Phoenix Gaming Explosion

edited August 2006 in Meetups / Conventions
Okay. Let's get this out in the open, and spearhead this, and get the ball rolling here. I know almost nothing about the Tuscon gaming scene, but there's at least one indie guy down there (JDCorley) and I'm sure he's not the only one. Then there's the team up here in Phoenix - me, Eric J. Boyd and Rayston form the core, and we might be able to get in a few satellites as well. Let's get the ball rolling on this one. Tuscon and Phoenix aren't exactly close, but they're not exactly far, either.

Let's talk possible conventions:

October 13-15: HexaCon 16, the longest-running RPG convention in Phoenix, is really going downhill - pushed aside by the new Juggernaut "Phoenix ConGames" that I'll describe below. If you go to Hexacon's website right now, the registration categories for games are "Board Games, Card Games, Chess, Computers, Miniatures, LARPs, RPGA, Steve Jackson, White Wolf". Note that, as of right now, there's not even the hint of playing other games, though I'm sure if we bring them an organized plan, they might let us play there. I'm not all that enthused about this particular convention, but I'll mention it for completeness sake and who knows - an Indie Explosion here might be staggering.

November 10-12: Tus-Con 33 in Tucson. I know nothing about this convention besides what's said on the website, though I'm told it's the only gaming convention in that area all year. From the website it looks more general - it's a SF/Fantasy convention with a gaming area, which might work to our advantage. Getting the Phoenix Chapter down there shouldn't be too difficult, though since more than half of us are poor students, I'm not sure how or if we'll be able to afford a room.

July Next Year (dates TBA): Phoenix ConGames in Phoenix. At this point the best gaming convention in the Valley and probably the state, thanks in part to the guidance of Peter Adkison. I might be in Spain for this next one, but hopefully by then we'll have the core of a plan ready, and even with my absence the show will go on. ;)

I have to catch the bus now, so I'm hitting 'start your discussion' now. Let's see where this takes us.


  • I know and love TusCon well. Met my wife there. I would love to get involved in an indie game push there. There is an active (although highly casual) gaming room there. I may be giving a panel there too (my usual one on "Comic Book Law, or The Batsignal after Miranda vs. Arizona").

    I remember when HexaCon used to be The Big know what we should do, is all meet in Casa Grande for pancakes at IHOP some lovely evening. I left Thomas D a whisper in the other thread but haven't heard back yet, he's another Tucsonan.
  • Hi Guys,

    I am totally on board for getting some organized indie gaming going at our local cons. Unfortunately, I have a work function that prevents me from going to HexaCon. Tus-Con and ConGames are both possibilities for me, though. Turning ConGames into a Forge GenCon warm-up would be great, with playtesting, demo testing, etc. as well as playing some rockin' games.

    JD, your comic book law panel sounds awesome. I know just enough about IP law to be dangerous to myself and others unless I do a bit of research beforehand, so hearing a refresher on the topic would be great.
  • My panel is actually more on applying real-life law to comic book worlds, and more generally on doing the same with other fields (science, etc.) and other targets (Sherlock Holmes, etc.) This is one of the nerdier roots of fanfic.

    The question I present as an example is, does the use of the Batsignal by Police Commissioner Gordon to summon Batman and brief him on the latest baffling case make Batman a state actor for the purposes of the Fourth Amendment's restrictions on searches and seizures, the Fifth Amendment's right against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment's right to counsel? And how would you respond to Two-Face's motion that it does?

    Anyway, ahem. Back to the topic. Let's start small. Let's just try to get together sometime somewhere and work this baby out.
  • I am all for trying to organize something. But JD, your probably right, lets start small, just a meetup somewhere.




    I dont drive, and Lxndr drives a motorcycle, so we'd likely have to carpool with someone if its outside the phoenix/tempe area.

    Just to note, I am most excited about trying to organize something around ConGames. Although I am not entirely averse to other cons.


  • Here is my suggestion for TusCon rooms and setup.

