How I spent my summer vacation
Looks like Jeff Cornett's shield has
Keith Levy's trademark purple hat
brings him luck.
what I learned from my first GM gig
GM'ing for the first time was quite an experience. I've
always respected the GM's for keeping things moving but I never
realized how hard it is. I came into it brand new.
I'd only attended a few previous WBC's before I volunteered.
And I picked Ivanhoe because it's an easy card game to
learn and play. The traditional time at 11:00 p.m. didn't
look like it would interfere with my other gaming.
GM lessons learned:
Even though I think I had a good way of determining ranks, etc.,
you have to EXPLAIN what you're doing and NAG people into filling
out their cards correctly.
You absolutely need a good assistant GM. There's no way
you can be everywhere at once.
I used sign-in sheets thinking they'd be the easiest way to go.
I was wrong. I think re-usable index cards are much better
since you don't have to enter all your stats into the computer
before you can sort the winners from everyone else. It
also takes less time to find a card than to sign in after the
There's a lot of "homework" involved in GM'ing.
I missed a lot of games I wanted to play in because I was entering
information, sorting out the rankings, and printing the results.
I definitely need to streamline the process if I do this again.
I need to pay attention to the schedules before listing my semi
and Final games. Again, I never got to play in many of
the games I look forward to each year. It's my own fault
for not looking closely at what else was going on at that time.
All in all I enjoyed the experience. I asked a lot of other
GMs for their opinions and suggestions to help me on my first
attempt. Everyone was helpful. I thankfully never
encountered any players who weren't nice. However, there
was a lot of impatience about starting the game and knowing their
rankings as they went along. I only encountered one person
who didn't want to play against another player (during the semi-final).
I basically told him he either played or he didn't and an alternate
would play. One person seemed to ask an awful lot of questions
during later games as opposed to early games. It passed
my mind that he was asking for advice, but my answers (I hope)
were basically to explain the function of the cards and nothing
in the way of strategy.
I did let one game start very late against the opinion of my
assistant GM. It was an early game (early in the week)
and it's my opinion that people come here to play games, not
merely to win prizes. I'm not sure I'll ever go that far
again, because it's not really fair to the other players. [A
common error by rookie GMs - in being overly "nice"
to a few, you are actually doing a disservce to the majority.]
I only found out after the fact that one player was openly looking
at another player's cards and criticizing the play based on knowledge
of the other player's hand. If the players had said something
during play, I would have said something to the offending player
or removed him from the game. The other players didn't
tell me until after the fact because they thought the offending
player may have been autistic or mentally handicapped in some
way. I'll have to stress somehow to all the players that
they need to report these things as they happen.
Also, I don't know how much authority a GM has. Could I
have ejected the person from the game and banned him from future
games? [Yes] I may have missed it in the GM instructions.
You may want to stress this info in future instructions. [It's
What I really liked about GMing the game:
Ivanhoe had a really good mix of young and older players.
The people who came to the demo did as well as the more experienced
players - and as a consequence we had all new laurelists.
Some of the top players had never played more than a game or
two previously. Observing the strategies played, I learned
a lot of things about this game that I had never considered previously.
The players seemed to genuinely like playing because, as the
last game of the day, it wasn't overly long or complex.
I had a lot more players than I ever anticipated. I think
I averaged about 60 players each night but one. Although
I only got to play one game because I kept myself in reserve
for games with insufficient players. I enjoyed myself.
Right after the Final I kept saying I was never going to GM again.
But now that I have a little distance and a lot more rest, I
think I would like to try it at least one more time.
In the Juniors event 17 little knights reported to joust.
The best proved to be Jonathan Berry. He was followed in order
by Andrew Doughan, Jordan Shea and Dacey Collinson.