11 October 2015

THE KRAKEN 2015 Report

The following statements are both true:
1. The Kraken is a gaming vacation.
2. The Kraken takes place every second (even) year at Schloss Neuhausen in Brandenburg.

However, it is also true that there was a mini-Kraken this year. Not a gaming vacation, no— a gaming retreat. And it was as good as the real McCoy except that –alas– it was much shorter.

FRIDAY 2 OCTOBER, afternoon

I drove all the way from Paris with my daughter and a friend. On Friday afternoon, we arrive at last, after 1,000km of heavy metal, noise pop, folk punk and Autobahnbaustellen, and get our Krakeneers' kits and schlüssel.

The weather is fantastic, which keeps the illusion of the gaming vacation, and Fabian doesn't look too stressed (yet). Sandy Petersen, the Only Old One, is already busy running demos of Gods War.


Playtesting session of my (formerly) Secret Project. Lots of fantastic input from Mark and Patrick (thank you, guys, I'm already taking your feedback into account for version 2).
People slowly start arriving; I get to see old friends and new ones. Chatted about the new supplement of The Cardinal's Blades with Rémy. Jeff and Claudia explained me at length the pros and cons of the various gaming conventions; apparently I miss a lot by never going to Essen.

veggie food – thank you, Fabi!


Played the gianormous wargame Operation Market Garden by Odile and Louis; lost twice in a row.

the gianormous map

my starting position

heavy fighting

Then attended the What's Up, Chaosium? seminar with Jeff, Neil, MOB, Sandy. Here are the main highlights:

Chaosium is now a fully virtual company (they've closed the Hayward office). What this really means is that there isn't any warehouse any longer. US fulfilments will be via Brainerd MN; European ones are in view via a UK company, who will also be carrying Moon Design and The Design Mechanism products.
Big focus at the moment is the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition kickstarter. Printing is underway, they are waiting for the physical proofs. Still working out the shipment details. Once this is solved, they expect to be in full working mode again, with lots of products and scenarios down the road, e.g., Infectious Fungi From Outer Space, a collection of short, unrelated, standalone scenarios by Sandy Petersen set at various different time periods (not the 1920s). If it is successful, expect more of those.

RuneQuest is back to the fold. The new version (referred to as Chaosium RuneQuest, CRQ) will be out by next year's Gen Con. It will be a shorter book, set firmly in Glorantha, back to the look and feel of RQ2, with brand new material (cults, scenarios). By the way, to celebrate Glorantha's 50th anniversary, the original RQ2 will be re-released as a hardback.

Basic Role-Playing System. The line is still alive. A new standalone Mythic Iceland will be the first book in this line (with new stuff, of course, e.g., more magic). Should be out before CRQ. MOB insisted that the BRP had not been killed off.

All the HeroQuest products are going to be published by Chaosium from now on; the Red Cow books, the new three-volume Trollpak, are the next ones in the pipe.

13th Age in Glorantha (13G): the 3rd playtest pack has been released today [i.e., on 3 October].

Credo, the Game of Duelling Dogmas. Updated the game of 21 years ago.

Secret announcement for Krakeneers only: another boardgame will be KS'd next year. Ultra-secret. Come to Paris and buy me a beer if you want to know more. [Note: I could see on G+ that some pictures had been leaked...]

Q&A Session

Q: Are you going to publish conversion rules for 13G/HQ/RQ?
A: No, because those rules sets aim at different gaming experiences.
Q: What happens to non-Gloranthan RQ6?
A: No standalone core engine, no third party products; any future "RQ6"-like product by TDM will be a standalone game à la Mythic Iceland.
Q: What do you suggest as an introduction to Glorantha for newbies?
A: HeroQuest: Glorantha, or the upcoming 13G or CRQ. They are all self-contained Gloranthan books.
Q: Talk to us about your fiction line.
A: We definitely want to revive it; we feel it's been neglected. At the moment we're still in the assessment phase.
Q: What happens to Magic World?
A: We simply do not have time to focus on all game lines.
Q: What happens to 3rd party licences?
A: The Laundry stays. Alephtar Games have lost theirs. Jeff says "If anybody has a great idea, they just come to me". But the idea is, again, to aim at standalone games.
Q: Are your games going to be available at game stores?
A: CoC 7e and 13G certainly.
Q: What about Pendragon?
A: Ask Greg!

on display

the new Chaosium

We then had a sort of short Sandy Petersen Games panel on top of the Chaosium seminar. In the pipe:
 - Cthulhu Wars Onslaught (extensions, new figures)
 - Gods War. New improved version compared with last year. KS early next year.


Tested the new Gods War. The game mechanics have been slightly improved. The game is still pretty long (more than 2hrs for a four-player game). And I really, really would like to see some statistics. I think Chaos is too strong, no matter what they say.


Played Cthulhu Wars with the new factions extensions, I got Yog-Sothoth (and summoned Him too late).

Played Operation Market Garden and won at last.


Playtested my game again, and rather successfully too.


Played in Jason Durall's The Akkadian Stars Are Right, powered by Magic World but set in a hybrid Bronze Age/Sci-Fi world, not unlike my own Glorantha in Space. I enjoyed the adventure very much!

SUNDAY 4 OCTOBER, early afternoon

GM'ed my RQ:AiG scenario, Swenstown's Sour Secrets, that I had been preparing for weeks (I had forgotten the pain that stat blocks and creating pre-gens could be for such a detailed system). I was so immersed in my GM'ing that I forgot to take any pictures!

my daughter preparing the map for the Swenstown game

Anyway, it was fantastic fun. I am planning on running it another time in Paris and then I'll probably publish it in The Hanging Garden.

SUNDAY 4 OCTOBER, late afternoon

Pancake Wars– Which ones are the best? Finnish or Dutch? Honestly, BOTH.


Sandy Petersen entertained us to many anecdotes from all his years of gaming and of running gaming companies. Enormous fun.

that was before he started giggling

And then the closing ceremony, and then the sad farewell on Monday morning. I don't even want to recall that part. There should be a Kraken every three or four months!!!

my daughter



  1. I'm eagerly awaiting the next issue of The Hanging Garden already! :-)

  2. Was there an explanation for the end of the Alephtar license? I still don't see why they did that.

    Oh, and of course, I'm ready to trade a beer for the secret mentioned above. :)

  3. @Phersu: that'll be TWO secrets then that I can tell you when you buy me a beer ;-)