Go Play NW... What Is It?
Go Play is a relatively small game convention that has been occurring annually in Seattle for about a decade. I've only been once before, in 2015. The focus is primarily on role playing games, and specifically those that tend to be known either as "indie games" or "story games".
The games tend to have more of a narrative focus (as opposed to being mechanically complex or collaboratively weak), although that is my generalization, as there are some fairly complex and meaty games in that mix. What most participants share, from my perspective, is a wild love for RPGs, with a tendency to explore games that provides a heavy social element which requires strong player presence.
The convention also attempts to be very socially inclusive (gender, race, so forth), however the makeup of the Pacific North West is very white, so it on the surface actually looks less diverse than the cons I'm used to going to in Los Angeles. That said, everyone is extremely friendly and welcoming.
Leading Up To...
I got to Seattle a few days prior with the daughter. We visited with some close friends, had a blast, and I even got to introduce the two adults to RPGs via The Skeletons... details in prior post.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the night before, my friend Ryan took me to a local shop named Phoenix Comics and Games, where an active session of Story Games Seattle was in progress. I have heard of this story gaming meetup for years, and have met a few folks who regularly participate, but not being a local, it had a legendary air about it. And I got to stumble into it unawares! After my initial shock, I got to chat with a few folks, including a few who were heading to the convention the next day.
Friday meant it was time to ship the daughter to my parents' place, and then off to Seattle University, where Go Play NW is hosted. You can pay extra to get dorm rooms on campus, and some various meals included, mostly breakfasts and lunches. This worked great the prior year, except for the horrible heat and hotbox dorm rooms... but this year the weather was very pleasant, so you won't hear me complain about any of that any further.
Jerry... And Many More
My friend Jerry was taking the train up from Oregan, and as I was heading to the dorms to meet up with him, I ran into Dan, a fellow gamer who was also a Go Play first-timer the prior year. I grabbed Jerry and our empty bellies, and headed to meet Dan (a fellow Oreganite) at Juicebox. It's a vegetarian (vegan?) joint, and was perfect. We didn't order too much, since Go Play also has a welcome dinner scheduled for Friday evening at 6pm, for those that make it in time.
And this set the tone... 3 kids rambling about gaming, and occasionally other topics. Also catching up since the last time we all saw each other a year ago.
From there back to the dorm, running into more folks (many "famous" within the indie RPG circles, which is to say not famous at all), and then a nice yummy mini-buffet in the large ballroom which would be the location of most of the gaming during the weekend.
Go Play NW 2015 was mostly played in a different campus building, with more smaller rooms, but 2016 was based in Campion, which is the same building as the dorm rooms themselves. This was conveniently close, and allowed most of the games to run in a very large room with about 20 large tables. The audio wasn't distracting (no horrible echoes) so that was good. Also, many times folks would just head upstairs to the little common rooms that were available on most dorm floors, which allowed for privacy if you needed it.
Friday 8pm - Midnight: Fallout Shelter RPG
I tend to like running my games at the starting line, and this con was no different. I grabbed my 4 players, including the aforementioned Jerry and Dan, and we grabbed one of those private common rooms. This game has audio, so that would be distracting and rude in the large ball room.
This was my first time running it with my cleaned up version, including Area Moves, which I discuss in more detail in this prior blog post.
It ran fantastically. I loved my changes... just so much more of a smoother ride for me to run, and the players had a grand ol' time. It was excellent to see all that work organizing my game differently pay off so well.
I have to give mucho kudos to all 4 players, as we finished around 30 minutes past midnight, but they stuck around and really helped provide all sorts of great feedback (audio levels, audio quality, difficulty level, and so forth). I didn't know it at the time, but I was to run this again on Sunday morning, and all that talking helped make that a better game for me to run.
Off to bed. The dorm room bed was still shit, but with the lower temperatures, this year it was totally bearable.