The Irish method


For those that don’t know, The Smart Party are based in the UK and as such most of our Con attendance is here, plus the occasional European jaunt. We have a lot in common with the US in the way that our Con gaming is generally set up and run, but it’s not the only way. Over in Ireland they play by a very different system indeed, and recently there has been lots of debate about it. Will it stay, will it change, and to what? Here’s a summary from this discussion:

In Ireland we have a formula that seems to be not used elsewhere. Is this so different.

The game slot runs for three hours and is for six players. Before a scenario is accepted a proposal is submitted. If that is accepted, a one-shot is written, typically 5/6 pages long, with character sheets, maps etc are extra. A deadline before the con is given for entries to be sent by. The committee member in charge of RPG’s can ask for changes.

Ideally two other GMs will have read your scenario and be prepared to run it. In the worst case they can be handed it five minutes before the game starts and read it as its being run. If one table doesn’t have enough players, then the organisers will move say two from my full table to the other one with only two players for balance.

For characters sheets skills are divided among the characters, but generally will need at least three to work. With a few people with some key skills.

After players will compare notes. Who played what character, what happened in your game etc.

The debate is still running on. There’s a Live Journal community thread that makes for very interesting reading too.

I’m leery of making too much comment on this myself, as I haven’t directly experienced the method. I do like it in theory though, and I can certainly see lots of benefits from adopting such measures here in the UK. What do you think?

3 thoughts on “The Irish method

  1. Unfortunately, this sort of idea just doesn’t work in the UK. I was RPG Manager for Gen Con UK 2004 and it was a nightmare trying to get anyone (other than a hardcore) to write any scenarios nevermind submit proposals first. The UK scene has changed somewhat since then (perhaps helped by the demise of Gen Con UK) and people are more willing to write and run games (Conception, Continuum, and Furnace all prove that) however I doubt that even those, friendly, conventions would find enough people who would be willing to follow that sort of procedure prior to running their game.

    It all boils down (IMHO) to the average UK convention goer being a little lazy in that regard (and I include myself here). We’re quite happy to run our own games at conventions but ask us to submit proposals, accept changes, and then write out full, and detailed, scenarios tends to be beyond us.

    From my own perspective, that vast majority of my convention scenarios are a couple of pages of A4 long (not including character sheets and handouts/maps) and only I would be able to truly run it as intended because most of it is still in my head.

    It works in Ireland because that’s the way they’ve always done it – and well done to them for making it work. It would certainly have made my time as RPG Manager at Gen Con UK 2004 a lot easier if we could have used the same system.

  2. evilgaz

    Me no like.

    I’ve known other people who’ve turned up and tried to run a game, but weren’t allowed, because their scenario wasn’t pre-approved.

    The idea of someone else vetting my game fills me with distaste. Who’s qualified to do such a thing? Do they know the system, setting etc., the way a GM runs, if its a hippy game that has little to no prep in advance? Too many questions. There’s no guarantee of quality, although I can see where they’re going with making people put some effort in – that bit I can work with – but as DPM has said – a lot of my games are more in my head than on paper and I wouldn’t run my customary average of 3-4 per con, I’d maybe do one.

    Added to this, some players might be dragged out of my game and put in someone elses? Well purely from a player point of view, I don’t want to be pulled out of Savage to go into 4e for example. If there’s volunteers that might be okay, but if as a GM you’ve attracted 6 players and the other person’s game has only got a couple of sign ups, that says something in itself doesn’t it?

    Bah humbug say I.

    Unless one was to do a small convention. Couple of tables, maybe up to four. Then you’d want some kind of standards, in fact you could even vet the referees in advance, let alone the scenarios. I think the Smart Party could do this. In fact, we’ve been talking…

    More later


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