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Author Topic: Games On Demand - Whats it all about anyway?  (Read 5412 times)
Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« on: May 15, 2006, 06:08:04 AM »

Hi, I’m Kat Miller, Event Organizer for Games On Demand.

I’ve heard for the last couple of years that the crowding of the booth could be reduced if there was a reliable and close area set up for pick-up game play.  As I understand it Gen Con has issues with the word “Demo” and they’re in the business of selling time in two- hour increments for $1.50 a ticket.  So setting up space for this outside the dealer room is an issue.  Also Gen Con tries to provide Pick-up Game space but in my experience its either been elusive or too far from the dealer room to be useful. 

Games on Demand is an experiment to see if the booth can benefit from a reliable play space outside the dealer hall while respecting and following the Conventions Policies of collecting tickets for events.

What exactly am I providing?
2 tables
1 Table Custodian
3 slots of 4 hours Thursday to Saturday starting 10am and ending 10pm. 
1 Slot on Sunday running 10am-2pm slot.

The  “Table Custodians”  are that slot’s assigned GM.  These volunteers will bring selection of Indie Games they feel competent in running during their shift.  Some have already decided what Games they will run at a certain shift.  I believe That Hans Messersmith is running a Capes Fest Friday 6pm-10pm.

Table Custodian Duties:
Running a game if players show up
Collecting tickets. 
Settling New groups that show up with GM.
Collecting Tickets from all but their GM.
Mark down the time Games Start.
Let new groups know when their time is up.
Fill out paper Work and put tickets in envelops I will Provide.
List Games running on Provide White board and when a New slot will begin for people who show up while he already has a game in progress.

The Table Custodian will not be leaving his table to coral players in the Dealer room.

No one will be summoning Game Designers from the Booth to run their Games at the GoD tables.


If you’re not a Game Designer actively selling at the booth,
And the booth is getting crowded.  And you won’t be missed for a couple of hours,
Come to the Games On Demand table, with a game and a few willing players.

It is my intention to provide these tables as a positive cluster of indie gaming.
It would be nice if game designers wanted to take their breaks at the Table but there will be NO Summoning.  This whole thing is about providing a service for the Booth, not being another Burden to the designers.

Things I am not worried about:
5 people showing up all wanting to play different games.
30 people showing up wanting to play the same game.
Nobody showing up.
Somebody showing up demanding a specific game, and wanting it run by the designer.
   
I will be providing a white board and Easel for the Tables so the Table Custodian can write down what he is playing and when it started and when it should end and what others are playing and when they started and when they should end.

I’d be happy to have more Gm volunteers.  Show up with what you want to run.  And while I kind of like the runner idea, I also kinda don’t.


 I don’t want runners between the room and the Booth to become pests to the booth. 

I hope this clarifies what the Games On Demand is about and how I expect it too work.

How can Games on Demand better serve the Booth?
Suggestions on improving communication between the Booth and the Tables in a way that will not burden or pester the Booth is welcome.   

-kat
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kat Miller
TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 08:01:58 AM »

Same tables every slot?

If not ... same room every slot?
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Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 08:16:36 AM »

As far as I know Same room, same table



-kat
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kat Miller
TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2006, 12:26:59 PM »

Heh.  I had a whole bunch more questions (Can we set up banners?  Serve food?  Alcohol?) but I realized that what I probably need is to look carefully at the GenCon rules.

So here's a few policies I've noticed that may be relevant:
  • No flyers may be distributed outside the Exhibit Hall.
  • Likewise, no posters
  • "All RPG rooms have power. If you wish to use the power in an RPG room, you are responsible to bring your own extension cord and power strip."  I don't know exactly what to do with that, but it sparks the imagination, don't it?

Here's what else I noticed on the GenCon site:  their publicity planning for "events within the event" appears to be substantially behind ours.  Yoinks.  Scary, in a sense, but also a terrific opportunity.

For instance, they have yet to post anything in "RPG Highlights."  If we make positive contact (restrained, respectful, helpful and above all through a single spokesperson) I suspect that we could get the Gaming-on-Demand track mentioned at least in passing (possibly prominently) in the information they eventually put there.

Likewise, they have a Forum.  Are we on that forum?  I do not yet have any presence on that forum.  I will attempt to remedy that lapse in the days and weeks to follow.  Being part of that community (not merely a shill for our own interests, but actually engaged and connected) is an invaluable resource.  I recommend that more people than just me make the investment of time and energy.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2006, 02:43:29 AM »

sigh.

