Monday, February 26, 2007

Going to a Convention --

Over the weekend I attended our area's small local gaming convention -- Dak-Kon XII. This was held in Courtenay, BC, Canada.

Now there are several options one can choose while attending gaming conventions. You can play in tournaments; you can play in games that you are familiar with; or you can play in games that you are unfamiliar with.

Even though Murdock was running a "Shako and Baton" game with over 1000 painted 25mm figures, I didn't play in it. I must say, however, that I did drop by many times to observe the game. He had very nice looking terrain, tons of figues and a number of special effects.

I don't want to give too much away, since he has his own blog, but historically there was periodic heavy snowfall during the battle. There were many cameras taking photos and I'm sure that a number will be appearing on Murdock's blog over the next few days. I will only say that what you will see was not caused by camera tricks or post-photo editing. His blog address is . . .

As I say, while I was iterested in Murdock's game, I'd played his variation of Shako before (and I might comment, I like his additions and refinements); and when I attend a convention, I like to play games that are new to me.

Like many of us, I got my gaming start with role-playing. In my case it was with Dungeons & Dragons back in the mid-70s. Please note that this was prior to the release of "Advanced D&D". I'm one of the minority who preferred the former game to the latter.

"Why?" you ask. Because with "Advanced D&D" and its successors more and more rules were added to enhance the detail and reality of the game.

RIGHT . . . reality . . . I'm talking about "fantasy role-playing". Get it? FANTASY . . . not "reality". One of the things that was so much fun with the original game is that you weren't bogged down with rules for everything. It was full of imagination, mystery and lots of fun.

Anyway one of the role-playing games being played was an Earthdawn game. I'd never even read it, but I recognized some of the players in the game (and they were all adults), so I thought that I'd give it a try.

Good choice. The game master (Paul Robertson) had put together simple little two-page booklets for each of about ten different character types. (Okay, the spellcasters had an extra page with their spells). From some comments from experienced Earthdawn players, he apparently simplified a few things . . . which is a good idea in a convention setting.

Anyway, I played a Dwarf and had a lot of fun. Sure, we had some dice rolling in the game; but an awful lot of it was actual role-playing. There was good character interaction and we had a lot of laughs. It was a lot of fun (and good fellowship) so I kept playing in the game for three sessions (until it ended).

Later I sat down at a game of what is now called "Dungeons & Dragons" . . . *sigh* . . . this version 3.5 is way overly-detailed. I was given two characters . . . one of which I was to start with and one I was to switch over to later.

"What?" I examined the multi-page character sheets . . . and didn't recognize much . . . most of what was there was very disheartening. Then the Game Mistress started the action. At least she thought so. Two by two characters were attacked by something. I don't know what (her voice was too soft to be heard). After 20 minutes of watching two players at a time roll dice (with no character dialog or interaction), I took my character sheets back to the GM.

I quietly told her that I played role-playing games in order to role-play -- not to roll dice. I was quiet about it so that I wouldn't disturb those still in her game (note: I was not the first to get bored and leave, but the third).

By then I was pretty tired. I watched Murdock's Shako game a little longer and then headed to the store to pick up some things that my wife wanted and made it to the ferry in time to make it home before being stuck on Vancouver Island for the night.

That was on Saturday. Sunday I slept in and didn't go back for the convention's second day. It was going to mainly feature some card tourneys and I was tired (okay, I'm getting old). Besides it costs about $20 everytime I go into town (ferry rates keep going up) and I have to leave the cabin between an hour and a half and two hours before time in order to get somewhere on time.

Anyway, I enjoyed watching Murdock's game and had a lot of fun with the Earthdawn session. By next year we should be on the Big Island and I won't have as much difficulty getting to Dak-Kon XIII.

Maybe I'll even run something.

-- Jeff


marinergrim said...

I like doing something new when I go to shows as well.

aerial combat is one of the things that hs intrigued me but never enough to buy. so Partizan is always a must and the bluebears with their air war games are a vital element in making my day.

MurdocK said...

Thanks for the veiws Jeff, it is always interesting to get the 'view' from other attendees!

By the way, the GM of Jeff's Earthdawn game, Paul, was the TOP TABLE HOST winner from the convention!

Super observations Jeff.