AcadeCon 2014 has come and gone. It was an absolutely amazing weekend full of fun, games and laughter. It was also stressful. My whole family had gotten sick the week before and I was sure that I would end up sick right in the middle of our big weekend. Thankfully, that didn’t happen, but the lack of sleep and stress of the event, coupled with the same situation at work right after (lack of sleep and stress ) wore me down and I sit typing this home sick from work with a wad of tissue paper up one nostril because it is running like a faucet and the other stomped up so bad I can’t breath unless I keep my mouth open like a panting dog.
But, we are here to review and recap this year’s MiniCon not commiserate my sickness. Caleb and I plan on doing an audio version as well in the near future. We were SUPPOSED to record last night but because of my cold I choose to bow out. My accent coupled with a cold does not make for good radio.
I once again set aside a 3 day weekend for this event. Friday, November 7th through November 9th. I’m hoping next year will be the first ‘real’ con with rented space and a schedule of events. If it is bigger or better or not, the timing will be around the same time; end of October or beginning of November. I started the day off with a family trip to the Movies to see Big Hero Six. I was kicking the wife and kids out of the house for the weekend and felt I owed them a little love before I did so. I thought the movie was okay. It didn’t help that the kids weren’t into it right away and kept being a distraction. They eventually got engaged and seemed to enjoy it, but I probably need to see it again before I make up my mind.
After the movie I went home and finalized my preparations. I had 3 tables set up in the basement and all the games laid out on a fourth. I had to put up some new temporary lighting and replace some bulbs. After that, just waiting.
My first guest to arrive was Rob, who was part of my group in Cleveland when I lived there for several years. He’s one of my best friends and it’s always a good time to get to see him, especially when we are gaming. His wife and child came along and they got kicked to the curb with my family shortly after.
I was setting up our Door Prize Jar (which my wife said I should call the DORK Prize – and she wonders why I kicked her out of the house for this event!) when they arrived. The kids started going crazy as I was growing anxious. Shortly after 5:00 PM my Co-host Caleb and his lovely wife Tressa arrived and we finally managed to make the non-gamer wives and kids jet.
We moved down to The Rpg Academy HQ – known to the uninitiated as “Michael’s Basement” and kicked off AcadeCon in the traditional way: With a game of We Didn’t Play Test This At All. It was one my favorite games from our first MiniCon from February. It was still fun, but didn’t quite reach the same level. I think this is a game that benefits from the unexpectedness of it and also I had high-expectations from the last time I played. It’s a game that can sometimes last one turn, or 20 minutes, depends on how things go.
I think it will continue to be our kick-off game for the foreseeable future.
Next we broke out the Sentinels of the Multiverse game. Caleb is on the record as loving this game. I bought it based on his recommendation but hadn’t really got to play it much. I do have the iOS version now and really like it but I only have the base game, Caleb has every expansion known to man. The game is supposedly scalable because many of the game’s effects read: xH or such where H is the number of Heroes. So, in theory the more Heroes you are playing the worse these effects get to balance out. Not sure that works when you end up with 10 Heroes, which we did because as more people started showing up we just added them in. Caleb didn’t even get to play. He just ran the game (playing both the Villain Deck and the Environment Deck). Which isn’t necessary but was extremely helpful in this situation. We were ultimately victorious with none of the Heroes being taken out (again, not sure it scales to +10 – but we also had some very good players helping to ensure we worked together correctly)
We then moved to Cards Against Humanity. One of the guests, Michael (not me), had never played this before and really wanted to try it out. It’s a fun game but 10 people probably made it a bit unwieldy as well.
Next we moved on to Ultimate Werewolf. A party game I had never played before, but had heard about from Rocky who had played it at GenCon. It was a hit. Rocky stared off by running it for us, but then we started rotating. Here’s a protip for you. If you are a Werewolf and the guy next to you is also a Werewolf this doesn’t mean you can talk/whisper your plans. Things had worked out almost perfectly for Rob and I to be victorious as werewolves. He and I had before that particular game of Werewolf started had sorta agreed on strategy that we wanted to be more logical in our decisions and take our time. Then we both got picked as werewolves. so the fact that we were already sorta on the same side wasn’t suspicious, or wasn’t AS suspicious. We got a couple people out easily and figured out who the Masons were (There are two Masons in the version we were playing. The know who each other are so they always have 2 votes against the believed WereWolf. As a WereWolf being able to get at least one of the Mason’s out before the game gets too small is paramount if you want to be victorious) and were going to take one out when I opened my big stupid mouth and told Rob what we should do. We knew the guy next to Rob heard us so we had to quickly change plans and take him out instead which ruined everything. Still, it was a very fun game.
