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"Thoughts on preparing games for a convention" Topic

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489 hits since 6 Jun 2018
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Stew art Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2018 7:17 a.m. PST

Hey all!

I'm currently mulling over what games I want to host for Pacificon in about 3 months, and I wrote down some things I think about before deciding on what to do..

kinda like the pre-game stage; more about logistics.

Posted it on the blog, have a look why not?



robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2018 7:56 a.m. PST

Hmm. Well, obviously you must please yourself. That's sort of the point. It makes sense for several reasons to host games in the same scale and using the same rules. My advice would be to pick the one which is closest to ready and get it absolutely ready--nothing more to buy or build for the convention game--before you even consider anything else. Then you'll have at least one.

Beyond that? Hold a practice game somewhere, which you should do anyway, but then load everything into the car in the order that you take it off the table. That way you can be sure of having everything, and when you unload the game at the convention, it will be in proper order with the mat on top.

And good luck!

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2018 8:18 a.m. PST

The biggest issue that I've seen in either playing in or helping with convention games is that most are way too ambitious. It's tempting to want to show off all of your miniatures, play large battles, etc., but that is the wrong way to do it. Choose something where each player gets a small-medium sized command, keep the objectives simple, explain the rules, then get going quickly. If you get the game finished with about 15-30 minutes to go in the time slot, mission accomplished.

WarWizard07 Jun 2018 9:11 a.m. PST

My suggestion is make a list of everything you need to take:
army A
army B
each terrain piece or each terrain box.

I always forget something crucial, and I have seen other GM's do same. So that is my starting point next time.

Oldgrumbler Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2018 11:31 a.m. PST

I find convention games to be a big gamble. At Kubla con I got stuck in a Guadalcanal game where each ship would unleash around 150 shells & then we would have to roll & see if the dinner bell was hit!

The there was the Sword & Flame game where the British has as many forces as the natives!

Rules to complex of bad scenarios are way too common in convention games.


Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2018 12:31 p.m. PST

Follow the rule of KISS. Not link but rather: Keep It Simple, Stupid!*

That means: clear objectives, manageable force for each player, manageable number of players on the table, rules summaries or charts for yourself and the players.

*and for the snowflakes, I should note that calling ourselves stupid helps us to stay humble and thus avoid the mistakes of hubris, such as trying to run a huge and complex game by ourselves!

Stew art Supporting Member of TMP07 Jun 2018 1:37 p.m. PST

Thanks for replies everyone!

I was trying to go for a post more about "what CAN I host" versus "what DO I want to host." Some of the comments are more about scenario design / selection (which I was thinking about doing in a part two) and I agree with the comments. I don't try to run huge complex games by my lonesome. I tend to follow the well established guiding principles of scenario design: 6 players max but I usually prefer 4, 6 -12 'things' to move around, and a couple of meaningful choices. Rules not too complex. The rules I mention in the blog post are Post Captain (Age of Sail), Regimental Fire and Fury (ACW), or Hail Caesar (Dark Ages). Non of those are really complex.

it is a balance though; you want to do something a little different / bigger bc it's a convention after all, but's it easy to over shoot.

The ACW collection is the most "convention ready" at the moment. I can put on small games (like I am at Midsummer conquest) to Medium sized ones without painting much of anything. Each side has about 120 ish stands ready to go.

it's just fun to think about. : )


Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP08 Jun 2018 5:34 p.m. PST

My biggest problem, even with local club games is matching travel distance with the time available. If a unit can move from start to finish in the time allotted, then it is wrong. GM often forget about the troops being held up by enemy. Thus units should be able, with no interference, move the distance in 1/2 the time allowed. Better if the game gets over a little too quickly than it is not resolved.

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