Indie Games Explosion at Dreamation 2011

It’s that time of year again. Snow in the air, Christmas music on the radio, and the aroma of great gaming just over the horizon! Dreamation 2011 will be held at the Morristown Hyatt in Morristown, NJ from Thursday, February 24 to Sunday, February 27, 2011. Will you be there? Do you dare to have that much fun?

There will be an Indie Games Explosion at Dreamation. Dozens and dozens of the most blisteringly awesome independent games will be run at the con. Plus, all attendees have a shot at a coveted starring role in the sure-to-be Internet smash “One Cool Thing I Saw At Dreamation 2011.”

However, the Explosion needs your help! We need you to come to the con and play games. We need you to come to the con and RUN games! Here’s how:

Come and play
If you just want to come to Morristown and have a blast, here’s how you can help make the Explosion great:

1) Go to the registration page and pre-register for the con.
2) Watch this thread for announcements of what events people are planning to run.
3) When the official schedule is up, around February 14-16, register for the games you want to play.
4) Come to Morristown and bring your A-game!

Come and run
The nitroglycerin at the heart of every Indie Games Explosion are all the great folks who come out with a game in hand, ready to rock the house. If you’ve got a game session in your soul, burning to get out, here’s how you can help:

1) Post your event description here, or on your blog, or wherever the kids are chattering these days. Get people excited about your game.
2) Send an e-mail to the IGE gmail account: indiegamesexplosion At that point, Kat will send you a Google document that contains all the information we need from you in order to officially register the event. Fill it out and return it BEFORE January 14, 2011.
3) If you run at least three events, you will receive a GM badge to the convention. At some point in January, we will send you a code you can use on the registration page.
4) When the official schedule is up, around February 14-16, register for the games you want to play.
5) Come to Morristown and revel!

A Note on Small Events
Games sessions for 4 players are a bit of a sticky situation. On the one hand, they take up an entire table for an entire gaming slot while only entertaining a few people. On the other hand, some of the best indie games are only built for 4 and create less fun for everybody if expanded. It’s a pickle.

Here’s my proposal for this year. I’m going to ask you to consider running sessions for 5 or 6 players. By “consider,” I don’t mean “you must” or “you should” or “you will be shunned unless.” I simply mean “think about it.” Step away from the Internet for a moment, look at your game shelf, and ask yourself if you have a 5 or 6 player game you’ve been wanting to run. Can you stretch your abilities in that direction? Do you want to? Can you run Game A for 6 players in addition to running Game B for 4 players?

I can’t answer those questions. I’d just like you to answer them for yourself and your own situation. If the answer is “I want to run a bunch of 4 player games,” then that’s fine and we want you on-board for the Explosion.

Dreamation is a great place for games-in-development to get put through their paces. Not only is it easy to get people you don’t know to sign up for the game you’re working on, but some of the sharpest game designers will be there looking for new games to test.

We’ve tried a number of different things in the past. We’re going back to the 2009 rules. If your game isn’t done, but you think it is at a point where it can probably entertain people for 3 to 4 hours, then register it as a regular event. Just please include the word “Playtest” in your event description.

If your game isn’t done, and you don’t know whether it works at all, it’s probably not ready to run as a regular event. However, don’t lose hope! Post about it here and see if people are interested. It’s easy to arrange an informal playtest session at Dreamation, where a bunch of people meet in the lobby or a hotel room and give your game a workout.

Assorted Other Stuff
We usually hold an Indie Games Roundtable on Sunday to discuss games in development and other matters. Attendance at the Roundtable seemed down last year. Is it still worthwhile? Would a different time work better? How can it be better? Is there anyone willing to facilitate it?

In years past, we used to hold an Indie Games Party on Saturday night. It was a lot of fun, but as the community has grown, so has the workload of running the party. If anyone is up to the job, let me know and we’ll do what we can to help out.

I’m posting this on Story Games, but there’s probably other places on the Internet that might want to get involved. If you know of such a place, please invite them to participate. The more, the merrier.

