I’m going to be running a few convention games at Origins this year. Mostly demo games for a new system, so they will be structured with all the elements layed out before I go. However, a few of the games will be games that are fairly standard but very short. 2 hours for the full game.  I’m a little nervous that I can get a good enough game out of that little amount of time. My thoughts on making it work so far?

Focus On The Cool
The concepts for the games are pretty interesting. Movie style zombie hordes overrun a fantasy town and characters sneak into an evil cleric’s mansion and steal his phylactery.  I plan to focus on the intersting elements of each. Since we are going to have very little time to game in, I hope to bypass a lot of the mundane elements. I plan to only have one major combat, or have the characters blow through minor combats.

Hook The Players Outside Of The Game
Since I’m planning to skip past more mundane moments of the game, but still maintain a nice flow of the story, I have to hook the players into their concepts and the story before they start gaming. That means a lot of Out Of Character knowledge is going to pass between players, and I am fine with that. I hope to bring a lot of their meta knowledge into the flow of the game. Shoring up the walls so to speak.

Uncomplicate The New Gaming System
The system that these games will be run in is unpublished as of yet, so it will be unfamiliar to most of the players. I’m hoping to make things as easy for the players to pick up on. I plan to make my own cheat sheets and make sure that the players have access to cheat sheets of how their pregen characters work.  If I have some contention over how a specific rule should work, I’m going to bend it so far that it could be used as a catapult. I want the players to have fun with the limited time, not worry about innaccurracy.

These are the lines that I’m thinking along right now, but I’m a person who likes outside opinions.  So how do you make a short game intriguing to the players? As players, what do you want to see when you sit down to play a new game in a condensed session?  And if you are at origins, I hope you stop by to see how well I actually do with the super short games.