I go to a con Nov 20, 2006

I went to Intercon Mid-Atlantic this past weekend. Lots and lots of details behind the cut…

The trip

I drove down with , and [redacted]*. The drive was not so bad this year, traffic-wise, and I think a large part of that was due to the fact that we decided to take the Tappan Zee Bridge to the Garden State Parkway and avoid the northern end of the NJ Turnpike. Apparently some other, smarter people took the ferry and saved about an hour driving through southern Jersey and Delaware, but we didn't.

A lot of people don't like long car trips, but I actually sometimes enjoy them, particularly when I'm driving with cool people, and that was definitely the case this time.

The con in general

As some others have already posted, the hotel this year was a LOT better than last year. There wasn't as much conference space (the con ended up renting out some adjoining suites and using those to run games in), but there wasn't the general feeling of disrepair and overall hotel sketchiness that there was at the Bridgeview Inn. Also, Rehoboth Beach is a very touristy beach town, and I had fun walking around and just looking at all the funky little stores and stuff.

Overall, the con seemed well put-together. Despite the last-minute drops of two games, people seemed to have enough to do, and even when I didn't have any game to be in, it was fun just hanging around the con suite and shooting the shit with people.

Oh, and I feel like I should mention one more thing. For anyone who read the con booklet and noticed that my bio was longer than all the other GM bios put together… that wasn't supposed to be my bio. Due to a miscommunication somewhere in the chain, a long, rambly email I sent to [redacted], intended to be culled for sound-bites, was actually submitted as my bio. Sorry about that - I may have a big ego, but it's really not big enough to actually submit that monstrosity as my GM bio.

Games I played

I played in some LARPs while I was there. Shocking, eh? Here are some brief thoughts on them.

  • 1955: Signals - I idiotically didn't follow advice and didn't deeply read most of the background materials for the game until I actually got there. There was a LOT of stuff to absorb. Despite that, I lucked into a character that wasn't actually that much worse off because of it, and I had a lot of fun playing essentially a Ferengi. I was impressed by how well the game managed to appease both the campaign players and the walk-ins.
  • Mahabarata - for this one, I thought I did thoroughly prepare - but I somehow managed to entirely miss a crucial paragraph in my character sheet, which would have significantly changed the game for me. Also, I don't do love plot very well and don't really like playing it, which often means that I don't end up doing it. I want to emphasize that these are both personal failings of mine as a player, and also that despite them, I actually had fun playing this game even though it turned out I missed out on most of the cool stuff that my character had. It is a very, very good game, and I highly recommend checking it out.
  • Smallgreen's - this was one of the LARPA Small Games Contest entries, and it's the first LARP that the writer, , has ever run, according to him, which makes it doubly impressive just how good this game is. I heard it referred to as a "classic-style Something Strange is Going On game" and I'd have to agree with that, although it also makes very good use of a sanity mechanic inspired by Cthulhu Live. I've heard that is bidding it for Intercon G, and if it ends up running, I highly recommend playing. (Personal disclaimer - yeah, I'm also a bit biased towards this one, because the author tells me that a certain game I was involved with rewriting was one of his major inspirations - but warm fuzzies aside, it's also a really good game IMO.)

Games I ran

I'm going to go against my usual name redaction policy here, because you could trivially look up the people I'm talking about anyway, and I don't think anyone will object to what I'm going to say.

  • Welcome to Sunnyvale - due to very good reasons I'm not going to go into here, Sheena couldn't make it down to Intercon Mid-Atlantic at the last minute, so I ended up running Welcome to Sunnyvale along with and Phoebe. I think it went pretty well, and people seemed to have fun, which really speaks well for the game considering that the GMs weren't really very prepared going into the run, and I'm still not sure I had the combat system correct...
  • 10 Bad LARPs: The B-Sides - on Saturday afternoon, a betting pool went up in the con suite: what are the GMs of "10 Bad LARPs" going to do with hundreds of rolls of toilet paper? I'm not going to tell you the answer - you'll just have to play it to find out. Overall, I wasn't as thrilled with this run as I am with the original "10 Bad LARPs", but I guess that's normal for a first run - we definitely did some tweaking and rewriting on the original too. I think people were disappointed that the game wasn't as offensive as they expected, so we might have to ramp that stuff up too. But people definitely had fun and laughed a lot. Also, as said, we've definitely got a LARP "franchise" going now, which is kind of cool.

Final thoughts

Just like last year, I had a great time at Intercon Mid-Atlantic. It's totally worth the 10-hour car ride. It's small, friendly, and there are GREAT games there. I am definitely going back next year - all I need to figure out is what game I'm going to bring this time so that, being the cheap bastard I am, I can get free admission. :)

  • Anyone whose name I redacted - this is my usual LJ policy for people who haven't given me explicit permission to post their name/LJ username. If you're OK with me posting it, let me know and I'll unredact you, assuming "unredact" turns out to be a real word.