    First of all, I am good buddies with the ConCom folks and the gaming guys. If we want to put on indie gaming as an actual, advertised event, I can make sure it happens. TusCon is the best little con I've ever been to. Everyone is accessible, friendly, competent and happy to be there. Authors hang around in the halls and yack at two in the morning. Artists give free sketches to little kids. The whole place is fun, fun, fun. It creates a ton of positive energy that attracts both hippy unicorn fantasy writers and nerds in ties from the university science department. If we volunteer to run/demo a block of indie games at TusCon I can 100 percent guarantee we will all get the ConCom membership rate (see the gaming page, they are desperate for GMs.) That's $20 each instead of $45 each.

    I have a hide-a-bed and two lay-flat futons which are available for any storygames folk that need space to crash and are poor. But let's get to that point first.

    If we do this, let's get some demo material from the folks whose games we are going to run - run off some Capes Lite packets, flyers, etc. COUPONS, if we can get them. Once we get a little further along, with specific games cooked up and prepared, we might approach folks to see if they're willing to sling us a copy of their game to give out as a prize, or maybe one or two to sell.

    One important thing about TusCon is the gaming is highly disorganized. Many if not most never happen. So if we come in committed and eager we will have a great audience for it.
  • I recommend the IHOP in Casa Grande, it's about an hour from Phoenix and an hour from Tucson, it's open 24 hours, and it has coffee and food. Alternately, some other place in Casa Grande, they've got a good chunk of chain restaurants there now. Or we could almost certainly get the back room at Mi Amigo Ricardo's, cheapass Mexican food.
  • that sounds good to me,

    now, the when. and who.

    I would have to do it on a weekend. and this coming weekend is out, im actually going to tuscon but wont have time to stop for a sit-down. Going to a belly dancing convention of all things.
  • edited August 2006
    I don't know where the IHOP in Casa Grande is, but that's easily rectified. IHOP is nice, neutral, and from there we can decide things. Ideally, we'd meet regularly (twice a month, or monthly).

    My schedule revolves around school, which makes weekends the best time. I know Eric is married and works a lot, and Del/Rayston, as he previously intimated, can't get out to Casa Grande without a carpool, which would be Eric. Perhaps a brunch-ish (noon) in the IHOP (or, once we get it going, rotating through multiple locations) on a Sunday would work for everyone? Let's make it Sunday after next.

    Casa Grande will be the farthest I've ever ridden the motorcycle in one sitting, but I need to build up my riding endurance anyway, so this will be a good shot. Eventually, I hope to be able to make it to Tucson on the bike, and from there, L.A. I should probably get a custom seat made - that can't but help matters.

    Anyway, I digress. Let us start with a meeting, with a plan for discussing future meetings, invasions of conventions, and general rpg talk.

    If I had to pick just one convention in each venue, I would pick ConGames in Phoenix, and TusCon in Tucson. If we can do Hexacon too, that'd be great, but let's not aim for it, at least not this year.

    On another note: is there any reason we should be looking north to Flagstaff? I've not heard of any gaming-type conventions happening up there, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything. I don't want to just write the third Arizona city off entirely.
  • would it be worthwhile to put together a mail-list or something? I can host something on my site, or set up a yahoogroup, or is that overkill at this point? or entirely unnecessary?


  • I think at this point it might be a bit premature. Does anyone know of any other Arizonites interested in indie stuff?

    I am pretty busy on the weekends, twice a month might be a bit much for me, but Sunday after next sounds good, do we like mornings, afternoons, or evenings?

    Carpooling is an excellent idea, both due to additional yacking time and cost of gas o leen.
  • edited August 2006
    im for afternoons, like noon to 2ish, that way I dont have to get up too early, ;-)

    yah, I can kick in for gas too.

