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Panels & Workshops

OrcaCon is excited to offer a wide variety of panels and workshops. We have a great lineup of Guests, spanning all disciplines in the game industry. You can attend panels and workshops from game industry professionals, community leaders, and other smart folks who love to talk about games. Here’s a list of many of our panels & workshops; you’ll see them up on our schedule as the timelines are finalized.

OrcaCon 2018 Panels & Workshops (SO FAR!)

Welcome to OrcaCon 2018!
The OrcaCon Board and Convention Staff welcome you to OrcaCon 2018. We’ll kick off the convention with a rockin’ panel, give you any updates you need to know, and we’ll be here to answer your questions about OrcaCon!

Making the Familiar Strange
Bring us your favorite games or ones that you are developing and let’s read together what is really being told by the rules, characters, mechanics, and visuals. What stories are embedded in game mechanics? What values are being reproduced? What carry-on baggage is included? Whose understanding of reality is included and whose is not? Brought to you by scholars of indigenous philosophy, feminist theory, media studies, and popular communications, Dr. Jeanette M. Bushnell and Dr. Jonathan S. Tomhave

Imposter Syndrome
You’re not alone: how to deal with the feeling of being unworthy, or outclassed, why you should never self-reject, and how to fight through the bad days.

Pitching Your Work…and Yourself
A workshop on how to get your work and yourself noticed, including elevator pitches, cover letters, and blind queries.

GM’s Academy 102: Learning the Game
This two-hour workshop provides practical advice for new GMs who have an entire game system in front of them, and the need to learn its system. Learn about some of the different styles of game and how to find systems that work for your GMing style, both mechanically and in terms of what kind of stories you want to tell. Hosted by Joseph Carriker.

GM’s Academy 202: Bringing NPCs to Life
This two-hour workshop takes a look at one of the most important tools in a GM’s collection for creating memorable settings: the non-player characters! We’ll look at some tricks for creating memorable NPCs, ways to make players give a damn about them, and lots more. Hosted by Joseph Carriker

Qd3 Presents: Queering Your Setting
Join Qd3 panelists as we explore ways and reasons to add queerness to your setting. We’ll look at different setting perspectives on queerness, at the place of queerness in differing cultures, and ways to introduce queer NPCs without resorting to tokened or othered caricatures.

Escapism vs Empowerment
Games fill many roles, especially for minorities whose daily lives are filled with stress, depressing news, and microaggressions. In gaming, we can be empowered to fight against forces that tax us daily, or escape them entirely to worlds where we suffer no stigma. But which solution is more helpful or appropriate?

The Couple That Games Together
Join these nerdy couples as they talk about the trials and tribulations of being in a gaming couple. We’ll discuss the importance of communication, how to handle competition, and answer your questions about being a couple that games together.

Geeky Parents Raising Geeky Babies
Geeks are having babies and this world is becoming more geek friendly. These parents will talk about what’s it like being geeks themselves while raising geek babies. Sharing their tears and successes, these parents have either seen it all or are about to face the world as geeks with their new geek babies.

Making Games Legally – How Not to Get in Trouble with IP/Trademark Law
So you think a comic, movie, or TV show would make a great RPG or board game? Figure that you’ll make one yourself? Not so fast. Even making it free for your friends can get you into hot water.

A Day In The Life
What do writers, editors, artists, producers, and publishers get up to on a daily basis? Are they actually chained to their desks in dank hovels, or are they occasionally allowed out? (You have to hope so, or this is going to be a very brief panel!) And is there really such a thing as No Pants Wednesday?

GMing: One Small Step or One Giant Leap?
At one time or another, most players think about it: becoming a GM. Is it really that hard to do? Is it for everyone? Come along and find out what advice our panel of experts has to offer if you’re thinking about taking the plunge.

Gaming as Grownups
As gamers grow up and settle down, where do games fit in? How can parents juggle gaming and parenting? How soon should you teach your kid to play D&D? Come hear a discussion on gaming as adults and parents and learn how to squeeze gaming back into your schedule.

Real-Time Game Design
Taking prompts from the audience, a group of game designers will create a game live in one hour! In addition, we’ll be taking questions and explaining a bit about how anyone can get started with designing games.

Writing and Story Development for Games
Story development can affect game system design, character design and environments. Our game industry pros will discuss how a great story needs to also fit in the design of the game system. Maybe you need a different system for your story? Do you write the story and fit the design around it? Or do you start with the design and weave a story through it?

Creating Inclusive Gaming Groups & Events
Enjoy board games? Love the idea of painting miniatures? Want to know how to find inclusive groups for gaming? How do you create your own gaming meet-ups? Our panelists will give you tips on creating game groups, finding public game meet-ups, and enjoying gaming conventions as a newbie. Want to be a better organizer? We’ll work with you to build positivity in your current groups, how to find new players, and how to encourage their participation.

Running in Public: GMing at Cons and Stores
Running games for strangers at stores and cons presents its own set of challenges, particularly for marginalized people. Come hear from experienced GMs who frequently run games in public.

Hey, *insert favorite media* would make a great game!
Why certain books, TV, or movie series would make great games or really really bad ones.

Representation in games: Supporting Marginalized Creators and Players in Games
What challenges do women, LGBT individuals, and PoC face in the gaming industry? Does the gaming community dissuade marginalized folks from gaming? What are some examples of game companies supporting diversity in game design, and how can game companies continue to improve?

Technology at the Gaming Table
iPads, laptops, cell phones, and computers are all popping up at the game table, and apps are being developed to assist with character management and rules tracking. But do these elements hinder immersion into the game and distract more than they help? Our panelists will discuss the pros and cons of using technology during role-playing games, and recommend their favorite programs.

Something at Work in the Soul: Horror in Tabletop RPGs
Horror is a potent tool to explore the human psyche and investigate one’s sense of self, but its nuance and subtlety can make it hard to translate into games. Veteran RPG designers reveal their methods and philosophies for crafting tabletop horror tales of any subgenre–including gothic horror, post-apocalyptic horror, and body horror. Panelists delve into the essentials of consent, pre-game preparation, and in-game tools and skills to consider incorporating into your games to achieve the most effective and fulfilling horror experience for players as possible.

Critical Hits & Misses
Join the OrcaCon Staff for an open discussion about OrcaCon 2018. Have suggestions? Want to give props or shout outs? Special notes for outstanding volunteers? Particular games, panels, and events you’d like for OrcaCon 2019? Find out who we’ve asked to be the 2019 Guests of Honor and our focus for the next event!