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Philip Philip
May 06

Our June 3–5 event is fast approaching! We’ll be running games on our dedicated Discord server throughout the weekend, but we can’t do it without you. Here’s how it works.

How do I register for the event?

First, if you don’t already have an account on Discord, sign up to Discord! You will need your Discord username—it’s the one you use to log in, which ends with a hashtag (#) and some numbers—to finish the registration process on Eventbrite. You can get a free Discord account on the Discord registration page; see Discord’s Getting Started page for more help.

Next, register for Go Play NW 2022 on Eventbrite at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/go-play-nw-2022-event-1-june-tickets-310843319737

Reminders:

  • Tickets for this event are available on a pay-what-you-will model, with a suggested donation of $12 each day for Saturday and Sunday and also a free option. 
  • The Friday evening social gathering (“lobby con”) is included with all ticket options at no extra cost.
  • To provide the best experience possible, attendance at this event is limited to 80 people on Saturday and 80 people on Sunday. A waiting list is available if the event sells out.

Important: the email address you use when registering on Eventbrite will be the one where we contact you with further updates, and it will be your account username on our website, which you’ll need to sign up for any games!

Where do I find the game schedule and sign up for games?

Once you’re registered through Eventbrite, we’ll send you an email with a link to sign in to the Go Play NW website and your temporary password. Once you have signed in and changed your temporary password, you’ll get access to our scheduling page where you can post a game to run, sign up to join a scheduled game, or sign up to participate in a pickup game session, which we call “the donut”.

(Note: at the time of this blog post, we’re just finishing setting up this process, so it may be a few days before you get an email if you register soon (or already did). Once we’re ready, new registrations should get an email within a day.)

How do we organize games?

At Go Play NW, all of our games are run by our guests (you). We’ll have two options on offer for players and facilitators/GMs: scheduled games and the donut. 

  • Scheduled games are games that facilitators/GMs post in advance on our website, and players can sign up in advance to join.
  • The donut lets us organize games at the start of each session during the event. The donut is a muster in which all people who want to play and/or facilitate gather in a voice channel (or stage, if there are a lot of folks) on our Discord server to pitch games together. We’ll ask for enough facilitators to allow everyone to play in a game, and once they’ve made their pitches, the rest of the group will get a chance to sign up to one of the games being offered. And then, go play!

How do I schedule a game to facilitate?

Once you have access to our scheduling page, you’ll be able to submit a game for scheduling. We’ll ask for some information such as the name and description, the number of players you can take, and content warnings. We do need to review the game submission before it’s posted, so it may take a day before it’s posted and visible on the schedule.

How do I sign up to join a scheduled game?

Once you have access to our scheduling page, you’ll be able to see a list of the scheduled games being offered each session as we post them, and put your name down for a game that has an open slot. New games may be posted each day leading up to the event, so you’ll want to return and check out the schedule more than once!

How do I sign up to join the donut?

Once you have access to our scheduling page, you’ll also see the donut listed in each session, and you can put your name down to join in any or all of them. Signing up in advance to join a donut helps us prepare to accommodate everyone who’s interested! 

Wait, can you tell me more about the donut and how it works?

Sure! For more information, see our post All about the donut.

How do I get to the Discord server for the event?

A few days before the event starts, we’ll email you a link to the server so that you can add it to your Discord app in advance, if you want. You won’t see anything there except the #welcome-desk channel until we’re ready to open check-in on Friday June 3.

What’s the schedule for the weekend?

Friday June 3 is our lobby con—a social gathering that also gives us time to be sure everyone’s properly checked in. That starts at 5:30 PM Pacific and runs at least until 8:30 PM.

Saturday June 4 and Sunday June 5 are the gaming days, and have the same schedule:

  • Morning session starts at 10:30 AM Pacific and runs to 2:30 PM.
  • Lunch break is from 2:30 to 3:30 PM.
  • Afternoon session starts at 3:30 PM and runs to 7:30 PM.

