What a month April has been.
Today is April’s GeekOut Shrewsbury and sadly it will have to be a fairly tame affair compared to former events because between this and the last, I have been at two separate national events, long weekends in hotels carrying heavy books and masses of paperwork in the name of being a better GM, better gamer, and to shamelessly spread the word of The Shropshire DM.
The National Student Gaming and Role-playing Championship is an event coordinated between student unions by a dedicated team in pursuit of good gaming and the raising of large amounts of money for charity. Among the events are wargaming competitions, boardgaming, CCGs and of course role-playing, which is also competitive.
I attended last year in Bradford, this year – Glasgow – I was a DM instead. I’ve been training myself with a range of different systems but even after presenting a list of options I was given my easiest possible option: D&D 5e, awesome, and I have the perfect scenario ready and waiting.
5e was a popular category, between three dungeon masters we had twenty players, and we were only group two of three, and because of the size of the category we had two lots of points to issue to our players against three in every other category (in other words we could only pick our top two, instead of three, and out of a greater number of people than most groups) which was both fascinating and incredibly difficult.
Three of us sat and discussed two days worth of games, breaking down the qualities of groups, the quality of players, and I left consumed by the notion of what makes a player good at role-playing. Our winners were reactive, emotionally invested, creative, and possessed of a force of will that did not jeopardise the enjoyment of the others, and these qualities made them exceptional in an otherwise great assembly of people.
Additionally, that weekend shall forever remain the weekend I met Keith Baker, whom I now have to email.
There aren’t many DMs for hire in the UK, and the only other one I know personally – GM Moley – has been arranging to have me at Insomnia to help him out bringing tabletop role-play to the uncultured video gaming masses (yeah, I went there) under the banner of Games Quest, a board-game retailer who are present at most of the board gaming events around the country, and some beyond too, from what I hear.
Insomnia is a video gaming festival hosted primarily by Game, and arranged by Player 1 Events. It’s essentially a huge Expo and LAN party, thousands of gamers competing in all the major multiplayer titles, either in direct competition and esport tournaments, or just casually, as casual as one can get with thousands of other players. It’s huge, brutally well organised, and the first time I’ve ever had a helpdesk manage my bookings which was an oddly satisfying experience. It was also my first Insomnia, the first national event I’ve ever worked as anything other than press, and the first time I’ve run nine consecutive games across four days.
To say that I am exhausted is an understatement, but that won’t stop me going again at the end of August for Insomnia 65, hot off the heels of my GenCon trip, I’m sure that can only go well.
But with all of that under my belt alongside all of the other items on my plate I’m sure GeekOut attendees will understand a quieter Meet this month than they’d otherwise be used to. Here’s to a dozen more like it.