Ropecon 2016 recommendations

To begin with – the roleplaying games are (once again) quite well hidden in the time table of the Con. And once again the gaming system is not given (unless it is written in the description of the game). You can find (hopefully) the full list HERE.

Past two years we have the games that seemed to be most interesting and here we are again! There are a lot of games running this year and this is not a definitive list. These are our recommendations and in no way represent any actual ranking system. Also – this year there are no stickers.

Since there is no registration in advance for the games (which might lead into total chaos – according to the theme) you might consider these games to be the ones where you could spend your “queue-jump card”.

Notes:

Any time a description says the game uses a modified version of known system, it’s not automatically out, but almost. As before we don’t see how any changes could make the experience better. When you are sacrificing possible previous knowledge of the system for possible small advances with the system, you are shooting yourself in the foot. You might have very good reasons for your changes, but those will almost never outweigh the opportunity cost presented by losing prior understanding of the system by players. (I don’t agree with this paragraph. Or any other paragraphs for that matter. -Ville)

Also, if we know the system, and the description of the game is somehow contrary to the system, we can’t recommend it. For example, Savage Worlds is clearly designed for fast-paced, tactical combat. If you are using it for something else, you really should expand your knowledge of games. Right tool for the right job.

Scenario Competition

This year’s annual scenario competition has had some changes from previous two. I read from somewhere that the time limit of 45-60min can be lifted if the group is ok with that. I’m a bit reserved about this change since it can affect scheduling your other games and might affect the whole experience. Nevertheless the Guild still recommends to try out as many of these new minigames as possible! (I failed to find them from the official time table but they are most likely ran at Experience Point/Kokemuspiste.)

Games by the Guild

Through the Breach, Henchman, Penny Dreadful
Fri 16:00 – 18:00 & 18:00 – 20:00, Sali 307
None of us who’ve participated in this page have played in a game by this Tero, but the Guild is a good place to learn, so we’d trust him to be a good GM. Also ran at Sat 11:00 – 13:00, Sali 203a

Also, if you keep your eyes open, you might be able to test out a prototype version of a board game by a guildmember, Teemu Vilen. No-one knows when or where, but again, keep your eyes open. Its been over two years, so the current state of the game is unknown to us, but here’s a preview from back then.

Lauri’s Recommendations

These are all the games I would attend, if I could:

ROLEPLAYING GAMES

Dread – Under silicon fist
Fri 20:00 – 0:00, Sali 307
Dread has yet to fail me as a Ropecon game. If you haven’t tried it yet this might be your chance. It’s a story game of horror that uses Jenga as a gaming system. Ran also at Sali 307, Sun 10:00 – 14:00

The Warren
Sat 10:00 – 12:00, Sali 203a
I really hope this is THE Warren. I really like Bully Pulpit Games and have no doubt that this game about rabbits is going to kick ass if it runs smoothly. It’s REALLY early on Saturday so I hope this goes a little under the radar and I get to participate. Ran also at Sali 203b, Sat 12:00 – 15:00

Dread: Gansterien kaupunki
Sat 20:00 – 0:00, Sali 301
As stated above, Dread seems to work very well in Con environment. This is also a game about gangsters so you can finally live up to your wiseguy dreams.

Teini-ikäiset mutanttininjakilpikonnat: Vaaralliset viemärit
Sun 11:00 – 15:00, Sali 214
Savage Worlds really isn’t my choice of gaming systems – but this time it is used in a game of teenage mutant ninja turtles so fast and furious action is almost guaranteed! Bujakaza!

Cthonian Highways: Matka Lahteen
Sun 12:00 – 16:00, Sali 203b
Cthonian Highways is an upcoming rpg from Finnish Iron Spine (Heimot, Astraterra). It’s still in development but trying out new games is always fun. Or at least educational and different. Quite likely an excellent chance to wrap up this years Ropecon.

Aki’s Recommendations

Gladly Lauri went with the Dread game, so I don’t have to use my slots for that. Not that we have slots, but I wanted to limit this a little. I found plenty of interesting stuff, but recommendations don’t work if there’s too many of them. Anyhow, here’s what I’d try to get into first, if I was going (sadly, I can’t this year).

I Say a Little Prayer
Fri 16:00 – 21:00, Sali 307 & Sat 10:00 – 15:00, Sali 301
Five gay men in a single apartment, when AIDS comes along. This is one of those things you’re probably hesitent about, but you’d feel good about attending afterwords.

Kesä 1254!
Sat 10:00 – 14:00, Sali 212 (two concurrent games, so take your pick of two different GMs)
I still haven’t had a chance to test Mouse Guard, but what I’ve read and heard about it is definitely encouraging to say the least.

Deranged
Sat 10:00 – 14:00, Sali 301 & Sun 10:00 – 14:00, Sali 301
“Semilive”. So, basically it’s a good chance to mess with the players in the other tables in the same room, because they can’t stop watching what you are doing. The line where it says that you need to have a sense of humor, but its not striving for comedy is the one that sold me.

Ville’s recommendations

Lauri and Aki picked out cool stuff already — Mouse Guard is about as good as roleplaying design gets — but here are some others. I’m not choosing I Say a Little Prayer again, since I’ve already played it and enjoyed it. My first impression was that there’s little interesting this year, but looking more closely, it’s just the opposite: tons of interesting stuff on offer, and no chance of participating in them all! I’m also writing a bit about most of the games I found interesting and why, since I’ve no authority to recommend anything.

But please, GMs: learn to pitch your games. Know what they’re about, what you can offer, and give it straight. I don’t want to read a novel about the milieu, I want to know why and how your game stands out and is worth playing.

