Saturday, July 13, 2019

Conventions. Gaming Styles, and Logistics

The style of games that I usually see...

... and the kind of games that I usually do.

We've just finished up with the huge local F/SF convention, Convergence, and as usual post-convention I'm being asked why I wasn't there and doing my bit for Tekumel and gaming in general by running games. This discussion normally begins at the beginning of the year before the local game convention, Con of the North, continues through Gary Con and Convergence, and usually ends with Gen Con.

The assumption that is normally being made is that my games are just like everyone else's, a battle mat with a grid, and maybe a few of the pre-painted vinyl figures. Gamers and event organizers, despite the number of photos I've sent out, are always surprised and shocked to hear that I don't game that way, and that I'm going to need a fixed base of operations for the duration of the event due to the sheer vastness of what I bring to an event.

The assumption is that I can move around the event at will, hopping from  table to table and two-hour time slot to two-hour time slot; conventions and events, these days, use the same 'through-put' business model that food courts and fast-food places use. More and shorter games mean more customers can be serviced in a shorter interval of time and space; quantity is far more important then quantity, which is most noticeable in the deafening noise levels in the gaming spaces; the event organizers can get more through-put at a lower cost by putting as many game tables in a given room space as possible. This economizes on event staff and maximizes profit for the organizers.

Well, I don't game that way, and I have been told to conform to the 'programming format' or not run games at that event. I am very happy to not run games, which also baffles event organizers - they usually view their events as having 'prestige' or 'premium' status, and I have to say that the statement by an old friend is my mantra: "No gaming is better then bad gaming."

Som it's looking like that any games I run in the future will be here in my own game room; I like to run long-term campaigns / 'open ended sandbox play' anyway, and it's just easier on me to do things the way I always have. It takes as much effort to load out, set up, tear down, and load in a one day event as it does a four day event, and I normally get no help on either end of the logistics exercise. And I have to run the games in between, as well, so it just gets to be far more trouble then the trip may be worth.

Oh, and yes, I am expected to foot all the bills for these event out of my pocket. For what I've spent this year alone on other peoples' events, I could have run a pretty decent little convention all by myself.

So, a change in direction seems to be in the wind - or maybe a return to my core values, perhaps...


  1. You have the right of it, Chirine. Wish I could join you in your basement campaigns!

  2. I'm glad you think so, and you will be able to. The Windows 10 machine will enable this.

  3. That will be terrific! I'll have my dice handy... 🎲

  4. Two-hour game slots?? That's ridiculous! You barely have time to set up an play a turn or two before it's time to pack up. I'm glad my local wargames convention still has four-hour sessions.

  5. Shows in the US seem to be very difference than in the UK. In the U.K. They are one day events with the focus on the spectacle and the game. You turn up in the morning and set up. Then show/play your game for the rest of the day.

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