Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending NERDNYC's two-day gaming event/convention known as RECESS.
I had a lot of fun, met some very cool people, and played two very good games. I also discovered some surprising things that struck me as quite amazing considering I've lived in New York all of my life.
First, there is only one real FLGS in the five boroughs that really matters and yet there are still gamers close to my age that don't know about it. I find that mind boggling.
Second, apparently there are a significant number of very attractive and intelligent female gamers in the New York City area. I've known and had the pleasure of playing with quite a few over the years but the sheer number here was stunning. I have to assume that they either fall into the category of the above (not knowing about the Compleat Strategist and hence I've not casually run into many of them), only come out of temporal suspension to go to conventions, or are otherwise normally cloaked to hide their identity (possibly using shape-changing abilities, advanced holographic technology, or telepathic-hypnosis).It all makes perfect sense now.
Third, the internet is a terrible depiction of how the old school and new school interact with each other. While diehards exist on both sides of the fence, I found a lot more people who, like myself, tend to blur the line. Most play the same way they've played for a long, long time and would likely be considered 'Old School' but story and character do matter to them. One fellow said, "I don't want to go all 'Forge'-y. No GM, bizarre cards, or things like that but I do want a story. The hack and slash days are over for me. I've grown up. I want more than that."
Now on to the main though not unrelated topic; A fellow by the name of E.T. Smith ran a game of Starships & Spacemen, which I have to say was absolutely excellent. He brilliantly simplifed and expanded upon the original game, with custom character sheets, starship reference sheets, and a really cool way of depicting Space Combat. Smith made starship operation, not just combat, a real resource management mini-game within the game and it was more fun than I would have imagined. We were limited in what we could do based on power concerns but it made our decisions matter a lot more. Kudos Mr. Smith!
The setting of his 'adventure' (it really wasn't an adventure but more on that in a moment) was Starships & Spacemen's alternate Star Trek-like universe of the Galactic Confederacy; with its logical, green, pointy eared Taurans, blue furred, pacifist Andromedans (which we apparently believed to look like a cross between a Wookiee and Cookie Monster) and the dread Klingon-esque Zangid (who started as swarthy and orange only to be described as giant, angry Oopa Loompa's later on). The session had a feel far more akin to Galaxy Quest than Star Trek but with enough serious adventure and tension to make for fantastic time. If Goblinoid Games is thinking of bringing this classic game back, they could do far worse than to talk to this fellow first before expanding on the game.
One last point, E. T. Smith didn't run an adventure. What he ran was a series of random encounters based on which of several different hexes on a star map we (the PCs) scanned and than went to investigate. As we scanned and more random rolls told him what was in each star system, he started to tie together certain elements of the encounters and soon a plot of sorts made itself known. It was a very Sandbox-y approach that I was incredibly impressed by. I have to say it gave me a new perspective on how to develop stories and adventures for my own Star Trek games. Awesome stuff.
I'm looking forward to going to another of these RECESS events. Sadly I could only go yesterday as I have to work later today.
Until next time, 'Exist For A Extended Period and Do Well'.