Gen Con Wrap-Up: Thursday, It Begins!

Gen Con Tip: There’s a food place under the escalators at the convention centre which I believe is “Crossroads” that has an area to sit and WiFi. A couple of times I grabbed a single slice of pizza and checked my email there. If your hotel doesn’t have WiFi, this place is a saviour. It was for me back in 2013.

Calling it early Wednesday night at Gen Con was a damn smart plan, because I had three games to run. I won’t do that again. By the evening, and my game with Becca, Evan, Stingray and Rich, I was kind of burnt out . . . and it was the first day!

I went to Gen Con as a rep for Sword’s Edge. That got me a press badge. I was also running four official games, which could have also got me a GM’s badge. I was also there with the Indy Game Developer Network representing Sword’s Edge Publishing. In the end, trying to do much meant I did none of it well.

Thankfully, the first game of the day went really well. That had more to do with the players. Since our game of Kiss My Axe in 2011, I’ve tried to run a game for the Lanza boys every time I meet them at Gen Con. Every single time, it’s been an absolute pleasure. This time was no different. We had a lot of fun and they got to be big damn heroes, with a bit of wire-fu action thrown into their Renaissance-style gangland revenge quest. More on the system later.

We hit the Ram for lunch, and I thought we had plenty of time. It would be a little tight, but watching the servers, I felt pretty confident that even though I only had 75 minutes before my game, we’d make it in and out in time. We did make it in on time, and the drinks and appetizer arrived fast, but then nothing. I swear our waitress forgot to enter our order. In the end, I got my burger late and undercooked. I wolfed it down and prayed I wasn’t going to regret it later. I didn’t.

I like the Ram. I like it a lot. But that was not a good experience. Happens everywhere to everyone. I guess I shouldn’t have been so flippant and cavalier about the time it would take. Will I learn this lesson? Probably not.

Not only did I leave in only barely enough time to make the game, I got lost on the way, arriving late. The players were forgiving and my first official Nefertiti Overdrive game at Gen Con went well. I’m going to let you in on a secret: all the Nefertiti Overdrive games I ran at Gen Con went well. They went great. The players were awesome and really got into it. I think next Gen Con, I’m just going to run games – not worry about the other stuff. Run a game a day and get a GM’s badge.

You heard it here. Mark your calendars. (I kid, I kid)

I had barely enough time to wolf down some food before the next game. This was another tradition, started when I ran “Crossing the Millers” at Gen Con 2011. That crew also were the first outside of my home group to try Nefertiti Overdrive, back in 201. Unfortunately, most of the crew weren’t there, but Becca and Evan joined me, and I got to game with Stringray – a Gen Con buddy from back in 2008 – and Rich – one of my G+ buddies.

So I don’t think “Train in Vain” went as well as “Gangwar” did. I blame it on me having had a full day of really intense GMing (if that’s a thing) and the system. To run a game of Nefertiti Overdrive well takes a fair amount of enthusiasm and focus. By the time 19:00 hrs rolled around, I had been “on” for about eight hours that day.

It didn’t help that Fancy Pants the RPG/F#ck You Up did not do what I wanted. It worked fine, but it didn’t work well. Fine doesn’t cut it for me. It really didn’t work as a Borderlands-style system. It was okay for “Gangwar,” for which I had no real system expectations, just story expectations. For a Borderlands-style game, I had expectations for speed of resolution and excitement. Nope.

It wasn’t the players. Everyone was on their game as usual – one reason why I love to play with these people! It was me and the system. I think if I had been running the game with Nefertiti Overdrive‘s mechanics, it would have worked a lot better.

F#ck You Up, Too will get its baptism in fire 14 Aug with my home crew going through “Train in Vain.” I’m hoping the fixes worked. We’ll see.

Becca and Evan have a young daughter, so once the game wrapped up there wasn’t much time for socializing. That was okay. I needed to get to bed. I had another busy day on Friday.

You can learn more about the Ram here.

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