Metatopia is a sort of un-convention about game design and anxiety; 1200 people (most of them game designers) gather to playtest, commiserate and explore their shared passions and miseries. It's a well-run event and the vibe is one of caring and support. I wouldn't say that Metatopia is always fun, because it is often stressful and more often hard work, but it is productive and inspirational. Usually it is also fun.
This year Steve, Alex and I attended representing BPG. We were on a mess of panels, including panels on Kickstarting games and production issues (Steve), designing RPGs with safety tools included (Alex), and cross-pollinating larp and tabletop (Jason). We were on, or moderated, a total of nine panels. All panels were recorded, so we'll share that audio with you as it becomes available.
We ran three hardcore playtests of the new Fiasco, throwing our current rules and cards on a table with players who had never played Fiasco before (who were gratifyingly hard to find) and watching what happened without making a peep in protest as they went off the rails. These resulted in reams of data and were wonderfully consistent in their results. Jason also ran four informal playtests of two new games - The Yearbook Games (which he has talked about here) and something we don't quite understand called Praise of Shulgi. Alex finally got to play Yearbook and pronounced it "fire."
And we played a ton of games, both for fun and to help other designers. We critiqued, we poked and prodded and laughed, we encouraged and advised. It was a good time.
Jason is a Golden Cobra judge, and helped run three samplers of the winning slate of games. This year's winners are all great, but so are pretty much all the games. The photo header for this post is from a run of Laurel Halbany's great and weird game The Widow's Market. Check those out, get excited and get inspired.
Time to revise our Fiasco cards. Stay tuned for more info on that.