Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Happy Dance - I'm Gaming Again

It's been a long drought for me since my last game, as far back as October of 2019. Back then, my long-time gaming friends from high school got together at a small Comic Expo near our hometown. We call our rare get-togethers Hawacon. So this would be Hawacon 2019.

I expected to run a Savage Worlds Bureau 13 - Stalking the Night Fantastic game. The beloved 80s RPG was due for a Kickstarter to be fulfilled as a SWADE Setting by game time. Sadly, that fell apart so I created my own game setting utilizing Bureau 13 as inspiration. 

The Comic Expo was within Brigandry Games, an ex-Walmart turned Friendly Local Game Store.  The convention space was large and we were the only tabletop gamers present. The game became yet another con destination as attendees strolled by and watched for a while. It was a little odd and a lot loud but we had a great game. 

We planned to get together again a few months later to finish the scenario but then Covid hit - and kept hitting. So we gave up. I would have switched to an online-only game but we have several Luddites who refuse to join a remote game and a few others that don't have the network bandwidth. There are 12 of us so just scheduling a Hawacon is like wrestling squid.

Once the vaccines rolled out we decided it would be safe to try again but there were a number of us who were still uncomfortable with a face-to-face meeting. MapTool and Google Meet came to our rescue. Hawacon 2021 was on!

Our venue was the Texan Theater, which is an upscale venue in our hometown. It has wifi, big-screen TVs, and catered meals. Overall the best con experience of our gaming careers. Our host is a long-time friend to many of our group and we're very lucky they let us use such a nice place.

We picked up after a year and a half like we'd never stopped gaming in the first place. Three of our members could be present so we cranked up MapTool for visuals and used Google Meet for video conferencing. There were a few technical glitches but overall the system worked. 

For the next game, we'll improve the camera system. Last time we depended on a laptop and a cell phone. We'll use a webcam suspended over the table with a mic so the remote folks can hear and a cell phone mounted behind the GM in addition to the original laptop so remote players can see the in-person group from both ends of the table.   

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