Forge Midwest 2009

Here’s some stuff I did at Forge Midwest this last weekend.

Friday: Tim and I arrived at the hotel before anyone else.  We played Fury of Dracula 2 player- it was Tim’s first time, and probably the weakest game of Fury I’d ever played.  Tim wasn’t really into it.  Dave the Deranged showed up during this.  I think after that we played Jungle Speed.  There was lots of Jungle Speed at the con.

Dave had his Nerf guns and there was lots of screwing around with Nerf guns and pretending to be zombies.  (This too, would happen a lot at the con, culminating in one of the two rooms being designated as a no-nerf gun area, and us telling the hotel desk guy that if he heard zombies it was just us.  Which is the exact wrong advice to give in case a zombie apocalypse were to happen.)

More locals showed up, Ron Edwards showed up, and Jae and Amanda from far away (Michigan?) showed up.  We split up for two games- I ‘ran’ Escape from Tentacle City for Ron, Jae, Abrahm, and Jerry.  At the other table, Len ran Ghost/Echo or whatever it’s called for Tim, Amanda, and Dave.

Escape was horribly awesome, as always.  Survivor groups included midgets, a Mexican street gang, high school dropouts, 3rd graders, and an Islamic Terrorist cell.  Horrible guilt ensued.  The system is really humming along- I think I need to just adjust a few phrasings.  The core rules just plain work, but need some tweaking.  Ron suggested lowering the available Stress lslightly (to 2/3 from 3/4), and I think he’s spot on.

It’s Complicated got some play.  I played with Len, Tim, Ron, Jerry, and Abram.  I’m not sure what else got played.  Ron was very passionate about getting to try It’s Complicated, and it was a pretty successful session, despite bumbling through the rules a little bit.

Saturday had quite a few playtests- I tested Ron’s new game about the Lebanon Civil War, which is like Spione, but with twice as complicated card play, and with a twice as depressing setting.  I’ve played more upbeat sessions of Grey Ranks.  I was fricking tired, and the setting didn’t terribly engage me.  But it was a dirty mechanics playtest.

As a nice upbeat capstone to Witness (I don’t recall the Arabic word, but that’s what it translates to), we played a nice game of MAID, with Ron, Amanda, Juli, and late joiners Abram and local gamer girl Sam.  Anime madness ensued, with an incompetent supervillain master (young Dr. Doom, sort of), meddling spy maids, wacky catgirl maids, a cyborg ghost maid, and a almost mostly normal maid.  A poorly-controlled summoned demon, a random-event spawning copy of the Necronomicon, and a shrinking potion made sure that the insanity didn’t stop.

After that, I playtested Tim Koppang’s new 1-on-1 player game, Mars Colony, where you play a city planner in over your head at the problem-ridden Mars Colony.  It was amazing fun, with a solid mechanical ground, cutting political satire, and Tim running it really sold it.  I had a blast as Maggie Yang, who bludgeoned all her problems with hard work, positive thinking, and Maoist ideology, and solved the crime and sewage problems of Mars Colony, even if she had to completely destroy human rights and freedoms in order to do it.

I ran a short demo of Awesome Adventures for the Walking Eye podcaster Kevin, and then did a short interview with him.  Expect to see that one coming soon!

Somewhere in here were games of Race for the Galaxy, more Jungle Speed, exciting monologues with Ron Edwards (more entertaining Saturday night when the peanut gallery was a little tired and drunk, resulting in Ron responding with “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard,” to a player lovingly describing her centaur wizard with the Fly spell) waiting for other games to wrap up so new games to start, and fighting with nerf guns during said waits, and sending Tim for food and caffiene.

Sunday many of the people who were there just wanted to hang out and chat since they were so wiped, and people with longer drives headed out.  It’s too bad more people didn’t game- we had like 6 going on Saturday, and only 1 game at a time on Sunday.  I ran a short game of Poison’d- the arc was a little rushed due to time constraints, but there was a MacGuffin map, backstabbing, pirate brutality, and the surgeon “failing” to save another mortally wounded pirate PC.  At the end, the greedy quartermaster sold out the Dagger to the captain of the Resolute.

