But I had a blast. Instead of playing a published game, I opted to play a whole lot of the the Games on Demand LARP. The rules were somewhat simple – though I think the current Host move When you facilitate a transition may need some tweaking. If I'm not mistaken the rules for the LARP are in early Alpha stage…I know they were changing during GenCon.
- The Games on Demand LARP ran continuous for 12 hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdary; and 4 hours on Sunday.
- There are three classes of characters in the Games on Demand LARP – Host, GM, and Player. A handful of subclasses emerged throughout the LARP, more on that later.
- New GMsand Hosts arrive every 2 hours, on the evens, and many played for 4 or more hours straight. Many of the GMs and Hosts were previously scheduled.
- New Players arrived every 2 hours, on the evens, though some spent an hour or more in the Player generation line.
- The GM provides an ideally short list of games that they are passionate, excited and well prepared to run.
- The GM demands that the Host find Players to play in one of the GM‘s games.
- The Host negotiates and sells the games to the Players.
- There were some slots that were already locked in via the scheduling system…you know kind of like when your bot takes damage in RoboRally.
- Some Players arrived with generic tickets for any time. Yet there were a subclass of Players that had tickets for a specific time slot, though not for a specific game as per the locked via the scheduling system.
- The Host role was a bit different. A Host was responsible for matching Players and GMs while recording what the GMs were excited to run, what table they were running at, and what the elevator pitches were for the GMs games of choice.
- Some Players ended up offering to subclass into GM as they grabbed the When you facilitate Fiasco move.
- Some people showed up, not on schedule, and offered to be GM for a slot or two
I spent most of my time involved with the Games on Demand LARP, though I was very mindful of my hunger and hydration levels. I drank lots of water and ate lots of snacks.s
For Thursday, my frist slot was as Player in a Fiasco game (Dragon Slayers playset). I then was GM for a game of Dungeon World (using one of Jason Morningstar‘s adventures). And my final slot, I took was a GM with the Facilitate Two Games of Fiasco subclass. This was crazy interesting, but I believe things went off well.
For Friday, my first and second slot was as a GM for Fiasco. As my second slot wrapped up early, I grabbed a Host playbook and began LARPing. It was kind of a jolting transition, but I think I pulled it off. For the last slot, I ended up as a Player in a Cthulhu Dark game.
Saturday, having tasted the power of the Host class, I went all in – I actually think this class may be broken as the Host has such power over the GM and Player classes. I ended up playing Host for 5 of the six slots. During one of those slots, an interesting subclass emerged Host as I selected the When you facilitate Fiasco move from the GM playbook.
Sunday, I was spent and skipped out on the Games on Demand LARP. I would've been up for more had I not stayed up way too late continuing the LARP back at the hotel – more on that in a later post.
Having played lots of Host role, I can say that most of the Players that remained in the line ended up getting paired up with a GM. Lots of the Players ended up playing games that were pitched to them by the GM on the spot – Mongolian Goat Rodeo, School Daze, Spark, GxB, and a whole bunch of other games as well.
One crazy GM facilitated a 6 vs. 6 game of the Marvel Heroic RPG using the Civil War characters. I didn't hear the detailed results of that game, but I can assure you that the 12 Players had a unique experience for that slot.
The Players may not have known what the game was before hand, but the Players that I encountered afterwards had a great time.
Several of the games that were played at Games on Demand were run by the GMs that created the game. That is someone passionate and prepared for their role as GM!
As Host I recall only one disgruntled Player, with a scheduled generic ticket, walking away from Games on Demand, upset that there were no openings for games she wanted to play. While I had empathy for her plight, I didn't have sympathy, because there were still 2 GMs looking for a Player – and one of them was Fiasco.
To be fair to her, she did have a time-scheduled ticket that should've meant she got to go to the head of the Player generation line and therefore get to pick her GM earlier. At the time, however, I was unaware of the time-scheduled tickets, so I wasn't separating the Player generation line. This was quickly corrected.
The Alpha version of the rules creaked and groaned under the explosive growth of the number of people involved. Last year, there were 7 tables in a remote corner of a GenCon hotel with what I believe to have been ample overflow room. This year, there were 12 tables one floor directly above the exhibit hall, with erratic overflow options.
For a small volunteer army of GMs and Hosts, I believe we managed to facilitate a lot of people having fun playing games that may have been new to them. I know the room was always charged with excitement.