Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Kublacon 2014: The Op-For Velvet Rope Game Experience

I intended to make this announcement some weeks ago, but better late than never. Our shadowy Op-For Overlord and several others of us have sprung for a "Corner King" room at the Hyatt this weekend, 5/23-5/26 for KublaCon 2014. What's special about it is it's got a table that seats 8, some other amenities, and I'm thinking it may have a parlor area. Half-jokingly we're calling it the Op-For Velvet Rope VIP Game Area. Really, though, we're just thinking it's going to be a great place to run games and hang out.

I know, I know, KublaCon offers lots of places to play, but honestly if you know KublaCon you know free gaming space is at a high premium (as in if you haven't camped on a spot early morning forget about it) and signing up for RPG games is an utter and complete crapshoot. And even if you're lucky enough to get choice seats in games it can mean not getting to spend enough time with friends you don't get to see often (i.e. there's little chance the games you get into are going to match up with those your friends get, even when you enter the exact same priorities).

So, our hope is this is going to be the silver bullet, a great game annex and possibly an opportunity for a centerpiece game or two as well.

In my case I've got the following I'll be ready to pull out wherever we find the space in the schedule. First up, AD&D 1e / OSRIC. My style is old school, pretty much by-the-book, with some nascent sandbox elements and with a focus on dungeons, treasure, monsters, and life-and-death logistics. I've got several modules at different power levels (either character levels 1-2 or 4-7) we can do, sampling some of the finest of the OSR crop of modules. No prior experience needed and we can make characters on the spot. I was going to put the AD&D into the lottery offerings but I've been busy at work and besides, I get so few opportunities to meet up with the Op-For extended crew that I decided to run it for us. Also, this is something we can pull out at any stop in the action. While I realize the goal of many con games is to pull out the stops in terms of high production and fanfare, there's an appeal all it's own to fitting in low key sessions whenever time allows. It seems to me more in the spirit of old school gaming, too. You hear about olden-day marathon sessions and continuous campaigns. Yes, you also hear about tournament style con games from early on, but they seem to be remembered less fondly. Oh, and this is part of the reason I'm not going to be bringing my miniatures collection or Dwarven Forge. That and I guess I'm lazy. One year or another I'll bring it and do the whole nine yards, and we'll be able to compare the experiences. But this time I have a new and elegant "schematic" way to represent the dungeon environment and characters that I'm eager to try out.

My second offering is a stack of Games Workshop boardgames from the golden age circa 1985-88. I'll have Dungeon Quest, Chaos Marauders, Warrior Knights and Warlock of Firetop Mountain, all original, no remakes. Some of these I just picked up on ebay this year and haven't played yet, or only once. Really excited about these, especially Warlock of Firetop Mountain! In case you're not familiar with them, these games have an unmatched beauty in terms of art, component style and graphic design, and the mechanics embody a spirit of high-risk, high-luck, and high adventure. They're mostly beer and pretzels fair in terms of crunchiness, except for Warrior Knights, which is fairly complex.

So, if we know each other consider dropping us a comment or otherwise dropping us a line or finding us at the con, and if you're an Op-For member and you've got an offering go ahead and edit this post with your update at the bottom here.