Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

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Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:57 am

[I'll doubtless edit this post with more pictures as Joe puts his photos up on Flickr.]

Concurrent with the MFZ creative team wowing the crowd at PaxEast, Joe Murphy and I were doing the same thing at a slightly smaller event. We were at the Conpulsion games convention in Edinburgh over the weekend, facilitating a few tables of MFZ and (as a sideline) selling a few custom kits in little plastic boxes.

Our setup was simple, helped immensely by the support of the con organisers, Phil Harris and Gregor Hutton (who, I should add, did a fantastic job of organisation and communication this year.) We were allocated a bunch of ideally sized round tables in a large, light, airy room. Our fairly substantial army of mobile frames was set up to catch the eye of con-goers as they came in. And boy, were eyes caught! Plenty of people wandered in, thought there wasn't much going on, adjusted their eyes down a tad, and immediately ambled over to the pile of Lego. Joe and I encouraged people to pick up the mechs, handle them, see how they were built, and ask any questions they had. The response to this was great, especially from those used to looking at, but not touching, exquisitely painted wargaming miniatures.

Image

We also had a whole bunch of scenery and stations, enough to facilitate three tables (although we only ever had two going at once.) One table was a labyrinth of swampy urban ruins, the other was a charming little Scandinavian village surrounded by trees and peaceful countryside. This did not last long.

Image
Mobile Frame Zero @Conpulsion: Game 1 by jed_september, on Flickr

One really great aspect of the entire thing was the enthusiasm of parents and children for the game. Kids and adults alike were very taken with the frames, and became more enthusiastic when we explained the simplicity and accessibility of the game itself. One father and his two sons were so taken, they bought three of our little custom sets (Scramblers for one lad, a mixed Hi-Leg/Chub set for the other, and an MgN-311/3030 for dad!)

The games themselves were great fun. We set out at the start to keep the games to three sides each, although teams of parents and children or teams of siblings were certainly encouraged. There was a mix of enthusiastic non-wargaming adults, experienced Warhammer players, and kids ranging in age from seven to 12. The winner of each game got a series 7 minifig as a prize, but we ensured that any kids playing got a minifig regardless of whether or not they won. We also had a grand prize of a custom white MgN (like this guy) mounted on a plinth. This was the award for the spirit of fair play, sportsmanship, and conribution to the fun of everyone round the table. Joe and I eventually awarded this to Molly and Ruby, a team of two young sisters who contributed massively to the game they were in.

Edit: Just found a photo someone took of the spirit of fair play prize:

Image

Overall, we facilitated five games across the two days of the con, with some crushing victories, nailbiting final turns, and outrageous rolls of the dice.

Image
Mobile Frame Zero @Conpulsion: Game 4 by jed_september, on Flickr
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Mantisking » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:33 am

Sounds like you guys had an awesome time. We only ever had the one table going. I've really got to work on the portability of my MFZ demo set. I love the way you set up the grass in that first picture. I'm totally stealing that idea!
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:48 am

Mantisking wrote:Sounds like you guys had an awesome time. We only ever had the one table going. I've really got to work on the portability of my MFZ demo set. I love the way you set up the grass in that first picture. I'm totally stealing that idea!


All the games went really well, and facilitating two tables was quite easy. Our demo kit was not exactly what you would call portable. With enough mechs for up to nine sides at a time, scenery for three tables, stations, and so forth, it was a lot to lug around. But worth it, I think. I'd imagine that if we were only running one table at a time, with a maximum of three sides, a complete kit could be fitted into one reasonably sized box.

One thing I failed to mention in the initial post was the ease with which all ages of player grasped the rules. During the first turn we tended to help quite a lot, but after that people were able to play easily on their own and make sound tactical decisions.

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Ramcat » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:33 am

Nice job, great pictures. Thanks for the info!!
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Axhead » Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:25 pm

That looks like it went really well.

I am running a game at my little local con on May 5th, if you guys have any advice or materials I would really appreciate it.

PS. I too will steal that grass idea, did you use it as area of rough ground (affecting movement but not shooting) or was it purely for show? Either way, super cool!
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:24 pm

Axhead wrote:That looks like it went really well.

