The NEO team is at work on putting together the final event pack for Coalescence 2017. But, in the meantime, we've asked Jimbo, one of the Narrative Event Organisers behind the Realms at War events and a member of the NEO Network, to share some of his thoughts on creating an Event Pack.
Whilst it may at first seem that an Event Pack (the ‘pack’) is a load of unnecessary effort that a Narrative Event Organiser (NEO) has to do in order to run an event, it is in fact one of the most vital cogs in the Kharadron mechanisms that make a Narrative Event work. Having emphasised how important the pack is, I’m going to temper that with another equally important statement; the Event Pack doesn’t have to be long or complicated or even pretty! The only thing that a pack needs to be is useful.
So, what do I mean by this? Well, if we break down the components of a pack, we can see which bits are crucial, which are helpful and which are, quite frankly, window dressing. But before examining the separate components, it is important to understand the purpose of the pack. At its core, it is the document that advertises your event and lets potential attendees know what it is.
When I’m writing a pack, I always start with The Three Rules of “W’s”; what, where and when. First of all, I need to tell the players what kind of event I am running. For example, this could be ‘A One Day three game Warhammer; Age of Sigmar Narrative Event’. I also need to include the address of the venue where the event will be held, as well as the time and date otherwise I’ll end up alone in an empty room surrounded by unused gaming tables and no one wants that!
To be honest, the ‘What, Where and When’ written on a piece of paper or an email is sufficient information to be called a pack! However, in order to head off the inevitable questions that will arise, I recommend including how much the event will cost (if anything) and contact details in case of further queries. My personal preference is to provide my twitter handle but an email address is always handy for long winded questions too.
At this stage, we have a fully operational Event Pack! The players know the ‘What, Where and When’, they know how much it will cost and how to contact me in case they need additional info. So what more can we include in the pack to flesh it out?
In this section, I’m going to discuss, in no particular order, various different optional extras which can be included in a pack. None of them are essential but they all help to further inform the attendees about the event and also start creating some semblance of the narrative element.
The simplest way to start creating a narrative setting is to give your event a name. Titles such as ‘Battle for the Ur-Gold Cache’ or ‘March of the Gargants’ immediately tell a mini story about your event. The reader will know that the event will be something along the lines of either searching for Ur-Gold or fighting off Gargants.
If you want to take this a bit further, think about adding a background for the event. This should set the scene for the event. Perhaps a few short paragraphs describing the precursors to the first battle - think about why the armies may be fighting at all, why they may be in this particular location or time or even what significance the object(s) they are fighting over. You could even set the event as a small part of one of the battles described in the official Games Workshop Age of Sigmar novellas.
Some NEO’s like to introduce some extra rules specific for their event. This can be because they want to try to bring some internal balance to certain warscrolls, to encourage certain styles of play or army selection or even to guide players along a storyline. These house rules are colloquially known as ’comp’ and if you decide to enforce some additional rules, it's always best to let the players know before the event so they fully understand how you expect them to play and how you will be judging any rules queries
Wargaming is hard work and your attendees will need refreshment and sustenance! How can you plan your next move when you got an empty stomach or a dry mouth? Providing food and drink can be difficult to organise so is not normally expected however it is a good idea to let your attendees know what will or will not be provided and if they are allowed to bring their own. This is especially important in relation to alcohol - be mindful of any legal restrictions of the provision or consumption of alcoholic beverages.
I mentioned letting the players know where the event is located but it's worth remembering that some attendees could be making quite a long journey to come to your awesome event and may not know the local area very well. This is why I always like to include a map showing where the venue is and also, to be extra helpful, where the nearest parking is located.
Although the story should always be the winner in a narrative event, it's good to let the attendees know if there will be prizes and what they will be awarded for. The obvious first, second and third place can encourage a more competitive style of play so how about awarding best army, best sportsmanship, best dressed or Loudest Waaagh for example. The wording of the award should make it clear what it is for; Best Army usually includes theme, coherency and presentation not necessarily the best painted!
Keep the pack concise and only include relevant information.
Unless it's required to describe your ‘comp’ don’t include things like the main rules or FAQ’s; referencing them is sufficient.
So hopefully I've provided a few pointers on how to put together a pack for your event. In reality, there are no hard and fast rules on what has to be included or excluded - all it actually needs to do is explain what your event is and make sure there are no unwelcome surprises or your attendees on the day
If you have any pack (or non-pack) queries please hit me up on twitter @jimbo9jimbo . Good luck with your event and I look forward to hearing you bringing the stories to life!