Monday, June 22, 2015

Free RPG Day 2015: A Tale of Many Games

This past Saturday was the 9th annual Free RPG Day. Established in 2007, Free RPG Day is very similar to Free Comic Book Day. Both were created with the goal of introducing new people to cool, interesting properties with the very low profit wall of $0.00. These events are held at game stores throughout the world, many of which also run demo games utilizing the free product to help people learn these new games, meet other games, and have fun while doing it.

Like last year, my FLGS participated in the event and I obviously attended it. Although I didn't play in every demo, I did manage to experience a few and thought I'd discuss my most memorable moments throughout the day. Feel free to share your own, personal Free RPG Day stories in the comments below.

While the day was supposed to be about role-playing games, two friends and I had the first two hours free. We decided to kill some time until our first scheduled games by playing Dead of Winter. This was the first time I happened to get the traitor goal, which required me to have six food cards in my hand at the end of the game. I managed to get five, but couldn't get the last one before the morale track dropped to 0. I decided to just see what the next card would have been if I could have lasted one more turn. It was a freaking food card. If I could have lasted one more turn, I would have finally won a game of Dead of Winter

This was the first game that I actually got to play today, and it was easily the most insane. Cosmic Patrol is a game that hearkens back to the pulp days of science fiction, but our group ended up going in a very different direction. Our game was less "Lost in Space" and more "Barbarella" and incredibly meta, constantly referencing the idea that our characters were just characters in a fiction, 1970's, low budget Scfi show. It was weird, it was strange, but it was incredibly fun.

Battletech was the next game I had scheduled, which turned out to be interesting as well. While I've enjoyed the franchise for awhile, I've actually never played one of the editions of the Mechwarrior game. Although I found it weird that a game about piloting mechs didn't have any actual rules for said mechs in the quick start, our game master did an excellent job winging it and we had fun regardless, the session being one of the more serious ones I had last night. I really want to play the full version of the game now.

GUMSHOE is one of those systems I've always had mixed feelings about, especially since I don't feel like I agree with its most important tenet that players should always find clues in a mystery game if they have a rank in a specific skill tied to the clue. However, I'll be the first to admit I had a lot of fun playing Night's Black Agents, especially due to the simplicity of the mechanics and the interesting name of the skills (Bullshit Detector is still the best skill ever). Although we didn't get to finish our session due to time, I still highly enjoyed it. I also learned that one should be careful when kicking someone in the face because you might not be able to hold back your anger, but that's to be expected when you've been stabbed.