Friday, July 31, 2020

Summer Update

Keeping the Interest Alive
In past years, summers have meant gaming conventions. I consider myself geographically fortunate to live near I-70 between Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana, which for a number of years have been host cities to two of the largest annual tabletop game conventions - Origins in Columbus and Gencon in Indianapolis. 
A large game convention offers attendees a lot. There are friends there that I only see in person at the conventions. The exhibition hall is a massive showcase of what's new in our hobby. Demonstration games and tournaments, pick-up games and scheduled events, seminars and the list of things to enjoy goes on and on. There is so much to see and do at a big convention that I rarely get much sleep. 
This year, of course, the conventions have been cancelled. Well, at least the in-person part of conventions. There are some online convention events and that brings me to my first bit of news. Playing online doesn't totally disappoint me. 
I am devoted to face-to-face - at the table - gaming. It is the part of the hobby I most enjoy and my preferred way to spend hobby time. I enjoy the excitement of sharing table space with live humans. I like to share snacks and meals, jostle and nudge, and feel the positive "vibes" of being with people who are having fun together. I like to touch the dice, hold my breath as I watch the person next to me roll their dice during a tense moment while we are all hoping for a successful outcome. The "table culture" appeals to me.
In recent months, in the absence of face-to-face gaming, I have started playing remotely with my regular face-to-face group, as well as watching a few streamed games on YouTube channels. I have also hit the pen and paper solo modules a bit harder than usual. I have even started painting a few miniature gaming figures again in an effort to find things hobby related to fill my spare time. I might say that "adjustments" have been made in how I enjoy the hobby. 
The other aspect of personal hobby news I would like to share involves a couple of recent RPG purchases. Browsing in the convention exhibition halls invariably results in a bit of money being spent as something new catches my fancy. In lieu of this "prohibited" summer activity, I have done my "browsing" online. 
Liminal is an attractive game book written by Paul Mitchener and set in a very atmospheric modern day UK where the supernatural is presumed "real". Liminal contains both game rules and setting in its well illustrated 287 pages. In Liminal. players take on the roles of investigators working as a "Crew" for a branch of police that are focused on extraordinary happenings. The game mechanics are simple and intuitive, the characters in Liminal have some depth and the setting is simply fantastic. I really like Liminal and am excited to bring it to the table (hopefully) soon!
Mork Borg is a head banging, punk rock role-playing trip from Swedish game designer Pelle Nilsson, graphic design and art by Johan Nohr and dead people! Mork Borg, which I am informed translates as "Dark Castle" or something similar, contains simple to understand, "old-school" game rules as well as an ultra-dark apocalyptic setting in its 90 pages - some pages are rather shockingly illustrated (although not quite as shocking as LotFP!). This is a tome that even "feels" special in the hand due to the materials used constructing the book's hard cover. The book's interior space is filled with a colorful layout which differs on each page and offers us a chance to "discover" Mork Borg as an experience a bit beyond just reading a book. 
While neither game strikes me as introductory, both Liminal and Mork Borg are "complete" purchases in the sense that everything one needs in order to play the game is included in a compact volume, even down to the starting adventure - supply your own dice of course. For the gamer experienced with either  type of role-playing game - investigative (Liminal), or old-school games (Mork Borg) - these should be easy games to grasp.  Even if the rules-lite style of mechanics found herein do not appeal to you, the settings alone in each of these books are worth the price of admission - as they say. Whether online or sitting around the kitchen table, I look forward to uncovering the "Hidden World" through Liminal, or delving into a bleak and decaying dark castle world of nightmares with Mork Borg.

No comments:

Post a Comment