Dexcon 2015

Jul. 7th, 2015 02:12 pm
mneme: (Default)
[personal profile] mneme
Another Dexcon come and gone. This time with less stupid sleep deprivation and more late mornings, due to not wanting to put my brain on the fritz.

I came down late Wednesday, somewhat against my original plans, as something came up at work I couldn't easily skip out on--but due to trains being fast, still made it to Morristown well before 9 (games start at 10), doing an Ingress mission on the way and catching up with [personal profile] drcpunk for dinner.

Games that evening were Splendor (I lost the first [for points] game, then won the for-fun reprise), and Dominion (I won my game, and qualified).

On Thursday, I sensibly slept in, not even showing up to the con until noon. I'd signed up for Splendor (at con--I did no pre-con signups this time), but given that there were 8 players for the two tables available and that I'd played a game the previous night, I decided to bow out, instead trying to get into a game of Notre Dame, where the GM decided that he'd rather play than let the game fill with non-GMs. (He was also teaching some important rules incorrectly and not willing to take correction from outside the game, so I wandered off, annoyed).

At 2pm, I tried Letter Tycoon, which was fun; make words, use them to buy up "patents" on letters which would provide an income (maybe) and some special powers--although there were a few mostly-minor design issues which our table of game designery players paid almost as much attention to as the game itself.

After a delightful lunch at the Persian place across the street, I returned to try a game of Caverna. This was my first game of Caverna (all but one player in the game had played Agricola, though, and none of us had played Caverna before (taught by the always excellent teacher, Ruth). Despite having "Diggy Diggy Hole" running through my head for pretty much the entire game (it -is- a game about dwarves going out adventuring and digging holes), I had no issues compasing the rules and realizing that the the key ways to win were to have the single strongest adventurer, collecting the occasional ruby, and growing your family as fast as possible (the game was very helpful here as well, handing us the only "no harvest this year" year in the game right as I expanded out to four dwarves and everyone else (except one player who had a single extra dwarf) had only two. Without serious opposition for much of the game [although for a few turns, competition for the adventuring spots was -fierce-; after that people expanded out a bit and were less willing to spend lots of rubies to put down adventuring dwarves early], I ended up with 130 points to a second place of around 72.

After this, I went back to the room, and eventually to bed.

On Friday, I managed to get up for a surprisingly early and pleasant breakfast (with Lisa, B, and Mendez), then played a game of Subdivision (which I lost massively, partially because I hadn't adjusted to the way the GM accidentally mistaught the rules, which since other players were sensibly including it in their strategy, swung the game substantially. Still, the play of the game was fun. I think after this was when I let myself be pulled into learning Ghost Pirates, playing two -very- pleasant games with an accquaintance and potential friend who I'd previously only ever larped with. I won both, but we both seemed to have a lot of fun, and had a conversation during/after that was also entertaining.

Lunch was in the room, and was largely snacks and cold cuts. Afterwards, I grabbed my way too-large fight stick and headed down to Soul Calibur.

Soul (V) was disappointing this year. I'd managed a couple of hours of practice, but no actual games since Dreamation (and before that, I was -seriously- out of practice as we'd switched to SCII for a year or so). But aside from my personal performance, I think the choices that the con made were poor and I hope they just run a normal tournament (in the Con Suite) next time.

The deal here is that there's one player who has been dominating the finals for Soul Calibur (a 3d fighting game) for quite a number of years. There are only a few people who can touch him (including yours truly; I even once year went undefeated until the finals, beating him once, where he managed to pull out a huge sequence of wins and beat me twice (eventually; I made him switch characters a few times), but I haven't been practicing for some years since they switched to a different version of the game for a year or two before going back to the version I like). This meant that when they decided this year to not do a tournament and instead do "you stay until you lose", that Jeremy stayed in for 27 or so straight games, running through the entire list of players at least two times before someone (not one of the strongest players there) managed to unseat him; I think because they were both playing randomly.

On the one hand, they were doing the matches in the con suite, so we had a better chance of an audience -- but having it effectively be "everyone against Jeremy" made the matches much less interesting than an actual tournament would have been, as well as less fun for everyone (including Jeremy, who had to stay there winning games until he lost). He did mix things up by switching to secondary or even random characters against most players (he played one of his mains against me every time, because I -am- good enough that he had to even somewhat out of practice), but it was still a lot less variable and interesting to watch than a real tournament would have been, and there were a lot fewer showy crowd pleasing moves, since people needed to mostly stick to bread and butter moves to have a chance (or just never got a chance to set up the pretty stuff).

Due to my not signing up for anything, I didn't manage to get into anything at 4pm, so instead I repaired to where Bob Dushay was running a game and Eugene was hanging out, and we chewed the fat for a few hours as the game wrapped up.

Somewhere in here was where Bob asked whether the watch I was wearing was Pebble Time. When I responded that it was, he expressed disappointment that it wasn't in color. "Oh, it is," I responded, "but I wrote the binary clockface on it, and I haven't figured out how I want to modify it to take advantage of color yet. Maybe I'll do a moire."

"What's a moire", [personal profile] drcpunk innocently interjected.

This was when I responded with the following, combining half-remembered lyrics with some quick improvisation.

When your friendship's on rails 
To be much more than pals,
That's amore.

When you cook up a dish,
Of an 'eel' of a fish,
that's a moray.

