2007-08-14: Ropecon events
There was great programming at Ropecon. Thought I'd give a rundown on some highlights that I got to take part in.
On Saturday I got to play Zombeja! Ovella!, Eero's fantastically fun new game, the title of which translates roughly to "Zombies! Run!" :) Our ragtag group of a priest, bitter game designer, Swedish-Finn, a goth teen girl and her dog and the corrupt dice mogul who started the zombie crazy by bringing "special" dice made from depleted uranium to the con was played by myself, Eero and Sami of Finland, and Joe, Gregor and Matt from the UK. I've got a copy and am burning to play it at GenCon.
Indie Design Workshop day
I'm not sure what the actual title of this event was, but the Tuovinen brothers coordinated a day long event on Sunday in the indie gaming room. Starting with group playtesting of tabletop rpgs and board games in the a.m., there was a presentation by Jussi Holopainen on his Gameplay Design Patterns archive of mechanics, techniques and structures in console, board, card and rpg systems. The collection is massive and insightful. He and his collaborator wrote a book on it called Patterns in Game Design which is available at Amazon.
Another seminar covered the computer gaming industry. The tasty tidbit about that talk was that the proprietary concerns of writing computer gaming requires that designers not disclose any information about their product from the public, and especially other designers. What this means is that each designer has to struggle through the same design issues that everyone faces on their own, and so all must constantly re-invent the wheel. It puts a chill on innovation in games and slows down development considerably. Shows again the great advantages of free circulation of information, and the power of being in a community who values sharing information: that's what has made the leaps in design we've seen happen over the last 10 years in role play design.
This was the big eyeopener for me. The two Jeepform guys here this year ,Tobias Wrigstad and Thorbiarn Fritzon, ran a marathon day of 7 romance themed games on Saturday. I got to play several of their scenarios, along with doing some playtest in the wee hours. One I played was, the Upgrade was a tv show such as Treasure Island where participants switch partners and see if they want to "upgrade" to a new love. The players competed to have their couple make it through and bust up the other likely pairs. The game used flashbacks and flash forwards to collaboratively give everyone the ability to monkey with the other affairs going on. I'll be writing about Jeep techniques in the coming months. Their techniques have been written up extensively at Vi aker jeep.
I'll write about the panels and discussion I did in a bit.
2007-08-14 19:59:03 Emily
This entry was messed up before, but now I fixed it!
2007-08-14 19:59:27 GB Steve
Your talk of Jeepform inspired me to write something that could be run at Gen Con if I can get enough players. It's over at Knife Fight.
2007-08-14 20:06:26 Emily
arrgh... I deleted the original Ropecon post in my quest for orderly links. :(
Chas if you replied about the Jeepform, repost it here. I missed it.
And very cool, Steve. I'll be there.
2007-08-15 04:15:05 Merten
Emily has been dispatched towards the next convention in a time capsule. Emily, toss me a mail when you've arrived and found a computer.
2007-08-17 14:45:51 Hirvinen
Actually, "Zombeja! Ovella!" would be "Zombies! At the door!" in english.
2007-08-17 18:49:09 Emily
I made it here safe and sound. I'd have emailed sooner, but it took forever to get connectivity up and running.
GenCon is going well. Busy, busy. And in just moments the Indie Game Awards will be announced.
2007-08-20 11:03:35 Harri Sarsa
It'd be nice to hear how Jeepforming works with the US gaming crowd; it's pretty different from tabletop gaming or even larping. At one end, it uses more meta tools to control the plot and drama than probably anything I've played, but then again they're taking immersionism to the maximum.
Good to hear still that you had a good time at Ropecon; you should get some more indie RPG guys to come with you next year. :P
2007-08-22 16:08:44 Emily
Tobias wrote about the Ropecon weekend in greater depth here. He describes our Shooting the Moon game, Doubt and others. Plus pictures of the con.