I often have a hilarious time playing RPGs, and the many games tend to run together in recollection, so picking one single “funniest game” is pretty much impossible. I can tell you the funniest recent game I was in: I played a game of Little Wizards at Gen Con this year. It was quite fun and we broke the GM at least twice, though I don’t recall the particular parts that were so funny. I think one of them was the 11-year-old complaining that we couldn’t use the fountain in the town square to brew a giant draught of tea to cure the town of fairy dust-laden chocolates because the water is recirculated and thus not sanitary, to which someone quipped “we’re responsible for preventing fairy dust, not dysentery”.
Another funny convention game I can heartily recommend is Advanced Dimensional Green Ninja-Educational Preparatory Super-Elementary Fortress 555, when run by Akira and/or Jason. I had a hand in it’s origin, though it evolved quite a bit before it was published, but it really is those two that bring it to life. I can put funny stuff on paper, and even play a funny character, but running a funny game is something Akira, in particular, excels at.
But the funniest convention games I can (vaguely) recall were all QAGS games, run by the Hex Games crew. It’s been enough years that I can’t recall any details, much less which games were which, but I can remember some of the settings/genres: classic Hammer Films-style monsters as ‘80s buddy cops; “laser ponies”; swinging ‘60s superspies with superpowers; Discworld-ish deconstructed fantasy. All were hilarious, and while QAGS can be used for serious games and the Hex Games folks sometimes do so, if you ever get a chance to play one of their wacky games, do it! They’ve been reliably the most fun I’ve had playing convention games, often necessitating breaks to recover from the laughter.
I’m going to start with the best convention game that I wasn’t actually part of. It was Con of the North, many years ago—I think before Dread had actually been published. So people had heard of Dread—it was part of why we were invited to the con—but it wasn’t yet known, and our games weren’t yet swamped. One of the games that Eppy was running only had 3 players, which is pretty much the minimum for the game to really be fun, and he nearly lost 2 of them when he was doing the scenario introduction and they realized that they would be playing rabbits. Not anthropomorphic rabbits, not rabbits with magic powers, not people transformed into rabbits—just rabbits. [We had thought this was clear from the event description, but apparently not.] And that this was nonetheless a serious game. He nearly lost them again when he busted out the Jenga™ tower. Luckily for all concerned, they decided to give it a go.
Con of the North is the best convention for playing Dread that I’ve been to. At least half the gaming space is in cleared out hotel rooms with just 1 or 2 tables in them, so you don’t have the dull roar of a large convention hall, and at most you have one other group making noise. Luckily, for this game it was just them in the room. So as night fell on the rabbits they turned the lights down in the room. I had finished running my game, so I had come by to sit and watch. As the rabbits tried desperately to escape the owl stalking them, they all were hiding, verging on tharn, which would’ve made them easy prey. Eppy told each player that they would have to pull for their rabbit to keep their wits about them. One of the players volunteered to go first, and started examining the tower. Then, with no warning, in a silent room with just the light spilling from beyond the door, he smacked the tower, sending blocks everywhere, almost-shouting “I bolt!” at the same time. Everyone, Eppy included, jumped, and that rabbit became owl food, but gave his compatriots a chance to get away.
I’m not sure how new of a thing this is, but we went to a scheduled, ticketed event Wed night. I would’ve said that was “before the con”—and, in fact, we ran into an interesting dilemma: one of us forgot his badge at home, and had to have it FedExed overnight, so he was without for Wed night. So, could he play the Wed night game? It’s a ticketed event, but there’s no such thing as a badge for Wed admission, because the convention is Thurs-Sun. And the game was in one of the hotels, not the convention center. So it’s a little unclear whether they can actually demand that you have a badge—or have paid admission at all—to play a Wed night game. Arguably, a 4-day badge is for “the whole convention”, so I suppose that covers it. Though I wonder if they’d let someone with just a Thurs badge play in a Wed game? Anyway, I digress.
Wed night’s game, which we barely made it to (mostly my fault, though i’ll let the construction along the way take some of the blame), was Fairy Tale/Noir, a QAGS game (and unrelated to the RPG Fae Noir, other than topic). The basic premise was pretty much what the titile implies: a mash-up of film noir and faerie tale motifs. Though the “film noir” was really more hardboiled detective, and the faerie tale motifs were much more Grimm’s, Mother Goose, and Disney, than actual folktales. The game was set in Happily Ever After, the faerie noir equivalent of Las Vegas, and revolved around solving a murder.
The Dis[sed ]Mounties
The next game on Friday was another QAGS game. Which should have been even more ‘next’ than it was, but I screwed up—more on that in a future post. Anyway, this game was “Life is Random”. The premise of this was to randomly generate, well, just about everything about the game, and then play it. So we randomly rolled setting, and opposition, and so on—even a theme. Even our characters were semi-random: we rolled what sorts of characters we were playing, and even the WWPHITM? (more on that later), but still chose job and schtick and so on ourselves, and allocated points in the usual way (which, though, is itself something involving random dice rolls).
This game also turned out to be my second-best of the con—Thurs’ al Fresco game topped it, and perhaps that only because of my pride in having run it. Like that game, this one had me laughing so hard that it left me sore.