I am running a game at my little local con on May 5th, if you guys have any advice or materials I would really appreciate it.

PS. I too will steal that grass idea, did you use it as area of rough ground (affecting movement but not shooting) or was it purely for show? Either way, super cool!


The grass idea wasn't mine, that all belonged to my partner in crime, Joe. It acted as rough terrain, so it had an in-game effect as well as looking nice.

My top advice would be:

Prominently display your frames: that really catches the eye of the passing punter.
Keep tables limited to three forces at any one time, but allow multiple people (such as a father and daughter) to be on the same team.
Set up terrain (in a fair way) in advance, making sure that no particular position gives anyone an overwhelming advantage.
Shake hands with every player at the table, including very young kids.
Explain the most important aspect of the rules: be generous to your opponent.
Take an active part in helping people choose their dice and making decisions in the first turn, then ease back and let them handle it themselves. Offer advice as and when needed.
In the nicest possible way, don't let people take too long to make their decisions. A couple of minutes thinking about what you'll do with a particular frame is fine, but humming and hawing over a decision for nearly ten minutes makes everyone else around the table really, really bored.

If I think of anything else, I'll edit this post.

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby schoon » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:59 am

Those are great pictures!

Sound like everyone had a great time - I love the idea of "Frame on a Plinth" for a prize! I'm going to steal that for my Con games.
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:24 pm

"Rough ground" is a harsh environment, so if you have the appropriate system, you get both white dice; otherwise you only get one. It's a neat rule but I don't use it in demos because I figured it was too complicated. Malc, how did your players react to it?
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:00 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:"Rough ground" is a harsh environment, so if you have the appropriate system, you get both white dice; otherwise you only get one. It's a neat rule but I don't use it in demos because I figured it was too complicated. Malc, how did your players react to it?


Quite well actually. On the table I facilitated, rough terrain was limited to the Czech hedgehogs. The table Joe coordinated had a bit mor ein the way of challenging ground. Pplayers seemed to cope quite well with the difficulties imposed by this. So, no real problems on that score.

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Yojisaka » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:25 am

Ncely done! Demo'ing games can be very hard work but when it goes well can be very rewarding. Looks like you did it very well. Congrats.

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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:03 pm

Yojisaka wrote:Ncely done! Demo'ing games can be very hard work but when it goes well can be very rewarding. Looks like you did it very well. Congrats.

Yoj


Spending a lot of time at a lot of conventions selling my own games certainly helped me learn the craft of demoing! Hard won experience is always useful. But, MFZ is a treat to demo. It practically sells itself.

Cheers,
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Mantisking » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:08 pm

Malcolm_Craig wrote:But, MFZ is a treat to demo. It practically sells itself.

Agreed. People see the Lego ang go, "Oooooohh."
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Ianator » Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:11 am

One of these days I'm gonna go to PAX. I can only hope you guys are still at this when you do.

(also, his name is Jerry)
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Malcolm_Craig » Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:01 am

Ianator wrote:One of these days I'm gonna go to PAX. I can only hope you guys are still at this when you do.

(also, his name is Jerry)


Well, that would be quite something, as we were at Conpulsion in Edinburgh, Scotland, not PAX. You may be confusing this thread with something else.

Also: Jerry? Now I am confused.

Cheers,
Malcolm
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Ianator » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:29 pm

...Wait. What? I thought this was the PAX thread.

Derp.
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Mantisking » Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:09 pm

Ianator wrote:...Wait. What? I thought this was the PAX thread.

Derp.

The PAX East thread is in the Off-Topic sub-forum.
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Re: Thoughts on MFZ at Conpulsion 2012

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:29 pm

Malcolm_Craig wrote:
Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:"Rough ground" is a harsh environment ... how did your players react to it?


Quite well actually. On the table I facilitated, rough terrain was limited to the Czech hedgehogs. The table Joe coordinated had a bit mor ein the way of challenging ground. Pplayers seemed to cope quite well with the difficulties imposed by this. So, no real problems on that score.


Great! I'll have to make myself some easily demoable water or grass or something!
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