It's a talk by Jett Jones, who was on GC for the original Seattle WHO game and, with a few members of GC, flew down to NorCal for the San Francisco re-play. My rambling asides are in italics and I take some pretty egregious summarize|rephrase|totally-change-meaning liberties with other folks' words, too.
- It's Jett Jones (Victorian steampunk cyborg dude), representing the WHO hosts: Silly Hat Brigade and Los Jefes. WHO GC was also on SNAP VI (Vikings) and 8 (Light Re-cast). He's in the Seattle area. Yes, for this "simulcast" GC summit, half the speakers were in the Seattle area and half in the San Francisco area.
- Talking about decisions, things that led to delicate discussions.
- Who's that whispering over the audio? Is that getting picked up by the Google room microphone?
- If you're interested in a re-cast/simulcast/whatever, there's a matter of
some delicacy: how do you find a "partner" team if you're not ready to
announce your game yet? (Related: if you're interested in
X-casting and want to hear about not-yet-announced games that
might want X-casting, what do you do?)
- Tell the secret cabal mentioned on puzzlehuntcalendar.org. They can keep secrets and "match-make".
- Or you can try what WHO did: be really lucky.
- Things to decide
- Re-cast or simul-cast?
- Recasting worked well for WHO.
- Remote team got to play the game in Seattle.
- Game wasn't ready when found remote SF team. If you don't need to keep a remote team coordinated on new puzzle versions, new this, new that—you've got more slack to get stuff done "at the last minute."
- Less to keep track of at once—figure out SEA logistics, play SEA, figure out SFO logistics, play SFO. In theory, you could do this in both places at the same time without stepping on each others' toes, but yeah, I believe things went smoother this way.
- Not so great: Players need to keep stuff secret between first cast and re-cast. There weren't long rambling blog posts about the WHO game from the Seattle running. People posted photos on the ACL'd Facebook group, but which Seattlites thought to publicly-publish their photos after the bay area running? That kind of administrivia's probably not your favorite part of The Game.
- Back to the great The re-casters played—so they got an awesome crash course in how the game worked!
- How do applications work?
What if there's a team who's willing to travel to play? Do they apply
in both places? Do you run applications for both playings on the same
- WHO chose: same process, but later game had a later due date. I don't remember how this worked. I remember working on a video (and then going touristing while the rest of Mystic Fish worked on the video that we actually submitted; thanks, folks!). I guess if we'd wanted to apply in both cities, we would have needed to submit our video earlier?
- But this approach not battle-tested: The games didn't fill up! This could be the greatest advantage of X-casting: Maybe if you run the game enough times, it doesn't fill up and you don't need to listen to rejected teams wail about your application process.
- Handoff You finished your SEA game and slept for a week. How do you hand stuff over to the SFO re-casters?
- How much tweaking to allow/encourage? You thought a lot
about your game. Should the remote team to be able to change everything
and still call it the WHO Game?
- They're gonna need to tweak some at least—SFO doesn't have a giant troll nor a giant cowboy hat.
- WHO tried not to dictate, but to communicate
- Not dictate—SFO recasters were smart, wouldn't ruin things.
- Communicate—Not all aspects of the game were clear, even if you played through it. Saying "This was intended; That was an accident," can clear up a lot.
- Ship down materials you already built... unless those materials have been folded, spindled, mutilated...
- Communication goes both ways; it was a shock to find out about some changes that SFO folks made; would have been nice to have been kept in the loop for those changes.
- Mountain of data to convey
- Don't skimp on the overview. Your group figured out the narrative arc of the game, and that informed decisions you made for puzzles locations, etc. But maybe you didn't write it down, just worked it out at meetings. Write it down to convey to re-casters.
- Yeah, you're tired, but note down things that worked well and things that seemed broken. Suppose your game was actually just an amazing playtest for the re-cast: what advice would you give to GC?
- Communication goes both ways here too
- Hey remote-GC, as you scale the mountain of data, say what you're thinking. That's how original-GC will know you understand.
- If you're thinking of making a change, use original-GC. Bounce the idea off of them; use them as proofreaders.
- Logistics: even though location and puzzle-order changes, still good to know how long teams took to solve it; that seems to stay about the same. Aw, my evil plan to use data from re-cast puzzlehunts to claim that SFO puzzlehunters are smarter than SEA puzzlehunters just fell apart. Curse you, disproving data.
- WHO's puzzle bible had a lot of details elided, just notes to "Ask the author". That works if the Author is at the site, but maybe that's not gonna work for the re-cast. Time to write down those details.
- Trust: Whether you're original or remote GC, trust the other group. Everybody wants everybody to have a great time.
- Jay McCleery (SalmonMan) appears!
He points out that the
SFO GC, (Longshots, Blood and Bones, and more) were nice. He has a
question for us. The game had a big reveal partway through. It was
amazing that word didn't leak out after the Seattle Game.
(Nobody blabbed, nobody tweeted, the
article was about the re-cast.) What helped folks keep a lid on it?
Was it the Facebook group?
- I dunno. I wasn't in the first game, but I think I could have kept it secret. I don't think anyone reads my blog for the celebrity sightings.
- Oh, he's not asking for answers from us right now, he's telling us to write him an email? Boo, hiss. I think I might like the GC Summit discussions as much as I like the presentations.
- Alan Cohn You were thinking about a re-cast even before
you ran the game? That's amazing! I and perhaps implied—others
on Doctor When Game Control have enough to think about just with
running the original event!
- Yeah. But we knew there'd be enough demand for two weekends, but that booking these Seattle locations two weekends in a row might not work. Running things the second time in SFO seemed promising.
- By deciding it was a re-cast instead of a simulcast, that pushed back some of the potentially-overwhelming coordination that Alan might have been worried about
- Since teams who flew up from SFO to SEA knew there was going to be a re-cast, they had that in mind. Maybe made them better helpers later.
- Someone asked (who was this?) How did knowledge
of the re-cast affect the application process? Would you have had to turn
away teams if you only ran the game once? Would more SFO teams have flown
up to SEA if that was the only way they could play?
- Yes and yes.