Then we played My Life With Master, with the local crew (and Dave).  This was less of a hit- the Master was the Dragon, and the minions were low-level D&D monsters.  I had trouble setting the right mood- I think Len figured it out halfway through the game that maybe you don’t actually want to be a minion- before that, he was enjoying just playing the stupid orc.  But the game got too saddled down in parody of D&D tropes (I was a worse offender than anyone else, with my portrayal of the Outsiders, who were a party of adventurers the dragon wanted to scare and impress). and the game marched right into humor territory, which was fun, but is not where My Life With Master is supposed to live.  We cut endgame short (completely ignoring the whole rolls against the master once refusing a request finally happened), since really, we were all tired, and those rolls would have taken a long fricking time.  The kobold resolutely realized burning down all the fields would hurt the nice blind baker lady who thought he was just an orphan boy, and then the adventurers came in and killed everyone, except the goblin, who attached himself to the watchmaker, a budding mad-scientist Master.

Edit: I completely forgot about Friday’s game of shock between me, Tim, and Dave, which featured a robot uprising against more advanced robots, a female robot with male gender identity, and a human ambassador with alien gender identity.

Also forgot about Saturday morning’s Prime Time Adventures game, produced by Robert Bohl, with me, Sabe, Len, Jen, and Jerry, which was probably the first PTA game I had played that didn’t suck.  Interesting game, but I really think it doesn’t work that great for one-shots.

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4 thoughts on “Forge Midwest 2009

  1. oberonthefool says:

    Good times. Great times, even. This was a really successful event on all levels, at least for me. Thanks for setting it up. I should point out that I did not play Ghost/Echo. Perhaps that was another Dave, I don’t know. I will be compiling my usual post-con “Who I Was This Weekend” blag post later when I’ve had a chance to parse through my notes.

    So, you guys took it on yourselves to test my Survival Horror LARP idea… I’m interested to know the details of that.

    I didn’t actually mean to bail on the MLwM game, that’s just how it worked out. It was fun, although I agree that it was more parody than MLwM is meant to be. Still fun though. And the Halfling Leper Prestige Class bit was priceless.

    Hackles were raised. Craws were stuck into. Daniel and I will be debuting the Smoothie-Q line of gourmet smoothie restaurants in early 2010. The rest of you all are sworn to secrecy on that one, so no blabbing.

    There was other good stuff, but frankly I’m too brain dead right now to remember any of it.

  2. Willow says:

    What did you play on Friday then? Because I know you didn’t play It’s Complicated or Escape From Tentacle City.

    The “playtest” of zombie vs. nerf fighting mostly involved someone (usually me) pretending to be a zombie, and shamble towards people with nerf guns. We didn’t have patches, so usually they died when I cornered them and mimed ripping out their jugular with my teeth. And then they rose up as zombies.

    One zombie, even a really slow shambling zombie, will tear the fuck out of a distracted group of survivors. (They’d survive a little better with the patches, I think). A group that’s organized and looking for zombies will probably destroy any zombies they encounter, but if you’re in a situation where you’re trying to search the science lab for a clue, or you just fought off a hoard and need to reload your shells, one slow zombie is a threat.

    (The faster bitten people change into infected zombies effects this too. If it’s right on the spot, everyone in the room is going to be dead in a few minutes, unless they are extremely well armed and organized.)

  3. Sabe says:

    He spectated a game of Zombie Cinema, and he was in the abortive Blazing Rose game that didn’t make it past the First Impressions. (We were all too tired to maintain creative energy through six Chapters of superheroic romance…)

  4. oberonthefool says:

    Thanks, Sabe, for reminding me. I couldn’t remember. I was bummed we didn’t finish the Blazing Rose game, but the chances of getting all the same folks back together is always next to nil at this sort of event.

    Willow: Maybe next year we should put together a scenario using the second room and try it out?

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