Take on Game Day (Part 2 of N)

I began this multipart series by going over the when and where of game day and getting help. Refining that post, the initial help I was going for was to make sure that I knew what I was personally risking as well as I might be able to give to the GMs for their time.

The next step was very organic.

Getting GMs to Run Games

Remember, my initial focus was to create a role-playing game day. So I needed GMs. But how many? I had no idea. My first estimate was that I could stretch and get 25 RPG gamers; I also knew that I could get boardgame gamers, but boardgames are a bit more self-organizing that role-playing games (more on that in another post).

I began writing a list of potential GMs – and according to my handwritten notebook, I started the speculation on or before September 2nd. With names in hand, I began reaching out. Slowly getting commitments, until I felt as though I had enough GMs.

Many thanks to Derek Stoelting, Steve Sigety, Sean O’Shea, Nick Garcia, Joe Ingold, Jacob Kemery, David Morford, and Matt Boersma. Everyone has spoken very highly of the games you ran and facilitated.

Have a Back-up Plan

But I didn’t stop there. I began securing a few alternate GMs. After all, someone may end up sick or stuck in Columbus during an epic snow storm. For each time slot, I had at least one alternate person ready to run something at the drop of a hat (i.e. Dungeon World, Hollowpoint, Fiasco, and Microscope were some of the backups).

Now Find the Players

And with many GMs set, I began recruiting players for those games. And slowly the games took form. I used Facebook as my main event page but kept the information on this blog. I also kept a Google Docs spreadsheet of events as well as a separate sheet for tracking all the other details (i.e. what needed doing, what to bring, etc.).

Ultimately, I relied on my long time face to face friends to be the base for the gameday, and then engaged several Facebook groups. And by engage, I mean taking to heart what I had learned in my years in University Communications at Notre Dame. I needed to communicate details, and engage with my audience, and educate as needed. (Don, I was listening to all of that stuff, even though I was also keeping Conductor afloat.)

I also made extensive use of Google+ as a sounding board for some things. After all it is my goto location for interacting with table top gamers. If you are a pen and paper gamer, I cannot encourage you enough to join Google+; there are lots of things going on there.

And as Gameday approached I made one audible play that made all of the difference, but more on that in my next post. 

Take on Game Day (Part 1 of N)

When I returned from GenCon 20132012, I was eager to coordinate and facilitate a role-playing game day. Perhaps something analogous to the wildly fantastic Games on Demand, but mindful of the number of potential RPG players. In early September, I began looking into venues.

Where and When

First and foremost, I knew that I wanted something in downtown Goshen. There were a few options, and with a bit of searching, I found the Ballroom of the Goshen Theater. With a venue, I began thinking about dates.

I was dead set on having the game day at one of the downtown locations, because I wanted to support downtown Goshen. I also wanted to showcase Goshen for any out-of-town attendees.

Whenever I explain Goshen to someone I say “We’ve got one of most everything you’d want, but certainly no more (though when it comes to authentic Mexican food, we’ve got plenty more).”

While I was looking into locations, Derek Stoelting was coordinating a game day in South Bend in October – I wish I would’ve been there but it was fall break and me and my family were in Kansas visiting my brother.

Not wanting to compete with another RPG game day, I began looking further out. November seemed too close to the October game day. December…dumb. That left January or later.

The Ballroom was open most of the weekends in January. Being a divorced dad with alternating week with my kids, I decided to schedule this first one on a weekend that I didn’t have my kids; They would still be able to attend (I had cleared that with their mom), but I wouldn’t be getting them and the game day around at the same time. Note: Simplify your schedule!

This left a few Saturday:

  • Jan 12th – too close to the holidays
  • January 26th – nothing I could think of, though Winter Fantasy was likely
  • February 9th – a game convention in Kalamazo was likely happening Marmalade Dog
  • February 23rd – nothing that I knew of, but it was getting a bit late

I pulled the trigger and went with January 26th. Reasoning/Rationalizing that most participants would likely not be attending Winter Fantasy. With the ink drying, I remembered: “Oh yeah, the BoardGamers of Michiana will be meeting then. I should reach out to them.”

Next Steps – Getting Help

Almost immediately, I began reaching out for sponsors, both near and far. And boy did I get a lot. Immediately, VSCA and Magpie Games offered up some books. And Better World Books (Goshen) offered help as well.

By the end, I had 4 local sponsors:

And 7 sponsors from afar (many provided physical books and others provided PDFs, both forms were very much appreciated):

During September and October, I was very diligent about securing sponsors, because I knew November and December would be a lot more crazy for everyone.

As it turns out all of this early planning and leg work really helped set me at ease about the January game day.

All of this was laying the groundwork for the next step…getting GMs to run games. But I’ll save that for my next post.

The Role-Playing Games of the Goshen Game Day

You may not be aware of what each of the offered RPGs are. Here is my 11th attempt to help you choose from games that are still open.

Fiasco

Fiasco is a game about ordinary people with powerful ambition and poor impulse control.”

Game Day Session

It’s a reality show meets the beginning of the apocalypse deal. Using the Hollywood Wives and Zombie Apocalypse setups.

No one was ready for the outbreak, the madness, and the terror. Throughout America a group of honest folk gather; people ready to take back their lives from the shambling hordes.

You are not one of those people…

It’s “Born Under a (Hollywood) Sign”. The nations soon to be infamous reality show. It’s power lunches, spa days, and thousand dollar shopping sprees. You and you fellow cast members are ready to take the good things in life. Aspiring actors, trust fund babies, and wannabe music sensations grasping for their fifteen minutes. Well, at least it was before the Zombies. And the cameras rolling; apocalypse or not…

Eclipse Phase

Eclipse Phase is a pen & paper roleplaying game of post-apocalyptic transhuman conspiracy and horror.”

