New World Alchemy is based out of Atlanta, and let me tell you Atlanta is a great city to be a gamer in. We have an incredible gaming community, and a lot of public gaming events. One of the pioneers in Atlanta gaming is Roger Barnette. I recently spoke with Roger about his experience in creating a community of gamers, and what the future of social gaming as a hobby is about to look like for us.
David: Roger, thanks for taking the time to meet with me today. I understand you’ve been busy on several interesting projects lately.
Roger: That is the goal. I try to stay busy, but I will be the first to confess that helping people generally takes first priority. The most recent is my first public game design called “Jump!” It is an interactive puzzle quest that uses cell phones and online clues to allow players to race to a dramatic conclusion. We are building to the first SecretsCon at the end of March. That will be a fantastic gaming weekend here in Atlanta and then there is the ongoing gaming weekend that of course have been thrilling with new game designs and really getting to meet and game with new people every week. We are having a lot of fun, but that is the goal. To create experiences or foster experiences that people can use to meet new friends and take a break from the stresses of every day life. Its what we do.
David: Wow, hearing that all together at once really makes “busy” sound inadequate. Still, I’d like to get back to all of that, and by talking about your oldest, and most well known project The Secrets Factory. For those who may not have heard of The Secrets Factory can you tell us a bit about it, and where it’s going?
Roger: Well. The Secrets Factory was founded to help us find each other. Literally to locate gamers in the Northwest part of Atlanta. The intent was originally to build some large-scale interactive games but we didn’t have an audience. When we began to grow the group, we first encountered the Atlanta boardgaming world and there was nothing really brewing in that section of town, so we began as a place for that existing audience to come and join us. For most of the first year that space was perfect for our members, but it was not as profitable as we had hoped and we had to make a decision: Close the Secrets Factory and keep the friends and fans, or reshape it into an events promotion business and continue to encourage boardgaming in the area. We spent about a year in that mode with our friends and fans growing and with their encouragement we decided to undertake SecretsCon in late March 2014. That is the mode we are in today. Running weekly gaming on Thursdays and monthly game design and all day gaming once a month, plus the exciting annual SecretsCon. Our goal is to grow the convention to become the annual family reunion for gaming in the southeast. We are planning board gaming, Georgia Pathfinder, several other RPGs, Panels on the hobby and how to break into it, plus musical guests and some very remarkable game designers as guests as well. I am not sure that is a short answer, but it is the pretty short version.
David: SecretsCon sounds like an interesting evolution. I imagine this is something a fair number of people may not be familiar with. How would you describe the event? It has Con in the name, but I can’t help but feel like you’re doing something more than a classic convention?