A long reflection on UKT5

I’m starting this on Sunday, 6th April, at 6:40 pm. UKT5, the fifth annual UK D&D Tweetup event that I have organised finished roughly 25 hours ago, and we got home from our overnight stay in Worcester and a long and slow drive back about 3 hours ago, upon which time we pretty much went straight to sleep for a much needed nap…

This is a long and fairly winding look back at the event. And it’s quite brutally honest about prices and opinions.

I am one of those kind of people who can always find fault in the stuff I do, whether it’s a text box on a gui for work that is misaligned by 1 or 2 pixels, or the issues at a tweetup event that after 4 and a half years of organising and running, I still can’t get right…

So while UKT5 might have been a success to some, and yeah, it was pretty damn good, it’s not quite what I wanted or hoped for…

What are the Tweetups?
The first tweetup was back in October 2010, and was a spur of the moment thing. We’d had games days, free rpg days, encounters season, the launch of dark sun, essentials, gamma world… 4e was still a big thing and the constant events had many of us dm’s almost burnt out. And so it was suggested we meet up and just play. And thus the tweetups, a meet up organised and promoted by twitter was born. 4 and a half years later, I’ve run the 5th major ‘tweetup’ event and have filled the intervening months with occasional tweetup branded smaller events, like the drowathon. I’ve figured out that trying to arrange two big events in one year never works, and that it’s never worked when relying on others to take on some of the organisation.

But wasn’t there already a UKT5?
The ideas for UKT5 started last August, after the Tweetup on Tour, an epic coach journey around the UK visiting gaming groups who might not have heard about the tweetups or who struggle to get to them. I love meeting people and introducing them to gaming or showing them new ways to enjoy their hobby, so being able to demonstrate various different systems and adventure types on the tour was cool, and it ignited a desire to do another big event, another core ‘tweetup’ event. I started pondering it while Liam (@evoroth) planned his UK Tabletop day at Patriot Games in Sheffield, and I started sending out feelers to various stores and companies. FanBoy3 in Manchester were happy to host us, and at that time, D&D Next was in a fairly hit and miss state, so I felt it was best to use the new and upcoming 13th Age system, a game that takes the D&D 3rd edition OGL mechanics, and adds in 4e style combat options and story based roleplaying rules.

The problem was, way too many people objected to the ideas I had, not realising that they were seeing only a tiny fraction of the stuff going on behind the scenes and not realising that I had grander plans for the ‘tweetup’ brand. People objected to the location, people objected to it being single system, demanding we support other D&D, people objected to 13th age saying it’s not D&D.

In the end, all the criticism got too much for me, and despite the crazy amount of communication I was having with different companies and amount of progress we were making with an adventure design and rules tweaks, I scrapped it all. I was plunged into a fairly bad depression, I destroyed folders of material I had gathered for the tweetup brand, potential sponsors, potential venues, maps, FLGS contact info, adventure seeds, character seeds, cheat sheets… basically the only thing that was left intact was the logo, and that’s not for lack of trying. It’s backed up onto a dropbox folder and no matter how many times I deleted it, it kept re synching the file and restoring it… so I gave up. I didn’t play much rpg for another 4 months, I was that depressed.

So how come this new UKT5 happened?
It was new years eve 2013, a little over 4 months after my depressive episode. I’d been suggesting to others that if they knew better than me about the tweetups that they could organise one. And in that 4 months, no one had stepped forward to do anything. I sat on the sofa, watching TV, underwhelmed at the change of yet another number and cringing at the tradition of everyone holding hands and singing auld lang syne out of tune… I watched as tweets started flying between people I’d like to consider were my friends, and decided… “if no one else is going to get off their arse to organise something, I will, because I want to see my friends again”

And so I sent out a tentative tweet, with an idea for a date, and saying I’d pay for the venue, and if people wanted to turn up and play whatever kind of D&D they wanted, then that would be cool.

A couple of days later I hunted around for a potential venue in the worcester area. Worcester, much like Nottingham, seems to be a hot spot for geeks, with Rule 32 Cafe trying to set up down there. It’s just off the m5 and since i’d always struggled to connect with the western gamers from Manchester, Wales, Birmingham, Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, etc Worcester seemed a great idea, easy for them to get to, but not too bad for the regulars either. And I’d found a venue that was a bargain…

I booked the venue, formulated a plan for the day that would see me bringing starter sets for multiple versions of D&D and many D&D board games, and set up the Facebook page. There was the typical early traction where the tweetup regulars and friends jumped on board.

