The Wide Con

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With the help of four GMs, I facilitated a "wide con" at Dreamation recently. We had 18 players at four tables, forming a complete squadron of four combat sections of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment. Wide con means multiple tables playing in a shared setting simultaneously, with some interaction between them, as a one-shot, usually four hours. It's inspired by "long con", which means multiple sessions of the same game sequentially over a day or two. You can also have both at once - lots of tables, multiple sessions. I've never done anything but a multi-table one-shot.

I've organized wide cons for both Night Witches and The Warren. It's a fun convention format - the room generates its own excitement, and once players begin to interact across tables it takes on a life of its own. In the most recent Night Witches wide con, they staged an impromptu funeral and it got sorta larp-y.

As a facilitator it helps a lot to have one GM per table and one extra as facilitator, host, occasional NPC and time-keeper. Night Witches is a great game for this format because it is so segmented and hierarchical. I walked around and signaled "ten minute until dusk" to each GM, and we began each night and day in unison. Managing time is progressively harder in more free-wheeling genres like The Warren.

Here's a blog post about the Night Witches wide con with a further link to all the guidance and play materials.

Comments

  • What a cool idea. Sounds more fun than a “mega-game” which seems to lean more heavily in the board gamey direction.
    How might this work, or not work with gmLess games? Archipelago might be a good one...
  • In a wide-con do players move from one table to another if that story/action takes them that way?
  • Thank you for posting about this, Jason! I still don't get a sense of how it actually works from the description, but I'll dig into your play materials and see if I can figure it out!
  • In a wide-con do players move from one table to another if that story/action takes them that way?

    I was actually in this game! And am planning a run of this scenario here in NYC in the spring.

    The answer to your question is yes... but it didn't work perfectly. Jason and I and some other folks did some brainstorming after the game. My opinion is that during Day phases, each table should represent a specific location on the airbase, and not be associated with a particular combat Section.
  • I think that's a smart approach for Night Witches going forward. For other games, I really don't know. It's something to encourage, I think, despite ramping up the information handling complexity a lot. People moving around and interacting across tables is really fun.
  • See, I actually think implementing this solution may add some clarity and make the GMs' jobs easier during Day phase! We'll see.
  • Huh! Interesting. I like Deliverator's take on it (but I haven't played it, so what do I know).
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