoke that feeling with the supernatural elements of the Unknown. They tried to take on the big bad, and I didn't even use all of its power and it manage to almost kill someone, mainly because they botched their roll and I colossal successed my roll and so with one punch I sent him across two lanes of highway. 

There was one issue that did come up, the players couldn't figure out how to defeat the creature. I did hint at several times what might be the answer, and they thought they had tried everything but the weapon right in front of them. This is a problem with any investigation game. You can give people all the clues that you want, but in the end sometimes they aren't going to get it. That's fine, in Chill because the mystery is usually how do you beat this thing, and if they don't get it they lose and/or get killed so it isn't as if it stops the play as much.

Critical!: Go Westerly - Just a Few Ingredients
This one is a fun little adventure that Geoff made from a one hour session that he devised for Fan Expo one year. I think it needs one more thing to make it a full 4 hour session, but sometimes with a comedy game you don't want to go a full four hours because being funny for four hours is hard.

There were some great moments in the game, the biggest was Matt who was playing Urist, ended up defacing a peat guild member's lawn by writing "WANKERS" in peat and setting it on fire. The thugs stopped and asked him if it was his battle cry, and once that was cleared up they started fighting again.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday
The rest of the con was spent being at the booth, and running events for Smirk and Dagger. They kind of blurr so I'll give people some highlights.

1. J'accuse sold out. We came in with 200 copies and we sold out on Saturday around 3:30-4:00pm. We could have easily sold another 50 copies of the game. There was some great word of mouth happening about the game and it showed with steady sales increases over the convention.

2. The Run For Your LIfe Candyman Game. Oh goodness how this child has grown. I realized how long we've been doing this game when after getting everyone into the kind of rituals we have around the game I had to sit down. I did it with a sigh of "this was easier when I was 25" and then I realized I had been doing it when I was 25 and that we had been doing this for 10 YEARS! We've had kids grow up playing this with us every Saturday and families and familiar faces and it's been amazing.

3. Playing with the Shut Up and Sit Down Folks. While we were in the middle of the Candyman game they walked over and asked if we had any games to play. We got to play a game of J'accuse where I ended up losing, in the most wonderful way. I thought I was safe, but I had mis-timed when I wanted to get hit with the motive in front of me and so everyone had all their cards in hand when it came time to nail me with the motive that would end the game. I had opened my copy, because we had sold out at that time, and when they left they wanted to know if they could have some review copies so I gave them that one because I can always get another personal copy.

We also played Dead Last, which was hilarious because we're all a wonderfully backstabby bunch and I ended up winning that game through a double cross at the end and a grab one and go which netted me enough to win the game. It was a very good time, and there were lots of laughs had by everyone.

With every Gen Con it was awesome to see everyone. I would name names but that would be a huge list that would require me at least an hour to type out everyone's name. You amazing people know who you are, and it's always great to see you.

Onwards and upwards to Fan Expo!

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