image Last year I did a review of a local convention in Hudson, Ohio called Con On The Cob. It is one that I attend every year. You can read all about it in the review, but I have to unabashedly say that it is one of the most awesome conventions I’ve ever been to. The size is just right to meet and hang out without it being too small, there are enough tabletop games to keep me happy as a player, and there are lots of other events like comedy music, boardgames, video games, etc. to keep anyone of any geekish interest happy. 

Ok John, we get the point. You want to have Con On The Cob’s frizzy haired babies. Ok, yeah I like it, but I also got Patrick there last year and from all the talking we both did about it at Gencon, we’ve roped Phil and Kurt into coming and checking it out this year.That means that around 30% percent of the gnomes will be at Con On The Cob this year. That’s an impressive amount of gnomish awesome to fit into a small convention, and at least three of us will be kilted. I don’t know if the convention will take it.

If you’ll be at Con On The Cob, come and say hi and hang out with us. Our mugshots are below for easy reference. Aside from hanging out with us at Con On The Cob, you can pickup copies of Eureka from the Silvervine Games booth. If you won’t be lucky enough to hang out with us there, we might take gnome photo requests(kilted gnome conga line? Drop it in the comments and maaybe we’ll do it.) or try to whip together a podcast or video gnomet when all four of us have a chance. We’ll be presenting a seminar on utilizing Eureka, and you can be sure that will be going up as a video.

Phil                                     Kurt                              Patrick                     John

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Game Mastering Convention Advice
Ok, Gnome Stew is all about the Game Mastering and I can’t ethically write an article without doing something to benefit the Game Masters out there. While some might argue that merely letting you know where Gnomes are so that you can hunt us down and rub us for gaming luck is enough, I prefer to take the high road and drop some gnomish nuggets of wisdom about running convention games, especially at conventions that are smaller than the big boys. Here are some tidbits of advice for running convention games and some links to great articles from the past.

  • Not All Conventions Are Built Equally, But Treat Them All The Same When It Comes To Running Games – Every convention varies in size and scope. The dedicated people at your local college gaming club might whip something together for a weekend that is great fun, but it isn’t Gencon with its plethora of vendors and new products. When running a game at a smaller convention, expect things to be much more loosely organized but make sure you are treating it like any game you would run at a big convention. Be professional, be organized, be ready to fit into the time slots for the game. When it comes down to it, the size of the convention stops mattering when people are sitting at the table with you. At that point it is you and a group of people sitting down to game.
  • 6 Rules for GMing Great RPG Events at Conventions  – A great article by Patrick on general rules for running convention games.
  •  Expect The Same Problems On A Different Scale – Big conventions and little conventions have the same problems, just on different scales. At a big convention you likely have a team of 20 people trying to organize the thousands of games that are going on every day. At a smaller convention you have one person trying to organize the hundreds going on. Schedules will get messed up, it is inevitable. Deal with them like you should any other issue – politely and with tact, understanding that these are volunteers who love gaming.
  • There’s A New Player At Your TableScott drops some wonderful advice for how to deal with gaming with strangers at conventions.
  • Go To A Local Convention And Meet New People And Try New Games – This is my biggest piece of personal advice. Local conventions are great for getting to know people. The people you see in the games you run or play in are also the people you see at the very small vendors hall later and the people you see when you are looking to go grab some food from the restaurant down the way. I’ve made so many new friends at smaller conventions, and while some live farther away enough live close that I increase my local group of gamer oriented friends with every new convention I go to.  You can also try out new games at local conventions. It isn’t just at Gencon that new games get played. The people who pick them up at the big conventions but couldn’t get into a game there are going to run it at their local convention to try it out. So go to conventions, meet new people, and play new games.
  • I Was A Gencon Virgin – Walt’s confessions about his first time at Gencon sheds a lot of light on things first-timers at any convention should know.

So that’s it for this humble article. What are some of your favorite local conventions? Do you have any outlandish request for gnome photos (we bow easily to peer pressure)? Any topics you’d like to see the four of us cover if we find the time to do a video or podcast?

About  John Arcadian

John Arcadian is the head of Silvervine Games, a freelance writer and art director, a website developer, a builder of sonic screwdrivers, and a purveyor of kilted mayhem. When he isn't out causing trouble in his kilt... Well, no, that is pretty much what he does when he isn't running RPGs or or trying to take over the world.



4 Responses to Gnome Stew Invades Con On The Cob!!! and a Little Advice For Surviving Convention Games

  1. I’ll be there, Saturday at least, so I shall be looking for seminars. I’m not GMing anything this year.

    As far as local conventions, Con on the Cob and Origins are my locals. The! Ohio State University’s CAPCon was my favorite, may it rest in peace.

  2. John’s too modest to come right out and say it, but in addition to Eureka he’ll be selling copies of his just-published Silvervine Games RPG. Stop by his booth, say hi to John, and buy them both!

    Also, many of the Stew’s GenCon tips are good general convention tips, too.

  3. I had such a great time at CotC last year. It is an art show, a gaming convention, and just an all around good time. I might even wear my felt hat and beard while I am there… ;)

  4. And I forgot to mention that I’ve played the Silvervine game and it is a fun and smooth playing system. I will be picking up a copy!

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