Camp Nerdly 2010 [CANCELLED! BOO!]

[See later in the thread for cancellation details]

I am starting a thread to begin discussing all sorts of things about Camp Nerdly 2010. I am organizing it this year and will be making announcements and such soon. Information will be started on the main page with some stuff appearing on the blog and propagated to our twitter account (@campnerdly), Facebook, and here, eventually.

Camp Nerdly
Prince William National Forest
Triangle, VA
May 21-23, 2010

Registration is live! Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Status: CANCELLED. Aiming to make 2011 awesome!


  • W00t. What do you need, Mark? How can we help?

    I have a giant box of plastic spoons.
  • Mark, to echo Jason, what can we do to help?
  • I'd be happy to help if there's any planning or structuring needed. I might have the time to act on such needs, even.
  • Wow, thanks everybody! I'll be laying out the plan and gaps soon.
  • Also, just to note, there is now a Camp Nerdly Facebook group as well: Just search for Camp Nerdly and join!

    The Camp Nerdly mailing list is still up, over here:

    We're still figuring out which will be the official channel for news (the website) and emergency updates (the mailing list?). Still, join 'em all!

  • I am marking my calendar now.

    What is Camp Nerdly's small kid policy? Are there kids in attendance?
  • Jason Morningstar personally inspects all small children for fleas and ticks.

    Seriously, small children are enlisted in what we've been calling the Little Owlbears for Quality Assurance.
  • edited February 2010
    Going to do another patch design contest? If so, I'm gonna refloat my design:
    (Obviously, need to tweak the 3 to a 4. Fortunately, there is a GIMP source file, too.)
  • In Nerdlys long-gone, discussions around children got contentious in my opinion. Last time, there was a baby but no other kids I can remember. There is a cabin that is for adults only, and one that's specifically kid-friendly.
  • Once again, with the best of intentions, I announce my intention to make it to Camp Nerdly this year. Who knows it could happen?
  • I am sooo looking forward to Camp Nerdly!

    Regarding kids, I believe the main controversy from a couple of years back involved older kids coming in and interrupting their parent while serious games were going on, which caused some people to be uncomfortable (they didn't want to worry about what was being said in the game in front of the kids). I think that's a legitimate concern. It could also be annoying if interruptions happened frequently. But that by no means excludes bringing kids to Camp Nerdly - there just needs to be some forethought.

    This year, Phil and I will be bring our baby, and I'm pretty sure Jule Ann and Jeremy will be coming, bringing their toddler who came last year. Daniel Levine is planning on bringing his 2 year old. I think we'll be coordinating our efforts with rotating duties so that the little ones are watched over and we can each sneak off at some point to get in some adult gaming. Older kids might present a different challenge, but that can be part of the dialogue.

    I would like to call shotgun on one of the cabins closest to the bathroom as a "baby & kid friendly" cabin.

  • Until one of the Senior Owlbears checks in, I'm going to throw down hazy memories and unfounded opinions.

    The deal is, if you bring kids, you have to coordinate for their needs in such a way that they won't interfere with adults who are there to have fun with each other. The issue was with particular irresponsible parents, and I think that's because the policy at the time was, "Kids are OK," rather than "Kids are OK if you coördinate stuff for them".

    At Nerdly, I've enjoyed every interaction but one with the kids there (a flailing hairpull notwithstanding), and I like to have families around. They do have specific requirements, though, and I'm glad parents are figuring out things to make that work.

  • I'd really like to make it!

    Camp Nerdly is my second favorite gaming event after Dreamation while being altogether different and more intimate.
  • edited February 2010
    Posted By: Joshua A.C. NewmanUntil one of the Senior Owlbears checks in, I'm going to throw down hazy memories and unfounded opinions.
    Yeah, we're hammering out the official policy on the back end right now. In short, it will be "all children are invited" but with some reservations and stuff.

    As Joshua mentioned, it wasn't about kids interrupting the parents, it was in particular with irresponsible parents and people being uncomfortable with kids around. Specifically:

    Camper: We're going to make boffer weapons!
    Parent A: I'm bringing my two hyperactive children. Please hand them box-cutters.
    Camper: Uh... not really comfortable with that...
    Parent A: It's ok! They've used scissors before, so it's fine.
    Camper: (on edge for 4 hours straight because the kids are goofing off with the box-cutters and weapons constantly)
    This situation led to Policy A and B (see below)

