I brought home some cool stuff from my travels. I’ll do the GenCon swag later, but for now it’s Finland. This doesn’t count the Finnish booze that Nicole bought.
Bilekuosi: This is a card game whose name translates to Dope Fiend. In the game you get to both deal and take drugs, while playing cards like “Crackwhore” and my favorite, “Damn fucking hippies.” Something tells me the American market is not ready for Dope Fiend.
Dragonbane, the Legacy: Dragonbane was an ambitious LARP that took place in Sweden in 2006. Over 300 players trekked out to a fantasy village purpose built for the event. Oh yeah, there was also a fire breathing dragon! This book is a document and post mortem of the LARP, analyzing its successes and failures. Timo Multamäki, the executive producer, was also a volunteer and Ropecon and he gave me a copy of the book as we were leaving the afterparty. It is quite an interesting read, and it comes with a DVD of resources and pictures as well.
Finland at War, Defensive Battles of Summer 1944: I’m hoping I can play this DVD on an American machine. It’s a documentary about the battles in 1944 that preserved Finland’s independence. The country could have met the same fate as the Baltic States, but the defensive victories of that summer convinced Stalin to make a separate peace with Finland instead.
Isältä Pojalle, Suomipunk 1978-2001: This is a 60 song CD retrospective of Finnish punk rock. Ville, one of the many great folks at Ropecon, gave this to me after learning that I was an old punk. I had found a couple of CDs on a brief trip to a record store to score a metal record that Schwalb wanted, but I really appreciated getting this, so thanks, Ville.
Lama CD: Lama was a key Helsinki punk band from ’77 to ’82 and this is a CD of their one and only album. If you like bands like the Partisans and Anti-Pasti, you will dig it.
Playground Worlds, Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games: There’s a convention for Nordic roleplayers that happens each year in a different member country. The most recent one, Solmukohta, was in Finland and this is a book of essays that came out of that event. I met Markus Montola, one of the editors, at Ropecon and he gave me a copy of the book. It’s an interesting collection of essays divided into three sections: Journalism & Community, Art & Design, and Research & Theory. Like the con the book focuses on LARPs but there is some tabletop RPG stuff as well. Timo wants us to come to the next one, which is in Oslo in February. I would love to go, but money and vacation time probably prohibit it.
Ratsia, 1979-1981: A retrospective of another old Finnish punk band. I don’t know much about them but I thought I’d give the CD a shot. They remind a bit of the Undertones, which is not a bad thing in my book.
Roolipelaaja, Issues 15 and 16: I was interviewed for this Finnish RPG magazine and editor Juhana gave me two sample copies. It looks great, with crisp layout and excellent photographs. The text is all Finnish though, so I can’t speak to the content. I can tell Fred that Spirit of the Century gets a 5 star review though.
Star Wreck Collection: I was on a panel with Mike Pohjola and he was nice enough to give me a full set of Star Wreck goodies: movie DVD, soundtrack, and the RPG he designed. Star Wreck is a Finnish scifi parody that basically posits what would happen if the Star Trek and Babylon 5 universes clashed. Several years ago Nicole got me a Star Wreck t-shirt for Xmas and I said, “What the hell is Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning?” Now I am well informed!
System Danmarc: In 2005 there was a three day live action roleplaying game in Copenhagen that took place in a shanty town built out of 40 shipping containers. Peter Andreasen, one of the other guests at Ropecon, was an organizer for this event and he gave me this documentary DVD of the event. It’s got interviews with participants, footage from the game, and thousands of photos.
The Unknown Soldier by Väinö Linna: Katri recommended this novel to me and I’m glad she did. Väinö Linna was a soldier in a Finnish machinegun company in WWII and he based the Unknown Soldier on his experiences. It is not a happy story, but Linna really captures the feel of soldiers at war.