The Donut

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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 is 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?

For our Fall 2022 event (Sep 30 - Oct 2), on Saturday we have three game sessions—morning, afternoon, and evening—and on Sunday we have two, one morning/midday and one afternoon/evening. If you’re attending this event both Saturday and Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to get into five donuts (and so, five 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?

You don't need to! Once you're checked into the event make sure you're hanging out on the Go Play NW Discord Server before the session you're planning on attending, and you can hop in by going to The Donut section of the server.

But, if you want to help us out, consider adding the Donuts you plan on attending to your schedule by going to our Event Schedule. It'll add the Donut to your schedule, and it’ll help us manage the Donuts better if you sign up in advance. Don’t worry if you haven’t made a decision before the event starts; if you decide you want to join one of our Donuts, we’ll get you into the Donut!

Donuts for our Online Fall 2022 event kick off at the following times:

  • Saturday
    • 9:30 AM PDT - Morning Game Session
    • 2:00 PM PDT - Afternoon Game Session
    • 7:00 PM PDT - Evening Game Session
  • Sunday
    • 11:00 AM PDT - Morning Game Session
    • 4:00 PM PDT - Afternoon Game Session

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 definitely helps everything run more smoothly if you prepare a bit in advance. Here are a few ways you can help:

  1. Take time before the convention to consider what games you can facilitate effectively online.
    For the Donut to work we need people willing to step forward and volunteer to facilitate a game! See our Online Games Inspiration List for game suggestions that require minimal preparation and work great for online play.

  2. Play a game pitched in the donut!
    Games don’t work without players; even if you don’t feel up to facilitating a game, come with enthusiasm and openness to meet new people and try new games!

  3. Join us for Friday evening's Lobby Con!
    The Friday evening social (LobbyCon) 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM PDT is open to all attendees. In addition to letting you meet up with old friends and make new ones, it helps our event volunteers by getting everyone checked in early. Then, on Saturday and Sunday we can jump quickly into the Donuts and get games going!


Illustration by Star West-Morgan, 2022

Go Play NW is a 501(c)(7) Non-Profit Organization
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