Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 2012

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We meet one Saturday a month from 12pm to 9pm to play Indie RPGs. Check our Meetup site for dates and times. Post here for suggestions, comments, ideas for upcoming events and loving good vibes.

Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 2012

Postby Epistolary Richard » 11:08pm on 01 Dec 12

Morning slot

Durance - Piers +4
Fiasco - Ash +5
Forsooth! - Richard +3
Love in the Time of Seid - Steph +4
Mouse Guard - Pete +5

Afternoon slot

Microscope (demo) - Richard +6
Microscope (full) - Robert +3
Monsterhearts - Richard+Robert +3
Mouse Guard - Pete +5
Witch - Steph +5

"Preevening" slot - which we managed to squeeze in before the bell

Microscope (demo) - Richard +6
Forsooth! - Richard +3

10 games, 2 demos and (accounting for the people who played twice) no fewer than 44 separate satisfied punters :D (and that's not counting Robert who actually was a punter, but heroically stepped forward to cover the Monsterhearts set-up and then run a full game of Microscope *cue Rocky music*). We actually had 14 different games on offer and yet still got a request for a Kiwi indie game that we had never heard of. :oops:

What an introduction to Dragonmeet - and indeed big con gaming - for me. A long day, but it flew by as the tables started to fill 20 minutes after the doors opened right up until they kicked us out. Big indie love to everyone who stepped forward in the last few days (and even on the day itself) to GM - Piers, Ash, Steph, Pete & especially Robert (as above!) - we needed every single one of you! And also to Graham, Alex and Stuart working downstairs for hyping iGoD and sending a steady stream of interested gamers our way (curses that we couldn't get that one guy a game of A Taste for Murder). And bigger big indie love to Piers for having made the Big IndieMeet Banner - we can't be sure how much of an impact having a huge Indiemeet logo right at the front of the queue had on the turnout, but in terms of brand awareness I can't believe any did better.

Yep, there are some lessons to learn and some enhancements to consider for the future, but right now congratulations all for your enormous effort that went into such a great event. :brofist:
"Asking Piers to a seminar about the state of the British RPG industry is like asking The Clash if they'd like to attend a Live Aid reunion." Baz King
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Not About Fig Swaddlers

Postby Pete » 1:49am on 02 Dec 12

Hurrah! Top banana day out in London. Many thanks to Cath and the other organisers for their work in making the venue and all that jazz silky as an otter's pocket.

Aye, Games on Demand was a corking success. Gratz to everyone who stepped up and ran stuff, and gratz to everyone that sent a stream of folks to the GoD area. Team effort and all, but special thanks to e-Rich for being a dynamo of organising energy, kudos dude.

pete-microscope-dragonmeet-2012.jpg
pete-microscope-dragonmeet-2012.jpg (151.74 KiB) Viewed 749 times

-- a cheesy grin in front of the detritus of Rob's Microscope game.

Full! The portion sizes at Wagamama's are for donkeys, gosh.

I ran two games of Mouse Guard as part of the Games on Demand effort. Both games had the maximum complement of 5 players and that's actually the first time I've run the game with so many players. I enjoyed both games, mucho thanks to all the players who stepped on up, but with 5 players the game play stre-eeee-tched out a good deal longer in duration than usual. I usually whip through the first GM+Player Turn cycle in about an hour and a half, including explaining the rules, but both of the games saw this cycle take roughly 2 hours: the action we churned through felt a tad thin gruel as a result of this stretching. 3-4 players maximum in future I reckon. (Or brutal pacing and whip cracking, vibes not conducive to chilled gaming.)

I managed to sit in on ~10 minutes of the seminar about the past, present, and future of gaming in the UK. It was a bit boring so I left. (Yeah, I know that ain't a hugely insightful or valuable comment, I'm just sharing.) My gaming puts me firmly in the small-press hippie hobbyist side of our hobby, on the long tail side of things where a 100 copy print run of a game is a stonking success. I'm enjoying the best period of gaming in my life, the future looks rosy from my side of the tiny pond, and yeah, I just don't care to hear jawing about the sales figures of our hobby's bigger publishers. ::shrug, each to their own::

Quotage

  • "Ya fig swaddler!" -- Indie Steph
  • "Yeah, the magic item was a Bag of ****, no ****. ::sad face::" -- [redacted]
Aye, another con light on good quotables. Still, fig swaddler?!? Hehe.

