Games I Played in 2019

My recordkeeping was not great this year. I didn’t take very good notes on the cons I attended: Forge, Gencon, or Gamehole. I chalk this up to a generally frustrating and draining year. Fortunately, looking back, I see a number of enjoyable sessions. As usual, I have likely missed a one-shot or two (or three.)

Apportionment: Ran this at Forge, and as one of two Combine members of the Apportionment Committee, we divided up Sirai into 3 nation-states in a way that somehow all 5 represenatives were satisfied with.

Aunt Milliford is Dead: My new hotness. I played tons of one-shots of this, a real crowd pleaser every time. This is done, or close to it.

The Black Hack: I played a Black Hack/Knave hybrid campaign of The Dark of Hot Springs Island. This was an introduction to a light and fun system, filled with tables of weirdness. And Hot Springs Island itself is super weird.

Caravans: I played this at Forge, resulting in the now infamous Beet story. Shari also ran a mini-campaign

Clockwork Depths: A larp at Gamehole con, set in an underwater steampunk post-apocalypse world, with magic and zombies and stuff. This was the favorite game setting of a number of the players, who were savvy about the setting. I decided to lean into my character’s ignorance, re-framing myself as a Marine Biologist from Iowa, who discouraged by the lack of marine life in Iowa had relocated to this undersea fantasy land, giving me an in character reason to not have a clue. We were exploring a haunted ship, and when people started acting funny I did the smart thing and GTFO. I survived, floating in a minisub. The GM said I was her favorite player of the con.

Dungeon Crawl Classics: I played a few one shot sessions of this at Gamehole. I tried to get a few games going, but they didn’t quite get off the ground.

Dungeon World: Sabe and I ran a double-table ‘tournament’ event at Forge, with two groups exploring the same dungeon and trying to out-delve one another.

Dungeons and Dragons: As always, the proverbial 800 pound dragon in the room. In January, I finished up my Tomb of Annihilation game. Spent most of the year playing Colin’s Storm King’s Thunder game, which recently wrapped up, and started a Ghosts of Saltmarsh game. At Gamehole I played a number of Adventurer’s League sessions, including one where I stepped up to run because they were overbooked their tables and didn’t have enough Gms.

Fobolox Interstellar Company Retreat: This is a great larp about corporate bullshit, but with aliens. All hail the Orb.

Fools Rush In: A Be-Con Larp, set in a USO party during WWII, the night before most of the crews ship out. My character was from an expansion to the original scenario, so I felt a little out of place at times. Turns out I genuinely had fewer connections to the other characters than others did. Still managed to bring on some internal drama.

For the Queen: A card driven narrative game in a box, this is an inventive twist on the draw a card and narrate a thing formula, which I had long ago written off as a failure of game design. We played this twice- once at Gencon with Dave, and once with our regular Sunday group.

Ghost Court: I ran for a pretty big group late night at Gamehole con. Lots of great ghostly legal drama.

Glamourous Night: Jon Cole’s surrealist dance party larp, featuring fae, wizards, mortals, and benevolent animal spirits. I played an evil-sword, which was weird as hell, in a game that was weird as hell.

Gone: Todd Nicholas ran this Larp-but-maybe-not-a-larp game at BeCon, a game about someone cleaning out the possessions of someone who is Gone. One person is that person, everyone else is one of the inanimate objects. Deeply personal and introspective, a contrast to spectacle games of the rest of the con.

Kingsword: An Arthurian Larp at Be-Con, I was a surprisingly not villainous King Mark. I had some frustrations with the rules, but had a lot of great interactions (especially with Dave, my disappointment of a nephew, and Queen Gwenivere, my secret romantic love.) Lots of great costumes!

Monsterhearts: I ran a one shot of this at Games on Demand, a classic as always. I felt I had a few missteps with this one, not getting my head around the parasite-style Queen as much as I needed to in order to really properly follow the fiction. Still, Monsterhears

Noodle Heist: A transhumanist Blades in the Dark hack about restaurants and crime, in some combination. This was a really fun and bizarre game, bringing the high-concept far future concepts to life, with lots of anthropomorphic and non-binary characters. And crime.

Pendragon: Probably the most intense game of the year for me as a GM, I ran this for four months with the Madison Traditional Gamers. Running this was a lot of fun… but also a lot of work, and was not great for my anxiety issues.

Ryuutama: I ran a short campaign with for niece and her parents. A silly quest to discover the secret of making cookies, and defeat Team Evil in the Iron Chef challenge.

Slayer Cake: The most metal game of the year. Had a blast as Foxxy Lipstitch of Glam Rock band Fever Dreams (and later genre-mixing Rotten Tooth). Thanks to all the organizers of this!

Scum and Villainy: Sandwhiched between two campaigns of D&D, I ran this for a few months. Good fun, our stalwart crew hunting bounties and trying to figure out the big conspiracy.

Tales of the Obsidian Idol: Tim ran a great game of this Dungeon World hack, as we searched for the Obsidian Idol. Turns out it was all the fault of an ancient thing of druids. Character creation for this is super evocative, with choosing items from lists that have very juicy choices. I played a Barbarian from a culture of machine people who were forged-for-war, if you know what I mean. And since we had no use for the Makers or their Gods, we killed them, and built our own God. Metal.

The Sword, the Crown, and the Unspeakable Power: Mark Redacted ran a mini-campaign of this at Minnesota Long Con. I played the Spur, my favorite playbook, styled as a pirate queen. After she retired, I got to play the actual Queen, a Crown for the final session that my naive crown should not have possibly survived, but all my enemies took each other out in a massive Xanatos Pileup, so yay!

Timelines: I played two games of this at Gencon for Games on Demand. Both groups had a lot of fun, but the mechanics were still not quite what I wanted them to be.

Trail of Cthulhu: I played a one-shot at Gamehole, which went the way all my previous gumshoe games have gone, in that the game is great fun until you have to engage the combat system, at which point everything grinds to a halt.

We’ve Got to Talk About Todd: A game about four people, having a conversation about a person who isn’t there, by people who really should have figured this out months ago.

World of Darkness (Mortals) A short campaign featuring FBI agents in far over their heads, where I played a gun-safety obsessed agent who badly wanted to retire, but had too many cultists to shoot.

Zweihander: One of the few games Tim and I played together at Games on Demand, essentially a WHFRP clone. Not bad, if that’s what you’re into, but this session was pretty painful, with things stretched out waaay too long. Like an hour spent trying to get a heavy thing out of a hole.

Twenty-seven games. I just KNOW I’m missing some, and it bothers me that I can’t place them.

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