Seminar: Facilitating Megagames

Saturday 5th February
12:15 – 13:00 GMT

Speaker: Jim Wallman (Stone Paper Scissors)

Tickets: MegaCon ticket

Jim has often said “no game survives first contact with the players”. In this session Jim will talk about a few of the things he has learnt about facilitating megagames (often through trial and error), and illustrate this with examples of challenges from real megagames he has run and how they were approached. There will be a Q&A session at the end to bring your facilitation problems and thoughts.

About the speaker

Jim Wallman is a professional game designer with over thirty years’ experience in the serious game design field. He has worked extensively with the corporate, public, educational, recreational and voluntary sectors, designing and delivering a wide range of games, such as in support of academic research, on social issues and map wargames & concept development games for the UK Defence community. Additionally active in designing command and decision games covering issues such as political crises, social media and influence, strategic planning, cyber defence and civil disorder.

Jim’s background and education is primarily in the social sciences, psychology and military history fields, with a particular interest in the development of immersive and emerging gameplay. Jim has run over 120 megagames and created over 65 unique megagame designs.

Attending the seminar

To attend, you will need to purchase a MegaCon ticket. The seminar will take place in Zoom and a link will be provided to all sessions within the MegaCon Discord.

Seminar: Trust and Betrayal in the Classroom – Week-long Online Megagames

Saturday 5th February
21:30 – 22:15 GMT

Speaker: Dr Alan Tsang (Carleton University)

Tickets: MegaCon ticket

The talk will examine the setup and format of week-long megagames, conducted as part of a senior level university course. Alan will talk about lessons and challenges from the games, and tools to facilitate megagames online.

Join us as we talk about how these games are setup and how they went. We will also go over some of the lessons and challenges from these games. We will also present some new digitals tools that can be used to help run your own megagames in an online format!

About the speaker

In 2021, Professor Alan Tsang adopted megagames in his online classrooms for a senior-level university course.

Attending the seminar

To attend, you will need to purchase a MegaCon ticket. The seminar will take place in Zoom and a link will be provided to all sessions within the MegaCon Discord.

Seminar: Megagames at Work – Recreational Pastime as Professional Tools

Sunday 6th February
11:30 – 12:15 GMT

Speaker: Rob Grayston

Tickets: MegaCon ticket

In the professional world, things like megagames might be called simulations, exercises, or wargames, but they would often be recognisable to the recreational player. In this talk, Rob Grayston will look at how megagames are used in a professional setting (with relation to his own experiences), what use they can provide, and suggest some ways you can bring megagaming into your own professional spheres.

About the speaker

Rob Grayston is an Emergency Planning Officer in local government, which was a change of careers from planning for trade shows and parties, to planning for floods and pandemics. He enjoys gaming recreationally, and puts his personal approach to games down to his formative roleplaying experiences with Call of Cthulhu – at the age of 8.

Attending the seminar

To attend, you will need to purchase a MegaCon ticket. The seminar will take place in Zoom and a link will be provided to all sessions within the MegaCon Discord.

Seminar: Mechanism Design for Dummies

Sunday 6th February
12:30 – 13:15 GMT

Speaker: John Keyworth

Tickets: MegaCon ticket

All megagames involve game mechanisms, to some degree. They inform the players what can and can’t be done and shape the experience of the day. However choosing the right mechanisms can be a difficult challenge. What is everyone doing at each phase of the game, who do the resources interact, how does this influence negotiations?

In Mechanism Design for Dummies, John Keyworth gives a high-level overview to implementing a game’s mechanisms, from where to find them, how to choose the right ones and how to string it all together.

About the speaker

John is an Oxford-based designer of megagames, indie RPG’s, video and board games, as a hobbyist and professionally. His completed megagames are Relics of the Fall and Ur: the Nexus City.

Attending the seminar

To attend, you will need to purchase a MegaCon ticket. The seminar will take place in Zoom and a link will be provided to all sessions within the MegaCon Discord.

Seminar: First Time Game Design — Is It Worth It?

Sunday 6th February
14:45 – 15:30 GMT

Speaker: Holly Wall

Tickets: MegaCon ticket

Keen to design your own game but feeling a bit overwhelmed? Coming up with an idea is just the start. This seminar explores the practical experiences of a first time designer, from making time for game design to the difficult task of finding the right venue, to game day anxiety. Learn from my mistakes and decide for yourself: is it worth it?

About the speaker

Holly is a new game designer with a particular interest in collaborative gaming. Her first game was Fete of the World with True North Megagames.

