Saturday, July 05, 2008

Origins 2008 Blog! Post-Con Wrap-Up...


That’s about my whole mentality right now. Origins is a ton of fun, but it’s a massively exhausting venture. Now that I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and relax, I feel like I can give a little bit of a retrospective.

• I may have been a little too virulent in my distaste for the RPGA. While I’ve had quite a few bad experiences in the “Living” games, my game this year—“Return to the Moathouse”—was a really pleasant surprise. The other players, there, were a generally jovial group who really knew their game. I was a touch frustrated at the general lack of roleplaying, but it was really nice to see the tactical rules in action. I know that it’s a con game, so you typically get one or the other, but I may have to give the RPGA a second shot, now that we’re in 4e.

• 4e is a fantastic little system, but it definitely is going to require some changes to the way I game. I really like the speed of the rules, as well as the simplicity on the DMing end, but the way that combat is currently situated, it definitively needs a battlemap. My purchases, as I’ll talk a little bit later, kinda reflect that. That said, it really fosters imagination in terms of rituals and the like, which makes DMing authentic. I love it, but it’s going to take some changing on my end.

• I really should have had a little more variety in terms of my gaming. While all of my games were really well put together, I feel like I spent Origins playing the same things over and over—-WEGS, D&D, Dark Heresy, and Call of Cthulhu. Not that any of those are bad, but trying out some new things is all about what Origins is. I was somewhat jealous of Jules’ schedule, which had a fantastic variety. Her Saturday game alone—a d20 Modern conversion of the classic 2e D&D adventure “Expedition to the Barrier Peaks” was a unique little throwback. Lionel, as well, had a varied schedule, with a ton of new boardgames and the like. My schedule was fantastic, but was really very vanilla. Next year? Some spice!

• Late nights make for early-morning killers. The idea of playing Dungeon Slam! with El Willy and his crew has been a long time in coming, but doing it at 1:30 in the morning? Not such a great idea. Same thing with the Friday Midnight Session of WEGS…playing a game until 3:00 am utterly leaves you devastated the next day, no matter how late you sleep in. I was utterly astounded that so many of our little group wanted to play in a 2:00 am Mutant Academy game—luckily for them (sort of), it was cancelled, as the GM never showed.

• The gaming industry is really one of friendliness, across the board. All of the designers I’ve been able to meet—El Willy, Steve Jackson (last year), Mike Mearls, Michelle Nephew, Curt Covert—have been absolutely fantastic and completely receptive. Talking shop with Curt was an absolute pleasure, and gave me some solid ideas on how to change things. It’s Michelle, though, that’s given me the most to think about. I’m not a big note-taker, but I ended up with 5 pages of notes. And because of this…

• I have a ton of work to do on Dungeon Slam! A ton. That’s not even putting it mildly. I was somewhat embarrassed as the cards for the demo on Wednesday night were messy and hard to read, with all of the hand-written revisions I’ve made. Michelle had said that, when submitting to a company you want your product to be “as neat and as professional as possible, without spending”. The next few months are going to be hectic, as I keep working on DS 3.5e.

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