Fastlane 4-Hour Convention Game Help

edited October 2006 in Directed Promotion
So in two weeks, I'll be running Fastlane at a convention for the first time in a non-demo way.

Um. Where do I even START working on this? Pre-planning is something I didn't do even back before I found the Forge. I'd appreciate any tips anyone might be willing to give me.


  • You probably have a good idea how long various bits take to explain. I'd set up a punchy, clear, objective-oriented situation and let them create characters for that - maybe have them half done already, so they just have to customize. Then start in medias res and explain the resolution system as you go. You don't really need more than that if you are used to winging it - just be prepared to shepherd them along if things start to slow down. Your after hours game at Gen Con worked great but was slow to get off the ground.

    Any specific concerns?
  • Are you going to do chargen? Or pregen?

  • Basically, sit down and think about all the steps you need to take before play actually begins, then do as much of that as possible before you go to the con (create interconnected characters, set up a starting situation, etc.). Make sure you have all materials needed to run the game (character sheets, pencils, roulette wheel, whatever). You also might want to prepare for more players than you expect -- if you have two free slots, and three people show up as a group, you might rather run with one extra than two short.

    I know that's all probably not that helpful, but I don't have any experience with Fastlane, so I can't really give you any specific steps to take.
  • For what it's worth, I find half-gen characters to be the way to go in con games. Do most of the steps of character generation, and then let the players finish up the characters. In Dogs, for instance, I create half-gen characters by picking a template, writing in the dice that will be assigned to traits, and writing in a list of traits and relationships without assigned dice. The players assign dice (and the difference between "My Father is the Steward 2d4" and "My Father is the Steward 2d10" is huge). For FLFS, I spend 80 of 100 points and let the players spend the remaining 20. I always say, "If there's anything already on there that you want to change, go ahead," but they never do (although I'll keep saying so because it makes it clear that the characters are theirs, not mine).

    As far as kicking the game into motion, I really favor in media res. Paul started our Nine Worlds game with our ship fleeing Saturn with a monstrous titan trying to catch us. I start Dogs games by dropping dead guys on the Dogs' heads, literally. If the game doesn't already include a tutorial (like Dogs), the kick-off conflict can serve as a tutorial to get the hang of dice (or, you know, roulette wheels).

    Then let the players explore a complex but limited-scope situation. Don't even try to pull off world-hopping or travel (I say): typical gamer response kicks in and they try to shop and prepare and stuff. The situation that they confront needs to be immediate and local.

    Oh, and one-sheet or half-sheet mechanical reminders (like the Gen Con Play Aids for Dogs) are lifesavers. Whenever players ask a question that's answered on the sheet, don't just give them the answer: show them where to find the answer on the sheet. They'll get the swing of things right quick.
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