Why did it conflict with international tabletop day?
And then international tabletop day was announced… this pissed me off… I’d chosen the April 5th date as it was the only feasible one for me for, when my parents could have the kids and me and my wife weren’t busy and thus could drive down. I’d tried reaching out to Wil Wheaton and the tabletop day twitter people to double check if my date would conflict with their plans, but got no reply. Was I surprised? Of course not. Why would the infamous Wil Wheaton care to step out of his ivory tower of geekdom to speak to a mere mortal geek like me. I sound bitter…

I am bitter… I reckon we lost a fair few people to international tabletop day, and while it’s great that people supported their FLGS, theres a part of me that thinks “gee, you signed up to the event, the least you could have done is decline the event and apologise and say ‘sorry, got to help out at ittd’ rather than keep yourself on the ukt5 list and screw up my potential numbers”.

What kind of numbers are we talking? From people saying yes and maybe and saying they were bringing plus ones, I had us down for a minimum of 38 people at UKT5, and was panicking as I certainly didn’t have enough dm’s for that many people…

Anyway… How did you promote it?
There was an early rush and then… not much… no one really jumped forward to say ‘that’s cool’ or ‘do you mind if I teach people the Pathfinder rules’ or ‘basic dnd, is that so retro it’s cool again?’. I gave it 2 months of major promoting, hoping that others would help do stuff on the Facebook event page or on twitter and it all felt a bit flat.

At the start of March I started a fairly aggressive tweeting via the @UKDNDTweetup account. The date, the city, the fact it was free, the fact it was for all version of D&D. Day in, day out, morning noon and night… And believe me it’s hard to figure out a different way to convey the same info 10 times a day for 30 days…

And I watched as the Facebook numbers didn’t change. And I watched as people retweeted me, but didn’t use the hashtag or didn’t discuss it. Sure, a retweet helps… some of my friends have thousands of followers, whereas the @UKDNDTweetup has about 200 and a lot of those aren’t in the uk… However, if you’re like me, my twitter apps on my pc and my phone don’t show retweets if I’ve already seen the original tweet. That means retweets are missed… it’s more useful for people to put the core details into their own words and link to the event page.

The payoff
So let’s skip ahead to before the event. I get nervous before every event. And then I didn’t sleep because of the god damn seagulls outside my window. I was laid there, watching as people started tweeting about how excited they were as they were setting off. To be honest, that is one of the things that keeps me doing the events. 3 months of planning and promoting, a bunch of costs… it pays off in those few hours of pre-event excitement for the people getting up and travelling.

The venue
The venue for UKT5 was a church hall, capable of holding 100 people. It had natural light, it had a kitchen, it was pretty central, close to the train station, bus station and lots of parking. There were pubs nearby. There were sandwich shops nearby. It was pretty much ideal. And for me to hire it, it was cheap, £100 for the day, which effectively is two months of my rpg budget.

And it was pretty damn good. It could have been brighter, it was a little too warm, though we could have turned the heating down – we didn’t because we didn’t want to forget to turn them back in. It was a little bit echoey and if we’d have had another table or two, that would have become an issue. But it fit us all comfortably and we were able to keep an urn of water on the boil all day for people to help themselves to tea and coffee.

I’d also managed to find a local pizza place who would do us a deal on a big stack of pizzas and deliver them during the daytime. Again this was pretty good. They could have been bigger. There could have been more of them, but it meant people didn’t have to go out and find a sandwich shop, which meant more play time.

Ah, playtime…
We had the hall, officially, from 10 till 6, though people turned up by 9 am and were still turning up at 11. People needed to get away by 5:30. That means, by the time people are settled in and unpacked, and fed and packed up we realistically only have about 4 and a half hours gaming. This has consistently been an issue with every tweetup and I really don’t know how to deal with it. When we’ve specifically ran adventures with a 2 hour limit (drowathon) we still over ran, and wherever we host an event, someone will have to travel and will arrive late or leave early. I’ve seen suggestions about specifically running 2 adventures written for 3 hours of play in a day, but I just don’t know how feasible that will ever be.

