Ok, so I sent this to FatherFletch
(I'm assuming he's still the lead for Tabletop Gaming at PAX), but since I'm not looking to make any money off this idea, I'll post it here for comments/criticisms from the general forum population at large.Problem:
We are trying to help people at PAX that are LFG (Looking For Group) to play with.
Unless you come with enough friends to play, you basically have to hang out in the tabletop area hoping you meet some other people that want to play the same game as you, post your contact info on the forums and pray for a bite, be willing to play anything, etc. This isn't necessarily bad - meeting new gamers is always good. But it can be frustrating when there is so much else to do at the con and you can't seem to find anyone to play with. You could twitter/facebook/etc a call for players, but odds are most of the people on your friends lists you would have already asked directly, right? It boils down to - we want to spend more time playing games, and less time finding the people to play with. It also promotes making new friends (yay).Solution:
Our solution is (perhaps typically) a little convoluted and technology heavy, but hopefully it can make tabletop gaming at PAX more organized and fun (or at least spur others to come up with similar ideas). Basic plan would be to have a server in the tabletop area running some custom scripts, essentially acting as a Matchmaking service. Attendees could use their phone, laptop, or an on-site terminal to create entries in the system. You could say "I want to play one of these games: SmallWorld, Munchkin, Call of Cthulhu, D&D4e. I'm available Saturday from 2pm til 9pm." and people would be able to view/search through the postings. You could also make an entry that basically says "I am running a game of Shadowrun 4th edition at 10pm Friday, we have 2 open slots" and people would also be able to search those openings, by game, time, number of open slots, etc.
Once enough players have expressed interest/agreed on a game, the system can email/SMS them to remind them when/where the game is going to be. This way you don't even have to give out your phone number to strangers to stay in contact. Given enough time to work on it, this system could even schedule out tables - you could get an SMS like: "6 players signed on for your D&D4e dungeon crawl. Table 17 in Rm 203 is reserved for you at 8:30pm"Misc:
Equipment-wise, it wouldn't be free, but the server could be almost any computer (like a 10 year old Pentium even). There would probably also need to be a couple 'dumb' terminals there, although you might be able to get away with just having people use their phones/computers through a public-facing web interface. Lastly, to make it really
cool, you could hook up a couple plasma TVs around the tabletop area that display information from the server - what games are starting soon/where, what games need a player, whatever you want. Kind of like the Panic Status Board (http://www.panic.com/blog/2010/03/th...-status-board/
), but, amazingly, even geekier.
What do you think? Completely unnecessary, or possibly revolutionary? Would you bother to use this or keep doing what you've done in the past? I'm certainly open to suggestions, questions, or explanations of why this would never work.
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