Let us know if you have any questions at info@goplaynw.org. We look forward to seeing you at the con!

E.T. E.T.
May 31

Our Featured Facilitators for 2022 Are Here!

We mentioned our new program in our last post, but we wanted to give it and our invited guests just a little more spotlight. Go Play NW is committing to better supporting the place of marginalized players and creators in our TTRPG spaces. To further this goal, we have invited a few professional BIPOC GMs to share their games, work, and storytelling styles by hosting games for attendees. Moving forward, we want to invest in supporting our BIPOC community members, and this program, along with our attendee sponsorship program (for paid events), is just one of many steps to accomplishing that. We can’t wait to welcome them to our convention this weekend!

Without further ado, here’s our featured facilitators!

First up: Kaleb Wade! Kaleb (they/he) runs the biweekly actual play podcast Creme Demented (https://anchor.fm/creme-demented-actual-plays). They just wrapped their first arc of Heroes of New Halcyon, so now is a great time to get into it. Kaleb also records video game content, edits podcast audio, and sometimes streams TTRPGs.

He’ll be running Hensin!: A Sentai RPG, a diceless storytelling tabletop game in which young people with transformative powers have to contend not only with monsters but their personal problems. It relies heavily on collaboration, improv, and social interaction to weave the story of people who find themselves having to juggle newfound responsibility, group dynamics, and monsters of the week. Kaleb will be hosting their game on Sunday, June 5 at 3:30 PM PDT. Sign up here to join the super sentai: https://goplaynw.org/events/henshin-a-sentai-rpg/

Next up we have JR Zambrano! JR (he/him) is an experienced writer, designer, and performer in the indie TTRPG space. He streams games with All Nerds Here (https://www.twitch.tv/allnerdshere) and plays a space priest on a Lancer podcast. You can find his writing in Slayer’s Almanac, Roleplayer’s Guide to Heists, and the upcoming Exquisite Corpse in Maggots’ Keep, as well as at his Bell of Lost Souls author page (https://www.belloflostsouls.net/author/jayarr). Keep an eye out for his upcoming adventure set in Bloodbeam Badlands (https://vidityavoleti.itch.io/bloodbeam-badlands) and some new Let’s Plays!

JR will be hosting How I Saved The World Over Summer Vacation, a Kids on Bikes adventure. Kids on Bikes is a rules-lite storytelling- TTRPG that features collaborative world building elements. Players portray ordinary people up against extraordinary forces in stories inspired by 80’s classics like E.T., Weird Science, and The Goonies. JR will be hosting his game on Saturday, June 4 at 10:30 AM. Sign up here for unforgettable summertime adventure: https://goplaynw.org/events/how-i-saved-the-world-over-summer-vacation/

Last but certainly not least, Rue Dickey! Rue (they/he) is a 2022 Diana Jones Emerging Designer Program nominated game designer, sensitivity reader, and tabletop rpg streamer. They have over 10 years experience running a variety of systems, and started writing and publishing both independent and freelance tabletop writing in 2020. Rue is currently working on writing a Nest for Overisles (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tatteredbear/overisles), a zine for PlusOneExp, and a Background for Ma Nishtana (https://manishtana.itch.io/ma-nishtana-rpg), as well as a number of secret projects he’s not allowed to talk about just yet. They are also thrilled to be doing sensitivity reading for Validate: Struggling Singles in Your Area (https://validategame.com/), coming to Steam and console this fall. (They also crafted this well-phrased bio!) For more of Rue’s work, check out his carrd here: https://ilananight.carrd.co/#work

Rue will be facilitating Definitely Wizards for us! Definitely Wizards is, in their words, “a fun, low-prep, rules light game about a group of people who are Definitely Not Lying About Being Wizards trying to pass their final exam.” In this game, players tell a comedic story about magic-users passing themselves off as wizards in order to pass a coveted wizard certification exam and earn the right to practice magic. Rue will be hosting his game on Saturday, June 4 at 10:30 AM. Sign up here for wizard shenanigans: https://goplaynw.org/events/finals-and-tomfoolery/

Philip Philip
May 27

Go Play NW’s June Online event is only a week away! We’re so excited to see you soon on our Discord server. Here’s a few updates and reminders to get you ready for the event.

