What Did I Just Get Myself Into?

Hey all. I’m back. Hopefully it will stick this time. There’s still a lot going on in my world outside of gaming, and I haven’t played D&D since September, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it’s not coming from a Will O’ The Wisp.

To get my gaming life jump-started. I just submitted a last-minute RPG event for Total Con in February. If it’s accepted, I’ll be running a Leverage game on Sunday of the con. I am going to make the adventure setting a gaming convention. It’s the cool meta-con/meta-game you can only do with a modern-setting RPG.

What’s scary for me is that I’ve never written a convention game before. I got to run Dark Sun at Pax East this past Spring, but that was written by someone else, and I got to play in it the day before. But this is a new experience for me, so I thought I would crowd-source a little advice on the matter.

Any hints for writing a con game? Not just what to do at the table (that can be a second post), but how to structure the adventure and what sorts of things I should take into consideration. I don’t know the players ahead of time, so I won’t know what sorts of things they want to get out of the adventure; although since they are self-selected, I am going to assume they want an experience that captures the essences of the TV show.

The other big concern I have is about timing. Unlike with a regular group, I won’t have the ability to run the rest of the adventure next week or allow for long breaks. I signed up for a single 4-hour slot because there are other events I want to go to (in particular, board gaming) and I assume my players would be in the same boat.

So, what do you guys think? Any words of advice (or condolence) ?


Playing with strangers

Although I don’t think of my regular group as strangers, I did meet them all through my regular game. But in the last month I’ve played in six different games with people I had never met before. Thankfully the people were all cool, friendly, and well adjusted. In fact, this past weekend I played in a game run by @gamefiend (of the popular At Will blog) and I had only met him two weeks ago while playing Pandemic!

There are a lot of advantages to playing with new people. I’ve learned new techniques for role-playing, tips for running characters, cool race/class/power combos, and I have better understanding of the rules from gaming through unfamiliar scenarios. I also go to make contacts in the game industry and met others bloggers that have already helped me out. Gaming with an unfamiliar group is a like skill challenge: it’s work xp if you succeed, and if it fails, maybe you get into a fight, but noone dies.

I find there is always risk and fear when meeting new people. I have not always clicked with a random group. In my experience this happens when there is a big disparity in age between yourself and the other players. It’s also tough when the other people already all know each other–it takes awhile to become part of an established group, and you won’t have that time if it’s a one-shot. Fortunately, this is a whole lot better than dating: first of all you already have something in common (D&D), and secondly, there’s no fear of “gamer shame” (that tingle of embarrassment some people have when telling non-gamers about their hobby).

In conclusion, I don’t have a lot of advice about how to meet new people game with (conventions, gamedays, the friendly local professional game store, the internet), but I highly suggest that you do. It’s a great way to learn new aspects of the hobby and make new friends.

I’m at PAX East

If I’ve set things up correctly this post will drop while I am hanging at PAX East! It’s been months of looking forward to get my geek on, and I’m sure it won’t disappoint. Assuming my internet connection is good, and you want to meet up, tweet me @TheMikeKatz. The next few days are going to be crazy so I may not have a post ready for Monday. If not I’ll have my post-PAX post ready to go on Wednesday. In the meantime, this is how I’m preparing…




  • I’ve got my board games:
  • I’ve got my role playing books, paper, pencils, dice, minis, etc:
  • I’ve got snacks, nintendo DS, iPod touch, camera, and chargers…

Now all I need to do is figure out to cram everything into a small, unobtrusive bag and where to park…

Have a great weekend everyone! And if you’re not there, get your group together and play.