Kublacon 2010

It’s been a few weeks since I got back from Kublacon, and I thought it was time to talk about my experience. This was my second trip to Kublacon, and I had much more time to enjoy myself. If you want to read about last year, here is a link to Kublacon 2009. The con takes place on Memorial Day weekend and I got there in the early afternoon Friday and didn’t leave until late afternoon Monday. I had a wonderful and relaxing weekend, and there were far too many great experiences to mention all of them, but I wanted to share some of the highlights.

I actually played some RPGs! I’ve been talking about this for a long time, but I finally got to play both Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition and Savage Worlds. I had been very hesitant to do so last year at Kublacon, because I just didn’t want to sit down with total strangers, who could end up being total dweebs, and be stuck there for six hours.

I got up early Saturday morning and got in on the first Kublacon dungeon crawl of the day. The dungeon crawl had a four hour time limit, so I figured I was pretty safe. Actually, I got up early every day. Gamers are notorious for sleeping in, and it was wonderful to get up and have breakfast alone in the beautiful atrium at the Hyatt in Burlingame. There were a few of us early morning folk, and we would silently nod in understanding of our elite club. I especially appreciated the recommendation for the Eggs Benedict made by my buddy I referred to as “Old Breakfast Guy.”

Anyway, after breakfast, I played Dungeons and Dragons for four hours. I lucked out, and of the five other people involved, there was only one dweeb. Everyone else, including the Dungeon Master was great, and I had a wonderful time. We played on this gorgeous 3D terrain set-up. All of the pieces were from Dwarven Forge. It was very impressive and took up two large tables. I’m sure it would be well over $1000 to purchase this kind of set up. It was crazy cool. If anyone wants to order some of this stuff for me as a gift, you have my permission. I hope to run my own game soon, real soon, even without the cool 3D terrain.

I also signed up for a Savage Worlds session. I lucked out and inadvertently got in on a game run by Scott Alan Woodard, who ended up being a friend of a friend, although I didn’t know that until afterward. He was a fantastic storyteller and this was an even better RPG experience than the D&D dungeon crawl. In terms of actual roleplaying, the Savage Worlds system beats 4th edition Dungeons and Dragons hands down. The system is simple and flows easily from encounter to encounter without getting bogged down with minutiae, and the basic rule set is available for under $10 as opposed to the $70 that you have to drop for the Dungeons and Dragon rules.

I spent time with some great people! Not only did I travel with some good friends from here in the Central Valley, I also got to play some games with friends from the Bay Area and beyond. I met a lot of new folks as well. Gamers, for the most part, are a very social group, which makes sense, right? On the last day of the con, I played The Adventurers with two good friends and some dude that walked up and thought we were doing a demo, and talked to the owner of the Game Kastle who was watching us play. (He’s a nice guy. Go buy stuff at his store.) That’s how it was the entire weekend. I met nice people. I played great games. The Kublacon staff was very helpful as well. They really did a nice job this year.

I found some great deals! I did well at the Friday night and Monday morning flea markets. You have never seen such a mass of geekmanity fighting for bargains. There were no deals to be found in the dealer’s room, ironically, but that’s not a big surprise. I did pick up a couple of games at the auction. That was amazingly fun. I’m not sure why, but I sat there for a couple of hours and just enjoyed bidding and watching. I only won two games, but I got them for cheap! I’ll tell you what was not cheap: food. I was falling asleep at a table Sunday evening while we were playing Forbidden Island and went off in search of coffee or an energy drink. I love this hotel, but geez, give me a break on the prices for food and drink. It’s worse than an amusement park.

My game won the design contest! Yes, after all that moaning about my prototype, my game was chosen as a co-winner of this year’s Kublacon Game Design Contest. I was very surprised, because all of the games looked really good. The game that was also chosen was really impressive. I don’t know what’s going to happen with my game now, but winning the contest was a wonderful way to end the weekend. Will it be picked up for publication? Who knows? I had at least one publisher that showed some interest. Now I need to make some more copies and start knocking on doors, I guess. Special thanks need to go out to Julie Haehn, the designer of Living Labyrinth, for all of her support.

I’m just rambling now, so that’s it. Happy gaming!

4 thoughts on “Kublacon 2010”

  1. I’m glad you had such a great time there, Jeff. Personally, I think that was the most game-related fun I’ve ever had. Ever. I really hope you get to make it again next year, and become the first repeat-winner of the game design contest.

  2. Man, I wish I could have been there. Maybe next year.

    As for winning that contest, congratulations! I’m not surprised in the slightest; I thought your game was excellent.

  3. @John: It was a really great weekend, wasn’t it? I really appreciated you being there at the game design thing. Maybe by next year I will have my pirate rummy game done.

    @Joe: I wish you had been there too. I have to say that the game I submitted was much better than the version that you played. I took your concerns regarding movement and went back to an earlier version movement concept which led to a new idea about temple scoring. It finally seemed to all come together right before I sent it in to the contest.

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