    I only know of 3 people who might be interested, and Lxnder already mentioned them, Me, Lxndr, and Eric Boyd, who I havent actually talked to directly, but lxndr seems pretty confident hed be interested. Might be worthwhile to post on the various local gaming boards and/or findplay to see if anyone else would be interested, although we might wait until after the first meeting to do that.


  • I should also mention that it's not strictly necessary that we only do indie stuff, this is Story-Games after all, and we're not creators (or I'm not, anyway), we're consumers and if we can plug a new technique or swifty cool thing into a GURPS or World of Darkness game, that's all to our benefit too, we ought to be a cabal, not a machine. So to speak.
  • edited August 2006
    Lxndr is published, and Eric is in the midst of playtesting, I babble on my blog ( ) about games I would like to design, but I dont ever really get very far.

    As far as non-indie games using indie/forge influenced widgets, that seems cool to me, although I would like there to be something of a focus on indie games.

    Mostly just because when talking to gamers I am horrified that they have no idea that these games even exist. Getting awareness that there are options is a good thing. Regardless, this is exactly the kind of thing we can discuss at IHOP.


  • Hi Guys,

    I'd be up for an IHOP meeting sometime in September. I'm not available the weekend of the 9th and 10th because my brother is visiting, but I'll check the calendar back home tonight and see what works. I probably could not meet in person more than once a month on the weekends, but online discussions would also be effective for organizing things. I can get Rayston a ride since he's on the route I'd be going anyway.

    Beyond the cons that currently exist, there is also the possibility of an apartment con like I've seen posted for in SF, Western Mass, and DC area. Although with only 4-5 people we may be jumping the gun on that currently.

    Doing something at TusCon seems very doable from JD's description. Having a group games to run and demo there would be great.
  • fair enough, how about the next weekend then guys? Sept 17th?
  • The 17th would work for me. Actually, planning that far in advance helps. I can put it on my calendar. If it is on my calendar it is guaranteed to be happening. If it is not, it's a gamble.

    The IHOP is on Florence Blvd/State Road 287, which is the main Casa Grande exit from I-10. Maps available at:
  • For what it's worth, guys, a couple of us are doing a very similar thing out in LA. We started by just running games in a pseudo-coordinated fashion. The first con, we just all ran indie games and that was it. The second con we made sure we hit all the RPG time slots between the three of us. We add a little bit each time, and we've already been noticed by both con-goers and the con organizers. It really doesn't take much to get this sort of thing going, and I wish you the best of luck in doing so!
  • Thanx for the well wishes. By chance would anyone out there be willing to consider a flight to phoenix to run some games? only 20 hours pays for your badge!!! and im sure we could make the rooms cheap if your all willing to bunk up. Not even sure this is something we want/need at this point, but it cant hurt to ask.


  • I am in the midst of a trial during HexaCon, alas. Not a hope in hell that it'll go away either.
  • yah, im not so enthused about hexacon, largely because its too soon. My money is tight enough that I need to plan months ahead in order to afford a con. Even TusCon is likely out for me (although if you guys wanna do an indie-push there, go for it) . Im personally focusing more on ConGames.

    Also just another note on the running non-indie games there. I fully intend on running at the minimum, AFMBE, and probably WitchCraft and/or buffy if I have time and inclination.


  • The cool thing about TusCon is that if we do this we will essentially singlehandedly double the pool of GMs. If we actually pull people in to gaming and run all our games, we might be over half of the games run.
  • edited August 2006
    That is kind of awesome. From what I saw at leprecon or coppercon, I went to one of them, I dont remember which (a scifi/fantasy type con that has a smidgen of gaming) it would be a similiar situation.

    ConGames is a gaming con, with plenty of attendees, I dont know there numbers offhand, but there first year they ran out of hotel rooms in the original block, got assigned more, and "I think" ran out of those too. And apparently attendance went up this year, and they are confident it will raise again next year, enough so that they appear to be negotiating for extra room for the con itself (which is apparently the reason there arent hard dates for it yet)

    That has its advantages and disadvantages, advantage, lots more gamers to expose, disadvantage, it will be easy to get ignored in the huge morass of other cool roxxor stuff happening.

