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Saturday, December 20, 2014

After Hours - Prepping To Run a Game at a Convention (or any one-shot really)

Convention gaming is very much NOT like gaming with your home or regular group. While open ended sandbox styled gameplay is my favorite style at home, for convention play, you generally do need some rails to keep the session on track.

While I'm the only one of the three hosts on The Brainstorm Podcast that hasn't run a convention game, I've played in my share. Successful convention games generally have a few features in common, at least as far as I'm concerned:

- A knowledgeable GM - Know thy system. There is a good chance that you may be running a game where one or more of the players art your table don't know the system well, or even at all. If the GM is constantly referring to the rules pacing will be lost.

- Pacing - Remember, convention games have a limited amount of time slotted to them. While you don't want to end the session to early, running late will either leave you and your players with an unfinished session or have you running into someone else's game time.

- Prep beforehand - pregen characters, handouts, battlemat - whatever - all should be waiting for the players as they arrive at your table. Otherwise you are losing potential gameplay time.

- Playtest - this goes hand in hand with knowledge, pacing and prep. Playtest the adventure with once, or preferably twice. Doesn't matter if it's commercial or homebrewed. It will give you an estimate of how long it will run for and help you figure out where to cut or add to if needed.

Happy Jacks has mentioned con prep in the past on various episodes. You could probably have someone on their forums track down the relevant episodes for you. Just ignore the belching ;)


  1. Nicely done. I had been thinking recently on this subject as well and come to the same (con)clusions.

  2. That first one really needs to start with a 'P' as well.