Posts Tagged ‘conventions’
Going to NorWesCon 36? Want to hear me flap at the mouth? I’ll be there!
System Matters: The Right RPG for the Job
Friday 1:00 PM, Cascade 2
Like the invisible hand of fate, the rules you use weigh on every aspect of your game sometimes in ways you aren’t even aware of. Are you using the right tool for the job, or do you always use the same hammer for every task? You may be sabotaging your game before you even sit down at the table.
John Harper (M), Ben Robbins, Chris Pramas, Aveloc Twiceborn, Ryan Macklin
Creativity and Disabilities
Friday 6:00 PM, Cascade 13
Whether your problems are physical or psychological, there’s no denying that being creative and creating art is difficult to almost impossible when a disability stands in your way. Come learn how different artists and writers work with, past, or through their personal disabilities and limitations to create their art.
Lillian Cohen-Moore (M), Ellen Forney, Julie Baroh, Ryan Macklin
Gaming & Community
Friday 9:00 PM, Cascade 12
Game communities have grown beyond small game clubs, web forums and IRC as social networking has integrated with game companies and created even more game communities. Our panelists will discuss social networking and creating a positive community via chat tools, web forums, Twitter, Facebook, and third-party news or blogs.
Bob Kruger (M), Erik Mona, Ryan Macklin
D&D vs Story Games
Saturday 2:00 PM, Cascade 12
D&D and Pathfinder may be the most well-known role-playing games, but indie games like Fiasco and Polaris are becoming more popular. Can these two genres co-exist in the same room together? What do they have in common, and what are the benefits and limitations of each style of play? Is it possible to like both? Industry experts and indie creators discuss the differences between traditional tabletop role-playing games, GM-less story games, and everything in between.
Ashley Cook (M), Ben Robbins, Erik Mona, John Harper, Jonathan Tweet, Ryan Macklin
Friday through Sunday, wherever there is booze
You can also come drink with me and stuff! I’m happy to talk about whatever (barring real-world politics). Or maybe we’ll play a game of Hit a Dude. Whatever.
Ryan Macklin (M), other various humans
Now that I’m back from Gen Con, PAX is upon us! Here’s my (rather short & pleasant schedule):
The Art of the Table II: Return to the Table
Friday 9pm — Raven Theater
Ben Mandall, Jeff Fasenfest, Sage LaTorra, Ryan Macklin, Jess Hartley, Erik Mona, Robert Gifford, Mat Margalis
The Art of the Table is back to delve into the heart of what makes for a truly great experience at the gaming table! You’ve spent years harrying your players, running them ragged in diabolical adventures and fiendish dungeons… Or maybe you’ve left a trail of broken GMs and mangled quests in your wake. When rules knowledge is no longer an issue, how can focusing on such things as improvisation, in-character roleplay, and story structure help enhance a game? Does the alignment of your gaming table really matter? Just which house rules really work? Come dig deeper into what makes a good RPG and what turns a good GM into a great one.
Saturday 10am to 2pm — Room 301
I’ll be running Mythender for up to four people. It’s first-come, first-serve, and sign-ups are in Tabletop Hadquarters in room 204.
Indie Games on Demand
Room 305 and 306 — @pax_indie_rpgs
I’m not schedule to be on Indie Games on Demand specifically, but time I’m not spending wandering the hall or getting food will likely be spent here. So, if you’re looking to catch me, this is a good bet! (After spending most of Gen Con booked, I’m pretty happy to have loads of flexible time for PAX.)
Query: Looking for Crash Space
So I don’t have to drive into Seattle & deal with parking every day, I’m hoping some kind soul will have some crash space (even a floor) so that I can avoid such suffering.
[Will be updated as more info happens.]
As some of you might know (and more will after reading this), I’m an Industry Insider Guest of Honor this year at Gen Con. As such, I’m on six panels:
Beyond Child’s Play – Raising Money for Charity with Gaming Events
Thursday 1pm — Westin Council — SEM1238067
Tavis Allison, Ryan Macklin, Elizabeth Shoemaker Sampat
Gamers are as generous & have raised thousands of dollars for worthy causes. Learn how you can use your gaming skills to help a cause. Talk will include: successes, new projects & how to get involved.