    Gaming Camper A: OK, then I take the knife and I approach the nun and...
    (Gamers fall into a quiet because there is a 12 year old present now, looking over the game)
    Gamers: Uhmmm... Uh...
    Parent A: Oh, keep going, they're totally used to this! No problem!
    (Gamers very uncomfortable)
    Gaming Camper A: Anyway, as I was saying, I throw the knife into the dirt at my feet, and run to the nun. We make mad, passionate love...
    Parent B (from the other side of the cabin) THAT KIND OF PLAY IS NOT APPROPRIATE WHEN CHILDREN ARE PRESENT
    Parent A (mimes "don't worry, it's OK, let's continue")
    Parent B (from the other side of the cabin) DID YOU HEAR ME PARENT A? THIS IS NOT APPROPRIATE FOR THE CHILDREN
    Parent A (mimes "eh, don't worry about Parent A, keep going")
    (Gamers extremely uncomfortable, game ends abruptly)
    This situation led to Policy C (see below)

    So, luckily, these were very isolated incidents, and all involved the same folks (who have not been present at/allowed to Nerdly for several years now). So we set pretty hard, fast rules for future behaviors and have NEVER HAD A PROBLEM WITH CHILDREN SINCE. This goes for very young children, as well as "pre teen kids".

    Now, these were the policies that emerged, and we're trying to figure out how to hammer them out:

    Goal: To make a fun, safe gaming and camping environment, noting that most of the attendees will be folks in their 20s and above looking for mature gaming; and at the same time without denying entry to kids, nor treating them as a pox, and creating family-friendly events for them as well.

    Policy A: If a child shows up for a game, and the GM/players expect there to be mature content (or box cutters) at the table, the players can ask them to leave (nicely, mind you!) or ask the parent to intervene, and this will be done immediately.

    Policy B: All parents who bring kids aged under 14 must prepare one kid-friendly activity (game-related, camping-related, physical activity-related) lasting at least 4 hours: All the parents can coordinate beforehand to determine who runs what, and when.
    *NOTE: Sure, while lots of the gaming is bloody D&D, adult-themed Polaris and Dogs in the Vineyard-style games, there are a lot of basic fun adventure gaming sessions going on, as well as board games: So don't think it's a sea of adult activities and the only events that kids can join will solely be the designated "kid friendly" items: But this is to ensure that kids have at least SOMETHING to do.

    Policy C: One gaming area (The Castle) is reserved for over 18 only. Exceptions can be made (16 year old playing with parent, and no other players having a problem, etc). If you run a session anywhere else, you can play as you see fit but just note that kids may be present, so you'll have to deal with that.
    * NOTE: I tend to run games in the mess hall because I like the warmth and can keep an eye on chores; I still run mature themed games, I just make sure that when stuff does happen that there's not kids loitering around the table, or that we lower our voices or speak in metaphor, etc.

    We're just trying to frame up these rules.

    Also, we're toying with the idea of reducing cost for very young children who don't require a bunk (sleep with mom/dad, or crib-thing, etc).

  • Ouch. That sounds like a mess.

    Thanks for the kid-related feedback, all. I don't have one of my own, just asking on behalf of a friend who has a four-year-old. Sorry! Didn't mean to stir up any consternation.
  • Posted By: BWAThanks for the kid-related feedback, all. I don't have one of my own, just asking on behalf of a friend who has a four-year-old. Sorry! Didn't mean to stir up any consternation.
    Oh, not at all! We're actually very proud of the fact that we were able to over the years create very specific, tailored rules that impose both little on the adult and child (and parent) participants to Nerdly, while at the same time making the experience better for everyone: Just a little thinking and adjustment let us create new ways to bring families to the event without further issues. The last two years have been great, in fact.

    So, I'm glad it was asked! We need a little time to review and codify the rules and all in an official way, but the above is basically what we're working with now.

  • It's good to include families with children. Last year there were several babies with responsible and considerate parents and it was great. Looks like this year will be a repeat of that. I think we were just scarred by one bad interaction early on.
  • I don't know anything about this mini-con. Does someone have a primer for us new folk?

  • Noah,

    I'm sure the page will fill in more details, but I attended CampNerdly 1 & 2.

    A typical Camp Nerdly is like this: you are staying in rustic "summer camp" cabins in the N. Va. woods. There's a fantastic dining hall where the majority of games are run - and everything goes, from hippy indie games to Mechwarrior and board games to D&D. There's also improv skills classes, boffer weapon workshops, Jeep-form games, walks in the woods.

    You get 3 squares a day and plenty of snacks and coffee. The kitchen in the dining hall is pretty big. There's a gigantic pantry and a walk-in freezer. I'm not sure if this year they will use a dedicated chef or just go with volunteers for certain meals. In any case, the meals have always been a nice break and a chance to meet other folks.

    Camp Nerdly also expects every camper to assign themselves camp chores. That's everything from kitchen duties, bathroom cleaning, and camp cleanup on Sunday. It's not a big deal when you have 50 people helping out.

