We just spent a nice weekend at KublaCon. Yes, I managed to go to a game convention without any medical emergencies! In fact, I felt very good.
Since KublaCon takes place at a nearby hotel we can drive to in about ten minutes, it is affordable for us — we don’t have to rent a hotel room, we get to sleep in our own bed, no worries about feeding the cats… In many ways, that is the best feature of the convention for us.
Pluses about the organization and amenities: the senior staff seems to take problems reported very seriously, including safety and harassment; all volunteers and staff I talked to were cheerful, helpful, and friendly; there is open wifi service everywhere in the hotel; and the atrium area is pleasant to hang out in for open gaming.
Minuses: the hotel and events are not very accessible, I saw several people with canes, wheelchairs or scooters labouring to get around the maze of tables, stairways, and corridors; parking is discounted but still $10 a day, and difficult to get on Saturday and Sunday; and game registration uses the hated shuffler system (a post topic for another day.)
The game listings are not very oriented toward my type of play, but there is enormous choice for people who like the D&D Adventurers’ League, Pathfinder Society, or board games. Still, we managed to have four days of fun and see lots of friends.
Friday afternoon: The Lost Age
On Friday afternoon, we had hoped to get into a game of Monster of the Week, but it was full. However, in the same room was a game of the soon-to-be-officially-released The Lost Age, and none of the players who had signed up showed up (Friday afternoons can be difficult to schedule for people who have to work or are traveling.) We heard GM and author Keith Leiker pitch his game to wandering players, so decided to jump in and make the game happen. I’m not going to describe it because I wrote a comprehensive review of it yesterday, but I liked it.
Friday night: Headspace
On Friday we managed to get into a game with GM Kasi Jammeh, who was running a game Powered by the Apocalypse, Headspace. You can think of Headspace as allowing you to play something like Sense8, a group of telepathically linked characters who can share skills.
I was very interested in this game. However, half the group of players were in the mood for wacky hijinks, while Edmund and I, at least, were looking for dark adventure and intense emotional turmoil. Don’t get me wrong, it was a congenial evening, but I didn’t really get the experience I was looking for.
Saturday: Hanging out
Yep, I’m old. Gaming until midnight got me really tired. I woke up at 11am, and only because Edmund brought me coffee. We moseyed on over to the convention and met with friends, hanging out in the atrium. Our friend A. brought her six-year-old daughter H. and I ran a freeform game of runaway fairies and bridge trolls. It was H.’s first RPG and she apparently really liked it.
We went home around dinner time, since we didn’t have any games lined up for the evening.
Sunday: Gateway to Hell!
On Sunday there was more hanging out with friends, then we played a Fudge/Fate hack in a setting inspired by Call of Cthulhu. GM Dennison Milenkaya did an excellent job of leading us through character creation, setting development, then through the investigation of a haunted house in New England.
We had a grand old time and the game only ended because most of us needed to go to bed. (We did get to a satisfying stopping point first.)
Monday: Live the Revolution!
Finally, today — my birthday — we played in GM Brian Williams’ DramaSystem game, where the group created an entire setting and cast from the sole premise that we were associated with a revolution that had just succeeded.
From this we spun a group of mismatched aliens working along a space elevator, and the push and pull of alliances as they struggled to secure their factions’ future.
After the game we left the convention for the last time and went to have some delicious Mediterranean food with friends for a late lunch.
As a coda, Edmund and I got each other birthday presents. We got some fantastic-looking games from local designers.
I got Edmund Relicblade, a miniatures game from Metal King Studio, along with The Seeker’s Handbook, a scenario book for the game.
He got me the board game Leaving Earth from Lumenaris, along with expansions.
When we finally got home we napped, then we called for pizza and watched a little television. I call it a weekend well spent.