I'm beginning to understand why Ron & Luke's posts about the booth take on the tone that they do. I guess Kat and I have been too circumspect in our phrasing in previous posts. Let's try it again.

To Tony, Ben, Justin, etc.: Thanks, but PLEASE STOP HELPING

The 2006 Games On Demand is a prototype. This sort of unscheduled, ticketed event has NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE AT GENCON. No one knows if it will work. Or how it will work. Or how well it will work. The GenCon staff has been understanding and gracious enough to allow us 2 tables (8 chairs apiece, that means 16 chairs total) with which to make this experiment. Considering the extremely tight space-situation that GenCon faces, this is very generous of them. Abusing that generosity will not endear us to GenCon.

Putting too many demands on a prototype is the surest way to see it fail.

I don't want a hundred people showing up with their generic tickets in hand, each one looking for one of those sixteen seats. Turning away more people than we can serve is a great way to (rightfully) earn Games On Demand and the Indie Games Explosion the reputation of being all-talk and no-action. That's a great way to turn us from being innovative and exciting to being a trouble-maker and fire hazard in the eyes of GenCon.

I don't want that reputation.

Save your ideas for G.O.D. 2007. If we succeed this year, then we can grow. Just like the Forge booth started with a handful of people in 2002 and built on its successes.

So, please, let the Games On Demand remain small, exciting, fun, and ground-breaking. Mention it to people in person at GenCon. But, until August 10, please, stop helping.
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Hans
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Posts: 576


« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2006, 05:11:18 AM »

I believe That Hans Messersmith is running a Capes Fest Friday 6pm-10pm.

If a "Capes Fest" happens, it happens.  However, I will still be performing my assigned duties, as described by Kat, so other stuff can certainly occur during the same period.  It will just mean people will have to be somewhat restrained in their boisterous enthusiasm so that we can all hear each other.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2006, 07:04:59 AM »

I'm just curious, where will the tables be?
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Black & Green Games
Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2006, 07:12:44 AM »

I'm just curious, where will the tables be?

That I don't know yet.  I've been informed that the Games on Demand have been accepted and that I will have two tables for up to 16 people, but not what room they will be in or if they will switch rooms on different days.  Since they are treating the tables like any other event, I'm not likely to learn this until my arrival at Gen Con. 

-kat
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kat Miller
Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2006, 07:55:49 AM »

How can Games on Demand better serve the Booth?
Suggestions on improving communication between the Booth and the Tables in a way that will not burden or pester the Booth is welcome.   

Kat, this is awesome and I want to support you.  From past experience, are cell phones or two-way radios a practical way of maintaining contact?  What's the network situation - any chance of maintaining a live chat/IM conversation between the two locations?  Please forgive me if these are naive questions.  I really have no idea. 
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Thor Olavsrud
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2006, 07:58:20 AM »

Kat, this is awesome and I want to support you.  From past experience, are cell phones or two-way radios a practical way of maintaining contact?  What's the network situation - any chance of maintaining a live chat/IM conversation between the two locations?  Please forgive me if these are naive questions.  I really have no idea. 

Signal in the convention hall is neglible at best. Don't count on being able to receive calls at all. Last year, our Internet access in the convention hall was...intermittent. You cannot count on it.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2006, 08:00:34 AM »

That I don't know yet.  I've been informed that the Games on Demand have been accepted and that I will have two tables for up to 16 people, but not what room they will be in or if they will switch rooms on different days. 

Cool. Thanks, Kat.  If it moves, we can let people at the booth know where the current location is. I'd like to help (when we get there!) too. :)

best,
Em
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Black & Green Games
Blankshield
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2006, 10:25:57 AM »

last year I had low signal, but relatively stable connectivity on my BlackBerry in the hall.  But that's a BB, which has it's own set of issues south of 49 these days.

However, from what I've been reading in this thread, I don't think there is a need for immediate and constant connection between GoD and the booth.  Can someone present a good and valid need that doesn't run counter to the things that Kat has posted above, for either GoD or the booth to be available to the other on no notice?

thanks,

James
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Justin D. Jacobson
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« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2006, 04:31:43 AM »

sigh.

I'm beginning to understand why Ron & Luke's posts about the booth take on the tone that they do. I guess Kat and I have been too circumspect in our phrasing in previous posts. Let's try it again.

