Monday, January 15, 2007

Calling It A Mini-Con Makes It Sound Small

How much do I love gaming? So much that I'm willing to drive for five hours to play three games, then turn around and drive home. To be fair, Endgame (the host of this event) has other attractions, but it really was mostly about the gaming.

Saturday morning I played The Esoterrorists, Robin Laws' new game about investigations. We had a little bit of a rough time of it, for several reasons. First, the scenario we played (which is in the rulebook) is explicitly not intended as an introductory scenario. Instead, the book is very specific that it is an example scenario. I think part of our trouble with it was caused by unfamiliarity with the system. Second, I think both the GM and the players made a few mistakes, which compounded each other. Because we were constrained by the four-hour time limit, we really didn't have a chance to get out of the problems we got into. Perhaps most importantly, however, I don't think a good game of the Esoterrorists is about the investigation. A good police procedural isn't about detective work. I think what the system that the Esoterrorists brings to the table allows you do is stop worrying about the investigation, and instead focus on what the game is really about.

In the afternoon, I played a classic: Macho Women With Guns. It was quite tactical and very tongue in cheek. I had a good time with Sister Madison "Mad" Maxine, a Renegade Nun on Wheels. With our trusty H&K G-11's we were able to put a stop to the nefarious plots of the Dip Ones and their unearthly masters, Isaac Azathoth and Harlan Nyarlathison.

In the evening I was finally able to try out Best Friends, a game about girlfriends and all of their petty hatreds. Our game ended up getting the title of "Catholic Schoolgirls in Trouble," and that's certainly how we ended up. There were a lot of "I will kill you all" moments, but I knew we had all bought into the game when, at the end, after we had all pretty much ruined each others' lives, the GM asked if our characters were still friends. Without missing a beat, we all said "Of course." I don't think I'd want to make a steady diet of it, but Best Friends was definitely a refreshing change of pace. I also don't think I want to drive to Oakland every weekend, but I'm definitely glad I did for this one.


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