KublaCon Debrief

We know, KublaCon was a while ago. There’s a lot to unpack, both figuratively and literally. Cons are a somewhat overwhelming experience for an indie studio, especially if you are trying to pay for the trip through a dealer’s booth. There is an exhausting amount of social interactions running the gamut from truly enjoyable to downright depressing. There’s also a palpable tension amongst vendors and designers around earnings and sales. We wanted to discuss the con, share our highlights, and talk about how we can improve our fans’ experiences going forward. The CPG crew has put a lot of thought into this, hence the time gap (we also moved the CPG office/Alex’s apartment across Seattle – our games aren’t hidden behind a couch anymore).

First off, what we do right. CPG absolutely crushes game time. Every con, at least one group gets yelled at by another game for laughing to hard. People come up to us after a year and still reminisce about their adventures through the Rockies or their Martian rover debacles. We care about giving people amazing gaming moments. We bring the best facilitators and always make sure to schedule enough sessions for the entire con.

Our biggest challenge is, and always has been, our booth. Our games aren’t monkey catapults or collections of shiny pieces. It’s difficult not being able to play a minute of Conspire and get the gist of the game. We’re hoping Far Away fixes the “fiddly bits” part. The other issue has been decoration. We’ve been a lean, scrappy company for years. Dropping a grand on showy accoutrements was not feasible. However, CPG has been positioning to a place where our finances are stable and we can take more risks. This will let us jazz things up, as well as sell goods at reduced prices for the convention.

There’s a ton of stress, work, time, and money that go into us getting to a con. But it’s all worth it to share our games with new, awesome people. This round, we had the luxury of playing with a group of teenagers in what had to be the most stream-of-consciousness story ever. We saved the steam god in our steampunk airship world by sneaking into the sky dungeon and reciting love poetry to a steam dragon to unlock its heart and find a divine flower inside. I’ll never forget the girls demanding a young man in the group improvise up a love poem, him looking to me for salvation, and me laughing and insisting the game wouldn’t progress unless he said a sonnet. That was fantastic.

Of course, there’s always a couple people fueling our cynicism of humanity. You have to laugh about it to keep your sanity. The runner-up was a guy who asked our booth friend Dre on a date five times during a single game. Take a hint… But our “favorite” social moment was this conversation:

Rando: “Tell about this game.”

Us: “You play as venture capitalists and pitch startup ideas to each other based on these prompt cards.”

Rando: “So there’s a social aspect?”

Us: “Yes.”

Rando: *immediately gets up and walks away*

Jake and I are going to be at Crit Hit 3 in Phoenix. We’re looking forward to sun, warmth, and some great gaming.