Ludo-Outaouais 2016 - Frequently Asked Questions

adapted from Gilles "LoneCleric" Duchesne's generic FAQ

The Basics

So what exactly is Ludo-Outaouais? And is it different from "Ludo 2016"?

In the beginning, the name Ludo-Outaouais was used for a boardgaming event happening in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. Eventually, a nonprofit association grew out of it. The name is now used interchangeably to designate the event and the association. To clarify things, we sometimes append the current year to refer to the event. Therefore, "Ludo 2016" really stands for (breathe in) the 2016 edition of the yearly gaming event of the Ludo-Outaouais association (breathe out).
All fine and good, but, erm... What is a "boardgaming event"? What's this all about?

The term is, admittedly, a bit vague. So to clarify, we're talking about people gathering to play tabletop board games, just for the fun of it.
Board games? You mean like Monopoly? I sorta grew out of that...

Nope, not quite. There are many, many board games out there - probably more than you can imagine.
For starters, go have a look at the Board Game Geek website..
Ah yes, you mean like Settlers of Catan, right?

That's more like it - Catan is a prime example of a "typical" European-style, modern board game, and probably the one best known by the public at large. That being said, did you know it dates from 1995? Hundreds (that's hundreds) of new board games are being published every year...
Are you telling me that there hundreds of games just as cool, and even better, than Catan, without me knowing about it?

I've piqued your curiosity? Great! Now come see us.
What does "open gaming" mean?

This simply means a gathering where people play whatever they want, with whomever they want, as opposed to organized tournaments.
And how does it work?

In short, people volunteer to lend games from their personal collection. All you have to do is take your pick from this big library, recruit a few players, and go sit at an empty table to play. That's it! Rinse & repeat until you're too tired (unlikely) or the place closes (more likely).
And what if I really want to play Monopoly, you, you... Board Game Snoot!

Hey, I've got no qualms against Monopoly! It's the guy from the third question who didn't want to play! Monopoly gets more scorn than it deserves, especially since most people don't know all the proper rules, having learned the game via word of mouth.
But I digress: you-can-play-wha-te-ver-you-want, and that's that.
Even Strip Poker??

Ok, now you're pulling my leg. We'll never see the end of this FAQ at that rate...
Is this like CanGames? Or the Capital Gaming Expo?

Those two conventions do offer open gaming (and in fact, Ludo-Outaouais has been involved with both of them in some aspect or other), but only as a small segment of a much broader coverage (RPGs, wargames, etc). Ludo-Outaouais is only about board games.
In fact, that "open gaming" formula is used in 4 large conventions throughout Quebec: Les Journées Ludiques de Québec (Quebec City), Les Jeux au Boute (Chertsey), Le Festival du Jeu de Longueuil (Longueuil), and our own Ludo-Outaouais. Many people will attend multiple events in this "circuit".
Is this like Alan Moore's Gathering of Friends?

Pretty much. (And let me point out that if you know about the GoF, you're probably beyond the scope of this FAQ section.)

The Specifics

Why would I pay to attend such an event, when I could just as easily play games at home, with friends?

People who attend open gaming events do so for several reasons:
Beginners get an opportunity to discover games of all sorts, as well as to meet new players whose tastes (and gameplay styles) differ from their usual circle of friends.
Seasoned players get the pleasure of seeing their old gaming pals from across the province.
Such gatherings also provide the opportunity to try games you otherwise wouldn't: new releases, rare out-of-print games, party games for large groups, etc.
So no tournaments then? That's too bad - I do like those...

Even if they aren't our main attraction, we do hold a few tournaments here & there. Our Triathlon (three games of different styles) is a favourite of players year after year. And it won't be the only tournament - there will be others.
Well, I don't really know anyone, and I'm a bit shy...

That's perfectly understandable, especially since the players have grown to know each other, which can feel a bit intimidating for newcomers. However, attendees are very open to meeting new players - after all, we're all here to have a good time, aren't we? Just hover near the games library, keep an eye for groups looking to start a new game, and don't hesitate to ask if you can join them - they're likely to agree. And if that doesn't work, no harm done, just ask the next group!
I don't speak any French. Won't that be a problem?

