I just had the chance to listen to Gameopolis episode 4.5, their after-action report for Carnage 2009. Co-host Jeff recounts his experiences running and playing at this year’s convention. He mentioned something that mirrored my own experience, but I didn’t realize until I heard somebody else say it: all the players I met this year were really into playing the game for fun’s sake, rather than to debate rules or make the game unpleasant for other people.
He also mentioned his practice of running a kind of living board game. His Car Wars arena has a scoreboard, pictured here, that immortalizes not only the winners of past matches, but the truly inglorious crack-ups, as well. Since few board games carry any kind of a memory across sessions, the idea of making past games part of the play experience is a really appealing one.
Be sure to check out the rest of Jeff’s photos from Carnage on Gameopolis‘ Flickr account.
That scoreboard is awesome. Thank the Baby J that people are still play Car Wars.
Car Wars is awesome. I need to break it out for game night sometime soon — and often.
Christian, I want to echo your sentiment: I pray daily to the patron saints of electric powerplants and vulcan machine guns!!! And thanks to Held Action for the mention of our Gameopolis episode!
Another thing that I do with the arena (that I have found players really enjoy) is to incorporate evidence of past crashes into the physical arena. As an example, this year a player from years past –who last year died a rather spectacular death by losing consciousness and slamming into an arena wall at 90 mph– was absolutely psyched to discover that I had memorialized him. It turns out that this player was driving a silver car when he slammed into the arena wall. Between conventions, I painted some silver paint streaks on the arena wall to represent his car grinding against the wall, and also posted on the same section of wall a bronze plaque with a wreath on it with the player’s name and “in memorium”.
In general, since virtually all gamers love the idea of “bragging rights”, I think this sort of thing can be a great addition to a game. Even if the “bragging rights” are associated with negative event like smashing into a wall, as long as it is taken in good fun most people love getting the honorable mention.
The only other thing that I’d like to mention is that –because everyone has their own level of comfort with their name being circulated or posted publicly– I always give people the option to NOT be mentioned, or to be listed by a pseudonym.
Take care, and have fun!