Dragonflight program: Updates

Dragonflight 2013 program coverThe addendum for last minute changes to the Dragonflight game convention program is now available.  The convention takes place in Bellevue (Seattle area) this weekend, August 9-11, 2013.  Three formats to choose from:

.PDF: As an addendum indicating changes, from Issuu or Google Drive.  If you don’t already have the PDF program, here it is from Issuu or Google Drive.  Note that Issuu allows you to browse online, magazine-style, and to download as PDF by clicking “Share”, then “Download”.

.ePub: (For Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, etc.)  As a zipped ebook of the full, updated program, including the cover and metadata.  Just unzip and add to your library.  Download from Google Drive.

.mobi: (For Kindle)  As a zipped ebook of the full, updated program, including the cover and metadata.  Just unzip and add to your library.  Download from Google Drive.

Dragonflight 2013 convention program

Dragonflight 2013 program cover

EDIT: See the updates here.

I’ve finished preparing the program for the 2013 edition of Seattle’s Dragonflight game convention. It will be the 34th edition of the convention, and you can expect lots of board gaming, wargames, role-playing, miniatures games, etc.

In addition to the print version which will of course be available at the door that weekend (August 9-11, 2013), you can download it as an e-book in three different formats: .PDF (good for viewing onscreen on PC, iPad, etc.), .ePub (for Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, etc.) and .mobi (for Kindle, etc.)

The files should be posted shortly to the official convention site, but you can also get them from:

  • ISSUU: Viewable online in magazine format; to download as PDF, click on “Share” in the bottom left area, then on “Download.
  • Google Drive: Here is the PDF version; and here are the .ePub and .mobi versions, zipped together including cover and metadata.

Tutorial: Creating a Convention Program

Covers 2008-2012For several years now I’ve been volunteering for several tabletop game conventions.  One of the tasks I’ve assumed was the creation of the print programs and other documents for some of them, particularly Emerald City Gamefest and Dragonflight.

I’ve prepared the program for Dragonflight since 2008, and it occurred to me that although I have no plans to stop volunteering, stuff happens and eventually someone will have to take over for me.  I decided to prepare a tutorial on the complete process, from negotiating with printing companies to using desktop publishing to create the document.

Although this tutorial is targeted at one specific convention, I think it can be useful to other convention organizers elsewhere.  Local and regional tabletop game conventions usually work with shoestring budgets, so I use as many free, platform-independent and open source tools as I can (such as GIMP for image editing, Scribus for desktop publishing, Calibre for e-book creation) but the workflow I describe works with equivalent commercial tools.

The tutorial can be downloaded here.  (It looks scarily long because I tried to make my explanations detailed enough to be understood by newcomers without any other help.)  I hope it can be of use to other people.

Convention Season: Dragonflight

[This is the first in my series of game convention retrospectives, in an attempt to draw general conclusions about improving attendees’ and organizers’ convention experience.]

A Happy Surprise: Dragonflight

Dragonflight logo(Bellevue Hilton, Seattle Area)

Dragonflight Game Convention was in its 33rd edition under the auspices of the same non-profit volunteer group, and keeps a local focus.  Over the years, it has fluctuated between 350 and 600 attendees over the entire weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), which is always the second in August. Although it started with a focus on role-playing, nowadays its strongest are is board gaming and wargaming.  Miniatures gaming used to be strong, but has been decimated in the last couple of years (more on this in a moment.)

Edmund and I have been volunteering as staff with Dragonflight since 2007; even after we moved away, we kept on doing as much as we could from far away, like promo and event organization; in particular, I’ve been preparing the convention program since 2008.  This year, because of the kindness of the Dragonflight organizers and our friends’ generosity, we were able to attend for the first time in years.

(Things that went well, things that went poorly: after the cut.)

Continue reading “Convention Season: Dragonflight”

Convention Season: What Works, What Doesn’t

[This was going to be a very long post, so I’m splitting it into linked segments.]

Things were a little wild for us this year, convention-wise.  It was entirely unexpected too, because we’re so broke that we have no money at all to attend convention, so how did we attend four???  Answer: we have fantastic friends, we worked our butts off for all those conventions, and three of them were close enough that we could drive home at night and save hotel costs.  I’d like to review state-of-the-art game “conventioneering” and share some thoughts.  In addition, I’ll add some considerations of conventions we’re choosing not to attend, and why.

That means there will be criticism; if it’s your convention, your work, your friends, or your ideas I’m criticising, please know that it’s in an effort to draw general “con”clusions (haha), not to pick on you.  You probably have very good reasons you did things a certain way, reacting to crises as they arose; I’m talking about a general approach here.

The Line-Up:

Dragonflight notes

Dragonflight logoJust came back from Dragonflight.  I ran +Tim Gray‘s Jaws of the Six Serpents on Friday night and it went well.  I had planned a fairly standard sword and sorcery adventure — escort a caravan to Nilsomar, fend off an attack by rat-men that would foreshadow later events, discover the plans of an evil sorcerer to take over the city during the Festival of the Moon, battle, profit.

But I had a table full of great players, so I really had no work to do.  +Peter Darley made a character who was a scion of a noble family in Nilsomar whose inheritance had been hijacked by a cousin of his, and hired the other caravan guards (PCs) to help him regain his birthright once they reached the city.  From there on, we were off the original plot — something I always enjoy as GM, and the main reason I thrive on simple systems like PDQ.

We had other great characters: +Laura Mortensen‘s 16-year-old pirate from the Quegin islands in her oversized but fine boots; +Mark Walters‘ inquisitive Belimauran; +Edmund Metheny‘s dark sorcerer from Ahaan seeking redemption; and +Cindy Darley‘s chipper, resourceful adventurer from Narrowhome.  One highlight came from Cindy’s character convincing Edmund’s sorcerer to adopt orphans — ten children he then dressed in billowing black robes and told bedtime stories to.

I continue to really like Tim Gray’s approach to PDQ; I think the use of “funnelling qualities” during character creation makes the process easier and provides very useful structure.

I also got into Laura’s Urchin game on Saturday night but I missed a little over half, as I was already fighting a cold, short on sleep and planning to run a game in the morning.  The half I played was hilarious, as usual.

On Sunday afternoon, Edmund ran an episode of our continuing Savage Dark Heresy campaign in Open Gaming; it was the first time that the whole group had played face-to-face.  It gave him a chance to trot out his miniatures.

It was not part of Dragonflight as such, but on Tuesday after the convention, we celebrated Laura’s birthday and had a brief prologue to kick off her Ars Magica campaign.  Lots of gaming!