Play Journal 2013-06-30: Post-midsummer and pre-Roskilde

by Thom Kiraly

I’m going to Roskilde tomorrow to help Invisible Playground run some games (and hopefully try some out myself) and maybe (?) listen (?) to some (?) music (?(![‽])). This means there will be loads of play coming up. This means more stuff for the journal, so let’s get this over with before Roskilde takes over completely. Oh, BTW, what’s up with all these Vines? Guess you’ll have to read the post to find out (or just hover over them to read the description… Yeah, exciting, I know). If they’re not playing/repeating, I’m sure there are ways to fix that by right-clicking or something.

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D&D 4e – We finished off the short intro scenario that we started last time. The scenario was well prepared to give us a feel of many of the strange, cheesy and cool aspects of the Dark Sun setting and I must say that I enjoyed it more than I’d thought I would. Play flowed a bit better too, but there were times I just felt bogged down and not very keen on engaging with the system at all. Despite my acquired prejudices, D&D let me actually roleplay and express my character through using the system (i.e. fighting) as well as play off the other characters general abilities and what felt like their unique touches. Needless to say, this was a pleasant surprise.
In the end, though, I think I’m not really interested in long-term play in D&D. The fights are given way too much focus and the way they work makes me feel like it’s way too slow in getting to where I want to go.

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Grit – On the short train ride back from the D&D session, I managed to run a short demo game for one of the guys in the game group. There’s really not much to say other than that the game ended a bit short. Still fun to at least try to share the game. I’ll see if I can get this person to play again just to find out if anything from the first game actually stuck.

JS Joust – This year, I celebrated midsummer (a big deal here in Sweden) at my Mom’s. I brought my Jousting kit and the sun had started setting I set up a table in the backyard and put my computer and a pair of decent speakers on it. I think that the people I played with enjoyed it, but due to there being a pool in the way, we didn’t have quite enough space to play. Instead, people mostly chased each other around the pool (which, of course, looked fun, but quickly got boring… and looked a bit risky). Also, I think the bluetooth receiver ended up being a bit too far off for some of the controllers as we started experiencing some incredibly shock-resistant controllers.
Anyway, I got to show my mom a game I love, which also happens to feature music by her favorite composer. She liked the Nifflas remix track a lot as well. “It’s like Bach and Super Mario!” Yes. Yes, it is.

Mir in bushes

Also a pic taken during midsummer

The Resistance – Also a game I played on midsummer, the Resistance saw me play a traitor/rat/spy for fuckin’ once. This also meant that I totally panicked and gave myself the first time I got a red card. I still managed to be on the team with the win every single game we played, though. My best moment was, since she knows me so well, using the fact that lovely V recognized me as a spy to turn the table against her and create complete disorder. The looks she gave me when me and my compadre managed to get the fifth team leader vote turn out negative was… priceless! HAHAHAHA! Ahhhh. Yes… Priceless. Love ya, V! (seriously, even now, writing this, I feel a little too good about that play)

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Play stuff in London – I went to London to do a freelance thing unrelated to games and ended up staying an extra day in town. The two places I visited and wanted to mention as interesting in a play context are the Museum of Childhood and Hamleys. This is where all the vines come in.

I had read about the Museum of Childhood’s exhibit War Games before I went to London and was already set on visiting it when I arrived in town. It turned out that the rest of the museum was amazing as well — documenting centuries of general playthings and toys as well as zooming in on specific areas of play in the special exhibit. It took me two visits, totaling about 3 hours to work my way through all the exhibited toys, clothes, dolls’ houses etc. I’m not sure what the kids there thought, but most of them seemed to enjoy themselves. As for me? Oh, I was in heaven. It’s like this museum was designed specifically with me in mind.

Hamleys, then, is world famous and just needed to be crossed off my list of places in London to visit. It turned out to be quite the place and devoured a good 1,5 hours of my friday afternoon. I think that the staff was not used to adults playing along the way I did. I knew I wasn’t there to spend a whole lot of money and met their invitations to play with an open mind set on playing. I ended up playing second fiddle to some very good salespeople as I did my best to help them impress kids and their parents. Only difference, and the thing that made me like them, was that they sold playthings, and thus had to actually be somewhat playful while doing so. Among other things, I ended up being dragged (not unwillingly, but still) into a puppet show where I played the mouse in a story called the Gruffalo (I had never heard it, but I understand it’s a story a lot of kids over there knows by heart). I also got some good stories from some of the employees. One guy told me he had shot a customer with an air bazooka, without her figuring out that he was in fact the culprit, for so long that she had eventually been convinced it was a spirit. A haunted toy store… Now, there’s a story seed for Stephen King.

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Impossible Road – New high score: 97. When I reach 100, I’ll probably stop playing. Or I could stop now. It’s just one of those games.

Super Hexagon – Just some messing around. Still love that feeling I get when I reach 40 secs and think “This could work, I could totally do this, I can ma— GAME OVER!”

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