The idea behind ukt5 was to fill the hall with D&D of every version. I brought with me basic D&D, 2e D&D, d20 modern, 4 games of 4e, pathfinder, 2 games of Next, 3 games of 13th age, the 4e based version of gamma world, the adventure system board game series, conquest of nerath, lords of waterdeep, and all the dungeon command sets. And enough minis and dungeon tiles for someone to run something on the fly.

So what did we end up running?
Well, Shane brought his Dwarven Forge kickstarter set, set it up as a cut down moathouse from the temple of elemental evil and ran it using D&D Next. Ok, the moathouse was bloody impressive, massive, imposing, and with a degree of detail in the paint job down by Dwarven Forge that I could never hope to achieve with my Hirst Arts stuff. It was suffice to say, an amazing centrepiece, and Shane had on his table Martin and Josh from Stoke, who are big Next fans and very focused on the game, including going to gencon this year to report on it. And Shane also had Ki, one of my old mates from my days running D&D at Leeds Travelling Man. Ki had brought his nephew, who as far as I know had no real rpg experience.

To me this is one of the things I’ve always wanted from the tweetups, to use them as a way of introducing people to D&D and the hobby via easily accessible games with an instant impact. And Dwarven Forge does have instant impact. Speaking to Ki and Curtis after their game had finished, it did sound like Curtis wanted to go to UK Games Expo to try more stuff which is a big success!

We had 3 other tables… all 13th Age… yeah, 13th Age, the system that 6 or so months ago I was told no one wanted to play because it’s not D&D…

Of the tables, @pedr, who is pretty much the uk’s expert on organised play for D&D was running a level 4 game based around an organised play special program from Pelgrane Press. As far as I know, he was using it as a warm up to running the same adventure at UK Games Expo in May.

On another table was the published author, Rich Green, who was showing off his Parsantium setting, a Constantinople like city, a melting pot of cultures. His adventure is detailed on his blog, and as my wife played on the table, I have some insight into it, that I’ll cover in another blog post.

The final table was run by Robin ‘@greywulf’, who brought boxes of cupcakes from his better half, christa… I played on this table, so again have insights I’ll share in an other blog post.

For almost everyone there, it was their first time playing that respective edition which meant every table had to spend extra time going over rules. It’s a time sink, but at the same time, the tweetups should be about playing something that you wouldn’t normally get to try, whether it’s a different system or a different style of plan or a different level of play, or one that uses 3d terrain.

The games all finished with enough time for the players to do something afterwards, be it symatt’s brother running an impromptu game of Victoriana, and people cracking open lords of the waterdeep – my personal favourite D&D board game thanks to its quick setup and sheer replayability. In three games, I’ve yet to see the same combo of Lords, quests, buildings and intrigue cards played, making each game different and uniquely challenging. But a lot of people chose to just chat…

And that made me smile…

Sure, people were having fun while gaming, based on their faces, and the tense poses they employed while hunching other terrain, dice, minis and character sheets, but one thing I’ve always wanted from the tweetups was the ability for me to stand back and move freely between groups, listening in and enjoying others enthusiastic chatter. So to be able to do this and jump in and out about conversations about shops, and systems and rules and adventures and books… that’s a big deal for me.

However, with so much D&D stuff sat on the stage, that had to be loaded into and out of a car, carried in etc, it mostly went unused and that’s kinda annoying for me. I printed out a shed load of stuff, from next how to play books, to pregens for multiple systems, to cheat sheets, to blank character sheets… and all that then had to get carried back down, reloaded into the car etc. it would have been nice to see at least some of it used.

Attendance
I was about to discuss post event stuff, but thought I’d mention attendance. At the ‘start’ we had 26 people… two tables of a dm and 6 players, and two tables of a dm and 5 players, with two additional players coming later in the day. That’s significantly down from UKT4’s attendance of 41, and much lower than the 38 I was expecting. And I’m not sure where a bunch of those people went… people like Efka, Chris, Lee… people who’d said they were definitely coming and just never showed up. That’s hard to deal with. I’m not sure if they were ill, unable to travel, had better plans, murdered in their sleep, got lost, hate me etc. But when you’re panicking over a lack of dm’s and telling the maker of cupcakes you expect close to 40 people, having 10 people just not turn up is an issue.

