How are game sign ups going to work?

I talked some about this on the About page, but here’s the full details.

Our game signup process is built around one basic premise: we want you to have maximum access to games you want to play. Here’s how we do it:

  • We wait for games to be submitted and allow plenty of time for GMs to submit games.
  • We email you when the full game roster is available and give you plenty of time to look at the options.
  • Game sign up for Big Bad Con 2016 will start in mid-September. This will follow our Signup Phase System, detailed below.
  • We’re proactive during signups! If a game fills up quickly, we try to add new sessions of that game. If a game isn’t filling up, we will help promote it more to attract signups.
  • We’re also proactive in linking gamers with games they might like. Unsure of what games to play? Contact us! We’ll talk about what you like and give some suggestions.
  • If you have open slots on your schedule, never fear! We’ll take signups for open games at the reg desk. We also have Games on Demand—just stop by for new games starting every two hours! And we’ve got open gaming running all con long!
  • Throughout the con, we’ll also be tweeting at @bigbadcon about new games opening up or gamers looking for a GM.

Our Signup Phase System

Many have requested that sign ups be limited in the first week to make sure that everyone, even the folks who can’t be frantically refreshing their browser pages at noon on Saturday, gets a chance to sign up for their favorite games.

To facilitate this, we created signup phases in 2015. It was very successful, so we’re sticking with it!

  • Phase I (Sept 10 at noon PST) — everyone can sign up for a maximum of 2 events, gamers ages 13-17 have priority for Teen events.
  • Phase II (Sept 17 at noon PST) — everyone can sign up for a maximum of 4 events, gamers ages 13-17 have priority for Teen events.
  • Phase III (Sept 24 at noon PST) — event signups have no maximum limit, gamers 18+ can sign up for Teen events. Signups will be limited only by your schedule, game availability, and your ability to time travel or clone yourself.*

A few exceptions to note:

  • Events you’re running don’t count against your limit.
  • Some specific events (Verify your Badge, Wolf Chase, Panels, etc.) don’t count against your limit either.

* Time travelers with separate instances of themselves must each purchase separate passes to Big Bad Con. Android clones must show that they are at least level 6 Turing compliant and present an official Asimov law certificate to come to Big Bad Con. Biological clones must swear under oath that they have never seen a David Cronenberg film.

7 comments to How are game sign ups going to work?

  • Hello Sarah. I thought I should also answer your email to Sean, since I’m one of the people who got you and your daughter (who I will call Lori, not her real name) fired up to come to BigBadCon. I’m sorry that I didn’t address it earlier, I can only plead my recent schedule.
    First of all, let me apologize to you and Lori (Yes, I definitely know her, and her real name.) I should have tempered my passion for a Con that I absolutely love around you, given that I know that BigBadCon has an 18 and up policy. I inadvertently got you both excited about a Con that Lori, at least this year, cannot attend. I should have thought more before shooting my mouth off.
    The reasons for the “No Under 18 Rule” are unfortunately fairly simple.
    The problem here is not Lori Levy. I am sure that Lori could come and have a really good time. Lori is much more mature than her 12 years, she’s a better gamer than many of her older peers. She’s the exception. Most kids aren’t.
    I’ve gamed quite a bit with you both, both at Dundracon and KublaCon. Lori would be enthusiastic and comfortable with our TFOS LARP (we’d love to have both of you), with Jary’s Ace of Geeks LARP, and probably with Improv for Gamers, Sparkle Baby, Kobolds Ate my Baby, and Manic Pixie Dreamgirl, among others. It’s not that BigBadCon doesn’t have content to attract younger gamers, it doesn’t have the ability to support them properly.
    Why isn’t BigBad able to support the young players? There are several reasons. First BigBad is a very young con. This is only Year #4. Even Celesticon is older, and KublaCon and Dundracon, have been around for ages. It takes time to build a critical mass of players, GM’s, and support staff at any con. In particular, they don’t have the staff or infrastructure to work with younger players yet. This is partially a function of the fact that it’s a new con, and we are all still learning how to do it. (As an example, Dundracon didn’t have anything for young players for over a decade.) In addition, we have the simple fact that no-one has stepped forward to run a “Young Players” program. Sean simply can’t run everything, and the regular con demands keep Sean and the staff hopping. Third, it’s a matter of focus, BigBadCon is (at least for now) strictly a role playing con. There are no miniatures or boardgames except in Open Gaming, which while large in proportion to the con, is small compared to the rest. (Even open gaming is mostly RPG’s) Lori is something of an anomaly, a kid who is a Role Player first, and everything else comes second. Most of the kids at con play more boardgames, and those who do role play mostly play RPG’s, not Larps, as Lori does. Finally, BigBadCon itself is geared more to adult themes and venues, and the fact that all of it is in one building is great for building community, but poor for letting adults be adults, and kids be kids in the same venue.
    I love this con, and would love to see it grow, not just in size, but also in it’s age demographics. I want teens to be able to come to BigBadCon. (I’d also like to see some more old fossils like me. Umm, I mean Most Esteemed Ancient One’s). But the growth must be controlled and well structured. I believe that Sean has made the correct decision to say no this year. In addition, I’m not certain that this con will ever be an appropriate venue for younger kids, although I do believe that it’s feasible to support teens in future.
    As for next year, who knows? What I can say is that we need several things to happen. First we need a venue that is not directly mixed into everything else. Growth will likely force this issue anyway eventually, as it has at other cons. Secondly, and more importantly, BigBad will need a “Teens Director” and staff. Games is less of an issue (we already have some games that are age appropriate) although we will need more, and the gamemasters to support them.
    As noted above, please tell Lori that I’m sorry, and assure her that we would have loved to have both of you in our “Teenagers from Outer Space” LARP. My suggestion to you is that you come to BigBad anyway, maybe only for a day, since you have to leave Lori behind, and see why so many of us are so passionate about this con. Please also feel free to email me at
    Thank You, Greg Wirth

  • weregamer

    As a father myself, and a gamer and GM since I was 12, I’d agree.

    How about changing the flat prohibition to “has no children’s track and many games contain mature elements. Minors will only be admitted with written permission from a parent or guardian. Use this form [that includes explicit acknowledgement of the situation].”

    The form should not be full of legalese – that just makes it easier to argue that the parent didn’t understand it.

    • Hi Paul and Sarah,

      We’ve continued to evaluate this each year. Big Bad Con supports roleplaying games for all ages. We believe that young gamers need age-appropriate games, and all gamers should play in an environment where they feel comfortable expressing themselves freely. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide the necessary separate gaming space for all-ages gaming.

      While Big Bad Con is not an event for young gamers, we want young gamers to flourish. We highly recommend the regional conventions KublaCon, DundraCon, and CelstiCon, who sponsor family-friendly roleplaying cons, as well as game stores in the area such as EndGame and Games of Berkeley that sponsor events at their stores.

  • SarahLevy

    I’ve heard great things about your con for two years now. I made a hotel reservation and was all set to register when I saw the asterisk that says you have to be 18. My 12 year old loves cons and often gets complimented on her gaming ability, and she’d be crushed if we went without her. Why the age limit?

    • Hi Sarah, thanks for getting in touch and the kind words about the con. This is something I continue to evaluate every year and have chosen to keep the event 18+ as the con doesn’t have a young player event track and it features many mature games. I don’t feel the con offers a good environment for kids to game in.

      • SarahLevy

        Hi Sean, Thanks for responding. You may want to consider for the future to let each family decide for themselves. There might be 14 year olds that can do very well and 16 year olds that don’t. Each family knows what’s best for their own child. Not all teens need a “kids room” – Sarah

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