“Tell me MORE about your character!”

portraitsWe’re delighted to announce that this year, we will have an even livelier “Tell Me About Your Character” booth, with an artist-in-residence.

Joining the “Tell Me About Your Character” booth is Sandy Jacobs-Tolle, who will draw a portrait of your character as you describe their noble (or ignoble) exploits! You’ll be able to keep the finished drawing at the end of the session, and your donation for the session goes entirely to Doctors Without Borders.

Sandy is an illustrator whose portfolio and published work history can be found at https://racerxmachina.artstation.com/. She will be present to draw characters portraits for four hours each day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Specific times will be posted at the convention.

Note: The art piece you will receive from Sandy is for personal use only.


A Week in SF


Come hang out in the Bay Area the week before Big Bad Con! We’re organizing activities in San Francisco and East Bay from Tuesday, October 10th through Thursday the 12th.

There will be talks, games, exploring the city, casual hangouts, hikes, and more. If you’re coming from out of town, fly in a few days early; if you’re local, share your city with the visitors and get in more time with some great gamers.

Most events will be free, with no advanced commitment required. You’re welcome to drop in and out of events as is convenient.

If there’s even a remote chance you’ll come, drop us a line at aweekinsf@gmail.com with your name and what times you expect to be there. Knowing the rough numbers of people interested is key for helping us to plan the event.

If you want to be extra helpful please fill out this form so we can know what types of activities are most exciting to you!

Sending us an email or filling out the form is the best way to keep informed as the schedule evolves. We’ll reach out with specifics as it gets closer.

Can’t wait to see you all,
A Week in SF organizers
James Stuart, Hakan Seyalioglu, J Li, Randy Lubin

Big Bad Con 2016 Feedback – How to make 2017 better!

We’ve gone over last year’s feedback I’m very happy to say that, the teen track, panels, and new venue were well-received. Huzzah for the con growing and becoming better overall!

Thoughts on the data

There was a tremendous amount of feedback. We received 205 entries (compared to 172 last year), but what was most notable was the depth and detail in the comments. For those who loved the con, you really loved it and let us know. Thank you so much! For those who saw areas we could improve, you let us know that as well. We read every comment individually and appraised what we could do to address the issues raised. Thanks for helping make the con even better this year!

Charts and more charts

For all the ratings, we asked people’s satisfaction on a scale of 1 (not satisfied) to 6 (very satisfied). Here’s the breakdown of what we learned.

Takeaway: We need to work on our games signup system while at the con, both for scheduled games and at Games on Demand.

Results: We’re planning on two major changes for this year:

  • Games on Demand will move to a larger room (up to 10 tables if we get the GMs to fill them). Not only will this room have better acoustics, it has its own lobby space, where we will station our volunteers to facilitate signups. We’re increasing our number of GoD volunteers as well.
  • We’re going to introduce an all-digital system for on-site game signups. In previous years, we closed online signups a week before the con, and moved to a paper system at the registration desk. This year, online signups will remain open throughout the con, so attendees can change their games at any time over the weekend from their phone or computer. To make it even easier for people, we will have two computer stations at the reg desk , and are currently developing an app that will list your bookings and also upcoming games with open spots.

Takeaway: We could use a few more signs. We could have more greeters in more places. Overall though, to no surprise, our people are the best part of the con. Thank you volunteers, you are awesome!

Takeaway: Noise in the California Ballroom was definitely a problem for Games on Demand. We originally thought four games could fit in a salon but even with two games, the room was too loud. Noise issues aside, people said they were very comfortable at the con, and we’re happy to hear that Big Bad Con continues to be a safe and welcoming environment for our attendees.

Results: As mentioned above, we’re moving Games on Demand into its own space and we’ll work on getting a few pipe and drape dividers for them as well. And we’ll keep ensuring that the con an inclusive space to be awesome gamers!

As these next two charts are somewhat related, we’ll address them together:

Takeaway: We encountered some confusion with the hotel staff about how we’d arranged parking fees for our attendees. Normally parking is $23/day. Our contract had that rate at $10 including in-and-out privileges, but some of the staff (including the valets and the front desk) weren’t aware of this. Additionally, the hotel just isn’t within convenient walking distance to many places if you need food quickly, and the shuttle service wasn’t as fast as we had thought it would be.

