Moving to more reliance on open gaming

When I took on the job of scheduling the Fragcon I thought it was going to be a great opportunity. I could steer the gaming in the direction I wanted; newer, better and deeper games. Turns out that this is not so easy to do. My idea of “better” games do not coincide with other’s idea of “better”.

I heard many complaints about the schedule and sign-ups were once again a problem. In the past year, I’ve gone to several other gaming conventions and one thing you can count on are similar complaints about the scheduling. We’ve been doing the Saturday
Frag days for 20 years now and we’ve never needed any kind of schedule. We’ve always just been able to spontaneously set up games for the number of people we have.

And we’ve managed to put together some pretty big games on the spur of the moment. From games of Dominant Species to 6-hour games of Fire in the Lake to 10 player games of Murder in Hong Kong. And more than once even games of Here I Stand.

We briefly contemplated have a completely open gaming schedule for the upcoming con despite the ire that might cause. Many of our long-time members have now become unwilling to sign up for scheduled games knowing all the problems that come with them. Game times that run long and start times that are missed, to missing out on games completely.

There are some who are absolutely allergic to signing up for games. But then there are other, perhaps newer gamers where open gaming is difficult. They need a schedule because they are not sure they can get into a game otherwise and this has worked well for Chewday Challenge and other events. While we have success every month with open gaming it can certainly be difficult sometimes.

For myself, I had a very difficult time in both Winnipeg and Saskatoon starting any type of open gaming and many in our group from Regina encountered the same problems. There is a tendency for people to hunker down in their own group and honestly, I think it is something that is hard to avoid given the nature of the hobby. But this is something we really need to make an effort to overcome at the con; as planners, as groups attending and on an individual basis. At one of these conventions, I even saw people running solo games; an entire gymnasium of gamers and no one to game with is terrible.

For the 2019 Fragcon we have set up the schedule to focus more on events rather than individual games. Larger games that are harder to get played in smaller environments and tournaments that will last several rounds. We hope to leave the individual gaming to yourselves.

Whether this is simply open gaming or any scheduling done on the website or at the con itself. We will have a big board set up at the con to facilitate any scheduling for the event. It is important for you all to have the tools to come up with your own schedule and set up the games that you want to play.

In this way, we can have everyone covered and anyone will get to play the games that they want to play.

Mark Macza, co-chair