by Ramanan Sivaranjan on March 20, 2018
I spent this past weekend at BreakoutCon here in Toronto. I think Kate, Rob, and their posse have done an amazing job with this gaming convention. Everyone is nice, friendly, and welcoming. (A reflection of the founders themselves, no doubt.) I didn’t get to spend as much time at the convention as I would have liked, but with the time I had I got to play some games and meet some people—what else could you want?
On Friday I played it safe and signed up for two games I had some experience with: Lamentations of the Flame Princess and Apocalypse World. I began my day with Fraser Simons and his friend Yoshi. I had missed Fraser last year, so we made it a point to try and actually meet up: it worked. A beer and an overpriced meal down I was off to play LotFP.
When I saw Sarah Richardson was running a game of Lamentations of the Flame Princess I quickly signed up. Her RPG Bluebeards Bride is really dark and full of horror, so I assumed she’d be a natural fit for running an LotFP game. She dubbed the adventure she ran “Blood Spattered Bride”: it was a D&D take on her Storygame. We played the former wives of Bluebeard who had escaped from his home and returned to exact our revenge. It all felt like a good grindhouse movie, bouncing between creepy and ultraviolent. She’s an excellent dungeon master. The game was a great way to start the convention.
With no delay I moved on to my next game, Apocalypse World. I was joined by my cousin Jana, Yoshi (the dude I met earlier in the day), and another guy named Matt. A really great group. My cousin is always the rogue that robs the party when he plays D&D, so was happy to discover that PvP is a big part of Apocalypse World. He was playing the brainer, and ended up with puppet string holds over most everyone in our base by the end of the game. (This came in handy when Yoshi and an NPC were fighting over control of our holding.) The game came to a pretty satisfying conclusion, but there were so many weird mysteries we didn’t get to wrap up. It was one of those games I wish we had another session to play. So shout out to our MC, Lauren!
I ended up swapping out of a second Apocalypse World game I signed up for to play a new game, Ross Rifles. The session I was a part of was run by one its creators, Daniel Kwan. It’s a Powered by the Apocalypse game set during the First World War. The players are all soldiers in the Canadian army. I really liked the game, and have lots more to say about—which I put in another post!
I didn’t have enough time to play a second game: I had to leave for the ballet in a few hours. Instead I spent my time loitering around and chatting with people. I had lunch with Fraser and John Wilson, who I had met the previous year. I had a beer with Catherine Ramen, who I learned is the author of the game Red Carnations on a Black Grave. I bumped into Michael, his friend, and his son, and we wandered around and I spent some money. We then found my cousin and Yoshi and all talked about Kickstarters and printing books and other RPG nonsense. I ended my con chatting with Jana and Yoshi before heading off to meet my wife to watch a ballet. It was a nice few hours.
BreakoutCon is the best. You should check it out next year if you didn’t this year. It’s likely the biggest gaming convention in Toronto: big, but not too big.