With a pattern that fades
Smoothly between two shades,
that's a moire,

With two letters that come
As a version of "mom"
That's 'M' or 'A'

After the game ended, we went out to dinner at the Famished Frog, ending up with a pleasant group of 5 after Bob's daughter, Corrine, joined us. Much excellent food (we had the swordfish, which I'm told is unethical--but tasty), and conversation (apparently, Lisa, myself, and Corrine are into some of the same anime, as we talked Sailor Moon and Corrine and I talked Fairy Tale).

After dinner, Lisa went to a game, while Bob, Eugene (who was not actually at the con, just joining us for dinner and a bit of guesting afterwards) and Corrine decided to blow off the rest of the con for the evening, instead hanging out in Bob's room and playing a few card games--I brought out The Big Idea, which everyone liked and which I was crushed at, and then rather than another game of TBI, I suggested that I teach Mama Mia, which I think is underplayed as light fun games go; predictably, everyone really liked it and got into it (tip: Some parts of how the game works are hard to describe successfully, so I recommend doing what I did here--deal out half the deck and run a practice round with a shortened single day; once people have gotten through how things play out, they have a -much- stronger idea of how the game works), and then went to bed. Somewhere in here, I read through the GM notes for the larp I was helping out with--Natalia Granger's Afterglow Night Vale larp.

Saturday morning, I mostly slept in, reading the -rest- of Afterglow (including the character sheets). There wasn't anything I really wanted to play that I could play in the morning, so I repaired to Nat's so we could get started on prep early, get lunch, and discuss how to handle a variety of challenges with the larp.

The larp itself, as it turned out, was a blast. The complicated night moves were tricky (a third GM would have helped a lot, as we could have someone always working on resolving night actions rather than multitasking to get some stuff done during the day, but simplifying that system may help a bit as well), but overall, the players had a great time, so we did as well. I've been very much on break from larping at Dexcon since it stopped being an Intercon, but I might want to loosen that at some point, since it looks like the con's grown a very cool new set of larpers who it would be fun to play with.

After the larp, we went to dinner, joining up with Lisa and ET for a pleasant Indian meal at Mendhis (and accidentally joining up with Melissa and friends as well in a bit of fortune).

My evening games were somewhat spoken for, as I'd qualified for Dominion. I played the Dominion semifinals, crushing my opposition somewhat to my embarrassment with a Bishop/Goons deck using villages and labs for lubricant--but managed to end the game somwhat before I passed a hundred points (ending at 93 points, with 3 curses I'd bought myself and not had time to trash yet).

Naturally, I hadn't signed up for anything for the 10pm slot ,and I coulnd't do anything that might go over, due to the Dominion finals at mignight -- so seeing Linda studying the Thurn and Taxis rules [the only game I know which I basically stopped bringing to games nights because I got too good for it to be interesting to play with people I just taught--or, often, people who have been playing for years], I volunteered to take the game over, teaching a three player game I sat out of which seems to have been very entertaining.

After this (and a small wait) was the Dominion finals -- [ profile] jlighton, YT, and two people I don't know nearly as well. The set up was mostly Dark Ages -- no extra actions except for Necropolis. Don't remember all of it, but there were Harem, Great Hall, Counterfeit, Marauder, Forager, Market Square, and Pillage. And no 2-cost cards.

I started with Market Square and Forager (with a 3/4 split); Julian and one other player started with a 5/2; Julian got Counterfeit and nothing; the other player got Pillage and nothing.

As it happened, I got a bit of the screw because for the first 4-5 pulls I couldn't get a market square and forager into the same hand (at least once this was because of Pillage). So I was unable to get an early money pull, and instead came in third -- all of two points behind Julian, in the lead, and one point behind the second place finisher. Strangely, while we were both competing seriously for the trophy, Julian's and my strategies were very synergistic -- his use of Counterfeit fed my Foragers even when I couldn't get Counterfeits of my own, while my willingness to trash my money to feed my Foragers fed his plans to get a good supply of Foragers of his own and trash his ruins for $$$. In the end, I think I had 4 foragers, Julian had 3, the other 3/4 player had 2, and the Pillager (in second place) had 1.

On Sunday, Lisa had coerced me into playing in a game of Ytris B with excellent players. And glad I was that she had, because the game was glorious. I was short an idea of a character, so I held back, and then did the usual cheat, taking the most important moments of two character's backstories to make Phillip (or something), a clockmaker and clockwork repairman -- who had accidentally made one of the PCs, a clockwork woman with a light bulb for a head, and who had in turn been stripped of his memories as Phobos, Greco-roman god of fear, by another player's cursed thief PC. The game resolved -gloriously-, with Phil getting his memories and powers back but being essentially changed by learning to live with fear rather than merely being above it, a great "scandalous judgy woman" PC getting to have her scandal, Lisa's PC getting to make his movie but having it changed on opening night by Phil (also the leading man) partially accidentally altering it in some very interesting ways, the theif having her curse removed and a number of her issues fascinatingly resolved by being invited to live with Phil/Phobos, and the automaton becoming a star and dancer by having her huge lightbulb head replaced with a much smaller head by "Cora" (Terpsichore, the facilitator and I being -incredibly- in synch on this subject).

After this, I wandered the neighborhood, finishing a 35 node "mission" in Ingress and incidentally burning through most of my stored cache of weapons (along with getting some nice exercise and conversation with the player of the thief), before we got on the train back to the city.
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Joshua Kronengold

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