@Baz: I glimpsed you briefly from a distance, but was running Mouse Guard at the time so I thought it inopportune to rush away from the game to pump your hand.

@Mick: bah, missed you 'cos I was running games. Still, I did get to rub my bare belly on the outside window of the Giraffe restaurant while you were chowing down, bwahahaha.

Cheers
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby Mick Red » 9:14am on 02 Dec 12

Thats an amazing spread of games!! Well done all

I was sending people up to you that were looking lost for things to do below
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby Magus » 12:18pm on 02 Dec 12

I just wanted to say Well Done to Richard, who took on a lot of the organising on the day and brought a lot of energy, enthusiasm and materials along. I had a good game of Durance although it went on quite long and it was great to turn and see 4 other tables full of enthusiastic facilitators and players. It was also good to have many faces I had not seen on the tables. I did far more schmoozing this year and got to speak on a panel.
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby Tim Gray » 5:48pm on 02 Dec 12

(cameo) I wandered up a couple of times to see what you guys were up to and it looked great! Lots of people getting to try out some new gaming goodness. Much kudos. I think the PR stuff like the banner and leaflet really made a difference.

Oh, and thanks for hosting me for dinner. ;)
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby Epistolary Richard » 1:51am on 10 Dec 12

Okay, now some time's elapsed, I'll add some notes on lessons learnt and future enhancements. Anyone else want to add more thoughts then chuck them in. :)

The Space
As much as a) I couldn't work out how the levels fit together from the plan, and b) we'd been warned that being upstairs no one would find us, and c) ideally, GoD works best when it's near a stall actually selling the games we're playing, I was actually pretty happy with the section we had. Having that corner to ourselves, I felt pretty comfortable leaving gaming stuff behind or on tables as it wasn't as though there was a flow of people wandering past. Also, as we didn't have scenery or other eye candy there wasn't much benefit in being in a stream of passers-by. The very real risk that we might be completely ignored was offset by...

The Publicity
I though pre-day publicity was fine. iGoD featured in the game listings, on the website and in the programme. We could have added a few more games to the listings, but I think this will all come naturally out of getting people organised earlier (see below).

Publicity on the day was far better than I had expected and was a cornerstone of our success. I think the punters really like having 'non-confrontational' means to learn info (i.e. not having to talk to people) and so the BIMB downstairs and the mini-booklets were vital. I was going to put the Big Board up behind our tables until I was told I couldn't attach it to the wood or stone walls. This left my only option to put it on the glass and metal frames in front of us. My original plan of having it behind the tables, I quickly realised, was weak sauce. It was a safety blanket for me so I could see it, but having our tables in between it and the punters would have stopped them from really looking at it. Having it on the glass and metal in front turned out to be serendipity as it proved ideal for a) punters to read the (small) writing, and b) it allowed them to gain information without confrontation and linger - thus giving us the perfect opportunity and entry line to start a conversation "So has anything up here caught your eye?"

Also important was having guys on Graham's stall (and perhaps on Leisure Games) direct interested punters up to us - we can perhaps reach out to a couple more stallholders next time. The way the day is structured I think there's a clear demand for 'on demand' / 'staggered start-time' gaming outside of the two big gaming slots and so another enhancement would be thinking how to bring in those folk looking for another game in the main hall.

The Big Board itself was rather jerry-rigged and could use some improving: firstly to include instructions on the board as to what to do (and not just in the booklet), secondly to be a bit clearer about what the layout meant, thirdly to include pictures of covers and fourthly to be a board (or at least something sufficiently rigid to write on) rather than being paper (though I suspect that a board big enough would be far too unwieldly to carry in or out without hiring transportation).

Something I'm mulling around for next time would be to web 2.0 it as well - so that people can view the info on the Big Board through their smart phones and so see when games were starting, filling and what was on offer. The info would be easy enough to do through a wiki, not sure how we might do notifications though.

The People
This was the other cornerstone of our success and the greatest serendipity of the day where we suddenly jumped from having 1.5 people for the day 12 hours before to having 6 people actually run games on the day itself. That was a little Indiemeet miracle right there and then. Obviously there were exceptional circumstances that was impacting all of Indiemeet this time around that :fingers crossed: won't happen next time. The whole day also brought home to me the limits of my own abilities - one person can facilitate a game and cover the Big Board (at a push), but my ideas of facilitating two games at once were a fantasy. While it might be technically possible, I realised that we're often dealing with inexperienced gamers in strange groups on a tight clock and so we have to be involved to keep pushing the game forwards and judge when to close it down. So basic rule, one table per person, no more.

