In the past #RPGaDAY events, the four days of Gen Con had questions that revolved around game conventions. This year, there aren’t any. So for the next four days, I’ll be covering topics about gaming conventions. The one “official” prompt I’m interested in pursuing from this time frame will show up on the 8th.

Today, in question form: What are your plans for conventions in the future?

While I enjoy Gen Con, I don’t see me attending again unless I’m there as part of a company. It’s grown too large for me to handle. Last year on Day 14, where the topic was “Should I attend Gen Con?”, I wrote a bit about an episode of Ken Hite and Robin Laws’ podcast discussing that convention. The takeaway line from that was Ken saying, “I hate to say it, because Gen Con used to be great one-stop shopping for freelancers… I would find it amazing if a freelancer was able to get two words of quality time, edgewise, with a busy booth owner.

gen-con-crowd

The three years I attended, I barely got much networking done because the exhibit hall really is that busy. After hours events, I either wouldn’t know of because I was new in the field, or if I did know, it’s all these established people meeting with their friends they only see these few evenings in the year. Who am I to intrude on their time?

So next year, I’m only going to attend Gen Con if I’m doing booth duty.

The issue with that is staffing: I could have attended this year as part of one crew, but they had enough people to manage their booth.

So I’m not there this year.

Metatopia is the next convention on my radar. It’s somewhat local (a full day’s drive down), small, and full of game designers and developers. It seems like a casual convention where I can network with others.[1] I’m going to keep my eye out on this one and debate if I should attend or not. Right now, I’m at 60% certain to attend.

Next up, PAX East, my local convention at a quick ninety-minute drive away. I attended the show in 2012 with Fantasy Flight Games, but the size of the convention has grown so quickly it sells out in minutes. So it’s not exactly that I won’t go unless I’m there with a company, it’s that I can’t go unless a company needs me.

Origins 2017: I’m 99% there. It seems to be the convention for networking now that Gen Con is so huge. Plus airfare and hotels are cheaper. I’m looking forward to that one.

And then Gen Con 2017. Probably not.

One year ago: Most Surprising Game

Last year’s answer was Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. It was one of those games that changed the way I ran games. The next game that changed how I run games is Apocalypse World. Even if you don’t play Apocalypse World, you’ve got to read that “Master of Ceremonies” chapter.

This is the first game that explicitly told me to be fans of the protagonists. That was revolutionary: other games I’ve played and read were all about creating a story and working together. As the GM, you’re often placed in a somewhat adversarial role: you create the villains, the plots, and see how the heroes get through. In Apocalypse World, the game pushes you closer to the players’ side; it commands you to be fans of their characters. Approach the game that way instead of asking how you’re going to challenge Keth or Ciaran this game session. It’s a small shift in perception that has a profound effect in game play.

So many other bits in that MC section are like that: play to see what happens, abandon your story structure and put the PCs into situations, name everyone the protagonists encounter.

That one chapter is worth the price of the book. Plus, you get what’s becoming my favorite roleplaying game.

Two years ago: Most Recent RPG Purchase

Then it was Star Wars: Age of Rebellion. Today I’m going with a cheat: Worlds of Android. It’s a setting book for Fantasy Flight Game’s Android line: Netrunner, Infiltration, New Angeles. Although they are all boardgames, I believe we’ll see an announcement of an Android RPG within the next two years. I’m looking at Worlds of Android as a sourcebook for that game that may or may not come.

  1. Metatopia feels like it’s also mostly small press publishers. []

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