Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thank You!

This weekend, while TridentCon was going on, someone asked me "What does success look like for this?"  I didn't have a good answer, but gesturing around the room seemed to do the trick.  Throughout Saturday, as I stepped outside to cool off, I enjoyed the sight of cars triple-parked in a tiny game-store parking lot.  That's what success looks like.  I am immensely pleased with how the whole thing went.

It wasn't all perfect or without potholes, of course; the printer sent only women's t-shirts, for example.  That was certainly unexpected.  (We'll see about more t-shirts in the next week or so, watch this space).  But all in all, it went great.  Saturday was insane; Sunday it felt like we had a handle on things; and Monday was quiet and pretty chill.

Here's the 'by the numbers' breakdown:

RPG sessions run: 18, plus lots of Sails of Glory and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game throughout the weekend

Participants: about 55 unique gamers throughout the weekend by my unscientific count

PC Tombstones added to the wall: 16

Minutes it took to destroy the stack of pizzas on Saturday: 3.5

Money raised for Wounded Warrior: $337

We had people come in from as far as Connecticut, and a handful were up from Virginia as well.  The store (and backyard) were full of laughter and I-can't-believe-that-just-happened moments, as you would expect.  The sessions were full of pirates, ghost ships, evil fish-men, swinging from the rigging, swashbuckling, ancient Atlantean hooha, and more.

Thank you to everyone who participated - a gaming gathering is nothing without players!  Extra thanks to the volunteer GMs.

Special thanks to Matt Hudson, the local Pathfinder Society Venture Captain, who took care of things on the Golarion side of the con.

Special thanks to Travis Lerol, Roger Beaudry, and the crew at CardBoard Gaming for hosting and putting up with all of this.

Another tip of the tricorn to Gus L, who provided the Admiral Fish logo.

And a further, very important thanks to the following people and publishers who provided prize support:

Brendan at Bedrock Games

Zzarchov at Unofficial Games

Rachel at Legendary Games

David at Okumarts

Pete at Small Niche Games

Trey at Armchair Planet

Jon at Purple Sorcerer

Mark at Purple Duck Games

John at d20pfsrd.com

Brett at Precis Intermedia Games

Richard at New Big Dragon

It was a serious prize pile, both physical and digital.  Tridenteers waiting on digital prizes should see something later this week.  (Yes, 'Tridenteers' is the word I'll use now for attendees)

At another point during the weekend, someone else inquired "Are you guys going to do this next year?"  I only know that Travis and I agreed to discuss that matter a few weeks from now once we'd both caught up on sleep.  If you came to Trident and had a great time, let us know.  I want to hear your thoughts - what works, what didn't work, ideas for a hypothetical next time (with a different theme of course), and so forth.  And I especially want to hear tales from the table I might have missed, or updates down the road on how you used a prize you received at Trident.

Thanks again for joining us!

Erik Jensen
Trident Organizer

The adventures of Admiral Fish...continue?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Parking, Eating, and Winning: One Week To Go

Only a week remains before Trident opens!  Let's go over some logistics so you're prepared for the mini-con.

You can park at CardBoard Gaming, at the auto mechanic's next door, or around the corner.  I strongly encourage carpooling.  Staff will be deliberately parking far away to leave more space for con-goers, and I encourage CardBoard regulars who know the area to do the same, as we have folks coming to Trident from a good distance outside the Odenton area.  If you want to pull up to the store, drop off a laptop, backpack, and box of books inside, then park your car properly some distance away, that's fine too.  There is no good public transportation to CardBoard, I'm sorry to say.

Nearby you will find a number of local eateries.  Please note this is a "driving nearby", not a "walking nearby".  Within reasonable range:
Dairy Queen
Three Brothers Italian
Hunan Rose
Hong Kong Gourmet
Little Caesar's
Papa John's
Five Guys
and there's a WaWa a bit further away if you're crafty about your route of approach.
Some of these establishments will deliver to the store, if you're into that - staff have the necessary info.  Note also that CardBoard itself sells drinks and snacks (chips, candy, and the like), and you are welcome to bring your sack lunch or outside food into the store.  I expect there will be some food-pools and pizza-ordering and such going on.  As noted in an earlier blogpost, think of Trident as a three-day gaming binge in somebody's (remarkably clean and well-lit) basement!

As of right now the weather for Trident looks pretty good!  The goal is clear skies, as we're setting up some tables outside with canopies so we can spread out.  If we have to jam everybody indoors, we can, but the noise level will be best if we can spread out a bit and take advantage of what's looking to be a beautiful early-Autumn weekend.  This is Maryland we're talking about, though, so please come prepared dressed in layers or with a jacket handy so you can enjoy the outdoor tables as well.

