GenCon 2016 – Games Recap

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Another good year at GenCon. I ran and played in more games this year. Thanks to a good lottery number for selecting events, I got into some different games I was really looking forward to.

Here’s a short recap of each.

Day 1.

Game One (GMing) – Return to Gilligan’s Island (DnD 5e) – Lots of familiar players from previous years. Game ran a bit short. More negotiation than I was expecting. Players loved the characters and I believe that encouraged more role playing. Always helps to pick iconic characters with known quirks for better role playing.

Game Two (GMing) – Taking of Pelham 123 (Savage Worlds) – A very tactical combat heavy game – maybe spent too much time on the station portion of the combat. Players seemed to enjoy the style and added their own role playing. Not sure I provided enough information to backup goals and motivation for the PCs.

Game Three (player) – Operation Black Eclipse (Delta Green) – Very diverse group that was into both the “realism” of the game and the role playing. Mission to find an Afghan cleric right after 9/11 who is opposed to the Taliban. We learn that he is leading a new sect, that unfortunately is actually summoning an unspeakable horror. We fail miserably (of course) and are killed. Fabulous fun. I played the sniper with an obsession for poetry and baseball. Loved the system, and wish I could get home group to play.

Day 2.

Game Four (GMing)- Return To Gilligan’s Island (DnD 5e) – All new players. The person playing Skipper had a great time, just took off (same thing happened in the previous run). The other players had a good time with Gilligan, Herman Munster, and Jeb Clampet. They did a lot more role playing and seemed to enjoy the setting once we got really going. Problem with 8AM games after the first day of the Con.

Game Five (player) – Infinity Gauntlet Part 2 of 3 (Savage Worlds). Very combat focused although there was a great set of puzzles at the end of the game. Got to play a version Venom – not all movie focused characters. The characters were great and even though a few of the players were not as familiar with the system, the battles went well. Game was run by the Roo Sack Gamers – a podcast that I have listened to for their actual play. I always learn a lot from watching them GM.

Game Six (player) – Van Helsing Letter (Nights Black Agents). Game is billed as a combination of Bourne Identity and Dracula. Not sure we quite made it to the level of Jason Bourne. GM did a great job of taking our crazy ideas and weaving them into the story. The use of skills was different from other systems I’ve played, but was easy to understand and worked well. I would like to see how it works with a campaign vs a Con one-shot.

Day 3.

Game Seven (GMing) – Taking of Pelham 123 (DnD 5e). Second time through I had some more familiar players. It is always fun to see folks year after year at GenCon. I upped the difficulty of the droid opponents and moved the map around a little to both make the battle a little harder and the battle shorter. I also beefed up the stats and coordination of the minions at the end of the battle. Some more LEGOs and interesting bad guys and a lot of fun was had by all.

Game Eight (player) – Infinity War Part 3 of 3 (Savage Worlds). Total combat scenario. GM(s) provided some good twists, and the difficulty was set just right to keep the battle going and keep the players interested. In classic Savage Worlds fashion, it came down to eating up the GM bennies and coordinating attacks. I played Venom again, and after he was swatted into space switched to Captain America. To my eternal joy, I provided the final blow that took out Thanos – thank you exploding dice mechanics!

Game Nine (player) – Starfall in Ardeyn (The Strange). Scenario was fairly simple, but was setup more for a bit of player on player conflict with possible demon possession. Lots of younger folks playing (take that for what it’s worth, I’m old and they could have been college kids). They knew more about the system than me. Unfortunately, GenCon is my only chance to play Monte Cook games. Last year was Rook (sp) and Earth so I guess I’ve been everywhere that is Strange.

Day 4.

All day GMing for Baldman Games (games nine through twelve). I ran the Introduction to Season 5 – Giants/Introduction to DnD. Lots of new players with a few return players. All of the adventures are setup to be about 90 minutes long, relatively simple, but each one has a unique twist. I especially liked the humor of the first adventure. My favorite moments included having an 8 year old exclaim Yay! after killing his first goblin (his dad was beaming), a player that doodled a tremendous illustration of the adventure and shared with me after the game, and GMing to relatives of Dave Arneson (no pressure there – sheesh). Kudos to all the volunteers and organizers at Baldman Games. The space was much better, and organization was as good as always.

I’ll have some overall impressions in a follow-up post.

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