NZRaG
New Zealand Roleplaying and Gaming forums
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Supporting New GMs
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    NZRaG Forum Index -> Kapcon 19 (2010)
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Highwayman



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 787
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Esker wrote:

How does it ignore the feelings of those who don't want to be scored? They never get to see the scores, and players are going to make judgements whether they write it down or not.


When I GM I would prefer that the players focus on the game, rather than judging me and the other players.

I am one of those who favors no scoring at all, and would much prefer to have a prize-less or spot-prize only con.

Cheers
Grant
_________________
-=Mon Canard est en feu!=-
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
itowlson



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

taxboy wrote:
errr - new GM feedback and scoring could actually be different beasts - feedback can be more like questions answered and points to improve..


That's a great point and a really important one. As Mash has pointed out in the past, the Kapcon scoring system is not *useful* as a feedback mechanism -- it's purely a recognition system. (This is not a criticism, just an observation.) Feedback is quite a different matter.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mashugenah
Site Admin


Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1239
Location: Gallifrey

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll just quickly second Ivan's question: what problem are you hoping to solve with universal scoring?

I put down both my games to be scored, but at the end of the games I was like "I don't care" - my games weren't perfect and I didn't need the numerical average of 5 bits of paper to tell me that.

But let's assume that they did come back with an average of "4" - what does this tell me? Should I have written more NPCs? Should I have been more "tunnel of fun" rather than empowering player choices? What should I have done? The number tells me nothing useful, other than there were flaws - something I recognise without its aid.

Okay; now assume that I've just wrapped up my less than perfect game.

* In my real-life example, the players and I sat around chatting for a bit, then they drifted off as they lost interest in the conversation or decided their need for food was more important.

* In your "compulsory scored" world, I say "that's the end" then 5 people grab a bit of paper and start thinking "was this a 3? is that too harsh?" and instead of a cathartic and informal chat, they're ignoring me and each other to pick a basically meaningless numerical score that's not going to help me one bit, but might make me feel bad if I ever found out what it was.

So... you've come out with a "everything should be scored", but I don't see what the benefit is. All it seems like you're doing is creating more work for the players, more work for the organizers, and potentially exposing weak GMs to unsolicited negative feedback (which is hardly likely to encourage them to carry on GMing at the con.)


Someone should write a giant summary of the history of scoring and all the arguments so we don't have to do this ever again.
_________________
The opinions prevalent in one age... are confuted and rejected in another and rise again to reception in remoter times. Thus the human mind is kept in motion without progress.
- Samuel Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Mashugenah
Site Admin


Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1239
Location: Gallifrey

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

itowlson wrote:
As Mash has pointed out in the past, the Kapcon scoring system is not *useful* as a feedback mechanism -- it's purely a recognition system.


Woah. You need to type fast! 4 responses while I was typing mine, all beating me to the important points. Oh well. Very Happy
_________________
The opinions prevalent in one age... are confuted and rejected in another and rise again to reception in remoter times. Thus the human mind is kept in motion without progress.
- Samuel Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Mashugenah
Site Admin


Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1239
Location: Gallifrey

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Me First! Reply with quote

taxboy wrote:

The Areas for Development

Actual GM support is non-existent - in a perfect world this would include

a) Information of an assistance programme for New GMs
b) At least one experienced Kapcon player or GM making themselves availabe to sit in a play test
c) potentially a GM Mentor assigned to read the game, assist with brainstorming and feedback
d) a person on the Kapcon day assigned to the new GMs to help with logistics and worries etc
e) dedicated efforts by the organizers to make sure there are sufficient players in the new GMs game to enable them to run
f) feedback (scoring??) for all new GMs to help them for next time


I'll tip in my more general 2c now. Very Happy

a - It's not clear to me how people make the decision to GM at KapCon. I'd be a bit incline to think that the website would have to be the central place for any information system, potentially with just another drop-down menu on the game entry form "I'd like some GM mentoring for my game." Hell, I'd probably use that box, and I've been GMing at KapCon since '96.

b - You pitched your game here, and as I recall, did get some interest from experienced GMs, but you had only a single play-test day option. I at least would have been happy to playtest your game, but couldn't make the single day you said was available. I think in general, it's a great idea to have an experienced GM in a playtest of your game. I always make sure I do.

c - As an experienced GM, I'd be perfectly happy to volunteer for this job. I'm sure there are others. I kinda suspect though that most (particularly first time) GMs won't be organized enough to get much benefit from such a relationship.

d - I'm not too clear on what this person's role would be in detail.

e - This has been done in the past. I suspect that almost all first-time GMs at KapCon struggle to fill two games. Certainly my anecdotal evidence is 100% single-game efforts on debut. Like it or not, a large part of KapCon is dual name recognition: do you recognize the name of the GM and/or the Game? We've mooted a "new GM" round several years; it's never happened that I know of, but does have some merit.

f - as discussed.

Quote:
I realise Kapcon is a voluntary event and I do not wish to belittle or criticise the huge effort that people put into each year but it does seem that we need to improve the way we grow our new Kapcon GM's as


Agreed. I have always said, and will maintain, that the way the numbers break down, every attendee should be looking at running one session. At worst, if you think most GMs will run their game twice, half of the attendees should be GMs.