Attending the seminar

To attend, you will need to purchase a MegaCon ticket. The seminar will take place in Zoom and a link will be provided to all sessions within the MegaCon Discord.

Seminar: Make a Mark with Your Megagame Marketing

Saturday 5th February
15:30 – 16:15 GMT

Speakers: Chris Brown and BeckyBecky Campbell-Ladley

Tickets: MegaCon ticket

Designing a game is one challenge – getting people to come along is something else entirely!

Many megagame designers rely exclusively on tapping into existing megagame networks and Facebook groups to get the word out. This talk will look at the other channels game runners can use to promote their game, how to get your messaging right, and share some top tips for getting your game noticed – both by megagame enthusiasts and those new to the hobby.

About the speakers

Chris’ first megagame was Watch The Skies 4 in 2016 and he’s been hooked on megagames and the megagame community ever since. Chris can generally be found at a megagame causing havoc for himself more than anyone else, but it’s the way he likes it. Chris is an IT professional in his work life, but don’t let that mild-mannered persona fool you as he’d happily nuke you in an instant at a game. He is part of the team behind Megagame Assembly and is also a designer for First Contact: 2035.

BeckyBecky Campbell-Ladley is a professional marketer who ran her own social media consultancy for 5 years, and now works in higher education marketing. She is the narrative-focused designer of Everybody Dies (the Game of Thrones inspired megagame) and Trope High (the kooky American High School megagame), and she blogs voraciously at BeckyBecky Blogs.

Attending the seminar

To attend, you will need to purchase a MegaCon ticket. The seminar will take place in Zoom and a link will be provided to all sessions within the MegaCon Discord.

Seminar: “What was the point?”

Saturday 5th February
13:15 – 14:00 GMT

Speaker: Tim Campbell-Ladley

Tickets: MegaCon ticket

Designer Drop refers to the phenomenon of designers feeling down and depressed after their game, regardless of how it went. This talk explores why this is; what to watch out for as a designer or game runner; and ways we as players can support designers.

About the speaker

Tim Campbell-Ladley is the designer of The Shot Heard Round The Universe, a sci-fi game inspired by the American Revolution. He has been megagaming since 2012 and appears in both of the SU&SD megagame videos.

Attending the seminar

To attend, you will need to purchase a MegaCon ticket. The seminar will take place in Zoom and a link will be provided to all sessions within the MegaCon Discord.

Seminar: Megagaming and Professional Education

Saturday 20th March
16:00 – 17:00 GMT

Speaker: Alan Marshall (Sheffield Hallam University)

Filmed during: MegaCon 2021

Megagaming and Professional Education – boring gaming or shallow teaching? Can it work?

Can games and gaming be used to teach complex social sciences in higher education in a way that doesn’t seem forced and cheesy? Do games designed to teach become a chore? Do they sap the fun out of playing? Listen to Alan’s journey as a geeky gamer, into life teaching at a university and his attempts to inject some of the pleasures of gaming into teaching students why people can make mistakes when working with vulnerable people.

Seminar: Hopetown 2030 – Serious Gaming Housing and Ageing

Saturday 20th March
13:00 – 14:00 GMT

Speaker: Alasdair Rutherford & Dr Vikki McCall

Filmed during: MegaCon 2021

In Spring 2018, a group led by Dr Vikki McCall at the University of Stirling held a series of events with practitioners, older adults and policy makers from Scotland, England and Wales to consider challenges in housing and ageing over the coming decade. We used a megagame-style bespoke ‘serious game’ called Hopetown, designed by Jim Wallman of Stone Paper Scissors, to engage a diverse group of people in thinking creatively about the challenges in delivering housing for ageing, and how they might be overcome.

In this session Professor Alasdair Rutherford and Dr Vikki McCall describe the game and discuss how it was effective in producing a creative and participatory approach to identify challenges and explore potential solutions. They reflect on the role of serious games in this megagame style both as a research tool and as a way to engage diverse viewpoints from a broad audience in a collaborative process. They go on to talk about our future plans for using this game (including perhaps running it as a megagame!) to explore the issues further, and welcome the views and suggestions of the megagame community.

Seminar: Any Port in a Storm

Sunday 21st March
11:00 – 12:00 GMT

Speaker: Patrick Rose (Pennine Megagames)

Filmed during: MegaCon 2021

Patrick Rose talks through the challenges and potential solutions in porting an in-person megagame to an online format. If you have an offline game or access to one that you’d like to bring online and run during the pandemic or even after, this talk is for you!