Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

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Archive for the ‘Conventions’ Category

Dreamation 09 Post Post

Posted by Nathan P. on February 23, 2009

Dreamation was very good for me this year! As per usual, I am amazed and humbled by all the of excellent people I got to see, meet, play with, talk to and drink and eat with over the course of the weekend.

The atmosphere was really positive and inclusive this year, I think. I think it was also more relaxed than some Dreamations past. People are a little less intent on cramming in maximum gaming, and happy to take chill time and socialize.

My games all went well. I played in a Houses of the Blooded scenario run by Tom on Friday, and it was pretty neat. I really like parts of the game, and other parts leave me a little cold, but I intend to pick up the PDF soonish. The actual scenario was really neat, though I think there’s a lot of room with that game for a more character-vs-character intrigue kind of thing.

Judd & my Agon Tournement got a little fubared by miscommunication with the scheduling staff, so we ended up with two isolated Agon slots. I ran the first one, for Judd and a new friend named Joel, and it went pretty well. Agon is a little creaky with two heroes, I think, but it was a fun game. I ran Beast of Kolkoris and I totally killed Judd’s character with a Minotaur. We called the game after that encounter, but I think I would have totally killed both of them if we had continued the quest. That’s a really hard quest! Judd ran the second one, a Quest he came up with that involved a Cyclops who forged lightning. I got to play! It was cool! Ralph won the game and I was so mad! Stupid Ralph winning. I suspect that Far-Reaching may be a little brokenzord, though. I need to take another look, but the suspicion is in my brain.

I played a game of Annalise with Kevin Allen Jr., J.R. Blackwell and John Enskot (who did NOT die in a car crash, and that was the best part of the con). It was very good. We established the beginning of a really long, slow-burning game, if we were able to keep playing. I also got a lot of good feedback and ideas about how to structure a 4-hour complete Annalise game scenario.

Speaking of, my new friend Connie ran two games of Annalise without my involvment, which apparently both went well; so did the games of carry ran by Rachel and Adam. You people are all my favorite, and I am just pleased as punch that my games are creating fun.

Overall, just excellent hanging out time and drinking time with my friends. I already miss you.

Also, Amy was the best driving buddy ever, in addition to being a great friend.

As per usual, Dreamation was a sorely needed reset button, and I’m super glad I went. Thanks everyone for doing your part!


Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Mission, Personal | 4 Comments »

Dreamation Aught Nine Plan

Posted by Nathan P. on February 19, 2009

  • Head down early.
  • See all my awesome friends.
  • Rachel is running one of my games! carry, 8 pm, Thursday.
  • Connie is running one of my games! Annalise, 9 am, Friday.
  • Judd & I are running Agon! Step up for the first round of the Kleos Cup, 8pm, Friday.
  • I’m running Annalise! 2pm, Saturday.
  • Adam is running one of my games! carry, 8pm, Saturday.
  • Judd & I are running Agon! Those you made it through the first round are invited to the final round of the Kleos cup, 8pm, Saturday.
  • I’m running Annalise! 9am, Sunday.
  • Connie is running one of my games! Annalise, 2pm, Sunday – a good parting gift for y’all.
  • As per usual, I don’t preregister for other games, but there is a metric fuckton of great games on the slate, and I’m sure I’ll be happy where ever I end up.
  • Indie Party Saturday nite.
  • Road trip for Pho.
  • Staying with Shreyas.
  • I will be Twittering updates from the show – follow at ndpaoletta, if you’re interested.
  • Yay Dreamation!

Posted in Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Promo | 3 Comments »

Gen Con Aught Eight (1)

Posted by Nathan P. on August 20, 2008

Sleep? Nah. Gen Con. Though, real life is pretty busy through the rest of the month, so I doubt I’ll be able to go into much more detail. I do have a ton of pics, though, which will go up ASAP.

Bullet points:

