Demo Monkey Rides Again!

I may have mentioned this, but I am once again the Edmonton Demo Monkey for Cheapass Games. I’ve been a huge fan of their games since the company got going a few decades ago, so much so that I was one of their original Demo Monkeys in that program’s first incarnation. The company restructured and their demo program went bye-bye for a while, but it is back and so am I! If you aren’t familiar with the history of Cheapass Games, I highly recommend heading to their site and looking over their history and wares.

In a nutshell, Cheapass Games started as a company which sold you really cool games, minus all the fiddly bits like pawns and dice. The assumption was, as a gamer, you would have pawns, dice, tokens, money, and so on that you could grab from other games you had. So why sell those to you again? Instead, Cheapass Games sold you a clever game and maybe a cardstock board to go with it. You provided the rest and hey presto! You’re playing a sweet little game for a fraction of the cost of other board games.

Flash forward to the last few years, and they’ve re-worked a few things. They still have great games, but they’ve fleshed out and added pieces to a number of their original cheapass offerings (those they haven’t are available for the low, low price of free on their website). Kickstarter has been a boon for their business model, meaning they can often realize clever niche games and deliver them affordably. For example, it is unlikely that Tak, a fictional game from Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle would have seen the light of day if not for the combination of Cheapass Games and Kickstarter.

All of this is to say two things:

  1. I’m running a demo of Kill Doctor Lucky at Apt to Game (5722 104 Street) tonight at 6pm, and I have few little things to give away to all participants, so you should stop by if you want to learn how to play it, or see the 19.5 Anniversary Edition of the game. There is also Oracle of Delphi to learn and play, so plenty to keep your little gaming fingers busy.
  2. I’ll be reaching out when my schedule permits, but if you know or run a game store or cafe and you’d like me to come show off some Cheapass Games for an evening, please contact me. I’m also available to teach the games to groups, so if you’ve got some event going on, or just a bunch of friends who want to learn some new games, drop me a line and we’ll see what we ca work out. I don’t charge for demoing, though I won’t say no if you buy me a cold cola for my time.
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Out and About: Local Cons

Fall is coming, and that means the local gaming convention season is upon us once again. While GOBFest is the delightful outlier, running in May, the other gaming cons have clustered in September and October. This means you can pack in a bunch of gaming before the temperatures drop, and enjoy your gaming convention purchases over the long winter months.

I’ll be running games at all three of the events coming up, to a greater or lesser degree. So if you’d like to throw some dice with me (or at me), these are the places to find me.

KefCon (September 1-2, Queen Mary Park Community League)

The first of the fall cons, KefCon, is back for a third time to bring you board gaming goodness. Packed with games new and old, and a slew of local game designers besides, KefCon also features a game auction on the Saturday night. So if you’re looking for a game on the cheap, or want to clear some space on your shelf, this is the time to do it! My exact schedule is a little up-in-the-air for the weekend, though I’m pretty sure I’ll be running a table of Shadows Over Camelot at some point.

Game-a-Lot (September 29-October 1, St. Albert Kinsman Banquet Centre)

Seventeen years and counting since Game-a-Lot first started in a corner of Mission: Fun & Games. Now it’s all grown up and filling up the St. Albert Kinsman Banquet Centre. Not much needs to be said about the event; it’s three days packed to the gills with games! If it isn’t being run, it’s probably not worth running, and if it is, you can likely snag it from the gaming library and find some players. Plus there are door prizes, plus many of the sessions have freebies for the players, and the weekend also helps support a great local charity, the St. Albert Family Resource Centre. Fun for a good cause, hard not to love that.

I’ll be there mostly on the Saturday, running a plethora of games as Edmonton’s one and only Cheapass Games Demo Monkey . And if you miss me on Saturday, Red Deer’s Demo Monkey and good friend, Dave Chapman, will be up Sunday to demo games. It’s going to be a good time regardless, so we’ll see you there!

IntrigueCon (October 13-15, Queen Alexandra Community League Hall)

Edmonton’s only convention dedicated to role-playing games, IntrigueCon is an excellent opportunity for local gamers to try on a new RPG, or roll some dice on an old favourite they haven’t played in a while. Or maybe you’ve wanted to GM that sweet new game you found, but you aren’t ready for a full campaign. GMing a one-off session is a perfect way to take it out for a spin and have fun, without a huge commitment. And it all takes place a few blocks from a 7-11; it doesn’t get much more gamer friendly than that.

I’m currently slated to run two games (which should be on the site soon), both original scenarios of my own devising. The first is for Kobolds Ate My Baby!, and features the kobolds trying their hand at the adventuring life. The second centers around a company retreat in a way that only The Laundry RPG could manage. I may add a third to the schedule, or I might keep the rest of my time for playing, we’ll see.

Hope to see some of you at the upcoming cons!

