Metatopia starts in earnest tomorrow, I’ll be heading out tonight to socialize and get ready for the full weekend experience. This schedule is subject to update as I get more information. Items in bold are where I’m a featured participant, whether that’s running a playtest or being a panelist.
Stepping back, Metatopia is one of the premier playtest/development conventions for games of all sorts. And since it’s the closest one to me, it’s my de facto favorite. If you’re in the area, and have even a passing interest in tabletop game development, it’s very much worthwhile. And for only $20 entry for playtesters, it’s a huge value!
The master schedule is here
Time / Code / Type / Name
1000-1100 / D006 / Panel / Helping Stores Sell Your Game
1200-1300 / D011 / Panel / Formalizing Your Game Business
1400-1600 / B161 / Playtest / Bulldogs! Deck Building Game
1600-1800 / B203 / Playtest / Bulldogs! Deck Building Game
2100-2200 / D034 / Panel / Nerd Fountain podcast
2200-2300 / D038 / Panel / Cyber Infiltration Hotsheet: Prepping to GM a Cyberheist
0900-1100 / B319 / Playtest / Heartcatcher
1200-1300 / D056 / Panel / Gaming as Old People: Support Group
1300-1400 / D059 / Panel / Two-Player Board Games – Peaks and Pitfalls
1500-1600 / D065 / Panel / Ten (more) Ways to Make Your Rulebook Awesome
2200-2300 / D082 / Panel / Adding Envoy to Your Marketing Arsenal
1000-1200 / D087 / Panel / Creating Space to Bring the Sexy
1200-1400 / B608 / Playtest / Heartcatcher
Double Exposure’s flagship convention was held this last weekend, and the wonderful folks running the convention did a wonderful job as usual. I’ve been playing a lot of catch up with getting myself organized for conventions recently, thankfully that hasn’t been too much of a problem so far.
I helped run a long con game of World Wide Wrestling RPG which went off incredibly. This is one of my favorite games of recent history and to be part of an incredible three-session, multi-promotion, game was a phenomenal experience! All the players brought immense creativity and energy to the three sessions, and in the end we crowned a unified wrestling champion across all three promotions in a 8-player Regal Wrangle.
I also ran two demo sessions of Ghost Pirates, teaching the game to six new players. One player had a great, thoughtful reaction and suggested a few new treasure cards — I’ve been collecting ideas for a treasure expansion for a while now, and this completes a set of six. This may get bumped to near top of the production queue for the year, since it’s a really simple thing to make happen.
All in all, a great experience and this only represents a tiny fraction of what was available to play and do. If you’re ever in the area over the summer, I definitely recommend it.
Dexcon, by Double Exposure
The image above is a group shot of those of us who spent time and energy setting up the booth to sell our aggregate of products under the IGDN (Independent Game Developer’s Network) banner at Origins.
I’m pleased as anything to be part of something like this because it supports us all and shares the workload around. This is great because it gives me the opportunity to spend more time making games, and also have a booth presence at conventions like Origins. So, thank you all who are contributing to things like this. It’s a lot of work to be an independent game developer and this makes all our lives easier.
I’ll board my plane to Columbus in about 5 minutes. This will be my first trip to Origins Game Fair and I’m really excited for a variety of reasons — the first is that it’s the public release of Backstory Cards, since the very successful Kickstarter campaign. The second is that it will be my big convention for the year, since I opted out of Gen Con for logistical overhead reasons. Plus, all reports I hear is that it’s a much more relaxed convention and promises more time to visit with friends and play games.
If you’ll be there, I’ll be spending a lot of time at the IGDN booth. Stop by and say hi!
And now the plane is packing up, so I’ll sign off here. Next stop, Columbus.
Dreamation was huge this year. Seriously. They sold out the hotel. As big as Dexcon. Big enough to viscerally feel the difference. It’s not your little tiny close-knot convention any more, and I feel good about this although it was hard to experience that on the fly. It certainly didn’t help that many of my closest friends who I really look forward to seeing in particular weren’t able to be there.
The larp tracks have exploded. They’re enormous now. The tabletop RPGs were filling up shortly after the schedules were released. The presence of Nordic-style larps have been growing at an astounding rate and show no signs of slowing down. Hell, even the organized play folks were out in force unlike any in the years since I’ve been going. And the Krista-Con events are THE games-not-to-be-scheduled-against.
It’s a surfeit of riches. New games and game designers are putting out wonderful new ideas and the convention is drawing people from further and further away each new iteration.
And it’s hard as an attendee to be in the midst of this change from the smallish weird indie con to a full force of nature.
I played John Harper’s Lasers & Feelings, a one-page scifi game that takes its name from the Doubleclicks song. I ran an OmegaZone heist. I played a Nordic larp called Before and After Silence, Nathan D. Paoletta’s new release World Wide Wrestling, Mark Richardson’s new cyberpunk game Headspace, and Puppetland. Four new-to-me games!
I got to spend time with friends from Up and down the northeast corridor, Minnesota, several different parts of Canada, New Mexico, California, Texas; it’s almost absurd the distance people are traveling to what I have in my head as this little local con. Everything changes…
This last weekend I hit up IndieCade East, an “international festival of independent games.” Held at Queens’ Museum of the Moving Image, there’s an unspoken focus on video games — partially because of videogames’ better organization and industry cashflow, and partially because NYC is a booming center of videogame development, particularly mobile games. Organizations like Playcrafting NYC and the NYU Gamecenter also bolster this local community.
As a tabletop creator, first and foremost, I went in a little tentatively, despite having a significant number of friends within the videogame community (I consider myself tangent, rather than part of the community). This turned out to be almost entirely unnecessary. I went to interesting panels on teaching game design and coding to kids, on creating diversity in games, on cool free tools to make random digital things, and on breaking into voice acting. I played single and multi-player video games, board games, and some games that were at least as much technology experiments (One used an oculus rift with a leap motion controller glued to the outside).
Some of the tools for making things that really interested me (all discovered via Robert Yang’s clickbait titled talk, “We are Drugs”:
Some of the exhibited games that really caught my attention:
Despite an overwhelming leaning towards video games, the presence of NYU Game Center and their tabletop experiments being showcased and played there suggests to me that there’s a lot of space to help promote tabletop and live action games, and that we should endeavor to make games that push boundaries and show them off in these professional/academic settings and not limit ourselves to small-press publishing to sell at local conventions or on the internet. There’s a big games world out there that’s always itching for more.