  • The Design Matters booth: business. Fuck but we did a wonderful thing. We not only hit our sales goals for the convention, we blew them out of the water with an approach and business model that was both experimental and, as far as I know, pretty damn unanticipated within our community. Also, to all the people that said “I’m glad you’re doing it, but you’re crazy” – that’s right. We are. Crazy like foxes. We will be publishing all of our sales data and results soon, so our experience will also be an actual data point for future efforts. Stay tuned for that.
  • The Design Matters booth: social. Holy shit, but I didn’t want the convention to end. Mad props to Kevin, Gregor, Eppy, Clint, Amy, Jonathon (in absentia, alas) and Shreyas for being part of this wonderful alchemy. I had such a fucking great time just spending time with all of you, let alone game, drink, party and hang out.
  • Old friends: always a pleasure to see you again. I miss you already.
  • New friends: One of my goals for this con was to meet and/or cultivate actual friendships with some new people, and damn but that went well. You know who you are, my new friends.
  • Gaming: I ending up playing Annalise three times, and running InSpectres once. All went well, for varying degrees of the word. Annalise continues to enthrall me. I learned something really interesting about InSpectres. Other than those games, my interest was primarily in social stuff, and I don’t regret it, though it sounds like much other rocking gaming was going on.
  • Buying: I picked up Kagematsu, Tales of the Fishermans Wife and Black Cadillacs from the Ashcan Front and Sweet Agatha and 3:16 from my booth. Also, some more cool red “broken” tokens for playing Annalise. I also got some slick biohazard goggles for dancing and some, uh, friendship bracelets for very special friends, which I’m looking forwards to integrating into my wardrobe. Hunter: the Vigil was waiting on my doorstep when I got home thanks to a birthday-related preorder, and that was just icing on the cake.
  • Eating: I managed to eat pretty well (not hard when you’re in the one-big-meal-a-day mode). The family-style Italian place is rocking (Buca de Beppo, or whatever), and the nicer Italian place kitty-corner to Steak-N-Shake had a delicious Kobe beef ravioli.
  • Jeff: Thats the bartender at the Embassy Suites, and he always treats us right.
  • Good conversations: me & Kevin & Clint talking about D&D and nerd culture; pretty much every conversation with Amy; “Smooshing” talk with the DM folk (thanks guys, I almost vomited in my mouth); stealing time with Alexander, even if only for a brief moment; chilling with Frank in the mornings before opening the booth; saving Eric from IPR; gossiping with Gregor and Clint (even if it makes me a bad person); talking to customers at the booth and feeling validated in our endeavors; catching up with Dro; giving Luke shit (dude, wheres the damn Pony?); catching up with Jared; seeing many others for only too brief a time.
  • Random coolness: Fireworks over the city, teaching Gregor to talk American good, getting bro-jobs from Eppy, geeking out about glasses, Project Runway discussions, drawing your character for Candy Creeps, driving for way too many hours but having productive conversations, Love is a Battlefield dammit, the sketchy Gyro place in Columbus, the ghosts in the hotel, getting taller over the course of the con.
  • Oh yah, sales: I only had 10 salable copies of Annalise, and I sold out of those, plus sold a couple more to friends willing to take a misprinted cover. Sold 4 copies of carry plus 6 to the Finns (apparently its popular with high school kids in Finland, who knew!) plus gave a couple away for charity auctions. Success in my book.

I’m getting all misty-eyed thinking about it. Next year, gonna be even better.

(Feel free to use comments to remind me of other cool things. I probably didn’t mention it cuz it’s all still swirling in my hazy brain, not cuz I didn’t dig it).

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, D&D, Personal, Promo | Leave a Comment »

Best Con Ever?

Posted by Nathan P. on August 19, 2008


More to come soon. But the short report: the best convention experience I’ve ever had, full stop. Also, one of the best weeks of my life in general. And it’s all because of my friends.

Thank you, everyone.

Posted in Conventions, Personal | Leave a Comment »

Soon To Be Off

Posted by Nathan P. on August 12, 2008

It’s that time.

Today will be spent doing the last of the prep for Design Matters (check out the booth menu!), then off to a rollicking cross-country adventure.

I’m way more nervous than I ought to be.

Stuff I’m Looking Forwards To:

  • Diana Jones Award. Gray Ranks is up for it. It’s the only game-related award I care about, and I really hope Jason is recognized for his great game.
  • Games on Demand. Organization seems to be a little shaky, but I figure it shouldn’t be too hard to set up and play. And playing fun games is fun.
  • Seeing friends. Gen Con is like a once-a-year nerd partystravaganza, and I love hanging out with my buds that I really only get to see a couple of times a year, if that.
  • Making new friends. It’s actually kind of hard to do this, because of the aformentioned hanging out with old friends. But I intend to make an effort to at least cultivate acquantances into friendships.
  • Learning how this whole booth thing will work. It will be an experience.
  • Chatting with the bartender at the Embassy Suites. Seriously, this dude is awesome, and he treats us well and with good humor. He’s been there for the last two years that I’ve been at Gen Con, and I hope he’s there this time around.
  • Finding new places to eat in Indianapolis. We managed to strike outside of the beaten paths last year, and it was good, if for variety if nothing else.
  • Taking tons of pictures.
  • Oh yeh, info overload in the Dealers Hall. Always fun.

