Friday, 22 January 2016

Getting people to choose your games at conventions...

And here's an interesting one, looking through submissions for Expo this morning, and I encounter this (the only thing I've changed in the wording is blanking out the expletives) as an actual submission for the RPG's


Name of Game:  Some F***ing D&D

Summary of game: Let's try some minimalist role-playing shit. F***ing d&d is an unbalanced, badly thought-out piece of crap. It uses a massively simplified version of 5e, so even an idiot like you can understand it.

Expect random death, childish humour, unbalanced gameplay, terrible DMing, swearing, and maybe one or two of you will have fun. Bring a drink, that'll help.


And in the spirit of not getting any more submissions like this one, I thought to share a few things about the games that do well at conventions...

1:  Good Title - It's the first thing that people look at, so it's the best chance you've got to hook them into the game, If you call your game "Dungeon Crawl 231", you've given them a description of what you're going to make them do, not what your adventure should be.  If on the other hand, you put it out as "Crouching Claw, Hidden Otyugh", you've already engaged the prospective players minds, you've established it's very likely got at least two named creatures in it and you've referenced a popular film which brings forth an image for those who've seen the film.

2: Description of the game - So you got them hooked with the title, don't fluff it on the description, if you're running a doctor who game and your game description is

"Realities merge, time lines collide….where and when will it all end?"

You're describing the arc and nature of the show, you're not telling the players anything about what you're going to be doing in the game or more importantly, what they'll be doing.  On the other hand, if you have it down as

"In 2020, a Russian scientific submersible, DSV Chilingarov, went missing under the ice at the North Pole. 30 years later a distress signal was picked up from the research base on the ice moon Europa. It has been positively identified as originating from the Chiligarov. The International Space Agency have sent a team to investigate. What will they find? Turn up and find out."

There's the impossible puzzle built in, you know where you're going, what you're after, and that something's very seriously wrong, perfect...

3: Consider the audience when you're pitching the time slot:  If you're running a game that works better for younger players, don't put it in the 8 till midnight slot.  This may seem like common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many people just put their games in one after the other and don't consider that their intended audience might not be around to play it at that time.

4: Work with Classics or move with the times:  Some games age better than others, some games were just better than others to begin with, and when you're putting games in for a convention, you need to consider what you're putting in and whether it's going to be of interest to the players at that convention.  You want to run an Oriental themed game, you have several options, but I'll guarantee you 99% of conventions will want a Legends of the Five Rings scenario over a Bushido scenario.  It's not that L5R is a better game, but more people know of it and might be interested in a scenario as a result.  Consider the edition that you're working in, while many might like an old school rules scenario, many more want to play with the latest edition.

5: Don't run copies:  When you're submitting games, don't put five different versions of the same game unless it's got something in it that no other game can possibly offer, if it has something that no other game can offer, be prepared for the convention organiser to ask what that something is, and understand that "I'll show you on the day" isn't a suitable answer...

6: and perhaps most important - Adult Content - I don't mean include it, but do let the convention organiser know if there's going to be any, it lets them plan for where they can put you (and what they can put around you...)

I could go on all day, but if I do, I'll never get through the pile of submissions that I started with...