SydCon 2011

by Thom Kiraly

Since I don’t use this blog all too often I thought I’d pick it up again with a post about my SydCon 2011 (which took place this past weekend, 28-30 oct, in Malmö). It’ll have to do for now.

Thursday was prep day. The organizers got their passes and I decided to help out by accepting to GM a game of Fifteen Men on Saturday, thus filling up my last empty slot during the whole con. When will I ever learn? Add to this the fact that the document I received was written entirely in Danish and that I didn’t start reading it until a couple of hours before I was supposed to run it and you’ll get a picture of what SydCon was like for me.

Friday was a bit slow at first. I showed up way too early to be of any use to anyone and basically waited until eight to start my evening session of Fiasco. None of the other players had ever tried the game and we went for some light-hearted comedy using the playset News Channel Six. The light-hearted comedy quickly turned into full blown insanity and I think the quote from one of the scenes featuring mr. Dexler, the head of Action Six News, captures the feel of the game:

“No, please come in. We we’re just discussing the core values of Action Six News: integrity… and action.”

Saturday was hectic. I speed-read the scenario I had promised to GM, got some help with the rules and ran off to another insane session if gaming. Fifteen Men is a game about pirates backstabbing each other in order to be the last man standing holding the treasure. Thus, this is an RPG you can actually win. However, in my group, everyone died (killed each other) and lost. This was somehow both deeply satisfying and very genre appropriate.
Immediately after having finished the game, I rushed off to participate in an open discussion about free form role playing in Sweden and to moderate a panel on game development etc. I was surprised at how well I did as a moderator and I seemed to crack just the right amount of jokes at the right times. Wonderful.
Closely following the panel was my last session of gaming. I was signed up to facilitate another game of Fiasco, but, fearing it would be as intense as the night before and considering how much I felt like a beat up dog, I, much like Jesus actually, asked the organizers that that particular cup should pass away from me. Unlike Jesus’, my prayers were answered by a guy taking my place and running a game of Montsegur 1244, thus taking this religious analogy full circle. Since I had been dying to try that game out ever since I heard about it and read it, I scrambled to get into it and it just so happened that the guy running the game I became part of was the author himself. I’m usually sad when I don’t get to run Fiasco, but this turned that frown into a smile (and back into a frown simply by being a sad, but wonderful, game about people choosing to die for their beliefs).

What I’ll take away from this con is that I need to stop filling up every single slot in my schedule before the con even starts. This time it kinda cost me an interview with the developers of, what looks like it could become, the next big Swedish RPG because we couldn’t really fit one into our schedules.
Another thing is that there are good people organizing and playing good games in Malmö. I need not worry about that when I eventually move there… Something I think will happen pretty soon if all works out the way I hope it will.
Also, it’s becoming more and more evident that I’m a much nicer person to be around when I’ve had a good night’s sleep. This means that sleeping at cons is a bad idea. Thanks to my friend Josef, I didn’t have to do that this time.

Oh, also, my (short) list of games I bought:
De Profundis – having read about it over at discordia I had to get it.
Burning Wheel Gold – I don’t think I need any justification for this one.
Montsegur 1244 – getting the chance to try it out with the designer and the game giving me what I hoped it would, this was a game I bought without a second thought.

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