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Gen Con 50 games wrap-up part 1 August 22, 2017

Posted by thejinx in conventions, life.
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20863249_10155060707918155_8257465401688659497_oGen Con has been my favourite convention/festival since the first time I went there seven years ago. It’s always been my best event for sales and the atmosphere is so welcoming. The tens of thousands of gamers who descend upon Indianapolis are the friendliest bunch of geeks I’ve had the pleasure to be with. And unlike even other massive fan events, the celebration of geekdom spreads well beyond the convention centre and takes over all of downtown Indianapolis. It is the most inviting place for a gamer to be.

There’s one thing I’ve been doing wrong most of the years that I’ve gone, however. I keep missing the point: the games.

Usually, the gaming I take in at Gen Con is an unplanned scramble of trying to find something to play (a rather daunting problem for someone bad at improvisation), without knowing a vast majority of the games there and often not having any company to do so (a fairly insurmountable problem for an introvert). This goes about as well as one might expect. Not to say that I haven’t done my share of gaming there, but it tends to come about more as a happy accident* than through any effort on my part.

This year, I decided to change that pattern. I thoroughly perused the event catalogue and made selections that I submitted the moment event registration opened, scheduling my Thursday through Saturday evenings full up.

It was absolutely the right idea for me. Even though I was strapped for time getting to all my events, I felt much more at ease having a set schedule and I got to try out a number of new games. I didn’t feel like I missed out on the true fun of Gen Con, as I do sometimes when I struggle to find something to play (and often don’t manage to).

In fact, I enjoyed the games I took in this weekend so much that I wanted to write up a summary of them while details are still fresh in my mind. Thursday’s results follow; Friday and Saturday will come in later posts. Due to length and the fact that this is only really of interest to me, the rest is hidden behind the cut tag.

* speaking of happy accidents, have you heard about the new Bob Ross game?

Thursday – 7:00-11:00: Lockdown: A Star Wars LARP

This was the first LARP I had ever been to. I had done something similar several years ago, but it wasn’t a complete success, nor quite the same thing. The story here took place during the Rogue One era, on a space station which had drawn a number of elite guests for an Ithorian art exhibit until an unspecified event put the station on lockdown.

My character was described as someone who had been taken in under Darth Vader’s wing, was force-sensitive, and who had two goals: to investigate rumours of kyber crystals on the station (and to try to acquire them), and to investigate rumours of Jedi on the station (with the goal to either convert them, subdue them and bring them to Vader, or to kill them).

As previously mentioned, I am bad at improvisation (this is why I write), so I made some mistakes in this game that, looking back, were really quite obvious fumbles. My main problem was I took my character sheet entirely at face value. I assumed that the “characters I knew” listed on my character sheet – only one of whom was cast in the game – were my only allies in the room. I therefore treaded very carefully in all my interactions with everyone aside from my one known ally and spent a lot of effort in trying to keep my cover. Instead, I could have been making alliances with some characters I never spoke with but who were likely to have similar objectives, such as station security. This was the main reason I failed to achieve my second goal, even though I literally came face to face with the Jedi I was searching for right near the end of the game.

For another thing, because it was not explicitly spelled out on my character sheet, I didn’t even realize until the GM’s post-game wrap-up that I was in fact an Inquisitor. Had I put two and two together, I might have taken a more aggressive stance when faced with said Jedi and possibly achieved that second goal, especially considering how powerful my character was.

I did obtain the kyber crystals pretty early in the game, mostly through luck and partly through a rare bold maneuver of telling a fence specifically that I was looking for them (and who happened to know precisely who had them). I probably should have taken a cue from that, but again, I’m much better at analysing situations after the fact than thinking on my feet.

I ended up spending a fair bit of the evening milling around the room, trying to listen to conversations and keep my identity concealed, partly also because my character really didn’t have any interest in the other more major sub-plots of the game.

Ultimately, I had a lot of fun, and considering my disadvantages and despite the sheer luck that went into it, I count it as a victory that I did achieve one of my goals. I also felt good when another player commended my performance of the character as “stone cold”. Given that it was my first true LARP, I feel fairly good about how I played and I’d certainly be interested in trying it again. My thanks to Marshall and Nancy Grunwell and Chris and Sara Marten-Naj for putting together an entertaining game and for all their hard work developing the story, characters, and gaming system for it.

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1. Gen Con 2018 games wrap-up part 1 | Jinxed - August 6, 2018

[…] Gen Con has come to an end. I had a blast, as always, particularly since I took a cue from last year and scheduled my evenings full, rather than leaving myself to my own […]


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