Orccon is a regional convention held in Los Angeles on President’s Day weekend. Several league members were in attendance and we share their experiences here.
I attended Orccon on Saturday & Sunday and felt it was beneficial & enjoyable. I was able to get very good play tests in on three of my prototypes – Be There Witches, Seating at 6:00 and Breaking News – Through the Generations. Participants were ready to purchase the games had they been available. But alas, I’m still in search of publishers on all three. One thing I took away from this Strategicon experience was that if you check the signup sheets for your event early and don’t find anyone signed up, don’t despair. I had that happen on all three of my play test events and yet at the time for the event I had the number I needed. A slight variation on Seating at 6:00 I only had one gamer signed up but when I set up the game and started to explain it two more players passing by became interested and joined us. In addition to my own play test events I play tested Micromanage from our friends at Galvanized Games in San Diego. Looking forward to the next Strategicon.
I spent the better part of the weekend playtesting games and running demos. I had an absolutely great time hanging out with fellow designers playing games, discussing the industry, and working to make games better. I got to play the prototypes Oceanica by Mark and Christina Major, Ascendant by Accidental Cyclops, Crusaders by Seth Jaffee, and my own Saturn Rising.
I ran demos and showed off games at the League of Gamemakers table including Letter Tycoon, Stones of Fate, The Amberden Affair, Ars Victor, and Evil Intent. We had some great late-night games, including Fairy Tale, Shadow Throne, and an epic game of Concordia. I had the pleasure of winning the game of Concordia, beating Seth Jaffee by a single point. So naturally, I picked up a copy. The best thing about Strategicon for me, though, was the pride I felt for my son, who finally won 1st place in the Dominion tournament after coming in 2nd place in two previous conventions. He took his prize winnings to the dealer room and purchased a gift for his sister, who couldn’t attend this con.
I spent a couple hours at the league booth on Saturday answering questions (“Where is registration?”) and demoing Letter Tycoon. Four older ladies from New York who were staying in the hotel came over to find out what a gaming convention was and whether it was something their grandkids would like. But what stands out to me was how much people responded to Letter Tycoon with the final artwork versus in September when we just had a functional playtest version. I never doubted aesthetics matter, but this drove home the point.
I went to Orccon with a full schedule. I had events scheduled for 3 different games (all 3 each day) and had a fourth game I wanted to get to the table. I was able to get in everything I had planned which I was thankful for. It made for a really busy weekend but really great as well. The people at Orccon are phenomenal. It’s so amazing to sit down with perfect strangers and bond over our shared love of games. Many of them have great advice for play tests or just really enjoy the fun of sharing games together.
Of all the Strategicons I’ve attended, this is the one where I played the fewest games! I was mostly involved with organization of the League of Gamemakers table at OrcCon, which was our group’s first table at a convention. I think we worked together well and with just a small contribution of effort from each of us (and the massive contributions of our prolific designer Tom Jolly), we were able to provide a larger presence to demo and sell League games that logistically wouldn’t have been able to stand alone at this show. I got to demo and sell The Amberden Affair, Blazing Spuds, Zerpang, and Jupiter Rescue.
We have a lot of friends who attend Strategicon we’ve met through various local communities and Meetups, so it was awesome to have a space to share all the finished games they’re always helping us playtest. And it’s always great to see our non-local game buddies like Tom, Seth, Luke, and the blurred outline of Jeff rushing from demo to demo.
Seth Jaffee wrote a summary of his Orccon experiences from 2015 on his personal blog:
Strategicon has another convention, Gamex 2015, coming up on Memorial Day weekend. What conventions are you planning on attending?