Ubercon Fall 2008

27Oct08

I went to Ubercon in Piscataway, NJ this past Saturday. Due to some scheduling issues, Kat stayed home and I went to this one solo. I drove out early Saturday morning and came home late Saturday night. In between there was much gaming and laughter.

The day kicked off with enormous hurt! I ran Mechaton for five players. As always, the game delivered much fun, much trash talking, and much admiration from interested onlookers. I used the really great short game scenario that Vincent has in the book. I broke the six of us up into two arenas of conflict. I lost in my circle by one roll! We ran a second time and I was able to grab the flag and hold it for dear life. I won that one only by sheer luck–everyone’s damage dice turned frosty when they rolled against me.

In the afternoon slot, I ran my “Mutant Academy” With Great Power… scenario. None of the players had played With Great Power… before, but they certainly knew enough about comics to enjoy the X-men-esque angst of the characters and situation. One of the characters has illusion powers. Now, one of the things I do when I run WGP is to let the players define their powers as much as possible. Inevitably, some player will ask “does my power work this way” and I tell them that the characters now belong to them and they can tell me. Well, the player of the illusionist set her stakes for the big fight scene as “If I win, I use my powers to make sure no one knows there ever was a big fight, so we don’t get in trouble with the school.” I try to follow the player’s lead in how much the illusion powers can rewrite reality. If she wanted to open the door, however, I figured I had to play along. I set counter stakes as “If you lose, you use your powers to make the Empress (the scenario’s Magneto analog) the headmistress of the school.” Well, she fought hard, but she just didn’t have the cards. We got to play some great little denouement scenes where everyone woke up the next day believing that the Empress had always been head of the school. I had a smile plastered across my face for the full last hour of the game. One of the best WGP events ever!

I rested in the car a bit during the dinner break. I didn’t know if the last game would actually happen, since no one had preregistered. I’ve been working away on Serial Homicide Unit, and it’s one of my favorite games to play. Eric Larsen, whom I met in the Mechaton and WGP games, said he wanted to take it for a spin. We ended up roping in some other folks who had time while waiting for other games, and there were five players (including me). Our profile was Collectors. My civilian character was a comic book collector who hoped to befriend Stan Lee. Our killer ended up killing the victims by choking them with an item of their collection. The game was far sillier and less tragic than many games of SHU have been, but I think that’s to be expected once in a while. Plus, we were an all-male group. I haven’t played often with all-male groups (I think this was the third), but they’ve tended to be the sillier sessions, rather than the more tragic emphasis with mixed-gender groups. Something to keep an eye on.

After that, it was just the drive home. Ubercon was a great con. Much thanks to Don & Joanna for convincing me to go, and for Liz for taking such good care of her GMs. Thanks to Eric for hanging out and chatting.

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6 Responses to “Ubercon Fall 2008”

  1. 1 Anonymous

    uber con
    Michael, Thanks for running all the goodness on Saturday. It was like i had the world’s best baby sitter: legos to comics to um, killing? yeah. YEAH!
    With regard to Serial, it’s a beautiful game. And to the silliness, the other two gentlemen i roped into the game (Frank and George) had the distinction of playing a totally crazy Roach game with me at Dexcon. So, in some ways i’m a bit surprised that we were as reserved and respectful of your baby. I could have totally taken that Stan Lee impression and made a hard turn for the fence and then kept going.
    Best, Eric (Double King)

  2. So that MLWM game is one of the few all-male games? That’s really cool! I suspect that was the outlier for silliness. Not that it wasn’t funny but it was that “let’s laugh so we can defuse the creepiness” type of funnies.

    • I was unclear. It was only the 3rd all-male group for Serial/Serial Homicide Unit (yours being one of those, too). Both games (MLWM & SHU) have a high degree of that “laugh to defuse the creepiness” factor in them. I think that’s a strength, as it lets the individual playgroups adjust their own level of comfort with the material. I think you see it in play of The Shab al-Hiri Roach, as well.
      Games that don’t allow for “silliness protection” like Grey Ranks, are in a whole different league.


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