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Intercon J - The Cover Story
October 2013
 
 
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Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 12:23 pm
Intercon J

Executive Summary

This year I played in three games: Blackout, Collision Imminent, and Veteran's Day. Two of these were first-run games. The other was decidedly not. In summary analysis, I would recommend Blackout to everybody, Collision Imminent to those who have not already played it, and Veteran's Day to those with an interest in Military History.

Blackout

Blackout was a game given by Dave Kapell and Alex Bradley. It ended up being a kitbash of two game concepts that I have been playing with for a few years; one of the obvious playing in the dark, and the other of building functional props for a LARP, so that they actually react in the way you might expect them to (puzzles and control panels that respond to input without GM intervention, etc.) I was more than happy to have somebody else do it first. The game had a few tech glitches upfront, but after that ran very smoothly. It had too many players (a requirement by Intercon to get the space they wanted), which meant several players ended up effectively in the same role, but that worked as it was sometimes necessary to solve the puzzles in the time we had.

In this game, I played the Captain, a role I am often chosen for. Uniquely, I actually behaved as you might expect a captain to behave -- I did very little that didn't require me specifically to be doing it, and spent most of my time organizing the efforts of others. Ostensibly I was supposed to have a kind of power conflict with another character, but in reality we were both much too busy for anything of the sort.

I greatly enjoyed this game and recommend it (especially now that they've run it once) to anybody who enjoys puzzle LARPs.

Collision Imminent

A lot of people I know, even those outside what I think of as my "LARPing friends", have played this game. I played as the Horde, which is usually a role I don't much care for, but in this case the game is so evolved and so well worked out that it worked really quite well. There's not much to say except specifics that I probably shouldn't get into in a public post. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed this game a great deal.

Veteran's Day

Veteran's Day was another first-run game. In this, the characters take on the roles of various military figures throughout history (we had about a 3,000 year throw in our run.) Rather than particular famous individuals, we had individual soliders from different eras, none officer rank (or historical equivalent.) For instance, I played a Kamikaze pilot from Leyete Gulf. I had the interesting experience of spending two hours arguing the justification and morality of World War II from Japan's perspective. It was actually a lot of fun railing against Western influences and how the United States really had Pearl Harbor coming.

Also, it resulted in the best quote of the convention. Our representative of the British Empire was arguing with a Frank Crusader about whether or not the British Empire was in the process of falling when he died in 1920. He replied through clenched teeth that "Haven't you ever heard the sun never sets on the British Empire?"

Before the Frank could issue a rebuttal, I piped in with "Haven't you ever heard the sun sets in the West?"

Dance, Food, and Other Considerations

The Saturday Night Dance Party was less well-attended than it has been in years past, but I still had a great time, and stayed on the dance floor more or less the whole night, stopping only for water and really bad songs.

I actually didn't eat any meals at consuite this year. I snacked a bit, but I ate dinner Friday in Lowell, lunch from Hong Kong across the parking lot, and Saturday dinner at the Independence Grill in the hotel. I ended up awakening to a fairly severe stomach ache Sunday morning, but I'm not sure if that was due to the food or overexerting myself at the Dance Party.

Also, this weekend threw into fairly sharp relief the widening gulf between myself and the rest of the LARP community. I tend to have things to talk about during games and about games, but I feel like I'm that guy that everybody knows because I've been there, but hasn't done anything noteworthy that he is remembered for. I exist rather outside the NEIL structure, even though I know so many people who are deeply, deeply involved in it. On the one hand, I'd like to do more, on the other hand, Intercon is the leading edge of Con Alley, as March has 3 annual conventions in it that I attend every year (the other two being Gaming Weekend and TechEd), and sadly is the least-important of those to me. Perhaps I will find some way to rectify this fugue next year.

After the Con I got a call from work that prevented me from going to Dead Dog. It was, perhaps, just as well. I got all the work-stuff squared away on a call during the drive home, so EB and I watched Up in the Air. I fell asleep in the third act, and around 1930 went to bed and slept 14 hours straight. On the plus side, there's no Con-lag today.

This evening I'm off to Chicago. Once more into the field, dear friends.

Tags: ,
Current Location: Waltham, MA
Current Mood: content content

17CommentReplyShare

londo
londo
A fool who should know better
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)

Severably, but without reservation for either:

  • Dear bronzite,

    If you continue to persist in the opinion that we don't like you, in spite of the fact that we do and have told you so multiple times, I am going to kick your ass.

    XOXO,
    londo

  • You and EB dance beautifully together.


ReplyThread
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)

Dear londo,

Its not that I think you don't like me, its more that we seem to have less and less to talk about.

XOXO,
bronzite

P.S. Bring it, scrawny.