None of the above is set in stone. If you’ve got suggestions, I want to hear them. Kat and I will be doing our best to monitor these threads for questions and the like. However, if we haven’t responded in timely fashion, please e-mail the indiegamesexplosion address with a link to the question. Thanks for your help.

See you in February!


  • Starting a new job, but I really hope I can make it this year, even if I miss most of Thursday and Friday. Of course, I want to run Indie by Storm.
  • I'm really excited! The premiere for Human Contact will be at Dreamation. I'll be signing copies and introducing all of the game's proud aunts uncles who are in attendance (that's quite a few, btw. There will be a lot of introducing the family.) If you're one of my backers, let me know and I'll bring your copy to the con so you get it as fast as I can hand it!

  • I will probably be there, doin' some crap.
  • I'll be there. I almost never GM at dreamation, But this could change. Either way, dreamation is one of my favorite conventions!
  • edited December 2010
    I shall be there running some Smallville and maybe something else. Not sure what yet... But its a great time.

    And thanks Michael and Kat for organizing things again. You guys rock.
  • I'm going to be there, running MY. Michael, what format do you need our descriptions in?
  • Posted By: Robert BohlMichael, what format do you need our descriptions in?
    Two formats, actually, although they can be nearly identical:

    1) Post about your events publicly to generate interest.
    2) Send an e-mail to the gmail account: indiegamesexplosion. In reply, Kat and I will share a Google document with you. Fill out all the fields in the document, and we'll have what we need!

    Does that answer your question?
  • I'll be there, running at least one Delve playtest.

    I'd also happily trade some GMing: you run one session of my game, I'll run one session of yours.
  • edited December 2010
    I'm looking forward to being there, and hopefully, if the powers that be gaze kindly upon me, then I will be trying to run an Apocalypse World one-shot of the "leader and crew" variety.
  • edited December 2010
    Looking forward to the Indie Game Sexplosion.

    If you've played Fiasco and would like to facilitate it at Dreamation, I'd very much like to shower you with gifts and prestige for joining our crew. Let me know and I will set up you the bomb.
  • Similarly, anyone who runs Shock: or Human Contact will get a juuuust-too-long hug from me!

    (Seriously, I've been 3-4x overbooked every time I've run the game there. I could use some co-facilitators.)

  • i'll be running and very likely premiering the print version of Pickets And Blinds. My new really fun game of normal folks murdering each other in suburban America.

    I'll also probably run a round of mouse guard. 'Cause that game does everything I like.
  • I love that I get to write to Indie Game Sexplosion.

  • Thirsty for fun. Thanks for this, Millers!
  • Posted By: Joshua A.C. NewmanI love that I get to write to Indie Game Sexplosion.
    Joshua, I believe that's another Con. Role Playing as additional meanings there..
  • See, I already put my games in to Vinny and Avie because I've been doing it that way for years. I'll totally be running Geasa several times that con.
  • I'm looking to play In A Wicked Age with some people at Dreamation - but I already have at least a few people in mind. Should I be posting an event or just organize it on the side?
  • My wife and I would be down with running some Maschine Zeit, if anyone is into some sci-fi horror awesome. I'm also interested in testing my upcoming game Amaranthine.
  • I'll be running some Pulp Hero, as well as managing the booth and trying to get into some games I've never tried before. Should we try to organize some sort of Indie Games pizza night or something? dw
  • edited January 2011
    Hi, all-

    Unfortunately, that is the same weekend as another large Northeast Con, TotalConFusion in Mansfield, MA.

    We vend there every year (and usually sell quite a few small press RPGs there), so I guess I get to be the SG ambassador to Eastern New England that weekend.

    Darren, expect a modest IPR reorder to come through in the next week or so so we have it on time for the show.

    Have fun everyone, maybe some year they won't cross-schedule, but I won't wait underwater.

