Running a Freemarket one-shot at Gen Con - got tips?

edited August 2012 in Play Advice
I'm planning on running a one-shot of Freemarket at Gen Con next weekend - anyone have tips they'd like to share? I'm planning on using some pregens - I'll have the players create their own memories so I can do the mashup, and let them brainstorm their own MRCZ.

Have you run your own one-shot? How did you handle it? I suspect none of the players will have played Freemarket before.


  • I've found that a few suggestions when they're trying to come up with a goal for the MRCZ are handy. A lot of people get to that point and stumble, so if you can throw in a few ideas that suit the characters and memories that seems to prompt players to come up with something.
  • Hey Alex,

    This may not be helpful to you, but I've tried to run a one-shot of FM that didn't turn out so well. What did turn out well was running two sessions back-to-back. I think character creation is super important in FM. Just make them pick from lists for Tech & Interface, and it should go pretty quick.

    Have to go, but I have more thoughts later!
  • edited August 2012
    Read Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. It's free.

    Read this thread.

    Read my group's AP Excramax. It's a fun read (not written by me).

    Read the rules thoroughly and follow them. Everything in it is there for a reason.

    Edit: yeah, I'd agree with Hans that full pregens are not the best option. Buy-in to character is very important in FM. Have 'em pick and choose traits from a bunch of options to make it go quicker.
  • With pre-gens, still follow the "next session" mechanics.

    Say what?

    Watching the Memories that characters take from Long-term to experience, or the short terms that are eliminated is very revealing.

    In one of my games, a character began questioning his own sexuality after a botched shaping challenge. That was the very first thing the next player who picked up that character sheet chose to erase.

    Those kind of decisions tell you right away about what a player finds interesting, uninteresting, threatening, etc.
  • edited August 2012
    Okay, so I tried to do pre-gens for the two-shot of FM I ran at GPNW. I spent hours thinking about how exactly to do it, but in the end I just decided it wouldn't work. I, also, wanted to save time.

    I think having people come up with their own Clade is all-important, and it doesn't take that long. They have to care about who the character is and insert their own things to explore in the setting. Choosing Experiences, Tech, and Interface is pretty easy and doesn't take long at all. Memories take a little while, but again, having Users create their own memories is all-important. They may as well be reading a session transcript if they're not making Memories themselves.

    epweissengruber's take could be interesting; give them a fully fleshed-out character and then go through the "2nd session & on" process. Still, I think character creation followed by MRCZ creation is necessary, even for a one-shot (I think doing at least two sessions back-to-back is better, but you don't always have that luxury). Just do your best to make is snappy and laser-focused; print off Tech & Interface & Geneline sheets and have them pick, mostly. Tell them that the goal is to get this done fast so we can start the game proper.
  • edited August 2012
    Thanks for the advice everyone! I can see where you're all coming from regarding pregens - frankly I'm not certain Freemarket works all that well as a one-shot, but I'm eager to play it again and to introduce it to a couple of my friends.

    Also, with your advice in mind I've started up a Google Drive spreadsheet to brainstorm a whole bunch of Tech and Interface options. It's open to the public and freely editable; I thought it would be a good resource for anyone who wants to create their own Tech and Interface bits and add them to the public pool, or for anyone who wants to make them available to their group.

    Freemarket Tech / Interface Options
  • edited August 2012
    Oh hey Alex. I'm going to try and run Freemarket at Gencon too!

    I ran a quick intro for my friends a few weekends back. A few things I found really helpful:

    - have the challenges section of the book open to see the different levels of goals people can go after and what victory in a challenge actually means. each type of challenge varies pretty drastically.
    - have some NPCs statted up! I found that most challenges are against another NPC, directly or indirectly. Most users don't have enough flow to challenge the aggregate yet, unless it's a material challenge.
    - also have some MRCZs statted up! There's some examples in the book, but I think if you have an idea of what the stats would be like, the challenges and characters will be easier to tie into the memories the players are creating.
    - after a challenge happens, it creates TONS of fruitful ideas. think about how flow works, and the affects that challenge will have on the other users on the station, what friends they gain or lose, what plot hooks you can throw in at the end of a challenge.

    I plan to mostly run it like I run a one-shot of Apocalypse World... just create NPCs, opposition, and story ideas based on whatever characters the players make in the first hour, and then roll with it. I was not going to bring pre-gens... because creating characters at conventions is one of my favorite things and I don't think it takes that long. Should be fun, I'm excited to play it more!

  • Awesome, thanks for the feedback! And oh, hey - you're going to be on our TJI panel Sunday, right? I might have to ask you how your game went :)
  • Yea, that Sunday morning panel is going to be amazing, I'm pretty sure. I'll bring ALL of the coffee.

    Have you run Freemarket before? I'm curious if you have any tidbits I was missing, or quick easy pointers.
  • edited August 2012
    I've run it twice, both one shots. The first time I was completely unprepared and I don't think the players were thrilled about the setting so that kind of flopped. The second time I had a lot more buy-in from the players; I did use pre-gens and it went well enough, although it took a lot of coaxing to get people to interact with the economy the way they're supposed to. The fact that the game encourages you to game the system was hard to get across at first, but eventually it clicked. I'm hoping it'll click earlier in the session this time. I don't know that I have any advice that hasn't been covered above, or that you didn't offer yourself.
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