Tentacles 2008 Writeup

Send comments and/or criticism to Simon E. Phipp
Created On 18 May 2008

Last Updated On 18 May 2008

Copyright © 2008 Simon E. Phipp

So, I went back to Tentacles for the second time. Was it as good as the first time? No, not really. Was it their fault? Not at all.

This time, I came with my wife as she had expressed an interest in seeing Castle Stahlek and doing some sightseeing around Germany. Now, my wife doesn't like or understand Roleplaying games, so I knew she wasn't going to appreciate the convention itself, but I thought that she would be able to go off sightseeing while I was playing games and everything would be fine. Fair enough, a good plan, I thought. Then my wife's mother died suddenly over Easter and my wife flew out on Easter Monday for the funeral and flew back 3 days before Tentacles. This understandably took the shine off everything, as she is still very upset and tearful about her mother.

So, I was trying to play games and at the same time trying to look after my wife and placate her, so my attention was only half on gaming and the convention, which was a shame.

I attended some of the seminars, but not as many as I had hoped. The ones I got to were very interesting and were well worth attending.

Gregory Privat hosted race Around the Block, a game which I was absolutely rubbish at, but which I enjoyed. I didn't enjoy it as much as Trollball last year, but it was good fun. We also played a game of Trollball which I played the trolls again, but my partner kept touching the giant and rolling the wrong dice, thus enduring several good kickings, so at one stage we had 4 out of 5 players on the floor. But, it was good fun. On the Sunday we did a playtest of Gregory's next game Escape from Innsmouth which looks as though it could be a very fast-moving, high-energy, high-action game and was very enjoyable, even though the rules needed some tweaking, but not a lot, and we weren't playing with figures. When it is fully finished, it will be a kick-ass game.

I played in the Masters of Luck and Death freeform under a glorious sunny sky. My character was Jornick Ash Man and he was a Caladralander Volcano Priest. The Caladralanders all teamed up to help each other and we worked together excellently as a team. However, we were completely rubbish at getting the tokens required to win the tournament. In the end, we had 5 points, compared to the winners who had over 200 points. But, we had a really good time. I managed to wind up Tressy without even trying and we bumbled along quite nicely. As a Freeform it was much better than Griffin Mountain and Between the Dragon and the Deep Blue Sea. If only we were more organised as powergamers, we might have achieved something.

On Saturday evening I wanted to play some tabletop games but they had all been signed up.

On Sunday, the only game I had signed up for was cancelled, so I didn't play any Tabletop games. That was a big shame as I'd have liked to play some games. We played in the Race Around the Block and chilled out a bit, then I met my wife who had gone to Mentz on a sightseeing trip and we went around Bacharach for the rest of the afternoon. We played Escape From Innsmouth in the evening, which took us over the Auction, so Sunday night was busy but not how I expected.

The Closing Ceremony was fine, nothing spectacular, but everyone had a good time.

As to the Tentacles Fumble part - I didn't see much to warrant this. Sure, Greg Stafford and Sandy Petersen couldn't make it, but that's not really why I come to Conventions so I didn't miss them that much. The toilets near our room packed up, apparently they were flooded and I don't even want to go into how that could have happened, so we had to use a single toilet/shower, so that wasn't great. My Mother-In-Law's death was the biggest fumble for me, but I can hardly blame Tentacles for that! The tabletop game I was going to play in was cancelled, but only two people had signed up, so once again I can't blame Tentacles. So, it wasn't really a Fumble for me.

As is normally the case, I met some old friends and some new ones. Sverre Larne came to Tentacles and brought his friends, all of whom were very enthusiastic and friendly. "Hello, I am Jarran and I come from Norway" was the singsong message constantly repeated from Jarran, who came from Norway, and was possibly the happiest person I have met at a convention. They are coming again and are going to flood Tentacles with Norwegians, which can only be a good thing, surely. They are going to Continuum as well, so that should be good.

After Tentacles finished, we stayed for another night at Castle Stahlek and spent the Monday on a cruise up the Rhine and then walked up the ridge opposite the castle, above the tower and past the flag on the summit, which doesn't sound much but to someone of advancing years it was enough. Darren Staples, Alex Fergusson, Gregory Privat and Sean Varney had stayed on as well, so we had a good talk on Monday evening. My wife vetoed the idea of us joining them for a meal in Bacharach, which was a shame, but meant that we could walk up the ridge, so it wasn't a complete waste. On the Tuesday we went to Frankfurt and made the mistake of travelling on an ICE train with an RVR ticket - something I'll never do again as we had a 32 Euro fine which really put us in a bad mood. We stayed in a hostel in Frankfurt and went around the city. On Wednesday we did some shopping and went back to the airport. Frankfurt seems very nice and my wife definitely enjoyed the sight-seeing part.

I'd definitely recommend Tentacles to anyone who likes roleplaying and likes a good time. I've had far worse cons than either of my Tentacles cons, partly due to the atmosphere (it's in a castle), partly due to the structure and organisation, but mostly due to the people.

So, that was my Tentacles, pretty good but not as good as last time. Next time, I think I'll take some scenarios to run so that I won't be bored if there are no games to play in. I am thinking of playing in two Freeforms as well, just to fill the time up, I'll try it at Continuum and see if it's too much. I think the trick is to keep active, play things constantly and try and stay focussed.