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uk roleplayers

Indiecon 2008

Mick Red

Right just back from Indiecon and thought id share my thoughts, this is an honest appraisal from my point of view, others may be different.

On announcment i thought Indiecon was a fantastic idea, an event dedicated to independant RPG publishers, as it got closer i started to worry people it seemed were just not prepaired to commit for varying reasons, info was slow to appear and the forums were quiet, but hey i was excited so here are my thoughts on the event.

Thursday - Prior to arrival we had been told that although the con didnt start proper until friday morning we could collect our keys at lunchtime and for those arriving early thursday was billed as 'Playtestageddon', this was a cool idea the playtesting of games in development!! the Pompey crew arrived about half eleven and were the first to arrive (apart from one person), no sign of the con organisers, i went to the park reception and yep they had my name on a list and gave me my! I asked what time the bar was open and was told 7 o'clock!!!! WTF! This blew the idea of 'open gaming' out of the water and should have been checked first by the con organisers, however the con didnt start till friday so thursday was a bonus anyway, quick trip to tesco's to by two crates of lager and a bottle of rum soon whiled away the afternoon. At seven we hit the bar, the con desk was set up and Chris was there to meet the attendees, a nice touch, con passes were given out and game sheets were up on the board, not many maybe four or five but games none the less, the remainder of the evening was spent in the bar catching up with friends

Friday - Arrived nice and early, breakfasted from the food counter then went to muster for my game, i'd signed up for a game of 'Omnifrey' a fantasy system written by a nice guy called Matt West which i was very much looking forward to, at the muster there was a crisis!! Half a dozen people had showed up and alas had nothing to play, and although i was running a game of HEX in the afternoon i said i would forgo playing this slot to run a new HEX scenario written by a nice american called John Aynge this scenario was written specificly for Indiecon, it was awesome the players had a blast and there was some great moments, game finished hadfood then ran HEX again in the afternoon (this was my advertised game) and went swimmingly i probably enjoyed running this particular game more than any game i have ever run. As soon as the game finished five of the players asked if i would re-run the exclusive scenario the following day so i put the sheet up, it filled in under 20 seconds. At this point i was feeling some gaming burn so decided to spend the evening chilling in the bar. The thing that struck me about this con was the laid back feeling going around, ok the numbers were not great about 90-100 paying attendees, people i normally see at Conception working hard were far more relaxed and seemed to be enjoying the whole vibe (alot of the conception team also spent time helping at Indiecon running the con desk and such and for they they should be thanked and applauded). Without the horde of living players and LARPers im used to at Conception it had a far more friendly and relaxed feel to it.

Saturday - Managed to con Andrew Kendrick into running a game of Dead of Night for us, it was awesome, i love the game and cover the style and genre well very enjoyable :D. The afternoon slot saw me running the HEX again for fridays group plus a few extra and yet again it went well, it was nice that 15 people got to play a scenario knocked up by a respected published writer that will never get played anywhere else again!!!! Saturday night saw some awesome bug slaying with the amazing 3:16 run by its author Mr G Hutton, a truly nice bloke as well as a great designer and GM. There were 13 games available and filled saturday!!!

Sunday - Oh no!!!!! Im having such a good time i dont want it to be sunday :( Played a great game of Duty and Honour run by Andy Kendrick again and was bloody great although i played the lowly private and got shouted at alot. Alas for me it was time to go home, the trains were all buggered up and it was gonna be a long journy home plus i had to pick the kids up.

All in all i had an awesome time, in fact i enjoyed Indiecon far more than i had expected it was like a cooler Conception without all the jossling for space/time/drinks/games and we were all there for the same thing Indie gaming goodness so there was no animosity towards one group or another.To those who went thanks for a great time, to those who didnt you missed a great con with plenty of wall to wall gaming.

Personal Thanks - Chris and Karen you did a great job and pulled it off, Stokemon and Claire you guys are great friends, To the Conception team (for helping make a great con run smoothly), To all my players and GM's, Max John and Whit for some great company, Grant for running some excellent games for the guys at my club and last but not least Jez for the early morning snuggle ;)

Roll on Indiecon 2009!!!! :D


Rather than start my own thread I'll just add to this one.

