Last weekend, I had a delightful time at Dreamation. Here are some of the highlights:
- Death by Awesome ran five events — four jeepform games and an Ars Amandi workshop. Our fifth game, slated for Sunday morning, almost went off, but then didn’t.
- I played in the Thursday night run of Doubt, intriguing because it came out so differently from other runs I’d played in. This version wasn’t about big epic moments of temptation, but more about small moments of yearning; no one was seriously in danger of leaving their partner during the game, rather, the temptations reflected what might have been but could never be.
- On Friday, I ran Ars Amandi workshop. We had a pretty good turnout of eleven people, and for the first time I got to participate in the workshop and witness first hand how intense Ars Amandi can be. I also got some great feedback from the group. Usually, at the end of the workshop, I have people play scenes — young love, for example — my participants wanted to player fewer intimate situations, and more intimate emotions. For example, instead of playing a one-night stand, they’d be interested in playing flirtation, or jealousy. People said they came into the workshop thinking it was all about playing sex, and left thinking that the mechanic is more about intimacy.
They also talked about Ars Amandi needing a bit of a makeover — it seems to have gotten a bit of a reputation at the convention as creepy arm sex, rather than a mechanic for intimacy. (And yeah, I’m sure my clickbait blog title contributed to this idea. Forgive me, people of Dreamation?)
- Friday night, The wonderful Jenskot GMed a pickup game of Dogs in the Vineyard (Everyone plays “teenage virgin gunslinger priests with ultimate power and zero life experience judging people for doing bad things for good reasons”) for me and some friends. Usually, I don’t like to kill stuff, but after such an emotionally heavy 24 hours, it felt great to ratchet my character’s sawed off shot gun and perpetrate some heinous crimes. Perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had playing tabletop.
- Saturday morning, Tim Rodriguez and I successfully ran The Upgrade, a game about reality show contestants choosing whether or not to trade up. It was our first time running/playing the game, and it went off pretty well, though we upped the total number of players from eight to ten, and that proved a bit much to handle. It was a ton of fun to watch and GM, but also exhausting. Read Tim’s Dreamation recap here.
- Saturday night, the delightful Emily Care Boss GMed her jeepform game Under My Skin, which is about relationships and new flames. We were a bit short on time, but Emily did a great job of helping us not feel rushed. We played out our story arcs successfully, but I can see that if we’d had a bit more time, there’d be room for even deeper development. I’d love love love to play that game again. And our group has been in voluminous email contact, planning for such a moment (Want to read an in-depth recap from a former jeepform skeptic? Peter Woodworth has you covered.)
- In between these main events, I met a ton of great people, played a demo of the awesome and awesomely-named Ghost Pirates, and helped play test Emily’s awesome new fantasy RPG. I was also lucky enough to bounce my first ever game idea off a couple experienced designers, and I got helpful tips on some upcoming conventions I’d like to hit up during the book tour.
Best. Dreamation. Ever.
Dangit, I WILL make it to one of these Ars Armandi things eventually!
Looking forward to it!