We'll have prize pulls during the "between games" period of 4 to 5, and perhaps at the opening of festivities on Sunday and Monday as well.  You'll be given prize tickets when you show up, and when you play each game during Trident.  There are other ways to earn extra prize tickets - including wearing a (family-friendly!) themed costume (such as pirate gear), or being awarded a ticket by CardBoard staff or GMs for sportsmanship or helping with 'extra duties as assigned' during the weekend.  Con-goers who upgrade their registration to include a t-shirt will get an extra prize ticket as well (while shirt supplies last).

We have a very nice stack of prizes, both digital (pdfs or download codes) and physical, from generous publishers such as:
Bedrock Games
Purple Sorcerer
Armchair Planet
Purple Duck Games
Legendary Games
New Big Dragon
Unofficial Games
Precis Intermedia

Games start at 11am on Saturday; to facilitate that, the store will be open probably earlier than its usual 10am opening.  GMs, please consider arriving at 10 so we can get you settled and you can start spreading your paper empire around you at your assigned table, you can meet the staff, and get settled with an energy drink and whatever brunch you brought along...

Registration at the store shouldn't take long at all - you hand over your five bucks (or more if you want a t-shirt), we'll get your name on a badge and hand you some prize tickets, and it's off to the races.  I'll walk around right before eleven to ensure everyone who's seated is registered, and to ensure tables are getting filled.  Speaking of which --

If a table lacks a quorum to play, I will work to place you elsewhere so you can play!  There are limits to some tables as far as minimums and maximums - particularly those running organized play - and there's a practical maximum at any table, but the point is to show up and play games.  Please be open-minded and cheerful if a session you're in gets moved to a different table or cancelled for any reason.

Any last-minute issues or questions?  Hit me up at erikisarobot@gmail.com.

That's it - pack your dice and a pencil, and we'll see you in seven days!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Two Weeks...

Just two weeks til Trident!  Wow, that snuck up fast.

Remember to go to the CardBoard Meetup for non-PFS sessions, and the Pathfinder Society of Baltimore Meetup to sign up for PFS sessions!  Signing up for sessions is a good idea - there's only so much space at CardBoard.

Watch this space in the next few days for an update on parking and nearby food joints to assist in your planning.  And if you have a weather control machine, it's about time to get it spinning...


Monday, September 15, 2014

Game Registration Is Now Open!

Game registration for Trident has begun!  All of the non-Pathfinder sessions are up on the CardBoard Gaming Meetup - get your shark-tail over there and check it out!  The Pathfinder Society sessions will be up soon on the Baltimore PFS Meetup, so keep your eyes peeled over there if you're a Pathfinder!

A few guidelines:

1) GMs, you do not need to RSVP for your session.  Those are player slots!

2) I currently have the "+1" guest function turned off in hopes of having names to go with the registrations.  If there is great brouhaha over this choice, I can change it back, but...you should already be registered on the Meetup, and so should your pal who's riding down in your vehicle.

3) You will notice that the sessions are 11-4 and 5-10.  Some games may not need five hours, but we'd rather have some buffer - we hope that will make food runs and pick-up gaming easier.

There's a lot of gaming goodness going on...

For Dungeon Crawl Classics we are offering six different sessions - you could potentially play nothing but DCC all three days!  Those sessions include original adventures by Peter Seckler and Noah Stevens, Peril of the Plague Pirates, Circus of Devils, and a special DCC sci-fi romp entitled Raid on Tetsuo-13. And don't forget the published material from Zzarchov Kowolski, Michael Curtis, and Harley Stroh like The Sea Queen Escapes, Under the Waterless Sea, and Tower of the Black Pearl!

For Dungeons & Dragons Adventurers League, the action starts Sunday with Shadow on the Moonsea followed immediately by Secrets of Sokol Keep!  This is your chance to catch up on those Expeditions you might've missed.  (Psst - probably more 5e sessions on the way)

But there's more... on Saturday you can playtest a forthcoming rpg, Break!! with the author, Rey Madrinan, and explore The Echoing Cavern.  And you can check out the Dresden Files rpg with Joy and Michael and investigate Something Something Cthulhu.  That doesn't sound dangerous at all!

And on Saturday only, you can learn to play the miniatures game Sails of Glory, as Cap'n Jacoby will be giving demo games all day!

Slots might fill pretty quickly...better hoist your sails and head over to that Meetup!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Are You Ready?

