Earlier in the convention, I spoke to a huge Traveller fan about the card game and ran across others who were planning on being in my events, but it was really just Sunday when I ran introduction events that Traveller play happened.
As I mentioned, I forgot to take pictures. One thing about running events on the final day of the con, a day I was flying back home, was that I had a lot on my mind.
Of the three different possibilities for using cards to demo – prearranged cards, demo decks, crack starters, I settled on cracking starters. Sure, starters aren’t going to be as coherent as something built specifically to teach a game, but I wanted to give product away and wanted the visceral feel of taking a packaged product and making use of it.
I went with the model of everyone on one side of the table using one deck and everyone on the other side using a different deck, with a different to make it pretty consistent who was going to choose First Captain every round. Of our various demos, outside of those cases where we have enough teachers to give individual attention to demoers, this group style synchronized approach seems the best.
I’m not going to say everyone loved the game. I don’t expect everyone to love the game. For instance, given a clearer idea who the game should appeal to the most, I think we would have made more decisions erring on the side of streamlined and simplified play. One of the demoers sat with me a while to comment about how he thought there were really good things in a game that could be streamlined significantly.
Besides the ship decks the players cracked, there were promo cards and enough playmats to give away to everyone who wanted one. Sure, it would be nice to sell more playmats, but they are such an aid for following our numerous icons that we still think it makes sense to be rather free with them.
One demoer asked whether we intended to keep doing demos as opposed to other sorts of events. I’m perfectly happy to have other sorts of events, though it seems pretty clear to me that Traveller is never going to be a tournament-focused game. I imagine that it suits better those players who are looking for a casual or social experience where there is either appreciation for the IP, the mechanics, or both. The deckbuilders will embrace deckbuilding to do more thematic things and not worry a lot about trying to optimize for winning, methinks.
At local cons, I’ll schedule open play slots where someone could gunsling against Jeff or me or we might do a multiplayer game depending upon the participants’ interests rather than try to push tournament play, which other customizable card games are truthfully more oriented towards for one reason or another.
On the other hand, if someone thinks a tournament is a good idea, well, that’s cool too. We are happy to support how people want to play the game. Get ahold of one of us and we will send off materials to help promote the event, whether demo or tournament or league play or blocked off time to play.
If the players scream for World Championships with National Qualifiers and such, well, we can look to try to accommodate that.
I’ll try to find out what makes sense for 2020 after Gen Con gives us another data point on what the players’ interests are. I hope I run into more players who are interested in promoting the game either locally or at larger, cross-regional events. What would help the game the most is awareness as a stepping stone to having a larger base of players.
I was happy with how Traveller at Origins went. Attendance was solid, with the first event sold out. I felt reasonable levels of interest. It wasn’t a grand spectacle with confetti dropping from the ceiling, but that just leaves us room to up the ante. Ante … hmmm … playing for ante sounds very casual and social … and not like anything anyone has ever considered before with customizable card games.