GoPlayNW 2015 - Sunday and Monday

Breakfast the second

Another breakfast. Can't remember much as this was three nights of 5-hour sleep in a row, so it was starting to drag on me. 

First game: Carcass

Straight into it... ran into Jim again in the morning, and Jerry and I got co-opted (willingly, of course!) into one of his games. His friends Ian and Sarah joined us, and the five of us launched into The Carcass. In Jim's own words: 

The Carcass is a roleplaying story game where players take on the roles of the last members of a dying post-apocolyptic tribe. The leader is dead and the members are now on their last legs through the broken wasteland.

I played it once before, when Jim was down for a Strategicon in L.A., but it was a relatively large table (7 of us?), and I remember enjoying his other games more (at that time it was George's Children and Dying Memories, two very excellent games).

But I gotta say this was a great little ride. I felt like my character was more of a supporting roll, more so than a center-stage character, but I really just loved the whole table dynamic and the resulting story. Despite the relatively bleak topic, and immediate rivalries, I just remember being extremely entertained and laughing considerably. And of course it's always fun being the direct antagonist to Jim's character.

The story itself was interesting, with our prior leader dying in child birth. We were tree dwellers, known as The Hunters, living in a symbiotic relationship with The Growers. What do we hunt? Well that brings up the other tribe: The Breeders. As giving birth to healthy children is a scarcity, we hunt men from that tribe to use for breeding purposes. A fun exploration, with very memorable characters (including the sarcastic Leaf, and burly Smabb).

Edit: In the prior post I mentioned drama points when describing Ship Lanterns. As Jim has pointed out, my memory is shoddy, as this was really a mechanic of Carcass. So here it is: I really liked how drama points were spent not into the middle bank, but instead paid from one player to another (to their "foil", the player who later narrates how things work out for them). It definitely makes you consider how you want to spend those narrative points; advantages and disadvantages. And it bit me in the ass. At the very end of the game I was about to grab control, when Smabb (Jerry) bought out  a disadvantage, and passed a handful of tokens over to my rival, Mercury (Jim). And I ended up murdered to preserve their agenda. Fun!

A game of Carcass

A game of Carcass

Second game: Numenera

After a quick lunch, we returned, and Jerry ran some of us through a Numenera one-shot, including Soren (from my Friday night game) and another random traveler. Numenera is a Monte Cook designed game, and has a combination Scifi + Fantasy setting. The "numenera" is effectively "technology", although technology that is beyond our comprehension, bordering on the fantastic and magic.

I was curious about the system since I had heard conflicting things: both positive and negative. After discussing with Jerry a concept for a game I want to run for some friends, he mentioned that Numenera might be a good system for it. That piqued my interest further, and so here we were.

We had a relatively short slot (3 hours), so used the straight pre-gens that came with a pre-made adventure. The adventure, despite being pre-canned, was actually interesting and had a good twist. I played a nano, which is effectively a wizard / engineer who works well with the numenera (i.e. technology), and I specifically chose that class so I could get a feel for (what I think is) the essence of the setting. 

Although Jerry claims the mechanics of the game are relatively simple (and I can't argue too strongly against that, compared to games like D&D and GURPs), it's definitely not as simple as something like Apocalypse World. I do love how the character sheet evoked some weird-o sci-fi feel.

Jerry ran a fun game, and gave us a really good taste for the setting and system. 

Third game: Forget-Me-Not

Another Jim Pinto game. It was Jim, Jerry, Soren, and myself.

I have to admit, I was not excited going into this game, really due to my own shortcoming: I have never watched Twin Peaks. "What!?" you exclaim? Or maybe, "So what?" you ask.

OK, so what is Forget-Me-Not? It's one of Jim's original GM Zero games; a bit of a narrative card game. The background (perhaps not too dissimilar to one of your favorite David Lynch creations):

“In the remote town of Northern Falls, Rebecca Ashwick has been murdered. But no one seems too keen on solving the murder, not even the residents…”

And a little more:

Set in the fictional town of Northern Falls, [it] allows players to take on the roles of various key figures in town — the Sheriff, the Town Drunk, the Heiress, the Reporter, etc. — but no one owns any of the characters. Each scene is played different from the last, as we explore the confusing and weird behaviors of the people unaffected by Rebecca Ashwick’s death.

This game was absolutely fantastic. My initial concern was that I wouldn't be able to bring much to the table without that background. But the fact is, almost anyone can do justice to the story, because the game guides you in crafty ways. I won't go on about details, but I will say that I probably laughed hardest all weekend at this game, and that says a lot.


The con was winding down. And that's when a random passerby started chatting with us, interested in gaming. Before I knew it, we were playing another game of Splendor. I was pretty exhausted, so didn't really have patience to teach the game, but kudos to me for being patient and introducing someone into the hobby. Seriously, it was hard. 

Con Wrap-Up and Drinking

From here there were a few groups that were getting together to share in chit-chatting. Jim took off, and Jerry, Soren and I ran into Andy (from Friday's game, and of GeekGirlCon fame), Chris (also from Friday's game), Max, and various others.  We ended up at 8 oz burger., and despite the wait, that was some excellent grub. Beer selection superb, and lots of great "what was your favorite game?" and "what did you play?" type conversations, which would only interest the folks there.  Extra props to Chris, from which an unreal milkshake came about, and to the staff, that allowed us to stay until way past when we should've been out the door. 

But alas, it was time to go. The con was over. Or was it?


Actually, yes. The con was over. However Monday was just a super relaxing day, involving numerous walks and conversations with Jerry, and visits to Stumptown, game stores, and more. Although we had to check-out at the dorm around noon, they allowed everyone to store their stuff behind the front desk, just like a hotel. We eventually found ourselves in the dorm lobby, waiting for Jerry's final moments before he had to go to his train.

That's when we ran into Morgan Ellis (of Fate fame, who I had played with once down at a Strategicon, and seen there many times) and Stras. Jerry left, and then Morgan, and then Stras and I just had one of those amazing conversations that lasted about 4 hours. So many conversations, such an interesting dude, and again just inspiring as far as the folks behind the scenes in this wonderful RPG world we live in. I got to hear amazing stories of Andy's Mad Max: Fury Road Dread game from Saturday, and  Logan Bonner's Refuge in Audacity, both of which I am sorry I missed.

Just goes to show, you think you've had a great convention, and played so many great games, and yet there is always more excellent creativity and fun to be had. Inspiring.

The rest of my trip involved visiting a long-time friend in Seattle and hanging out with her family, and even a trip to Ray Gun Games. But it all had to come to an end, and eventually I had to head back to San Jose. 

Thank you GoPlayNW. You will always have a special place in my heart, and I will strive to make it again, one day.

Raygun games, with my friend Ryan and his daughter Ella in the background.

Raygun games, with my friend Ryan and his daughter Ella in the background.