Introducing the FallCon 2014 Game Designer Stream

FallCon Gaming Society - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The following is a guest post from Calgary Game Artisan of Canada Paul Saxberg. He's the designer of Coven which won the 2012 CGDA and is being published soon by 8th Summit. Paul is now one of our amazing FallCon Ambassadors and he's decided to go beyond the call of duty in helping us with a Game Designer Stream at FallCon 2014. - Jasen

The FallCon Gaming Society started the Canadian Game Design of the Year Contest in 2010, with a mission to "highlight and eventually foster homegrown Canadian talent in game design". Since then, over a hundred games have been designed, playtested, and submitted to the contest for consideration. Four have been crowned winners, and a fifth will join them this year. Many of these games - and not just the winners - are now or will soon be on store shelves, in personal collections, and in the FallCon library. They wouldn't be there if it wasn't for the motivation, feedback, and exposure that the contest provides.

 

So… what comes next?

 

FallCon has for the last few years set aside a Prototype Pavilion for designers to network and share their designs with each other. The feedback received from last year's attendees, is that what people want the most is access to game publishers. This is a challenge to arrange given the current boutique nature of the convention, but we're working on it.

 

There are a number of things we can do to make Calgary a more attractive destination for publishers seeking new designs. FallCon has already taken the first step (for all of Canada) by nurturing and recognizing excellence in the games we create.

 

The second is to try to establish and grow the area and this event as a community and destination for designers. FallCon has agreed to experiment with giving us game designers a track for ourselves, which we've scheduled a couple of events in, but will mostly use for playtesting YOUR games. Any designer is welcome to this! You don't have to have credentials or experience, and your prototype can be handwritten on Magic cards. However, you are expected to return the favour and help test for other designers. Members of the Game Artisans of Canada will be part of this process, to offer our own experience, encouragement, and help.

 

Thirdly is an industry panel, "Design & Publication", where we'll attempt to answer your questions about the best way to make your game publishable and then to get it sold. Members are still pending but we plan to include published CGDA winners, a CGDA judge, successful self-publishers (both with and without Kickstarter), and a local game publisher. This panel will be podcasted to the internet, to help put FallCon, the CGDA, and our local design community on the map. This panel will take place on Saturday from 1:30pm to 3pm.

 

After that, any who want individual help with sell sheets, elevator pitches, or game videos to submit to publishers or the CGDA will be able to get individual advice. There'll be time and room for casual playtesting as well, and a library of 'bits' for anyone looking to put that idea that's been in the back of their head for all these years together for a shakedown run.

 

This is an exciting vision, and I hope you'll join me in making it a reality.

Paul Saxberg




Seeking Volunteers at Registration

FallCon Gaming Society - Monday, August 25, 2014
Our trustee Registration Coordinator, Sarah is looking for registration volunteers available for 4-5 hour shifts on FallCon Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Volunteer tasks include welcoming participants, printing name badges, accepting payment for Con registration or flea market tables, helping with the raffle draw and Play to Win, as well as printing games sheets for FallCon Ambassadors. If you are interested, please send an email to info@fallcon.com. A volunteer orientation is tentatively scheduled at the Brentood Co-op on Wednesday September 24 at 7:00 pm. We require volunteers to attend an orientation session so they can become familiar with the registration system.



FallCon Q&A MailBag: Flea Market

FallCon Gaming Society - Friday, August 22, 2014

In a total recall of last year, I received a pair of emails today asking about the 2014 Flea Market. 

Paul writes: "I was curious to know when the sign up for the flea market is taking place?"

In short, we're essentially doing an exact repeat of last year:
Flea Market

  • Interested sellers can book a table at registration, anytime after our initial rush on Friday evening. 
  • Flea Market tables are $20. They enable registered sellers the ability to sell whatever they want, to whoever they want, and at whatever price they wish.
  • Sellers (only) will gain access to the Flea Market Area at 9am for setup.
  • Doors open to the public (aka gawkers and buyers) at 10am.
  • Flea Market wraps up loosely between 11am and 11:20am so that our game events can start on time at 11:30am.
  • As our Saturday auction focuses on boardgames and exclusive FallCon "special items", the Flea Market is ideal for the miniaturists looking to hawk their wares.
Jasen




FallCon Q&A Mailbag: Game Selection & Diversity

FallCon Gaming Society - Thursday, August 14, 2014
Settlers Mech Miniatures

In today's Mailbag blog post, we look at FallCon's overarching vision and how we view community-driven game diversity at the convention. 

A few months ago, David wrote in to us:

"In the beginning FallCon game selection was more community-based: seeking moderators interested in running board games that generally interested the community as a whole, providing a wide variety of games that interested a diverse group of gamers. Over time this focus has changed and is now primarily a 'Euro' games convention featuring those games that the organizing committee have an interest in. I'm curious as to why this change happened?"

In 2010, the core organizing committee undertook an exercise to clarify FallCon's vision and goals. As part of that exercise, we developed a vision statement which we now summarize with the following equation:

People + Games => Better Communities, Families, Relationships

There's no doubt that in aligning ourselves with the above statement that there have been subtle and perhaps not so subtle cultural shifts. However, our event selection process has been fairly consistent for the last decade or so. It is rooted in the vision statement above in that event selection is based on game-focused and people-focused criteria. 

Game Criteria
The "Euro" and "Ameritrashy" side of the schedule is indeed selected by the core organizers. As stated on our website, we select games based on the following criteria:
  • games that are recognized as best in class
  • games that are highly replayable and with interesting themes
  • games that are fun, challenging and social
  • games that we (the organizers) would want to play ourselves
Teachability is also a factor we take into consideration. Beyond these criteria, we do aim to provide a variety of game genres, depth, complexity and themes. With the addition and expansion of the gaming library and HOT games, we provide access to games that might be difficult to acquire or to teach in a large group sessions. As such, we've seen the diversity of games at the con increase.

People/Community Criteria
The people criteria manifests itself in two principal ways. First and foremost, we aim to support the games that have the strongest appeal.Thus we take into consideration the number of people who register for past events. If an event is under-registered (e.g. 2 registrants for a 10 person event), we tend to make note of this for the following year. SInce we're dealing with limited volunteer resources and space, we do ultimately make decisions based on how our attendees vote with their feet. So if having more minis games on the schedule is a desired outcome, ultimately we need those players to show up. Fewer miniaturists attending and fewer people willing to organize miniature events begets fewer miniaturists.

Secondly, we aim to support the games that have a strong outward-looking community. We do the con to grow the hobby and want to support others who share our vision. 

Thanks David for sending us your great email. It's provided us an opportunity to talk about our vision for FallCon, something we likely don't do enough. We're passionate about games and the hobby, just as you all are. We're confident our vision reveals this passion and we're eager to engage with other passionate gamers who want to grow this fantastic community of ours.

Jasen 

Photo courtesy of Tony Case on Flickr









What is FallCon?

FallCon is a boardgame and tabletop miniatures convention for the masses held every fall in Calgary. Consider FallCon a philosophical extension to those fun Friday game nights you spend with family and friends! Against a backdrop of fun and friendly competition, gamers young and old are invited to join us in playing some of the best games available today.

October 3-5, 2014


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