Metatopia 2015: The Level Up
Metatopia has always been my favourite convention, for so many reasons. It’s a place where we come together to share advanced discussions about games and society. It’s a launching place for new designers and their first creations. It’s an intense crucible of purifying fire that strengthens the work of the experienced professionals. It’s a place where old friends meet, new ones are encountered, and where the gods come to die.
I mean, maybe not that last one this year.
I dragged down +Alex Trépanier +Alex Roberts
Kat and +Shawn Roske
to the convention kicking and screaming, in our lovely little convoy. It was remarkably efficient, despite the complicating factors associated with coordinating our meetups. I heard positive reports from all of them though, and I think we have recruited at least one of them to start designing games. I hope to bolster our numbers for next year.
I met a metric ton of new people, and regret that I didn’t do a better job of capturing names and contact info for each of them. The Lean Coffee
experience, led by +Rob Donoghue
was an excellent thing that helped me meet so many new faces. The strange portion of this daily morning experience was that I was routinely looked to as some kind of knowledgeable veteran, rather than a fresh-faced youth. Perhaps it was my confident mask, or simply strange status dynamics, but I was given the opportunity to lead many a discussion.
The Panels were amazing as usual, both those I sat on and those I spectated. While I could ramble on at length about them, recordings should be showing up on the #RPGDesignPanelcast
over the coming year.
I was overjoyed to playtest Prism from +Whitney Delaglio
(co-dependent cuddlefish assassin) and the character creation for the Sentinels of the Multiverse RPG. Wish I had made it to test more of other people’s games!Game 1: Of Orks and Men
This project is a joint venture between myself and +Alex Trépanier
, a game about orks and toxic masculinity. To say that the game design and subject matter terrified me is the understatement of the century. Fortunately, the fantastic +Avonelle Wing
amassed two groups of designers to critique it, offering very kind and thoughtful feedback despite the brutal and toxic material associated with the game. While I only have a partial list, I absolutely have to thank +Laura Simpson +Sarah Richardson +Elsa S. Henry +Melissa Lewis-Gentry +Sarah Perry-Shipp
Matt Jackson +Stentor Danielson
for their wisdom. The design has something compelling and, despite my fears, was not rejected by my discerning peers. Game 2: Fate of the Galaxy
This was the more advanced game that +Mark Richardson
and I have been working on. We had two tests; one involving system creation and one high-test that included actual gameplay. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of the feedback, but one of the kindest things I heard was that the game was already
at the point of being an ashcan. Mark and I went into this as an Alpha Test, so that was a heck of a sign of confidence. The fact that +Fred Hicks
and +Rob Donoghue
could kick the tires and the thing held together was even better. Game 3: The World Arcane
This is a game of people who have been marginalized, and who learned the secret arts of wizardry to cope. It’s a game that tries to fulfill the promises of AD&D 2nd edition, of wizards who research, experiment, craft and teach magic. It’s a game Powered by the Apocalypse, with a neat mechanic for evolving spell-moves. Lots of discussion with +Shawn Roske +Alex Roberts +Jason Walters
and +Greg Robinson
have really helped bring this design along.
That’s not to say everything was perfect, and I made more than my fair share of mistakes over the weekend. The convention has taught me a great deal, both of what I need to continue doing and what I need to change for the better. I hope that next year, I will be able to better contribute to the community for newcomers. Till then, I concentrate on getting the RPG Design Panelcast out the door and refining my own work.