To Tony, Ben, Justin, etc.: Thanks, but PLEASE STOP HELPING

The 2006 Games On Demand is a prototype. This sort of unscheduled, ticketed event has NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE AT GENCON. No one knows if it will work. Or how it will work. Or how well it will work. The GenCon staff has been understanding and gracious enough to allow us 2 tables (8 chairs apiece, that means 16 chairs total) with which to make this experiment. Considering the extremely tight space-situation that GenCon faces, this is very generous of them. Abusing that generosity will not endear us to GenCon.

Putting too many demands on a prototype is the surest way to see it fail.

I don't want a hundred people showing up with their generic tickets in hand, each one looking for one of those sixteen seats. Turning away more people than we can serve is a great way to (rightfully) earn Games On Demand and the Indie Games Explosion the reputation of being all-talk and no-action. That's a great way to turn us from being innovative and exciting to being a trouble-maker and fire hazard in the eyes of GenCon.

I don't want that reputation.

Save your ideas for G.O.D. 2007. If we succeed this year, then we can grow. Just like the Forge booth started with a handful of people in 2002 and built on its successes.

So, please, let the Games On Demand remain small, exciting, fun, and ground-breaking. Mention it to people in person at GenCon. But, until August 10, please, stop helping.

I hope this doesn't come as defensive, but I guess I just don't get the response. If by "stop helping" you mean "stop making suggestions about how to improve the GoD experience" that seems short-sighted to me. Feel free to ignore the suggestions, but I don't get the idea of not wanting to hear them.

As an adjunct to that point, I think you should be much less concerned about having so many people show up that it flames out than about having so few people show up that it comes off as lame. If a gazillion people show up, there are enough people affiliated with the Forge that we can find a way to accomodate. Hell, I'll run a game out of my suite if I have to. Having too much demand is a nice problem to have and one that can be easily remedied. My 2cp.
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Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2006, 06:29:21 AM »

Hi Justin,

Mike was not out of line.

16 seats and 2 tables is NOT a lot of space to fill at Gen Con.

To my thinking many of the Indie Games run better with 2-4 players.  Maximum play would be 4 small indie games running at the tables.

One of my goals for the Games on Demand Event is to alleviate Forge overcrowding due to customers who have already made purchases and now hang around the booth because its a cool place to be, and they want to play.  A Booth monkey or Volunteer can then lead those people up to the Games on Demand table.

If the Games on Demand tables are already loaded up, then I may have succeeded in one sense but I would have failed in another sense.

If a gazillion people show up, there are enough people affiliated with the Forge that we can find a way to accommodate. Hell, I'll run a game out of my suite if I have to. Having too much demand is a nice problem to have and one that can be easily remedied. My 2cp.

See, this is what I DON'T want.  Specifically that part about "enough people affiliated with the Forge..."
That makes my event a Burdon to the Forge Booth rather than a Boon

Its great that as a Game Designer your willing to for go sales by coming to the aid of the Games on Demand Tables to run several Games On Demand sessions in your own suite.  I'm not sure that many of the other Game Designers trying to sell their games would be as happy to be volunteered to do the same.   

The other thing is that I love Forge People.  Tony was not just making suggestions, He was going to put money into postcards.  I love him for that, but for this first Games on Demand I want to make sure that it can serve the Booth.  If it can't then I'm not interested in any further development of it. 

I've also read the Gen Con rules, Ive contacted the right people both at Gen Con and at The Forge.  I've given them my parameters and made it small because its experimental if through your "help" it gets out of control, then because of my affiliation with the Forge booth, it could damage relations between Gen Con and those affiliated with the forge later. 

So don't be defensive.  Mike was trying to be clear.  I tried nice clear earlier.  Nice is not clear.

-kat

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kat Miller
TonyLB
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2006, 08:19:03 AM »

Kat,

I, for one, get the message.  Too many cooks, yes, but more to the point too much soup.  Our energy could easily make the event into something so big that it sabotages itself.

I hope you'll understand, in turn, that you can expect help from booth-folks without fearing that you'll burden the booth.  I know that I shouldn't be at the booth all day (even though I want to) and I'm looking around for other things I'd like to be a part of in GenCon during my downtime.  GoD is one of those things (in fact, the first among ... well, not many, but a few). 

So, no postcards, no ninjas-for-GoD, none of that stuff.  Cool.  We don't want to flood the engine.  Good thinking.  Is there anything we can be thinking about doing to make GoD work more smoothly at the size it's planned for?  I can think of suggestions, but (hard as it is for me) I think I'll hold off until you have a chance to either ask for them or decline.
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