Virtuacon 2013 Recap

Introduction

Virtuacon 2013 is over, and it was a huge success. Roughly 375 people participated in RPGGeek’s first online game convention, and every single one of us had an amazing time.

Though we had some organizational hiccups, I consider them normal growing pains for any event this big. It isn’t clear whether or not RPGGeek will decide to do a Virtuacon2014 yet, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed because this really¬†was the best 3 days in virtual gaming.

Day 1 – Friday, October 18th 2013

Virtuacon kicked off on Friday and hit the ground running. Though I didn’t make it to any of the games that ran, I did get a chance to watch the first speaking panel of the convention: Kickstarters and Publishing with Fred Hicks.

This was a great panel. If you’re at all interested in the game publishing business, you need to check it out.

I was scheduled to run Psi-punk starting at 7:00 p.m. PST, so by 6:00 p.m. I decided I probably better get something ready to run. I got a vague idea in my head for what the adventure could be, then decided to just wing it. If you’d like an example of what Off the Cuff gaming means to me, check out the video recording of the entire session:

Getting to run Psi-punk for 6 people was a blast. One of my players woke up at 4 a.m. in Finland just to get the opportunity to play, and she seemed to have just as much fun as the rest of us. Though none of the people in the group had played Psi-punk before, we all had a blast (just listen to all of the laughing in the video). The game ended right on time, and I watched one more panel before going to bed.

Day 2 – Saturday, October 19th

Starting at 10:00 a.m. PST on Saturday I was going to be speaking on a panel about Accessibility in Gaming. I made sure to wake up early so I could freshen up and prepare. While going over some notes about the panel, I listened to another in the background:

After watching the interesting and informative Game Design Process panel, I sat down with Russell Collins of Robot Claw Game Design to talk about Accessibility in Gaming.

You may remember Robot Claw from the Tears of a Machine Kickstarter I talked about several months ago. I reached out to Russell because I really liked that he was going to be publishing Tears of a Machine in the accessible DAISY reader format, and from there we started planning this panel together. We talked about a lot of topics and answered a very great question about making gaming conventions more accessible. Check it out below:

After this panel, I had four hours before joining in a game of Killshot. You may also remember Killshot from a previous post about the Killshot: Reloaded Kickstarter. I had an amazing time playing thi sgame with its designer and a couple of other new pals. This was my second time playing Killshot, and I can’t wait to get a chance to play it again.

After playing Killshot, I was really looking forward to getting to play 13th Age. Unfortunately that game was cancelled literally at the last minute, so I didn’t get a chance to try the new game from Pelgraine Press.

However, I did get a chance to stop into the SIlver Unicorn Tavern, Virtuacon’s official open video chat room. I got a chance to talk to several RPGGeek regulars, and though I didn’t stay long I had a lot of fun.

I was able to get in on a pick-up game of Hellfrost (which uses the Savage Worlds system). I have been a fan of Hellfrost for a long time, so this was a lot of fun. I learned how to use Roll20 via Google Hangouts, which would prove to be a big help when running MOnster Kart Mayhem on Sunday.

Hellfrost ended at 12:40 a.m. PST, which was 20 minutes until the Worldbuilding panel with Chris Tregenza and Paul Baldowski. I decided to stay up to watch it even though I had plans to be up at 8 a.m. the next morning.

Day 3 – Sunday, October 20th

I woke up bright and early Sunday. After having not gone to bed until 2:30 a.m., I rolled out of bed at 7:45 so I could catch the RPGs With Kids panel starring Andrew Goenner (author of Time Heroes, which I’ll be doing layout for) and Eloy Lasanta (author of Mermaid Adventures and Camp Myth, both of which I’ve reviewed on this site). This is one of my favorite panels of the convention, and I’m glad I got up early to watch it.

After RPGs with Kids, I got ready to run Monster Kart Mayhem. I had two hours to kill, so I filled in my time by watching a couple of other panels.

I had the opportunity to run 3 total races of Monster Kart Mayhem and got some phenomenal playtesting feedback from all 3 of my fellow racers, one of which was a 9-year-old who really seemed to enjoy racing as Big Foot. I’ve updated the Monster Kart Mayhem Alpha files based on some of the changes made as a result of this playtest.

Virtuacon ended after Monster Kart Mayhem. I sat back, took a breath, and and reflected on all of the fun I had. It truly was the best 3 days in virtual gaming, and I really enjoyed meeting so many of the folks I interact with regularly at RPGGeek. I can only hope there is a Virtuacon ’14 next year so I can do it all over again.

Conclusion

There were 15 total panels at irtuacon, and every one of them was fantastic. They were all recorded for your viewing pleasure, so if you missed them before then you can catch up them. Links to all of the videos are available through this RPGGeek GeekList: Virtuacon ’13 “On Air” Panels.

In addition to these panels, we had over 60 games and half a dozen or so contests. Everyone who got involved had a blast, and I would definitely do it all over again. I can’t wait until next year.

About Jacob Wood

Jacob founded Accessible Games because he wants to spread the joy of gaming to everyone, including people with disabilities. He is visually impaired and knows what it's like to need to adapt, and he brings two decades of gaming experience to the table.
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