Last weekend was KantCon in Overland Park, KS. Last year, KantCon was the first tabletop convention I had ever attended and my first convention ever with a game in tow. I have quickly come to appreciate the unique opportunity that tabletop conventions provide: fans ready to mingle, play, and challenge each other, and GMs who are offering their take on settings and rules all over the place. For gamers of most any stripe, it’s hard to turn down the opportunity to be surrounded by a few hundred of your peers, especially when “real life” has interfered with one’s ability to get a game going. For me as a designer, it’s invaluable.
This year, I registered in advance and had sign-ups for my playtests before the doors even opened. I was rolling out a new printing of the game with some updated rules and I’m collecting data from multiple playthroughs before I consider my next round of revisions. For someone who is lucky to get a group together once a month to playtest this thing in person, the chance to have three groups in as many days coming to me is just too helpful. Since I’ve been trotting this thing out to most every event with more than a dozen nerds in it over the last year, I’ve gotten recognizable pretty quickly. It’s been fun to see folks at multiple events who have been through the game before stop by and see how things are going.
But outside of testing my own material, these events have yet another draw: I get to play. Not one of my own things, but somebody’s convention one-shot. Oftentimes multiples of them. My MO for con gaming is to scan the system column and find projects I’ve either never heard of or want to see more of. This has meant Savage Worlds games with writers for the official settings, a Numenara playtest, a Dresden Files Fate campaign that is getting played a session at a time over the course of years, horror gaming with a Jenga tower, and more. You could sign up for eight slots and never play the same system twice. You might share a table with some of the same people over the course of the weekend and end up trying to match schedules with them the following year. For a game junkie who has said “Wow, I really need to play that” about two new settings or systems a year for the last 20-something years, there’s nothing that matches it for pure efficiency.
My experiences with conventions mean that Nerdhaus Games will always have a seat at local events. Meeting the people from your Kickstarter or getting to GM a session with an adventure that will later make its way onto the website sounds pretty perfect. So keep an eye on your calendar and wave if you see me. I’ll be the guy running a Nerdhaus playtest. That is, if I’m not already at someone else’s table learning about another hidden treasure.
See you there.
I’m planning on attending Midwest Gamefest in November. Cabal playtests are a certainty and a debut RPG event is likely. Hear about updates here and on the Facebook page.