I've half-seriously argued in the past for an opt-out system for GMs; but perhaps this is too intimidating.

The other thought I have is that anyone who's thinking about convention GMing but isn't sure whether they can cut it, should GM at CONfusion. It's the most laid back and friendly con with few expectations, yet has a lot of good players and GMs in attendance who can help new GMs out.

(In contrast to Fright Night, where Dale and then I have been pretty hard-core about high quality play-tested games. Smile )
_________________
The opinions prevalent in one age... are confuted and rejected in another and rise again to reception in remoter times. Thus the human mind is kept in motion without progress.
- Samuel Johnson, Preface to Shakespeare
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address Yahoo Messenger MSN Messenger
Dale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 286
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like k-18 kicked ass, and there is a lot of awsome wisdom here, which I will be re-reading. Just a thought, most of the folks posting here are the wise old heads of Kapcon - Would it be possible to survey those who are first time, or considering being first time GM's to figure out what they want, and what might motivate them?

This may already have been covered by a paper survey at the 'con, but if not, I'd guess there are free online tools that could do this, and provide fields for more detailed feedback (as opposed to multiple choice). To get buy-in you'd probably need to e-mail those who may not visit here regularly.

Finally, IMHO a big chunk of getting people interested in your game is hyping it before the 'con, which is not necessarily a natural thing for a GM to do. While popularity does grow through word of mouth regarding good experiences, the 'con is a big place these days, and anyone who feels like they don't want to commit to running a game due to possibly facing a lack of attendance on the basis of community rep. might want to consider seeking advice on other ways to promote their game as much as GM'ing mentoring.

I don't want to get sucked into the scoring debate vortex, but for what it's worth, scoring IMHO can have positive effects, so long as it is entirely compulsory and the 'con organisers realise that it will turn a lot of people off and are willing to eat that continuous criticism. On the plus side, being foced to sit down and assess your players/GM's critically in a range of areas immediately after a game helped me identify some inportant aspects of what made a good game/what makes for good play (obviously this is entirely subjective - and sometimes justly criticised as a popularity contest). That said, Kapcon has deliberately walked away from that path, taking a more middle of the road approach, on the basis that the games were already kick-ass and it turned too many people off/endless bellyaching and I think that Kapcon's continued success and growth show that to be a wise choice. So, could it be a good tool to help new GM's? - I think so, but unless the new GM's were very keen on it, I'd be skeptical of the net benefit.


Last edited by Dale on Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
taxboy



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 519

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Reading over the various posts, responses to my initial thoughts and off topic rambling (makes me miss Damon some times!!) I conclude the following for new and novice GM's (or at least for me for K2010)

1) Sort out the base idea 6 months before Kapcon (or whatever) and run it past one of the old heads or even on the Boards publicly

2) Ask for an experienced DM to attend the play test but do it before 4 weeks before D day and be flexible to the logistical needs of the play testers

3) Pimp your game before the Con

4) At the start of Kapcon, either make a special announcement or ask an organiser to do it for you - asking people to try the game and your style out to help you as a novice GM.

5) Provide actual feedback forms / ask the players to remain for 10 minutes after the game to give you the good, the bad and the ugly

6) Make sure you have played at least once at Kapcon so you can get a feel for the games etc

I still would love some mechanism at the Kapcon to try and populate the games of the newbies, even if its terrible as us investing in growing new GM's.

So thats my conclusion, a mix of self help and help help.

Barry
_________________
Welcome to our agreed reality.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dale



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 286
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice summary Barry, one last thing; I know that there is normally a boost in games over Christmas/early Jan as people get motivated by the approaching date. This makes arranging playtesting, seeking feedback often difficult and rushed. I'd be interested to know from the Loremaster of Kapcons Past if newbie games follow this trend more than those offered by experienced hands. If so, any support will clearly need to be accessible to those folks, who may not be especially organised...

Quote:
Potentially we could ask Matt Cowens to take up a role as GM developer for Kapcon. Seeing as he has a lot of experience in Scenario design and was involved in many of the discussions we wused to have about GMing and also has a lot of respect within the community. Just have to ask him nicely


Matt C. for GM-Tsar!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Esker



Joined: 22 Mar 2006
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Essentially, my reasoning for "everything should be scored by default" is because scoring is only useful if it actually gets done. If it's a case of "I have no idea whether my GM wants to be scored or not", then a large portion of players won't do it, and it basically falls by the wayside while still tying up resource tallying those few scores that do come in.

It should either be required, or non-existent. I'm happy with either version. A half-pie nebulous thing like this year's system is simply a logistics drain that doesn't achieve its purpose.

Please note that I'm not criticising the organisers with this, but the system.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
wisefool



Joined: 26 Jan 2007
Posts: 29
Location: Wellington, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the way of a little feedback to the discussion so far.

The idea of a pre-con GM upskilling session or two is great. Which I full support;
* There will be a few GMs like myself who look at the spaces unfilled and volunteer the week before on the "why not" basis, and
* Out of towners also won't have this benefit.
* Being positive if there is a dedicated GM's session please contact me.