As to the wider organisation, I don't actually mind the Indiemeet-way of a certain last minute spontaneity. I wouldn't want to have to get concrete commitments from people a month or more in advance. I think it would make it feel more like a burden to those involved and perhaps restrict those who do get inspired closer to the date (or on the day!). So perhaps do a straw pole 6-8 weeks in advance to get a sense of numbers of people interested to facilitate (as the central organisation does need info that far in advance) and then firm things up with maybe 2 or 3 weeks to go. I think it would be important to have a decent core in place beforehand so that we can talk about a) games and b) lunch and other time people would want to be away, just so we can then communicate our own abilities to the punters clearly. Also, get people's phone numbers so perhaps have 3 statuses - 'at the tables' 'on call' and 'unavailable'.

The Games
To be honest, I was pretty surprised by some of the games the punters picked. Seid, Forsooth twice, a full game of Microscope (as opposed to a demo). One thing I note is that all the games that ran (bar Mouse Guard which was it's own special case) were detailed in our mini-booklet so maybe that was part of what was driving it. So it'd be good to get more games in there next time - but equally, they've got to be solid offers (i.e. nothing dependent on a single facilitator who might not show up). I was happy that everything we offered, we could actually run on the day.

I was also surprised that punters wanted full games and so (bar Microscope) we ran no demos. I thought the demos would have been more popular. This might be a part of it being an rpg convention, so I think the demos will get far more use should we ever venture out to multi-hobby cons. For future rpg cons, full, but on the short-side (2-3 hours) is where my thoughts are. I didn't have any trouble with pulling the plug on Monsterhearts or the second Forsooth! game early when it became clear that we wouldn't finish in an acceptable time. For a one day con especially I figure we're really trying to give people a taste of it.

So, in summary, future considerations:
- Put the Big Board somewhere where punters can walk up to it without confrontation
- a bit more outreach to appropriate traders
- more outreach to the 'lost' looking for a game
- A better Big Board
- web 2.0?
- have conversations with facilitators in advance to work out timings and keep in touch through the day
- more games in the mini-booklet
"Asking Piers to a seminar about the state of the British RPG industry is like asking The Clash if they'd like to attend a Live Aid reunion." Baz King
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby Graham W » 10:21am on 10 Dec 12

Thanks, Richard, that's great.

For next year, I'd consider building on what you have already, rather than fixing what went wrong. Because, honestly, there's not much to fix. It went very, very well.
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Postmortem

Postby Pete » 11:05am on 10 Dec 12

Hiya,

Yeah, getting traders to push footfall to GOD is the shiz.

Game Packs

For next time, ensure that we have "game packs" ready and available to all GMs, and that the GMs know such packs exist and where they can find 'em. A game pack is a collection of all the material components required to run a game: character sheets, dice, pencils, handouts, the rulebook.

Forex, if folks want to play Fiasco, I don't want to have to piss about assembling stacks of dice and Fiasco summary sheets. I don't want to have to interrupt Ash to ask where his sweet laminated playsets are. I just wanna grab a pack and crack on.

I arranged along the back wall all such packs that I'd brought along: Seid, Dogs, Mouse Guard... oh, Witch too. I don't think everyone knew that they were there for their use, my bad.

I also only had one pack for each game: we only ran one game of Seid so that was fine in that case, but if we'd run two concurrently then we wouldn't have had the cards to round. I also only had one pack of character sheets for Dogs, so subsequent games would have required printing out unspoiled character sheets or getting busy with an eraser.

The Board

I rather like the rough and ready nature of the "paper board." I'll have a think about Web 2.0 stuff, but +1 for rocking on with the existing board.

Cheers
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Leaflet

Postby Pete » 11:07am on 10 Dec 12

For future GOD stuff, this leaflet is nice. (Suitably redesigned to reflect Indiemeet and UKRP.)

Image
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby GB Steve » 1:43pm on 10 Dec 12

Nice, although you might wish to less subtly replace Seattle with something else.
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby Epistolary Richard » 2:41pm on 10 Dec 12

Oh, I forgotten about that flyer. I really like it though. It'd be especially good for any multi-hobby cons. So long as you keep the info relatively generic you can do a print run and then reuse them at different events.
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Re: Games Played - Indiemeet at Dragonmeet - 1st December 20

Postby Graham W » 5:25pm on 10 Dec 12

Job done.

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