The The three of us entered a Nuclear War tournament, and I had the great good fortune to have the old man himself, Rick Loomis, as game master of our table.
|Nuclear War Spinner|
The game is great fun, but it's even more fun when someone like Rick is running things. Good job, Rick!
Tunnels and Trolls
We showed up first thing in the morning to play Tunnels & Trolls with Ken St. Andre, the author of the game. T&T is a lot like the old Dungeons and Dragons game played more for fun and entertainment, and there's nothing like playing with the game designer to learn how the game is supposed to be played.
We survived the dungeon, much to Ken's amazement, and collected our reward over at the Flying Buffalo booth; a six sided death die, and the expression of absolute amazement from the fellow manning the booth when we explained that we'd survived. I gather we were the only players to do so.
This was another worthwhile game, and was very enjoyable thanks to the other players and the game master, Ken. Good job, Ken!
Drake's Lecture on Writing
I attended a lecture by Maxwell Alexander Drake on the creation of fight scenes, and found it rather... different. To begin with, Maxwell Drake is so manic I suspect that he's got a nose full of the old Bolivian marching powder, but perhaps not. Maybe he just runs at double the normal speed all the time. Drake begins the lecture by talking about himself and his accomplishments to excess, and I suspect the lecture will be a few techniques as applied to Drake's writing. I'm only partially correct about this, as Drake does give a worthwhile lecture that lasts about thirty minutes out of the hour. At the end of the lecture, Drake informs us that he'll be reading some of his own work that is as yet unpublished - then looks expectantly at the audience for applause. When none is forthcoming, Drake continues with a preamble that's as lengthy as it is tedious. Someone in the front row finally stops Drake and tells him to read the work, and he does.
The excerpt is several pages of a fight scene that Drake uses to illustrate the points he covered in the lecture. There are several problems with this.
First, the work should be good enough to stand on its own, and in fact it is good enough to stand on its own. Why give some kind of prequel disclaimer for decent work?
Secondly, Drake spends a solid five minutes insisting that he, Drake, welcomes criticism and never takes anything personally. He loves to be criticized, Drake announces, for that's how we all learn to be better writers. Truly, any and all criticism is always more than welcome. Are we all crystal clear on that point? Drake loves criticism.
Drake then reads the selection, which is pretty good stuff, and points out how the work conforms to the rules about fight scenes that Drake laid out earlier. Drake then asks for comments or criticisms, and no one even moves a hair. Drake begs for comments, and you can hear the heavy breathing out in the hall from the people who just got out of a symposium on romance novels. Drake insists his life won't be complete unless he gets at least one little comment or criticism.
I don't believe a word of it, but when an old guy up front points out that Drake has confused two words (agony and anguish, as I remember it), Drake acts like the man kicked his dog and mumbles something about editors being mentally challenged. Then the same guy points out that the hero in Drake's fight scene chopped his way through fifty or so opponents with about one third of the business end of a spear hanging out of his midsection, Drake tries to justify it. And fails. And pouts.
This isn't to say that the lecture wasn't any good at all, because that isn't the case. I found it informative and the delivery, when it finally happened, was good. I just think the lecture would have been much better had Drake removed himself and his fragile ego from the lecture.
We spent a good deal of time walking around the trade show, which was well attended this year. The steam punk gear has dwindled but there are other options available. There were several cutlery vendors, including one who had a plethora of combat ready swords including the ubiquitous katana, wakizashi and tanto set. All were made of carbon steel and ranged in price from several hundred up to seven thousand.
|Mad Hatter's Tea Party|
I find the detail amazing. I could never make anything like this. My regret is that I didn't get the name of the exhibitor.
|Picture with a Hottie|
Some of the best gaming to be found in the entire convention is in the boardroom. This is where participants can set up a game and advertise for players. If you don't know how to play the game in question, someone will teach you and help you along. We played several here, and had a great time. So good, in fact, that I think next year I'll skip a few of the official events and just hang out in the boardroom.
I enjoyed the Origins Game Fair and will likely attend next year. Further tips on events to avoid will be in my next post.