First, we’re so excited to introduce our invited facilitators program! As part of Go Play NW’s ongoing commitment to better supporting the place of marginalized players and creators in our TTRPG spaces, we have invited a few professional BIPOC GMs to share their games, work, and storytelling styles by hosting games for attendees. Moving forward, we want to commit to better supporting our BIPOC community members, and this program is one of many first steps to accomplishing that. We’re really stoked to feature these folks, and we hope you’ll show them the big Go Play NW welcoming spirit that makes our con so great.

Our first featured facilitator is Kaleb Wade, who runs the actual play podcast Creme Demented (@Creme_Demented or https://anchor.fm/creme-demented-actual-plays). They just wrapped their first arc of Heroes of New Halcyon, so now is a great time to get into it. They’ll be running Hensin!: A Sentai RPG, a diceless, story-focused game about young heroes, for us. Sign up here: https://goplaynw.org/events/henshin-a-sentai-rpg/

Second, please check your email for your password to our website and get your registration set up there if you haven’t already. Registering for the website is essential to checking you in on the Discord event server. It will also allow you to set up games you’d like to facilitate and to sign up for games like the one above. 

Third, make sure you sign up on the website for all the games and Donut sessions* you’d like to play in! You need to sign up for events to participate in them because we use your event sign ups to assign your roles. This is true for Donut sessions, as well.

Fourth, now’s the time to schedule your games! To facilitate a scheduled game, simply log in to the website, click the Register a Game link on the sidebar, and fill out the scheduled game form. We’ll publish the game on the website and notify you when it goes up. To sign up for a game, simply press the Book Now! button at the bottom of the event page while logged in. 

Last but certainly not least, tell your friends! The more the merrier, after all. Let’s get excited about the Go Play NW community and play some fun games together online. We can’t wait to hang out with you during our kickoff event, the lobby con, next Friday June 3 from 5:30–8:30PM PDT. 

*What’s all this about Donut sessions? If you’re not familiar with the method we use to organize games spontaneously during the event, check out All about the donut.

Philip Philip
May 06

If you’ve never been to Go Play NW before, perhaps you’ve been wondering about all this talk about donuts. Here’s all the details!

What’s the donut?

The donut is a pitch circle, a method of getting people together into games on the spot without scheduling in advance. When done in person, it’s typically a large circle of prospective players ringed around a small group of volunteer game facilitators, much like a donut shape, hence the name.

Why do we have the donut at Go Play NW?

One of our goals for Go Play NW is no player left behind—we want all our attendees to be able to get into a game every session. We found that not everyone is prepared to sign up for a scheduled game in advance, and often there aren’t enough games proposed in advance to accommodate all the attendees. That’s partly because some people prefer the spontaneity of pitching a game on the spot, or waiting to see what games are pitched on the spot and jumping into whatever strikes their interest and has open spots. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends!

How many donuts are there?

Each game day—Saturday and Sunday—we have two main sessions, a morning/midday one and an afternoon/evening one. If you’re attending Go Play NW 2022 both Saturday and Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to get into four donuts (and so four games). We can manage up to about 35 people in a donut group, so if we have more than that, we’ll split each session into two groups; at most, we can host 80 players each day, in two different donut groups each session.

How do attendees sign up for a donut?

When our scheduling page here on our website is ready, registered attendees will be able to see a donut listed for each session and can choose to sign up to participate. It’ll help us manage the donuts better if you sign up in advance, but don’t worry if you haven’t made a decision before the event starts; we’ll get you into the donut.

How does the donut work?

