12 Jan

Gaming Plans 2009

I have managed to review my gaming in 2008, which was quite successful given how often I travel and how ill I was in the early half of the year. Planning for 2009 is quite difficult.

Part of the problem is that we have had regular monthly TomCons at ours once a month and my friends and I have sampled a wide range of roleplaying games and a smaller set of boardgames. We had the first TomCon of 2009 this weekend past and had a great game of Britannia followed by a fun game of Serenity rpg, spoiled only by my being in rather a silly mood. The weekends are great, they fulfill all the key needs, meeting good friends, eating, some drinking, playing games you’ve never tried and running some of the rpgs we all have on our shelves and which we look at with guilt everytime we walk past them..

I am very happy with TomCons.

But I also need to run something over a slightly longer period of time. Now I am not unaware that my work life (40% away from home) means that I am very unreliable for ongoing weekly games, but it has been possible before to start a series of games (usually with my son and his friends or my mate Martin) and stagger through 5-6 sessions without too many interruptions. Indeed I ran D&D like that for over 2 years when I first moved back to Sheffield. About 50% of Tuesdays I am at Martin’s and we are currently playing our way through a Pathfinder/D&D game. Only problem is that we never seem to get more than 2 players and ref on Tuesdays and that’s almost too close to zero sometimes. My son and his friends are too busy playing World of Warcraft to play trad rpgs these days, altho’ maybe I could drag them together for a one-off sometime.

There are cons. Due to my issues with Gwenthia, or possibly a broader rush of anxiety, I haven’t run any scenarios at cons for some years. I got in a real tizzy about it all, which is very odd and quite embarassing. I have some confidence that I may have faced that bugbear and won, providing I use published material and stay away from commitments with or to others, but simply turn up, post up and play. We’ll see.. I shall certainly do 2 cons this year, probably Conpulsion (but watch how work stacks up), Furnace (better turn up to that one) and maybe 1-2 others. That means that quietly and without too much fuss I could run 2-4 games at cons.

I could play/run at our local hobby shop: Patriot Games on Monday nights. Now this is a seemingly sensible idea. There is a shop, it is full of roleplayers, the games are often over subscribed. But oddly getting players is difficult. I sat with 2 players running Savage Worlds 50fathoms for some weeks next to a d20 game that was massively overfull, and yet despite a nice poster and making it clear (I think) that we’d happily take onboard 2 more players, we never got another one. Perhaps a game of something mainstream might attract more players, or perhaps I need to ask the owner to use his pull and drag in some players to make a full group? I’d be happy with a five week run if I could pull it off.

So, where does that leave me?

Well. It says that I have about 5-6 one-offs that I can run this year. That’s good fine gaming as long as I have cured the con jinx, but even if not I can probably do 3. It says that as long as I am ok with 2 players I can run maybe 8 sessions on a Tuesday in a spread over 4 months.. and that can be almost any kind of gaming, as long as it’s not Middle Earth (unless they play uruk-hai hunting hobbits). It says that if I get my local shop owner to help I could do a 5-6 week run on Mondays at the shop.

You know, that’s not at all bad. I think I can move forward and plan.. 3-6 one-offs and 2 5-6 week story arcs..

29 Dec

Games Games Games: 2008 Retrospective

So time has come to try and write a plan for gaming in 2009 which I can then fail to achieve, but which is fun in a kind of speculative daydreaming way. To do that I need to first mull over 2008 and see where I am coming from before I know where I am going to..

I tried in 2008 to focus on setting and not system, I am not so sure how well I succeeded.

In terms of purchases I tried to resist or at least go second hand. I bought quite a bit of Earthdawn second hand or very very cheap (when the USD-GBP rate was almost 2:1) since I loved the setting way back when but never ran it. I have sold a lot of Glorantha stuff and will continue to do so. I bought an AFMBE book, and I rather fell in love with the Paizo Pathfinder Chronicles and bought and read the first three even though they are D&D [I’d probably Savage them]. I avoided buying the new Basic Roleplaying book from Chaosium, which is fortunate since last week I saw a copy and realised that as a credited playtester I was entitled to a free copy.. it arrived today. I resisted the Battlestar Galactica rpg, but will succumb in 2009, I faced down the nostalgic pull of Dragon Warriors and despite resisting Trail of Cthulhu I did buy a few GUMSHOE games (same system) and enjoyed reading them. My ongoing love for the City of Freeport setting went wild as the setting went system free, but I haven’t fully read or played there. My purchase of the Blue Rose rpg must be put down to gspearing geeing me up, although it’s a very interesting setting.

Gwenthia, our shared world fantasy setting, has been getting me down all year. I can’t keep up the leadership role and the creative tensions have driven me away from the setting and all d100 game systems. My angst about this drove me into a cycle that meant I couldn’t face running any games at cons in 2007 or 2008, and as such I have done nothing with it all year.My

I ran Talislanta several times, which was a huge buzz for me since I’ve loved the setting for years, but somehow thought it was too big and weird for my friends. What nonense! It’s like Glorantha or The Forgotten Realms; you take a small area and just game away like it was 1976 and the idea of a huge game world didn’t exist yet.. I was delighted by how simple and smooth the system ran, and I think that all the games have been great successes, especially the one at a TomCon.

