Getting through conventions without a hitch!

Summertime is often associated with the height of convention season.  However, we’re in an era of such fandom that conventions now happen all year round.  Boston area conventioneers go to tons of events, including: SnowCon, Arisia, CaptainCon, ConnectiCon, Anime Boston, TotalCon, PAX East, PAX Unplugged, OGC, GenCon, Neon, Council of Five Nations, and Carnage on the Mountain. With so many options available, we feel that it’s best to be prepared!  Metro Boston has your back with these tips to help keep you happy and safe with a few common sense precautions.

It’s horrifying to lose your ID and credit cards when you’re 3,000 miles from home.  But it happens. Bring the minimum documentation you need to get by. If you’re flying, bring your government issued ID, but you can probably leave other documents at home.  If you’re going overseas, bring your passport and only those documents that you’ll need.

Most financial institutions have easy apps you can use to indicate your travel plans.  (It was a happy surprise the first time our card was declined at an out-if-state convention.  We had forgotten to inform the card company, and they were on the lookout for unusual activity–as they should be.)  You can avoid extra hassle by taking a couple of minutes to set your travel dates and locations where atypical transactions will be made.

If you don’t have someone you trust keeping a sharp eye on your home, maybe you can wait to post your awesome photos on social media until after you’re back.  No need to let everyone know your stuff is ripe for the picking.

Have a plan for what you want to do at the convention.  It can be as general or as detailed as you feel comfortable with.  It can help keep you on track and on budget, too! Realize that sometimes plans go awry. Try to go with the flow if things fall through.  If you have the time and energy, you can try to set a backup in case anything you wanted to do is unexpectedly unavailable–for example: if a panel was accidentally oversold or a fire alarm interrupts a tournament game.

Try not to get so absorbed by everything that you forget your personal safety.  Sadly, incidents are on the rise–bomb threats, harassment, attendees being attacked and more. Everyone owns their own safety and should never give that power away. If you witness something inappropriate, or if it happens to you, the subsequent procedure should be:

  1. Get to a safe place
  2. Inform someone

That’s it.

Sure, there are other nice-to-have suggestions (take notes, take photos, find witnesses, etc).  However, in the moment, you might be too frazzled, confused, or frozen to act–and that’s OK.

Your first responsibility is to yourself: get to safety.  Once you’re safe, you can take a moment. Breathe. Know that you are valued, and that someone will believe you.

Next, even if you wonder “what just happened?” find someone you trust. Let them know what seemed wrong.  Now more than ever, if you see something that’s not right, it’s important to say something. And remember: criminal activity falls under the purview of law enforcement.  Dial 911 when you need to.

Do you have any other tips for going to conventions?  Please share them!


 

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You matter!

In light of recent happenings at all sorts of venues for all manner of events around the country, we, the Metro Boston Lodge for Organized Play, would like to reiterate our pledge to the community:

  • If you feel unsafe,
  • If you need someone to walk with you to your car, or any other location,
  • If you had or have an issue with anyone (be they a random passerby, a convention guest, a convention volunteer, or a Venture-Officer), and you need someone to help you,
  • Or if you need assistance with anything,

We will help.

Don’t be afraid to interrupt anything we are doing. You and your safety, whoever you are, are more important than whatever we’re doing.

If you feel like you’ve witnessed or experienced something, please do not hesitate to sat something.

We will listen. We will believe you. We will step up, speak up, and, if necessary, bring others in.

(With thanks to Owen KC Stephens for the text and inspiration for the original pledge.)

Conversations about Gaming

Continuing our series of conversations about various aspects of gaming, Metro Boston Organized Play recently chatted with a gamer, Julie, who is brand new to Pathfinder.  Her first exposure was the Pathfinder Playtest system, and she candidly shared her thoughts with us.  If you’ve got a free moment, have a listen!

It’s interesting to note that Julie is a very experienced gamer and LARPer.  She simply hadn’t the opportunity to give Pathfinder (or Starfinder) a test drive.

