Big Bad Con 2018

Big Bad Con is a three-day role playing convention with a focus on indie role playing games. This was my second year attending, and I had a very full schedule, unlike my first year at the con.

Games Played at Big Bad Con 2018

BFF!BBF! Best Friends Forever is a tabletop storytelling game for 2 – 6 players working together to create a narrative based on the interactions with your peers. The art is great! It’s fun and evocative of the themes. Who wouldn’t want to go to Ghost Duck Middle School? It was a very chill way to start my weekend. I was especially pleased to meet someone that had been in my very first game of the con last year. Somehow, that connection from the start of last year to the start of the con this year put me in the right mindset for the rest of the weekend.

Tales of the Fisherman’s Wife: Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai was my first experience with a LARP. It was was more of an interactive dramatic experience than a free form story. The fabulous Julia Ellingboe facilitated and played an active role in the narrative. She had gone to a lot of trouble to set a mood with LED tealight candles, which was really cool, but it wasn’t enough light for these old eyes to read the paper I had in front of me. I didn’t want to ruin it for everyone else so I just kinda winged it. Talented folks like Darcy Ross more than made up for my novice performance.

Trailer Park Shark Attack: The League of Nicholas Cages

Savage Worlds is system that promises fast and furious action. In this National Treasure meets Sharknado adventure, each of the player characters was a different version of Nicholas Cage. My particular Nicholas Cage was Peter Loew from the movie Vampire’s Kiss, so I was a total jerk to everyone. Yay me for roleplaying.

My favorite special rule was that once per game, each Nicholas Cage could do a special move called Losing Your Shit. I did this right before lunch and was able to kill a jet ski preacher who had mutated into a giant squid-shark with my bare hands and a set of plastic vampire teeth.

The amount of work that Todd Evans put into this game was ridiculous and that made it extra fun and a truly memorable experience for everyone.

Murderous Ghosts: A Party Game

This is a really fun game for your Halloween party. It was created by Vincent and Meg Baker, so it was a treat to have them run this event. It’s sort of like a choose your own adventure book but with more room for creative storytelling. Essentially, you are a ghost hunter that encounters real ghosts and they kill you. That doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it is. You can find Murderous Ghosts: A Party Game at DriveThruRPG.

Adventure Capital!

This was a playtest of an RPG in development by Anthony Nomorosa. It was kind of like magical adventurers that had just graduated from an MBA program. It was silly, loose and pretty fun, but you would need the right group of players to make it work. Luckily, we had a good group. I played a Redcap fairy named Brisket the Emphatic. I think I managed to pay off my student loan by the end of the adventure.

The Quiet Year

The Quiet Year at Big Bad Con 2018I only attended one of the Games on Demand sessions this year, and I was really lucky to get into a game that was run by my friend Bay Chang. The Quiet Year is a game by Joe Mcdaldno that tells the story of a community through the creation of a map.

There is a set of 52 cards, and each one represents a week in the story. The cards offer choices that the players weave into a cohesive story. After each choice or event the current player draws something on the map that represents what happened or what was discovered. This is what builds the map, which by the end of the year is a kind of visual chronicle of the story. The Quiet Year is available at DriveThruRPG.

Thoughts about Big Bad Con 2018

It was a very different experience for me this year. I had a great time last year, but I think I was still finding my way around. This year I was able to relax a bit and really opt into the experience. The concept of opting in came up on the drive up from Fresno, when I was talking about my apprehension of participating in a LARP for the first time. My friend Patrick has done a really nice job of scaffolding some of us into games we probably would not have played otherwise. On a side note, I learned that Patrick is also known as Disco by the Indie RPG peeps. How cool is Disco as a nickname? Anyway, Patrick has taught me to enter into new games with an open mind, without bringing any baggage or expectations. I think that attitude allowed me to bring some vibrant colors to the landscape of my weekend experience. I’m not sure if that will make sense to anyone. Let’s just say I allowed myself to have a good time.

I feel old sometimes

I mentioned earlier that my old eyes weren’t able to see very well. It was on Saturday that I started noticing that I was usually the oldest person in an event. It’s not like anyone made me feel old or out of place. Big Bad is really the most inclusive and considerate convention your could ever attend. It’s just that I was aware of it and it made me feel a little out of place. Getting older has been on my mind lately.

Friends make all the difference

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was when I got to meet up with my friends for lunch or dinner. It was so great to sit down and talk about the games we had played. I love those discussions and I think any experience benefits from taking some time for reflection. I already mentioned Patrick, but I should also mention Scott, Josh and Will. Having them there really made the weekend extra special, like the highest level of special. My only complaint about the weekend was that I wanted more time to hang out with people.

This post has gone way over the word limit I set for myself, so thank you to everyone who made it to the end. I can’t wait to attend Big Bad Con next year. Luckily, my favorite local con, Bookwyrm is just around the corner.

Play games. Opt in. Be nice to each other.


2 thoughts on “Big Bad Con 2018”

  1. I remember seeing an older guy show up for some of our Netrunner events and thinking “What a cool old guy. Grandkids and retired, but still wasting his free time looking up stats and decklists. I want to be that guy. I want to still be loving gaming and loving myself enough to be a proud nerd at that age.” You want to be that guy too! You’re not out of place, you’re in the atypical right place.

    Great post. ?

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