Working With Licensed Intellectual Properties
Thursday 3pm — ICC 211 — SEM1238052
Steve Kenson, T.S. Luikart, Ryan Macklin, Stan!
Industry Insider Guests of Honor discuss the issues and pitfalls of working with someone else’s property and dealing with fan expectations of said property.
Editing And Indie Games
Friday 10am — ICC 210 — SEM1238034
Michelle Lyons, Ryan Macklin
Have a game that needs an editor’s touch but don’t know what to ask? Learn what makes a book user-friendly, how organization affects use, & what the unforgivable sins are BEFORE your book is in print.
The Inner-Demons and the Tribe: Dealing with Depression as a Gamer
Friday 1pm — Crowne Plaza, Hay Market B — SEM1237839
Philippe-Antoine Menard, others (including me)
A discussion about gamers dealing with depression. Using personal experiences as people diagnosed with depressions, we explore strategies to overcome it, including tapping into our tribes.
Freelancing In The Game Industry
Friday 2pm — ICC 210 — SEM1238038
Matt Forbeck, Steve Kenson, Ryan Macklin, Gareth-Michael Skarka, Christine Stiles
Want to write for games? Our Industry guests have years of freelancing experience & will share their wisdom on how to find work, how to get more work, & how to succeed as a game industry freelancer.
Doing Kickstarter Right
Saturday 11am — ICC 210 — SEM1238042
Ryan Macklin, Gareth-Michael Skarka, Richard Thomas
Talk with successful Kickstarter publishers on how they did their Kickstarter. Topics discussed are: lessons learned, mistakes made, and plans for the future.
Getting The Most Out Of Working With Editors
Saturday 5pm — ICC 210 — SEM1238046
Jess Hartley, Michelle Lyons, Ryan Macklin, Richard Thomas
Geared to new writers our panelists discuss how to find an editor, establish a good rapport with them, & how to get the most out of that relationship. Lead by editors who are Industry Insider guests!
Games on Demand
Sunday 10am to 2pm — ICC 242
I’ll be at Games on Demand (@games_on_demand) off and on throughout the show, dropping by to say hey to peeps and maybe even get a short game in between panels. But I also wanted to bookmark some time to help Steve Segedy (this year’s GoD runner) out, so if you’re interested, check me out then! I might run Mythender, though a little bird tells me that other people will be running it as well!
If I get involved in anything else, I’ll update this page.
Here’s a thought for publishers out there of the small press stuff. For the past several years, I’ve flown around from convention to convention running indie games for people. Many of them try several games, like sampling a buffet. If I’m excited about a game, like I am right now about running Technoir tonight, I’d like to leave an physical impression on them as well as an experiential one, to maybe get them to check out the game.
So, publishers, how about this: make a one-page document that has fliers for your game on it. Make it so that one page will print out six, ideally 3×2 or 2×3, whichever. Make it easy to cut out after printing from a normal desktop printer, that doesn’t look weird because the outer margins are larger than the inner ones — take mandatory page margins into account. Put your game’s name/logo, your name/company name, website, and maybe one more line on it, and you’re done.
If you’re compelled to make a color version, also make a black & white version for those who don’t have color or are trying to avoid using whatever color you are because they’re out of that ink. Similarly, don’t make an ink-heavy version…or if you do, make an ink-non heavy version too (both to save the ink and to not have the end product have ripples from wet ink drying).
Here’s a text mockup:
high tech, hard-boiled roleplaying
by Jeremy Keller
Check out the free players guide at TechnoirRPG.com
Not that I’m a visual designer. That’s someone else’s job, like the wonderfully talented Jeremy Keller. Now, maybe no one will use it, but is there harm in throwing it out there and seeing what happens?
For those games that have related games, like the various in the GUMSHOE line, you could also use this as a space to direct to those games. (Edit: Kit adds a smart idea in the comments about tying this to a meeting/networking/friend-making element.)
(I’m pretty sure I wrote about this idea years ago on my LiveJournal, but that was an eon ago in Internet time.)
