Should I Run a Convention Game?

Tabletop Scotland 2019 was a fantastic show. It was the first gaming convention I’d been to with a focus on RPGs and board games, as I’d only really been to wargames/miniatures shows before, such as Carronade, Claymore, and the now-defunct Wappinshaw.

I’ve written previously about how much I enjoyed Tabletop Scotland and won’t bother retreading that ground today. Suffice it to say that this was the most satisfying weekend of gaming I’ve had and I am really looking forward to the 2020 event.

There’s no question over whether I am going to the 2020 event – I will be there. The question is whether I will be filling up my timeslots with RPGs, as I did this year, or whether I will apply to run one or more games.

I had a few friends who ran games. Most of the games they ran were D&D Adventurers’ League sessions or the D&D Epic Game. Personally, I won’t be doing AL.  I don’t like the format.  There are also plenty of people who run D&D a lot better than me.  I have more to offer in other games.

So, then, what would I want to run?


Fate is one of my favourite games, whether in its setting-neutral format or when used as the system behind The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game.  I’ve run a one-shot of Dresden before and I think that Fate makes a great system for one-shots.  I enjoyed the one-shot of Fate that I played at Tabletop Scotland, too.

I think if I were to run a game, it would be based on either Discworld, Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey, or John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire.

Paranoia Red Clearance

Paranoia is a game I exclusively play as one-shots.  I don’t think I’d enjoy a Paranoia campaign.  I’d find it difficult to sustain the tone of the game.  The new edition of Paranoia makes convention games even easier with the simpler rules and the cards.  The game just works really well.  The only little exception might be combat which is not quite as straightforward as I’d like.

I have a little bank of one-shots that I’ve run before, but if I were playing at a convention full of RPG nerds, I’d have to update and run the classic Orcbusters module.  I think it would hit the right tone.  I’ve written about this module before.

Second Edition

Another RPG that I’ve written about recently, Changeling is a beautiful game.  It’s not a game I’ve had much experience with, but I’ve played a lot of other World of Darkness, so I’d pick it up pretty quickly.  It’s a game that encourages whimsy, which isn’t something that all RPGs really promote.  I like whimsy.

I think if I were to run this game, I’d pick a particular fairytale and go all allegorical around it.  Of the games in this post, this is probably the least likely one as I just don’t have the experience with it, but I really love the idea.

v5 cover

Oh, Vampire: the Masquerade.  My first love.  This is the game that defined my adolescence.  I loved the book, the rules, the background, the art…  The latest edition doesn’t have the same, striking artwork, but the style has grown on me and I don’t actively dislike it, as I used to.  I also adored the game of Vampire that I got to play at Tabletop Scotland this year.

I’ve got lots of little one-shots tucked away for this, and I’d be pretty confident running a game.  I’d use the latest edition, which is not something I thought I’d have said a year ago, but there we are.  It would almost certainly be set in Chicago, as all my VtM games are set in Chicago!


Finally, Traveller.  I’m quite confident in running this game and I do love the feel of sci-fi roleplay.  It sits better with me than fantasy.  I just find it easier.  My first game at Tabletop Scotland was Traveller and it really set the tone for the weekend.  The game ran smoothly with a fantastic group.  I liked that several members of the group popped up in other games I was in throughout the weekend.  Made things feel like a real community, y’know?

If I were to run a Traveller game, it would likely be based on a John Scalzi book.  Most likely this would be The Collapsing Empire or, if I were going for a lighter tone, Redshirts.  Both would work really well, though the second would be quite meta!


So, I have a little bit of time to think about this, but I do need to make my mind up reasonably soon so I can get a bit of practice in and really plan something out.  I love running RPGs and getting to share that with a community that I really enjoyed last year and which made me feel so welcome is something that really excites me.

Will have to have a think…

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.