Tuesday, August 4, 2015

No RPG, Yes RPG - Gen Con 2015, Day 2

Saturday, August 1, 2015.
4:34 a.m.

Dan Repperger, the moderating host of Fear The Boot and an old friend of mine from my days as a school lad, just came into town less than 2 hours ago, and I just helped him polish of the better part of a pizza. It’s the 2nd actual meal I’ve had since 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, but I’ve packed in a lot in between those 2 meals.

So the day started much earlier than this.

I’d scheduled a roleplaying game on Friday at 11:00 a.m. to run a session of the RPG system I’d designed, the QuintSystem Roleplaying Game System, but out of everyone I knew who expressed interest in trying it out, none of them showed up.

Hey there, loser.

So I took on the Exhibitor’s Hall. Now, if you’ve never been to Gen Con and you’re considering going, what everyone usually suggests is that you save one day for walking around the Exhibitor’s Hall. They’re not joking. There are so many game design companies, authors, artists, and vendors where you can demo games for sale, buy games, buy custom clothing & costumes, game supplies, and really anything and everything related to tabletop and roleplaying games. I ended up purchasing 4 games and a graphic novel, plus some card sleeves. I’m the type of person that used to never see the need for card sleeves, but after seeing what one of my friends had done to a role card in my copy of The Resistance, I figured I would need some extra protection for my newly acquired box of Two Rooms and a Boom.

So, yeah, I walked. A lot. I mean, a TON of walking is what it takes to survive, and your body has to be ready for it. You have to have the right shoes. the right deodorant, the right constitution, and the patience to navigate the space. But then you have to be careful not to become overeager – if you skip sections in the exhibitor’s hall because you see something bright and shiny a few rows down, then you’ll be backtracking over areas multiple times while still completely missing certain rows.

Paradox - coming soon to a table near me.
Of course, if you plan ahead and schedule your games and events, you can get in on some great sessions. I sat in on a playthrough of Paradox, a game whose Kickstarter ended the Sunday before Gen Con. I participated in the Kickstarter, so I’m going to be getting a copy of the game, but playing it for the first time was a trip. Mix a wonderfully beautiful set of artwork to represent a planet’s past, present, and future timelines with a symbol matching/swapping mechanic to create energy so that you can save enough planetary timelines to gain victory points, and you’ve got a system that’s unique every time you play. It’s deceptively simple, but elegant enough that as you play, you can see things with a particular amount of certainty.

After that game was over, I ran into a couple who were running playtests of a new game of theirs in the Playtest Lounge. I had expressed an interest in playing their game the day befor, when I first walked in, but the only time slot left that I knew I could attend, 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, had already been sold out for. They told me to come by anyway, and if they had too many players, they would gladly hang out and play again later in the day. Sweet couple.

Junta. Like Risk and Monopoly, but longer and more political.
I had a few appetizer foods in the Executive Lounge with my hotel roommates and Mike Perna from Game Store Prophets, while we played a truncated -- but no less convoluted -- game of Junta for as long as we could muster. After that, Mike had to leave, and everyone else was eager to play some party games. I still had a hankering for a roleplaying game, so I decided I would hit the convention hall game floor to see if I could find a few people that wanted to play in a game I wanted to run.

I’ve learned that if you ask enough people if they want to play in an RPG that you’re running, you will eventually find people that will say yes. And I did after asking only about 20 people (it could have been a whole lot more!), and then gathering a couple more. I ran them through a truncated session of a game I ran at Fear The Con 8, although then, I ran it in the Risus system. 

The QuintSystem RPG system. Comi
Tonight, I ran the game using my own invention, the QuintSystem Roleplaying Game System, and I got overwhelmingly positive reviews from everyone at the table. So much so, that it’s caused me to think about how I can make the game even better for future play so that anybody and everybody can pick it up and start roleplaying, even if they’re brand new to the hobby. I was very encouraged.

Then some other stuff happened. I don’t know, I’m way too tired to remember all of it. I just know that today was a great time, and a wonderful experience. But when I’m ready to kick it down in a 10-person Mega Fiasco come 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, it’s gonna go off with a bang. Or a whimper. Something like that. Either way, it’ll be remembered.

Right now, it's 4:59 a.m. I gotta get some rest. I almost fell asleep while writing that last paragraph down here in the hotel lobby. See you on the flip.

There Is No Box. 
Zach

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