A thing that the conventions in the San Francisco Bay Area tend to do regarding game sign-ups is a lottery system for knowing who’s in a given game. Here’s how they work:
- You sign up for a game, either for one game or a cascading list of preferences
- At some point, a “shuffler” assigns everyone to a game
- Often, before the event
- Sometimes, the morning of the day those games are to be run
- You eventually find out what games you’re in
- Sometimes before the event
- Sometimes first thing when the event goes live, for all the games
- Sometimes very shortly before the game happens
This is seen by some as better than a first-come, first-serve sign-up solution. But for the life of me, I have never seen it executed well. This is something that’s been on my mind since I’ve been managing the Nerdly Beach Parties, where I used a modified first-come, first-serve system.
Let’s talk about the problems lottery style causes:
Inability to Plan for Far Away Conventions
When you don’t know what your plans are for a convention, driving or flying to it becomes unworthwhile. Back when the Good Omens mini-cons were lottery-based, those were the Minicons at Endgame that my Sacramento friends & I intentionally missed.
Now, at least with the Good Omens cons, we found out a week or so before what games we might be in. But that doesn’t really help those who might fly up (as some of the LA indie crowd are starting to do with the Minicons) or negotiate with significant others for a weekend road trip.
Ever meet someone who finds comfort in knowing how their day’s going to be? If you’ve met me, then you have. I deal with clinical anxiety, and I honestly would rather know I’m not in a game (and thus know to make my own fun) than not know until it’s too late to effectively plan around it. Thus, when I find myself at a convention that does lottery systems (which only happens at cons I’m invited to be a special guest at, since I don’t elect them on my own), I never engage with the system. I’d rather cruise around and find stragglers for a pick-up game than deal with an anxiety trigger.
If you know how many slots are in a given game, and know how many slots are left open, in a first-come, first-serve situation you can add yourself to the list if there’s space or to a wait list. But a lottery system, you can add yourself to the list, possibly kicking someone else off of the game.
When you add your name in the hopes that you’ll get into a game that’s overfull, you’re hoping that you’ll kick someone else out of a game. That’s pretty shitty.
Now, sometimes you don’t know the state of a game’s sign ups, which then causes worse problems about planning — you have no idea if you’re subscribing to a very popular game where your chances of being taken are slim, because everyone’s signing up for it since there’s no information about how full it is.
A similar problem happens when you don’t report slots filled/empty with first-come, first-serve. So it’s good to always display that, regardless of sign-up scheme.
Inability to Plan for Partner/Group Participation
Maybe you and your significant other prefer to game together. Or you and some good friends that you haven’t seen in months want to get into a game together. The lottery system could fuck you on that, and then you’re left with either playing in different games, or ditching on a game you wanted to in order to hang out with your friend/SO.
And the biggest problem…
It Doesn’t Solve Organizer Headaches
Sean Nittner is the head of the Good Omens minicons. He used to do the lottery system, but this past year decided to ditch it for the first-come, first-server system that Endgame normally uses. Here was his take on it:
I tried both first-come, first-served and shuffler methods. Gamers had legitimate complaints about both of them, but the issues with shufflers hit people right in the pocketbook. Gas, hotel rooms, and restaurant food is expensive. To pay all that while attend a con where you might not get into games is rough on the wallet. The experience is also a giant disappointment, especially considering the investment in attending a con. So, I know FCFS has legitimate faults, but it doesn’t make false promises and it allows you to plan how you spend your time and money informed rather than in the dark.
Plus, FCFS is far easier to administer than any shuffler system I’ve ever seen or heard of.
There you go. It is a lot less work to do first-come, first-serve. Sure, it has its own problems, but they’re problems people know how to deal with. When you don’t get into FCFS games, it’s partly on you, because you didn’t register in time or didn’t know in time, whatever. When you don’t in a lottery system, it’s entirely the convention’s fault that your experience sucks.
No system’s perfect. But lottery systems are a holdover from back when nearly every game was AD&D or Champions or a very small number of other games, thus shuffling people into one AD&D game over another was less drastic.
Here’s a question: do you support the lottery systems? Why? Justify its existence. Tell me why it’s a good idea, and not just an archaic holdover that’s designed to punish people who want popular games.