I plan to write a series of articles about organizing a game conventions. Without false modesty – I am pretty good at this stuff. I am doing cons for my whole life. I created and run many conventions, big ones, and small ones. I also attend hell of cons every year. I know much about mistakes, I know much about cool ideas.
But before we move on to this, let me just make a shout out to… myself!
Tomorrow I go to miniPionek (miniPawn). This is con I created few years ago. It is held twice a year in Gliwice. It is con for 50-80 gamers. Most of them are my friends. I would invite them all to my house and play games, but my house is too small. So we have this small con. We meet in Cultural Centre in Gliwice. One huge room, 20 or so tables and 2 days of gaming with friends.
I packed my car with games. That will be an amazing weekend. Shout out to me. I invented this con. And that was one of many brilliant ideas I had 😉
I am a huge fan of social media. I use both Facebook and Twitter a lot. And before I move further, let me throw here few examples.
I am in Bojszow, south of Poland and I tweet: ‘I’ll be in Chicago next week. What places should I visit?’ In a moment my Twitter feed gets crazy. I get addresses of 3 game stores. I get address of Jazz cafe. I get address of super amazing book store. And I get this: ‘I live in Chicago. Let’s meet and have a game or two.’ And soon after: ‘I live in Chicago too. Game night? When you come?’
Few weeks later I am in Chicago at the train station. I tweet: ‘I have train in 3 hours. I am in Chicago downtown. What do you recommend?’ In a moment my Twitter feed gets crazy again. I got one cool idea after another. That’s how I discover super cool mexican restro and that how I discover Chicago stuffed pizza.
I tweet: ‘Wyndham hotel sucks!’. Two minutes later I get replay: ‘I am at Wyndham too.’ Few hours later we play game at hotel lobby and have great time. First I teach Dan and his buddy Imperial Settlers and then they teach me Trieste. Another super fun evening. Because of one tweet.
There is this famous YouTube movie called Look Up about us being enslaved by smartphones and technology. Well… I couldn’t disagree more.
Because of Twitter technology I met Tony, Brian and Walt and had an amazing game night in Chicago. Because of Twitter technology Brian knew I was looking for Star Realms – so he took me to the local game store where I could buy Star Realms. Because of this technology I met Jeff (#1FanOfImperialSettlers ) and Chevee who both became Portal Games Team at Gen con and who are freaking awesome guys.
I could now post few hundred names and nicks of people whom I met at Gen con for the first time in person. People who I knew from social media, with whom I banter about games every day and who live few thousands miles away. With social media we stay in touch. With social media we make jokes, we talk, we explore and celebrate our hobby. And once a while, when we have a chance to meet in person, we do Look Up. And we have fucking awesome time.
This Gen con was an amazing experience. I was not stranger. I was not alone. Wherever I looked, there was a person I knew from social media. I was among my people.
Now I am back in Bojszow, Poland. I am back to Twitter. Till the next con. I Look up and I Look down. I have fun for the whole year with my gaming friends.
Many of you know this story – there is a group of 4 players who wants to play Robinson. I sit with them, I explain goal of the scenario and I point my finger at round 7th depicted on scenario sheet. ‘You are gonna die here. Round 7.‘
Last week I was in Coy, Spain with a group of great people who works in education as trainers, teachers, event and activity organizers. I was teaching them about modern board games. One day they asked me to present them Robinson. I told them what’s the goal of the scenario, I pointed my finger on 7th round and I told them they will die here.
They played. They survived till round 8th. It was an epic struggle.
Few hours later, in the evening they asked me if they can play rematch. They wanted to play again. So they played. Long, epic struggle that ended 1 A.M. Round 10th. They died. I thank them and went to bed.
Next day they approached me again. ‘We stayed at the board for half an hour that night trying to find mistakes in our strategy. We also had today in the morning meeting.’ they said – ‘We were planning our strategy. We want to play again. We will win.’
We set up Robinson again and they played again.
In the 11th round they were like John McClane at the final 10 minutes of any Die Hard movie. Covered in blood from head to toe, they were hardly breathing. The Island treated them with no mercy. It was 11th round and the wood pile was far from being ready. I used all me experience in the game, calculated every option I could see and I said: ‘As far as I see… theoretically you can still make it. You need a miracle, but you still can win against this f… Island.‘
And you know what? They did it. They won. Their third game in a row finally ended with a success. Merry recorded this moment when they survived event phase in round 12th and put wood on the pile.
They were so damn proud and happy.
And believe it or not, I was 10 times more proud and happy. Just in front of me passion, emotions, pure joy and happiness were happening because of Robinson Crusoe. It was amazing feeling. Me in heaven. Again. Thank you.
I strongly believe that good board game is the one that tells a good story. You play it and suddenly you are sucked into it, you feel chills on the skin. Emotions grow. In a moment you defend castle. You hear roar of warriors. You smell boiling oil. You are into it.
That's how I design my games. I always want to tell a good story. I want players to be into it. As deep as possible.
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