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About this blog

A blog dedicated to sharing experience and advice among Narrative Event Organizers in general and the Coalescence global narrative event on 10 June 2017 in particular.

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How to NEO

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.

 

Introduction:

 

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.

 

The Essentials:

 

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?

 

The Optionals:

 

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!

 

The Unnecessary:

 

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.

 

Summary:

 

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!

 

Jimbo

@jimbo9jimbo

How to NEO
We intended the Coalescence event to be free, and it is not a traditional tournament with prize support awarded to players for their individual achievements. We hope to help you create a day of fun events that build community and draw new players into the hobby. But we understand that some organizers may need to spend money to secure rental for a venue, for example, so charging a registration fee makes sense to cover those event costs.
 
If you have a local store willing to support your event there may be a tradition to charge fees for tournaments and then use those fees to directly support sales in the store, but then that creates the need to include prizes awarded for player achievements at the end of the event. Designating prizes for a narrative event is a bit trickier than at a competitive event, but it can be done. On the other hand, you may attract some new players without charging a fee, and that, in turn, may bring new customers into the store.
 
Our suggestion is to talk about the event with the store owner and find out their expectations. Let them know that the Coalescence event is being promoted on a global scale, and providing the space on June 10 for you to run your own local event may be a good opportunity for them to attract some new local customers that may return again and again to purchase models and hobby products from their store.

If you decide to use entry fees for prizes then we suggest you announce what achievements will earn prizes but not exactly what that prize will be. You can decide the full extent of the prizes once you've collected the entry fees. Most stores in the United States charge something like $15 for each player for a multi-round, single-day event.

But estimate your expected attendance on the lower side so you can cover costs. If your event fills up to maximum capacity and you end up with extra cash after awarding prizes you can always offer to buy pizza for everyone!

How to NEO

Finding a venue is the most central task of planning for your event. The location where you run the games will determine how many players you can allow to register and if you need to charge an entry fee. If you already have a club space or a friendly local gaming store, the venue may be relatively easy, and you just need to reserve the space, confirm the schedule for you event, and then move onto other planning tasks. But here are some tips for finding an event venue.

CLUB SPACE OR LOCAL HOBBY STORE

  • Confirm date and times with the proprietor.  You may have a couple tables in a local game store where you and some regular tabletop gamers gather every Saturday, but don't assume that space will be available for your event. There can be nothing worse than showing up and expecting to play all day only to realize the store is packed with MTG players on the weekend of a big release. Be kind to your local store proprietor and just make sure you schedule the space. Also, by getting the store involved they can help with promotion and you may find a few new players attracted to the event which will, in turn, build the community and create a larger pool of opponents.
  • Confirm maximum limit for attendees. You might only expect the same handful of players you know to show up for your event, but considering wider promotion, especially for a global event like Coalescence, you should prepare to have more players show up, even unregistered players dropping in the day of the event. And nobody wants to risk a fire marshal showing up the day of the event in an overcrowded hall with gaming tables blocking fire exits.
  • Determine rental costs and registration fees for players. Club spaces aren't free, and your club may already charge per head count for anyone using the space. If there is going to be a cost associated with playing in your event be sure you mention that to your players. If the club or store is going to charge you a flat rental fee for the space then divide it by the number of players you expect to participate to determine an entry fee. If you end up with more players paying the day of the event, then you can use the extra cash to order some pizza! Be careful about handing out extra cash to winners as prize money: in some locations this could be against the law. If a game store is hosting for free but wants to charge a fee that will be awarded as store credit to winners then make sure you understand how their procedure works, and even better if they will handle all the cash transactions so you can focus on running the event.
  • Focus on promotion, etc. If you have everything arranged with your club or game store to host your event then you can focus your attention on attracting players and running an awesome event.

COMMUNITY SPACE

  • Keep your mind open and look for options. If you don't have a club or game store, not all is hopeless. Check with community organizations or public spaces which can be reserved, like a public library or even a restaurant. There are community clubs with halls they often rent out for weddings, group reunions, dances, or even gaming events. Rental costs for a space could be expensive, and you should talk with the other gamers in your community how much each of them is willing to pay as an entry fee to cover rental costs. You could also check with your public library: many libraries have meeting rooms which are used by community groups and for special events and are usually free but prohibit an organization charging entry fees. Some restaurants or food service establishments may be open to hosting an event at a nominal or no rental fee, expecting the purchase of food and beverage by gamers during a usually slow afternoon to generate revenue. Talk with the proprietor to set expectations, letting them know tables and terrain will be set up. This could be a good opportunity to establish a relationship between your gaming group and a venue where you can host future events or even a regular gaming night.
  • Confirm maximum limit for attendees. Like the club or game store, every venue has a limit on space and you want to set limits for how many players will attend.
  • Determine rental costs and registration fees for players. Try not to put up your own money to secure a venue, although it may be necessary to sign a contract. Make sure the number of players you expect to attend, each paying an entry fee to play, is enough to cover the costs of the rental cost. If you have cash leftover you can always order pizza for everyone! Be careful about handing out extra cash to winners as prize money: in some locations this could be against the law.
  • Work on a plan for tables and terrain. The trickiest part of running an event in a library or food service establishment or even a community hall is setting up tables and terrain. All of these venues usually have tables, but they aren't likely the dimensions you need. Check with the proprietor about the feasibility of bringing in gaming tabletops to lay across the tables in the space; there may be a concern of scratching or damaging tables in the venue. Try to keep it easy: sometimes putting 2 folding tables next to each other and then spreading a tablecloth across it can make an adequate gaming space and won't require you to spend a great deal of time setting up before and taking down after the event.

Finding and scheduling a venue for your event is one of the most important parts of running a successful gaming event. Give it some thought and some planning before the date so you can focus on running and enjoying the day of the event.

 

How to NEO

Welcome to the Coalescence Event blog which is dedicated to sharing experience and advice among Narrative Event Organizers through a series of periodic articles.

 

Coalescence is a collaborative narrative event for Age of Sigmar with global reach but as individual as each NEO and player in every local event, all taking place on 10 June 2017.

 

The Event Pack will be coming out soon, but many NEOs have already signed up to host events.

 

You can join them by registering here: http://bit.ly/Coalescence2017

 

Look for upcoming articles written by experienced organizers on a variety of topics like charging fees for an event, creating schedules and event packs, collecting and building terrain, and even helping you decide whether or not you should play in the event you’re running.

 

 

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