Free RPG Day 2017

It’s that time again! June 17 is Free RPG Day, or “Tabletop Christmas” as I call it, a special day when gaming companies provide free role-playing product to encourage folks to try new RPGs. Game stores who take part will have the items available, and the better ones also run RPG events during the day.

Which brings me to where I’ll be on FRPGD. Swing by Apt to Game on Saturday and you can join me on Table 2 for a rousing round or two of Kobolds Ate My Baby!If you aren’t familiar with the game, you play those hungry little sociopaths and adventurer doorstops called kobolds, ordered by King Torg (ALL HAIL KING TORG!) to bring delicious food back to the caves. Babies are the preferred delicacy, but kobolds are also delicious so you’d better find something to put in the pot!

If kobolds aren’t your bag, you can have a seat at Table 1 and join Mark as he introduces you to FFG’s Star Wars Roleplaying Game with an Age of Rebellion adventure. Join the Rebel alliance for a few hours and try your luck against Stormtroopers and other nasties of the Star Wars universe.

Kobolds or Rebels, the choice is yours. Games begin at 1pm, and I believe the FRPGD material will be available just before that. You can book a seat at a table by stopping by the Facebook event page and leaving a comment. Otherwise, the games are first come, first served. I hope to see you there!

ACG MiniCon at The Adventurer’s Guild

UPDATE: Due to issues beyond the organizers’ control, the event has been postponed. Stay tuned, and I’ll update here when I have new information.

As many of you know I used to be the Venture Captain for Pathfinder Organized Play here in Edmonton. After three years I stepped down, leaving PFS in the capable hands of Ross Tait. While I don’t get out to PFS games as often as I like, I still keep a hand in; I’ll be off to PaizoCon and GenCon to help out at PFS HQ. All this is to say, I’m still a fan of PFS and I enjoy helping promote it. Ross asked me to pass along a really cool event, so here is Ross to tell you all about it.

*     *     *

Hello everyone!

I am excited to announce for the first time ever in Edmonton history, the very first Pathfinder Adventure Card Game Mini Con!!

On Saturday, April 22nd at the Adventurers Guild (15211 Stony Plain Road), ACG Venture-Lieutenants Jason Switner , Aaron Steele, and myself will showcase the Adventure Card Game and help other players learn how to play this fun game. Games start at 11am and run all day. It’s drop in and we can accommodate groups who want to play together or singles who just want to show up and play. Each session is only 1 and half hours long so they easily can be fit into a Saturday when you have time. If you want to play again, you can! If you can only make one session, that’s fine too! We will be featuring the Rise of the Runelords, Mummy’s Mask, Skull and Shackles, and Wrath of the Righteous box sets!

Best part….it’s free to play!!

For PFS players who want to give it a shot, there will be a draw at the end of the day where player’s can earn a racial boon for their characters that was available at previous cons. This includes the grippli, the vishkanya, and the aasimar. Player’s choice.

So come on out and give it a try. We look forward to seeing you there!!

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There you have it. I can say I’ve played the Adventure Card Game a bunch, and it is a tonne of fun. If you’ve never played before this is your chance to check it out and start building up a character. And maybe I’ll see you there!

Local Nerdery to Keep You Warm

cropped-cropped-brent-chibi-96.jpgYes, I know. Winter has come to the Prairies and your first instinct is to hibernate until it goes away. Mine too. But I’ve also learned that getting out and gaming can help speed the winter away. So here are a few local (Edmonton) gaming events happening in the next while, to help drive away the winter blues.

Gamemaster Support Group (Monday, February 13, 6-9pm) – Hub of nerdery and mighty fine comic shop and used-book store, Variant Edition, has begun hosting a Gamemaster Support Group, designed to give local GMs a chance to meet, discuss issues around GMing, and swap ideas and stories. I was very sad to miss the first of these, but I’m planning to make it to the next with proverbial bells on. The focus for this one seems to be GM materials, and they’ve asked the GMs attending to bring along examples of materials they use at the table. So I’m especially excited to see all the cool things my fellow GMs use at the table. Not only is a cool learning experience, but sometimes you need to vent and only your fellow GMs will understand.

Bitz Swap (Saturday, February 18, 9am-5pm) – Alongside the Colder than Carbonite 2017 Infinity Tournament, Bitter North Gaming will host a Bitz Swap. For those not in the know, amongst miniature gamers a bitz swap is a chance to buy and trade miniatures and miniature bitz, for modding your miniatures, building terrain, or just picking up an army you’ve had your eye on super cheap. If you’ve been interested in starting in the hobby, this is also sometimes a good opportunity to get into the hobby less expensively. And if nothing else it’s a chance to ogle some cool miniatures and talk to other tabletop wargamers.