    I definitely think that interested parties should attempt a indie push in TusCon, I just doubt that ill be able to attend myself. Sadly.


  • I actually signed up to run a game of Dogs and octaNe/InSpectres this year at ConGames and had a mixed experience. My Dogs game had one person signed up for it, although I ended up with three players. They had all heard of Dogs via the Internet, but no one owned or had read it. The game went pretty well, but I'm not sure I created any on the spot indie converts. My octaNe game had only one player show up of the two signed up for it, so we got absorbed into a Call of Cthulhu game.

    So I think we'd need a pretty powerful indie presence to make an impact and I'd want to make sure that one or more of us was available as a ringer to attend scheduled games that we're running to ensure a good experience for the few other folks that show up.
  • Absoloutely, it all really depends on how much manpower we can get but I would love to be felt as a "presence" at the con. I.e t-shirts, buttons, maybe a booth, (Lxndr ran a IPR booth the first year) fliers. A ringer is not a bad idea at all. All of this requires organizational skills however, and while I am more than willing to provide some grunt work, I do not feel comfortable being 100% in charge.

    Although it is perfectly clear that I am more than happy to suggest work for other people to do. ;-)


  • September 17 works for me (I'll give myself extra time to drive the 47 miles). I'd love a once a month meet-up, just to touch base and to socialize, with organizing these things just being one "item" on the menu. I think we can agree to do that - even if not everyone can make it every month.

    I'm totally up to an "invasion" of TusCon (even if it's just you and me, JD - start small, build up!). I'm truly hoping that by ConGames, since it's more structured, we can get something like JBR mentioned - where we make sure every time slot has at least one indie game.

    HexaCon is like the dark underbelly right now. Let's not even think about it in an organized fashion this year. TusCon, then ConGames, then maybe we'll plan for HexaCon. There's also, I discovered in the meantime, DarkCon, the every-few-years winter gaming convention. Along with everything else, John Wick is advertised to be there as a Special Guest this year. On the down side, it's Jan 4-7, which might be too close to New Years for some. But I want to make sure it's out there, so if we decide not to do it, it's because we considered it, rather than because we were ignorant.

    That said, while I'm naturally attracted to a lot of way indie stuff, that doesn't mean I wouldn't be up to running something that might be considered less "indie." But in addition to being a fan, I'm also a creator with two games in books, and hopefully more coming. Not to say I'll just run my own stuff (far from it!) but there's that angle to consider as well.

    In fact, I'd love to represent IPR at Tus-Con and beyond, to help get their games (whether we run any particular game or not) into the hands of gamers that might otherwise never see them - what does it take to get a dealer's table or something, and would that involve being relegated to a 'dealer's hall' or could we set up in the same room we do gaming in?

    It'd be kind of cool if we could claim our own room, have some open-gaming tables for pick-up games, a sales table, and scheduled tables. One stop shopping!
  • edited August 2006
    Well, at ConGames, a dealers hall booth is 100$ bux for the con. Not bad, you even get some free advertising with that. I dont know what the possibilities are for selling outside the dealers room are. Its worth asking, although we may want to make sure we have a decent number of commited people and some organization under our belts before we come to Ivan (the guy who runs that con) with such a proposal.

    A whole room? that would be awesome, once again I have no idea what the possiblities are for ConGames, although if I remember correctly, he did set up a special room for "adult" games and another for "larp" games, so one for indie is not entirely out of the question provided we have enough going on to justify it. From the sounds of it, this would definitely be feasible at TusCon.


  • edited August 2006
    The dealers' room is typically right next door to the gaming room at TusCon (remember - think small). But it is separate and you will be jammed in there with craftsmen, the used bookdealers, the comic book dudes, all that stuff. And it will cost. Let's you and I discuss this at the meetup, LX. I have Contacts And Associates, but I want to have a solid plan to take to them so I can get a solid answer/offer from them.

