So yeah, Metatopia.
For those who aren’t familiar, Metatopia’s a convention geared toward game designers; you go, you get your game playtested, you talk about games, you attend panels. It’s one part game design assistance, one part kibitzing, one part professional development. It’s easily one of my favorite cons of the year.
Last Metatopia I attended as a player and knew only a few people. I hadn’t yet broken into game design in a big way and had nothing to show people at the con other than Bulldogs!, which had already been published. I had the beginnings of a name and was just starting to get on peoples’ radar.
This Metatopia was a different experience. For one thing, I’m writing all the things so a lot of people know me and know who I am. Designers came from all over the country (and from outside the country, in some cases) to attend the con, many of whom I knew. It was great to see them all and catch up.
I also had stuff to show people, stuff I’m working on that needed playtesting. I ran a session of Becoming that was very productive, and that resulted in a playtest doc that is, in all likelihood, very close to what the final text will look like. At this point I feel that the fundamentals are solid, and that the tweaks are going to revolve around specific numbers and such.
I also ran a focus group for Wetwork, a cyberpunk Apocalypse World hack I’m working on. I got feedback from my friend Russel Morrisey (he of Fortune Cookie Kung Fu fame), as well as gaming luminaries like Jason Morningstar, Brennan Taylor, and Darren Watts. They gave me a lot of good advice, pointed out the flaws (such as the fact that I haven’t actually read Apocalypse World yet), and confirmed that Wetwork is headed in the right direction and is a thing worth doing.
Oh, and I was also on a panel. I got to talk about How to Work with an Editor with John Adamus and Amanda Valentine, and it was a lot of fun. I got to spout off the same sort of stuff I spout on Twitter, except to a room full of people. There was even an audible groan of dismay when the panel ended, which was gratifying.
Aside from my own things, I sat in on a bunch of panels (all of which were excellent; seriously, the Metatopia panel track is first-rate) and got to play Tim Rodriguez’s Yellow Press (a Rummy-style game where you play reporters making the news about super-heroes and super-villains) and Quinn Murphy’s Dicefighter (a dice game that seeks to emulate fighting games like Street Fighter), both of which are shaping up to be excellent games.
This year, Metatopia continued to provide an invaluable service to the game design community that you just can’t get elsewhere. I can’t wait for next year.