Each session (or donut group, if we’re doubling up) we’ll start by gathering everyone in one audio channel called a stage, where our donut moderator will explain the full donut process. In brief, the moderator will ask for volunteers to pitch games, and those volunteers will each have a turn to talk briefly about the game they want to facilitate and how many players they can have. Once we have enough volunteers and games to take all the available players, we’ll post summaries of the available games in the chat for players to read, get the individual game channels set up, and open sign-ups for the players. As games fill up, you’ll go play!

How can attendees help make the donut work?

Although the donut is spontaneous in concept, it will definitely help to consider in advance whether you know a game that you can facilitate effectively online. For the donut to work, it’s important to have people willing to step forward and volunteer to facilitate a game. We’re putting together a list of games that are freely available, require minimal preparation, and work great for online play; we’ll have that list available before Go Play NW 2022 starts so you can look it over for inspiration. But games don’t work without players, either; even if you don’t feel up to facilitating a game, come with enthusiasm and openness to meet new people and try new games!

Finally, remember that we have the “lobby con” social time on Friday evening from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (or later) Pacific Time, open to all attendees—in addition to letting you meet up with old friends or make new ones, it gives us an opportunity to go through the event check-in process with everyone, so that on Saturday and Sunday we can jump quickly into the donuts and get games going!

Philip Philip
Apr 18

We’re excited to announce our first online Go Play NW 2022 event, the weekend of Friday June 3 through Sunday June 5, is now open for registration! Tickets for this event are available on a pay-what-you-will model, with a suggested donation of $12 each day for Saturday and Sunday and also a free option. The Friday evening social gathering (“lobby con”) is included with all ticket options at no extra cost.

To provide the best experience possible, attendance at this event is limited to 80 people on Saturday and 80 people on Sunday. A waiting list is available if the event sells out.

Like our previous event in 2021, we’ll be using a dedicated Discord server as our base of operations, and we’ll be able to have video, audio-only, and text-only channels for hosting the games.

Once again we’ll be organizing some games at the start of each session through “the donut,” in which we ask for volunteers to step forward and pitch a game they’d like to run or facilitate, and then the rest of the available players choose a game to join. Even if you don’t feel up to facilitating a game, come with enthusiasm and openness to meet new people and try new games! We’ll be using a scheduling system here on our website for you to sign up for donut sessions, so we’ll know in advance how many people to expect at each.

We’re also adding scheduled games for this event. If you’d rather know in advance that you’ll have players for the game you’re prepared to facilitate, you’ll be able to post it on our site and have people sign up. We’re currently setting up the game scheduling system and will announce when that’s ready for people to start posting games.

As before, the event will kick off with a social gathering on Friday evening that will give you time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, and give us time to get everyone checked in for the weekend. Then on Saturday and Sunday we’ll have the game sessions. We’ll announce full details on the schedule and procedures soon!

Revenues from this event go towards our regular expenses to keep functioning as an organization; the particular expenses to set up and run this event; and our reserves so that we can host in-person events again as soon as it’s safe to do so—hopefully next year! Revenues also allow us to pay special guests whom we invite to feature as game facilitators and designers, and consultants on accessibility and diversity.

Please join our regular Go Play NW discussion Discord server at https://discord.gg/vwrrF2q and check out the #make-it-happen channel to learn more and volunteer!

We’re very excited to bring the Go Play NW experience to you online this year, and we hope you’ll join us! Go to our Eventbrite event page and register now!

Philip Philip
Apr 05

We’re excited to announce our first online Go Play NW event for 2022 will be the weekend of Friday June 3 through Sunday June 5! Like our previous event in 2021, we’ll be using a dedicated Discord server as our base of operations, and we’ll be able to have video, audio-only, and text-only channels for hosting the games.

For this event, we’ll be organizing games in two ways: each session we’ll be holding the pitch circle known as “the donut,” which is great for getting people into games on the spur of the moment; and we’ll also have a scheduling system set up on our website, for those of you who like to plan a game in advance and know that you’ll have players already at the table when the session starts.

