WisCon 38, part 2: Actual gaming

This WisCon, I did a fair amount of actual gaming. Foremost among these, of course, was my Mountain Monastery Murder Mystery. As I’ve mentioned before, this is set in a monastery/abbey of Sister Earth, in my main campaign world, Calteir. The PCs are all Sisters of Faenwitha, headed to a major meeting where the Order will decide its stance on the upcoming succession crisis. The stakes are very high, and tensions are running just as high.

This is the first year of scheduled tabletop gaming at WisCon. There were three games, one each Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. MMMM was Saturday night. There was a little confusion about when and how to get into the games. Some schedules had shown that they were to start at 8:30pm, while others showed 8:00pm. Also, it was a little unclear how players were supposed to register; my email address was given on the con website so people could tell me in advance (good), but it was also listed in the pocket program for people to tell me after the con had begun — when I no longer had access to my email (bad). And there was a sign-up sheet outside the room that I didn’t even know about until I got there.

Detail of a monasteryI mentally prepared myself for not enough people showing up and the game being canceled. Perhaps too much, as it turns out, because by 8:10 or so, four players had shown up. Cool! So in spite of some organizational hiccups, the game ended up happening.

I tried to make sure everyone had a chance or two to shine, and the players all did a good job of immersing themselves in the setting and the situation. They came up with some inventive takes on things. In the end, they averted disaster.

The players apparently all had a good time. One said she thought it was “awesome”. Cool again!

For a first year’s attempt at running tabletop gaming, I think it was fine. Hopefully some of the wrinkles will be ironed out for next year. In any case, I’m very happy to see RPGs on the schedule at WisCon.

Divider illustration of a sword

In addition to MMMM, I played a few other games at WisCon. One was Telestrations, which is quite obviously someone’s attempt at monetizing Moneyduck (also known as EPYC). I still prefer Moneyduck, because it a) gives more space for writing and drawing, b) allows you to keep the game sheets for later, and c) doesn’t require anything more than paper and pencils. But Telestrations was fun, and a good icebreaker. I happened to play with one of the con chairs, whom I’d never interacted much socially before, for example.

There was also some Zar. I won, or lost. Dunno, really. Zar has become such a nice background social lubricant with folks I game with that I rarely note whether I’ve won or lost.

That same group also played another game I created, and I think there may have been more gaming that I’m forgetting.

One game I didn’t end up playing was Kobolds Ate My Baby. I’ve wanted to play this for a while, and it was being run by one of the players in MMMM, but at last, I decided to go to the Guest of Honor speeches instead. (This included Nora K. Jemisin’s extremely important call to arms — go read it if you haven’t.) WisCon is always about having to make hard choices between different amazing things.

More gaming could’ve been nice. I sorely missed my friend Lisa, for example, who usually wants to play Dominion and other board-and-card-games. (As it turns out, that same weekend, she was also playing that other game I created, about 150 miles away. But she couldn’t be at WisCon.) But the gaming at WisCon 38 was still pretty great.


WisCon 38, part 2: Actual gaming — 5 Comments

  1. I’m really grateful that you volunteered to bring your game to WisCon, and I’m glad that people came out for it!

    The sign-up sheets on the door of the room was my stress response to being worried that the RPGs wouldn’t fill, and to create a parallel to the board gaming sign-ups. I think they turned out to be unnecessary and confused the issue and I didn’t communicate their existence to the GMs properly. I probably won’t do that next year. It seems that the combination of advance sign ups and walk-ins would have been fine, but I’ll consider if there is some better way to handle sign-ups. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!

    I’m hoping that now that the time slots have a precedent from this year they won’t get shifted around next year. I know that was frustrating for everyone, and I apologize for that.

    We did also have board gaming from 8-12 (often later) on the 2nd floor, all three nights. If you know anyone who wants to volunteer for that next year, I would be super happy to hear from them! The gaming@wiscon.info address should get to me.

    Thank you for sharing your impressions of the gaming! It’s really only through feedback like this that I’ll get a sense of what worked well for people and what needs improvemrnt.

    • Thank you for running it! Should’ve said that earlier. I think WisCon’s panels are great, but there are so many other fannish activities that deserve attention… It’s very good that WisCon is featuring gaming more prominently. So, again, thank you for running it.

      It looks like Convergence had pretty good success with the Sched app for handling game sign-ups. I don’t know if the WisCon programming team have time to add that kind of thing to the website, but it’s something to consider.

      Mostly, though, I think it’ll just be a matter of clearer communication. Restricting it to one or two channels of communicating (such as email before the con and a sign-up sheet at the con), non-contradictory schedule announcements, etc.

      And I know what a pain in the butt all that is to coordinate, having done it myself. So I don’t intend any of this as complaining, but as praise for an amazing first year and hope for an even better second.

      • I’ve actually stepped down from the WisCon ConCom and from running gaming for next year. It was fairly recently, so I don’t know that they’ve filled the spot yet, although I expect they will be looking for it. If you know someone who would be interested in taking it over, they’d probably be really grateful to have them!

        • Sorry to hear that you’ve stepped down. You did a great job with it.

          I’m sure it’s a very thankless task. I’d volunteer myself, but I already have too much going on. I’ll definitely try to think of other folks to recommend, though.

          • It’s actually really not a bad job at all. I stepped down mostly for personal reasons rather than because I had any objections to the work. 🙂 But I can totally understand having too much going on already. Thanks for keeping it in mind for other folks if anyone seems like a good fit!

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