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Ambercon 2006 - Shiny Things

Apr. 9th, 2006

08:33 am - Ambercon 2006

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We arrived Friday instead of Thursday, and drove home on Monday. I think this was a good plan. Many people looked like zombies during their Sunday slots, and some were physically ill.

We drove there and back with follybard. We played music for her on the way there, and she played her House of Cards soundtrack for us on the way back. I wanted to hear "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" again but there were so many tracks to hear that we ran out of time!

The hotel seemed vaguely familiar. I think the third-and-last Ambercon we attended, about ten years ago, must have been in the same hotel.

I met two people in the hotel who asked what Ambercon was. I asked them if they knew what a roleplaying game was and they knew. Weird.

We had dinner with Tim and Trish Hart, whom we haven't seen for years. Karen and I played in Trish's Sable game. Unfortunately we had two players who went into analysis paralysis mode so we sat around waiting for them to do things like exhuming three-year-dead corpses rather than following up the obvious leads, and as a result the game ran over by 1.5 hours.

I played Carl, son of Julian, an NPC from princejvstin's Strange Bedfellows game. Apparently I did a good job of capturing the essence of the character. Paul did a good job GMing such a large group, but there were definitely more players than I would have preferred. Encountering each other was half the fun of the session--especially with Alais attacking Carl--but it resulted in a lot of down time all around. Regardless, I had fun hunting yithongu with Team Death.

I played in Sol Foster's second Dashing Blades of Amber game, "The Masterless Men". I had trouble sometimes deciding if a particular action would be something flashy that would gain me swash points, or something underhanded that would make me lose them. The prime example was trying to figure out how five of the Royal Blades could defeat over a hundred pirates ("That leaves twenty for me. At my best, I could never defeat that many.") Under the circumstances we decided that ambushing them with a harbor chain and their own port guns wasn't dishonorable.

The truly unfortunate thing about playing in Sol's game was that I didn't get to play with Mike and follybard and bushi7 in the "Equalizer II: The Guns of Eregnor" session, which was in the same slot. I could have played Eve's big brother Cole again! Cole is fun to play because 1) I created him specifically to practice being impulsive (something I'm terrible at) and 2) he makes Eve crazy though she can't bring herself to not like him.

I played in Dawn Greenlee's "Champions of Amber" game. The idea was well-conceived, and we had a good number of players (two of whom were wonderfully in character, and Mike Walker's prequel interview was also delightful). Two quibbles: 1) Dawn set up the scenario in a way that forced the party to split up, and 2) she ran an NPC who had a habit of explaining everything. On the plus side she handed out trumps of our characters, she didn't sweat the details of what we could and couldn't do with our superpowers, and she let us in the end decide the fate of the universe without other characters intervening. Overall a good session.

We went out to dinner with Mike and Patricia. They overheard us mention that it was Mike's birthday and brought him out a cake, unasked.

We attended the House of Cards meet-and-greet, and got to know several of the people that Karen has been playing with in that game (though by that time I think I'd already met most of them in other sessions). As a result I've decided to start following the game, and I'm trying to get up to speed by following along on the fiftytwopickup blog.

Attending Ambercon this year was an experiment, mostly as an opportunity for Karen to meet House of Cards people in person. I don't know for certain that we'll attend next year, but we're definitely considering it. I can say that I had more fun than I did last year at GenCon, but then GenCon is much less expensive for us now that it's in Indianapolis. Too bad there's no Amber presence at GenCon anymore. (And no, I don't think we're the right people to try to do something about that.)


[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
I am sorry for the weaknesses in SBED. You aren't the only player to have pointed out that flaw.
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[User Picture]
Date:April 9th, 2006 02:41 pm (UTC)
It's hard to say no to anyone who wants to play. From my personal experience though, six is about the limit of people I want to play with, or players I want to GM. I don't think I've ever seen a GM that can consistently keep more than that many people engaged. I think that what you did _right_ though, under the circumstances, was to split the players into two teams, so that at least half of them were engaged at any given time.
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