    "Ringers" sounds so sleazy! The fact of it is, one thing that comes from meetups and con games is improving and experiencing each other's games!

    I know the folks behind DarkCon too. They are....different. Not necessarily in a bad way. But let's just say I am on a big time different wavelength from them and am highly L7 when compared to such folk. Still I can make some calls and see what I can scare up.

    At TusCon there is only one gaming room. We could certainly lay claim to some of the tables with a big banner or something but there's just one room with a ton of tables at it. This may factor into what games we choose to play and display too. Space in the aisles is at a premium. But again, I have Contacts and Associates. One does not like to say Minions.

    I am really excited about this. As I have mentioned a few times, I have great love for many of the indie type games out there but come from a happily mainstream group who are not that interested in experimentation for the most part, so they've gone largely unplayed except as adjuncts and inspirational material. And this will be an incentive to throw some money to some designers I've been meaning to for a while.
  • Just to throw up my hand here before I read the entire thread, I'll be running two games at TusCon in November: PTA and (most likely) Lacuna.
  • Okay, I am now taking command of at least keeping the list. Everyone whisper to me your e-mail address, your phone number, the meatspace name you go by, and any IM service that you use. AIM is free if you don't. I will email this information to everybody. EXECUTIVE DECISION starring kurt russell
  • If we need to, I can set up a discussion list through my website/ISP. Or we can try to get something going over at the relatively dead forum at .
  • Del: What do you think our chances are of getting sale-space outside the Dealer's Hall in ConGames? When I tried being inside the Dealer's Hall last year, even with a first-year discount and selling IPR stuff, I still wound up pretty much at a loss. If we just had a table of IPR products and a cashbox right next to our tables (maybe in a little room all our own), then we'd have some nice one stop shopping. On the other hand, an organized presence pointing people to the Dealer's Hall might generate more business too.

    It's like the opposite of GenCon! There the booth was pointing people to Games on Demand. Here we might want our GoD area to point to the booth.

    Thomas: Glad to see you on board! The more the merrier.

    DarkCon is offering free badges for game designers, if I'm reading their website appropriately. If I'm right, I'll definitely be there. It talks about a 'demo area' and stuff, so I'm not sure what the requirements to get that badge will be. An email will soon be sent out, and soon afterwards, more information will be available here.
  • I am not really sure to be honest. I have a feeling that he wouldnt be too keen on such a thing. I imagine the reason he wants the dealers in the dealers hall is a combination of security reasons, chaos avoidance reasons, and most importantly to the other dealers, synergy, (gawd thats a bad word, but it fits). i.e , theoretically if all the stores are in one spot, then people are more likely to browse and buy from one store when they were really there for one of the other stores. A store (even a small one) outside of the designated area kinda hurts that. On the other hand, if we came to him as an organized group bringing lots and lots of hours of games to his con, then he would probably be a lot more willing to bend the rules. It cant hurt to ask though.
  • Did we ever get a precise time down? JD, I never got an email from you? I assume you are still collecting contact info?


  • Expect the e-mail with contact info tonight, I wanted to give everyone a chance to write in.

    I think the proposal of 2 PM was fine...
  • E-mail has gone out, whisper to me tomorrow if you have not received it.
  • Thomas has sent off some good e-mailage about TusCon. I want to get some specifics handled at the meetup on the 17th and then go to my boyz at the ConCom with some ideas.

    Remember, the 17th at 2 PM at IHOP. Let me know if you can't come, I will be calling ahead to make sure we can get a table. Carpooling is also a good idea. It is good for the environment and for your very soul.
  • Wish I could go to TusCon sounds like fun. Timing is just bad for me.

    I will definitely be there, pending a ride. ;-)

    JD : ConCom? Whats that? More details please.

    BTW it looks like the Gateway Indie-Games Explosion was a success. Details here.