As before, the event will kick off with a social gathering on Friday evening that will give you time to catch up with old friends and meet new ones, and give us time to get everyone checked in for the weekend. Then on Saturday and Sunday we’ll have the game sessions.

In the next couple weeks, we’ll be ready to open up registration, and we’ll have further details on scheduling games in advance shortly after that. For now, save the dates Friday June 3 through Sunday June 5, and start thinking about the games you’d like to play! We hope you’ll join us!

Philip Philip
Feb 02

It’s a new year, it’s time for a new Go Play NW event announcement: following on our successful online game weekend last October, we will be hosting two weekend online events this year, one in June and one in October! Once again we’ll be organizing pickup games during the weekend through the donut, but this year we’re planning to add pre-scheduled games into the mix as well.

We do have some planning and development work to do in order to make scheduled games happen and to improve the donut experience, so we’re not ready to announce our dates quite yet but will do so soon. Fortunately our core organizing team from last year—E.T., Star, Jerry, Angela, and myself (Philip)—are all back on board and building on our knowledge and experience from last year’s event. We’re excited to expand the opportunities for games and look forward to welcoming more people joining us this year!

We do want to acknowledge the lack of an in-person event again this year. After consideration and discussion, we believe the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the pandemic continue to make an in-person event in our usual mid-July timeframe too uncertain and too risky to be worth planning. Both the organizing team and the Go Play NW board are taking this time to pursue some development of our organization that will help us be more welcoming of diversity and more supportive of equity and accessibility needs, and so able to hold better in-person events when we feel it’s safe to do so. Hopefully next year!

For now, join us at our regular Discord server for ongoing discussions and follow us on Twitter @GoPlayNW for news and updates as well. We can’t wait to see you again for games online in June and October!

Philip Philip
Oct 06

Well, the weekend is over, the Discord server spun down, and we’re pleased to announce that Go Play NW 2021 Online was a success! Thanks so much to everyone who registered for the event! We literally would not exist without your participation, and we also greatly appreciate your willingness to give an online version of the Go Play NW experience a chance to succeed. It was great to see a lot of old friends and make some new ones as well, and we hope you’ll all join us again at future events.

We (the Go Play NW executive board) want to give a shout-out to the volunteer staff who put in a lot of hard work to make the online event possible: E.T., our volunteer coordinator, donut moderator, and all-purpose meeting manager and organizer; Star, our Discord wizard who tested several different options for online hosting and tools before we settled on Discord, and built or modified several Discord bots to automate as many of the processes as possible; Jerry, who’s stepped in as our webmaster and helped us get both our website and email in working order and prepared for future development and improvement; and Angela, who served as our safety team for the weekend and is providing valuable consulting to help us better provide a safe and welcoming environment to a broader diversity of attendees. We also want to thank everyone who participated in our two pilots to test out our Discord server and procedures, and the Go Play NW friends (and former attendees) who volunteered to help us discuss and organize an online event and whose willingness to participate in meetings in 2020 for that purpose helped us keep the concept alive and prepared us for this year.

While we’re shutting down the Discord server we used for the Go Play NW 2021 event, we do have another ongoing Discord server for general Go Play NW discussion, which also has some channels set up for online gaming. Join us there at https://discord.gg/KFnYFmUR2m. Also keep an eye out there or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GoPlayNW for news as we discuss our plans for future events, including possibly hosting another online event in the near future—now that we have proved the feasibility and have the Discord set up, we know we can do more with little additional effort—and whether we’ll be returning to an in-person event in 2022 as we hope to do. We’re looking forward to seeing you next time!