From the point of some one who might avail myself for prepaying for 2010, please forget the micro payment option. It's just too early 20th century social club! Give me the option of paying 10 months (or less) in advance and I'll risk the chance of sudden death crossing Lambton Quay for a few months. If the team know what they want to set the scene, you can spend a few bucks at a sale for the right props when they come up.

The change of practice from pitching game before each session to notes on the board went well and posting them in the site gave us the option of pre-selecting most games well in advance.

The great efforts of the 2009 team were appreciated, and I'll be prebooking space in my calender for 2010 when I get back to work.
_________________
Wisefool (and other contradictons)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Highwayman



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 787
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Esker wrote:
It should either be required, or non-existent. I'm happy with either version. A half-pie nebulous thing like this year's system is simply a logistics drain that doesn't achieve its purpose.

Please note that I'm not criticising the organisers with this, but the system.


The scoring of KapCon is a subject that comes up perennially, and it tends to cause rifts and bad feelings every time it comes up. You might want to read through some of the archived messages. In the end I think the least-worst compromise was to continue with the current system. It stopped the dice being flung around the room Smile

Cheers
CC
_________________
-=Mon Canard est en feu!=-
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
MattCowens



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 654

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Highwayman wrote:

The scoring of KapCon is a subject that comes up perennially, and it tends to cause rifts and bad feelings every time it comes up. You might want to read through some of the archived messages. In the end I think the least-worst compromise was to continue with the current system. It stopped the dice being flung around the room Smile


This is a pithy and valuable summary of tens of thousands of words of 'progress' Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
housemonkey



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 246
Location: time-space continuum

PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I opted not to have my games being scored this year (and a good thing for the rest of you GMs too, or I would have been walking away with all the loot) because I've won prizes before, don't feel I have a point to prove about my GMing and don't really care that much about prizes anyway. If players want to give me feedback after a game, that's an entirely different matter.

Quote:
Because honestly, saying to your players "I do/do not want to be scored" is hardly as high a priority as actually getting the game going. I don't think it was mentioned once to me by any GM I played with.


At the beginning of each game I simply removed the score-sheets from the table and said the game wasn't being scored. It took a few seconds at most, hardly a major issue.

As for a compulsory scoring system where a pile of sheets go straight in the bin, that seems like a needless waste of effort, time and paper.
_________________
All the energy of a rat, trapped in a can
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
IdiotSavant



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1046
Location: Palmerston North (bugger)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:05 am    Post subject: Re: Me First! Reply with quote

Mashugenah wrote:
e - This has been done in the past. I suspect that almost all first-time GMs at KapCon struggle to fill two games. Certainly my anecdotal evidence is 100% single-game efforts on debut. Like it or not, a large part of KapCon is dual name recognition: do you recognize the name of the GM and/or the Game?


Your anecdotal evidence is partly wrong. Going back through past spreadsheets, there are plenty of GMs who ran and filled multiple sessions the first time they ran at kapCon (IIRC some won prizes). However, some of those GMs were well-known, or had run their games at ConFusion or hyped them here or on LJ, and of course we have no way of knowing whether they were filled with 1st or 3rd choices...

But I think you're right about name recognition as a game-selection heuristic. Which is why we need to talk about the games we playtest for people (though I do that on LJ, not here).
_________________
Playing: ArM5 - Fons Albae; Pendragon: Defenders of Sarum
Running: ArM5 - Fons Albae (rotating); The Laundry
Planning: KapCon XXI; The Devil's Brood (Chimera); Hydra (April 2012)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
IdiotSavant



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1046
Location: Palmerston North (bugger)

PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

taxboy wrote:
1) Sort out the base idea 6 months before Kapcon (or whatever) and run it past one of the old heads or even on the Boards publicly


You don't need to be anywhere near that early. Yes, we want first (and now second) round games by Julyish so we can use them to advertise the con. But if you haven't offered up front from the beginning to run first round, we don't need a blurb till November - Decemberish, and many still come in in January.

So, you can stick a blurb up in November, and spend the next two months playtesting it. And don't worry too much if it doesn't work out - the timetable isn't set in stone, and we've pulled games and reassigned players because they just didn't work out in playtest (this happened twice this year).

Quote:
3) Pimp your game before the Con


Better: get your playtesters to talk about how great it was, without giving too much away Smile

Quote:
4) At the start of Kapcon, either make a special announcement or ask an organiser to do it for you - asking people to try the game and your style out to help you as a novice GM.


Some people have bene known to do an eyecatching poster...

Quote:
6) Make sure you have played at least once at Kapcon so you can get a feel for the games etc


I don't think that's strictly necessary. OTOH, it could be considered market research.
_________________
Playing: ArM5 - Fons Albae; Pendragon: Defenders of Sarum
Running: ArM5 - Fons Albae (rotating); The Laundry
Planning: KapCon XXI; The Devil's Brood (Chimera); Hydra (April 2012)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    NZRaG Forum Index -> Kapcon 19 (2010) All times are GMT + 13 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next
Page 2 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group