Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
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Metatopia 2014 Recap

12 November 2014

I have so many thoughts about Metatopia. I went last year as a player and this year as a designer. I was a bit anxious, but this year convinced me that Metatopia is a second home for me. I feel comfortable enough there to help others get over their nervousness (or least I hope I was able to do so).

Friday was mostly panels and my playtests. Saturday was playtesting other people’s games. Sunday was winding down and saying goodbye to all of the wonderful examples of humanity I met and met again.


Thanks to Shane Harsch, Clark Valentine, and Tim Rodriguez for a panel about how we represent hacking in games. It was informative and fun. Spoiler: Real hacking is boring, methodical, and takes more time than we usually represent. There’s ways to make it interesting, though.

Thanks to Mark Diaz Truman, Marissa Kelly, Jason Pitre, and Brie Sheldon for the Meet the IGDN panel. I recently joined, and I wanted to get more information. I’m looking forward to interacting even more with them and talking design and publishing stuff.

The next was the first panel I’ve ever sat on. It was an editing panel with John Adamus and Amanda Valentine, and I hope I was a good panelmate. It was a lot of fun, and we talked about all kinds of things. There was even a rant or two.

Next up I had my playtests for Memories of Metal and Bone. Imagine if the battle for Midgaard between the Dwarves and the Vikings continued into space. Raganarok didn’t happen, and you’re playing the crew of the living ship Stormbeard on the run and trying to find out why.

My first group of playtesters were terrific. Thanks to Maksim Mukhammedov, Shervyn Von Hoerl, Rich Flynn, Joshua Kronengold, Brennan Taylor, and Michael Capron. Highlights include overloading its engines while also constricting it and snapping it in half. Also a dwarf hostage.

The second group of playtesters were also terrific. Thanks to Neal Tanner, Paul Stefko, Jamie Stefko, Joshua Yearsley, Jim Cummings, and Jim Crocker. Highlights from this game are overloading the internal systems of the Dwarven Destroyer and ramming Stormbeard into it while also throwing flaming diamonds at its hull.


Saturday was NoirWorld, designed and run by my dear, dear friend John Adamus. Have I told you about NoirWorld? It’s amazing, and I’m no noir fanatic. I played the Fatale planning to have a starlet kidnapped to make room for me and a drunken, homeless former playboy. It ended with a three-way shoot-out, but I can’t remember if my PC died or was just seriously wounded.

Next up was Ars Magicka GUMSHOE with Cam Banks. This one was a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to see what develops. I played a member of a magical house without actual magic of their own and had a blast. This was also my first opportunity to meet Josh Drobina, who I got to play with in another game.

Headspace, an Apocalypse World hack for cyberpunk (actual cyberpunk, fighting against evil corporations), was next on my list. This one was another one I’d been hearing about for a while, as I know its designer Mark Richardson pretty well. It was over-the-top action, and great fun was had by great fun was had by Kira Magrann, Justin Jacobson, Will Hindmarch, and Ken Hite.

The Dark Road, Mark Diaz Truman’s western gunslinger using rules from Project Dark, was amazing, if short. I wanted to play this ever since I got to see a glimpse of the mechanics on G+ a while back. I got to play a Priest that went toe-to-toe with the head of the town, leading him to give up the gunslinger he’d been protecting. The other two players were just as amazing, although I can’t remember their names.

Last on my list for the day was a Timewatch game, this one courtesy of Kevin Kulp, but using Dave Chalker’s parallel realities (think Sliders) rules. Best scene was my character betraying the other PCs and deciding to work with my evil duplicate in the parallel reality. So much fun! Thanks for playing with me, Elsa, Ruth, Josh, and others!

In Closing

Metatopia is home for me now. I can say that with certainty. Despite the anxiety of playtesting my first design publicly, it was comfortable there. Everyone I met was amazing, and if I missed meeting you there, I’m sorry. Next year!

There are far too many of you to thank, but I need to thank a few in a special way.

Thanks to Matt Will Jackson: we’ll always have Headless Action Figure. Thanks to John Adamus for opening his home to me (again) and being one of the best friends I could ask for. Thanks to John Stravropolous for calling me a cool guy. Thanks to Ericka Skirpan, Cheyenne Rae Grimes, Lindsay McCollough, and Mark Richardson for being there and hanging out throughout the weekend. Thanks to Vinny Salzillo and Avonelle Wing for putting on the best convention I can imagine. Thanks to Stephen Hood for being willing to play my game even though we couldn’t make the schedule work out. Thanks to Sarah Richardson, just because she’s tons of fun to game with, and it was great to meet in person.

Argh! There’s so many awesome people to thank that I don’t think I can name them all!


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