It’s been a long while since I’ve done a recap of my ACNW weekend, but I had a great time and tried a bunch of new things, and thought I’d share.
For those not familiar, AmberCon Northwest is a four-day game convention just outside of Portland, Oregon, at the McMenamin’s Edgefield. It (and other AmberCons) was originally started as a venue to play the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game. In recent years, it’s also attracted a wave of indie gamers. So the core of it is still Amber, but it’s a chance to try out all sorts of things.
Ambercon Northwest XXI T-Shirt, with art by Lee Moyer.
For some people, the three-day Labor Day weekend is a last hoorah for summer. Maybe a camping trip. Maybe a day of meat. Some other horrible thing involving sunshine and the outdoors.
I spent three days shunning the evil Daystar and running Monsterhearts one-shots, collaboratively spinning yards of angsty teenage monsters and their messy lives. All in an effort to feel a bit more comfortable with the rules before I run a one-shot at Ambercon Northwest.
Yeah. I’m a huge dork.
Once again, we ventured south for four days of spa, drinking and roleplaying games. For those unfamiliar with the convention, it is one of a few conventions that had started out dedicated to playing Amber Diceless roleplaying. That’s still the core of it, though there have been more indy games making their way into the weekend.
There’s no dealer room, usually no panels. Just gaming from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon with breaks for sleep. It’s less of a convention and more a sprawling family of people that have been gaming together for years. This year was a peak year of over 130 people. We almost entirely overran the McMenamin’s Edgefield, which has been the home of the convention for all of its 15 years.
There are seven slots of games, here’s how mine went.
For those of you who I’ve only recently met, let me first explain a little about AmberCon Northwest. ACNW is a yearly game convention based mostly around Erick Wujcik’s Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game. Which in turn is based on Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber series. Over the years, the strict adherence to only playing Amber Diceless has slackened. There continue to be Amber games, but there are also lots of other off beat games that now get run there. There are several of these cons each year. I’ve only been to two of them, and this is my favorite of them.
The convention is run at the McMenamin’s Edgefield, a beautiful resort just east of Portland, OR. Not only does the Edgefield have an on-site brewery, distillery and winery, but it also has a spa and salt-water soaking pool. The convention has no dealer room and almost never has panels. Instead from Thursday through Sunday the weekend is all about gaming.
The community of 120 some odd people is very open and welcoming. New people often speak of how friendly and helpful people are, and many of the people I’ve gotten to know over the last twelve years feel like family.
I’ve been poking around Scion books for the last few weeks. This started because I came up with the final game I’d like to run at AmberCon Northwest. Just as I ran a diceless Exalted: Dragon-Blooded game at AmberCon in Michigan, I want to try and run a diceless version of a game where I love the setting but find the rules frustrating. I’ve got a rough frame work for what I’m thinking, so I thought I’d toss it out there for people to respond to.
This is my fairly belated recap of this year’s AmberCon Northwest. I hope you enjoy it.
Dream Pod 9 had a long wrong of hybrid games that featured a mix of roleplaying game and miniature war gaming. Heavy Gear was their flagship, but they also had games like Jovian Chronicles and the game we played, Gear Krieg. Then paradoxically they had a post-apocalyptic fantasy/horror game called Tribe 8, which featured no mecha at all.
Gear Krieg would not have been my first choice of game to try out the Silhouette system with. (Woo! Cute system name!) While mechas in WW2 are patently awesome, and was a core reason behind me buying the game several years ago, some of their other settings stir my cockles a bit more. But I was delighted to play this regardless.
Only took me a month. I blame NaNoWriMo. And laziness. This will be relatively brief since time has faded the crazy high I left the convention with and I don’t want this to be even later than it already is.