Pacificon SF 2010 Report

         This time at Pacificon was rather different for me because all of the games that I played there were with my son - as another player, or with him playing in the event that I organized. This year, they didn't have a staffed young person's room like previous years, but instead marked events as kid-friendly. I suspect this was due to lack of volunteers, but don't know for sure.

The Producers, Part Deux

FR-624 SRP: The Producers Part Deux
Time Block F: Sat 9:00AM
by Amber Kuipers
Studio Radd Productions
7 hrs, 8 players
Kids welcome
Characters and/or Armies Supplied
After Ulla and Leo returned from their honeymoon, they make up with Max Bialystock and continue to make smash hits on Broadway. But there seem to be more and more problems with the plays, the cast, even the script that keep going awry. Can Ulla and Leo, with the help of their friends, find out what's wrong? Or will their shows really be a flop?

This was a game using the Hong Kong Action Theatre system. It was a little convoluted mixing of genres - since we were playing Chinese wuxia actors taking on roles in a sequel to a Hollywood musical comedy. The players included three kids (Milo, Isabella, and one other) and three adults - plus the GM's husband who took a character a little way in.

Basically, I found it moderately entertaining. I played Samo Hung playing Franz Liebkind (the German author of "Springtime for Hitler and Germany" in The Producers) - who was only ambiguously Nazi in this version of his background (?). The game mostly shone when we had a bunch of wuxia action within a theater setting - fighting off a horde of ninja old ladies recruited by Max.

A Hero's Welcome

This was a LARP game that I ran, which was pitched as a kid-friendly comedic fantasy LARP - inspired by the Princess Bride along with comedies like The Prisoner of Zenda and Hail the Conquering Hero. It took some of the same characters from a LARP that I had run the previous year. I think it worked pretty well, but it was a tricky balancing act to have a game that worked both for adults and kids. As players, I had five pre-teens (four boys and one girl), three teenage girls, and nine adults (eight men and one woman). The characters were divided into three factions: the pirates, the town leaders, and the Inspector's team.

The key design point of the game was that every character had one power which they were absolutely incredible at. (Like in the Princess Bride, where one character was overwhelmingly strong, one was masterful with a sword, etc.) Every talent was absolute within its scope. So, for example, the cabin boys were sneaky, which meant that as long as they weren't doing anything else, they could not be found.

The pirates were lead by Captain Barnabas, played by an experienced larp player who gave some direction but was mostly hands-off in a good way with the two teenage girls (Angel Meroe and Baby-eater O'Brian) and two pre-teen boys (Milo and Aaron). He made a few command decisions, but mostly left them to their own devices. Aaron and Milo snuck about (as was their power) and got into a series of fights with the other two young boys playing Guardsman Ash and Pirate Killer Jayden. They would then regularly be rescued by Kiersten playing the hellion fighter Angel Meroe.

The townspeople were generally adults, though one was an older teenager (college freshman). They all had their own bits, but didn't cohere much as a group.

The Inspector's team were two adults as the Inspector General and his aide, with two young boys as their military escort. One of the trickier negotiations was that one of the boys was upset over finding out that Pirate-Killer Jayden was actually a fraud whose main talent is running away. Helped by others, we talked him into keeping the character - and noting that he didn't have to play him like a coward, just that he was good at running away.

Open Gaming

Milo and I went to open gaming after the LARP. We played the dungeon-crawl card game Thunderstone with three people who were had just gotten it. Milo enjoyed it a lot. It was competitive but we were fighting against the same monsters. Each turn, you either go into the dungeon and kill a monster, or you buy stuff in the town. We also played the party game Werewolf - which was diverting and a chance to re-meet a bunch of the players who were in our LARP.

John H Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Wed Sep 22 22:26:11 2010