Big Bad Con 2011…in review

Phew, just after Big Bad Con I was booked to run an Apocalypse Galactica game (re-skinning Apocalypse World to Battlestar Galactica), which I didn’t start working on till after Big Bad Con. Since then I’ve been catching up on old Actual Play reports, trying to get Narrative Control back in action, and planning the Improv For Gamer events in January. Phew.

Still, I’ve had some time to review the feedback for Big Bad Con (and wow, was there a lot of it), so I’m going to start sharing that now, in a multi-post thread that will cover online feedback, suggestions made to me in person, and the feedback forms filled out at the con. I’m going to start with that last one because it’s already collated and ready for publication. I received 237 forms, considering we had around 90 games (exact number unknown due to open gaming), that’s an average of over 2.5 forms per game. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

On a scale of 1 to 6, 1 being very displeased and 6 be being very pleased, the averages looked like this:

Con reviews

Sign-ups (getting in games): 5.47
Logistics (finding everything): 5.49
Environment (noise, space): 4.70
Amenities (nearby eating): 4.26

Game reviews

Game System: 5.26
GM Preparedness/Presentation: 5.42
Fun with the other players: 5.45


What I took from this was that folks ranged from pleased to very pleased with the con and all the games being run. We had great GMs, great players and great games. Where the con suffered somewhat was in environmental factors (noise, heat, available space) and the amenities (hotel and local food options). To my great pleasure, there were only a handful of folks that had a problem with the noise, so I think the pipe and drape did a good job, but it created a new problem which was air flow being blocked and the rooms getting hot. That and a whole lot of other bits will go in my final review of what to keep and what to change for Big Bad Con 2012.

Below is a list of specific comments made about the con.

Continue reading Big Bad Con 2011…in review

Imperial Academy Dropouts Live

The Wolf took a ride out to Sacramento to see the band practice. Much video footage was taken of them performing, but while we wait for it to upload here’s a pic of the band after practice. Notice the nerd core rage tempered by hours of rocking out.

Dudes Chillin on the Couch

From left to Right: Jim Barlow, Noam Rosen, Shaun Hayworth and Sir Kristin, Queen of the Dessert

The Baddest Judges in Town

Big Bad Con is coming up soon and with it will be the biggest GM show down this side of the Black Forest!

  • Info about the event: Big Bad GM
  • Sign ups (opening in the middle of September): Events

Big Bad GM wouldn’t be complete without four tough-as-nails judges there to keep these contestants in line.  The Wolf is proud to introduce:
Matt SteeleMatt Steele! What? How is that now? Matt has been a player in the GM Throwdown, a contestant and now a judge? Yes, this rabbit wears many hats.

Matt has seen the ins and outs of the GM competition industry.  He knows all the dirty tricks and closed door deals the GMs will try to pull. So I give you this warning GMs: Beware! The rabbit is watching you!

Matt writes about himself: “For a horror guy, it’s a bummer to find out that your Chinese astrology sign is the rabbit. Not very scary. I like the seeming contradiction of the cute, fluffy bunny played against horror. I’ve owned two rabbits, and I assure you, they are brutal, vicious creatures.”

Follow @TerrorRabbit or see his mad creations at


Veteran GM JudgeBruce Harlick. Don’t let that smiling face fool you! Bruce invented the slide rule for GM Awesomeness! Bruce has judged for the previous two GM Throwdown events hosted at EndGame and he’s bringing his expertise to Big Bad Con.  As tough a judge as he might be, The Wolf has one piece of advice that might earn you some brownie points with this GMing Giant:

I’m a big sucker for classic superhero stories, of heroes facing overwhelming odds and being forced to make tough moral choices, and of villains being offered a chance to walk the path to redemption. I like to explore what makes good good, and what makes evil evil, and just how hard it is to walk the narrow line between the two.” – Bruce Harlick on CoX

You can follow Bruce @BruceHH or view his Live Journal but to really know the man, you must first face in him a duel to the death, or you know, to the best GM.


Leonard BalseraLeonard Balsera. One man who knows Fate inside and out, because, frankly – he helped write the damn thing. Please welcome Leonard Balsera, lead system developer of the Dresden Files RPG and writer for Spirit of the Century, as the fourth Big Bad Judge.

If there is a way to run Fate, he’s tried it. If there’s a Fate hack for a quirky high concept, he’s done it. If there’s a dirty trick that Fate can pull, he can make it dirtier. His collection of Fate system notes could kill a man or stop a bullet, perhaps at the same time. Evil Hat is wise to keep his mind distracted by drop-shipments of booze and Legos, lest he try to take Fate and conquer the planet. Leonard Balsera is coming, from the depths of Sin City, to test the mettle of the best Fate GMs as only one of its developers can.

He gives only this, for the contestants: “Do you make the game? Or does the game make you?”


Shaun sub-1Shaun Hayworth, aka This Modern Death, aka Shaun sub-1, aka guitar solo maniac of the Big Bad Band. Shaun is a podcaster, GM, father, and good friend of The Wolf.  He’s also got a mind that is sharp as a tack. Be prepared GMs, your performance will be observed, analyzed and evaluated by a this mad judging machine!

If you want to butter up to Shaun before the con (heh, like that will work) or just find out about Baby Tycho’s mad adventures find him @SCHayworth.

Thanks for submitting a game to Big Bad Con!

VolunteerThe Wolf and his pack will be reviewing all the games individually and getting back to you soon.

Our thanks to you!

If you have submitted eight or more hours of events or volunteering. Big Bad Con will comp your badge!

Want to do more?

We’ve got some great ways to contribute to the con:

Under Construction – No More!

Hey all…. Check out The Wolf’s new digs. Now we’re riding in style. Thanks Katie!