Tag: board gaming

Running a Board Gaming Event: Games You Might Not Have Tried

August 11, 2019

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Cards Against Humanity

Yes, a single game merits an entire post, because there’s a pretty good chance that this game will be your event’s problematic fave.

I’ll be honest, I liked Cards Against Humanity. Liked, past tense. When it first came out, all the expressions of bigotry and cruelty and general horribleness felt like “punching up”–making fun of people who actually believe and say all that stuff for reals.

I now believe that’s a rationalization, or at least it was on my part.

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Intimidation Factor and Name Recognition

This is a bit of a tangent on something I touched on in the “Scheduled Games” and “RPGs” posts.

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Running RPGs

August 2, 2019

Successfully running an RPG at a convention is an art form (one I haven’t mastered). It’s loud and everyone’s under tight time constraints. (Dire Bear Adventuring Co. did an excellent job running D&D at the last few Hamacon events, if you want a good example.)

Here’s a few quick rules I use when running games at cons:

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Scheduled Games

One of my main goals for Hamacon analog gaming was running events. This is typical when you’re talking about CCGs (tournaments) or RPGs (one-shot adventures), but I wanted to extend this to board games. Specifically, I wanted to introduce games that were fun or interesting, weren’t necessarily popular (i.e., you wouldn’t find on Tabletop or similar shows), and weren’t necessarily easy to learn (i.e., not Cards Against Humanity or Love Letter).

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Remember Your Contacts

August 1, 2019

I updated one section of my “Hamacon Analog Gaming Bible” after every event: a list of people who had run something or otherwise provided content to the event. (This is the primary reason I’m writing a blog series instead of just making that document public in Google Docs.)

I am not a people person. I can handle all manner of technical details (like scheduling, teaching games, planning procedures, etc.) but as soon as I have to send an email or make a phone call I get antsy. Rest assured, I didn’t keep this contact list so I could send out an email blast as soon as I started planning.

The main purpose of your contacts list is to remember key details. Who are they? What did they do? How do you successfully get in touch with them?

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Game Check Out

If you’re running a free play board game library, you’ll need to have some sort of check-out system. It doesn’t have to be complicated–and it’s better if it’s not–but there’s a surprising amount of refinement you have to do to get it right.

My process uses two index card boxes labeled “checked out” and “checked in.” (If you haven’t read the “toolkit” post in this series, it will be helpful to cross-reference.) When someone checks out a game:

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Setup and Teardown

July 29, 2019

The next section of my “Hamacon Analog Gaming Bible” is a setup and teardown checklist. There’s nothing revolutionary here, but it’s helpful to remember a few things that will make your life easier down the road.

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Your Toolkit

July 27, 2019

Over my years running Hamacon, I built up a Google Doc I called the “Hamacon Analog Gaming Bible.” These first few posts will be an adaptation of that. The first section is my packing checklist, so let’s start there:

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Running a Board Gaming Event: Intro

Five years ago, I was offered the chance to run analog gaming for Hamacon, a small anime con run by some of my friends in Huntsville. My only qualifications were (1) I had played tabletop games at cons before, (2) I own a lot of board games, and (3) I was willing to drive a car full of those games 3 hours away.

It was a great experience, mainly because Hamacon had a dedicated, knowledgeable community running it, and that community had the freedom to do some interesting creative things.

In my case, I wanted to build an analog gaming room for people like me: somewhat socially awkward, and interested in trying heavier or offbeat games I might not be able to experience elsewhere. I didn’t necessarily achieve that. Even if I had, that’s a very narrow focus which isn’t necessarily serving other attendees wants.

While I’ll likely be on a con staff somewhere in the future, I’m not currently, so I don’t feel like I’m revealing con secrets by adapting my con checklist (and other lessons learned) into a blog series. Hopefully, someone can benefit from some things I learned–or at least avoid some things that I failed at.

I’ll also mention that MTAC and Momocon were major inspirations for the way I ran Hamacon analog gaming. Which is to say: if you like tabletop games, they’re cons you might want to check out.

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