We, or at least I, ended that night with a giant game of Zombiecide. This was one of Rob’s favorite games from our first AcadeCon and aftewards he went out and bought the game and all the expansions. We did okay until I threw a Molativo cocktail and killed 16 zombies in one hit, leveling up twice and screwing up the rest of the zombie draws for everyone else. After that I called it a night (I think it was around 4:00 AM at this point) but many of the other guys kept playing.
We started the next day off around 10:00 Am or so. A few of the guys spent the night at my place, crashing on the couch or spare bed. By 11:00 AM most of them had shown back up. Around 10:30 we had our first new guest. Ken, who is gaming buddy of one of my twitter buddies (KosovoDad) made the trip over from Indiana. We broke out Legendary: Encounters the Alien themed deck builder similar to the Marvel Legedaer game I love so much. Encounters is freaking hard!
The first game we played we got our asses kicked! The second game, ohhh that game was epic. We seemed to be cruising along pretty well. we were working together better as players, collaborating and planning. We got through the two first stages quickly but then things turned and fast. the only thing we had left to do was kill the “Perfect Organism.” which is a single card buried somewhere in the villain deck and is the hardest to kill in terms of needing a lot of ‘attack points’ to do so. In four successive turns Ken, Travis, Me and Nick got taken out. All that was left was Rob and it was realistically his last turn. He used his free Scan ability (as the Scout) and discovered that the Perfect Organism was in the airlock, which is where it had to be in order for him to take it out and he had just enough attack points to do so. We really did play out the movie. last survivor, last chance, extremely lucky – victory. I really liked the game, not sure I have enough fortitude to play it again.
By this time, around 1:00 PM the whole crew was pretty much there. We started breaking out the board games again but more naturally divided up into groups.
At around 4:00 pm we had a special guest show up. CB Droege who was a guest on a recent Table Topics episode that will never be aired due to some technical issues, has created a 2 person strategy game called Dragon Line. He ran a tournament of the game which 6 of us participated in. Brad Plogsted stood victorious after Rob screwed up and gave up some free points. For his victory Brad received a free signed copy of the game. CB got to play a couple other games while he was there
Next the Role playing really broke out. I can’t speak to all the games being played because I was running and didn’t get to play in them all myself
I know that Caleb ran a game of Dread that was considered by those who played as the best game of the Con and by Caleb as maybe the best game he’s every ran. Caleb also ran a session of Everyone is John that was a big hit.
Rocky ran a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that used a Hacked Version of DnD 5e rules meant to be an introductory game to teach the 5e rules.
I ran a FATE western game with a twist (of course). It was my first time running an actual game of FATE. I really like it, but i’m still not comfortable with it. I got to run the same scenario on Sunday using a different group. The game ran much differently and I think better.
I also ran a one-shot DnD 5e game that was set up as a Made Men Prequel. So if you listened to that AP series of Podcasts, that game was a bit of a wink wink, nudge nudge toward that game.
We talked Caleb into running the Dread game again for another group (myself included). Rocky went double center way early (what a dick!) but it did ramp up the tension early. It ended as best as could be expected. The last pull the tower wobbled, then stopped, sigh of relief, then the tower fell as did my character down an elevator shaft.
It was nearing 3 AM by this time and I was again off to bed and again some others stayed up.
Sunday was the last day. I got up at about 9:00 Am and found a couple extra people sleeping on the couch. They had stayed up till about 7:00 Am playing more games.
I think the biggest issue with not having things scheduled showed itself here as almost everyone left Sunday morning or didn’t come back on Sunday. The only ‘event’ was my second running of FATE with Erik, Rachel, Rocky and Rob. That went from about 12p – 3:30p. When that game wrapped up everyone was dead tired and ready for home.
We did draw for our Door prizes.
Rachel won 2nd prize which was a copy of the DnD 5e Starter Set
And Michael (Not me, or the other one – there are a lot of Michaels) won our Grand Prize. A free Hex Dice Chest from our friends over at Elder Wood
I had such a blast this time. It was bigger and better than the first one. I got to play new games, run some new stuff. Practice one-shots, try out FATE and learn not to talk during WereWolf. It has only strengthened my resolve to continue to try and grow AcadeCon into something bigger than a Mini-Con in my basement. It also made me look ahead to all the other Cons close enough for me to go to.
Up next: CincyCon May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. If you’re going, look me up. I’ll be running my FATE western (with a twist), that Made Men prequel and I’m working on maybe a FAE game with the Flinstones as PC’s.
yabba Dabba Doooo!
There were several games played during the weekend that were not RPG’s and that I didn’t get to play in.
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