Dark Well playtest at Forge Midwest 2019

Forge Midwest 2019 Recap

Forge Midwest 2019 was fantastic thanks to the organizers and participants. I even brought a couple new people from Eastern Iowa to the convention.

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Friday

  1. Masks: A New Generation RPG – Masks: A New Generation is a superhero roleplaying game in which a team of young heroes fights villains, saves lives, and tries to figure out who they are. And kick some butt along the way. After all, what’s the point of being a hero if you can’t fight for the things you believe in?
    • I finally got to play this game and I was not disappointed. Thank you Jim for GMing and to all of the wonderful other players. I’ve run Masks once before at a Corridor Games on Demand: Playing in Public event and enjoyed it, but didn’t have a full grasp of it at the time. I can’t wait to play more and then run the game for a mini-campaign.
  2. Vigilance RPG playtest – Vigilance is a late bronze age post-apocalyptic fantasy roleplaying game about justice in an unjust world.
    • I ran a playtest of Vigilance with three players, one of whom had played in a prior iteration a few years ago at Gamicon. She brought her friend with her into this game. For much of Friday, I wasn’t feeling well and was low energy so I know that I didn’t run the game at its full potential. Also, I made the mistake of changing a mechanics rule a third of the way through the game and it wasn’t working for me. I should have stopped the game and changed it back but didn’t have the mental capacity at the time. The story and much of the flow of the game mostly worked. Enough to get us to a cathartic ending considering all of the things in flux. I was surprised that we were able to finish up within three hours, including the debrief and I was glad as I needed sleep. In the debrief we talked about the rule change with chaos dice and an alternate to it that may prove to be a good design compromise. I will need to test it out soon.

Saturday

  1. 5-Minute Dungeon card game – In this game, you’ll join forces with your friends to fight your way through five dungeons filled with deadly obstacles and dangerous monsters! You’ll choose to play as one of ten heroes, each with their own special cards and abilities. In 5-Minute Dungeon, there are no turns. Everybody will be racing against the clock to slap down symbols that match the current card from the Dungeon. You’re all in it together—either your party defeats the dungeon and moves onto the next one, or you all perish!
    • Willow and Tim introduced this to Robyn, Bryan, and myself and it was fun. We made it all the way to the final boss: The Game Master and lost! It was amusing to play. I would not buy, but would play again if need be.
  2. Clash of Steel card game – A competitive, low-luck, 15-minute card game for two players, focusing on the tactical nuance of a medieval duel.
    • Eli convinced me to give this game a try and it was okay for a strategy duel game, but not my thing. I would not buy, but I would play again if need be.
  3. FFG Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG – Participate in grim and gritty adventures in places where morality is gray and nothing is certain. Ply your trade as a smuggler in the Outer Rim, collect bounties on the scum that live in the shadows of Coruscant, or try to establish a new colony on a planet beneath the Empire’s notice… The Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Core Rulebook provides everything you and your friends need to experience life in the shadiest and most remote locations in the Star Wars universe.
    • Jason ran a fun game with all of the players as bounty hunters. Fights were had. Stuff was blown up. Quips were made. Innocents were stunned. And we got our targets for a big payout.
  4. Dark Well RPG playtest – Dark Well is a science-fantasy thriller roleplaying game about exploring the unknown.
    • I pitched this game, including the word “conspiracy” somewhere in there and that got a lot of players interested, so much so that I had to turn some away. The playtest was great, in part due to the fact that I had more energy and all five players were engaged from start to finish. I used the conspiracy pool of headlines for the first time and that helped us drive things home through the scenes. The tokens from the Well worked surprisingly well–people outside of the game stopped by to see what we were doing and took pictures. This was perhaps the strangest playtest of Dark Well in that it really fed itself again and again in a creepy way. Less horror than usual. Closer to Unknown Armies perhaps?!? We played late. It took us four hours to get to the final dramatic scene, paused for the 11PM game pitches and then finished the game with epilogues and a feedback session, for which I am very grateful. It was a wonderful experience and I am looking forward to reviewing the notes ahead of the next playtest.

Sunday

  1. Feng Shui 2 RPG – In Feng Shui, the action movie roleplaying game, you play heroes of the Chi War, protecting humankind’s destiny in a titanic struggle across space and time. Victory depends on your gravity-defying kung fu powers, your ancient magics, your post-apocalyptic survival instincts, or your plain old-fashioned trigger finger. You might be a maverick cop, a cranky kung fu fighting master, an everyday hero, a masked avenger, or an enigmatic drifter from a post-apocalyptic future. In battle you are forced to face off against a legion of fearsome foes. This conflict rages between four key time periods, confronting sinister eunuch magicians of the past, imperialist oppressors of the colonial era, secretive conspirators of the present, and cyborg rebels–turned-tyrants whose excesses collapsed the future. This is Feng Shui 2!
    • I can cross off Feng Shui from my bucket list of game thanks to the one-shot game. Jim was a great GM and the other players were fun, but the fighting took forever and the story was too unimportant for my style. While I enjoyed our play of it, I don’t think that I need to play this game again and have no interest in owning or running the game. Robyn embraced the horrible dice rolls that she had for her character and the mantle of comedy relief, taking out the cyber-gorilla with an epic head-butt. Lots of laughs.