See y’all on the other side.

Posted in Conventions, Mission, Promo | 1 Comment »

Design Matters. Booth 1940. Gen Con.

Posted by Nathan P. on July 30, 2008

Check it out, yo.

Design Matters has a simple, if lofty goal: to re-imagine the way games and gamers find each other. We aim to attract the person for whom role-playing is just one of many interests in their spectrum of entertainment. While our games are certainly accessible to the hardcore role-player, the array of games presented at our booth appeals to those who may not identify strongly with roleplaying, but who are interested in playing a low-social-commitment game with friends who share their interest in a specific genre or kind of game. In the end, we believe that Design Matters, and all of the games available at our booth are built from the standpoint of delivering a focused play experience that is, above all, fun!

Design Matters is a limited engagement. We exist only at and for Gen Con. This year, we are booth number 1940, in the “Quiet Zone.” Click here to see a map of floor. We also strongly believe that games are meant to be played, and as such we will be coordinating with the Games On Demand area to offer many of the games we will have for sale as fully playable convention demos. Watch the website for promotional offers good to use at the booth, as well as information about the games and their designers.

Design Matters is a cooperative joint effort between a number of skilled game designers interested in reaching people who are interested in what we have to offer. Design Matters is: Nathan D. Paoletta, Epidiah Ravachol, Clint Krause, Gregor Hutton, Jonathan Walton, and Kevin Allen Jr.

I’m super freakin’ excited. Check out the website for more info.

Posted in Conventions, Mission, Promo | 4 Comments »

Ben Morgan on InSpectres

Posted by Nathan P. on July 26, 2008

Ben Morgan posted a writeup of my InSpectres game from DexCon that he played in. It’s on his livejournal. Also, he happens to be the guy who designed the character sheets and sundry items, which have served me well through many a game. Anyway, the game was really fun, and it’s worth checking out his writeup if you’re interested.

Posted in Actual Play, Conventions | Leave a Comment »

DexCon 08: Home of the Gingerbread Mafia

Posted by Nathan P. on July 21, 2008

And thats how DexCon was over.

I had the best time at a convention that I’ve had in a long time. I think last years Origins is the next benchmark back, and this DexCon was at least equal to it, if not better. There was a lot of crapulance floating around, to be sure (the broken ATM, the general sense of low energy, the low sales, general crankiness, the list of things that there is too much of), but I personally managed to have an amazing productive, satisfying and just plain fun time.


Roanoke went well, despite some playstyle clash at the table that I wasn’t able to harmoniously deal with. The game was fun, overall, and it was really rewarding for me to run a game outside of my comfort zone. Though, sorry Dan & Clint, but I think next time I’ll have to use something like The Pool or Unistat. Wushu just isn’t my style.

InSpectres went awesomely, as always. I had a table of 7 players, and the game hummed right along with no problems. It also had some pretty dark turns (the S&M/Nazi-fetishist British aristocrat, the death of the last unicorn, the rotting ghost virgins). As always, though, tons of laughs and many hijinks. Damn but it’s my favorite game.

carry went very well, despite J.R. and Russell having to leave early. We had a squad chock-full of sexual tension, and all the players really stepped up and dug into their characters and the fiction of the game. It was one of the most emotionally satisfying and real-feeling games of carry I’ve run, and it really made me happy that it played out so well.

Annalise suffered from some poor decision-making on my part (I decided to try to simultaneously run two 3-player tables, and there was a lot of lagtime in the beginning stages of the game as I ran back and forth). However, the players all made really tragic characters that were headed towards intense confrontations with the Vampire, and a lot of disturbing and interested fiction was happening at each table. I think everyone got a good taste of the game, and I learned a ton about how to approach running it at conventions.


I sold out of the Seven Sins edition of the game within a day. Totally awesome. Everyone was very complimentary, and I think the custom versions were worth the price tag, and maybe even the stress of making them happen! I feel really validated in some of my artistic and marketing choices, and I feel totally recharged about making the next version happen. Also sold a copy or two of carry.


Always the best part. I made some awesome new friends (Hi Jared and J.R.and Eric and Kevin!), and I got to spend some real quality time with older friends, and got to shoot the shit with friendly acquaintances and get closer to being good friends. I’m already sad that I won’t be seeing any of you for awhile.


In the words of Mr. Allen Jr. “it made me cry butter.”

