grimmjow

A Meta Game Day

Carl got me up at about 9:30, and with shower and a breakfast and stuff, we weren't out the door until 11.

Other plans had to be mildly scrapped when someone came down with a cold, so Carl and I packed a bag of manga and another bag full of my laptop and other things for me to do if the Endgame 7th Anniversary Party was too much of a social thing for me and I had to bail out so that I wouldn't overload on strangers.

I never touched either of them. I was pretty impressed.



The moment Carl stepped in the door, there was a huge huzzah from a bunch of the folks already in the store. That was fun, and I got introduced to a lot of people all at once. The two Chrises that are the owners of End Game in Oakland, one of which I'd met the night before. Several others of the staff members including Aaron, Finn, and Anthony. One Ryan Maclain macklinr and one Sean Nittner, host of "Narrative Control", a pod cast about how to run tabletop games and the problems GMs run into. There were several other people as well, and it was a little overwhelming at first.

We got there around noon, right when the Top Dog stand had gotten the sausages going really well, and they opened it up for people that wanted food. Carl got one of the spicy brats and I got a very lovely smoked chicken and apple sausage. It was really good, filled with sweet chunks of apple, nicely smoky and sweet, and perfectly browned. It was also served on a unique roll that was soft enough to be pleasant, but with enough heft and chew to really satisfy. They had a nice stoneground mustard to accompany it. I loved it. It came with chips and a pop and we took our dogs to eat upstairs in the gaming loft.

Folks drifted by to say hi to Carl. It was very nice to not be the center of attention and good to have Carl basically run with all the conversations, and just sit back and listen and absorb what was going on and who it was going on with. Sean stayed to really talk through a lot of GM stuff with Carl, just like in the old days with Earl talking over game ideas with Carl or Bruce or countless other folks. *laughs* It was familiar and utterly undemanding, so I enjoyed it a great deal and got a lot to think about with respect to character development versus simply appearing really capable, the tension between being able to do things and simply experiencing things. Also the whole concept of why character failure is an interesting thing got bandied about, but not quite 'solved' per se, but it gave me quite a lot to think about.

There was a Brian who sat with us, and someone came by and asked us if we wanted to play Get Bit a really funny game where you play cards against each other to see who gets bit. And each of the little manikins has little limbs that come off every time it gets "bit". The really funny thing was that on the first move, nearly everyone played exactly the same card. It's what happens when everyone has the same kinds of feeling for numbers in a game and chances. It was a fun way to understand that everyone at the table had thought through the consequences and the possibilities the same way I had.

Sadly, it's an out of print game. Otherwise I'd have gotten it for Jet in a flash.

It was fun to talk a bit about Mechaton and the fact that you could pull things off Lego mecha as they got blown off by the mechanics, too. *laughs*

It was an interesting social dynamic in that most folks don't really even introduce themselves at gaming social situations. Everyone knows the names of the characters, but who knows the names of those that run them?

Carl ran a quick demo of Don't Rest Your Head, which was very quick and made gradual escalation of powers a very intriguing thing. The mechanics are fascinating for how the characters can escalate and give good reasons for the players to do so gradually as well as take good consequences when they do.

I also got a good feel for all the characteristics in the game, how they could be used and why Carl had translated them to certain characteristics from Shadowrun for his take on using the game for a Shadowrun-like universe. It made a lot of good sense after the demo.

And it's not every day that I get to play a character that will jump into an enclosed truck with an angry tiger that had already hurt her once in order to save a child.

Heh.

After that we sat around and talked a lot longer about a lot of games I didn't know, but both Carl and Sean were good about explaining the mechanics for me even when I was puzzled. Sean has two kids, too, and it was fun talking with him about his daughters and being able to talk a bit about having a son to play with, too. I enjoyed that a lot. I got more of a feel for the difference between Spirit of the Century and Dogs in the Vineyard and why they affect play.

I like listening to all these ways to tell stories.

It's interesting to see what causes people to want to create their own stories, with their own characters, in their own way. Some relying more on the things other folks give them, others striking off in their own directions. A lot like fanfic and fic fic and fiction in its unadulterated forms. Derivations... and people more comfortable starting with something from someone else and then modifying to taste, and various games that are more amenable to modification and some less so and some specifically designed to bend to the whims of those that play with them.

Sean headed out to do his podcast for today.

Carl and I headed to a local coffee shop and sat and talked some more in the relative quiet of the place and drank some hazelnut lattes. Then headed back into the rain to get back to his apartment. We stayed there, did online stuff, read a bit, and then headed to Mad Little Fish and had lovely Japanese "Chinese style ramen", with the little noodles and shoyu broth and lots of nice toppings. They had the sliced fish cake, bean sprouts, seaweed, little tofu cubes, cabbage, grilled meat, carrots(!), and a lovely half of a hardboiled egg. I ate nearly everything, but the broth was a little too salty for me.

We hit Peet's for a drip coffee maker as I brought my Cuban espresso, but Carl's espresso machine was out in storage. Oops... well, the coffee's still good. And Trader Joe's had lovely little U-Bake chocolate croissants that Carl's going to put in the oven in the morning when I take my shower.

Happy breakfast. Hee.

Carl and I watched America's Test Kitchen's Huevos Rancheros and it was really tasty looking. Especially the refried beans. I might have to make those when I get back home as I know we have corn tortillas. *happy*

And then I got a little time with my writing (got my 100 words!!) and with writing down the day.

private story: 258
Twin Souls: 223
Ura/Grimm: 408

total: 889
Nov total: 13247

Yeah, I'm behind now, but I'm traveling. I'm not sure I care. *laughs*
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I had no idea you were a gamer, too! :o What sorts of games did/do you play?

Your trip sounds fantastic. You're motivating me to get off my butt and actually go on some of the trips that I've been pining for. I need to reconnect with old friends, and meet with new ones.

Also, I envy your chocolate croissants. MMmm!
I used to play more stuff like Shadowrun and In Nomine (waves to Beth and incandescens) as well as Champions, The Book of Five Rings, Fung Shui (shadowfist), Torg, and a very long time ago D&D. I used to write a little for In Nomine and White Wolf, but mostly just knew people that knew people, mostly through Carl.

The trip has been fun, and I love going somewhere and doing what I really want to do. It's fun. *grins* You should go!! Do!!

They were so good we're getting more of them tonight.

Presently, I'm playing more independent games, mostly because that's what Carl's running and interested in, and they're more interesting in a lot of ways as the mechanics and mechanisms make for more collaborative stories and often focus on the relationships between characters and how strong those can be.



Edited at 2008-11-10 03:42 am (UTC)
Ah, what a cool day. You make gaming sound more interesting than I would have suspected. It's more of a collective buy-in to a story. *reflecting on story and community again*
The food also sounds lovely. Enjoy the croissants!
It is very much collective creative impulse. I really enjoy gaming a lot, and it really makes me work hard at coming up with creative story stuff Right On The Spot. I can't make the excuses, just have to come up with stuff instantly.

The food has been very lovely indeed.
Do what? I wasn't there this year! (Much to my regret.)

Sounds like a great time, though, just like last year.
*laugh* Sorry... Carl made a joke and I took him literally. *sighs*

Thanks for commenting. And, yeah, it was a really great time, and lots of interesting people!

And we enjoyed the demo of your game, and it's been fun watching Carl fit the mechanics to the *ideas* behind Shadowrun. It all makes a lot more sense than the Shadowrun mechanics for what kinds of story effects we want.

Edited at 2008-11-10 03:30 am (UTC)