I've had a very busy week. Prep for AndoCon. Then AndoCon itself. Sprinkled into all of this, there have been graphic design concerns to deal with as well as conversations with my editor as he begins work.
First up, the fun stuff.
As always, AndoCon was a ton of fun. This year I attended the entire con. I even got a hotel room to alleviate the back-and-forth driving and ensure that I kept myself engaged with people at the convention rather than "getting tired" and heading home for the evening.
On Friday, right after the Opening Ceremonies, I hosted a short event titled, "Kickoff to the Murders & Acquisitions Kickstarter." I provided attendees with a rundown of the game, gave them glimpses of artwork and graphic design, talked up the game, announced the Kickstarter start and end dates, and previewed the current draft of the Kickstarter video.
Official Announcement: The Murders & Acquisitions Kickstarter will begin on Tuesday, May 10th. It will end on Tuesday, June 7th.
The special M&A Twitch event got off to a rocky start but ended well. This 2-hour M&A session was a little different from what the typical M&A game is like. But that was done on purpose in order to provide everyone with a quick, easy way to latch onto the story being told.
I ran an adventure titled, "Now I Have a Machine Gun." The players portrayed characters from the original Die Hard movie, but no one played John McClane. In fact, John McClane gets murdered mere minutes into the session, leaving Holly Gennaro, Joseph Takagi, Harry Ellis, and Bud the Janitor having to deal with a team of corporate rivals (not terrorists) who assault their company to steal a satellite phone prototype. It's worth noting that at one point, John McClane's (now) widow Holly Gennaro (played by my friend Andy) eventually ended up brandishing her late husband's gun...with no shoes on.
When the recording of this event is available online, I'll post a link.
As we have for the past two years, my podcast partner Mike and I brought our NerdBurger podcast to AndoCon this year. With an audience! We talked to a few of the regular guests and opened up the mic to audience members to come up and talk about what they were doing at the convention and to proudly proclaim their geekiness on the internet.
This year's episode was co-sponsored by NerdBurger Games and Fable Forge. We raffled off a copy of M&A (to be delivered when the game is done) as well as a copy of Fable Forge's RPG, Enter the Shadowside: Destiny by Marco Leon. This episode will post on Wednesday at the NerdBurger Show website.
I ran over a dozen people through M&A, not including repeaters. Lots of fun was had. There was a disturbing lack of dumpster fires in the scenario that often ends up with a dumpster fire. I talked the game up with a handful of others. And with the Kickstarter getting so close, I started getting promises to back it after some of the demos.
Best M&A moment of the weekend:
A gal runs around the corner into the RPG area, comes right to my table, looks right at me, and says, "How do I get in on a demo?" I reply, "You pull up a chair and play." She says, "Great. I'll be right back with more players." Three minutes later, she was back with five more players and a spectator. I ran one of the more action-packed scenarios I had prepared. Six players. The biggest table I've ever run. They were completely enthused and engaged. I may have gained a few backers in that hour.
Another great moment:
At the NerdBurger Podcast recording, we raffled off a copy of M&A (once it comes out). The winner was a lady who had walked into the podcast about ten minutes earlier and sat down next to her husband. Since we had talked about the game earlier, before she arrived, it seemed she wasn't quite sure what she had won. Her husband, who may have been distracted by something, piped in, "What game?" I said, "Murders & Acquisitions." He pumped his fist and shouted, "YES!!!"
I also ran the very first playtest session of Capers!, the next NBG RPG. Players included fellow game designer Dave, Charlie from Altered Confusion, Bryan from MomoCon, and two of the players from the previous day's super-duper M&A playtest. The rules are in their most basic form but the system seems to work well. There are a lot of ways to vary and add to the core system I've designed and it's clear that I will need to playtest this game in a variety of different set-ups to see how things play. After the playtest, we all chatted for a good half-hour and everyone had suggestions to throw my way. A great kickoff to Capers! playtesting.
Given that I've moved away from designing (besides little tweaks) and moved more into publisher mode over the past month or so, it was incredibly gratifying to see such a positive response from everyone at AndoCon. I am reinvigorated as I move forward toward publication.
I'd like to thank Ando and Katie Mae for an excellent con experience. They helped me promote M&A and kept me very busy all weekend long.
And a big thank you to everyone who attended the NerdBurger Show recording, attended my little "Kickoff to the M&A Kickstarter" event, took a look at (or played in) the special M&A Twitch event, and/or played one-hour demo sessions of M&A and Capers! over the weekend.
Check out the Gallery page for photos from the convention.
Graphic Design Work
On the recommendation of my editor, the game book is being reorganized a bit, switching some chapters around. Jen is modifying the chapter titles accordingly.
She's also adding a little white box to the back cover design to accommodate the UPC symbol. It's something neither of us thought about at the outset of cover design. It's been a learning process for both of us and I'm happy to say Jen has embraced little tweaks like this. If you like the look of the book, you have her (and my layout guy, Mike) to thank.
Chris is reorganizing the book layout, swapping some chapters around.
He's also been touching base with me about a variety of game design concerns. He is much better versed in such things and we've had a good dialogue on these changes. It looks like the advantage/disadvantage mechanic will change. We're modifying some nomenclature in the book. He's suggested a new way to delineate player info from GM info in the optional rule add-ons. He also questioned how I'm dealing with healing in the game. After some discussion, we've come to agreement on some issues.
Chris's input has been invaluable. While I consider myself a pretty solid RPG designer, there's definitely an art to presenting information in a game book in an intuitive manner. Each section builds to the next section. Chris is the consummate professional and I'm very happy I brought him on board.
Well, I think that about covers it for now. On to Kickstarter page design. And layout. And writing art orders. And...a few things I'm sure I haven't thought of yet.
Again, a learning process.