Madicon 23 After Action Report

Spent the weekend at my hometown con, Madicon. This was a fantastic year at Madicon – Chris and the Guild did a great job putting the event together and it seemed like everyone had a really good time. The weekend was full of Mechs, owls, confusion, old school gaming, headshots, and partying.

‘Mechs and Headshots
I ran two Battletech games this weekend. Friday night I ran one of my favorite old scenarios – Graduation Day – where three light ‘mechs are chasing down a wounded heavy. This is a fun scenario that always surprises me and this year was no different. I tend to use this as a teaching game and I got to have a great time watching a new player get extra excited about facing down the heavy and beating it.

On Saturday, we played again and this time it was Inner Sphere vs. Clans. Two lances of Inner Sphere against a star of clan ‘mechs (fairly balanced by BV). I expected the battle to be pretty brutal but it was, yet again, a surprise as the clans lost two ‘mechs in back-to-back shooting phases to headshot kills. It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen as it was so improbable given the to-hit numbers and the chance of rolling back-to-back head shots. The fact that both kills happened to the same player is even crazier.
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Here we see the aftermath of the first of those headshots. That poor Thor never stood a chance. The especially sad part to this story… the player who took both of those headshots was the person running the heavy in the scenario from Friday night and his ‘mech in that game was reduced to nothing but a completely pristine head. So, that was a thing.

Old School Gaming
I got to play Labyrinth Lord this weekend. This was pretty exciting for me. Even though I’m running an old school game right now and I have old school roots, it’s been a long time since I played anything other than Pathfinder. So getting a chance to be a dwarf and run off into the Barrowmaze (what he was running) this weekend was a ton of fun. I ended the game being carried out of the dungeon by my party after I was paralyzed by ghouls. We did pretty well though and came back with a load of treasure and some good stories. Most importantly, we played for a solid four hours without a casualty! That part, I admit, did surprise me. My recent experiences with old school D&D play have cemented for me how much I enjoy this play-style and how much I was missing what I didn’t even know I was missing…

Owls and Confusion
WP_20140315_14_14_42_ProI did a little simple cosplaying this weekend. That’s me below in the Court of Owls get up. That said, only one person all weekend caught the Court of Owls thing – everyone else thought I was Slender Man. This was okay – it lent an unexpected extra edge of creepiness to the whole thing. And I really did enjoy spending Saturday with a mask on. Also, check it out – Court of Owls… and I found an owl. That’s a friend of mine in the actual owl mask and he was participating in a fae LARP of some sort but it worked out for me.

Roundtable
For the second year at Madicon I ran my “Being an Engaged Player” roundtable (I don’t call it a panel because I run it alone and I encourage it to be more of a conversation than a presentation). Both times I’ve had a full room (despite my expectation that no one will be interested) some excellent questions, comments, and discussion. We spent the time this year exploring the different kinds of mechanics games use to encourage engagement. The conversation turned to tips and ideas for building engagement right from character creation. I am very thankful for the opportunity to run this session and I appreciate the wonderful insight I get every time I get the chance. I meet some many interesting people this way with all kinds of gaming experiences.

Partying
Madicon is never complete without some great partying. I won’t tell stories but I got to attend two gatherings with two fine groups of people (mainly since the first one was shut down by the police…) and I met some new folks I hope I have the chance to game with in the future. It’s a theme running through this post but I can’t overestimate how much I enjoy visiting cons for the chance to just interact with gamers I would never have the chance to meet otherwise!

Loot
It was a good weekend in the loot department too. I picked up the Spartacus board game (which is surprisingly excellent – I got to play this weekend and loved it), Robin Laws’ Hillfolk, the Pathfinder Bestiary 4, and Cosmic Patrol from Catalyst. I’m really looking forward to diving into Hillfolk. It seems like an interesting game and though I don’t think I’ll get to run it any time soon, I think I can learn something just from the reading. Cosmic Patrol is just old-fashioned fun in a shiny new wrapper and it’s such a pretty little book I couldn’t pass it up.

A Brief Memorial
Someone that I am used to seeing at Madicon was not there this year. A friend of mine, one of the first people I played Battletech with and someone I spent many, many hours talking Amber with died yesterday and his loss is a huge loss to the local gaming scene and to lives of the people who knew him. You will be missed Linwood. I have many fond memories of the time I knew him and I am sad we didn’t get to play together more.

Like I said, I’ve met a lot of interesting people through cons and gaming. It’s a new thing to start losing them. Here’s hoping you all get to enjoy many more cons to come.

Thanks for reading.

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