Convention report: Two Wyrd

(Pronounced "weird". I think they're gonna run out of puns after Tri Wyrd next year, but then I'm a relatively left-brain guy, so what do I know?)

While LARPs have been a minor sideline at Strategicon, here's a convention all about LARPs. Having heard stories about awesome events like this on the East Coast (WyrdCon has been designated Intercon West), and having missed Wyrd One due to a scheduling conflict, I was damned excited.

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Sunday: Brunch, and closing ceremonies (with awards in multiple categories for costumes and props), and catching up with fairyglass who played some different games. (I want to play with her again some time, even if she is one of those Intimidating Alpha Geeks who actually designs games and/or discusses them with a nationwide audience.)

Convention report: Gamex 2011

Just me and Matthew this time; Alex sat it out in favor of BotCon next weekend.

Friday: Hostage was full, so went for Cthulhu instead. We played agents of FBI, Scotland Yard, and a similar agency in France, raiding the compounds of the Knights for Racial Purity a few days before their rumored next round of domestic terrorist acts. After putting up moderate resistance, all three cells collapsed, but some unusual findings - a dozen white men subjected to ritual mutilation, with associated graffiti - pointed to a headquarters in Vienna with stranger motives. Relatively distant from the creepiness, but still decent, with Tom Cummings (who's great at portraying Creepy Old Cultists when GMing) playing the British agent this time around.


  • One Paranoia session was canceled due to car trouble, the other was full. Toyed with running Mister Bubbles again (I've got a copy of it on my phone), but by that point the extra players had wandered off, so I went to play Give Me the Brain instead (hosted by the SJG MIB who ran Revolution! last OrcCon). We have the original Cheapass edition; the new cards added since then are interesting, but I agree with the folks at boardgamegeek.com complaining about the loss of color-coding and artwork.

  • Risk was full.

  • Agricola 101. Didn't actually play, but got an idea how it works.

  • Settlers of America. 11 players, largely due to the Puffing Billy tournament spanning various train games (SoA was in a category by itself).

  • Improv with Bill Chott and the Improv Trick. Victoria knows him from Wizards of Waverly Place (Matthew got his autograph for her); I looked him up later and turned out to remember him from the CSI episode "Dog Eat Dog", playing a guy who entered an eating competition because he had a medical disorder and could never stop feeling hungry.

  • Cash n Guns live action.

  • Are You a Werewolf?. Matthew was lynched right off the bat for being bloodthirsty, but not before claiming that he was the seer and I was a werewolf; he was, I was, and they came after me the next day.


  • Tunnels and Trolls. With a revolution distracting the town defense, the Thieves' Guild decided to do some ambitious looting and let the rebels take the blame. Not my cup of tea, as there was little decision-making or variety:

    • The entrance to the noble quarter is over there.

    • Scare off a couple guards. (All the competent guards were off elsewhere, actively engaging the rebels.)

    • Cover some ground, whack some guards.

    • Cover some more ground, whack some more guards.

    • Break into a place, whack a noble and his personal guards.

    • Grab a load of loot, spot and avoid a poison needle, split up the magic items by who could make best use of what, decide how much could plausibly be concealed from the Guild (who gets a 50% cut).

    • Good enough, run back out.

  • Cloud 9.

  • Watched a round of Press Your Luck, basically a LARP of the game show with a computer and projector providing a realistic game board and sound effects, and a couple guys acting out the Whammy animations and voices.

  • Dread had the GM and a couple players no-show. One of the players (who was in the T&T game earlier) offered to run something else, but after he complained about such things as "I don't like heavily dice-dependent games because I always get bad dice rolls for important stuff and good rolls for minor flavor stuff" and "I don't like Paranoia because everyone decides I'm an easy target", I politely declined. (There was also just one other guy there besides him and me, and he also mentioned being more in the mood for board games at that point.)

  • Utopia.

  • Are You a Werewolf?. Lynched around day 3 when a few minor suspicions happened to converge (someone suggested going around the circle and asking "if you were the hunter and the wolves killed you now, who would you take out?").


Convention report: AggieCon 42 (Life, the Con, and Everything)

This was my first visit to Texas A&M in about a decade, this time with Alex (fellow fan and prospective aerospace engineering major; A&M has always had a strong engineering department) in tow. ariel10575 and I went to AggieCon back in 2000 or so - she was demoing Pokemon and some casual card gams for WotC - I think Alex may have been with us, but too young to remember much of anything.

