Originally published at xenoglyph: the alien writings of designer joshua a.c. newman. Please leave any comments there.
I just spent the last weekend at Connecticon with Emily Care Boss, Robert Bohl, Epidiah Ravachol, and a ton of really awesome people. Thousands of them, in fact. We played some games, sat on a couple of panels, and sold some games.
Connecticon’s got a real concentration on making stuff. The costumes are ubiquitous, handmade, and amazing. There are drawing and sculpture classes. The Artist Colony has passionate and skilled artists who make funny, creative things. My favorites are the minicomic called Unpopular Species by Dandelion Studios and the prints of Chen (pronounced like “Chanukah” not “China”) from Botodesigns. Unpopular Species is a small field guide to animals that are ugly, poisonous, or grotty, while Chen’s work inserts robots, anthropomorphic cucumbers, and other cute critters into traditional prints, doing her own screen printing. She even custom printed me a shirt in the color combo I was after. I’m wearing it now. It’s quite silly.
My games of Human Contact were fantastic. One of them ended with the literal human sacrifice of the three Envoys. They were thrown in a volcano. The society in question had determined that human sacrifice was a real problem and had developed artificial intelligence for the purpose of sacrifice. Now, as capitalism took over the culture, they noticed that AI sacrifice wasn’t making their lives better. Fortunately, there were these new guys… This was about 6 months into their first encounter with the society, and the Envoys had determined that their hypercapitalism and problematic religion gave the society a decade or so before total economic collapse. The only tools they had were an underground of rationalists (who didn’t have to be underground before this monkey business started), a theocrat who was secretly atheist, and the leftover bits of technology that the Envoys had left. We had some hopes they’d be able to rescue themselves before the Contactor showed back up and everything went to crap.
Emily, Eppy, Rob and I also ran a panel on independent game design and publishing. We talked about a couple of RPGs, but there were multiple people with board game designs they were working on. It was a very exciting panel. One woman named Mary was in my breakout group and had three really powerful board game designs she was incubating. I hope she pursues them.
James Carpio invited us on a whim to his panel on GM issues and it was a really fun time. There were two kids in the front row, both high school aged, who I fully expect to be generating their own games and thoughtful articles in a couple of years. They were looking hard at their game of Dark Sun and thinking about both its social and technical aspects as related issues. They had some really thoughtful advice for other attendees, too.
Thank you my fellow players for making some really good science fiction, thank you to our panel attendees for being lively and smart participants, and thanks to James Carpio for making us so welcome to play our games, Rym and Scott for giving us opportunities to run panels, and Connecticon in general for its high energy and creativity. I had a great time and look forward to doing some really fun stuff with you next year.