After an epic train journey from Plymouth I arrived at the bar just in time to join in a game of Poison'd with Mick and the crew and Claire from (I think) Flammable Penguin, Graham W was the GM. I bought a copy of Poison'd a few months ago and didn't really get it to be honest but hey, it's Pirates and all so I thought I would give it a go. As with a lot of indie games I realised that it plays a lot better than it reads. Lots of laughs, lots of violence and loads of backstabbing! I really enjoyed playing this (cheers Graham!) and am sold on the system now that I understand it (although I do now want to metagame to hell and see what happens then).

Really friendly atmosphere as well from the other gamers in the bar - things were looking good for the con!

Woke up bright and early, had a lovely snuggle with Mick and a brisk walk into town to get my con funds and clear the head for the morning's games.

At first things seemed a bit quiet, there weren't many sine up sheets for games and didn't appear to be all that many people about, Mick stepped up and ran a game of HEX which was lots of fun - I must admit to playing it safe for my first game, I've played HEX lots and know what to expect from Mick as a GM, plus I knew this scenario was an Indiecon exclusive so I knew I wanted to play it.

Second slot I wanted to have a chill out, grab a bite to eat and have a look at what was going on around the con. Things still looked pretty slow to be honest but everybody was having fun and the atmosphere was awesome.

Grinnen Baeritt
i'd have to say that I enjoyed all the games immensely, in that, I did little else at the con bar game... which in itself is a novelty compared to Conception. Many thanks for all those that participated in running stuff, it was great to play. True the number of games on offer wasn't massive, but for those willing to try something new, a fantastic opportunity.

Friday Am.
Trollbabe. Have to say that with only three players I found this a little hard going and a bit too freeform foe my liking, though certainly worth a go... which is what Indiecon should be all about. Seem to remember being made the High Priest of Xorn... my memory of the rest of the adventure (and the system itself) has been somewhat clouded due to it being the first game and the copius amounts of drink imbibed between then and now....

Friday Pm.
Hex. OMG!...finally I got to play it. It didn't disappoint, and Mick managed to remain healthy enough to run it. Fantastic...gotta get me a set of those dice! (hopefully some that work better for me than Micks did!)

Friday Evening.
(Living) Forgotten Realms. This was admittedly the 1st of the two I played at the con...and I feel a little of a traitor to the cause because of it, both were good games with good players and excellent DM's (Duncan Wilson and John Amos respectively), but the linear nature of the scenarios and tactics heavy system means that of the RPG games I played they were the definite lesser of a good bunch.

Saturday Morning.
Dead of Night. A very enjoyable (and silly) game... obviously played at an entirely inappropriate time!

Saturday Afternoon.
Hex. Having cajooled Mick into relucantly running again.... was rewarded by it being even better than the first!!!

Saturday Evening.
Skived off conventional gaming in the complex. Went and played Monty Python Fluxx in the lodge with Duncan & Joy, dispite already having had too much to drink, had some more... don't advise playing fluxx whilst under the influence!

Sunday Morning.
Living Forgotten Realms. (again...sorry)

Sunday Afternoon.
Blood!... enjoyed this a great deal. Had the original for several years now, lying unused. Will hopefully be changing that soon...

Sunday Evening.

(?-Postmortem Studios) Can't exactly remember the name of the game, though it involved one-eyed aliens and bunny girls (enough said)...really very silly and damn funny!

Late Sunday Evening (Part Deux)
Finished the event off with a card game whose name escapes me...something about Mad Scientists University? Anyway, a highly reccomended sort of Storytelling game. Really very, very silly....but again great fun.. (Many thanks Nimrod!).

Cade Tosscobble
Indiecon was great, despite initial concerns the con ran well, the atmoshere was just great and everybody had a game to play. I EVEN PLAYED 4 GAMES, something I never get to do when running conception con desk, and drank copulous amounts of beer !

This can be considered an extremely successful event which will be even better next year.

Rich Stokes
I had a lot of fun. Sales wise, the Con was good for us, especially given the size. Quality of gaming was top-notch.

I'm too tired to write any more right now, but I'm pretty sure that I loved it even more than Conception (which I love an awful lot!).

Andrew Kenrick
I had a blast at Indiecon! I'll be honest, I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I had just as much (if not more?) fun than at Conception, which is really saying something! I played or GMd in almost every slot. Let's see, what did I play in the end?

GMd: a fantastic game of Dead of Night, getting through 7 characters over the course of the adventure (and killing Mick twice too!); a great game of Duty and Honour, which turned out way better than it should have considering I'd never run it before; a fun playtest of Ordinary Angels; and a messed up game of Polaris, which ended with the end of our civilisation.

