Archive Site: The Gaming Introduction

by Kevin Whitworth

Millennium Philcon Game Program Schedule

So, you are here at your first Worldcon, or perhaps it is not your first but your 4th, or your 20th. It doesn't matter, because this applies to any, and all that are interested in the world of gaming at Worldcon. First, I shall give some definitions of commonly used terms. Second, a short description on gaming etiquette. And anything else I can think of to throw in.

Here is the first part, if you know this stuff feel free to skip on down to the next part.

Ok, well that is it for the definitions. Now lots of games are going to have their own nuances for words, and the like. If you are talking to someone and they say a word you don't know, DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK!!! I cannot stress this enough. Lots of potential gamers are driven away because they think they are going to get called stupid or anything of that nature. That is untrue. A lot, and I mean A LOT of gamers are very, very nice, and will be happy to explain anything you like, now don't go asking them what your purpose on earth is, because they will naturally say, "TO PLAY GAMES!!"

Ok, here is the etiquette part of this... I know, I know, you are probably saying to yourself "I don't need no stinking etiquette"... but if you want to play games you need to know a few basics:

First, be polite. That is not too hard to do, just common courtesy sort of stuff.

Second, don't demean, or put down, someone just because they don't know things.

Third, it does not matter if you are the biggest, or the meanest, have the most stats, or cards. That is no excuse for a bad attitude, if you have one you will be asked to leave until you cool off.

Fourth, yes I know this just keeps going but it is important, watch the language, especially when little ears are around. A lot of people tend to forget that.

Fifth, HA! There is no fifth! Get in there and play some games!!!

Ok, now some of you may wonder, "Just who is this Kevin guy to come and tell us how things work, just who does he think he is anyway?!?" Well, #1 I am staff :) but more importantly I am a fan who has been playing games since I started going to cons. When was that you may ask? Darned if I can remember, I have been going to them since I was born as far as I know. I have also been going to most of the bigger mid-west cons, and am staff at Capricon. I have also been gophering for about six years now, so I have a fairly good understanding of how this mess becomes a con. If you have any more questions, feel free to find me, even if I am not working I will gladly answer any questions you may have. NO "WHO AM I?" QUESTIONS AT 5 IN THE MORNING! Then I might have to commit justifiable manslaughter. Just kidding. I will try to remember, even then. Thanks for taking the time to read this, NOW GET IN THERE AND PLAY SOME DARNED GAMES!!!!

     Scheduled Gaming Program                    8/17/01

     A Parents' Guide to Gaming
       Thu  7:00pm     M415
           What are the various genres of gaming all about?  How do they
           differ and how are they similar?  We will examine RPGS, LARPS,
           CCGs, Strategy/Tactical, Miniatures and Board Games, with special
           attention to parents' concerns and particularly the benefits to
           children to be derived from participating in these activities.
               Steve Jackson
               Benjamin Newman
               Lavelle Harmon
               Lottie Hashem

     The Art of Developing Character Histories in RPGs
       Fri 11:00am     CC104A
           After the dice have been rolled, gamers breathe life into their
           creations by creating character histories.  What makes for a good
           character history?  Is a past full of tragedy important?  How do
           the numbers you rolled affect the creation of your character's
           history?  How much input should game masters have?  Did you
           remember to include some hooks for your game master to tie your
           history to her world and the current life of your character?
               Greg Costikyan
               Steve Jackson
               James Cambias

     Campaign Basics I and II
       Fri  1:00pm     M415
           "Behind the Scenes and Who Was That Masked Man?".  What are the
           "big picture" ideas one needs to develop when creating a role-
           playing campaign? What can the GM do to make this fictional world
           come alive for the players?  Build your campaign from the ground
           up. What can both the GM and players do to bring their characters
           to life?
               Keith J. Olexa
               Shanti Fader
               Andrew Adams
               James Cambias

     What God Plays In Your Universe:  Music for Your Game World
       Fri  1:00pm     M411-412
               Steve Jackson
               Lee Gold
               Stephen Brinich

     The Next Step for Games: Cell Phones, PDAs, and Other Frontiers
       Fri  6:00pm     CC104A
               Greg Costikyan
               Neil Harris

     Developing Computer Games - The Artists' Perspectives
       Sat  1:00pm     CC108A
           As computers get better, art for computer games has become
           extremely sophisticated.  Join artists experienced in developing
           art for computer games (David Cherry now works for Ensemble
           Studios and is working on Age of Empires; Barclay Shaw is an
           expert in 3-D computer art and multimedia design) for a
           discussion of how art and game development work hand-in-hand.
               David Cherry
               Barclay Shaw

     Campaign Basics III and IV
       Sat  2:00pm     M415
           Haven't We Been Here Before? and Roll vs Role".  Learn to infuse
           your campaign with thematic resonances, like the value of loyalty
           or the pain of lost love.  Also, an overarching plot can provide
           your players with direction and goals that enhance the game.
               Mark Santillo
               Keith J. Olexa
               Shanti Fader

     Playing God in Somebody Else's Universe: Roleplaying in Established Worlds
       Sat  3:00pm     CC201B
           Roleplaying in an existing universe not specifically designed for
           roleplaying: from books, tv series or movies, can be very
           rewarding and fun for the players, but it places different
           stresses on the GM than playing from an RPG source book. The
           panel discusses the he trials and tribulations of GMing Babylon
           5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, C J Cherryh... et al.
               Andrew Adams
               Steve Jackson
               Kevin Geiselman
               Tony Finan
               Uwe Anton

     Online Gaming: Past, Present, and Future
       Sat  4:00pm     CC202B
               Erik Bear
               Neil Harris
               Thomas Harlan

     The Evolution of Gaming: From Miniatures and Boards to Dungeons and Computers
       Sat  7:00pm     CC202B
               Charlie Petit
               Greg Costikyan
               Steve Jackson
               Michael Dobson

     Campaign Electives I and II
       Sun 11:00am     M415
           How do GMs and other participants handle the "problem" players?
           How do players deal with a GM who seems out to destroy their
           characters, no matter the cost? What can both players and GMs do
           beyond the character sheet and the rulebook to bring the game to
               Lisa J. Steele
               Keith J. Olexa
               Steve Jackson
               Kevin Geiselman
               Mark Santillo

     Game to Fiction/Fiction to Game
       Sun  3:00pm     M415
           What makes for a good translation from one medium to the other?
           All genres of gaming will be considered and compared with their
           analogs in sci-fi, fantasy and horror literature.
               Greg Costikyan
               Walter Jon Williams
               Michael Dobson
               Kevin Maroney
               James Cambias