  • I am planning on running two sessions of Mortal Coil.. and am trying to decide on a third game..
  • A friend of mine and I might try to make it for a day, because I hear the gaming at Dreamation is extra awesome. I'd guess Saturday would be the day to attend, huh? Also, if anyone knows a good way to get there from NYC short of renting a car, hook me up.
  • edited January 2011
    Brian, the Morristown stop on the NJ Transit train* is about an 8-minute walk from the con hotel. Take a right out of the station parking lot, walk to the big triangle intersection, take the left up the hill, then take your first right and go one short block (past a sloping entrance road to a parking garage or something). Turn right onto the very long street and walk until you see the Hyatt on your right. (This route may seem circuitous with the near U-turn at the top of the hill, but is actually much faster and easier than the directions the hotel will give you.)

    *1-hr ride from Penn Station, ~$12 IIRC
  • Woot! Perfect, thanks.
  • I may run Dread of Cthulhu, a Frankenstein hack using...

    - Dread Jenga block resolution
    - Apocalypse World moves and stats
    - Trail of Cthulhu stability & sanity
    - The Armitage Files scenario

    I'm tempted! I'll have to make sure I have the time to put it together.
  • Wow - 8 games of Fiasco on the chart so far - that's fantastic!

    I'd love to earn a free badge, but we're bringing our kiddo with us and I'd like to just play for part of the time, so at this point, I'm only running one game. And it will be awesome.

    Burning Wheel "The Visitation"

    "One of the brightest, most powerful gods in the world chose to pluck your sorry, wicked ass from an execution block. Now you're a rising star in his temple. All eyes are on you, including those of your gods most bitter rival. Uh-oh. Armed with Faith, determination, and a morally questionable skill set, you will make your mark on the world or you will be destroyed."

    At this point, I haven't picked a time yet, but if you're interested let me know and I'll try to avoid a slot you're already scheduled for. Otherwise I'm thinking of filling out Friday morning.

  • Hey, all. Just wanted to point everyone to the schedule-in-development that is the Event Chart. Kat's been updating it steadily as more events come in. As always, this chart is UNOFFICIAL and subject to change at any moment. But from where I sit, it looks like a slate of really great gaming. Can't wait to see you all at the con!
  • I'm hoping to run a playtest of "Castaways"...a game that I've been working on since last Dreamation. I hope to run 3 with each of the following themes: "reality", sci-fi, and horror. Here's a quick description of the game...

    You are a group of ordinary people who are in an extraordinary circumstance. You are stranded in a remote location with no way of contacting the outside world. Your resources are limited and it’s clear that time is against you. How will you survive? You can pool resources to try to stave off the inevitable. Or you can fend for yourself, hoping that you’ll be able to outlast everyone else. It’s likely only one of you will make it out. Who will it be?

    The game uses Scrabble tiles and a little bit of dice rolling as part of the mechanic. I've tested it several times so far and it seems like it's working pretty well. I'm eager to get some feedback.
  • edited January 2011
    If I haven't missed the deadline, I'm going to try and run The Final Girl. Hopefully to be released in book form this year!

    It's a horror movie game.
  • Curses, missed this post entirely. Oh well, maybe next year.
  • edited January 2011
    Posted By: Jason PitreCurses, missed this post entirely. Oh well, maybe next year.
    NONSENSE! Today is the deadline, which means Kat and I will be working on entering the games over the weekend. THERE IS STILL TIME! Send us and e-mail and we'll get you started on the registration process.

    Consider the deadline extended to Sunday, January 16. If anyone has last-minute changes after then, contact us immediately.

  • I am officially signed up to run a game of Lady Blackbird Saturday night. Woot!

    Also, if John Harper is in attendance, someone please point him out to me so I can buy him a drink.
  • edited January 2011
    Hey, all.

    Even though the first registration deadline has passed, there's still time! It's just more important that you send us an e-mail as soon as possible.

    If you want to run a game (or need to change your info) and the calendar says "January," send us an e-mail and we'll almost certainly be able to help you sign up. If the calendar says "February," send us an e-mail and we'll do our best, but can't guarantee results.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone in February!
  • edited January 2011
    Games are submitted. February is too far away!