GAME DAY SESSION

  • Rules taught, no familiarity needed
  • Characters provided, percentile dice required

An introductory adventure into the world of Eclipse Phase. The party is sent on a mission investigating rumors of a black market weapons dealer offering some sort of devastating weapons technology for sale.

Call of Cthulhu

Call of Cthulhu is is a horror roleplaying game…based upon the writings of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and a few others”

GAME DAY SESSION

“The North Woods”: In 1927, a group of investigators looks into the strange events happening in in the hills of Vermont.

  • Rules taught, no experience necessary
  • Pre-generated characters provided; percentile dice, d8s, d6s required
  • 3-4 players

Apocalypse World

Apocalypse World is a darling of the RPG scene, having spawned numerous hacks and full-blown publications (i.e. Dungeon World, Monsterhearts, Monster of the Week, Saga of the Icelanders, tremulus, etc).

GAME DAY SESSION

“So, like, a while back, everybody died. Well, not everybody. But most people. My greatpops says it was them Greens. One day, he says he says, they show up and say get on board these big cars, and then everybody just went away like whoosh up and up and through the cloud-ceiling I guess. Greatpops he says he says it’s like when the cars used to race on the iron tracks in the Dark between stations, but, like, without tracks, because there’s no kinda tracks in the sky.

Anyway, That’s why we all live underground now. They, the Greens I mean, they took most of the good stuff. Besides the people, I mean, but most of them wasn’t probably that good anyway.

Anyway, so, that’s why we hunt Upstairs for whateverwhatever we can find. I wanna hunt on the Big Stank! Because that’s where the forrealz barter is, duh, so what if it’s stank. Bet I could find some trashes so shiny I buy a bath every day!

Anywayanyway, I don’t wanna stay Downstairs, cuz, like, it’s boringboring, and everybody makes like they gonna finish what them Greens started. And lately there’s crybabies comin up from the Basement, and they says they says they got eyes on somethin weird, maybe. Me? I’d rather get sharp and go hard up-there like. I’m be queen’a’dis!”

Microscope

Microscope is a very atypical role-playing game. Instead of playing a single character, you will be the metaphorical producer, director, and screenwriter for a grand sweeping story.

“You won’t play the game in chronological order. You can defy the limits of time and space, jumping backward or forward to explore the parts of the history that interest you. Want to leap a thousand years into the future and see how an institution shaped society? Want to jump back to the childhood of the king you just saw assassinated and find out what made him such a hated ruler? That’s normal in Microscope.” – lamemage.com

The When and Where of Goshen Game Day

Full Details available here

When: Saturday January 26th, 2013 from 9:30am until 11pm or so.

Where: At the Ballroom of the Goshen Theater in downtown Goshen, IN (see the map below or use the link to Google Maps).

Who is this for: For table-top board gamers, role-players, and card players.

What to do before hand: You don’t need to pre-register or anything. If you want to play in a scheduled RPG you should contact me to reserve a slot. Here are the current reservations.

What to bring:

  • $5 for admission per person
  • Optional – A game or two to play
  • Optional – Games to sell by consignment (20% consignment fee)
  • Optional – Additional money to purchase re-rolls throughout the day (Max $6)
Goshen Game Day

Goshen Game Day

A Father and Son Night of Marvel Heroic RPG

In preparation for the Goshen Game Day, last Sunday Nick Garcia ran a game of Marvel Heroic RPG. He wanted to familiarize himself with the mechanics and see how long the session would take.

I played Beast and Aidan, my son, played Wolverine. It was strangely reminiscent of real life. For those parents, stick with me, because I think there is a learning experience present in this game.

Sidebar: I’ve watched some X-Men cartoons and moves, but have never read the comics. I do know that Wolverine is a hot-head and Beast is much more calm and collected.

Sidebar 2: There were other players and it was great playing with them, but I’m focusing in on one interaction at the game table.

Wolverine has an Beserk SFX (i.e. special ability) that allows for him to borrow a dice from the Doom Pool (i.e. the dice the GM uses to challenge the players), then return the dice stepped up (i.e. the returned dice is now more dangerous in the GMs hands).

Beast has an Oh My Stars and Garters SFX that allows him to pay a Plot Point (i.e. in game currency used to do something “better” but gained through complications/”bad” things happening to the character) to borrow a dice from the Doom Pool then return the dice stepped down (i.e. the returned dice is now less dangerous in the GMs hands).

Play went like this

  • Wolverine would borrow a dice from the Doom Pool.
  • Wolverine would use the dice.
  • Wolverine would return a larger, more dangerous dice, to the Doom Pool
  • Beast would spend a “hard earned” Plot Point to borrow a dice from the Doom Pool.
  • Beast would use the dice.
  • Beast would return a smaller, less dangerous dice, to the Doom Pool

So here was a case where Beast, at a personal cost, was keeping Wolverine’s recklessness in check – though Aidan recognized that borrowing a d12 may not be a bad thing.

What I would really like to see is both Aidan and I playing Wolverine and Beast to the point where we both understand that interaction. Then switch characters so that he was playing Beast and I was playing Wolverine. Would Aidan notice the shift, and have a more hawkish eye for the doom pool? Would I be able to Beserk with reckless abandon?

And all of this is to say kudos to Margaret Weid Productions for delivering a nuanced game that can so wonderfully models iconic characters, interactions, behaviors, and powers via mechanics . This experience has me very much interested in the Leverage and Smallville RPGs.