This week, I have been sorting out the preparations for GROGMEET, our home-grown meet-up based in Manchester at Fan-Boy3. Four years ago it was a tweet-up of 36 gamers we’d been chatting to online. There were boardgames in the morning, an RPG session in the afternoon and the night before, a gonzo-game of Feng-Shui.
Now its a one-day meet-up that that takes place over 3 days with 38 tables of games and a ‘live’ recording of the GROGPOD.
Build it and they will come.
BurritoCon is organised by our friend Old-Scouser Role-player and held in Fan-Boy3 and has a similar feel to Spaghetti-Con in Birmingham which was held on the same day, and to that first GROGMEET. It got its name from the lunch they had on the first meet-up. There were loads of friendly people having fun with each other. It was great to meet some new people as well as say hello to some familiar faces.
Thanks to Neil for organising the event.
Here’s my report, in the usual format, 5 highlights and a fumble (fumble first this time, as I like to fail forward).
- Sitting in the railway station ...
“Why do we keep going to the Midlands when there are games on our door-step,” asked Blythy. You’d think it was easier to get to Manchester wouldn’t you?
It’s two years since I moved to Adlington. I’ve caught the train from the station about 20 times. There’s been a problem every time I’ve used it. Heading to BurritoCon in Manchester was no exception. The train was cancelled, I had to go to Chorley (in the the opposite direction), backwards to go forwards, which meant I was an hour late.
2. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
First game was Traveller game-mastered by Tim, aka @Simplikissimus. The invasion of Aurora by the alien Kafers, has thrown the French Arm into turmoil. Refugees are flooding ‘down the line’ fleeing the slaughter. Whilst Interstellar Governments mobilise, a plucky trader crew are doing their bit ferrying families to the temporary safety of a commercial outpost. But will Port L’Enfer offer a sanctuary for all? And with a million Francs of salvage in the mix, will the crew of the Zuckerzeit have to choose between money and morals?
We chose money. It’s Trav. obvs.
3. “He’s a crushing bore”
One of the problems of being late to a con (apart from the humiliation and breathlessness) is that you don’t get to take part in the pre-gen bun-fight to get the best character.
The last remaining character was the administrator: an ex-Naval engineer who had been dishonourably discharged due to some poor moral choices and an accident that no one likes to talk about. He was a gambler and a bore.
A bit of a typecast really.
4. Move over ‘Theatre of the mind’
Tim presented the session perfectly with interesting details, atmospheric description, colourful and engaging NPCs and there were plenty of decisions for us to make as we carved our path through the situation. The fun was really enhanced though the props too: a dry-wipe map for us to plot our route, counters to measure our fuel, and character images. Best of all was the classic Games Workshop miniatures exploring a crashed freighter on a 3D printed floor-plan!
The best game of Traveller I’ve had for over 30 years.
5. “What year is it?”
The afternoon was a chance to play a one-shot game of 13th Age in Glorantha with the King of The One Shot, Burn After Running’shttps://burnafterrunningrpg.com/ Guy Milner. I’ve never played 13th Age, to be honest, I’ve had trouble working it out. I’ve got 13th Age in Glorantha, but I’ve not been able to extract the implied setting in the core rules to make it Gloranthaen; it just seems like a lot of work.
Guy’s skill as a Games Master is his ability to communicate the core parts of a game, its mechanics, its setting and its features, in a very cogent manner so it’s easy to pick-up and play quickly.
“This duck is a Trickster class and a bit more complicated as it as has features that can break the game,” it was too much of an opportunity for Andy Hemming to miss.
6. Bud’s barb Bera Barbarian by Hanna-Barbera
“Cartoon Glorantha” is how Guy pitches 13th Age and it became clear quickly that this was the type of broad-strokes version of the setting that I enjoy. The feats of 13th Century allow things to be mixed up in unexpected ways rather than the grind of RuneQuest or the more sober outcomes negotiated in HeroQuest.
There were some amusing set-pieces and spectacular montages as we went on the hunt for Gagix Two-Barb, the Queen of the Scorpion Men. The final climatic battle had it all: blood-and-guts, impish spirits, a cough of spluttering feathers, thrown copper pans, an actual flying buffalo, and a troll unable to get into a frenzy. Excellent fun.
I think I get it now too. Thanks Guy.