Monday, October 24, 2016

AVL Scarefest Day 3 And Wrap-Up: Final Thoughts On My Horror-Gaming Weekend

Howdy gang, and welcome to my final thoughts on AVL Scarefest, North Carolina's horror-themed gaming con I just got back from. Scarefest ran through Sunday with more gaming goodness offered to folks, but I had an 8-hour trip back home I needed to complete, so I left a bit earlier Sunday morning, missing on on any events for that last day.

One thing I thought was a great idea I'm sorry I missed was the Sunday Gaming Brunch -- breakfasty goodies were provided that Sunday morning while the various judges and refs ran 1-hour mini-adventures and boardgames, giving the attendees a quick "taste" of games and RPGs they might not otherwise try for several hours. There were samples of D&D 5e, Dread speed-rounds, Call of Cthulhu, many boardgames, and other "try-em-you-light-like-em" offerings. I would have liked to try my hand at some of those, but needed to cut out early.

I'm thrilled that my games of Cryptworld were as well-received as they were. I had two (nearly) full tables, and everyone who played really grasped the Action Table System pretty quickly. By the time Scarefest ended, I had several folks tell me they were going to pick up and run Cryptworld for their own home games. Glad to hear it! In fact, the Scarefest organizers were kind enough to post this to Facebook:

So how was Scarefest? It was awesome. It is one of the smaller events I've attended, but it's only in its second year, so it's still growing. It's fantastically organized and Amie and Michael Tracey put on a fantastic show. The location is beautifully amazing -- a secluded valley surrounded by mountains in the fall? The atmosphere was astounding. There was plenty of stuff to play with a great variety of games and systems. The boardgame check-out selection was fantatsic, and having an Artemis starship sim for folks to try was a nice touch as well. Scarefest was like going to a fantastic Halloween party -- WITH GAMING. How can it NOT be fantastic?

If I had anything to suggest, it would be the scheduled blocks. The games were scheduled in blocks of 5 hours, which (to me) is a LOT of time to run a typical game. Most other cons run them in 4-hour blocks which is adequate. Plus, with 5-hour blocks, you lose one whole extra game period. (5-hour blocks roughly run 8a-1p; 1-6p; and 6-11p; whereas 4-hour blocks roughly run 8a-12p; 12-4p; 4-8p; and 8-midnight.) However, Amie explained that, since this was originally a Pathfinder Society event, these 5-hour blocks are necessary for the games they run. Anyway, this is an incredibly minor point and the only issue I thought was odd, but hardly problematic to my enjoyment of the weekend.

In closing, AVL Scarefest absolutely deserves your attendance next year. It's a tightly run event with lots to offer and lots to do. The location is beautiful when the sun is up, and unsettlingly atmospheric when the sun goes down. And with every game having a horror theme during the Halloween fall season, it was a FANTASTICALLY fun time for a horror hound like myself. Totally worth the 8-hour drive, and I'll be there next year as well.

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