Hi everybody! I'm Lacey, and this is Tuesday Truths, where i point and laugh at stereotypical gamers so you don't have to lift your precious controller-conditioned hands. Now that convention season is over for a couple months, i've decided to take a look at the closest thing you'll ever get to a one night stand (and being cool,) convention roleplaying. No, i'm not talking about pretending that Princess Peach over there is actually a girl... i mean one-shot games, pre-gen characters, and a chance to walk away with a bit of swag (and maybe a reputation point or two.)
Bear with me now, my convention experience is relegated to small local cons, like OMGcon, Paducah's own anime and gaming convention, and Little Egypt Wars, Carbondale's tabletop and card gaming convention. But, it's close enough for government work. Some of the greatest stories in gaming history have come from convention games, especially before the death of the creative team that brought us Dungeons And Dragons, many a gamer was fond of spreading the tale of a friend of a friend of a friend who played with Gygax and Arneson. Conventions often bring the big shots together with fans and critics, so anything can happen.
The idea of most convention games is to introduce players, new and old, to a new suppliment or game. Or simply to provide a much needed outing for the more social of our dorky species. There is a major division among con-goers as to weither con gaming is good or not; some think of it as a chance to screw over their fellow players, and some are massively annoyed by the players screwing them over. Others enjoy the furtive, temporary nature of these 2-10 hour games, while some can't properly get into a game that has no future. Many players refuse to relinquish control of their time to a pregenerated character, missing out on the fun of character builds, while some prefer the luck of the draw, and the chance to play a unique idea.
On the other side of the table, we have the GameMasters: hardworking men and women who babysit narutards and comic book guys in an attempt to usher a new group into an amazing world, or perhaps (after a few years) let out a bit of rage and frustration at a table full of unsuspecting cat girls and cheeto-fingered prepubes. Either way, con gaming has its own ebb and flow, and can be a great learning experience for even a more seasoned GM. Many conventions will give a free badge to GMs who agree to run a certain number of games, so make sure to do your homework a few months in advance, cuz dorks love free stuff. Always remember to talk with your staff member, get your ideas in early, and make it original.
As con gaming has such a love/hate relationship with its audience, i have compiled a short guide, for new and jaded players alike, that will hopefully maximize the entertainment value and make your con weekends a bit less stressful.
One: Cater your weekend to your desires. If you are going with a bunch of friends for an anime event, make sure none of your favorite games are running into it. Schedule downtime as well, and remember that not all games will start or end on time.
Two: If you know you are attending, check the website or with the GMs or staff to see what games run at what times. Having a basic idea will keep you from running around missing things. If you can sign up early and are sure you're able to make it, do so: certain games fill up faster than others.
Three: Come prepared. Dice, scratch paper, pencils, and a spare character sheet are a gamer's survival kit. You never know what will be provided, so check to see what books will be available before hand. No one wants to blow a gasket carrying every book in their library, so keep it simple.
Four: Be kind to your GM and respect his creative wishes. Some GMs just aren't comfortable with a certain book, or having laptops on the table, so be prepared to make concessions. Whining will just make people hate you. Also, GMs come in many skill levels, and what seems fun to you may not be so fun to your GM, and vice versa.
Five: Don't mock a noob too hard. Not everyone has the advantage of being seasoned in all games, and con games are often the first oppertunity that anime and video game fans have to sit down and play. The age range can vary, and sometimes parents of younger gamers will linger nearby, so watch your language. Games should be accessable to a wide variety of people, unless the GM is looking to restrict the playership. It's ok once you get to know the players a bit to joke around, but understand that not everyone is used to having their characters tea-bagged after death.
Six: You will run into Munchkins (power gamers of the most annoying type, who bend the rules to their needs, and whine when they don't get their way.) Just try to remain calm and separate the in-game from the out-of-game. If a player is downright intolerable, you might take the GM off to the side during a smoke or snack break. Many a season gamer knows the old adage: Don't feed the bears. If they're acting up for attention, either ignore them or be polite.
Seven: All things that go for a player, so be it for the GM. You may be running this game, but the guy across the table could have years of experience, or none at all. Everyone is going to the con for entertainment, so make it short and sweet: This includes filling in newer players on the rules, backstory, and their place in the world. If you use pregenerated characters, give your players a chance to get familiar with their characters, or, occasionally, allow them to alter small details. Encourage them to get into character, or share a bit about themselves, to build a bit of a bond between players. Watch your players to see who takes charge, who prefers to kill it and be done, and who prefers to solve puzzles. The best games are the ones that have a bit of flexability to them
The rest should be common sense: Realize that you may not get your way, be kind to strangers, and patient with new players. Among other things, these ideas should help to make your con gaming a bit more tolerable and fun. I'm definately not an expert, but from my experience, con gaming can be a positive experience if you're willing to be a little open-minded. Granted, there will be people who abuse the rules, or even other players, but know that most cons are staffed with a group of people specifically for mediating conflicts. If all else fails, walk away.
The act of passing on gaming to the uninformed or the younger players can be very gratifying.
Racconcityangel 01:45, November 20, 2010 (UTC)