Results: First, we’ve made it explicit in our contract that all BBC guests (regardless of whether or not they are staying at the hotel) get $10 parking with in-and-out privileges. Second, the Marriott is going to offer a food cart at the con. We haven’t gotten the details yet, but they are aiming to have entrees under $10. We’re working with the catering staff now to see if we can go beyond standard con food of burgers and pizza and add vegan and gluten free options.

Takeaway: Big Bad Teens had even more support that we expected. Most folks want teens to have access to more games, and to see an increase in teen attendees this year. Woot! We got good feedback about our new panel track, too, in terms of scheduling and what other topics we might offer. We also heard from people who wished they had heard more about Play-to-Win, the board games giveaway we had running in open gaming.

Results: We’re making three more changes to improve the con in 2017:

  • Big Bad Teens will both shrink and grow. The teens room will be smaller, but teens won’t be limited to just the games run there–they’ll be able to sign up for any game that isn’t specifically tagged 18+. They’ll now have a lot more choices of games, but will still get priority on any games run in the teen room. This also means that a GM no longer needs to pick between running an 18+ game in a private room or a teen-friendly game in a ballroom; they can request either space for their 13+ game!
  • Our panel coordinator Micky Shultz is working to increase our panel offering, and will commission panels on some of the new topics our attendees have asked us for.
  • Finally, after 7 years, Big Bad Con is adding a board game track. We’re dedicating 4 salons (over 3,500 square feet) to board and card games. And we will work to better let people know about our Play-to-Win board games–if you play one of the eligible board games from our library and like it, you can enter to win it at the end of the con! Shantih Moriarty and Ezra Denney will be heading up the new track, and we can’t wait to see it!


2016 Doctors Without Borders Contribution


Donation Confirmation

Thank you for supporting Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Your generosity gives us the financial independence we need to provide emergency medical care to men,
women, and children in nearly 70 countries around the world.

Sean Nittner

Big Bad Con, Inc.

One-time Gift: $500.00
Wolf Chase Crowdrise Donation: $500.00
Total: $1,000.00

Doctors Without Borders has not provided in whole or part any goods or services to the above-named donor in return for this donation. Doctors Without Borders is a qualified tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. EIN: 13-3433452. To read our Commitment to our Supporters ­ a statement of our commitment to independent, needs-based programs, financial transparency, and effective and cost-efficient fundraising ­ please click here.

As a supporter we encourage you to stay connected with Doctors Without Borders online:

Thank you, again, for your donation to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). We are truly grateful for your support of our programs.

The U.S. section of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural
and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care. ©2010 MSF All rights reserved.

Big Bad World

Big Bad World 1.0Big Bad World is a meta-game that we ran throughout Big Bad Con 2016. To play, attendees selected from the basic playbooks (Ambassador, Mage, Rogue, or Explorer) and slid the playbooks behind their badge. On the front of the playbooks are our principles of play:

  • Think about the well-being of those around you.
  • Address yourself to the other attendees.
  • Make room for others at the table.
  • Shine the spotlight on your fellow players.
  • Learn everyone’s name, let them be human.

On the back are each playbooks moves which are all in the format of:

Mark XP when you…
…introduce someone to a group of people.
…play a game you’ve never played before.
…pull up a chair for someone at your table.

After the players have marked their fifth XP, they could turn in their playbook, get a shiny pin showing the playbook was completed, and get a new playbook! Once all four basic playbooks were completed, some of our attendees moved onto the Advanced Playbooks

2016-10-31 07.05.20If you’re interested in running Big Bad World at your convention:

The goal is to gamify a way to promote the behaviors we want to see at the con. Something that won’t feel like a list of “Thou shalt…” and instead feel like a fun way to invite, encourage, and for some people permit good behavior (i.e. someone might be too shy to introduce themselves to a stranger, but of the game tells you that you get XP for doing it, they may feel more comfortable trying it).

Big Bad World, Powered by the Apocalypse.

Variations other cons have made

Team Player at EttinCon