KEFCon – The Gauntlet (February 25-26) – Hosted by The Gamer’s Lodge, The Gauntlet is a 17-hour gaming marathon fundraiser in support of KEFCon. Tickets are $20, and you get a $5 food voucher from The Gamer’s Lodge as part of that. The gaming goodness starts at 9am and runs to 2am, with multiple tables of gaming running the entire time. Plus there’ll be folks on hand to teach the games (I should know, I’m one of them), so it’s a perfect time to try out a game you’ve never played before. You can register for the games ahead of time through Warhorn. Beer, food, and gaming, what more could you want?

So get on out there and while away the winter with some gaming. Hopefully I’ll see you there!

 

Get in the Con Game!

cropped-brent-chibi-96.jpgGen Con started today, with tens of thousands of gaming nerds gathering in Indianapolis to celebrate the hobby they love. Sadly, I am not among them this year, though I have made the pilgrimage to gamer mardi gras in the past. If you have the means, I highly recommend attending Gen Con at least once in your lifetime. The experience is like nothing else.

But even if you can’t get to Gen Con this year, there are likely plenty of smaller gaming conventions just waiting to entertain you. There are regional and local cons held all over the world, run by nerds who love the tabletop hobby as much as you. Sites like Upcoming Cons and Game Convention Central can help you track down nearby cons. Most local cons will advertise where the gamers hang out, so check out your FLGS or game café for posters and/or flyers.

I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and we have a number of local cons which feature gaming. It wasn’t always the case, of course, but with the general rise in popularity of tabletop gaming came an interest in sharing that experience with others. Even five years ago you could struggle to find something year-round. Now, I’m actually staggered a bit by choice. For those living in Edmonton (and the rest of Alberta, if you want to make the trip) here are some upcoming gaming cons happening in our fair city.

Edmonton Expo (Sept 23-25, 2016) – While not a gaming con per se, the Expo is a big convention and has a little bit of everything. In the last couple of years the tabletop gaming area has expanded and improved, and the Expo has introduced hundreds of new people to the hobby, as well as showing off new games to the veteran players. Full disclosure, I’m the Tabletop Gaming Team Lead for the event, so I might be a touch biased. But we try to make the tabletop gaming area as welcoming as possible, with an eye toward getting folks around a table and playing something. Because playing the game is the fun part, right? This year I’m excited because we have a number of local game designers and companies demoing their stuff, and folks can come try out games which are fresh on the market.

FallCon (September 30- October 2, 2016) – Not a local con, but definitely close by when compared to other cons you could travel to, FallCon happens every year in Calgary, AB. Currently in its 29th year of operation, it is currently the province’s longest-running gaming convention. And it shows; every year FallCon is a well-run weekend of fun for boardgame enthusiasts. Also a great con to help get an idea of what it’s like to travel to a con, if you haven’t done that yet. Think of it as the start of your training regimen for attending Gen Con.

IntrigueCon (October 14-16, 2016) – Locally run by Hazard Gaming, IntrigueCon is an annual role-playing convention. Its attendance is growing nicely, with a wide variety of both new and classic RPGs for local gamers to try out. The staff and volunteers are great, and the times I’ve managed to get out and run a game have been a blast. Edmonton gamers, if you’re looking for a great con experience while still being able to sleep in your own bed at night, this con’s for you.

Gamealot (October 21-23, 2016) Yes, that’s right, you can get in two back-to-back gaming conventions in the space of a week. One of the Edmonton area’s longest running gaming conventions, Gamealot used to be run out of Mission: Fun and Games’ store every September. This year they finally acknowledged that the store could no longer contain all the gaming goodness, and have moved to a much larger off-site venue. But in true Gamealot fashion, the weekend is shaping up to be just as packed with boardgames and card games as ever. And this is definitely the place to go if you want a boardgame palette cleanser after your IntrigueCon RPG experience. You’ll likely find me there running some Cheapass Games and the like.

KefCon (November 19-20, 2016) – An acronym for “keeping evenings fun”, KefCon is brand new boardgaming convention just entering its second year. No dates are announced for the next one, but they seem to be trying to run a single-day event every six months (the last was in mid-July). I haven’t been myself yet, but friends have told me it’s a good time, not unlike spending a day at your friend’s house playing boardgames. You know, if your friend’s house was the size of a local community hall. Update: They’ve picked some dates in November, and have expanded to two days. Tickets are on-sale now!

GOBFest (April 8 & 9, 2017) – Organized by local group POGOB (Players of Games on Boards), GOBFest is a wonderful two-day boardgaming event. Went to KefCon and you’re ready for something a little heftier? This is for you. Not only do they feature scheduled games and tournaments, but they have an impressively large library of games you can borrow for open gaming. Not to mention a number of “life-sized” games, for when you want to be the meeple. I’ve run games and played games at GOBFest, and had a blast doing both.

Okay, that’s my list of Edmonton gaming cons available for your enjoyment and titillation. Did I miss one? Did I get something wrong? Drop a note in the comments. And for everyone not living in my city, get out there and see what’s going on near you. You’ll be surprised at what you might find with just a bit of digging.cropped-brent-chibi-96.jpg