    I should mention that the 2 times I went the temperatures were lower than most people were prepared for. The cabins are not well insulated - "be prepared" is the right attitude.

    If I haven't already said it, Camp Nerdly is FUN!
  • James,

    That sounds like so much fun. Thanks for the info!

    Off-topic: What's Jeep-form games/gaming?

  • edited February 2010
    Hey Noah,
    Jeepform games are from the Nordic freeform tradition. They are often highly structured, but with minimal rules dictating action in play. You can learn more at The Upgrade has been played very successfully at Nerdly (video, too!).

    We can start a thread about Jeep if you'd like to discuss it more (there are some people on and around SG that know a lot more about it than I do).
  • Here's the official policy on children. Later it will appear on the official website:

    While the primary attendees of Camp Nerdly are mostly in their mid-20s and up, we welcome children and families. Here are our policies to make sure that the Camp Nerdly experience is friendly and safe for all.

    Kids 4 years old and younger who do not require their own cot (sleep with parent, or portable crib/sleepspace): Attendance is free. Everyone else will pay full price, even if you live in the area and do not stay on the campgrounds at night.

    When you register (pay for yourself/others), if you are bringing children under 18, there will be an area to tell us how many children will be coming with you: You'll contact us and tell us how many children will be coming, their ages, as well as if you have any restrictions we need to know about (need an electric socket for sleep apparatus, specific and verified food allergies, etc)
    From there, we will later put you in contact with other attendees bringing children.

    * If you are bringing anyone under 18, you'll have to come prepared to run one 4-hour kid-friendly event at some point on Saturday (any time) or Sunday morning. You can coordinate with the other parents in advance to decide what/when/how to run.

    * There will be a kid-friendly cabin located relatively close to the bathrooms and mess hall. This will be the cabin specifically reserved for families.

    * Kids are welcome to participate in any gaming event. Feel free to talk to the event coordinator ("GM") for that event beforehand to confirm it's cool. GMs may refuse children to their events for safety or "adult situation" reasons, and that will be that. However, most of these events will be run in the Castle (see below).

    * The three-room gaming building known as "The Castle" is for attendees who are 18+ only (with possible exception: 16-17 with explicit parent approval, etc). This is not a den of sin, rather the gamers there will be using adult language and situations in their games.

    * Like always, there are plenty of adventure RPGs, light and fun games, board games, outdoor activities and the like to engage in for young and old. While we expect there to be a few adult-only events going on at any time, previous Camp Nerdly schedules tell us that this is only about 20-25% of the events at any given time. There's always something to do, including the designated kid-friendly events.

    * Andy Kitkowski (Hey, that's me!) will be the Warlord of Family Events. This means that I'll be helping the parents organize their kid-friendly events, organizing the family cabin, and lastly being responsible for all family/children policies, including arbitrator of disputes, and consulting as needed (if you have feedback good or bad, suggestions, etc).

    Any questions, concerns or suggestions please email me (ziggurat ATMARK gmail DOT com).

  • Andy,

    This is a reasonable and intriguing kid policy. I am tempted to go now more than ever (and bring the munchkin).

  • Wow, that is awesome, Rich. I hope you can make it!
  • I am extremely sad to announce that we have a wedding to go to in Toronto the same weekend as Camp Nerdly this year. :(
    Someone have some extra fun on my behalf.
  • Aww...sad! That sucks - maybe we can get you to a JiffyCon instead!
  • Registration is live! See the original post for details.
  • Posted By: Jule AnnI am extremely sad to announce that we have a wedding to go to in Toronto the same weekend as Camp Nerdly this year. :(
    Someone have some extra fun on my behalf.
    You will be missed! I'll make sure to have extra fun, and make Frank Manna drink extra Sundrop on your behalf.
  • Another Camp Nerdly question ... my girlfriend is (somewhat surprisingly) interested in attending. She is not really a role-player - she played In A Wicked Age once, and liked it okay. She likes camping and cooking and board games, though. Would she have a good time, or would she be bored and have to start punching nerds?
  • I think she would have a great time, given a desire to socialize, play board games, cook as a chore, and possibly explore the forest around her should she desire! We always have a big mix of games, not just RPGs. Heck, I think yoga was participated in last time, too.
  • Awesome! Thanks, guys. I am looking forward to it.
  • So, are we allowed to put Games on the Nerdly Wiki, or are we all waiting for someone else to do it first? :)
  • I just did! Now you can blame it on me if we weren't supposed to.
  • edited February 2010
    Thanks Jason!

    Now I can announce that--thanks to the awesome Fred Hicks and all the guys at Evil Hat--that I will be running an advance preview of the Dresden Files RPG at Camp Nerdly 2010.