I don’t think I ran anything else this year until December when I ran Mean Streets, a noir rpg set in 1943 New York. Very much a settings led choice, since the system is very light and the setting/adventures very generously provided in the cheap pdfs.

My rpg BBS, The Tavern, has pootled along ok this year with only one php insertion attack and one migration between servers which my friend Simon managed well. The migration threw everyone’s cookies bonkers and I am still not sure everyone who wants auto login has it. We hosted the chat forum for the Continuum and Furnace cons, and people seem to enjoy hanging out there in a small cosy environment. I am grateful that when things get sticky Simon helps.

So, did I achieve much? Well for a year when I have been really quite unwell I have played a lot of great games, but not run many. So be it. I have greatly enjoyed playing Wordplay, lots of Savage Worlds, Traveller, Sufficiently Advanced, SCION, Atlantis, D&D 4e (!), Pathfinder Beta, SimpleQuest and many others so I think 2008 turned out to be the year of playing, and in fact it was great fun with great friends!

Next year.. or in a few days.. my 2009 plans!

.

08 Dec

Gaming Style

You Scored as Method Actor

You think that gaming is a form of creative expression. You may view rules as, at best, a necessary evil, preferring sessions where the dice never come out of the bag. You enjoy situations that test or deepen your character’s personality traits.

Method Actor
92%
Storyteller
83%
Butt-Kicker
50%
Specialist
50%
Tactician
33%
Power Gamer
25%
Casual Gamer
0%

13 Oct

Five Days until Furnace

It’s just FIVE days to Furnace 2008 and we have over 70 attendees signed up, over 50 games scheduled and planned, various publishers and traders coming and the ever welcoming gaol cells all warm and welcoming. It’s all hands on at Furnace Central, ensuring we have sign up sheets and flip charts and name badges and the Con book. Hopefull it’s all hands on with you too, digging out your dice, packing your toothbrush and manhandling your rulebooks into a manageable pile. If you’re up on Friday night then gspearing and newt will be in the Garrison bar for ‘pre-Con’ drinks, if not then Tom will see you bright eyed and bushy tailed on Saturday morning. [You bring the bright eyes and bushy tails, I’ll bring the handouts..]

I’m looking forward to it all quite a bit. I’ve carefully ensured I am not running any games so I don’t get under pressure from that, I have some clear tasks to do, and apart from the badges which I am relieved to say darransims has stepped in to do, I am on top of most things. My wish is to relax, ensure that it all runs smoothly, and enjoy some of the very great games that GMs have offered and newt has organised so well.

Oh, and world capitalism ended today.. LOL

15 Apr

True20

Here it is: a free True20 licence (like d20 or RuneQuest or Traveller) and a revised edition of the rules, combining the Companion with the original rulesbook. Very nice.

http://greenronin.com/2008/04/true20_adventure_roleplaying_t.php
http://greenronin.com/2008/04/now_available_true20_adventure.php

Now I am rather in love with playing Talislanta and therefore the Omni system right now, but anytime soon I just know I am going to go all True20. It’s a lovely clean, lean, roleplaying game that keeps enough of the d20/D&D system but leaves out all the deadwood. If Wizards had released this as D&D 3e, I’d be still playing it now..

09 Mar

Talislanta Gaming Weekend

We had our second gaming weekend session. Simon stayed over last night and today we played my first ever Talislanta game. I have adored Talislanta for years and years and (according to Simon and Graham) wittered about it but never run it. It’s been something I have been a little unsure of letting people see since it is so cosmopolitan and alien and a little silly.. and everyone loved the setting, the system, I managed to ft the whole scenario in and everyone had FUN! FUN is our objective and so success all round.

I am SO happy!

17 Feb

Gaming Weekend

Our gaming weekend has been going very well. We had a great game of Twilight Imperium on Saturday, although it would have gone much quicker if we had not had to clip out little spaceships for 90 minutes first. Once we got going we found the game runs quite smoothly and although the huge numbers of tokens did get a leetel unwieldy we enjoyed it. We played for about 7 hours but didn’t quite finish, next time we should complete a full 5-6 player game in about 7-8 hours. Mind you.. it may be some time before we get the chance. Dom and Simon and I then sat up with Ann until quite late putting the world to rights and talking about manufacturing and work..

From Twilight Impe…


Today Dom is running his Savage Worlds conversion of the classic 2300AD adventure “Mission Arcture”. Graham and I are playing Aussie Special Forces and sitting here with Billabong outback hats and Aussie T-shirts from when I was at Ayers Rock.. The game is running quite well.. I hope people enjoy it.

From Gaming Weeken…

I think that the Savage 2300AD game showed that 2300AD works fine with the Savage ruleset and indeed can cope with awesomely overpowered weapon systems and still run well. Sadly, having played the scenario twice it is basically a long corridor with an endless supply of Kafers to kill. We had fun but I think there may be better ways to enjoy 2300AD with any system. As I said, we had fun and big thanks to Dom..

Dom’s writeup is here.

From Gaming Weeken…
From Gaming Weeken…
From Gaming Weeken…