Sunday, April 4, 2010

Endgame Mini-Con April 2010

I made a serious mistake with this mini-con at Endgame - I waited too long to sign-up for games. In the past, I've signed up as soon as games show up on the schedule, and, while I almost always get into a good game, there are usually one or two unique games that get posted late that I really would've liked to play but can't now that I'm already locked into something else. So with this con, I waited to the last minute. On the one hand, this meant I did get to play two very unique games; but on the other, the morning session filled up so quickly that I couldn't get into a single game, and ended up only playing two instead of three games.

My afternoon game was Agon, run by Sean Nittner (of the Narrative Control podcast). Agon is a game of Greek heroes doing mighty deeds and overcoming great odds to gain glory. Most of the game was narrative-based, with mechanics where players rolled off against their various skills (a D4 to D10 die + their D6 "name" die) to succeed in a conflict (to further the plot) and against each other (to be the one that claims credit for the success and thus gain greater glory). Players can help each other by offering their skills to another when not directly involved in the roll, in exchange for an oath that will compel the other player to return the favor at some later point. As oath-taking and failing conflicts quickly degrades skills and depletes the "divine favor" useful to make rolls highly successful, there is a mechanic where the characters engage in a week of revelry, challenges, or rituals to regain some of their original values (although this can be very slow, in particular to regaining skills). This aspect of the game works pretty well, moving the story quickly and favoring aggressive role-playing. Combat gets a little more crunchy, with a positioning mechanic similar in feel to the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, but is still relatively smooth and quick. My only real criticism of the game is that, while there were a time or two where I felt my character was less than effective (this was mitigated by an interlude of revelry), I never felt my character was in danger. A fate mechanic, where the character gets closer to the end of their story, never really came into play, and wounds never got terribly serious. I think this might have been due to the one-shot nature of the game, and those aspects could come up more in a campaign. All in all, I liked the game, the GM was good, and the players were fun, so I'd like to try it again.

My evening game was a playtest of an unpublished system run by Paul Tevis (of the Have Games, Will Travel podcast) based in the Delta Green setting. I won't talk about the mechanics of the game (as Paul may be thinking of publishing it) except to say that it was a quite effective story game that emphasized the interpersonal relationships of the agents and the internal questions each character was grappling with during their battle against the Mythos. I was little worried when I saw we'd be playing characters from Paul's campaign, as that situation has never worked well for me when I've played it at other con games; but, the players were all top-notch and we so quickly got into our characters that it worked out great. It was a fantastic game and lots of fun.

The next Endgame Mini-Con will be the Good Omens Con on July 17, although KublaCon at the end of May is what's next on my agenda.