Concrete Cow 20

S

Sue Savage

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#1
With the possibility of future game conventions being cancelled this year, I was determined to make the most of Concrete Cow while I had the chance.

Game 1

With a golden ticket for offering a game in the afternoon slot, I got to go first in the morning sign-up. I picked Graham Sargeant's Dead of Night game, Normal for Norfolk, having missed out on playing it on a previous occasion.

Dead of Night is a game based on B-movies and slasher horror. Characters have stats in Dead of Night, but the really important (for which read fun) thing on the character sheet is your bad habit, which enables you to get survival points back.

Accordingly we made a group of disfunctional students and sent them off on holiday together. For my character's bad habit I chose a tendency to act without thinking. I thought it would both be entertaining and a way to ensure that I didn't spend too much time thinking about what to do. This is the kind of game that's more fun if you make bad decisions.

By the end of the game we were all somehow still alive, but none of us got out unscathed. Excellent fun, and really had the feel of being in a low budget horror movie. I would definitely recommend this game for one-shots. With its super-fast character creation, you can be up and running in a few minutes, and I felt free to make those bad decisions without worrying about my character's survival.

I successfully made my int check to use the microwave in the kitchen, and reheated some leftovers for lunch. Then it was time for afternoon sign-up. With only four player slots and a game I already knew there was interest in, I wasn't surprised when mine filled up first.

Game 2

Another outing for Liminal and the Fang Gang, an adventure I've run at least five times before but which never stops being fun. Samir, David, Tony and Alison set out to rid London of vampires.

I love the way this scenario gives me all the key points I need to run it, but at the same time leaves enough space for me to improvise around when the players come up with new ideas. I've got a few things nailed down; the first group who played it definitely wanted to know the location of the house they were looking for, and so each future game has included content from Google Maps and Streetview, plus a handy floorplan from Rightmove. But other than that things are pretty flexible, and things go differently every time.

Re-running this scenario multiple times has not only been a lot of fun, I'm pretty sure it's making me a better GM.

And as for whether the players enjoyed it? Two of them went straight to the Leisure Games stall afterwards to buy the book, so I'm calling that a win.

I don't always stick around for the evening session at Concrete Cow, but with the possibility of a lot of conventions having to cancel this year, I was determined to get everything I could out of this one. I grabbed a sandwich from Tesco, had a lovely chat with some of the other attendees, and awaited evening sign-up.

Game 3

I've been carefully not reading the adventure Hope's Last Day in the Alien core book, so when I saw someone was running it I was pretty keen to sign up, and was lucky enough to get a space.

Hope's Last Day is a fun introduction to Alien's cinematic mode, with plenty of horrible things happening, and a GM willing to bang on the table any time the xenomorphs were making similar noises in game, keeping tension high throughout.

Amongst the four other players was someone who I'd previously played the Chariot of the Gods scenario with. In that game I was responsible for the deaths of both his characters. I picked a character at random, and looked at their agenda. Oh no. By the end of the game I had killed another of his characters. He is never going to trust me again.

Reflections

Numbers were low at the previous Concrete Cow. This time things seemed a lot healthier, even with a few people not attending due to Coronavirus.

Little things can really add to a convention. Name badges are supplied, and they're proper name badge stickers rather than just sticky labels, so they actually stick to your clothes. Free tea and coffee in the kitchen (with a donation plate) was very welcome. Hand sanitiser was also supplied, and I gratefully made use of it.

As usual, not many women, but enough that I did get to play in a game where I wasn't the only female player. We'll get there!

Three awesome games for £5 and the price of a Tesco sandwich. If that turns out to be my last game convention for a while, at least it was something I'll remember fondly for a long time.

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