Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dreamation 2012: Part 1 (Overview)

Well, the Dreamation 2012 convention is history now, and I had an absolute blast. More than previous conventions, this one has elicited a lot of thoughts in my mind, so I'll be splitting things up into several manageable chunks. This post will be an overview of the whole thing.

First and foremost, I have to heap enormous praise on Vinny and the rest of the Dexposure staff for a thoroughly enjoyable and exquisitely well-run convention. I only experienced one glitch myself (being double-booked to run Afrika Korps and Castle of the Mad Archmage at the same time, which ended up being a non-issue in the end), but everyone I talked with echoed the sentiment that it was terrifically well managed. It's a fan-run convention which had about a thousand attendees, and it went nearly flawlessly. My only complaint is that the Dealers Room is somewhat limited (although there were dealers there with items both new and used, plus costuming stuff, a steampunk accessory vendor, foam swords, dungeon walls, and of course the ubiquitous t-shirts), but from what I understand game companies are somewhat scaled back in convention attendance nowadays, so Dexposure can't be faulted.

Yes, people still play old Avalon Hill
classics like Panzerblitz at cons

There were several smaller publishers represented, though, including Stronghold Games (I picked up a copy of the kick-ass Core Worlds game whilst at the con), Smirk and Dagger Games, and several others. The convention itself features RPGs (featuring Indie Press Revolution games, but including RPGA, NAGA, Pathfinder Society, and many more), board games, miniatures, LARPs, video games, and an Anime movie room. I got to watch an episode or two of my first (and one of the only) anime shows I'd ever seen; Starblazers (aka Space Cruiser Yamato). The con must get points for sheer diversity.

I am pleased to say that I managed a Hat Trick in gaming this time around; I played or ran RPGs, miniatures, and board games. For the July convention (DexCon) put on by the same group of excellent folks, I am strongly considering a LARP (a follow-up to one based on Game of Thrones that was played at this con, but in which I did not participate), so more on that when the time is coming. She Who Must Be Obeyed might even play!

I ran my Ogre Miniatures scenario, Raid on Frederikshavn, and it was a great success. A full post will be forthcoming with a turn-by-turn report. Both players said they had a lot of fun, I know I had a blast running it, and more than a few people stopped by and commented on how good it was to see Ogre Miniatures being played.

Labyrinth Lord using the awesome
Legendary Terrain
I also ran a session of the Castle of the Mad Archmage, using the Adventures Dark and Deep™ rules. We had a full table, the players wandered through the pleasures of the Conjuring Room as well as a corner of the Labyrinth, and a good time was had by all. They even managed to slay a black dragon down in the depths, although one of the party's thieves was sacrificed in the process (something about using a lightning bolt scroll in a room that was only 40' across...).

After that, I had all day Saturday to actually play games, rather than running them. It was a welcome treat that the schedule allowed me. I played in a game of Labyrinth Lord that featured an impressive dungeon crafted from Legendary Terrain pieces. It was a hoot to actually play rather than run D&D. The adventure itself was somewhat combat-oriented, which is to be expected given the fact that it was designed to showcase the terrain pieces, but I had a great time.

More Labyrinth Lord on the 12' table
I also got to play Red Dragon Inn, where I came in 4th out of 8. Not my best showing ever, but the table was lively and fun, and I got to see some familiar faces from when I ran the game in previous conventions.

I also participated in several seminars run by Scott Douglas, former head of the RPGA and a veritable font of knowledge when it comes to all things TSR related in the 1990's. Scott is an absolutely terrific guy, and if you are fortunate enough to see him at a convention, take the time to strike up a conversation. I guarantee you'll learn things about TSR, D&D, and the RPGA that you had no idea of. We discussed not only the course that D&D took, but also kicked around some ideas as to how WotC might be best served in the future. Again, a wonderful time.

Best line overheard from some random game at the next table over:

"She's not a girl anymore. She's just girl-shaped. She's all full of demon."


Ed Healy said...

Thanks for the review. I'd hoped to go, but couldn't pull all the details (money) together to make it happen. Maybe next time...

Jim said...

Please tell me more about the "Legendary Terrain". I can't find anything more with my Google fu.

mksiebler said...

It was great chatting with you again, and thanks for dragging us to the "What Next?" panel with Scott Douglas. It was fun speculating on WotC's next moves.


Joseph Bloch said...

Hi Jim. I've put the link in the post, but here it is again:

Very impressive stuff. Almost makes me want to use minis in my own game.

xwardukex said...

this is mike from LEGENDARY REALMS TERRAIN - thanks for the kind words! our website is sort of a work in progress, so please forgive it's appearance. you can also "like" us on facebook at:

sorry about the adventure being so combat-centric. there was some role-playing stuff in there but jon (the guy who ran it) was a bit nervous as he's new to the whole OSR style of game (he started with 3.5)...he settled in though and did a bang up job. GROON SMASH!

anyways, if anyone lives out on LI we'll be running this adventure several times as well as hawking out wares at ICON in a few weeks...come on down!

Joseph Bloch said...

Heh! You _do_ remember me!

Honestly, don't take the combat thing too personally. I'm not sure it's a function of the scenario so much as the format. When the game is focused on the minis and the terrain, the natural inclination is to focus on the tactical aspects.

I did try to put as much role play in there as I could. It was pretty easy with the half-ogre character. GROON SMASH! indeed.

Please tell Jon he did a great job. I had a wonderful time, and he should be proud of the game he ran.