Before I left, I managed to cajole the esteemed Tavis Allison into running a playtest session of Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, which has been the subject of much blogosphere discussion of late. I had a blast rolling up and playing Mortigaunt the Necromancer (and his 0-level followers, Lucky Lorinc and Goodwife Cump). If you want to know more, you should check out Tavis' rundown of the session over at The Mule Abides.
I think people who are writing the game off as yet another retroclone are going to be very surprised with the final product. Mechanically, DCC was satisfyingly wild, and felt like a strange (and wonderful) amalgamation of classic Dungeons & Dragons and my beloved Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. In feel, it's much more like pulp fantasy or sword & sorcery than "vanilla" D&D. Magic (which followers of this blog know is one the areas where I feel D&D could use some extra spice) is refreshingly dangerous and exciting, and many of the concepts around which DCC's magic system is built mirror my preferences strongly. I'm very much looking forward to putting the game through its paces when it goes into open beta testing later this year.
(I signed an NDA which I believe keeps me from blabbing overmuch about the mechanics of the game, but suffice it to say that I was quite impressed with what I saw. Of course, my fellow players and I perceived a few wrinkles here and there, but I think we brainstormed several potentially useful solutions to them... which is the point of playtesting, after all.)
It's too bad my grand NYC experiment didn't work out, but now that I've relocated, I have a lot to be excited about. I'm looking forward to concentrating on my return to grad school, and, of course, finding another group!