Post tweetup debrief
So, post tweetup, a big chunk of us headed to a local pub with shockingly bad service to enjoy a drink or two. I like this kinda of debrief, as I get to hear about the other tables as people retell their adventures, but I also get to hear the gossip that people don’t put on twitter. One thing that did come out of it, was that the wonderful Jay, @brecher18, has found other women in gaming hard to approach. It spawned an interesting discussion on partners gaming simply because their boyfriends/husbands do, and the idea of a woman’s only event, which I’ll cover later.

Slowly, people headed off, and the Tweetup was over…

So, some other stuff to discuss.

Price…
For me, this was the most expensive tweetup event yet. £100 for the venue, £30 pound for pizza, £170 for a hotel for 2 nights, £20 for parking, £70 for fuel, £60 for food during th travel/stay, plus other costs like buying the missing board games, hunting down intact basic D&D starter sets on ebay, printing etc. Let’s call it £500 which is what I’d expect to pay for a family holiday for 2014, and mean I probably aren’t getting a summer break this year.

In reality I didn’t actually cover all those expenses myself. Paul offered about a month ago to pay for the pizzas, and a couple of others wouldn’t take no for an answer and forced me to accept some money as a thank you. And time and again during the day, people asked how much they had to pay, and how much did they owe me, and why aren’t I charging them.

I’m not charging them, because I do this for my enjoyment, not because it’s a business, not because I’m trying to make a profit. But because if I don’t do this, no one else does, and we don’t meet up with friends and game.

And what would you have paid? For some of you, it’s £40 to £80 to travel. Would you have paid say, £5, to play one game? Let’s say it was £3, the equivalent of a game ticket at UK Games Expo… that’s fairly reasonable and I know people like Ki bought that much in biscuits… But if I’d have charged that and only got the initial 26 attendees, minus maybe myself and 4 dm’s.. 21 x £3 still would have left me out of pocket. And there’s that chance that charging for it would have put people off coming…

I felt terrible about charging for UKT4, given the venue ended up being so bad, and if me taking the hit on a venue hire in order to ensure a tweetup goes ahead, then so be it.

Goodies…
I sorted out some simple notepads for dm’s via vistaprint, and Zealot Miniatures sent us a sample of his resin terrain and minis. I actually have no idea who ended up with all those bits. I think Robin took the pile of skulls, and Josh took some of the sewer bits to paint up and photograph for me, but I’ve no idea what happened to the crates, door, trapdoor, bust, minis etc.

If you did end up with them, please let me know, paint them up, photograph them and share the photos with me. It’s the least we can do for a small company sending out £50 of samples.

Whats Next?

Ok, so UKT5 has been covered…

… and the tl:dr of it would be, not enough games, not enough pizza, too far to travel, too loud…

So where do we go from here?

Do you want another tweetup? If so, when, where and what… march/april time is probably the best, and i’ve started putting feelers out to various venues in Stoke on trent, Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Sheffield, Manchester. I’m not sure which of those is best, especially as we’re still struggling to engage with the Scottish contingent, the Newcastle crowd, the Manchester crowd, the derby crowd, the Birmingham crowd, the Wales crowd, the Oxford and bristol and bath crowd. Basically, we only really get people from leeds/bradford, London, Sheffield, leicester and nottingham…

But the big thing would be what system… D&D Next wil be launched by next year, and 13th Age will have more support with the bestiary and hopefully 13 True Ways. Do I leave it as an open system event like UKT5 was, pack my car full of stuff and watch as most of it goes unused. Do I leave it up to the dm’s to choose? Which based on some of the angry feedback I got last August would seem to be the preference. Do I create an adventure and haven’t converted into every format, so that we all play the same thing with different rules…

And then who is going to dm? Myself and Paul have dm’d at 3 out of 5 tweetups and i’ve dm’ed at every minor event. Shane has done so at two tweetups and two minor events, pedr has done two tweetups and one minor event, rich has done 2 tweetups… are you getting the picture? For an event that’s meant to let dm’s play, we’re relying on the same dm’s, time after time…

What about sub events? With Next likely to launch at gencon, do I support that launch under the tweetup brand? Especially since I, and most of whom I’d call the Tweetup team, ie. the dm’s, have been private playtesting Next for wotc. If so where and what? Do I do something crazy like a multiple table 3d caves of chaos kinda thing? Or dial it back and run simple mini less adventures…

What about another Tweetup on Tour? Since people in the remoter parts of the uk like Glasgow don’t make the trip to the tweetups, shall I lug my stuff onto a coach again and travel up to run stuff?

