I’ve written about Madicon before. As the local convention in my area I’ve had the pleasure of being part of it as a con-goer, staff, and convention chair for many years. I didn’t run the convention this year (meaning I got to participate more…) and handed off my annual Battletech Pink Slip Tournament to another person this year so that I had time to run demos of Zpocalypse. So let’s start there.
Zpocalypse (board game)
This year I ran demo sessions of a forthcoming board game from Greenbrier Games called Zpocalypse. As you might guess from the title the game is a Zombie Apocalypse boardgame. Running these demo sessions was a lot of fun and really gave me a chance to “teach” a game again, something I haven’t needed to do in a long time.
Zpocalypse is a lot of fun. It has an interesting tension between cooperative and competitive game-play, with players needing to work together to not be wiped out by the zombie masses but also scoring individual victory points. It’s a dynamic that potentially really drives play in different ways from games that are strictly one type or the other. The game is also squad-based, with each player controlling a “squad board” that represents a team of survivors. You can freely trade between players though and this ability to swap out team members also changes the dynamic a little.
The game was fun to teach, fun to play, and offers some play experiences that are different from other zombie games I’ve played, leading me to say I’d recommend it to anyone who loves that sort of thing. It can seem hopelessly overwhelming at times but players also get a real kick out of surviving — in a way I haven’t normally seen… you can find out more about Zpocalypse, if you’re interested, at their website.
Battletech Pink Slip Tournament
Always a high point of the weekend for me. I usually run this event but this year it was taken over by another con-goer so I had the chance to play in it for once. It’s a simple concept — everyone pays a small tournament fee to jump in, gets a prepainted Battlemech and a custom Mech Sheet and then they battle. And if you deal the killing blow to a ‘mech — you keep that mech. It’s like racing for slips, but with giant, robotic war machines. I love running this event but I think I like playing in it more. If you’ve never tried an event like this — and you like Battletech — try organizing one, it’s a great time.
The last few years, Madicon has delved more into the musical side of being a geek, picking up a rave but also having musical guests like Rob Balder, Jonah Knight, Danny Birt, and this year, a video game music concert by performers from right here at James Madison University. I love these performances, huge fan of Jonah Knight, especially. And this year, Danny Birt joined in on the Pink Slip tournament and went home with a Mech — so double win.
These were my highlights of the con but so many other things were going on I didn’t get to be a part of… I’m especially sad I couldn’t get in on the two-day long run of Keep on the Borderlands that happened, true old school fun this year. If something like this happens again, I’ve got to do it.
Thanks to everyone who put on the con, thanks to all the great guests, and event folks, and thanks to everyone who just came out to be a part of Madicon 21. If you are anywhere near our area you should really come check us out in the future. It’s a great little con to just have a good time at without the pressure atmosphere of some bigger events.