I got to play too! I played Scott's excellent game of Hot War on the sunday as well as a messed up game of Poison'd on the saturday (is there any other kind?!). I survived Hot War, even if nobody else but Julian did, but got killed by Rich in Poison'd - but I did chop his hand off with my hook in revenged for his botched amputation of mine so that's sort of a win.

My only complaint was the weather! Less wind and rain if you could help it next year please - I'm sure Chris can sort that out. Oh, and I forgot to buy anything from Angus, but there's no one to blame for that than myself!

Max Bantleman

Not got much net access today, so quick post:

Summary: Fookin great

Indiecon08 – Con Report
Max Bantleman

Well, Indiecon.
Originally there was some confusion as to what ‘indie’ games were, and whether ‘trad’ gamers (like me) would be welcome or catered for.
A lot of stuff and nonsense as it turned out.
The silly ‘them and us’ thing re trad and indie turned out to be pretty much non-existent and there were games of all types from all systems to suit anyone who went.
A lot of indie games are simply not for me. There is no right or wrong about it: their style, content and gaming mechanics (or lack of) simply do not appeal to me, they do not offer me the opportunity to have a good gaming experience. So I pretty quickly had to put together a cunning plan for why the hell I was going to Indiecon in the first place.

My aims were simple: to not allow hear-say and rumour put me off trying some indie games, to see what all the fuss was about and to give myself a chance to get in to some games that I’d previously heard (and read) a lot of bad things about. Basically to get some real, solid experience which I could then base my opinions on.

(There was also a Plan B to drink a lot and play a lot of poker.)
I ended up playing Cursed Empires, Omnifray, Savage Worlds (Savage Empires?) 3:16 and a lot of poker. I missed out on playing Hex (Hee?) and 4th Ed (Living stuff) and would liked to have played some Spirit of the Century and someone else’s SLA, so still a lot to go back for next year…

As far as I can tell, the con was a total success.

There were a lot of people there, not sure of exact numbers, but it was far busier than I thought it would be, and bearing in mind that a few people had to drop out through unforeseen circumstances, there would have been far more.

The games on offer were varied: a good mix of the games that represent the ‘indie’ spectrum. The Living games drew their players, as I suspect they will at any con, and other ‘trad’ games were available as a fix for their players.

Chris and the organisers (is there anything Andrew doesn’t help organise?! ) did a fabulous job, it all went swimmingly for players. It may well have been a classic example of the apparent serenity of a gliding swan, but from my point of view it all seemed almost effortless.

So. Did I actually learn anything new from Indiecon? Yes. Did I have stuff I already knew re-enforced? Yes.
I learned that indie games are far more than a collection of ‘excuses’ for games. There are a lot of good games mechanics out there that are unique and push the players towards a much more intense role playing experience: we like those. There are some that are just an excuse to sit around and talk stuff out for a gaming experience: I don’t like those but can see that the fact they offer an opportunity and a setting makes them attractive to some gamers.

I already knew that any game will be a relative success if you get a good GM and good players at the table. Seems obvious, but I think a lot of people forget that it’s a shared responsibility of those at the table to drive the game to a good experience (a social contract you say? ).

So all in all, a roaring success for me. As it was for the vast majority who attended I suspect.
I drank far too much beer and scotch. Played a lot of poker. Got to play some very good games, pick up some stuff courtesy of the raffle (huzzar!) and met some people that made me realise why I’m so passionate about role playing.

Many thanks to the organisers, Chris, Andrew, John and all those that I’ve forgotten: the work they all put it was fantastic and made the whole con a tremendously enjoyable experience.

Thanks to the GMs, especially the ones that ran for me: they were all competent GMs with a great grasp of the rules they were running, made playing an engaging exploration of the game.

Thanks to those that played in games I was in: I felt there was a great awareness of the need for players to facilitate each others enjoyment, and I wasn’t disappointed once, everyone got in to it and played their socks off.

Thanks to those that played in my SLA game: hope you enjoyed it. There seemed to be many laughs as much as there was carnage and confusion: that’s SLA for you!

Thanks to John and Whitt: the best people to attend a con with. Simply awesome drinking, poker and chalet buddies as well as good commentators and thought provokers on games played and run.
Special mention and thanks to Galactus, Aunt May and the Squirrel for providing the fodder for the con’s running joke (running joke you say…?)

So, quick summation from me.

Awesome con, lots of good gaming and a fantastic atmosphere.

A big thank you to the folks who put it together and kept it running and I'm almost certain we'll be back for next years.

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