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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
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!

ping ping
May 10

Archives are cool, and we have a lot of archives. It’s just plain fun to peruse the pictures and all the games that people played. I didn’t know John ran a version of Danger Patrol in 2007. I didn’t know Chris Bennett has podcasted about every GPNW.
But by no means are the archives complete. There’s got to be more out there, especially all the pick-up games. We purposely put the archives in the forums so everyone can add whatever they want. I’m already enjoying the cascading effect: Johnzo remembered a missing In a Wicked Age game from GPNW 2008 which in turn jogged my memory of another missing IAWA game from the same year.

Go Play NW 2009 Poster

I don’t need the archives all the time, but when I want them, I’m glad we have them. Especially right now only a few weeks before the next GPNW, it’s a way to look back at the old games and old GPNWs in between thinking about the games and fun for the next one.
Oh, and in the course of writing this post (I kid you not), I found some pictures of the GPNW 2007 Danger Patrol game. How’s that for kismet?

Sasquatch Sasquatch
May 07

UGh-Graagh!
Uggka uggka Gragh GRAuGH. Grunf? Hrrr grugfh arr grack urgh grungh hree grugh?
Grough! Grrrrrrr.

Team GPNW Team GPNW
Mar 08

Are you in Brisbane (or heck, anywhere in Australia and open to road trips)? Make a note that Go Play Brisbane is coming up on March 20.
With a name like Go Play Brisbane, what’s not to like? Then again, if we’re Go Play in the far northwest corner of the globe (assuming you believe in that whole dateline thing), and they’re in the far southeast corner, does that make them our mirror universe evil twin or something? Or are we the evil twin? All I know is that someone is secretly left-handed and sporting a goatee…