If you missed our previous videos, you can subscribe to our channel.  Or you can view the videos individually:

  • Episode 1: Liz Lyddell talks about inclusivity and representation in gaming.
  • Episode 2: Kate Baker and Mike Kimmel talk about working as freelancers in the RPG industry.
  • Episode 3: Julie shares her thoughts about gaming in general and the Pathfinder Playtest in particular.

Disclaimer: We experienced technical problems during the first two recordings; sorry about the occasional dips in sound quality.  Stick with us; we’ll get better at this as we continue! 🙂

This November we’ll have a piece on painting miniatures.


If there are aspects about gaming or gaming-adjacent topics that you’d like to hear about, let us know!

By the Numbers: Metro Boston Stats for July, August, & September 2018

For the months of July, August and September in the Metro Boston region, we ran 105 blocks (tables) of games for 495 (non-unique) players.


These statistics include the following campaigns (game systems):

  • Pathfinder Society RPG
  • Pathfinder Society CORE
  • Pathfinder Society ACG
  • Pathfinder Playtest
  • Starfinder Society

(We have intentionally omitted data from Pathfinder Academy games that were run for kids ages 6-16.)


These stats include games run specifically at “Metro Boston” venues which currently are:

  • Barnes & Noble (Prudential)
  • Comicazi (Davis Square)
  • Knight Moves Cafe (Brookline)
  • Knight Moves Cafe (Somerville)
  • Omar’s World of Comics (Lexington)
  • Pandemonium Books and Games
  • Special Events

“Special Events” include:

  • Ladies’ Night
  • LGBTQA+ Game Day
  • Sensory Friendly Game Day (for autistic players)
  • TotalCon’s End-of-Summer Sizzler

Month by month stats are thus:

  • July: 34 tables for 157 players
  • August: 30 tables for 148 players
  • September: 41 tables for 190 players

Our counts intentionally deviate from the number of “reported” seats on Paizo’s system.  This is due, in part, to “casual” players.  For example: if someone walked in for a game at the End-of-Summer Sizzler because they want to give the Playtest a try, and they didn’t want to receive an Organized Play number, then they were included in our numbers above but not in Paizo’s system.  (We have no way of reporting them on the Paizo site because they eschewed getting a number.)

All players are welcome to join our games whether or not they choose to obtain an Organized Play number.


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Making Games for Good

When we all stand up for each other, nobody is being knocked down. It generally benefits everyone to belong to organizations that are diverse, equal, and representative–whether or not you’re a member of an oppressed or underrepresented group. There are many organizational studies providing evidence that diversity improves problem solving, creativity, organizational flexibility, etc.

To help us understand the richness and complexity of inclusivity in games, the Venture-Officers of Metro Boston decided to forego our regular monthly meeting for a chat with Lyz Liddell. Lyz has been a writer and editor in the RPG gaming industry since about 2003. She is also an activist, musician, and cyclist.

Lyz also happens to work with Paizo, Inc. However, her participation in this conversation was as a private individual. Her thoughts are entirely her own and do not represent any company or entity.

With permission from all parties involved, we recorded our conversation. (The first few minutes was cut off due to a technical problem.) Here it is: https://goo.gl/3DPi41


 

It’s about more than gaming

We have always held the belief that gamers want to be good members of the communities in which they live. We all want to make our world a little better.  Today, thanks to one woman, this opinion has been reaffirmed in a BIG way!

Metro Boston Organized Play is very proud to have donated 31 books and a bunch of comic books to the Salem Juvenile Reading Corner. This would not be possible without Yoshi’s amazing efforts. She had the vision and drive to make it happen amidst a staggering maze of bureaucracy!


 

More Conventions!

Last weekend (Aug 24-26), was the Neon convention in Warwick, RI.  This coming weekend some of our lodge members are headed to DragonCon in Atlanta, GA.  The following weekend, we have another local convention, TotalCon’s End-of-Summer Sizzler, in Marlborough, MA.  That same weekend (Sept 8-9), you can find Organized Play games at Granite State ComicCon in Manchester, NH.  Shortly thereafter, our neighbors in upstate NY are running the Council of Five Nations on Oct 5-7 in Schenectady, NY.  Carnage on the Mountain will happen on Nov 2-4 in Killington, VT.

Keep gaming!