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Apr 12

A game sign-up system that makes everybody happy may be the Holy Grail of a con, not only because it promises to cure the kingdom of all ills, but because it might be impossible to find. Literally mythical.
In previous years we had GMs/facilitators submit games they wanted to run early on. We posted that line-up and let anticipation simmer for a week or two, then on the appointed hour of the appointed day we opened the floodgates and let players sign up for the games they’d been drooling over.
That is a fairly standard game sign-up system, but it creates the illusion that the games listed when sign-up opens are the only games that will happen: people who aren’t fast enough throw up their hands in despair because (apparently) there aren’t any games left to play. On no, you’re screwed!
In reality more games got added as the days went on, but even more importantly, lots of what got played were pickup games thrown together during the con — by my rough calculation somewhere between a third or a half of the games at GPNW 2009 were not on the schedule beforehand.* The appearance of scarcity was an illusion, and even though the anticipation built excitement, it might not be good excitement.
So we’re trying something a little different this year.
There’s going to be no early submission for games, no gap between listing games you want to run and people signing up for them. We’ll have a forum where people who want to run/facilitate games can pick a slot and announce, and then other people can respond in those threads to say they want to play or ask questions. There won’t be a big list of games that looks like the schedule when the forum opens: it’ll accumulate over time.
There’ll also be an area where you can brainstorm without committing to a slot. Throw out ideas and see if people are interested, or even request for someone to facilitate a game you’ve already been interested in but don’t understand well enough to run yourself.
Will this be a better method? We’ll try it and see. Either way, our motto is “no gamer left behind,” so if you come to Go Play NW you will game if you step up.
* There were about 70 people at GPNW 2009, so if we assume 5 people per game there should be 14 games in the average slot, but only about 7-9 were listed online. After the event the pickup games were added to the online schedule to show what actually got played.

One response to “Evolving Game Sign-up”

  1. ben robbins says:

    Lots of discussion of the game sign-up plan on Story Games:

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