We’re back from Ubercon 2009. It was a great, low-stress convention. Well, low-stress once we managed to find the place! New Jersey traffic patterns were as inscrutable as ever.
Friday night, I ran Mouse Guard for four great players. One had read the game, but it hadn’t quite clicked in his head. Two were very familiar with the comic, and had looked at the game, admired its beauty, but refrained from purchasing due to its novelty. And one just liked my event description.
I ran “The Pirates of Rustleaf” scenario that I debuted at Dreamation this year. My dice were hot, and I was scripting very well. Thus, the vicious redfurred pirates overwhelmed the Mouse Guard and stole the shipment of grain they were guarding. The guardmice had to steal it back! It was great! We even did a conflict about sneaking into the pirate cove and stealing back the grain barge as a “Chase” style of scripted conflict.
Everyone had a good time. The couple who was on the fence said they’re definitely going to pick it up. The guy who had read the game said during the game “This is a really tense game. Every decision you make matters.” Maybe I have figured out how to run MG.
Saturday morning belonged to Mechaton. Since I had to take care of flu-ridden family members most of last week, I didn’t really get far enough on my Mechaton role-playing to use it. Which was just as well. I had one player interested in blowing things up with LEGO mechs, and Kat and Michele joined us for brick-smashing fun. Plus, I handed out at least a half-dozen cards directing people to Vincent’s UnStore.
I got to chat w/ Bill White a bit before the afternoon slot, and it’s always good to catch up with distant friends. We also talked a bit about Dreamation registration, which we will begin discussing online soon.
Saturday afternoon saw me running InSpectres. I had four players, all new. Three of them had fun. The fourth left after the 2nd mission because it wasn’t enough like Toon. Admittedly, I was feeling pretty tired during the 2nd mission, and didn’t run with as much zest as I would have liked. InSpectres requires a delicate balance of Stress rolls vs. Skill rolls, as well as a willingness of players to listen to one another and build off each other’s ideas. This makes it tricky: It’s usually OK, but when it flies, it soars.
In the evening, Bill Segulin came by for dinner, so we got to catch up and eat some tasty Thai food at the Mie Thai restaurant in Woodbridge. Not sure that we’d go back there again, but it was a great dinner.
I had no players show up for my 8pm Ganakagok game. Not terribly surprising. Ubercon is very much a GAMER convention, so interests are more conventional than at a Dreamation or DEXCON. Kat had four players for her Serial Homicide Unit game, so I didn’t want to join that and make it too crowded.
All was not lost. Bill was still around, so he, Michele, and I broke out Zombie Cinema. After reading such rave reviews after last GenCon, I have been looking forward to it for a long time. We made a tale about two day traders and a social worker fleeing a zombie incursion in a Manhattan office building. Both Bill’s and my characters were killed, but Michele’s made it out by disguising herself as a zombie pushing a hot dog cart through the streets.
I was a bit disappointed by the game play. It felt as though the game set up the guard rails on the outer perimeter of “what a zombie story is” and then said “Make up a zombie story. You know what to do, so get to it!” There wasn’t much system input into play once the game started, and we found ourselves stretching for inter-player conflicts just so that we could roll the dice and proceed on the board. I was hoping for a little more oomph.
This morning saw the ladies doing a bit of shopping, us getting thwarted by TWO closed entrance ramps, and finally making it home. I’m very glad we went to Ubercon and look forward to doing it again next year.