And a woman’s only event… god that one caused a lot of controversy on twitter didn’t it? And what got me was the number of woman saying it just adds to the exclusion and that after several years of proving how good a gamer they are they are accepted by male geeks and thus all you have to do is play. So basically it was people saying ‘they were excluded but eventually proved themselves so that means there’s no exclusion’.

I think people really missed my point on that tweet, and I’ll go back to what Jay’s original point was. She’s been to several different types of event where there’s one or two other women and found them unapproachable, like they are putting up a severe front in order to try and fit in with the odious neckbeards.

I’ve been lucky to play D&D with lots of great woman, like Daisy, Jay, Catherine, Helen but I’ve also met the type of woman that Jay was talking about. And it’s not just Jay who finds them off pitting and unapproachable… I do too…

My suggestion about a woman’s only event was to create one where the partners of gamers and new players would feel like they could do their own thing away from any kind of influence from their male counterparts. It wouldn’t be the kind of event for an experienced role player like Daisy who has no trouble gaming in any crowd, but rather an event for woman who feel intimidated by the covetous looks from fat sweaty men and the like and who feel intimidated by the hundreds of rules and maths. An event for woman who don’t quite get the rules to feel able to say, ‘ok I rolled a 12 and I’m using this spell but I don’t know if it hits or what it does’ without being embarrassed.

I personally don’t think that’s adding to the exclusion and if woman do want me to organise something like this, you can bet that I will do so and tell the distractors to fuck off.

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10 thoughts on “A long reflection on UKT5

  1. Hi Ad. OK, so here’s my two’penneth (for what it’s worth!). Firstly, a huge thank you to yourself for organising and paying for this event. FYI: Josh and I would happily pay a tenner. This was our first Tweet Up and Josh and I really had a good time. Next year – if there is one – I’ll make sure we have more of my gang there. Work and childcare kinda got in the way. As for UKT5 I thought it was a great venue. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone. The guys on our table were all cool and I think we all got on really well. In Shane it was nice to meet someone who, like me, has been doing DnD in its various incarnations since 1983/4. By the same token, Curtis – also on our table – was a relative newbie and he seemed to have a ball too. Josh and I really enjoyed the Moathouse scenario. We chose to play DnD Next because that’s the future. Also, crucially, it’s 50 times more playable than the abomination that was 4th ed (IMHO). I guess because I was lucky enough to be at Gen Con in 2012 to see Wizards launch the playtest and because I’m going again this August when they launch the new system, I’m putting all my eggs in that basket. I think Next (or whatever they call it) should certainly have a presence at the next Tweet Up (if it happens!?). This is because – like it or not – this is the up-to-datest/latest version of our beloved game and so, 4th ed/Pathfinder/13th Age aside, we should all at least know what the game’s producers are up to. Personally, I’d also recommend the system to everyone cos it closely echoes the game I grew up with as envisaged by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. If UKT6 happens, Ad, then you can put me down to DM some DnD Next fresh from the States. That’s about it, I guess. See you soon. May you roll many criticals. Martin

    Reply
  2. Excellent write-up Adam, and you make fair points. I thought the hall and location were excellent, but then I don’t mind travelling and would drive anywhere to take part in the event. The only problem was that it was quite echoey but once we’d adapted to that it was no major issue, and it was great to hear the buzz from all the games. I’d take an echoey room over a quiet one any day.

    Part of me thinks that it was terrific seeing 13th Age get the enthusiasm and gameplay it deserves, but the other part of me wishes I’d run something different so there was more variety of games being run. Sign me up to run a superhero game next time!

    I really enjoyed Carl’s Victoriana game too – I do think less mainstream rpgs deserve a place in future tweetups so folks can see there’s far more than D&D and its clones out there. For me, taking part in Carl’s game provided a welcome change of pace.

