A quick writeup of games I played at BryceCon in mid-January!
BryceCon is a very small (100-200 attendee), first-year convention in Bryce Canyon, Utah. It’s pretty remote, but a lovely area, and a nice little retreat for the weekend. I will definitely go again next year– the organizers are super nice folks, and I had a good time. That’s despite being on the tail-end of my cold and discovering that cold air and altitude! are not good for my ability to walk and speak at the same time. I attended with a friend of mine, who also ran one game at the con.
We didn’t play a lot of games, mostly because I was still sleeping quite a bit and we were generally enjoying the vacation.
Night’s Black Agents: I ran the first playtest of the Night’s Black Agents adventure I’m writing for Pelgrane’s Dracula Dossier project. The players really grabbed one of the plot hooks and ran with it, which pleased me a great deal. They didn’t push for the mainstream, murderhobo storyline, opting instead to follow the "fellow agent is in trouble" hook.
My friend played in this game and threw a wrench in the plans when he decided to change up the mystery and have his character embrace the supernatural transformation he was about to undergo. Needless to say… PCs fled, an NPC became his thrall, and if this were an ongoing campaign, there would be a further adventure and adversary for the PCs to deal with!
Tanto Cuore: This is my favorite deck builder. I hoped to get more people into it, but alas– nobody bit. My friend doesn’t like deck builders at all, so we quit about half an hour into the game.
Mice and Mystics: This is a fun, tactical board game with a story element to it. I had 4 new players– two had played Hero Quest before. I explained the game to the players and read the story Prologue and opening of Chapter 1, complete with little heroic mouse voices. The players were very much on top of things, and they even completed the chapter with only one or two mice being captured.
The problem I have with Chapter 1 is that, instead of being a straightforward story, every tile introduces new rules and mechanics. That’s a problem to me, because I think the first play of a game should be the basics, and then escalate the game with additional rules as you go on. Not to mention the rulebook is convoluted at best.
I facilitated the game by playing (and role-playing) the adversaries– rat guards and cockroaches, mostly, who are there to threaten and capture the mouse heroes!
I demoed this for the Double Exposure program.
Epyllion: Well, you know how much I love this game! My friend ran this one on Sunday morning. We had some challenges in getting players– a 12 year old dragon-crazy boy and a younger girl joined us, though, and we had a blast going through what was essentially an ancient draconic chapel with a trapped book and a dragon who was fully Shadowed due to the book’s Darkness. I was playing a Seer and used the consume the Darkness move a few times, eating some pages from the book and becoming more and more obsessed with the book. Eventually, I ate the whole book and became utterly paralyzed. At that point, we were about out of time and the other two got help from some older dragons to cast a counterspell.
The cool thing about this session, and the group was that the younger players effortlessly added to the scene and story. "What does the chapel look like?" the GM asked and the girl answered with a rich tapestry of details about the statues in the courtyard and the overgrowth all throughout the misty chapel area.
It was a fun, short (3 hour) session and we told a complete, engaging story that made both of the other players want to pick up Epyllion as soon as they could.