Although the association's language of business is French, our yearly event has always aimed to offer bilingual support (successfully, it would seem, as we do have English-only speakers among our regulars). The worst that might happen is that some folks might not be comfortable enough English-wise to play with you, but once again, no harm no foul, just ask others. Badges will also have stickers to indicate what language(s) people are comfortable speaking.
So these folks are just lending games to everyone? They're not afraid some will get damaged, or even stolen?

Gluttons for punishment, aren't they?
More seriously, even if people do care for their games, the desire to share their passion with others comes first.
Ludo-Outaouais uses a computerized game borrowing system which ensures we know who borrowed what. In the past, attendees have been respectful of others' games, and the number of incidents has been close to zero.
Do you have a copy of...

Ludo's game borrowing system can be queried to know whether a given game is in the library, whether or not it's currently available, and where to find it (approximately).
Hey, I want to lend my games, too! I've got, well, I've got Ticket to Ride, and...

Great! You want to help sharing our collective hobby? Kudos to you! Make sure to contact the organizers, however. They already have access to a few extensive collections, and therefore will be more interested by new and/or rare games.
Shortly before the event, we'll publish a list of games already flagged as available, which might help you assess whether or not we're missing something.
Can I bring some of my games, without lending them? Like, I want to make sure to have a copy handy, without letting others use it?

Of course. You can simply keep those games with you, or in your car, etc.
Can we get some games explained to us?

We'll have people specifically holding game demos. And of course, many players will be more than willing to explain the rules of their favourite games.
Cool! Alright, I want to try "Außergewöhnliches Spiel, das keiner kennt". You, over there, explain it to me!

Ok, hold it. In spite of the previous answer, it's important to understand that the average player will not remember the rules of every game he or she owns, especially if it's an older game that hasn't been played recently. But hey, those rulebooks are meant to be read every now & then, right?
I just suggested a game to someone, and they replied asking me "how well" I knew the game. Er, how does one assess the depth of knowledge of a game? Did I miss out on some sort of credentials or what?

What, you've never heard of the "LUDO 9001" standard?
Fear not, nobody's challenging your game-explaining skills. The phrases "Have you actually played it?", "When was your last game?", "How well do you remember it?" and "Are you comfortable explaining it?" are frequently heard near the game library, and are never meant to be rude.
Typically, the true intent of those questions is to figure out how much overhead will be needed until the game actually begins. It's an important detail that impacts play length significantly. The difference between: "I know that game - I can explain it in 5 minutes without even checking the rulebook" and "I know that game - if we sit down with the rules for 45 minutes we'll be good to go" is non-negligible.
Can we buy games over there? What about selling a few?

Even though emphasis isn't on that aspect, a few local stores will be on site, allowing you to purchase the same games they'll also be demoing.
In addition, our bazaar allows you to put your games up for sale, for a modest commission ($1 per game sold).
Is there something to eat? To drink?

We're offering package deals with 3 included meals (2 Saturday, 1 Sunday). Some snacks and beverages (fruits, water, juice, coffee) will also be offered sporadically, while others (chips, soft drinks) will be for sale.
Can we eat and drink while playing?

So, hey, have you tried the latest game from Wolfgang Kramer?
Hey hey! You're not getting off the hook with this one, mister! Events like yours always ask people to keep food & drinks away from the games, and yet I keep seeing people doing it!

Ok, here's my take on the matter. Everybody agrees that other people's games should be treated with utmost respect. However, event organizers aren't going to deploy a "snack police force" nor a "soft drink militia" - especially if you consider the game owner is often around the table, or nearby.
My advice would be to keep two things in mind: Do you know how much the game you're currently playing really costs? Would you be willing to cover that price yourself? Accidents do happen...
Finally, we strongly encourage you to make use of the covered mugs we hand out, or to bring your own
Hey, what's this? You bought 8 crates of ginger cookies? I don't even like those! It's a waste of our registration money! And you've got crackers, but nothing to put on them!

When an event offers free food and beverages, they usually come from sponsorships. Rest assured that your registration money is primarily to account for the facilities, and the meals when applicable.
Ok, now I'm getting bored. Why don't we play something?

You betcha!

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