Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Gen Con: Day 4 Report

My last day at Gen Con was dominated by a single, very long RPG that had a lot of promise. It was a Doctor Who/Firefly mash-up run in Savage Worlds. I know, right?

This was probably the game I was most excited about playing in since I first saw the listing months ago. Titled "The Great T.A.R.D.I.S. Robbery," this game was going to put together two of my favorite sci-fi franchises, both of which should compliment each other nicely. A real chocolate and peanut butter situation.

There were three other players at the table and all three immediately grabbed up Doctor Who characters. There was the tenth Doctor, River Song and Captain Jack. Immediately our fan fiction switches were flipped. Since I didn't want Firefly to be unrepresented in the game, I grabbed the sheet for Captain Mal. It would appear that one Serenity crew member wasn't enough for the GM, so he had me also play as another Firefly character. I naturally picked Zoe but I was wary of playing two characters at the same time.

(I'd like to point out that the player who grabbed the Doctor only did so when prompted by the GM. The Doctor has to be the single hardest established character to role player, simply because he knows the very things about every situation that only a GM should know. No one should be forced to play the Doctor. I can't see how it could be fun for anyone.)

The adventure started out well enough. Mal and Zoe agreed to help the Doctor and companions get their TARDIS back from the local magical repairman (with intentions of selling them out to get free repairs) but the plan quickly changed when Inara was captured by crazed cultists. Our inevitable betrayal had to be put on hold.

It seemed like the GM was weaving in a lot of different elements and was withholding information from players based on their series of origin. This was pretty cool until I figured out where all the weird confusing stuff was coming from: Classic Battlestar Galactica.

You know that peanut butter and chocolate analogy I used earlier? It still applies, but now some fresh dog shit has been mixed in. Now nothing tastes good in the slightest.

Yeah, characters and technology from the old Battlestar Galactica started popping up and I'm pretty sure that only the GM was having fun with it. The other players were just confused. I was just frustrated because I had no idea what to do with this shit. We ran into two crew members of some battlestar and they proceeded to do pretty much everything important in the story while we just hatched schemes that the GM wouldn't acknowledge. The GM actually started acting bored with everything we were doing and would not allow us to progress the plot. Might I add that I paid $8 for this?

Here's the weird part about all the Battlestar crap that was added: it was both pointless and the only stuff that mattered. If you were to remove all of it, we would have had the same story since the players had no idea how to actually use or care about anything not from Who or Firefly. At the same time, the GM ignored any solutions we offered and instead let the douchebags from the wrong franchise swoop in an solve every problem.

This was pretty much the textbook case of how not to run a con game and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. By the time the climax came around, I couldn't even feel good about victory. Once it was clear that the game was done, I got up and booked it to the exhibit hall. I bought some more weird dice and got the hell out of Indy.

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