Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Best Game in Years

I'm back from Gen Con 2014. How was it, you ask? In a word, fabulous.

Many things contributed to Gen Con's fabulousness this year, including the many honors accorded to MCG (10 ENnies), the launch of a game near and dear to me (The Strange), as well as the rush I always get attending a convention filled with people who love games and geeking out as much as I do. (Plus, the entire MCG team hit it out of the park, as Monte describes here.) As it happens, it was also Batgirl (Torah Cottrill)'s first Gen Con, which was also grand.

However, the thing that really pegged the fabulous meter for Gen Con 2014 was that I also ran an RPG that has the distinction of being the most fun I've had GMing a game IN YEARS.


Yeah, really. Here's why.

We wanted the game I ran (and the game Monte ran for Numenera) to be a premiere experience for the players. The players were people who either made a high-level Kickstarter pledge to be there, or who made a winning bid during our charity auction to be there.

As it turned out, some of them were such amazing people that a couple had also volunteered to GM other games of The Strange at Gen Con. Before we discovered the overlap, I was also slated to run the same adventure (Eschatology Code) for the premiere game. We worried the experience wouldn't be as premiere for those players who were also running the same adventure themselves. So I wrote a new adventure especially for them called The Hum: Welcome to the Grand Bavarian (The Hum will also soon become available to the MCG Asset Team to run as demos across the world).

Did I mention these were amazing players? Everyone there was excited and pumped to be at the table, an experienced RPG player, smart, funny, and just as importantly, they were all gracious and pleasant people. (EDIT: One was so amazing that we hired her. I'm of course talking about Darcy Ross.)

Finally, it probably doesn't come as any surprise that over the past several years, every game I've run was a playtest. (Either DMed when I was still working as a designer on 5E, or GMed after I joined MCG and started designing The Strange.) If you've ever playtested a game, you know the drill. Play ten minutes, then stop when someone points out a problem. Hash that out for 30 minutes before you get to play another ten minutes or so before someone else calls a halt to deal with some new irregularity in the game. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat...

Fast forward to the convention. The Hum was the first RPG session I've game mastered IN YEARS that wasn't a playtest. It was just a regular RPG session. It was filled with players who weren't there to polish the game. They were there to entertained by me and The Strange. I hope they were.

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