gbsteve (gbsteve) wrote,


And so once more we toddled off down to the Hampshire/Dorset Land/Water border that is the Naish Holiday Village, a limnal island of frenzied indie gaming for four days. In the first 48 hours, we played 24 hours of games, so we had a little break on Saturday night and only one more game on Sunday. The self-catering chalets are comfortable and warm and we're all foodies so ate well, possibly too well given that we consumed about 900g of cheese in various guises.

So here's what I played:

PTA: We settled on the pilot of a soap set around an East End dog track. I was GM and eventually managed to find all the rules. We didn't have cards but dice worked as well, if not better. It was pretty good fun, loads of overacting and a satisfying denouement of a running battle between two gangland families over property rights and the blowing up of an allotment shed.

Durance: Jason Morningstar's SF prison colony game. It's still in playtest but it's not very far away from being a very decent game. There are two hierarchies, prison authorities and prisoners. You have a character in each who has an oath that they will never ... allow anyone to go hungry or listen to a woman or whatever. The resolution mechanism needs a few tweaks but it was good fun. There's just about the right amount of constraint and encouragement for a decent story to emerge. One to watch. A few cocknet accents got pulled over from the previous game.

Burning Wheel: John ran this. It got very dark (the weather that is) and we thought it was later so the game finished a whole hour early. The setting was WHFRP The Old Empire which I must admit goes more, for me, to making it a good game than the Burning Wheel system. But John's a good GM and we didn't get bogged down in ticks and extended resolutions.

Night's Black Agents: Ken Hite's new GUMSHOE game. You're secret agents who find out that they can never leave because Vampires are behind everything. Think Bourne with Teeth (or Roger Moore in crushed velvet, there are several modes of play). This was my first sight of this and we had a good time. Matthew produced incredible scenarios, a printed and bound, laminated character sheets and hand outs that cover anything we might inquire about (except perhaps how to parachute a dead monkey on to a cruise liner, but still). We went down Mexico way with the expected trail of destruction. It could perhaps have done with a bit more bite from the bad guys as we didn't get beaten up much.

Fourpenny Touch: This was the third playtest for my game of 1880s Victorian prostitutes. It was very satisfying with everyone creating hopeful tales before the awful end. I picked up an idea from Durance (actually just the term "uncertainty") and another from Polaris (which was lying around) and these together rounded off the resolution system. It's now ready for someone else to give it a go, once I've written up the minor changes.

Fantasy GUMSHOE: Simon's been running this for us for the past two months and it's been hugely enjoyable. A few other lucky people got to have a go and once again it didn't disappoint.

Trail of Cthulhu: Another of Matt's scenarios, strange artifacts turning up in Northern Texas. Again a real professional job including a real statue of Coatlicue. One of the players turned out to be an Aztec authority (although not so hot on the location of the Great Plains, which do extend into Texas) so very appropriate for the academic, another turned out to be the worst kind of 'that's what is says on my character sheet so that's why I'm being a jerk' player (which was a shame given that he woulnd't have had to temper his action much to have been really memorable in a good way). Two of us taking fright serendipitously saved the rest of the party in an exciting denoument. Plenty here to get your teeth into.

It's just the best Con for gaming.
Tags: gaming

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