Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Metatopia 2014 or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Call Myself A Designer. PART 1

(This post is a bunch of brutal honesty from inside my head. I'm pretty good at writing out the anxiety that I feel internally.) 

Part 1: The Social

I arrived on Thursday evening and was terrified. Sure, there were people I had met before but I was *alone*. My GC partner in crime was in Pittsburgh and sadly, my two best friends who make up Growling Door Games were unable to attend, so alone I went.

Now, I've never been one to get starstruck. I've dealt with famous people before in other jobs before, mainly theater. But there were going to be people there who wrote some of the games that I just love to play. Then my ride arrives from just picking up Cam Banks and I do my best to not fret. I had met him at Gen Con earlier this year and I had no need to worry. See, this was my first con from inside the industry. I had always been a fan, a volunteer, a friend of the designer, just a gamer. Now, I have two games that my name will be on and I'm a member of a group of designers. To say I felt like an imposter is a wild understatement.

I'm naturally a rampant extrovert when I feel like I know what I'm doing. This was a weekend of huge steps into the unknown and all I could do was hope that it wouldn't break me.

We get to the hotel and I meet a few people who I know from online and settle into finding people to relate to. Robert Bohl gets my first shout out of the con for helping me by being the first person to engage with me. The evening proceeds, more and more people are introduced to me and I flex my schmoozing muscles for the first time in quite a while and, of course, I'm a rock star at it. In theater, that's about 25% of the job. Be it with other professionals, donors or audience members. So, this is old territory that just needs an update in my mind.

The evening progresses into a huge amount of fun, putting faces and voices to IGDN members and writers of games and systems that I love. Ran into Sarah Richardson pretty quickly into the evening and was very glad to find a comrade in feeling slightly awkward in the newness of this all. Everyone was excited. The feeling in the room was electric and I at least got the sense of even if I turn out to suck as a designer, I would at least meet a lot of awesome people.

Once the big board was up and the room was open, I went to do what I had been dreading: look to see if anyone had actually signed up for any of my games. Three were full and the last one only had one seat left. I nearly pissed myself. I took pictures of each sheet and sent them to Stentor as I was doing a crazy happy dance.

Part 2: The Kitten Lasers Playtests

Friday rolls around and my first playtest of Kitten Lasers was at 11am. I made myself eat breakfast and get there early to set up. We jumped into character creation and it was so nice to have actual people there to prove that somethings were broken. It's very hard to see that on your own and sometimes asking friends to point out flaws is a bit hard. There were things that stood up, somethings that crumbled.

And it was OKAY.

It made me happy to have players who were happy to be there show me what needed to be fixed. Everyone loved the theme, loved character creations, was happy to give ideas how to make the mechanics flow better. It was a great atmosphere.

On Sunday, I did my second playtest. I went ahead and changed all the things that fell apart. We got through character creation, bidding, the first scene and the second bidding phase. Everything I had changed now worked and I got to actually see what else needed fixed. I can't even express how grateful I am for this experience.

We have a game. That will work.

That people want to play.

(This is a picture of the players of the very first playtest. Thanks so much to you all!)


I will continue on about the rest of my impressions of the con later. This was just such an emotional experience for me that I still need processing time.

Look forward to the dramatic conclusion!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the explanation, it helps me understand your world better. It sounds like a fun world. You're a good writer. :-)
    --the obligatory "Mom" comment.