It's almost time for Trident!  Are you ready for three days of gaming for charity?  Here's what you need to know.

Admission will be at the door and come in two flavors:

Basic admission is a $5 donation for Wounded Warrior.  That small fee gets you in for all three days of Trident!

"Captain" level admission will probably be about $20 and will include entry for the three days, a sweet Trident t-shirt featuring our mascot Admiral Fish, and some extra prize tickets.  We're still nailing down the details on the t-shirts and thus, the Captain level.

That's a pretty amazing deal - five bucks for three days.  Cheaper than the movies!  Obviously, we encourage Tridenters to donate more if possible, and of course to patronize our hosts at CardBoard Gaming.  (That's "buy stuff" patronize, not "tease Travis with sarcasm" patronize - we know you'll have the second part covered though).

In order to be truly prepared for Trident, we encourage you to join two complementary Meetup sites so that when the con schedule goes live, you can register for individual sessions easily:

Pathfinder Society of Baltimore is wrangling all the Pathfinder Society play for us, so if you're into PFS, you'll want to ensure you're hooked up on their Meetup so you can register for those games.

Gamers of CardBoard Gaming will handle all the non-PFS game sessions - the D&D Adventurers League, Dungeon Crawl Classics, and the odds and ends.

Sorry to send you to two different places, but this was the easiest way to leverage existing gamer networks for the con.  Trident strongly encourages attendees to try out games they've never played before!  A con of any size is a great time for checking out new games thanks to the limited time commitment and ubiquitous pre-generated characters for many of these sessions.  If you're new to the organized play campaigns (Pathfinder Society and Adventurers League), don't worry - we'll get you started!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Call for GMs - the Time is Now!

If you're interested in running something at Trident, please drop me a line ASAP - by the end of this weekend (the 10th).  It's time to start getting the con program together!

We're particularly looking for GMs interested in running on Sunday or Monday (as you can imagine, Saturday is a popular timeslot request).

Send me a short proposal with the following:
* Session Title
* Game System
* GM
* # of players you can take
* descriptive blurb of the scenario
* make sure to note whether you'll have pregens available, whether folks should bring their own PCs etc
* your preferred timeslots (Sat/Sun/Mon, early 11-4 vs late 5-10).  First/second choices appreciated!  Trying to play Tetris with the schedule over here!

Trident is just over two months away!

Seize this opportunity to impress or humiliate fellow game-masters with your mad skills.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Playing To Strengths

Gaming get-togethers come in all sizes, from an intimate home game with long-time friends to a massive convention-center takeover by thousands of strangers drawn together by their love of games.  When we hear "gaming convention", we tend to think of the latter - something big, involving a hotel perhaps - but that need not be so.

When we first started talking about doing something "con-like" at CardBoard Gaming, we knew that throwing money at a hotel was not an approach we wanted to take (certainly not the first year, anyway).  Starting small seemed to make more sense.  When we look at other game stores in our area - all of which are quite nice, we're definitely blessed when it comes to game-stores in central Maryland - the sizes vary pretty wildly.  Some of the stores have a heavy miniatures focus with large play-spaces adapted to wargaming; CardBoard Gaming does not have huge play-spaces.  So how to complement what's already out there?  That was the challenge.  It wasn't a new thought - as you can imagine, a new game store needs to think about what role it can play in the region, how it can best serve its potential customers.  Cardboard Gaming, being new and small, has elected to focus on strong customer service - which has included good support for rpgs, which are traditionally not a huge money-maker for gaming shops relative to Magic.

So we have a smallish store looking to distinguish itself by throwing an event, and doing it differently than a larger store might do.  That was the concept; other stores in the area have the play-space to do a one-day blitz featuring twenty sessions of Pathfinder Society with eight or ten games at a time, for example; so we tried to go the other direction with a multiple-day event where participants can perhaps take a more casual attitude to the whole thing.  Time doesn't feel so limited, and unlike a big hotel con, you're not justifying your exhaustion based on all that money you spent on a plane ticket and hotel room.  Trident will hopefully feel like a casual convention, as much "three-day hangout with friends" as anything else.  You can only make it to one session?  Awesome.  You can hang out the entire weekend?  Also awesome.  Come and meet new people - an important part of any con!

Plus we're going crazy with the theme - the play-space in and around the store will be decorated, and everyone is invited to dress up and be a little silly.  On top of that, there's the ever-growing prize pile (can't have pirates without treasure), and the fact that the whole event is for charity.  This is not your average con.  This is a weekend-long gaming party for a good cause.

Registration details will be up soon - save the date!

Sometimes "smaller" is exactly what you need.