It was rad.
Twelve to fourteen hours of gaming per day allowed me–just as I’d hoped–to enjoy all sorts of indie games that I’d never played before:
- Law of the Jungle: humourous homebrew game with less than three pages of rules and setting. The aim of the game is portraying feral children, and the accidental use of even one polysyllabic word results in harsh in-game penalties. No attributes or dice to speak of, just pools that refresh through LARPing animal traits. We attracted a lot attention from other players of other games, and were warned by a random passerby that there was to be no fæces throwing. A wildly cacophonous chase promptly ensued, culminating in a stern pelting of WHOPPERS.
- The Shadow of Yesterday: terrific engine where romantic narratives come first. I played two very different scenarios which I think highlighted very different strengths of the game. The first was a traditional “dungeon crawl” flipped on its head by an emphasis on more human aspects typically ignored within popular systems, and the second (while still pulp fantasy) focused more on the confusion, mystery, and potential horror that results when cultures collide.
- Dogs in the Vineyard: surprisingly original interpretations of the Wild West, religion, and game resolution. Though we had time only to create characters and play out quick establishment scenes, I’m keen to play again. Out of all the games I sampled over the weekend, I think Dogs has the greatest prospect for long-term campaign-style play.
- Dread: space horror that relies solely on a Jenga tower for conflict resolution. As you can imagine, this makes for increasingly tense moments (as more and more blocks are moved) building to climaxes of unavoidable character deaths (toppling of the tower).
- Perfect: welcome to a hyper-Victorian dystopia where you somehow don’t quite fit. Even if it hadn’t been facilitated by the game’s creator, I expect it still would have been my favourite game of the con.
- Polar Punk: currently in playtesting, this game is on track to be exactly what its developer is aiming for: four hours of quick, devastating, and Awesome convention gaming. In a frozen, post-apocalyptic world! Ruled by evil polar bears! And you can play sentient sled dogs!
- Jungle Speed: speed on crank… but more addictive? After a weekend of communal storytelling, I do say that the bestial animosity, trash talk, and actual blood that resulted from play was as surprising as it was hilarious.
The games themselves, of course, would have been nothing without high quality judges and players, and I must admit that I was blown away with the creative, funny, and down right friendly lot that I fell in with. It’s been a long while since I’ve had gaming friends within gaming distance, so I hope I end up seeing more of these folks.