Sharing Dreams

Dreamation 2008

Two weeks ago, I took off for Dreamation with my deeply excellent Western Massive fellows and a lot of stuff went down. I’m gonna give a quick rundown, then I’ll write more detailed posts because some of what we discussed deserves more than a passing mention.

So, I played two games of Shock: The first was on Thursday night. Sorry, guys, I don’t have the records of your names — I had to hand it in! I have to start taking notes. Our Shock: was “Government Controlled Reincarnation.” We lived in this hideous 1984 world called Shangri-La, obviously in the Himalayas, where peoples’ reincarnations would be tracked and mandated. Criminals would be continually aborted (by one of our Protagonists, as it happened). Buddha kept trying to be born and, eventually, was. It was a really excellent game. Very sad, but the world looked like it was going to make it. There would again be compassion and enlightenment!

The other game was the 15-player game of Shock: below. We broke into four groups, then chose a Shock: communally. We went with “The Eve of the Clone Revolution”. It was a blast for me and everyone else involved. A million billion thanks to Judd, Evan, and Vincent for helping to facilitate that. I was sort of excited to have a common element because it sort of gives a moral carrier signal. The stories were really neat, but I lack the notes for all but my own. I’d love to hear from some people who ran the others.

Between those, I ran a playtest of Beowulf which introduced a funny problem that maybe has a funny solution. That’s certainly worth talking about later in detail.

I played in playtests of Omega Point by David Petroski, which has pacing issues, but seems like an otherwise good early phase of develpment for a cyberpunk game.

I also played in an epic, 8-player game of Food Holes, a comptetitive eating hack of Contenders by Remi Treuer and Jason Morningstar. That is some seriously revolting absurd funny.

And I played in Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies, Chad Underkoffler’s newest project. The game’s got some fun stuff in it, but the really great part was hanging out with Chad afterward. We drank a couple of pints, talked about politics, and waddaya know, talked about game design too.

Then we had the Independent Design Roundtable. This is what I want to write about first, because it really got me thinking about some hard questions that people need to ask themselves. That roundtable has been really good at showing folks how to slaughter sacred cows and there are some that snuck in under cover of night that are now in the herd. We’re gonna have to do some culling.

I ate dinner with excellent people I don’t get to see often, had the excellence of the Western Massive confirmed and re-confirmed (the Jeepform game run by Emily was, by all accounts, wildly successful, Julia ran The Saddest Game of Steal Away Jordan Ever, Meg had rowdy tables of people playing Thousand and One Nights, and Vincent and Evan jumped in to facilitate a full table of Shock: neophytes in The Big Game).

So thanks, Vinny and the rest of the Dreamation crowd. Thanks Western Massive, for being so excellent. Thanks to all my friends who I saw there and thanks to the people I didn’t know were my friends yet, but now do.

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