GameX 2015 Recap
I could spend some time waxing rhapsodic about how awesome the weekend was, but nobody really wants to read that, so let’s just get down to the important thing, the games.
Voyages of the Starship Loki (Fate Core, Me, Friday 2pm)
Lately I’ve been very curious about how games would work in different game systems, so for the last couple of cons I’ve been taking a game I ran in one system and running it again in a different system. For this convention I picked a Star Trek-esque sci-fi game that I originally ran in Hero System and re-ran it in Face Core. It would be difficult to find two more different game systems, but interestingly the game play was very much like it was the first time. (More about that in a minute) I am abjectly flattered and humbled by the caliber of players that I get. Eric, Hamish, Dana and Morgan you guys totally made this game.
- Sven Ericksson (Morgan), the dashing Nordic captain of the TEV Loki.
- Siobhan Westerbridge (Hamish), the fanatical imperial ideologue and political officer.
- Dryx (Dana), the alien science officer from the Tualla, a spiritual fish based people.
- Gregory Fielding (Eric), the brilliant but idealistic young ship’s doctor.
Even at hyperspace speeds it takes a fair amount of time to get between star systems so the crew started the game as their ship’s AI (Eve) woke them from cryo-sleep with the news that they were entering a system with an interesting planet. As this fit right into their mandate to find new planets for the Terran Empire to colonize they set to work finding out about the system, and the 4th planet that seemed to fit into the standards for human habitation. Closer inspection indicated an M type planet with atmosphere and gravity within the acceptable ranges and signs of habitation. In fact it appeared that there was right then a battle going on in orbit around the planet. A fleet of smaller ships attacked a single larger ship. The pc’s, faced with a conflict between an offshoot race of humans that are misguided offspring of clones created in a secret experiment, and an insect like race that really just wants to live peacefully and not be bothered, have to navigate this problem and find a solution. What that solution might be is up to them to figure out. This was a great game with amazing players. Interestingly they followed essentially the same path as the original game.
Falling Stars (Classic Traveller, Chris Kubasik, Friday 8pm)
It’s been a long time since I got to play classic Traveller, and this game didn’t disappoint. Chris is a great story teller and a great gm. Add to that the total fun of making (and killing off) characters during character generation and you have an evening of rollicking fun and laughs.
Kingsman (Fate Core, Me, Saturday 9am)
Not often do I walk out of a theater already planning how I’m going to make a game out of what I just saw, but Kingsman was an exception. It so completely lends itself to a role playing game that I simply could not pass up on it.
- Lancelot (Robert), the leader of the group who solves problems in his own … particular … ??? … (idiom sir?) … yes yes idiom.
- Percival (Mook), earnest champion of justice who comes from more humble beginnings than the other Kingsman.
- Galahad (Robert Q), The pure hearted lion of good who really doesn’t want to fight, but when he does …
- Bohrs (Matt), Doggedly determined defender of the Realm
Warned of a threat to the crown by unknown parties the Kingsman set out to find out who’s making this threat and how serious it is. After explosions, firefights, quite a bit of snappy banter, one crashed blimp, and a plunge from a third story window resulting in the bad guy being impaled on a stray halberd the Kingsman once more saved the realm from disaster. I cannot say often enough how fortunate I am in the players that I get. These guys brought my paltry little story to life and made it truly amazing. They perfectly captured the spirit and the flavor of Kingsman. My only regret is that I’d forgotten my digital recorder so I didn’t get a recording of this game.
Wages of Despair (Bulldogs!) (Bulldogs! Fate, Morgan Ellis, Saturday 8pm)
Ok, how can you not enjoy playing a psychotic teddy bear with an affinity for arson? Admittedly there were some rough spots in this game caused by a player who ultimately left the game, but aside from that it was a spectacular game, which is no less than what I expect from a gm the likes of Morgan Ellis. You just can’t argue with a universe with murderous teddy bears, space Nazis, three armed three legged aliens, plant people and assorted other interesting folks. A bit of a darker spin flavored with “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Wages put us into a starship built from cast off parts and leftover junk and IF we managed to survive we would arrive just in time to get jumped for our insanely volatile cargo. Never underestimate the ingenuity of player characters though, particularly when we’re sitting on a 40-megaton cargo of anti-matter. Not only did we manage to survive we convinced our company man captain to go in with us and embark on a life of space piracy.
Vinternacht (Fate Core, Me, Sunday 9am)
I like Vikings, so sue me. The idea of a group of related Vikings; an aging warrior, his grown daughter, her son, and the mother of her murdered husband trying to survive in the village against the soldiers loyal to the Earl who wants them dead interested me. When I wrote this game I had an uncharacteristically clear idea of how I thought the game might progress. That should have been a warning to me that I was totally wrong which I of course was. Instead of fleeing the village they immediately went to retrieve the body of their fallen and were attacked by the Earl’s men. Having survived this fight did they run? No, of course not, instead, they took the body and went to confront the Earl, and incense the town against the unjust rule of the Earl. Now, admittedly I expected that to happen, but not until later in the game. Not long afterwards, the Earl dead, his wife and son fled with the remains of his guard, and the town literally calling for on of the player characters to take up the Earl’s seat, the characters set off in pursuit of the escaping wife of the earl and her son, another case of truly spectacular players making gold out of my little idea for a game. This game focuses around a character who never appears in person in the form of Torkel, a mighty and well respected warrior and leader, murdered by the Earl’s men because they fear his ambition.
- Brigga (Robert), the wife of Torkel, shield maiden and mother.
- Einar (Matt), the son of Torkel who will in time become Earl when he is grown.
- Hrannulf (Mook), the father of Brigga, an aging warrior who though past his prime still has plenty of fight in him.
- Alfhildr (Tomes), the mother of Torkel and the wise woman of the village who’s clever use of the runes and her knowledge of the townsfolk allowed her to rouse the town against the Earl.
This game was my personal highlight of the convention. All the other games I played in or ran were wonderful and fun and awesome, but this one was truly spectacular in how the players took hold of the game and poured themselves into it.
The Fall of Galactor (GURPS, Mook, Monday 9am)
Take a trip back to the 70’s, and jump into the Phoenix, the amazing flaming airplane piloted by a group of plucky teenagers who protect the world from the evil forces of Galactor, then throw in a bunch of punchy gamer murder hobos on a Monday morning at the tail end of con and the result is a magical mingling of dark humor, psychotic murder and infantile humor. The game was totally awesome as any game run by the incomparable Mook is going to be. It was the perfect way to end the con with mayhem and fun.
Mook is the grand master of game prep and if you’ve never had the opportunity to see his setup, you are totally missing out. When I grow up as a gm I know what I want to be.
Final Thoughts and Parting Shots
GameX 2015 was a great time and tons of fun. It’s always a blast to get to see people that I only see at conventions and to play with people I don’t get many opportunities to play with. If you’ve never been to a Strategicon event I highly recommend going.
Cheers, see you at Gateway.