Nice to run into a couple people I knew back in the day, and to see that fans are still basically the same all over. OTOH, because they're basically the same all over, there's no strong motivation to spring for plane fare for a return visit any time soon.

Friday: Drove from Austin, toured campus for a couple hours, rested up.


  • Missed the Matthew Bey reading due to not getting up early enough.

  • Cepheid story time.

  • Cat Valente panel.

  • Monty Python Fluxx.

  • Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot.

  • Rise of Aester, a steampunk LARP set on an airship traversing toxic skies. Alex struggled with the separation between what he noticed and what his character noticed, but ultimately did okay.

  • Dropped Alex off at the motel, returned for Rocky Horror.


  • Hipster or Nerd panel. IIRC it was mainly about "there's a difference between the fan who knows a lot about Star Wars and stops there, and the fan for whom Star Wars is a gateway to many other works".

  • Ten Best SF Movies of 2010 panel. A couple (Never Let Me Go, Splice) are still on my watch-at-some-point list.

  • Closing ceremonies.


  • Drove back to Austin.

  • Visited a large comic book store down the block from my sister's house.

  • Mom and her SO (dad passed away years ago) drove down from Waco. Sister's fiance did basic "laptop is slow" analysis for them while we watched part of Zombieland, then we got lunch before heading back to the airport.


Convention report: OrcCon 2011


  • Fiasco was canceled.

  • Revolution!, run by a SJG MIB who also ran Paranoia at Gateway last year.

  • Savage Worlds, run by one of the Happy Jacks guys, who had a notable presence throughout the con.

    • We played friends and associates of a private detective named Remy, who until his recent demise had been working in New Orleans, I think around the 1940s. (Cop: "And what was your relationship with the deceased?" Remy's SO: "Sordid.") We followed up on his last case, to prove our own innocence and give him closure; this involved taking down a couple rounds of mooks, a gator, and the Haitian voodoun behind it all.

    • There were painted minis (we got to keep the ones for our PCs), the detective's notebook (including notes on some past cases with no obvious relevance beyond "examples of Remy's typical case load"), and a couple newspaper articles.

    • The PCs' research basically consisted of "there was a rumor of a voodoun recently, which the first round of mooks backed up; the notebook ends with an address and a few pages of crazy talk; let's all go to that address". I was surprised at the time by what wasn't investigated, but they make more sense in retrospect:

      • Whether any of the past cases were relevant. The end of the notes were both most recent and most unusual, thus top priority; if we'd needed to, we would presumably have worked our way backward through the material.

      • What the voodoun was liable to throw at us. I think the PCs were ICly skeptical - expecting a mundane criminal whose feel-no-pain mooks were merely hopped up on drugs, and who sowed voodoun rumors about himself as intimidation - except for the sorcereress, who knew the real score but didn't especially share. There were a couple of academic-type PCs who might have known/suspected and shared, but no one chose to play them.

    • I think Remy was also available as a PC (with the predictable adjustments to the plot), but no one chose him either.

    • I hadn't played SW before, but I played in an original-rules Deadlands campaign for a couple years, so the game mechanics were partly familiar. My PC (Remy's sometime hired muscle, with a d8 or so in shooting) got a OHK on the voodoun on a lucky streak, but was pretty lousy otherwise; maybe bad luck, or maybe the mooks were supposed to be harder to hit than typical crooks. I also had him run away from the gator in the first round, which due to his Fearless attribute I probably shouldn't have (bad luck with mooks notwithstanding).


    • Gamma World was full.

    • Helped Alex run Chrononauts. He made a beginner mistake (not declaring in advance how second and third place would be awarded), leading to a debate (thankfully not an angry one) when it came up.

    • Are You a Werewolf?.

    • Pirate Fluxx was full.

    • The semi-typical off-schedule Doomtown didn't happen.

    • A Taste for Murder was full.

    • Are You The Traitor?, basically a variation of AYAW with fewer players and some more complexity (but not as much as Bang!).

    • AYAW again. I had an unusual role where the person I picked each night wasn't allowed to talk during the next day; I used it after mistaken lynchings, targeting whoever had advocated most loudly for that lynching.


    • Considered Tunnels and Trolls, but skipped it in favor of painting some of the Paranoia minis I picked up several years ago.

    • Ran two Paranoia sessions, one with bot PCs and one with a ninja theme.


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