If you have any interest in neoclassical gaming or the old-school renaissance or any of those types of things, I'd really appreciate a few minutes of your time here.
First, I’ve been thinking it might be really cool to have a small Gen Con old-school/classic RPG tournament next year. It’d have to be manageable, like 4 or 6 6-person slots, with the highest group XP claiming the title. (It would also be fun to have awards for items like Most Kills, Best Idea, and Individual XP). I’d also like the games themselves to be manageable--I think 2-hour slots are optimal, with so much going on at Gen Con. Of course, there’d be several ways to go about it.
There’d be 4 Big Things:
DMs: I’d love to take a turn at it, but there would need to be at least a couple of DMs to share the load, and to hash out the overall rules.
Scenario: Do we use something pre-published but obscure? Do we tear something out of the One-Page Dungeon Contest? Or do we create a new one from scratch?
System: Labyrinth Lord? Swords & Wizardry? Microlite74? The Red Box itself?
Sponsorship: It’d be nice to give out a trophy or plaque of some sort to the winner.
Obviously there’s also the matter of interest, but I think that’s already there. Chgowiz’s games sound like they went marvelously. My Microlite74 game sold out, and I had a person show up with generic tickets to get in. Swords & Wizardry was exposed to a new element this year.
OK, onto my bigger point: I think it has been disappointing that TARGA and the neoclassic/classic/old-school RPG community has not been able to work up any more representation at Gen Con than on an individual level (such as Chgowiz with his Sword & Wizardry Quick Start, and running games). At Gen Con, you realize how many attendees still play and love earlier editions. I saw more than one old taped-up Red Box, and the AD&D 1e PHB was not unknown.
To a larger point, many of these attendees are “alpha gamers”. They take the new (or old) hotness back to their groups. Give them demos, give them a booth to interact with, give them opportunities for play, and watch it blossom. They're out there, guys. They may not visit the message boards or our blogs, but meet them at Gen Con, play with them, send them back home with a fresh copy of Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC in their paws, and watch the extended community grow. That's what I want. I'd rather sell 40 products to new customers offline than 80 products to the same old 80 folks online. Ultimately, I think we all want more people gaming the games we enjoy. Gen Con is one of the best ways to accomplish that.
Yes, it would take money. Yes, there are considerations to be made. Look, this is the same corner of the hobby that helped get previously obscure products in stores and distro networks, that pushed a quarterly gaming magazine to the top of lulu’s sales charts, and helped a retro-clone capture an award few people thought it had a chance of winning.
I’m willing to do my part for next year. What about you?