    I met Fred at the first Camp Nerdly, and I follow the FATE boards (and run a few games of Diaspora, too.) I thought, what would it hurt to ask Fred if I could use the playtest document to run a game at Camp Nerdly? Well, he said yes.

    Look for THE DRESDEN FILES: DARK NOVA at Camp Nerdly 2010.
  • That's great, Jeff! You should offer it twice - I suspect there will be a lot of demand.
  • You guys are great! I just updated the blog about new games on the site.

    I'll definitely be running Swords without Master, so I'll post that soon.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarThat's great, Jeff! You should offer it twice - I suspect there will be a lot of demand.
    I put on the Nerdly Wiki that I will put in for additional slots if the demand warrants it...
  • I am in! Along with my girlfriend Wendy. Just signed up and dropped my money in the box.

    Well, actually, I dropped my money in the box, but didn't see anywhere to actually sign up, but I'll email Mark about that just in case I missed something.
  • Posted By: Brian MinterI am in! Along with my girlfriend Wendy. Just signed up and dropped my money in the box.

    Well, actually, I dropped my money in the box, but didn't see anywhere to actually sign up, but I'll email Mark about that just in case I missed something.
    The moderators will add your name to the Wiki, and you can find a link to the Wiki on the left hand side of the Camp Nerdly Page. Go there and sign up for "Lodging" and review the "Schedule," "Games and Events," and "What to Bring" pages and you should be all set!
  • Posted By: Brian MinterI am in! Along with my girlfriend Wendy. Just signed up and dropped my money in the box.

    Well, actually, I dropped my money in the box, but didn't see anywhere to actually sign up, but I'll email Mark about that just in case I missed something.
    Fantastic! I'm glad we could convince you! If you or Wendy aren't having fun, let me know and I'll try to make it happen!
  • edited February 2010
    Thanks, guys! I anticipate nothing but good times.

    Oh, and I will plan something awesome to run. Plus I will bring my original 1979 Avalon Hill 'Dune' game, which is like high-grade crystal meth to board game nerds.
  • Posted By: Brian Minter1979 Avalon Hill 'Dune' game
    Dude, add that to the schedule right now! If we'd known we would have put it in the brochure.
  • Do that, Brian, and maybe think about becoming a Board Game Czar! Email me for details!
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarPosted By: Brian Minter1979 Avalon Hill 'Dune' game
    Dude, add that to the schedule right now! If we'd known we would have put it in the brochure.

    Classic board games and cutting edge role-playing games... do we need any more proof that Camp Nerdly is AWESOME? (/boomdeyada ;)
  • Dune posted! I didn't pick a slot - I figured it could go wherever need was greatest.

    I also have this crazy French version of the game from the late 90s. It is in French, sadly, but the art is WAY better. I always meant to hack the two together, arts-and-crafts style. Maybe this will inspire me to do that.
  • I had a great time last year and I wouldn't miss it this year for the world! I talked it up to a bunch of friends after the fact as well, so there may be a few more Baltimorons attending this year.

    I do have one concern I'd like to raise, born from some minor bunking issues we experienced last year. I'd like to propose that we have at least one cabin designated "Snoring Friendly" this time around. Last year my good friend Kevin bunked with me, and while I love him to no end, his snoring is hellacious; so bad is it that my friend Brian didn't even sleep the first night. Kev ended up exiling himself to another cabin the second night, and our cabin became a defacto "snoring free" safe zone for other campers escaping from bad snorers in their own cabins. Kev felt bad for ruining other people's sleep, and others lost sleep but felt bad making an issue out of it. I think designating certain cabin(s) as snoring friendly we can get past some of that from the get go.
  • That's a great idea, Alex - I think it has been done in the past.
  • Just paid my registration fee, but wanted to check something with the community - while I intend to be prepped to run something this year, I would also like to bring along some boardgame fun. I wanted to gauge the relative levels of interest in a couple of options:

    Britannia - four player, intensely historical, heavily-scripted area control game examining the history of the British Isles from 65 CE (the Romans invade) to 1085 CE (the last Danish invasion). This is really an incredible game in a lot of ways, but it does take a while. It would only really make sense as a night session thing, and with people who don't need huge amounts of sleep.

    Last Night on Earth - Survivors v. zombies, and who ever heard of a roleplayer who didn't have at least a little bit of a soft spot for zombies? This game ends up being most fun when the zombie players are playing in the way a competent GM might, rather than as someone actually playing to win; all the survivors being wiped out in the first two turns isn't really fun for anyone. Plays reasonably quickly, and has a modular board with a bunch of different scenarios. I might have the Growing Hunger expansion for it by the time of Nerdly.

    Which is a better idea? I really would like to hear back from people (even if only in whispers...)
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