Origins 2013 Recap

Posted: 18th June 2013 by Victor Wyatt in Events

This year my trip to Origins was a bit more chaotic than it has been in past years. A few weeks ago I thought I was just splitting a room with a friend who lives in the (near) Columbus area but a couple gamers I know, local to me, got stiffed by the guys they were splitting their room with. The upshot, we all four pooled resources and had a great time along with a cheaper split on the hotel cost. That and I had someone to ride down with.

I expected to do a little shopping in the exhibit hall but I did less than I usually do. This year I only came back with two games, It’s Complicated and Abnormal by Joe Mcdaldno (a game written for the Indie Games on Demand GMs with extras sold through IPR). I was just too busy with friends and playing games in IGoD.

Wednesday

We took off for the con midday. I got to ride this time; Shane drove and Jim was the other passenger. The trip is only a couple hours and we had some good conversation on books, movies and games. It was a nice laid back trip to Columbus without anything eventful which is exactly how I like the first day travel.

Once we for to Columbus we met up with Bill, who the three of us were splitting the room with. Then it was time for food. BD’s Mongolian Grill serves amazing food cooked traditional Mongolian style. You get in line and fill a bowl with the ingredients you want. At the end of the line is the grill. It’s huge, round and very hot. Even with the heat from the grill the restaurant didn’t have the humidity from outside so it was much relief after the walk from the hotel to get food.

The rest of the evening was us getting our badges and relaxing some.

Thursday

In the morning I stopped by IGoD for my first game. Nathan Paoletta ran his game Vesna Thaw for a group of us. It rocked! I could say this about most of the games I played but it’s really cool to get to play a game run by the designer. Vesna Thaw is a game of post-apocalypse Russia where you play robot pilots whose robots are cobbled together from scraps. In character gen you design your robot by drawing the parts on the character sheet, passing it around to get parts from all the players at the table. During play we encountered many strange things including Holo-Stalin, Mecha-Putin and Mummy Rasputin. It was crazy fun and I plan on running it for the home group sometime.

Shane and I met up for lunch at Barley’s Brewing Company across from the convention center. We wanted to get the promo pint glass and check out their Point of Origin micro-brew. It’s a Belgian style wheat beer. I thought it was pretty good but then that’s my taste in beers. It went very well with my fish sandwich and fries.

Then it was time for an initial scan of the exhibit hall. At this point I thought I would be back to the hall later for anything I found on the first pass but that didn’t happen. This is when I picked up It’s Complicated and Abnormal from IPR. I was also not really impressed with the showing this year. It was better than last but still ended up underwhelming.

Then it was back to IGoD where I played Curse the Darkness by Matthew McFarland. He’s a really cool guy and one devious GM which made the game even better. The game takes place ten years after He came into power. He is the destroyer of ideologies whether they are religious, political or just personal. He uses the shadows for this destruction. The players live in this aftermath where at any moment, if you prove to be unkind to people or practice any kind of ideological rite, you face the wrath of Him through shadows that open up unleashing death in the form of hideous monsters.

Friday

In the morning I played in a game of Dungeon World run by Jeremy Friesen. Bill also played in this game with me and a couple other players. It was cool to see Jeremy be so accommodating for Bill who has hearing problems and needs to use hearing aids. It was also Bill’s first game of Dungeon World. Later on he told me how much fun he had. Our characters were ambushed and we explored a hidden temple that housed a gem related to Bill’s character’s order of clerics. His journey was planned as a fool’s errand but the gem turned out to actually exist. It also turned out to be something we didn’t actually want. It read our secrets and recorded them.

A few of us went to North Market for lunch. I got an excellent blackened catfish sandwich. The food there is so fresh. I’m so glad I was introduced to the place by the IGoD people a few years ago. This place sure beats all the fast food you get in the convention center and at much better prices. Well, anything can beat the convention center food. That’s not hard to do, but North Market is amazing.

In the afternoon I played in a two-table game of Monsterhearts run by Kira Scott and Kat Jones. They ran it like a school day. There was chemistry, English and gym classes followed by a huge party after school at one of the NPC’s houses. I got to see a grudge match happen between one of the vampires and the witch. They used the infernal (and the rest of us) to mess with each other. Then the party blew up with the mortals spammed everyone with blackmail photos of all the school students except the other vampire who took a huge blow to the ego. It was a Buffy meets John Hughes kind of ending with the mortals showing up all the monsters.

Shane and I went to Max & Erma’s because it was close to where we were staying and where his LARPs were happening. By this point he had a couple blisters. They were only the first. I’d comment on Max & Erma’s food if it weren’t your typical sport’s bar kind of thing.

Aaron Sturgill ran Dread in the evening. I got to play with some really cool people Anna Kreider and her husband were among them. Dread is the infamous horror game that uses the Jenga tower as a means of resolving situations. If it falls the person who pulled the offending piece sees their character die in the game’s fiction. Our game played out very bleak. We were trying to survive a while after the zombie apocalypse. Our group was small but we found a safe haven until one of our number went missing and we “stumbled” upon another group armed with AK-47 assault rifles. During the game we only ever run across one zombie but we lost two of the adults and the thirteen year old kid cracked. Like I said, bleak. That game rocked!