    When it comes to paying for Tweetups, and by that I mean paying you, of course, one solution would be to have a donations box by the door. That way there’s no pressure (people can donate or not, it’s entirely up to them) and no embarrassing conversations where people try to give you money while you’re walking around. You might not recoup your costs but it might have paid for your hotel room. Maybe next time? 😀

    Talking of which, I think the only way to get more game time is to make it a two day event. People can come for either day or stay overnight for the full tweetup experience. That would involve finding good (and cheap!) accommodation, but would also mean people from further afield would be more likely to travel as well as they could stop overnight. I’ll gladly help find a place if you want. A youth hostel or lodge, perhaps, or somewhere we can just toss sleeping bags on the floor? That would help keep the costs low.

    Either way, maybe the next venue could have two rooms with one dedicated to newer, less confident gamers (both men and women). One (or more) DMs could walk through a session at a steadier pace. We could use the upcoming D&D Next Starter Set, perhaps?

    I can feel your frustration about bringing loads of stuff to the tweetup then it not getting used. I think the problem was two-fold:

    1) People don’t like touching other people’s stuff
    2) Lack of time to play another game

    There’s no easy solution to either. Chalk that one up as a learning experience I guess, my friend.

    I saw loads of happy faces that day. You did that. I’m especially pleased that one of the happy faces I saw was yours.

    You did good, mate.

    Reply
  3. Great exposition on the day and the background which clearly has its ups and downs. Clearly you succeeded in getting people to game, getting friends together, exposing new people to RPG’s, and crucially having fun. Sounds like, by your own criteria, that is a win win on almost all counts.

    However I can’t say much as you know why I was unable to attend. Should I be able to attend next time I would be prepared to DM, with a longer lead in time, and crucially the longer the notice, the better for me. Well done again mate, stressful, expensive and tiring yes, but also a success I think – esp judging by the tweets that the day generated.

    Reply
  4. I really enjoyed myself I must say. The fact that the person I bought along, had no previous roleplaying experience and had never been around people who do, left me feeling very anxious, as I know it only takes one bad experience to put you off trying something again. With all that said, everything went really well. My partner really enjoyed herself and said she would definitely take part again. Not only that it opened her eyes to that most stereotypical looking roleplayers are some of the nicest people you could ever meet, which made me feel all warm inside that she felt she had made some new friends, having left old ones behind to up-sticks and move to Nottingham, to be with me.

    It was nice to see everyone and all their smiley faces including Adam’s, as I don’t like seeing any of my friends stressed/worried. It was great to meet Helen, Adam’s wife, she was lovely approachable and actually went out of HER way to speak to me.

    The fact so much effort went into the event and it all being free was frankly amazing, far too generous. As myself and others all said they would have been happy to pay to attend.

    It has certainly left me feeling spoilt and undeserving of such generosity. How can I repay Adam, for giving two geek lesbians such a good time ;P

    Well…

    I have an idea, but right now I’m keeping stum. All I’m going to say is watch this space.

    Reply
    • It was our pleasure to welcome Amy to the event, and in her shoes, i’d have been terrified… We know and love you Jay, and for her to come into an environment she doesn’t quite understand, when we know what we’re doing and already know each other is daunting. I’m really pleased though that she did come and enjoyed herself. We just need to get Amy to say more at the pub next time!
      As for Helen, she was probably trying to avoid talking to me!
      As for the feeling spoilt and undeserving – DON’T! I do these events because I love doing them, sure they are hectic and hell, but I love seeing people like Curtis and Amy go away digging the fact they played and made some cool suggestions, I love seeing old friends, and meeting new friends. There is no repaying needed.

      Reply
    • If I can just chip in for Jay, I’m really pleased that both you and Amy enjoyed it. It took a fair amount of courage for Amy to walk into a room full of total strangers, and even more to join in. Warm fuzzies to you both 😀

      Reply
  5. I am going to comment using points because it is easier for me:

