Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

[Rabbits] [Event] Tennessee Game Days by Thomas Gore

  • FromSuperFRED <superfred@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 13 Mar 2007 15:29:33 -0500
This is an auto-generated report from SuperFRED regarding an event that Thomas Gore has submitted.

Title: Tennessee Game Days
Location: Nashville, TN
Date: March 9-11, 2007

Malachi Brown and I attended a three-day game fest the weekend of March 9-11, which was organized by a local friend.  The event was primarily a chance for like-minded gamers to get together and play games for three days straight, but there were a handful of scheduled events during the days, like prize drawings and games of Werewolf.  Over 50 people signed up to participate in the event, and at the most populated time, there were over 30 people playing different games at the same time.

Malachi and I scheduled a demonstration of Undercut and Zendo for the second day, and we recruited two new players and one veteran of the game for our Undercut demonstration.  The game lasted a bit longer than we expected (90 minutes) because both new players tried to bid every pyramid they had on every round, and the few times that they bumped heads over the same tree, neither was willing to reduce their bid by more than 1 pip each turn.  We had hoped to spend an hour demo-ing both games, but the one game of Undercut lasted so long that everyone preferred to move on to something different.  Both new players said they enjoyed the game, but we were unable to convince either one of them to play Zendo.

On Sunday, we had a group of seven people interested in playing Zendo, and two of them had never played the game before.  This wasn't a scheduled demonstration, but the person who requested we play had been interested in the demonstration from Saturday, but had been unable to make it in time to participate.  We explained the rules of the game and demonstrated some easy rules, and how to build an example and a counter-example for the rules, and started out with a simple but challenging rule: A structure must contain more blue pips than pips of other colors.  After a few trips around the table, one of the new players guessed the rule.

We played two more rounds of Zendo, but the last round drained most of us.  The new player who guessed the first rule created a good rule (a structure must contain more pips off the ground than on the ground), but an odd coincidence occurred that threw all of us off: Every structure marked correct had an orange pyramid in it.  The more we challenged or tried to support something relating to orange pyramids, the more confused we became, but we were so focused on that one commonality that we had a hard time breaking out of that way of thinking.  Malachi made a guess that had no chance of being the correct one (it had three "or"s and at least one "and" in it, but I forget the exact wording), but he made the guess in an effort to get more information about the rule, not because he was trying to win the game.

In the end, we surrendered to the master, and felt rather stupid when she told us the rule.  It was a good rule, but the coincidence threw us off considerably.  Everyone who participated in the demonstration enjoyed the game, especially the two new players.

If I were to do another demonstration of this sort, I would focus more on advertising the event.  Because it was a local game fest, and because the person organizing it was a friend of ours, we were more focused on supporting his event, and didn't focus enough attention on advertising our demonstrations.  We made an announcement to the mailing list regarding the event, and we reminded people as it came closer to the time of the demonstration that we would be starting, but we didn't post any signs, and we didn't wear anything specific to identify us as "staff" (so to speak).  We did distribute our Mad Rabbit cards to the new players.

I think I would also demonstrate Zendo using the cards that LL sells (they tend to be easier than the rules we create, and it would put more focus on the publisher), and "take one for the team" by underbidding any extraordinary bids in Undercut, just to keep the game from running long.

I'd like to do this again, but it would need to be more organized to be effective.  For a first attempt at a small demonstration, though, I think we learned a lot about how to make the next one better.