Last week I went to Gen Con and, as usual, it was awesome. I got to see a bunch of friends I don’t get to see very often, I got to hang out with the Steve Jackson Games crew, getting to know them before I start working there, and I got to play in and run some great games. I’ll go through the latter, in no particular order.
I got a chance to run Becoming for a group of people, some of whom were backers, and it was great. It didn’t quite fit in the 2-hour slot because of some table chatter that took up time (explaining rules, talking about where the story should be going, and some confusion on how much to ask for in a bargain), but it was a success none the less. We played the “Exodus” Quest, and it was a lot of fun.
I also ran the “The Witching Hour” Quest for Clark and Amanda Valentine and John Adamus before the con started, and that was quite a lot of fun. One of the players even told me about having had nightmares about the game afterward, which I take as a good sign.
Aliens vs. Jedi
I ran this Fate Accelerated hack for some people and we all had a blast. Pro tip: if you call a thing “Aliens vs. Jedi” and let people make their own characters, they will all make Jedi. Every one of them. Seriously, there was not a droid or smuggler or starship pilot in the group. The closest thing we had to a non-Jedi was a mechanic-turned-Jedi.
The game took place between episodes III and IV, during the rise of the Empire and the formation of the Rebel Alliance. The players were a rebel crew, basically an independently operating cell of rebels who would occasionally phone home to central command, but mostly operated on their own. They were charged with rescuing another rebel crew from an Imperial detention facility in a remote system. When they got there, they found that it was both a detention facility and a research facility, and that the subjects of the research (the xenomorph) had gotten out. Chaos ensued. Jedi died and turned to the Dark Side during the course of the adventure. Very satisfying.
Carolina Death Crawl
Jason Morningstar’s Carolina Death Crawl is a game about southern Union soldiers who get separated from their unit, trapped behind enemy lines after having just gone through the state burning, looting, and pillaging. It’s a card-based RPG designed for one-shots and, as with many of Morningstar’s games, it’s dark and moody in the best way possible. Highly recommended.
Jason Pitre’s Spark is a really interesting RPG that does a couple of things really well. First, it focuses on what PCs believe, and the only way to advance your character is to confront those beliefs and either confirm or refute them in some way. Second, I really like the way the conflict mechanic interacts with scene framing. Scene framing is a collaborative affair, with different players at the table taking responsibility for different facets of framing. Those who don’t participate in framing get to introduce and control NPCs, which is fun. The way Spark defines a conflict is simple: when two players at the table disagree about what happens next, there’s a conflict. The other players at the table get to support the participants, abstain, or introduce their own version of what happens, rolling against the other participants.
The Demolished Ones
The Demolished Ones came out at Gen Con, and is available now, so I ran a four-hour session of it at Games on Demand. It was a rousing success. The players loved the setting, loved Fate, and loved the amnesia conceit and its impact on character creation. A couple of them spotted the heavy Dark City influence on the game, and loved that too.
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