23 January 2014

Kapcon 2014 review

Kapcon this year was mainly games on demand for me, plus two rounds of adventure squad, the new family event run by me and another parent/gamer.

Round One: Torchbearer (Three Squires). Pitched as "D&D but with a focus on packing," I got a keen group. They got about halfway through the intro adventure, getting some decent loot and closure from the place. Everyone was interested and engaged, and it was a lot of fun.

Round Two: Black Stars Rise beta (Renovation). This was good. A little slow to start but once I had a handle on the weirdness and everyone had their character's sorted, it rocked. The slowly growing awareness of the alien weirdness that had targeted them really worked. Top marks for our doctor, who tried to burn down the building a couple of times in the middle of the game. Finally everyone else came around to his point of view and they blew the whole place up (they worked out that the place had been built as a beacon/summoning portal). Solid, but needs more GM advice - a bit of guidance about how to approach each set and also more about building interesting weirdness. Watch this one.

Round Three: The Quiet Year. This was not my first choice, but the game left for the final three people in games on demand. It was a quiet and thoughtful game, without any post-apocalyptic weirdness. Just people in a hard place trying to get along. I still love The Quiet Year.

Round Four: Torchbearer (Skogenby). One returning player, and a bunch of others keen to try it. It was a crazy ride as they managed to score a fair bit of loot until finally meeting their match with one the big bad under the hill. They left the dwarf underground, possessed. Still fun! I think I might be getting the hang of running it.

Rounds Five and Six: Adventure Squad. Games for families (specifically 5-12 year old kids with their parents present) was a bit of an experiment but went well on the day. I ran a homebrewed Hogwarts game in the first sub-round, then returned to it for the second half. Next I did a homebrew/streamlined D&D game with J V West's adventure Howler, which is short and admirably creepy and weird. The kids generally enjoyed themselves, and I hear that one wants to run his own games already, so the experiment was definitely a success. I did find that running games for kids was both different to what I'm used to and much more tiring! Also played were Hero Kids, Golden Sky Stories, Mice & Mystics, and King of Tokyo.

Round Seven: The Regiment (Mission Boston). An energetic final round as we played this awesome SNAFU of a mission. We didn't do too badly, destroying a few German positions and one bridge with the loss of only a few of our own squad (all the PCs survived, although separated at the end).

Overall, a fun and relaxed Kapcon this year, and I was pleased to get in some play of Black Stars Rise and Torchbearer. I would have liked to play Sagas of the Icelanders and Life On Mars (I got my copy from a group kickstarter at the con - looks lovely!).