Monday, 1 April 2013

Swancon Wrap-up

The title is something of a misnomer since I was there only for the Saturday. At least 75% of the rest of Swancon happened without me there and has its own bards to tell those tales. However, what I did manage to witness transpired thusly.

I delivered a seminar (An Introduction to Story Games) early Saturday morning. The audience, though small, were engaged with the topic and listened intently. If you weren't there you missed out on the following:

  • Story games occupy the intersection between the mode of production of fiction, the mode of performance of fiction, and the mode of consumption of fiction. To put it another way it's writing, improv and audience all in one activity.
  • Good story games are structured to drive the players' consciousness back into the fiction with temporary detours into rules.
  • My mind is currently chewing over the notion that good game design gives the tools for creating problems in the fiction so that the players can respond (solve?) those problems

All of that was decorated with examples from the forge, Vincent Baker's model of clouds and boxes, Robin Laws' analysis in Hamlet's Hit Points, as well as a host of other games and luminaries.

After this was said and done I set up a demo game of Fiasco in the gaming room and ran it several times before taking a break for lunch and a quick tour of the rest of Swancon, followed by a non-demo game of Fiasco. There were the requisite number of fedoras to qualify as a writer's convention, sufficient numbers of cosplayers to make for a presence, and at least one kilt. The dealers' room was mostly about fiction, including a significant collection of works by Gail Simone.

Speaking of Gail, I had hoped beyond hope that Fortuna would allow us to cross paths in between our scheduled activities but alas Fortuna did not smile on me that day. My copy of Wonder Woman #36 shall remain unsigned for now.

Kudos must go to Terry Chilvers for his organisation in the gaming room. He was organised before and during the event. I knew what was expected of me and had all the resources I needed to make it happen. It seems clear that I owe this man a game of Fiasco sometime.

And there's no con without networking. My aging business cards came in handy and may serve as the gateway to the next thing I contribute to in the Perth gaming scene. Watch this space for more.
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