Archive for the ‘KueiCon’ Category

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KueiCon 2009: We Got This

September 10, 2008

What is KueiCon?

KueiCon is a small gaming mini-con for gamers of color who are into roleplaying games, boardgames, or CCGs and similarly geek gaming things. We’ll kick it, play games, and otherwise have a good time.

KueiCon 2009 is happening in Oakland, California, on the weekend of February 14th-16th, 2009 (Washington’s Birthday, the irony is deep, right?).

Why KueiCon?

When I first tried to launch KueiCon, 3 years ago, I wanted to have a mini-convention where I could invite my friends over to play games minus gamer asshat-ery like blackface elves, random groping and other wack shit. While I succeeded in not having the wackness, I also didn’t get most of the friends I wanted to swing through – I ended up with an apartment of 5-6 people I knew, and 20 something white guys who I didn’t know, and never saw again.

So, time to change tactics.

Luckily, over the last couple of years, there’s been an upsurge in sane geek and gaming networks which recognize that gamerdom really doesn’t give much about us, and it’s really up to us to build our own networks and spaces.

So there you go.

How’s KueiCon work?

1. It’s a friendly apartment convention.

This means it’s free, aside from your travel costs and food money. Assuming you don’t mind sleeping on the couch or the floor, you can crash here as well (There’s a couple of hotels nearby as well). Just respect the space is all. Bring yourself and a couple of games you’d like to play.

2. “Registration”

You need to let me know you’re interested in coming (also, what kinds of games are you into? That’s good to know). I have to confirm you (aka, I want to know how many people are showing up at my place). You’re “tenative” until I see an email with airline itinenary. I’ve had 25 people the last time I ran this, so I’m going to start with 25 slots as the maximum.

3. Playing Games

KueiCon breaks up games into 3 hour slots. Unlike most gaming conventions, you don’t preregister games- we get into a room, people say what they’re in the mood to run/teach/play and people break up into groups and go play. This usually means there’s 3-5 groups playing at the same time.

– Be ready to try new games
– Bring short games or scenarios that can be finished or dropped after 3 hours
– There’s lunch and dinner breaks. None of this no-sleep-no-eat marathon gaming BS. Be human.

Anything else?

Email me! yeloson at…. earthlink…dot net.

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The Unillusionist

February 18, 2008

This year has been all about intention- about dropping things that don’t pay me back in terms of energy or time, for things that do.  I’ve had a couple great discussions in the last couple of days, which cleared up a lot for me.

1.  Kuei Con

Odds are good that KueiCon is going to get rolled into a larger, broader geek convention for it to be what I want it to be.  It has to meet the three requirements of a) sane space, one in which deeply problematic behavior is not “accepted as part of the scene” b) mixing of new blood, not pulling from the same people c) a culture where critical analysis is expected as part of the geekery, not anathema to it.  Since a bunch of friends are looking for the same (underserved) things out of their related geek hobbies, we’re talking about doing our own convention.

2.  Community?

On that note, nor do the gaming communities I operate in serve what I’m looking for.  I could keep hoping that changes will happen, or that, given the same people, the results will change, or I can stop being a fool and stop fishing in the desert.  I’m going to think of it as starting fresh.

3.  Writing

This blog is going to change from mostly musings, sometimes articles, to just articles.  That also means posting will drop a lot, since, well, I have a lot more half-formed ideas than full ideas, and, full ideas I can articulate clearly, and in the space of a readable article.

4.  Games

A couple of the fun discussions online has totally led me to reevaluate how I was coming at the idea of publishing, and, most importantly, who I’d be publishing for.

Part of contributing online was the idea of keeping up a presence, of “proving” some kind of worth or value to the community with vague sense that it would pay back in terms of sales or at least design input.  But then again, if these communities aren’t my markets, and deep commericial success is not primary, what is the value in investing time or energy towards them?

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Kuei Con Future?

November 18, 2007

For the last two years, with the help of Ben Lehman, I’ve been running an apartment convention- “Kuei Con”. It’s been mostly a word of mouth kind of thing that’s pulled 20 or so people many of whom I’ve never met before.

The nice thing about an apartment con, is that basically it’s a 3 day chilled out get-together. People come over, hang out, talk shit and play games. Aside from making sure you’ve got enough food and toilet paper, and have done an adequate job of cleaning, it’s a breeze.

This last year, I’ve been hit with massive medical expenses, had to get a roommate, and suddenly my huge apartment isn’t so huge anymore.

So what is the future for Kuei Con? Right now it’s on hiatus. In order to run Kuei Con, I’d now have to pour a lot of effort into juggling logistics, and the question to myself is “What do I want to get from it to make it worth that effort?”

This came from talking to a friend who has run a local fandom convention for the last 7 years, and the question she had about gaming conventions- “Don’t any of the panels address critical media theory (in regards to race, gender, etc.)?” to which I had to reply that for the most part, it’s all about either industry hype or amateur “How-to” type things. Her con typically includes at least 2-3 such panels.

With more thought, I realized if I was to do anything more involved than an apartment convention, I’d definitely want gaming, but I’d probably want to make sure there is some kind of larger dialogue about the culture of the hobby.

In just three days, I’ve encountered three five seperate occassions where someone has mentioned they’ve left roleplaying due to the unending river of racism, sexism, etc. And what is, is that it isn’t a matter of the hobby as a whole being screwed up like that, it’s the sheer number of people who either will say nothing or even defend the fucked up behavior that makes it hostile territory.

An illustrative example happened to two of my friends last year who went to WisCon- Women in Science Fiction con out in Wisconsin. Someone screamed “Nigger” at them from a passing car. That was fucked up, but something you could write off as one person’s crazy.

It was the fact that amongst the busy street, not a single person batted an eye, took note, or even seemed bothered by the fact.

That’s the hostile territory that drives people away.

If there’s one thing that always draws people to gaming- it’s the power of personal participation. And if we can build imaginary worlds to our liking, sets of rules to make stories we like, why can’t we build a culture we like? Why should we eat shit in our escapism as well?

Ultimately, for Kuei Con to be worth my time, it has to be the kind of place that makes for a better gaming culture. It’s not enough to simply squee about how awesome a scene was, or how a cool set of mechanics fits together elegantly, I need to know we’re not driving away people in droves simply because we refuse to look at the people playing, the people publishing and hold them accountable to the simplest of all things at the table: respect. I want to build that safe space convention where I can bring my friends- established gamers, ex-gamers, or not-yet-gamers and let them know that they’re not entering hostile territory.

That’s how I see Kuei Con. A place where folks can play games, and talk about changing minds, for the better.

Can it happen? I don’t know.