If you want to be absolutely sure about having a fun time, pick a game of Fiasco or Dread. Here, however, are some others.

Kult: Divinity Lost
Fri 18:00 – 22:00, Sali 203a
The old Swedish ultragrim horror RPG had horrible rules. The new one is based on Apocalypse World. I’m not sure how good a fit it is, but I’m tempted to try it out. Besides, horror tends to work well in cons.

Sotakarjut – operaatio Kärsä
Fri 18:00 – 22:00, Sali 203b
I’m really intrigued by the concept of Sotakarjut, a science fiction wargame inspired by Philip K. Dick. It’s got genetically modified war pigs (cue Black Sabbath ear worm in 3… 2…) whose programming starts to fail. I’m somewhat wary about it being combat-heavy — war in RPGs works best when you can focus on questions of power, hierarchy, psychology and all that jazz — but I’m curious!
Fellowship
Fri 18:00 – 22:00, Sali 214
I’ve never played with the GM, but he has a great taste in games. The system is a modification of Dungeon World, it empowers players, and yes, mushroom orcs are definitely my thing.
Continuity
Fri 19:00 – 0:00, Sali 203a
Eclipse Phase has a cool world, and this one uses GUMSHOE for the system, which is a personal favorite. Mystery, horror, and seriousness — sounds fun. I hope the GM does a good job of introducing the world, since it can be quite a mouthful.
Matalalle haudattu
Fri 19:00 – 23:00, Sali 203b
Psychological horror and drama in the shadow of a dictatorship sounds like a good time. I’ve played Montsegur 1244 with the GM and ran Night Witches for him, which means he has great taste and I’d like to see him GM for once.
Depressing Dungeon
Fri 20:00 – 2:00, Sali 203a
I’ve been wanting to play Fate. This has pregens. Still, the six hours’ playing time reaching deep into the night might be too much for moi.
The Doom King
Fri 20:00 – 22:00, Sali 203a
I’d never heard of Protocol, which this game uses. However, it sounds quite interesting, and this is from the game’s description on Drivethrurpg: “Players take on the roles of directors outside the action and characters inside the action, using the ebb and flow of four different scene-framing styles (vignettes, interrogations, interludes, and ensembles) to tell meaningful stories about characters in crisis.”
Nibiru
Sat 10:00 – 14:00, Sali 214; Sun 10:00 – 13:00 Sali 203b
Rules-light self-discovery and memory recovery in an unusual and wondrous sci-fi setting full of mysteries and opportunities for adventure. Sounds like fun!
Viljakkalan vihat
Sat 10:00 – 14:00, Sali 307
If you need me to explain you why you should play with Wille Ruotsalainen, you’ve lived in a fucking barrel and need to come out ASAP.
Nukkemestari
Sat 12:00 – 15:00, Sali 302
Cyberpunk jeepform about identity, memory, and the dissolution of reality! Probably the most interesting pitch this year.
Korruptiota Rethessä
Sat 14:00 – 16:00 (and onwards), Sali 203a
The GM really knows his stuff. He’s passionate and smart and can think on his feet.
Palimpsest
Sat 14:00 – 17:00, Sali 301; Sun 10:00 – 13:00, Sali 302
It’s freeform and it’s about memories. I’m a sucker for stories about memories. I haven’t met the GM, but she’s smart and active in the Finnish roleplayers’ Facebook group.
Äänitettyä tyhjyyttä
Sat 16:00 – 20:00, Sali 302
It’s about a 1970s rock band recording it’s second album. Drugs and relationship drama and artistic disagreements using a modded Primetime Adventures and it’s not a comedy game. I trust the GM Eero Laine can pull of a modded system.
The Stars Our Problem
Sat 18:00 – 22:00, Sali 203a
More Eclipse Phase with GUMSHOE. This time with a derelict spaceship! I’m a sucker for derelict spaceships.
Huone, jossa Lombardi kuoli
Sat 19:00 – 23:00, Sali 307
A surreal psychological thriller about a writer travelling to Los Angeles to sign a contract for a movie. The GM knows his stuff and the pitch is at least as interesting as Nukkemestari’s. I’m a sucker for writers in a surreal City of Angels.
In conclusion, if the stars are right, my Friday is somewhat open still, but it’s a bloody fight between Fellowship and Matalalle haudattu. On Saturday, Nukkemestari and Huone, jossa Lombardi kuoli; and on Sunday, the second run of Palimpsest. Looks like my tastes this year tend towards freeform, and I like memories, and I’m a sucker for a lot of things.

Creating an Archipelago Game

About a month ago I managed to get into Jason Morningstar‘s Archipelago game “Love in the Time of Khavarner“. I really liked the setting and the style the game worked and began immediately to think how I could hack it. Jason himself said that it is not as simple as it seems. And after working on a game I have to admit he was right.

Without going into details about what is needed for an Archipelago game I must admit that I used the two existing games Love in the Time of Seið and Love in the Time of Khavarner as the starting point. I did not have high ambitions about a truly original masterpiece but an idea about a game I really wanted to take part in. Continue reading

Going to Ropecon?

This year’s theme for Ropecon is “journey” and as I’ll travel from Tampere to Helsinki for this event I thought I could come up with some things to pass the time during that journey. Actually this idea came while reading at Ropecon’s front page that they are encouraging con-goers to organise their own pre-cons at Thursday (since it is a national holiday).

The only restriction for this kind of activity is that the drive takes only a couple of hours (maybe some extra if we make a couple of stops) so we need to have activities that do not take too much time and/or can be put on hold while someone takes a bathroom break etc. Continue reading