Wednesday, April 04, 2012

GameStorm 14

So. A few weeks back, Stephanie and I went to GameStorm 14. I've been to a few small local game conventions, ranging from DragonFlight to the (now defunct) SeattleGameCon.

I've spent the last few years wanting to go - but not with any degree of drive.

I now regret that decision.

The convention was held in the town of Vancouver, Washington - it's about a three hour drive from home. Just far enough that getting a hotel room is a better idea than driving, but not so far that getting a hotel is a strict requirement. We did, however, get a hotel room. In part because we weren't sure how the parking situation was going to be - and this is always an issue at conventions. In part because we had a friend in town from California.

We checked in on Thursday night, and went to see what sort of food Vancouver had to offer. While out walking, we spotted a movie theater showing what is - quite possibly - the best film ever made: The Princess Bride. This, for me, was a strong indicator that it was going to be a good weekend.

Well, that and the food we had for dinner that night.

At the theatre, they were serving Dublin Dr Pepper. Another good sign.

Following the movie, we headed back to the room and crashed.

On Friday, I had two panels scheduled - one at 9am and one at 3pm. The 9am panel was "Statistics for Gamers" - and it was helpful and interesting. Some really good information that will be helpful as I continue working on my own game designs.

The 3pm panel was on designing characters you'd like to play. It was ... well ... the panelists were good. There were a few audience members I'd like to have tagged with a clue-by-four.

In between the two panels, I headed to Blue Moon Camera for a bit of geeking out with our visiting friend (who is ALSO a camera nut). Picked up some film and dropped some off for processing.

That evening, we went out to dinner again, and again had an amazingly good dinner.

Saturday, I had two games - a 9am Mistborn RPG session and a 2pm Psi-Punk game. Each was scheduled to run for four hours.

I had been really looking forward to the Mistborn game. A friend of mine got me hooked on the books a few months ago, and then dropped the tidbit that an RPG was in development. I've pre-ordered one through my game store (random aside: do we all use the possessive when discussing our local game stores?), and may order a hardcover direct from the publisher as well.

Gaming at a convention is an odd beast - you never know who will be at the table with you and how you'll click. And the fact that it's a one-shot can radically change the behavior of players.

In this case, my fears were unfounded. There were four players plus the GM, and we all clicked pretty well. I spent four hours laughing and generally having an excellent time. We all knew the setting, and they filled in enough of the system that we weren't lost from the beginning.  It was one of the best one-shots in which I have ever played.

Psi-Punk is an upcoming FUDGE-based game. Most of you probably already know this, but I love FUDGE. I own a significant number of FUDGE-based games (and I'm including FATE games in this). FUDGE is the universal system I like most.

Unfortunately, I didn't click as well with the players, and the lack of familiarity with the setting made this a bit of an awkward exercise for me. Don't get me wrong: I had a good time. I liked the game. It was just a bit awkward.

HEAD IN FISH!Following Psi-Punk, we went out and took some photos. Mostly, we were just goofing off with the smaller cameras to get comfortable with them, but we did break out my big camera for a few shots.

Those have not been developed, yet. To the left, you can see what happens when you find a large fish sculpture and have a Polaroid Land Camera 210 close at hand. And you're in the company of someone who is a bit goofy.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Dinner on Saturday was in the hotel's in-lobby restaurant.  It was ... it wasn't as good as the dinner the two previous nights had been, but it was still pretty tasty. And they had a cheese platter for dessert - something for which I am a bit of a sucker.

Sunday, I played Wits & Wagers. We took second, but I didn't need the prize (a copy of the game) so we passed it along to the third-place finisher.

All in all, it was a busy weekend and a lot of fun.  Well worth the price of admission, and we hope to attend again next year.

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