  • ConCom = Convention Committee, the capos
  • Oh, also there is


    Neither of these are Gaming cons, but they do have gaming. Kinda like TusCon from what I understand.

    I have been of them, I think it was coppercon, and the gaming room was really small. Barely more than a broom closet. But maybe something could be worked out?


  • So AZCon-wise, we've got the following:

    Phoenix area annual con held in September.

    Phoenix area con held every three years.

    Phoenix area annual con held in October. Emphasis on wargames and boardgames.

    Phoenix area con held in the spring.

    Phoenix ConGames
    Phoenix area annual con held in late July.

    Tucson annual con held in November. Emphasis on sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.
  • There is also a Phoenix Comic Con, and a Anime Con, I dont know much about them.
  • Hey Guys! Do you think the topics and discussions in these threads?

    apply to what we hope to do at our local cons? I really like the idea of being a "presence" at the con. Although there are quite a few options on how we could go about that. But is there a danger that if we associate ourselves too much with the idea of "indie" we could possibly alienate some people? JD you mentioned running other "mainstream" games with indie concepts which is awesome, although that was touched upon too in the threads above.

    Just some thoughts for discussion.


  • I'm definitely hoping and planning on being a "presence" of sorts. I'll admit that I personally probably wouldn't be running a mainstream game with story-game type concepts, and I think our focus should probably be on "indie" (i.e. small press, creator owned games). But that's a matter of personal taste, and I would totally not be against people running some of those games too, as long as we don't lose track of the focus.

    We might alienate some people regardless of what we do, or try to do. At this point I'm into just establishing a presence, making sure people know they're all welcome, and just getting more roleplaying happening everywhere. It sounds like we might double-plus the roleplaying at TusCon just by showing up. We should first consider establishing a presence, and if we alienate some people, hopefully we attract a whole bunch more.

    The RPGA isn't all that concerned that I'm alienated by their setup and philosophy - they have tons of players. No group is going to make everyone happy. Let's not worry about whether or not we inadvertantly alienate anyone (though obviously we don't want to purposefully alienate anyone) and just focus on establishing a presence, and having a lot of fun.

    On to some of the other cons:

    CopperCon is a generic SFF convention. I've never been there, but is run by the same people who run HexaCon. It's not even a possible target until september of next year.
    LepreCon is a SFF art convention. (How many of those are there, really? I don't hear of many art-conventions, just conventions that happen to have art)

    DarkCon, ConGames, and HexaCon are all game-centric conventions.

    Phoenix Comicon (I just looked them up) already has gaming. It's Sep 23-24, probably too soon to make a plan to invade them this year. On the bright side, it's a convention that's only Sat and Sun, so there's no need to consider

    Phoenix Anime Fest (I just looked them up too) also has a section on their website for gaming. They're early decemer (1-3).

    TusCon is... well, TusCon, and as far as we're aware, the only one in Tucson, right?
  • Yep, there used to be AGOG, A Gathering Of Gamers, which was gaming-specific down here but the organizers moved on to other things and nobody took up the slack. That was several years ago.

    I am interested primarily in story games. Mainstream games often are story games. So that's how I approach it. Still, a story-games contingent is good for organization even if everyone has a different level of commitment to particular games. I could really honestly give a shit about the RPGA, but love me a good D&D module, for example.
  • Here's me rooting you all on, guys, and just saying: don't worry too much about a "presence" or anything. Show up, run games. Three guys running games makes an impact at a local con, believe me.
  • Gang, please RSVP in this thread for sure if you are coming to the IHOP this coming up Sunday. I will call ahead and make sure we get a nice big table. Like many small town chain restaurants, it can get busy.
  • For sure! By hook or by crook!
  • Pencil me in at this point. Work is looking ominous, though, so the weekend may be consumed. I'll know for sure later in the week.
  • Put me down in pencil as well. We'll have to see how things are at the house on Sunday.
  • Well, my attendance is entirely dependent on Eric's. So pencil me in as well. If he can show, so can I. If he cant, I cant.


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