Over the weekend I went to Phoenix, SAGA’s annual larp con. Phoenix has changed format this year to a residential con, using the Glenroy Lodge about 45 minutes out of Christchurch. Fortunately, they’d arranged car-pooling, so we didn’t have to rent a car for the weekend, and apart from getting lost on the way to the venue (my bad: I followed the signs, but pointed people down the wrong road at Hororata), the logistics went pretty smoothly. As for the venue itself, it was damn good: GMs had their own block, with carpeted rooms and ensuite bathrooms and showers - none of this freezing cinderblock bunkrooms and communal facilities full of spiders we have to cope with at Brookfields or Motu Moana. The food was good and plentiful, which is pretty much all I ask for from a con - basicly enough to keep me going, so I can focus on the larping. There’s a full list of games here, but here’s what I played in:
Friday night: Baby, its cold outside (Carla Bayard): I’d missed this one at Cerberus, but fortunately it was back for a rerun. Pitched as a game of psychological tension, it was more of an Antarctic comedy, with scientists and support staff drinking and joking to get through their last night on the ice. And then Things Were Revealed, stuff got unpleasantly serious, and emotions were unleashed. It was a good game, and well worth playing; I recommend it if it comes North or if you go South.
Saturday morning: The Omega Delivery (Tony Mitton, facilitated by @Catnip): Part 3 of the Kestrel saga, and the game I was really looking forward to. This will be re-running in Wellington in November, so all I can say is “hell, yeah!” and I am looking forward to The Kouros Intercept next year.
Saturday afternoon: Jane Austen’s “Emma”: A second run of my “Emma” adaptation, I was able to run this outside (a grey but warm Canterbury plains winter day being a perfect substitute for an English summer). This went very differently from the first run, and the book, with Harriet giving up on Mr Knightly when she realised he was just being a gentleman like Frank, and Mrs Elton prising everyone away from Emma. In the end only Harriet got engaged (to Mr Martin), while Frank and Jane were grumpy with each other. The game has now been published and is available on DriveThruRPG.
Saturday evening: The beginner’s guide to buying and selling haunted items (Chloe Sutherland and Robert Vincent): A cross between Antiques Roadshow and Ghost Hunters, where people have gathered at an auction of the sadly supernatural. I was a student cultist, my girlfriend had been murdered, and I really had no idea what I was meant to be looking for there. My character ended up hitting bottom halfway through the game after finally getting the McGuffin he was after then having it promptly taken off him, then quitting the cult, selling his soul to a devil for worldly power, and deciding to become a lawyer, join the Young Republicans, and pursue a career in politics. There was a lot of action, I was always busy, and I had a great time even if I had no idea what was really going on. Like Catnip, I was impressed by the auctioneer, who had the perfect delivery (and managed to hold it even when talking about his boring career).
Sunday morning: Persephone’s Choice: My Asimovian robot larp. This will also be running in Wellington in the near future, so I’ll restrict myself to saying that it went well, delivered the sort of experience I wanted it to deliver, and @Ciaran made a wonderful stressed-out robot at the end.
Sunday afternoon: It Ain’t Easy Being Gilled (Anna Klein, run by Jennifer Hay): Teenage hijinks in Innsmouth! There are big spoilers here, even about game structure, so I’ll restrict myself to saying “best party ever!” and that Anna really should publish this game.
So that was Phoenix. I’ll be back next year (because Kouros Intercept), though I’m not sure what I’m going to run. Though that main hall is big enough for Blackfyre Rising…