Philip Philip
Sep 24

We’ll be kicking things off on Friday, October 1 at 5:30 PM Pacific with our “lobby con” social gathering and check-in event. We do urge everyone* to attend if possible, as the more people we can get checked in on Friday, the less time we have to spend on Saturday and Sunday with check-ins before we start the donuts. The Friday event will run at least until 8:30 PM. *(Friday’s lobby con is free to attend with a purchased or sponsored ticket for Saturday or Sunday.)

Saturday October 2 and Sunday October 3 will have similar schedules. The morning donut will begin at 11:00 AM Pacific with gaming time running until 3:30 PM, and the evening donut will begin at 5:00 PM Pacific with gaming time running until at least 9:00 PM—we’re still figuring out whether we’ll need to have a hard stop at that time or can allow games to run later.

As we mentioned in our previous post about how the event will work, we can manage up to about 35 people in a donut, so if we have more attendees than that, we will open up a second track starting an hour apart. We’ll post in advance of the event if it looks like that will be necessary, and email attendees to notify you of any schedule changes.

Philip Philip
Sep 22

(or, How will Go Play NW 2021 Online work?)

What’s the donut?

The donut is a pitch circle, a method of getting people together into games on the spot without scheduling in advance. When done in person, it’s typically a large circle of prospective players ringed around a small group of volunteer game facilitators, much like a donut shape, hence the name.

Why do we have the donut at Go Play NW?

One of our goals for Go Play NW is no player left behind—we want all our attendees to be able to get into a game every session. We found that not everyone is prepared to sign up for a scheduled game in advance, and often there aren’t enough games proposed in advance to accommodate all the attendees. That’s partly because some people prefer the spontaneity of pitching a game on the spot, or waiting to see what games are pitched on the spot and jumping into whatever strikes their interest and has open spots. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends!

Why are we having only donut pitch circles for Go Play NW 2021, and no pre-scheduled games?

First, the donut is a characteristic feature of Go Play NW—a lot of our attendees look forward to participating in the donut every year, so we knew we’d want to facilitate that if possible. Second, it took some work (including some custom Discord bot development by our staff member Star) to figure out that we could automate enough of the process to make the donut worthwhile to do, so we want to put that to use. Third, scheduled games can be done pretty much any time; spontaneous pitch circles are more difficult to do outside of the structure of a convention like Go Play NW. Focusing on the donut feels like the best way to devote our efforts for an online Go Play NW in 2021.

How many donuts are there?

Each game day—Saturday and Sunday—we have two main session slots, a morning/midday one and an afternoon/evening one. If you’re attending Go Play NW 2021 both Saturday and Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to get into four donuts (and so four games). We can manage up to about 35 people in a donut session, so if we have more than that attending, we’ll split each session into two groups starting an hour apart; at most, we can host 70 players each day, in two different donut slots each session.

How does the donut work?

Each session (or donut slot, if we’re doubling up) we’ll start by gathering everyone in one audio channel called a stage, where our donut moderator will explain the full donut process. In brief, the moderator will ask for volunteers to pitch games, and those volunteers will each have a turn to talk briefly about the game they want to facilitate and how many players they can have. Once we have enough volunteers and games to take all the available players, we’ll get the individual game channels set up, post summaries of the available games, and open them to sign-ups by the players.

How can attendees help make the donut work?

Although the donut is spontaneous in concept, it will definitely help to consider in advance whether you know a game that you can facilitate effectively online. For the donut to work, it’s important to have people willing to step forward and volunteer to facilitate a game. We’re putting together a list of games that are freely available, require minimal preparation, and work great for online play; we’ll have that list available before Go Play NW 2021 starts so you can look it over for inspiration. But games don’t work without players, either; even if you don’t feel up to facilitating a game, come with enthusiasm and openness to meet new people and try new games!

Finally, remember that we have the “lobby con” social time on Friday evening from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (or later) Pacific Time, open to all attendees—in addition to letting you meet up with old friends or make new ones, it gives us an opportunity to go through the event check-in process with everyone, so that on Saturday and Sunday we can jump quickly into the donuts and get games going!

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