06 February 2005

Not Much Activity

Well, I managed to run the live game at Kapcon okay, despite rather a lot of attempts by the world to prevent it at the last moment. In any case the work we all put in did the trick and the game ran close to smoothly. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, and lots of neat stuff happened. More discussion of it lives here, in case anybody is interested.

I was planning on writing a bit of a post about running such things but I decided I didn't have much to say. Here is my essential wisdom (based on running dozens of one-off live games for 10-20 people, playing in a couple of ongoing World of Darkness ones, helping run a 3-day 55-player one and now being in charge of a one-off 70-player one):
  • If you have the urge to organise a big live game, don't. Really. It's hard. I guess somebody has to do it, but be very wary about taking it on. Note that it took me six years to forget enough about the experience of Aliens: Apocalypse (that's the 3-day one) before I was foolish enough to volunteer to run the Kapcon one.
  • The rules should be as simple as possible. The only changes you ever make to the rule system should be to simplify them. Never, ever use dice or compare stats on character sheets or anything like that. That's already to complex.
  • Pick reliable helpers. I had a lot of people volunteer to help and then drop out. I don't actually have a problem with that - they were all pretty up front about it - but it would have been better to have people who stuck at it (obviously).
  • When you put little explanatory notes on the gadgets for people to read in game, double check that each note is with the correct gadget.
There, that's it. I mean, make sure you get everything done on time and stuff like that, obviously.

I hope to soon put up some reviews of Capes and The Shadow of Yesterday but so far I can neither afford to buy them nor do I have time to play them.

I've had a read through the demo version of Capes that you can get off the website and it looks neat. However, I really have no idea how it will play - reading the demo just doesn't give you a good feel for how it will be. So I'm not saying anything about that until I give it a go.

The Shadow of Yesterday is a fantasy game that takes most of the stuff I love about HeroQuest a bit further, in a more Conan style. A free version is available at the website there, which I have read, but I'm planning to buy the whole thing, so it doesn't seem worth reviewing the cut down web edition. I will say that it looks really good, especially for my developing policy of running games with no preparation at all.

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