the Fairgame Archive

2007-08-23: Finland Bound (reposted)
by Emily

This is the post about Ropecon I deleted by accident. I'm putting it and the comments I recovered back up, for the record.


Bound for Finland

Here I am in Bradley International Airport, waiting for my plane to take me to Suomi, or Finland, via Washington and Copenhagen.  This is like a dream come true. Somebody pinch me. :)  Heading out to one of the largest role playing conventions in the Nordic countries, home of (what seems like to my jaded American eyes) a flowering of the art of role playing. Ropecon here I come!

How did this come about? When the intrepid Ben Lehman toured Finland, he met organizers of the con like Jukka Koskelin, and they asked him who among the US game designer crowd would be good folks to come to Ropecon. Apparently I was on the list he gave. Then when they were choosing the theme for this year's convention they came up with two: cooperation and romance.  Guess whose name popped up? :)

Robin Laws is the keynote speaker. He's already arrived and you can see notes about his trip so far on his blog:

I'm looking forward to meeting Jukka and Eero Tuovinen, getting to meet new folks in Finland, and seeing Gregor and other Euro folks on their side of the pond.  This is my first time to Europe, so it's all new to me.

And a chance to do role playing in Finland! I can't wait.

2007-08-23 14:55:26 Meguey

I'm torn between excitement for you and wistfulness - someday I'll get out of this country!

2007-08-23 14:55:52 Emily

(I said that I wished I could bring Meg and everybody else—and told how my suitcase got lost)

2007-08-23 14:56:48 NinJ

Em, I'm shooting fire out of my eyes to get your stuff back.

2007-08-23 14:57:29 Emily

The fire and growling seems to have worked. I got my bag back yesterday. Hurrah! Now I have books _and_ clothes. :)

But, Eero, I'm so sad! I didn't know you were in town earlier. Darn, I wish I had called. I'm glad I got to meet you yesterday!

2007-08-23 14:57:45 Emily

I read Robin's report on his game in which you played a spirit of the Earth. How was it for you?

Hey Steve! I am enjoying Finland. It is a land of forest and mystery and beautiful city buildings and friendly folks who love their cell phones and their beer. :) And gaming.

The game Robin ran was wonderful. Anti, Satu, and Markus and I had heard about the game earlier, so we all knew we'd wanted to be spirits: who wouldn't want to be the gods whom the humans would appeal to for aid and make supplication to. Being earth was particularly interesting since the goal of the humans was to gain a lith, so they had to come to me and the other earth player quite a bit for permission to find and move the stone.

And I joked about human sacrifice from the start, but little did I realize someone would offer their eyes, then someone else would actually give his tongue! And the one who had lived by his wits and words, well, rather unhappily, before that. Very fitting in a godawful but wonderful kind of character development kind of way.

So, it was great. And last night I got to form the jeep with Tobias and Thorbiorn. I'll be thinking about and processing that for quite a while. Wow.

2007-08-23 14:59:10 Emily

Yesterday was the end of Ropecon. I'll have to make a list of the highlights:

  • opening the con with the theme from Love Boat and the head con organizers dressed as a pair of captain Steubings
  • being interviewed an introduction to the con goers,by a talented and delightful woman who is a professional journalist, and getting asked the hard questions about being a woman designer and my games
  • running a workshop on collaborative gaming
  • writing a game with the audience during the workshop
  • silent ninjas armed with a casio synthesizer
  • having my priest character inadvertantly push Gregor's bitter game designer toward the zombies in Eero's new game
  • the rock-paper-scissors tournament complete with costumed crusaders and talking shit
  • playing out a touching aki kaurismaki film-like rpg using Shooting the Moon, with the Jeepsters, where my blind girl steals the love of a Swedish Finn
  • the live action tetris game
  • the gala, with period costume and renaissance dance that people spent all weekend preparing for by dancing, and all year for by creating their finery
  • giving a talk on romance and gender in rpg stories, later having someone tell me he'd enjoyed it because people were talking with such openness about their experiences
  • twin vampire sisters giving out poetry for free on demand in your desired form: haiku, mythopoetic, lyrical etc.
  • getting to talk about Meg, Julia and Mo's games at the women in gaming panel discussion
  • talking theory at the Indie Designer's theory discussion marathon on Sunday and getting a copy of a treasure trove of gameplay design patterns from Jussi Holopainen
  • getting to watch Robin Law and Mike Pohjola talk smack during the Game Design Challenge
  • spending time with the amazing Guest of Honor tenders who herded these cats with warmth and aplomb
  • a simply amazing meal at Saslik, an aristocratic Russian restaurant in Helsinki, complete with great conversation on gaming and life in Finland and America
  • listening to Rom musicians break out into "smoke on the water" while playing for us at Saslik
  • ducking and covering from a super steam burn in the sauna
  • playtesting a musical jeepform tragedy at 2am in the morning. yes, singing while roleplaying.

2007-08-23 15:07:39 Emily

Back to the present:

Now I'm busy getting up to speed on nordic Larp theory via the Knudepunkt/Solmukuhte et al books.

2007-08-23 18:09:21 Gregor

Yay! The thread is risen from the dead, but unfortunately my bitter 1990s games designer is still so much zombie chow.

I must say I did laugh at everyone's inferences of my character having a game out in the 1990s ahead of its time, but ultimately flawed. How true to life.

2007-08-24 16:20:28 Emily

That was a great character, Gregor. And your epic rivalry with Matt's amoral dice manufacturer was classic.

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