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Conn Con Has Come and Gone

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There Will Be Games

 After last year's Trashfest, I swore I would never GM Arkham Horror again. What a fiasco that was. However, two of the sweetest gamer guys in the world e-mailed me last week and asked if I could sub for the Conn Con Arkham GM, who had cancelled due to a family illness. If anyone else had asked I would have said no, especially since Conn Con is primarily known as an RPG event. However, my friends were in a bind, and they assured me that it was a family friendly event, and that only 5 people had signed up for Arkham, 2 of whom were people I knew and liked. So we decided what the heck. Let's take a mini family vacation.

Less than 24 hours after I made our reservations, MegaFauna Dan calls and says that his friend told him that there was going to be a "big" Arkham Horror event at Conn Con and we should all go.  HA! Since clearly I was going get some walk ins, like Dan and friend,  I contacted the Conn Con dudes and told them that I would run two tables and asked if they had another copy of the game.  

The first thing that struck me when we arrived at Conn Con was that it wasn't being held at run down third rate hotel, like most game cons are.  The lounge and bar was swank. There was an indoor pool and fitness room. Our room had been recently remodeled and had a wide screen TV.  

Usually, when attending a game con, I can find the game rooms by following the noise. Not here. Conn Con is still a small con, and as I said is still primarily known as an RPG con, so there weren't all that many gamers in attendance. Additionally, the rooms clearly had some decent sound damping. There were several tables of games being played in the main room and it was still possible to have a conversation in a normal speaking voice. 

All the gamers were engaged when we arrived. We had gotten in about an hour after the afternoon's scheduled events had begun. We simply aren't capable of getting anywhere earlier than 2pm.  There were several scheduled games going on in the main room. In another area, Beyond Candyland was running an event for families with young children. I figured we were out of luck, and would spend the next few hours at lose ends. However, Erik and his wife (at least I think it was his wife, I didn't catch her name), who had just finished running the Pitch Car event, took notice of the Spawn and the Man eyeing his stack of Pitch Car boxes and stepped up and offered to teach them to play. This was particularly appreciated as Erik had just finished breaking down the track and packing it up.  

With the family occupied I had a chance to chat with Zev.  Zev tells me that last year, after they got Tales of the Arabian Nights all translated and the rules tweaked, he started play testing it, and discovered that the card/chart results that indicate which paragraph you get, had no correspondence to the subject of the paragraph. He was absolutely incredulous over this aspect of the game that we had simply accepted in the original version. So Zev undertook the enormous task of making the card/chart results correspond to the paragraphs. He has written over a hundred new paragraphs so that now when you roll up an encounter with a happy hunchback, you will actually have an encounter with a happy hunchback. Awesome! He also told me that I could put Tales on my birthday wish list and not be disappointed. He feels confident that it will hit the shelves this summer. 

Zev went off to play a German game about a swarm of something with Megafauna Dan and some other guys, and I was introduced to an energetic and charming man who turned out to be Curt from Smirk and Dagger. On F:AT he may be known as the guy who did Cutthroat Caverns, but around my house he is better known as the inventor of 3D chalk. The Spawn was totally thrilled to meet him. He had a prototype of "Shootin' Ladders - Frag Fest Total Carnage Has It's Ups & Downs," and invited us to play. Shootin Ladders is a shoot out between gingerbread men with weapons such as an M&M 16 and Rocket Popsicles, that takes place on a Chutes and Ladders board that has a couple of walls added to block line of site. We played a last man, or rather last body part standing scenario where we blew of each other's gingerbread parts and collected them as trophies. It was funny, and the Spawn liked it, except that it went on a bit too long for her. Curt says they are still in the early phase of play testing, seeing what works, seeing what people like. I think it has a promise as an Ameritrash Jr. game once they finish tweaking it.

The Man and the Spawn took off to the pool while I grabbed some dinner and then started setting up for Arkham. This is when things started getting a little hairy. The second copy of the game had never been punched, so my friend Star rounded up some friends and some ziplocks and stated punching. A couple of people objected that the tables in the main room were too narrow, but two together was too wide. Someone suggested we move to the round tables out by the water fall, so we tossed the half set up games into the boxes, moved out and started setting up again at the round tables.  Sometime during all this moving we realized we had 15 people of widely varying skill levels who wanted to play. Star dug up a third copy of Arkham, and of course it hadn't been punched either. I turned over my copy of Arkham to MegaFauna Dan and informed him that he was now running a game of Arkham with expansions for the experienced players. Dan, Star and I triaged the players as they arrived into beginners with me, intermediates with Star and experienced with Dan, while simultaneously trying to punch and set up the games. I had to move one last time when the lights over my table were dimmed for some reason, but the guys I had were good sports, and helped me move, finish punching and setting up the game.

Out of the four guys in my group,  I had two role players and someone who had played before. Three of my group were also familiar with Lovecraft. This combination made teaching and running the game very easy. The role players easily accepted me in my role as GM, and were willing to just jump in without needing all the details of the rules, the way many gamers do. Despite the fact that I wasn't playing a character, it was a fun night. The investigators lost just one doom token short of defeating the big bad. I got the impression that they enjoyed themselves. 

Meanwhile, Dan was running an epic game with Dunwich, Kingsport and Dark Pharaoh. I got the impression that they enjoyed themselves as well.

My impressions were confirmed on Sunday. The Arkham players were still discussing the game they played the night before. A few of us were trying to decide what to play, when someone said that after Arkham everything else just seemed kind of bland. So I said why don't we just play Arkham again, this time with King in Yellow. And so we did.

There Will Be Games
Shellie "ubarose" Rose  (She/Her)
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Plays boardgames. Drinks bourbon. Writes code.

Articles by Shellie

 

Shellie "ubarose" Rose
Managing Editor & Web Admin

Articles by Shellie

 

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