The verdict is in: the indie role-playing section at Emerald City Comic Con was a smashing success. An off-the-charts, moon-shot, do-the-dance-of-our-people level home run. Can you tell I had a good time?
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t sure anyone at Emerald City Comic Con would want to game. The gaming track was a brand new thing so there were no past evidence to draw upon. Would people show up to a comics convention to play RPGs? I had no idea.
If I had to put money down ahead of time, I would have guessed we’d get a few brave folks willing to try a new game or two, but mostly the facilitators would be hanging around and gaming with each other. I would not have guessed that we would keep the indie RPG area jumping all weekend, in fact so packed that we had to cannibalize our “welcome” table and use it for more games.
The first clue that there was serious gaming ahead came when I went up to do my GMless RPG talk Friday afternoon. The indie RPG tables were pretty quiet when I left, but when I got to the conference room I was shocked to find a packed house. Of the 48 people there, exactly two had played GMless games before, but they were enthusiastic to find out more. My closing comments: “Stop listening to me and march downstairs and play some of these games. That’s the only way to know if you’ll like them.” And they did. In droves.
According to our logs we ran at least 61 games. Sixty-one! The big winners were Fiasco and Microscope, clocking in nearly a third of the games each, but a bunch of other titles got some love: Shock, Polaris, Zombie Cinema, Mouse Guard, Apocalypse World, Capes, Danger Patrol, Do, InSpectres, and even (gasp) Penny For My Thoughts.* And all this despite our area not even being listed in the program — another big huzzah for the excellent sign Shuo whipped up, which showed people far and wide where to come for the fun.
We also had a great location shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends and allies at Gamma Ray Games. People would wander up to their booth and ask questions about some game that caught their eye and an adroit Gamma-naut would spin them around and hand them to our facilitators and >boom< they were sitting down and playing before you could say “fruitful void”.
Which highlights that the whole thing would have been simply impossible without the crack squad of facilitators and shift captains from Story Games Seattle who kept the whole thing going and were always ready to greet new people and invite them to sit down for a game. Adrienne, Caroline, Jay, Marc, Miles, Morgan, Pat, Reid, Sage, Sev, Shuo and Xander: kudos one and all.
The other ingredient that made the weekend a win? A truly stellar crowd of new gamers. Where did these people come from? I have no idea — well that’s not true, I know some came from Portland, Tacoma, Olympia and parts of Texas, in addition to good old Seattle. But how we got such an awesome gang of folks who had never played a lot of these games before but still took to them like ducks to water, that I do not know. But I’m pretty happy about it.
* playing Penny with total strangers in a con environment takes huge brass dice. From what I heard the game went very amazingly well, more evidence that the gaming gods were with us this weekend.