    1) Issues with first UKT5: I believe you know my thoughts on this already.
    2) UKT5 and no one picking up the banner: My thoughts on this are simple, I would guess most people thought it was your banner, and no one should carry it but you. It is a sign of respect.
    3) Charging for Tweetups: I can understand your concerns with charging for it. But you should not have to carry the burden alone, especially when so many are willing to help. I would suggest a donations box next time. A simple note saying this is to help offset the costs.
    4) Timing: I think with any of these sorts of one day events, getting anymore then one game in can be tough. I tried to keep my game simple because of that but I think it lacked something, it was closer to a lair assault then a D&D adventure which is something I want to address next time.
    5) GMs: I would suspect that any person the volunteered to GM wanted to GM and did not feel put out to do so. As you stated, with all the events going on, GMs were feeling burnt out. The number of events has dropped off so that burn out may not be around so much. BUT UKT is needed even more now that those events have dropped out.
    6) Venue: It was good, having a kitchen and munchies in there were great, same with the tea and coffee. Having pizzas brought in was also very good, made life easier.
    7) ITTD: Shit happens, you tried to work around it, I would not worry about it. We could have had flooding, or dust clouds from Iceland, anything could have happened.

    Some points about my game:

    1) Yes the DF stuff looks nice, but it requires the players to bring it to life and the players I had did that. I would not have thought of a fire.
    2) I liked the fact that I did not have any players that I have played with before. I recognized some of them but do not think I played with them. This is one of the reasons I like these types of events.
    3) Seeing a new player at the table is always fun, and the more experienced players did not shut him out but let him participate as a full player, listening to his ideas and suggestions, and some of them were quite good. (Dwarf Door?)
    4) Wanting to use the DF did limit me somewhat to doing a lair assault type session. I want to try for a more traditional D&D adventure next time, but fitting one in can be difficult because I hate not completing it.
    5) The rules did not get in the way at all. It was very nice, even though some have not played D&DNext, with a quick explanation and the cheat sheets, we just got on with the game. Something that I feel has been missing for awhile.

    Retrospectives are good and should be done as it helps make for better events in the future, but please don’t let it cloud the primary outcome, UKT5 was a success and people were happy and had fun. That is what should count at the end of the day.

    Reply
  6. Adam, firstly I just want to say thanks again for running the event and also for doing it on a date I could make (unlike the first four!), some observations and comments follow (apologies if I re-open old wounds or reinvent the wheel)..

    1. If you won’t take money for the event then I think the idea of a donation box of some kind is a very good one, I’ve run events I’ve solely funded before now and I feel your pain when listing the costs out.

    2. Would it be feasible to carve the day up into two “slots”, if the point of the tweetup is to experience different systems then does it matter if you don’t finish the adventure? Have 10:00 to 13:45 and then 14:15 to 18:00 still gives more than three hours and also potentially relieves pressure on DM’s (at this stage I could probably be talked into running some Edge of the Empire for T6). Having a three hour slot might not work for every game and some would probably want to run all day.

    3. I don’t know if they were or not but were the games able to be signed up for prior to the event and if not would be a potential idea and also encourage attendance if someone knew what they were doing?

    Reply
  7. I’ve been to four previous tweet ups and this was the one I enjoyed most. I think it was a great success!

    Firstly, I love DMing and had a great group of players to run for who made the game loads of fun. I also liked the informal “run/play what you like philosophy” which meant I could run the game system I wanted to (13th Age) in my own campaign setting. I would happily DM again next year.

    I thought the venue was good, with plenty of space, and getting food in from outside helped to avoid too much of a break in the middle, as did the absence of the raffle (which I did not miss at all). There was also time to chat at the beginning and at the end which was great.

    In terms of entry fees/donations – I would be happy to contribute towards the cost of running the event and feel that £5 – £10 seems reasonable. It might be worth considering offering a reduced entry price to people who pay in advance for a ticket to encourage better attendance.

    Looking forward to #UKT6 and seeing you all again next March/April 🙂

    Reply
  8. I’m happy to pay. £5 entrance free maybe? And play as much or as little as you like? I’m happy to DM at short notice or to play. I’ll play nearly any game. I come for the social side. If I know before hand, I’m happy to bring my own game materials. For me, you don’t have to shipanything in your car. And I wasn’t one of the 38 who confirmed that they were coming. The casual, sociable, drop in and play style works for me. And gamers aren’t spread evenly across the country. Plot where your potential attendees are, from previous years, and base the location on the majority of the attendees. No good booking games in Cornwall if 75% of your players are north of Leeds. Or have regional tweets but delegate those to local organisers. Tweetup isn’t really a brand to me; it’s a recognisable but extended group of friends.

    Reply

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