    And in February I'll be running three games that I love. First up, a return for the much-loved Whispering Vault, this time set in Germany during the Black Death. That sounds like fun, yeah? Plagues and inter-dimensional monsters?

    Then I'll be running a session of the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay from Fantasy Flight Games. This one's a starter adventure so people can get a taste of the new system. If you've never played anything Warhammer before you're more than welcome to come and have a fun, bloody adventure with us!

    Finally, I'll be running another session of Criminal Element. This is a playtest of the game, though I can say with confidence that the rules are done and the game is a blast, IMHO. If you like your crimes a little dirty, and the thought of everything on the heist going horribly wrong sounds like a good time, then come and check this bad boy out.
  • Question for Dreamation-goers: My friend and I are going to come just for Saturday. It doesn't look like you can pre-register for a single day, so I guess we'll just pay at the door. Does that mean we won't get to sign up for games ahead of time? Because that would be sad.

    My apologies if the answer to this question should be obvious from the site or something.
  • Some day I will be put-together enough to fly to stuff like this and hang out with all of you.

    For now, I will just sulk. :D
  • edited February 2011
    Posted By: Brian MinterQuestion for Dreamation-goers: My friend and I are going to come just for Saturday. It doesn't look like you can pre-register for a single day, so I guess we'll just pay at the door. Does that mean we won't get to sign up for games ahead of time? Because that would be sad.

    My apologies if the answer to this question should be obvious from the site or something.
    Hey Brian --

    I wonder if that's true. Signing up for games beforehand has typically been a matter of e-mailing Vinnie Salzillo and telling him your preferences. I suppose you could conceivably e-mail Vinnie once the schedule is out like everyone else and tell him what you wanted to play, with the explanatory fillip that you would have liked to have pre-registered for the day you planned to be there but it wasn't an option. Now, there might be some administrative thing that made it hard for Vinnie to keep track of non-registered but planning-to-attend convention-goers and their game sign-ups, but the worst that can happen is that he'll say no. And since you're signed up to GM, I'd say that weighs in your favor.

    In any event, I'm looking forward to getting a chance to say hello!

    -- Bill
  • Brian, Vinny slots you into games by your badge #, so I imagine he'll have a hard time accommodating you.

    However, I always remember one-day reg options on the site in the past. That may be an unintentional omission. I'd suggest you email him ASAP and ask.
  • StoryGames to the rescue! Thanks, guys.
  • If all else fails, we'll have plenty of room at the Midnight SageFight! :D
  • I find Dreamation is getting closer and I don't seem to have rooming plans firmed up. Does anyone have any extra space in their room? I'm comfortable paying for my share of the room and with sleeping on the floor. Folks around here can vouch for me being a nice guy, if you don't know me.
  • Looks like I'm taken care of. On a related note, I'm going to be looking to run some playtests of Prehistoric Ties outside of the official schedule.
  • [Big ups for Prehistoric Ties!]
  • edited February 2011
    So it looks like the official schedule of games is now available. I have to say, I'm confused- should the IGE games be listed on the master grids? Because I'm not seeing most of them.

    Edit: Never mind, it looks like 2011 isn't actually ready yet. I'll try to control myself.
  • First time I'm looking at the indie schedule... they should rename Dreamation... Fiasco Con!

    I regret not submitting a Dogs game! I'll probably bring materials for a pickup game, just in case.

    I heard there was going to be a Games on Demand area. Any word on that?
  • I don't know about Games on Demand...

    I'd love to play Dogs with you, John. As always I expect tons of pickup gaming and will likewise come prepared.
  • edited February 2011
    Schedule is up

    I'm running:

    Fiasco R-155 on Friday, 9:00AM - 1:00PM;
    The Venetian Tragedy R-171 Friday, 2:00PM - 6:00PM
    How We Came To Live Here R-207 Saturday, 9:00AM - 1:00PM
  • Games submitted!
  • Hmm...nuts - my BW game isn't on the list. I wonder if the list isn't finished yet or if I need to bother Vinnie...

    Also, I'll be running an off-the-books game of IAWA on Sunday morning if any of you are interested.

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