Tuesday, June 24, 2014


A little behind, here, but that's because I lost time working on work stuff to Origins, which puts me behind on blogging about cons, like Origins.

Circle of life, I guess.

I did not take a lot of pictures at Origins this year, which was silly of me, but I will show you the ones I did take, and also recount my experiences.

I spent much of Origins 2014 at the Indie Game Developer Network booth. The IGDN, if you don't know, is exactly that - a collection of folks doing games from various angles (a lot of us are writers and designers, and we're making a push to get more of the art/layout/graphics folks in). One of the big perks of the organization is that we can buy into a booth for Origins and GenCon and get the benefits without the huge cost, so here we are.

Seriously, this booth would be catnip for me if I didn't already own all these games.
So I (and +Michelle Lyons-McFarland and +Cheyenne Rae Grimes and +Stentor Danielson and +Tracy Barnett and +Mark Diaz Truman) worked the booth all weekend, ran demos, sold games, it was a good time.

I also wound up running some games. Now, last year, I ran games through Indie Games on Demand, which was fine, but I felt wibbly about not knowing which game I was going to run until I got there. This year, I signed up to run World of Darkness: Innocents and was surprised when the game filled (it was Wednesday night), but it turned out that they were friends who kind of ambushed me, which was fun. I ran curse the darkness using the Apocalypse World hack that +David Hill wrote for Infinite Shadows (on sale now here and at the IGDN booth at GenCon!), and that was pretty cool - lots of in-character conflict. I had one scheduled use the Fate Accelerated hack that +Rob Wieland wrote for the same book, but that didn't get players, which is weird because Fate games generally fill.

(I also ran a pickup space opera game using Fate Accelerated for +Branden Webb+Rachel Steiner and +Shane Allen, and that was fun, but I didn't take pictures because I'm dumb. However, Rachel played a drunk alien, Shane played a mustachio'd boxer and Branden played a prince-in-hiding, and there was combat against Tzimisce-like aliens, so that's cool.)

Anyway, I was also scheduled to run A Tragedy in Five Acts, but that didn't fill and it's not the kind of game you can run with one player. So instead, I went over to Indie Games on Demand and borrowed a couple of generics, and wound up playing Dream Askew.

Dream Askew is a post-apocalyptic game using (appropriately) the Apocalypse World engine. Unlike AW, it's GMless, and it deliberately takes the genre in the direction talking about marginalization, gender, sexuality, and the queer experience. With the right group, it's awesome. We had the right group. (Dream Askew is a game from +Avery Mcdaldno, the genius who also gave us Monsterhearts, and you should support the Patreon for the game.)

Anyway, we had our queer enclave in the ruins of Seattle. I played the Iris (psychic and kind of fucked up), a blind trans man named Brace, who experienced the psychic maelstrom as an inferno, and acted as a kind of angel of death for members of our enclave who were wounded beyond our ability to fix them. It was pretty badass.

See the chips? It's GMless, so unlike other AW games, you make your moves on your own. Weak move (which tends to hurt or at least complicate things for you), take a chip. Strong movie (you get to be badass and the focus of attention), spend a chip. It was a lot of fun.

Normally I'd give a GM grade, but since there wasn't one - or rather, we were all GMing! - I give us an A.

Oh, and there were some shifty characters wandering around that day.

Wanna know how I got these goggles?
Sunday, I ran my traditional game of Clay-o-Rama. This year they put me in the kids' room, which was awesome. Since it was explicitly labeled as a Kids Track game, I didn't have to worry about adults coming in and fucking it up (I mean, some adults played, but they were parents of other players).

The building phase. 
Look at the horrible monster! The Claydonian, I mean, not the kid; he's delightful. 
Tentacles: Always a solid strategy. 
But making a flat monster is also viable. 
Combat and carnage!
As usual, all the adults died off (but one did survive into the last four). As usual, a little girl won. I don't think her Claydonian is pictured, though.

So following the Clay-o-Rama battle, I headed back into the dealer's room to work the booth a bit more and do some shopping with Michelle. Another successful Origins completed!
My haul.