KapCon Round 3.5 – Hard Time

Warning Label:I’m reviewing the KapCon games I played in some detail. There will be spoilers that make it impossible to play the game, and I will be naming names of people I played with and things I both liked and disliked. If you think you’ll be offended, I suggest you stop reading now and go hug a Sperm Whale.

I ended up playing this game because I was loitering around after round 3 nosing out a game with my friends. I’d been talking a little with Steve Hix about playing something, but when it came time, his groupies were talking about a bunch of games that didn’t particularly interest me, while Marcus was hard-selling me on EPOCH – even enlisting Mr Morgue to do some pretty intense trash talking. Dale running EPOCH for a superstar group wasn’t to be passed up lightly. Probably the best decision I made all weekend.

This EPOCH scenario isn’t literally a tunnel of fun – it’s an elevator. You play convicted criminals whose futuristic prison ship has a crisis requiring evacuation and hilarity ensues. Only Price Slash is comparably simple and straightforward, and that gave us the space we needed for dialling the character stories all the way up. People bounced ideas off each other, riffed on concepts, got engaged in banter, betrayed each other, and tried to get through alive.

There was one tiny problem, the odd-player-out that nobody else at the table knew. Even Dale, the best GM ever at managing a group and squeezing drama from them had to admit to being bemused by his squirrel-infested flashbacks. I had no idea what on earth he was doing any of the time, but at least he seemed to be having fun doing it. Unsurprisingly, in the voting, he was one of the first to die.

I think Marcus summed up the experience best afterwards. “It was us.” This game was a perfect illustration of the Who not What principle for good gaming experiences – get that group together again and it’s hard not to see it having a great time.

And so… the worst game I played at KapCon was also the best.

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7 Responses to KapCon Round 3.5 – Hard Time

  1. mr_orgue says:

    Marcus didn’t really enlist me, I just saw an opportunity to stick my nose in and went for it… πŸ™‚

    Really enjoying these indepth write ups!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey, what do you mean worst game? πŸ™‚

    I do think it’s easy to overthink EPOCH scenarios. A simple setup works well when the characters are actually intended to be the stars of the show. However, as you (and Marcus) point out, having players who are comfortable with each other, the system and who enjoy tapping a creative vein can ensure a great game. My personal triumph in that run was that Marcus’ character was effectively killed by your and Freya’s characters over an NPC (and a fairly despicable one at that). That’s a first for me and It was a moment of beauty. Oh, and the fact the Freya’s character survived the scenario without winning a single audience ballot.

    I grant you that Theo floored me a little with his flashbacks – and also with being ‘too tired to come up with a name’ for this character. Ain’t nobody at that table that wasn’t tired.

    • mashugenah says:

      TBH, the best/worst thing in the last two posts is mostly rhetorical licence. Although Hard Times has replaced Price Slash as my least favourite EPOCH scenario it’s still a solid game that I’d happily run for others and can see other people getting a lot of enjoyment out of.

      In truth, the least satisfying game was Precinct ’77. But another comment which I’ll be making amongst my closing remarks is reflecting that even the worst games you run or play nowadays would have been right at the top of the pile in ye aulden times.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s still in playtest mode, so please feel free to fire me an e-mail with suggestions or feedback to improve the scenario. You also should really play Red Gold and Space Station Icarus to see how they compare and contrast as all are sci-fi lockboxes.

      • mashugenah says:

        I’m quite keen to play both! πŸ™‚

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