2019 Midwinter Review

The 2019 Midwinter Gaming Convention came to a close last Sunday at the Hilton City Center, the first of many conventions that I will likely be traveling to this year. I just wanted to give a recap of some of the things that were discussed and that I experienced at the Convention this year. Midwinter continues to be a highlight of my year and I always enjoy my time there, but this year felt different for me, and I am not sure why. I still haven’t been able to put my finger on it, which is frustrating. Perhaps by unpacking it, I will be able to figure out what is off for me and go from there.

The convention started off with the Industry Summit, which was open to those in the gaming industry who were looking to network, or those just starting in the industry and wanting some direction on where to go. It seemed very light on new attendees this year, which made 2 of the panels I was on a bit harder to do, but we still were able to accomplish a lot. We discussed things like where to get art from, what programs we use for layout, the importance of community content sites, and in general where we thing the gaming community is headed. Thank you so much Jessa of Ever After Editing, Erykah Rose, Bill Bodden, and Jessica Karels for being on the panel with me!

I was able to get in 2 alpha-tests for a card game that I have had in my head for a while now, and I got some fantastic feedback on and possible directions I would like for it to go. I’m looking to tighten up a few more spots on it, but I am very proud of how far this project has come. I will be announcing it on Facebook shortly!

I was able to run Pip System for players that have never played before, which was exciting. Everyone had a lot of fun and enjoyed playing the system. I always love introducing the Pip System to people and seeing how easily they pick it up during the course of my games. I ran Bright (based off the Netflix movie) and Gargoyles (yes THAT Gargoyles).

I was also part of the FORGE Women in Geek Culture panel, which was a great addition to Midwinter this year. It brought up a lot of good ideas, some hard discussions, and I learned some things about being a stronger ally in the community. You should check out FORGE and add your story to the group.

As always, Onyx Path continues to lead the way in the Industry by not only sponsoring Midwinter, but making themselves accessible during the convention to their fans. Not only do they host an intimate Q&A fr everyone, but they run their games, host panels and workshops, and run impromptu games with their fans the entire convention.

Midwinter is always one of my favorite conventions. I love the people. I love the conversations. I love the games. If you haven’t had the chance to check out this convention, it should be on your list. I look forward to Midwinter 2020!

And as always, Millie continues to be a source of joy throughout the convention!

Millie, the #CanineConcierge

Millie, the #CanineConcierge

RAWR: The Monstrous Adventure Game review

RAWR Review

(This game is no longer available for download. If this changes, we will happily update this as we loved the game!)


Many years ago, monsters and children played together in the Land of Dreams. Slowly, something started to happen, and the children started withdraw from play. That is when the Nightmare took over, turning the Land of Dreams into dark, and making the monsters who lived there seem scary. 

Well the monsters have had enough. They want their Land of Dreams back. They want to play once more with the children in their land. They have to travel through children's dreams to fight back the Nightmare and reclaim their home. They have to face scary foes like Math Teachers and Clowns, and outsmart the monsters of the Nightmare in their own game. 

The premise of the game is delightfully entertaining. This is a game that can be tailored to any age group or experience level. The character creation system is very simple to pick up, and allows for very customized monsters. They do offer pregenerated characters as well, which are very diverse and fit well within the story. 

The system itself is very simple, offering 4 attributes, 16 skills and over 20 monster abilities as well as equipment to help in certain situations. They use a D6 system, which makes math very simple for younger gamers, and at most have 3 dice involved. Everything on the sheet is easy to interpret and has flexibility on use. In order to win, you have to meet or exceed the difficulty level. 

The book lays out dream sequences for you to play through, and encourages you to create new ones as well. Many of these are childhood scenario dreams, where you meet scary teachers, have skateboard contests or food fights. You can play through the ultimate childhood battle in the game. Many of the scenes give options for non-combat solutions as well, which makes this ideal for very young children. 

This game has the potential to be very fun for any type of gamer. It is easily tailored and has many different options to add to the plot given. I hope they expand the game in the future. I will be reviewing the play type once I get my group to play through it. 

Pentex Retreat: Midwinter Gaming Convention

Overall Impression: 

I had a lot of fun with the Pentex LARP. I enjoyed playing an NPC that had a very different agenda than what we were presenting and getting to manipulate people. It was a wonderful social experiment, and I think what made it very fun was everyone else was on board with the genre we were playing in. Given that this was the first run of this LARP, there are obvious places to improve, and I look forward to working on them with the STs to create an amazing experience for the players. 

Check In System: 

While the Check In-System was only used a few times in our 5 hour LARP, I feel like it was a great way for players to be able to have an intense scene and everyone have a say over how intense they got. I really hope the Check In-System will continue to be used in all future LARPs, and I will be talking to other LARP communities about this system. I am happy my current LARP also uses this, and I will be working on implementing this into my roleplaying style. Thank you for using it!

Paper-Clip System: 

I think this was a great way to give PCs a way to pass around favors, pay for information from the STs, and generally have a way to trade without carrying around a bunch of notecards. While I want the system to remain as open as it is, maybe explaining the paper-clip system a bit or offering examples of how to use the paperclips. 

Plots:

The plots I was involved in were great, and I loved figuring them out or being the catalyst of them. I would have liked a couple more quick sentences about the other plots so I could answer questions or work them into my interactions with PCs. I also loved that PCs made their own plots and ran with them. I think that was a great way to pull in players and get others involved, and I was glad to see the staff running with them. 

 

I also loved the fact that actual future products were used in the LARP, such as the Orpheus Device. I loved that there was a tie-in for real products and really would love to see this again if it is allowed. 

Suggestions:

The following are suggestions that I heard from players, observed myself, or found myself in agreement with when they were brought up during the wrap up. 

Maybe provide the write-up for the Subsidiaries and their ties as a download/Drive document for players to pull up. A lot of the players were having problems understanding how they fit into the system (except for Black Dog. Everyone knew them and had very strong feelings for them)

Maybe giving different goals to the characters who don’t want to be there, such as trying to cause as much headache for the others as possible. I think the players naturally did this well with the PCs that didn’t want to be there, however, several were a bit lost on how to get involved with them. 

I think we can come up with a couple more games to do for the players. If there is another interview process, we can interview while the games are going on. Or we can ‘judge’ them by standing with clipboards and such.

Character Wrap-Up: Inspirational Music Two Birds, One Stone (Wes Borland/Renholder Remix) by Drop Dead, Gorgeous

Rport: Pentex retreat was successful with the exception of the Orpheus individuals. Sterling has authorized *redacted* to retrieve any video and information from their Cloud and rewrite their systems should it be needed. 

Magadon has been taken down a peg for not following orders from the Pentex. One individual was arrested and taken away by the police. Please follow up with the department and make sure he is handled. 

Project Orpheus has several individuals stood out for selection to the Project. Kevin Clayton from Tellus Enterprises, from Magadon, Inc, and Kelly Wayans from Black Dog. Please note: more screening will be needed, as my time with them was cursory at best. Perhaps a second interview would be in order for me to determine if they will fit the project parameters. 

Avery Valentine has stood out as someone who would be very useful for the Synergy Committee, and perhaps further into Pentex. His skill set is unique and he is ruthless. He is willing to do what is needed to get the job done, which Pentex finds admirable. 

Kevin has been handled and our doctors, Avery Valentine and Angel Robertson, have made sure that all of his medical files are in order. Should a new head of the committee be needed, I would be happy to fill that role. 

Mary Ellis

Project Orpheus 

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