Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gaming Con Review: TempleCon

Spent the weekend at TempleCon in Warwick, RI and it was a blast!

Wargame Room at TempleCon 2013
We drove up from NJ on Thursday night to avoid trying to get around NYC traffic Friday morning. While the convention ‘officially’ started at 12pm on Friday, there were already people gaming Thursday night when we arrived at the hotel (around midnight). The main wargame room was already set up with over 100 terrain covered tables and a good number of battles were already taking place.

TempleCon is primarily a SteamPunk and Wargame convention but there were also plenty of other things to do. Multiple companies were running demo games including Cool Mini of Not, On the Lamb Games, Greenbrier Games, and Steve Jackson games. There were numerous Steampunk events/vendors, a retro video game room (including both consoles and actual arcade games in their original cabinets), a boardgame room, panels, live entertainment (including Shadowcasted movies/tv shows ala Rocky Horror) and RPGs (actual strong ROLE playing systems with very little D&D/Pathfinder on the schedule).

Brushfire by On the Lamb Games at TempleCon
Friday afternoon I played Dungeon Petz and then Friday evening after dinner we decided to play a team game of Brushfire (by On the Lamb Games) [helpful hint, at least one of us should have read the rules before trying to play a new game!]. [I’ll post a gaming table report of this later.]

On Saturday, there were no other players for the Cthuhlu game I signed up for. Saturday afternoon I demo’ed Zpocolypse (Greenbrier Games) and played some old retro video games (Galaga, SpyHunter and 1943) in their original arcade cabinets (one of the ballrooms was quite convincingly turned into a small arcade complete with blaring 80s/90s music. [I did quite well at Galaga and 1943, though I don’t recall being that terrible at SpyHunter!]

Sunday morning, again there were no players for the 10am Cthulhu game (and this time no GM either) but the other event in the room was a boardgame playtest that I jumped into. (We played twice and discussed rules / changes for two hours.) Since it is still in playtest, I won’t say more about it, but it was fun.

Retro Video Game Arcade Room at TempleCon
At noon, a Cthulhu GM was setting up in the room (along with the weekend’s only D&D game) but no one showed up for the Cthulhu game (else I would have jumped in). It turns out this GM is one of the organizers of NecronomiCon Providence and we spent over an hour discussing their upcoming convention (I’ll post more about this later, but I do recommend checking this con out!). I finished out the day with some open gaming in the boardgame room and demo areas (including Zombie Dice, Cthulhu Dice, Zombicide and Tsuro) before heading home.

[Quick note on Zpocolypse vs. Zombicide. The Zombicide demo was actually a bit too short to get more than a taste of the game but I think I like it better than Zpocolypse. Zpocolypse is a cooperative game but it is won based on a scoring track. The game is stacked against the players and by day four you should all be dead (we only played one day which took maybe an hour). I think the fact that as a team we can’t beat the game takes away from any victory I might have by scoring the most points. Since the scenarios in Zombicide are winnable even without a clear cut winner among the players I still think it the better game. Then again, I’m still reaching for Pittsburgh ’68 as my go-to Zombie game!]

While I had a great time, there were two minor issues at the con. The first issue does indeed have a very big upside so I'm hesitant to bring it up. Most of the RPGs at the con were in individual suites/conference rooms scattered throughout the hotel. While it is awesome to have a nice quite room to game in, the downside is, if there weren't enough players for a game, being spread out made checking other games for open seats fairly daunting. Perhaps a central RPG marshaling area would help with this in the future (because having a private room is way too good to pass up).

The second minor issue was that this year they decided to skip printing programs and go paperless. There were QRcodes linking to their website posted around the con, but their website took too long to load as it had lists of events with their full descriptions (that didn’t display until the entire page loaded). Not to mention, the wireless in the hotel got bogged down at times and there was no 3G coverage in the basement (where a number of RPGs were) so it wasn't always easy to get the information needed to find a game. The site also had no central overall grid/summary nor did it have a map of the con.

It would have been helpful to have a program (even if only as a .pdf so I could download it to my phone once and others could print their own copy if they lacked a smart phone) rather than a web page. By Saturday there was at least a list at registration and a map from 2012 appeared late on Saturday but even these were hard to read and required knowing that they were there. Hopefully they’ll at least provide a grid and map next year.

All-in-all though, it was a great weekend with lots of great gaming!

Be sure to check our game convention list to find other great local cons!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed your first year at Templecon. As usual I'm already looking forward to next year!