We’re playing in the space left by the Historicon that wasn’t…Walt O’Hara, 2020
COVID 19 has struck.
This is a fact. You’d have to inhabit the space under a rock to not get it. We who went to Cold Wars 2020 were strangely lucky. I really think we attended what will be the last major miniatures convention where people got together in the same space to socialize, push miniatures around, drink beer, tell lies, buy stuff from dealers in person, at least for 2020 and likely, well into 2021. I don’t like this. I don’t want this. I like the people I play games with. They are my friends.
Man is a social animal, after all. What to do? Almost immediately after Cold Wars 2020, we witnessed most miniatures events in the US (and Europe) shut down for the next six months, then the rest of the year. So the members of the Second Saturday Scrum Club decided to extend some of our distance gaming activities (which we have been doing for a solid year now) to put on a sort of mini-ScrumCon on the same weekend of the now cancelled HISTORICON. We didn’t have and ideas for a huge event.. just on RPG slot and three Miniatures games.
So we created an event we called, somewhat grandiosely, The Scrum Club Spring Invitational. This would be a totally virtual, remote event, using collaborative conferencing tools. In this case, ZOOM. It worked pretty well (see above). I played in two of the four events: LEVEL 5, GM’d by Jared Smith, was a straight, old fashioned D&D game, in 5th edition. I had such a great time with that. Jared’s a great GM, has a sense of humor and can really set a scene.
There were two events Saturday. As we were getting ready for a family event, I deemed it “unwise” to tempt fate by signing up for two games. Boy, was I right on target. Even though I mentioned to She Who Must Be Obeyed that this event was upcoming for weeks, suddenly all of it was happening without notice and blah blah blah.. who will go with her to the bakery to get a cake? etc. etc. Sigh. I did manage to get into John Sears’ excellent DUNGEON SCRUM Miniatures Game.. this was an extremely streamlined version of D&D 4.0 with only a thin patina of being a RPG. I printed out two pre-generated characters, and only needed one of them (guess who, the thief). This was also a fantastic time. John has distilled everything about the game to play easily via remote conferencing. It’s as if it was made for this situation. We had a blast, we kicked the Lich’s ass and I was around to run errands (critically) that evening.
I feel pretty bloody awful about missing out on Steve Braun’s Tekumel miniatures game for Sunday, and Gar had to drop too. Again, it was involuntary Husband and father duties. We worked like donkeys, if it is cold comfort to Steve.. sorry, man, I feel bad you had to cancel. we’ll play this at some point.
So there you have it.. it is possible to play miniatures (and certainly RPGs) remotely, you can still be sociable, too. It’s not as good as the real thing, but it will do until we meet again.