Advice for GMs

ConFusion is now accepting game submissions! If you've been wanting to run your game at a small, friendly convention, or if you've always wanted to give running a game a go, now's your chance!

It's sometimes tricky to tell what a convention wants in the way of games. To clear things up, we've written this handy guide for you. Got a question that doesn't appear on here? Get in touch, and we'll make sure your questions are answered.

Why should I run a game at ConFusion?

First, the greedy selfish reason: running a game at ConFusion nets you $5 off the price of your ticket. But it's more than that! Running a game at a convention can be a great way to level up your gaming skills. You can meet new friends, get feedback on how you run your game, and see how strangers react to your adventures. It's also the perfect place to try out that game system that's been gathering dust on your shelf for the past three months.

If you're new to running games, but want to give it a go, ConFusion is also a small, friendly environment to have a shot at running a game. It's a great place to iron out the kinks in your game, or test your mettle, before taking your game to a bigger, louder, convention.

What sort of games are you looking for?

We're looking for games that:

These games should be related to roleplaying, board gaming, or story-gaming. Last year we had a bunch of roleplaying games and one live-action RPG, but we're happy to consider branching out and hosting experimental hybrid games, if that's what you're thinking of.

Due to limitations in the venue (and our timetable), Live Action games should have a small player count, be able to be run in one classroom, and not require any set dressing. Nordic-style Larps are perfect for this!

My game runs shorter than two hours/longer than three hours. Is that an issue?

If your game runs shorter than two hours, you may want to put a note in your description: your players will end up with a good deal of free time between sessions as a result. We won't accept games that plan on running longer than three hours: we have games overshoot the session end already, without planning for them!

Can I run a game where the players are expected to know the system beforehand?

We discourage games that assume system knowledge or mastery at ConFusion. We want the games on offer to be accessible to all, especially to first-time roleplayers.

What's an X card? Should I have one in my game?

Games that deal with emotionally intense subjects - or games that may stray into emotionally-charged situations - often benefit from having some sort of safety mechanism. You can think of it like having a belayer when you go rock-climbing: the mechanism is there for if things go wrong, but when things are going fine it sits out of sight.

Some common safety mechanisms for roleplaying games include:

For more information on designing games that deal with emotionally intense materials, or that might shy into potentially triggering areas, we'd also recommend checking out Avery Alder's Safe Hearts document. This document is specifically written to address issues in Alder's game Monsterhearts, which is about teenage supernatural romance, but the ideas and approaches are applicable to plenty of other games.

People might argue about which of these is most effective, but we all generally agree that some safety mechanism is better than no safety mechanism. If you feel like your game might stray into emotionally intense territory, you may want to consider incorporating one of the above techniques into your session.

If you have questions about these techniques, or how to implement them in games, feel free to get in touch with our team. We'd love to answer your questions.

I want to run something, but I don't know what to run.

Welcome to the fold!

Is there a system you'd particularly like to run? If this is your first time running a game, we recommend running something you're familiar with, or have played before. Don't feel bad for running a stock session, or a commercial session written by someone else. When you're finding your feet running games, what's important is that you get some practice, regardless of the type of game you run.

Still not sure what to run? Get in touch with folks in the ConFusion community and ask around!