Gamestorm 16: Day One

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Gamestorm 16

Introduction

Once again, I had the opportunity to attend my region’s local gaming convention, Gamestorm, for a weekend of board game and RPG fun. I did an extensive write-up for Gamestorm 15 last year, and I’ll be doing the same this year.

This year, I was excited to bring both Monster Kart Mayhem and Psi-punk to the convention, but I was equally excited to get to try out some new games that I hadn’t played before. The convention didn’t go quite as planned, but I had a blast anyway.

Registration

Gamestorm had some serious issues with registration this year. They launched a new website and pre-reg system, and with it came a great deal of bugs and glitches. Because of this, pre-registration for games was all but non-existent; there were literally no pre-con sign-ups for board game events, and RPG events were a nightmare, at best.

Shane Hensley, designer of Savage Worlds, was the guest of honor this year and was signed up to run several SW adventures. Unfortunately, of all the adventures he was running, they were the only ones that seemed to get ample pre-registration sign-ups. Unfortunately, nobody knew whether or not they were admitted to a game until they got to the convention and saw their name on a sign-up sheet, so I wouldn’t know until Saturday whether or not I got to oplay in one of his games.

I also had no idea whether or not anyone would be signing up for Psi-punk or Monster Kart Mayhem. I was going in blind — ironically — but so was everyone else.

Getting my Badge

Since I had paid for my ticket in advance, I was able to use the pre-registration line at the con to pick up my badge. Last year this didn’t go so smoothly as the attendants tried to hand me paperwork and packets of information that were certainly not in an accessible format.

This year was slightly better. There was only one person working the table when I walked up, and she was able to hand me a badge and didn’t bother to give me any of the con schedule booklets or other things that typically get passed out on paper. The people at the information desk also seemed to be more understanding that my red-tipped white cane meant that I was blind, and they were helpful and willing to take the time to describe things to me rather than point at things. Score one for the info desk!

Board Games!

My friend and I arrived at the convention  around 9 a.m. and I didn’t have anything scheduled until Psi-punk at 7 p.m. We had all day long to wander around, play games, and attend panels.

We took a seat at an empty table in the board game hall and busted out Monster Kart Mayhem. Unfortunately nobody else sat down to join us, but I was able to give my buddy his first run-down of the game and he had some good suggestions about a couple of tweaks to make.

After that we went and grabbed a bite to eat in the hospitality suite, then we joined a random couple for a game of Belfort. Nobody knew how to play the game, but we managed to read through the rules and took a good crack at it. My first impressions will come in another article.

One of the great things about attending conventions regularly is that you get to run into people you haven’t seen in a year. The people we played Belfort with recognized me; they were both players at one of my Psi-punk tables during last year’s convention! It was good to sit and play with them again.

Panel – How to Run a Game Design Business

After snagging some free lunch in the hospitality suite, my friend and I sat in on a panel about running a game design business. It was mostly geared toward board games, but the three panelists all had some interesting information. They didn’t all agree on everything they were talking about, and one of the panelists tended to dominate the conversation, but overall it was an enlightening talk.

Down Time

Since I didn’t really have much scheduled this year, I had a lot of down time. My friend went to the board game room to get in on a game of Colosseum. I decided to wander to the Organized Play area where I knew my old Pathfinder buddies would be hanging out, and I got to sit and chat for a while with some folks I haven’t seen in a good long while.

Psi-pnk at Fateful Friday Night

At 7 p.m., I headed upstairs to the RPG area and got ready to run Psi-punk. The con was sponsoring a “Fateful Friday Night,” which was designed primarily to promote Fate games, but they allowed me to run Psi-punk since it’s Fudge-based and thus related.

Only two people were pre-registered, but but I had 3 additional sign-ups by the time the event started. Not bad. Psi-punk has always done really well at this convention, so that makes me happy.

I ran the game for a party of 5. We did some playtesting of the new World’s Edge Arena rules and setting, and everyone had a blast.

Of particular note was one clever player who used the new Fan Favor mechanics to the team’s advantage. Fan Favor allows the players to accumulate points with the crowd and spend those points for in-game benefits. This player used his hacking skills and charisma to show slow-motion replays and kill-cams to people watching on the arena displays. Essentially, he was spending his action to play to the crowd  rather than fight his opponents, so I allowed him to wrack up Favor for his team.

Everyone said they enjoyed the Fan Favor mechanics and seemed pretty pleased with the new setting. As a final and added bonus, two of the players who were at the game — the two who had pre-registered — had played in my very first Gamestorm session of Psi-punk two years ago and were happy to have been able to come back and play again.

Like I said — it’s exciting to get to play with folks you haven’t seen in a while.

It was after 11 when the game ended and we made our way back to my friend’s house to crash. We went to bed late and had plans to be up bright and early the next day, because I had a scheduled game of Monster Kart Mayhem at 9 a.m.

To be continued on Day 2.

Series NavigationGamestorm 16: Day Two >>

About Jacob Wood

Jacob founded Accessible Games because he wants to spread the joy of gaming to everyone, including people with disabilities. He is visually impaired and knows what it's like to need to adapt, and he brings two decades of gaming experience to the table.
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