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Adrian Stein
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Okay, so DexCon happened.

Short form:
Played games. Saw people. Had fun. Got frustrated. All the usual. Thanks all around for the staff, GMs and players for creating a great experience.

Long form:

Some notes in no particular order:
• I like kilts. Glad I got one. Now I just have to complete the outfit properly but I think I'll be wearing it at every con.

• I never have to play Monsterhearts again. While I had fun at the session (Thank you, Joe.), I have come to the conclusion that it is not for me. I just don't like the game. I'm not into PvP. Not into forcing players to do things. And TOTALLY not into losing player agency because of some other player's move on me. The game pushes all the wrong buttons and I get incredibly frustrated.

• Wrestling is now my "go to" game at the con. (Thanks, Blair!) As long as it's being offered, I will sign up. This probably means I will never be free for an evening slot again. I'm fine with that. It's nice to be part of a core group of gamers who enjoy it so much.

• Food/Restaurants, in general, seem to be taking a hit these days. The hotel food is lackluster and way overpriced. Marjan, our usual go-to Persian place across the street, had a major f*ckup this weekend and I'm probably never going back. Urban Table was severely underwhelming for all the hype it gets. Best meals were Sushi Lounge (again, way too expensive) and the Morristown Pancake House for brekky. Everything else was "meh".

• I give up. I'm not going to bother bringing exercise clothes. I only get to the gym every other con, it seems. I might as well just sleep in.

• The bar needs to stay open later. Or I need to start drinking before the last slot ends.

• Ryuutama is a fun but majorly flawed game. I probably like it more than any of the other "pastoral" RPGs I've played but it seems to come down to just a drawn out series of die rolls. Like the same ones. Every day. It's like "roll for wandering monster" the RPG. Still, I loved the scenario we played (Thanks, Vivian!) and getting to play with Dan Scribner, which doesn't happen as often as I'd like.

• I quite enjoyed Masks. (Thanks, Brendan!) I'm sure I'd like it even more once I got used to the mechanics which I found slightly confusing. Probably the most inspired I've been in describing a character in a long time. Too bad I never got the change use my angst-ridden catch phrases.

• Apparently, and I don't find this surprising, I should not play female characters.

• Fellowship, an AW hack for LOTR was…different. Had a fun time (Thanks as always, Jeff!) and got to revive a little bit of one of my favorite characters, Mr. Ruts. However, the rules were a lot to take in for a con session. The system seems better suited for a campaign than a one shot.

• Burlesque is not for me. I don’t understand it. I think it works in theory, but in practice I'm either embarrassed to be there or bored. There's something that just inherently rubs me the wrong way to hear men hooting and hollering at women while they take their clothes off.

• And last, but certainly not least, I'm a little confused about games that try to "teach" or "enlighten" me about some social issue. Maybe it's me, but they seem to always miss the mark. Wanting to use the medium of games to present alternate perspectives or evoke a specific emotional response is a great idea. But I've yet to encounter a game that couldn't be picked apart and turned around on the author. Inevitably, if I pull it apart, I start to sound like some idiot spewing conservative talking points. Maybe more designers need a real asshole of a devil’s advocate during the playtest process?

• And that, as they say, is that.

My Dreamation 2016 recap:

’ll try to make this as brief as possible.

World Wide Wrestling - My 8pm slot Thursday, Friday and Saturday run by +Joe Zantek. After DexCon I had to play this again and Joe did not disappoint. Totally gonzo. Totally loud and disruptive. Insane amounts of pure fun. I don’t’ remember the last time I’ve laughed so hard at a game. As long as Joe continues to run this event it will be my priority to attend. I actually had strangers at other events quote things that happened in the game because word got around. Seriously, best game ever and I don’t even follow wrestling.

Thursday –
Noirlandia run by +Evan Rowland. A Questlandia hack playtest. I’ve never played Questlandia but I truly enjoyed this game. A great group of players including +Robert Bohl Bohl and +Mikael Andersson Andersson we created a steampunk noir city and played out an amazing, gritty, cinematic murder mystery. The evidence board mechanic is inspired (Real string!) and the optional randomization tables for clues fit the setting PERFECTLY. Evan has a winner. I expect you will be hearing more about this.

Lovecraftesque run by Misha Bushyager. Another playtest. I admit it was hard to get into a shared protagonist storytelling game after some strong pc driven games. But once we got going, this game got super creepy. Which is the point, of course. My only issue was that I killed the scenario two hours into the slot because the game drives you to a descent into madness and there seemed to be no way out of the situation we were in. It was completely appropriate and everyone was fine with the super depressing and creepy ending. But we were left with two hours to kill. Which can be a good thing, too.

Saturday –

Golden Sky Stories run by +Tony Lower-Basch. I really wanted to try one of the “feel good” RPGs at the con and this was it. Again, I was thrown by going from WWW to this where Tony, our GM, baked jam cookies and had tea for us. It was so civilized! Super cute and genteel, the system really does a great job of simulating a feel good anime. Probably the strangest game all weekend. And I got to play a Tanuki! So win, win.

Over the Edge run by Mikael Andersson. Oh, man. I forgot how much I love Over the Edge. Mikael ran a great scenario that had layers upon layers of duplicity and secrets as well as a retcon system that was so perfect for the setting. I congratulate him on the crazy amount of work it must have been to put this together. So impressed.

Sunday –

Breakfast with Misha Bushyager, +James Stuart, and +Jason Morningstar A breakfast mixer. We got to mingle with other people at the con and hear stories. Nice, relaxed way to start the last day of the con and hear about systems/events I may want to try next time.

‪#‎Feminism‬ Nanogame Sampler" L059 hosted by James Stuart. I only got to play one of the LARPs and it was Manic Pixie Dream Girl Commandos. I’m assuming as a feminist LARP I was supposed to get something out of this…but I didn’t. It was fun, though. We did have some players that ended up having difficulty with aspects of the game and that was somewhat enlightening. But overall it allowed me to act crazy in public and do some very silly things. Like I need permission.

Despite being in constant dental pain and having no sense of taste (true story), a very successful con. I look forward to the next one.

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