Fragments from AusCon…

“Oh my god my life is a mess”
– freelance Voodoo priestess and ship’s cook, Eloise Laplace, on being in love with her mother’s ex-lovers’ brother, in Smallville (of course)

In reverse order:

Ran Smallville again. We barely had time to get one roll for everyone in because we were doing chargen for SEVEN! people. Madness. But gorgeous madness that everyone enjoyed heartily, I think. The hat-pulls were “Napoleonic Wars” and “1950’s B-Movie SF”, which led to an awesome alt-history where the Wars had gone into detente while Dutch, French and English scientist united to explore a common enemy – a deadly alien force from beneath the sea. More on that later. First pull was “Unruly Teens” and “Venice” which I loved – imagine mixing The Outsiders with The Libertine! – but people didn’t get a strong enough hook from Venice, and fair enough. Full Hat List below.

Ran Three Hours to Midnight, with four amazing minds and passionate hearts and created something new and wonderful currently called Hunter’s Dawn. The final version after three hours is complete and playable, if sketchy, not to mention clever and unique. It also hints at a much more developed and ten times more awesome second edition, which we intend to have prepped to demo at next year’s AusCon! Woot! We also, I think, all learnt a lot about design, as you always do in these things. Thanks to Natan, Bonnie, Gareth and Sam – I’ll be in touch soon, and my blog readers (all two of you) will know more soon too.

I entered “GM of Legend” and got handed three random words and about an hour to prepare (plus eat lunch) for a game of a bunch of people. The words were sphinx, caravan and adultery. As usual, speed forced me to fall back on my strengths and I wrote a little freeform/LARP/thing (ie pregen characters where everyone has secrets and conflicting goals). The characters were all royal sphinxes of the Great Sphinx Empire, and King Felix had heard rumours his wife was disloyal, so had sent all the eligible royal males away on a trade mission. The caravan had just returned from Greece – and shenanigans were about to break out. More on that later. I came second (DOH!) to the awesome John Reid but was told by one player he gave me full marks in every category, so that was nice. Keen to hear more about the other games, as John ran Dread, and other GMs ran Pathfinder and something else, and I’d love to hear what kind of D&D or Dread game emerged from those words!

And first off I did some seminars about being a GM and learning from TV. The former was well attended, and one person came back to hear it when we repeated it again later, so I think people are really keen to know about GMing stuff. The latter only reached two guys but I learnt a lot from expanding on my ideas. Please, if you heard a seminar from me, send me feedback because I love doing them and want to tailor them to what you want to hear. The final seminar was with my regular colleagues Timothy and Nathan, who are always intelligent, illuminating and excellent. We talked about how to finish and how to publish, and Nathan gave some excellent info on POD and Lulu (apparently, Lulu is the SHIZNIT). Timothy also made an excellent point about how e-readers may totally revolutionise the way RPGs are written because they can do maths for you as you read…

I also played a bunch of board games to find out how they worked, although very few reached completion. A Touch of Evil seems awesome, Hey That’s My Fish is cute but has too much set up, Torres BROKE MY MIND and may be too clever for its own good but boy is it clever, Ad Astra is like Settlers only it blows, and Small World is just as neat as advertised. Future sales will be based on these samples, perchance…

Wish there’d been more time for play and more people to play with, but we got chucked out right on five and numbers were a little low in general – but it’s a good sign that there was too much cool stuff to fit in (didn’t even get to fight zombies or walk them or whatever one does with them)…I think AusCons may run the distance and bring more awesome in the future!


9 thoughts on “Fragments from AusCon…

    • It should be pointed out that I really hate randomness in games, so anything approaching “roll dice until someone wins” bores me to tears. I prefer to win a game because I get it and am good at it, not by sheer coincidence. My main gripe with Settlers is that you can play “perfectly”, position yourself on the best spots, and still get screwed by the dice not giving you any resources. In Ad Astra, if you want something to be produced, you choose to play the cards that will get you to that place and produce that resource.

      • That is the one flaw in Settlers, yes – you can get screwed if you take 4,5,6,8,9,10 and the guy on the 2s and 3s rolls a hundred of them. However, Ad Astra has randomness you can’t account or control for – your action deck might not contain the move card for the right star-system and the production planet might not be turned face up yet for the goods you want, and even when it does get turned up it might happen when your action cards weren’t ready for it, and only one player can build on any one planet so bam you lose it. It just puts way too many things outside your control – which would be fine, if it weren’t a strategy game. (Like I don’t mind that say, Citadels constantly changes the order of play and options you get on you, because that’s its thang. Ad Astra seems to take the worst of Settlers and marry it to the unpredictability of Citadels. IMO.)

  1. Genre Hat List from the con…

    Napoleonic Wars
    50’s SF B-movie
    Unruly Teens
    Talking Animals (non-humanoid)
    Parallel Worlds
    Interdimensional Travel
    Colonial Frontier
    Jack the Ripper
    Superpowers out of control
    Aliens (movie series)

  2. So, how is the wright up for Hunter’s Dawn comming along. You have all our e-mails right? I’ve been thinking about it and I have a sugestion to run past the group.

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