Saturday

The day started out with a couple of us chatting and when Phil Vecchione and a con-going friend of his walked in (sorry I don’t remember your name). It was great to meet Phil after chatting on Google Plus. Then we asked (or I asked probably) Jonathan Lavallee about Critical!: Go Westerly about his game where you play straight in a comedic flavored world themed on Red Dragon Inn and it’s environs. All I have to say after the side-splitting fun is that you need to beware of the faeries, treat the kobolds (they are great self-esteem therapists) well and stand back in amazement at the stylings of Marten Iij, Thief Priest who was played by Stras Acimovic. At one point I was laughing so hard my jaw ached.

Lunch was at the North Market once again. This time it was polish sausage with kraut and pirogis. Because Phil and his friend hadn’t been there before we drug them along with. Having lunch at the North Market with friends is great. We had some conversation and relaxed before heading back to the con hall.

I sat in on session two of Mark Diaz Truman and Travis Scott’s Dungeon World longcon game. I wasn’t planning on doing the same game for three sessions so I passed up on the first session. They were great about fitting in people as others had to skip out on sessions. Because it was Dungeon World it was really easy to just make a character and join in. The game and all the politicing intrigued me enough that I looked forward to finishing the longcon on Sunday morning. I played a chaotic, human barbarian out to destroy the world. He also ended up siding with the orc faction for the most part though one of the other characters was an orc trying to teach them peace.

Max & Erma’s again because it was close and easy.

This time I played Dungeon World in the evening I wasn’t quite as pleased with the game. I think it was a mix of my tiredness and a mix of his GMing style. The game took way too long to get going even with making characters and it felt like he had no concept of fictional consistency. I also feel like the characters got stepped on and not in a good Dungeon World kind of way. If you know me and if you got this far in my post you’ll have an idea about how I like a tough fiction to play in. This session wasn’t that.

Sunday

After dragging myself out of bed I was looking forward to the end of the Dungeon World longcon. Travis and Mark pulled this off with so much flair that everyone was abuzz with chatter before the session even got going and then it only ramped up. I want to see them run another longcon. It really made Dungeon World feel like a live world. The factions all had their own agendas and the player characters got to advance a few times during play. There was just so much amazing from all sides that I don’t have enough room here to tell all. If you want to see how much fun it was you need to get into one of their games. You owe it to yourself.

Before heading home Shane, Jim, Bill and myself met up with LARPing friends at Buca di Beppo for some Italian. There were ten of us making the perfect size for family style dining. I first found out about the place in Indie with Alex Mayo and friends last year at GenCon. We had good food then and it was good food this year. I plan on making it part of GenCon this year if I can too.

The drive home was also pretty uneventful but we were exhausted by that point. Now I am home and looking forward to GenCon and seeing all these cool people once again.

Moments in Time

Posted: 17th June 2013 by Victor Wyatt in Design Projects

This morning on the drive to work I was listening to the book The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I watched the movie years ago and it was amazing but I am wrapped up in the story all over again with the book.

That sparked an idea.

I want to make a game where two players are trying to maintain a relationship. One of them is moving through time as any normal person and the other is popping around in time at random.

The game has two GMs as well. One represents the cause of the skipping through time and the other is the fate of the future. They both work together to put obstacles in the way of the characters.

To know how the scenes set up and to determine how the GMs cause difficulty the game uses two decks of cards; one is for the players and states where in time they are for the scene and the other states what kinds of difficulty the characters have to face.

Right now I am going with Moments in Time for the title. It needs to be better but it’s a start.

Origins and GenCon Games

Posted: 7th June 2013 by Victor Wyatt in Events

I was really debating on whether I wanted to run games this year at Origins (and later at GenCon) but this year started off odd. Up until this week I haven’t been that stoked to play or even run games. Once in a while I can get into a gaming funk. It’s what it is but I don’t ever stop having anything to do with games.

This week was different. Several people have been posting to the Indie Games on Demand Facebook page and it’s got me back in the mood. I’m looking forward to several cool games that came out recently that are shown up on the IGoD schedule. First off is Tenra Bansho Zero. Then there’s Dungeon World, Saga of the Icelanders, Carolina Death Crawl and an old favorite Kagematsu.

I’m also really looking forward to seeing all the people I’ve gotten to know at the cons last year and through social media, especially Google+. I play and talk about more gaming online than I do in my offline life. The people I know (and play with) on Google+ are some of the best gamers I’ve come to know. Attending both cons lets me see them in person where I always have the best time and wish it wasn’t over by the end of the weekend. I’m sure this year’s cons will be just the same.

Motte and Bailey Outpost

Posted: 5th June 2013 by Victor Wyatt in Mapping

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It took a bunch of painful playing around at lunch but here’s the first of my maps cleaned up through Gimp and Inkscape. I used to use Photoshop years ago. The last version I had was a Windows version of CS (yes, that would be the first CS). Because of the recent change to the subscription model with Adobe I decided to try out some free programs. I have to admit I am rather impressed with the results.

In a few days I’ll make another post of this map with the different buildings pointed out for detail along with some overall background for the outpost. If you have any suggestions just let me know. I’m most readily available on G+ as Victor Wyatt.

Old Moleskine Notebook

Posted: 3rd June 2013 by Victor Wyatt in Mapping

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The next few maps have been done in an old Moleskine notebook I had laying around. The paper is a bit thin so I had to cut up a thick chunk of paper for between pages when drawing and for when I took these photos. When I didn’t the next page was visible though the one I was looking at.

These are the first ones I am going to scan in for touch-up work. I’ll post them in a few days once I get to that stage as well as with anything I learned in the process of cleaning.