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Author Topic: Convention Edge Manifesto  (Read 2632 times)
Luke
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« on: February 09, 2005, 06:44:27 PM »

While preparing for the 2005 convention season over the last week -- registering games, and coordinating with other designers/publishers-- I was struck by a thought:

Many of my gamer friends see game conventions as freakshows and agglomerations of pariahs. It is very hard to convince them otherwise. These friends stand in quite nicely for "the majority of gamers." This silent, powerful majority does not read this site, and does not go to conventions.

I, however, have found conventions to be precisely the opposite. They are representative of the whole arc of gaming culture -- from the cool, to the typical, to the not.

But still the image persists. After my experiences in the past two years, and listening to the recent excitement about Dreamation, I realized that we can change this.

We can make conventions what they should be: a gathering of cutting edge thinkers; a place to expand your mind and deepen your love of the hobby

Seriously. Whether they like it or not, Vincent and Jared -- and anyone and everyone with insight and dedication to game design-- are the cutting edge of this art form. By getting out to conventions, playing these games, hosting panels, promoting the conventions -- provoking real dialogue and admantly standing on the ground of actual play -- we can change the face of this hobby and art form.

I'm a very traditional designer and GM (compared to Mike Miller, Jared or Vincent), but through my small efforts (and my friends') I have changed the way people see roleplaying. I have changed the way they play. Because we get out there, into the trenches, and SHOW (don't tell).

Theory is worthless without application; conventions are hardcore application. Theory can't grow without dialogue and test. Have you ever tried to explain theory in simple layman's terms to an outsider? If you haven't -- forgive my bravado -- but you don't understand the theory then.

By actually getting out there and enthusiastically and proactively running games for complete strangers, we can spread a positive and intellectual thought process that can be internalized and taken home. The real coup is that you, too, will gain a greater understanding of what it is you're doing and thinking.

Discussion is important. Actual play, more so.

So, to you I say: Join me. Come out to a local game day or even one of the biggies. Run an event. Talk it up. Get people playing -- playing something different. Get them talking. Get them thinking. Change the conventions. Change the game.

Do it.
-Luke
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Judd
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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2005, 06:58:25 PM »

Quote from: abzu


Discussion is important. Actual play, more so.



I will back this post up with a story that I think proves its point.  I met Luke at last year's Gen Con and I played in two games of BW that he ran.  In The Gift, he sets the adventure up and then allows our proactivity and ability to play the BIT's on our sheet to run the game and create the drama.  It is a HUGE leap of faith.

When Luke went to the bathroom, one of the gamers turned to the table and said with trepidation in his voice, "Oh man, I don't think this is where he wanted this game to go at all."

He said it as if it were a bad thing.

I laughed, with him, not at him and said, "It comes out different every time, man.  He wants it to go where we lead it.  That's what this game is all about, not us figuring out a problem or the right answer but us figuring out a new story, a new way to make this adventure amazing."

No orcs attacked out of the blue (in fact we attacked them) and no mystery was on the table to be solved other than how in hell are these two cultures going to get along?

Yeah, getting together to actually play is a big freakin' deal.

Rock on, Luke.  Many of my friends, plagued with memories of shitty play experiences at cons feel the same way.  My buddy, Jim, loves cons and sees them as a gathering of the arc of the sub-culture but can't go this season because of family obligations.  

I'll be there when I can be.  See you there.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2005, 08:04:18 PM »

I could not agree with this more strenuously if I were being paid to do so.

While I certainly think that you can do a lot to encourage the development of the art, I feel that the construction of a public space (even in the loose "at a convention sense") in which such discussion is not only accepted but natural and expected is more important than anything that follows.

The main thing I took away from the Forge is not any particular point of theory (or even the whole of the theory I learned), it was the feeling of finding a group of people who so owned their own belief in the importance of game design that they no longer had to justify it on any level.  If we can bring that same level of unselfconsious assurance to a physical venue it would be awesome.

I am totally stoked by the idea that people could someday go to a roleplaying convention expecting that with a little effort they would be able to find people who seriously care about the cutting edge of design.  That would make conventions much more than "my local gaming group times one hundred".
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2005, 08:26:26 PM »

Not surprisingly, I agree wholeheartedly.

First, we spark some vibrancy in our fellow gamers--we have done that and will continue to do that. Then, we figure out how to bring that same spark to those who aren't already gamers. Tricky part, that.

Quote from: abzu
Do it.


Yes, Named. I'm Tasting the Whip, Named. I'm getting back to finishing my damn game and submitting those Gen Con events, Named.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2005, 09:49:12 PM »

Agreed. I've been doing this for years now (OK, four, but that's worth a plural) and the payoff is finally happening.

It is happening. We're already a showpiece of GenCon, not because we tried to become one, but because we just are who we are and do what we do. We don't have to truckle to the so-called "industry," but rather, they come running and scuffling after us. What we do works.

Ralph? Still interested in organizing ... an IndieCon?

Oh, and Michael? That bit about sparking non-gamers? That's the big thing for me this year. I don't think it's really the goal for GenCon, although the bored-looking Significant Other has always been my prime target for Sorcerer sales. We should talk venues.

Best,
Ron
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Luke
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2005, 10:34:15 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Agreed. I've been doing this for years now (OK, four, but that's worth a plural) and the payoff is finally happening.


Yes. I started hammering at cons before I knew what the hell is going on here. And that's my point. Once I saw the power of our collective intelligence on these forums and others, and the force we could muster in a venue like GenCon, I realized that WE ARE CHANGE.

::toot toot::

We are going to rock GenCon this year. Jared's seminars, the Forge booth, our friends, allies... it grows and it is good.

[rant]Now freaking participate! All of you! Out! To a con, a game day. Talk to Michael Miller about the IndieRPG explosion, Wilhelm (rafael) about his game club in Seattle, or check out the Nerdnyc.com Gotham Gaming Guild. (both local groups extemporaneously formed) to see how it's done.[/rant]

I'm serious.
-L
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2005, 10:02:32 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Ralph? Still interested in organizing ... an IndieCon?
I'm in. I even have a list of potential sites centered around Chicago that I've researched. Let me know what role you want me in. At the very, very least, I'll be there running games.

New thread?

Why just settle for going to the cons you can reach, and which may or may not have the target audience you want? Why not our own con? Where, when, and how we want it?

Mike
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