ReplyThread Parent
londo
londo
A fool who should know better
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)

Funny you should mention that, because at Dead Dog we were just discussing what a pussy you are the idea of running a Kobolds Ate My Baby! larp, no seriously we want to try it, and many people present declared that it could under no conditions be any good unless you were involved in making it happen.


ReplyThread Parent
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 04:56 pm (UTC)

Hmm. KAMB: The LARP would be strange and Sunday-Morningish. K-COM: The LARP, though...


ReplyThread Parent
londo
londo
A fool who should know better
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 05:01 pm (UTC)

I briefly considered K-COM-as-larp, but between not wanting to step on your shtick, and my general belief that it's really a PvE/tabletop game, and not a larp... I dunno.

Huh. Actually. Could K-COM work as boffer PvE/horde?


ReplyThread Parent
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)

Unfortunately, no. Because of the intrinsic real-time approach of LARP, K-COM: The LARP would by necessity be K-COM: Apocalypse, which would, as history has shown, just be bad.

KAMB as LARP would run afoul of its own difficulties, either having too much weight as a "real game", or being regulated to a Sunday-morning game. Its possible it could be written as a component of Intercon Z-K.

Although now that I'm thinking about it, you could run an interesting game using lights-down space and wall partitions to write a LARP centered around a X-COM base attack mission -- using cast as the Squaddies and horde for the aliens. You'd need a big room and careful soundtrack selection to get the proper effect for long enough, but you could right a really effective (like, serious red-letter warning on the game blurb) horror game using that paradigm.


ReplyThread Parent
londo
londo
A fool who should know better
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC)

Huh. A horror game like that needs *exceptionally* clear mechanics, so that people spend more time being afraid and less time wondering if they should use power A or power B.

I think KAMB would work well on Saturday afternoon, though I haven't yet figured out how much funny it would be and how much crack.


ReplyThread Parent
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I was thinking mechanics like "You have a nerf gun. Make the bad aliens fall down. Don't let them touch you." It would probably be a better game with real NPCs rather than Horde, but then it would come in under most convention's player/square foot line.


ReplyThread Parent
londo
londo
A fool who should know better
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)

For this, we need to talk to Josh Marcus and maybe some of the other FI guys.

But, while it maybe shouldn't be done at Intercon, it could definitely be done.


ReplyThread Parent
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 05:37 pm (UTC)

I'm sorry, FI?

Nevermind, as soon as I posted, I got it.

Edited at 2010-03-15 05:38 pm (UTC)


ReplyThread Parent
taranhero
taranhero
Taran
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 08:08 pm (UTC)

It would probably be a better game with real NPCs rather than Horde

For the uninitiated (like me!), what is the difference between "real NPCs" and "Horde"?


ReplyThread Parent
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)

"Real NPCs" are effective AGM's assigned to play a specific role that, generally speaking, isn't terribly interesting and involves creating an obstacle or foil for PC's to react to. This would be your average shopkeepers, palace guards, and Bug-Eyed Monsters.

"Horde" is a specific group of players who have knowingly signed up to rapidly rotate through a given series of characters, that they generally know the class of ahead of time, but not the specifics. This is closer to what you would think of as NPC's for a boffer LARP. For example, in the Horde LARP I played this weekend, the situation was evacuating a starliner. The "Cast" characters represented the major crewmembers of the ship (Captain, First Mate, Engineer, and so forth), while the other players represented a series of a few hundred passengers disembarking. The "Horde" players received a character from the GMs, generally a few sentences long, and portrayed that character until they were either evacuated or dispatched in some other way by the crew.


ReplyThread Parent
acousticshadow2
acousticshadow2
acousticshadow2
Sun, Mar. 21st, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
BUG


There was a LARP at Intercon I that was similar. They used 2 suites and a room with various lightings including all dark at one point. It was nerf guns for crew vs Bug aliens with acid vomit and poison bite.


ReplyThread Parent
cykotek
cykotek
John
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)

Stick, Mk 2 and Bumpy Cow!


ReplyThread Parent
jalawingedone
jalawingedone
Mon, Mar. 15th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)

I've seen and wielded a stick Mk2, but what in King Torg's name (all hail King Torg) is a Bumpy Cow?


ReplyThread Parent
breakinglight11
breakinglight11
Phoebe
Wed, Mar. 17th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)

"Also, this weekend threw into fairly sharp relief the widening gulf between myself and the rest of the LARP community."

I hope you don't include everyone in this assessment.


ReplyThread
bronzite
bronzite
Robert Bronzite
Wed, Mar. 17th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)

That's more a statement to the fact that I have precious little to contribute to the ongoing dialog of Intercon, and still less that hasn't been said before. That said, this assessment is comparatively based on those I am closest two, a sample set that contains biases of its own.


ReplyThread Parent