Lessons Learned at MEPACon 2017

A large conference room at a game convention, with many people playing games at round tables.

For years it was matter of pride that I ran three events at every MEPACon, our regional gaming convention. It gave me a chance to represent some of the non-D&D games that I love — Savage Worlds, Star Wars: Saga Edition, Risk 2210, etc. — and my registration fee was waived, which made the weekend a little more affordable. … Read more

Game Day: Anticipating GenCon 2014

An slim-suited astronaut flies through an asteroid field. A blue-white sun shines in deep space.

After seven years away, I’m going back to GenCon. It’s been far too long since I was last there, and even longer since the late 1990s when GenCon was an annual pilgrimage for my gaming group. I’m looking forward to going back.

MEPACON Spring 2011 Events: Savage Worlds, Dragon Age, Pandemic

An elven archer, dwarven warrior, and human mage fight off dark spawn.

MEPACon Spring 2011 is being held Friday, April 8 through Sunday, April 10. It’s the 10th anniversary of the convention, and they’re going to be having a special reception Friday night. As always I’m looking forward to the convention, but this time around I’m taking my own advice and only running two RPGs. Given that … Read more

MEPACon Fall 2010 Wrap-up

Black and grey dice with red numbers sit on top of role-playing game source books.

Another MEPACon has come and gone, taking with it two weeks of frantic game preparation and 12 hours of actual play. The convention was held in Clarks Summit, near Scranton Pa. on November 12-14 and looked to have the typical attendance of 100 gamers playing a mix of board games, organized play, and one-shot RPGs. … Read more

MEPACon Fall 2009 Recap

After a few years away, the Blackazor Guild and I returned to MEPACon last weekend, our local gaming convention held near Scranton, Pa. every spring and fall. We used to be regulars at the local convention scene, but over the last few years we been running our own homegrown Nuke(m)Con instead. We decided to return … Read more

What I bought at Origins 2009

One of my favorite parts of hitting the big gaming conventions is spending a few hours (or rather, a few days) browsing and shopping in the exhibit hall. Origins 2009 was no different, and while I’m happy to say I didn’t break the bank, I did come back with a goodly pile of product purchased at the show.

I didn’t go into the show expecting to pick up any Savage Worlds books, as our Weird Pulp campaign never really got off the ground, and we haven’t played the game in months. But then I went to the Studio 2 booth, and found the brand new Fantasy Companion supplement for Savage Worlds. Published in the same folio format as the Savage Worlds: Explorers Edition, this book repackages the fantasy species information from the previous hardcover release of the game and folds in a bunch of edges, magic items, and monsters from the various fantasy toolkit PDFs.

I like PDFs, but I’d been hoping that Pinnacle would release the toolkits in a dead tree edition. when I saw the Fantasy Companion on the shelf, I instantly picked it up.

Origins 2009: Afterwords

The whirlwind of gaming known as Origins 2009 has come and gone. I had little time bask in the gaming afterglow; after I left the con I flew directly to Vermont to meet with my family so we could spend a week on an island on Lake Champlain.

Going from 24 hour gaming to an island with no indoor plumbing, no net access, and minimal power was a huge shift, but at least the lake does have a wandering monster…

So how was Origins? Good. Great even. It didn’t have the same maniac energy that GenCon has, nor did it have the same crush of people all trying to get somewhere at the same time. All of the events were in the convention center, which made navigating the con far, far easier than GenCon.

Going into Origins I’d heard that it had a great gamer vibe — meaning it was a place that people went to play games, rather than being more of an event-style, vendor-oriented show like GenCon. After going, I can agree with that sentiment. It’s a gamer’s con, with a heavy focus on board, card and miniature games. Indeed, while there was a serious RPG contingent, they didn’t have the same sort of sprawling setup that they have at GenCon.

Origins 2009: Day 4

Saturday began with the North Market waffles that my friend Cory and I had been craving all week. Strawberries and cream topped waffled cosumed, I headed to my Spirit of the Century game.

The game was run by David Moore (@vandermore) of The Gamemaster Show and included Mur Lafferty, Chris Miller of The Secret Lair podcast, and a host of friends from Twitter and Balticon. We spent the last few weeks creating our characters online – which was one of the best character creation sessions I’ve been in – and it was a blast to finally get to see them in action.

We each created 1920s, pulp versions of ourselves, recast as fictional characters. Drawing on my time as a newspaper reporter, I created Clayton Berkshire aka Clayton Jones aka The Constant Sentinel. He was a world famous reporter for the London Times who covered the Great War as a stringer and was so horrified by what he saw that he created the secret identity of the Sentinel. 

Origins 2009: Day 3

My day started withthe uneven Star Wars event, Betrayal of Darth Revan. Uneven partly because of poor dice rolls and incompetence on our part, and poor adventure design on the part of it’s RPGA authors. It has too many encounters, and they didn’t obey Order 66’s The List, specifically the Rule of Six, which advocates making sure you have good terrain, and diverse opponents spread out to take advantage of said terrain. Perhaps the Order 66 community could take on rebuilding the problem encounters. 

After stopping by the exhibit hall to pick up Six-siders and Spaceships, and taking some time to drool over starship minis,  I headed to my second Star Wars game of the day: The Death of the Star of Agnor. In this New Republic era game I played a force wizard Jedi named Kava Starshade on a diplomatic mission. 

The Star Wars game was sponsored by d20 Radio, the folks behind the Order 66 podcast. It was a good game, involving a pirate attack on a star cruiser. I played the Jedi as a diplomatic, somewhat pacifistic character, using his powers to nullify threats rather than kill them.

I ended the day hanging out with friends David Moore (@vandermore) and half the crew from our Saturday morning Spirit of the Century game). We put the finish touches on our characters and broke out a new game: Traitor.

Origins 2009: Day 2

The big difference between going to a big con before and after  having kids is that before your sleep deprived when leaving the con, after kids, you’re sleep deprived from day one.

I woke up Thursday looking forward to gaming, but nursing a headache from too little sleep and too much beer. Nothing a lot of coffee couldn’t fix though. We headed north for coffee and free wifi at Cup o’Joe. Great coffee but unfortunately the wireless network wouldn’t work with our iPod touches.

Coffee in hand and headache tamed, three of the Blackrazors headed to Hackmaster Basic tutorial session.

The first stop on Day 2 was the convention hall and customer service to get a refund on one of my Thursday events, which freed up my afternoon to wander the exhibit  hall.

My first event was Hackmaster Basic, which was an introductory event. It got off to a slow start – our table leader was still learning the rules himself, and we had several false starts. That said, character creation was a fun mix of random rolls and point building, and once we were done we got to run thriuh a scenario with one of the games designers. It’s very crunchy, but I’m looking forward to my own group’s playtest.