Much love to all of you, friends. See you next time!

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Personal, Publishing | 8 Comments »

JiffyCon Pictures: Greenfield 08 (part 1)

Posted by Nathan P. on June 23, 2008

It’s that time again!

Day 1

I headed out to the home of Shreyas & Elizabeth on Friday to hang out and participate in the nacho party/fight scene watching and analysis. It was sweet to have a social event before the Con, and I got to meet new friends and catch up with old ones.

We took a walk around the grounds of the house, which were extremely pastoral and farmlike.


Rob Bohl talks about politics, while Shreyas pretends to care. Elizabeth takes cover!

Time for the Nacho party. Everything was delicious, especially the variety of herbal teas.

There were some….interesting decorations in the house. My favorite: the creepy pheasant!

Day 2

aka “The First Day of JiffyCon”

Following my usual plan, I showed up and wandered around and hugged people and waited to see which games were still available. This is the first JiffyCon that I haven’t run a game, and I think we had a good density of folks for the games that were being run. I played The Tale of the Fishermans Wife in the morning, and It’s Complicated in the afternoon. Both were technically playtests, but both are pretty solid and were very fun to play. I see myself playing a lot of Fishermans Wife as a short pickup game (it only takes an hour or so), and I want to play It’s Complicated straight, without any gonzo wierdness (like our sexually explicit Unicorns). Also, best quote of the con:

Don: So, Nathan, what are you playing this afternoon?

Me: I think I’m gonna play…um….It’s Complicated.

Rachel: (coming into the conversation) What game?

Don: It’s about relationships, I think…

Me: (in response to Rachel) It’s Complicated.

Rachel: Ok, cool. So, what’s it called?

Me: It’s Complicated.

Rachel: Yeh, but what is the title of the game?

(Me and Don laugh our asses off)

Maybe you had to be there, but it was really funny.

Anyway, for dinner we managed to make some sane divisions and break out into little groups, which was nice. I ate with Meg and Matt Wilson, and had a really nice time chillin and chattin

Right-left: Shreyas, Joshua, Brennan (hidden), a gentleman that I was not introduced too, and Kat playtest Brennan’s new game, How We Came to Live Here. I’m really excited about this one, and it apparently went well.

Don runs the Mouse Guard board game for Elliot, Lillith, Sebatian and Crispin (I think…..apologies if I got anyones name wrong, doting parents!). I think they won!

Evan dresses appropriately to run 1001 nights for Saif (sp?), Wilson and a lady that I didn’t get the chance to meet. Evan also won the “Best Dressed GM” award of the convention. More on the awards below.

Crispin and Lillith rock out playing the 1988 (?) Rocky and Bullwinkle adventure game with Tom, Emily and Eppy. I’m told that this game pretty much contains all of the hot shit game techniques we’ve “invented” in the last 10 years.

I love stealing from cartoons.

Shreyas and Elizabeth have an expressive conversation with Kat.

Meghan and Don have an in-depth (like, seriously in-depth) conversation about 4th Ed D&D. The humorous part of this picture is that they were trying to do “wacky poses”, but I took the picture after they thought I did. So it looks like they were posing for this, but it was actually part of their returning-to-the-convo motion. Hilarious!

And after that, we broke for dinner and, uh, post-dinner revelry. Which will be another post.

A short note about the awards: a close friend of the Greenfield folks recently passed, and they were running an open “tournament” to award GM and player superlatives. People donated to enter, and the donations are going to the family. Halfway through the convention, they announced that everyone was eligible to enter, and then they gave out prizes at the end of the day. They raised a good amount of money, which was great, and I actually was awarded the prize for “Best Description of Action” for my narration of how my possessed Fishermans Wife devoured the Fisherman at the end of our first game of The Tale of the Fishermans Wife. I also won a custom illustration by Vincent Baker! So I need to decide what I want to call that in for.

So, one more post with the rest of the con, coming up soon!

Posted in Conventions, Non-RPG Gaming, Personal, Playtesting | Leave a Comment »

In A Jiffy

Posted by Nathan P. on June 20, 2008

Off to JiffyCon soon. Wooo!

I think I failed at planning, so I’m not on the sched to run anything, but I’m bringing some options for pickups if we need more games. Also, I have no other things I need to do this weekend, so I’m looking forwards to spending real-person time with you folks out there.

Also, there should be some exciting announcements about Annalise coming soon. The last playtest went really well, and things are developing apace.

I should have pictures upon my return.

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, Conventions, Promo | 1 Comment »