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Cui Bono, E.G.O.? Barn Raising and Organized Play

Quid pro quo. Who benefits from the E.G.O. program?

This question has been on my mind since a conversation last week with someone whose view on organized play programs, particularly E.G.O., diverged from mine. They saw a Goon’s role as solely to run games, leaving the logistics of finding a venue and gathering players to others. In their eyes, expecting GMs to also handle game setup and recruitment was asking too much for the digital games and materials provided. They argued that, in the quid pro quo of being an Evil Genius Goon, the Goons were getting the short end of the stick.

As a Classicist, I appreciate the correct use of a Latin phrase. And I valued this person’s perspective. Running games well is indeed a lot of work, and it’s reasonable to expect Goons to focus on that. And I must admit, in my ideal vision of the program, things align more closely with this person’s view than our current reality.

In my perfect E.G.O. world, every Goon would have lots of players ready to play and ample games to run at their chosen venue, each venue would have a Minion to organize events, and every Minion would have an Assassin for support, all under the guidance of a Lieutenant overseeing a smoothly running regional operation. A boy can dream.

So, while we may not currently see eye to eye, our end goals are the same. We’re just at different stages of reaching them.

Currently, E.G.O.’s progression towards our shared vision relies on a mix of grassroots evangelism and logistics. We’ve made significant strides in growing our community from the ground up, but as we’re still spreading out, we need to continue expanding our resources, connecting them, and running more games to attract even more players. This isn’t a “Field of Dreams” scenario, where if you build it they will come; it’s more akin to a barn raising, where you can’t build it until they come and help you. The build can’t start until everyone pitches in. So, right now, from Goons to Volunteers, from the Program Manager to the CEO, we’re all hands on deck to frame, raise, and roof the structure of our program.

Cui Bono?

But why? What’s the quid pro quo for all this effort? Or, to use another Latin phrase, cui bono? Whom does the E.G.O. program, and all this work, truly benefit?

I’ll step up first. Yes, E.G.O. helps us disseminate our games and game system and, hopefully, boosts sales long-term. But in the short term, producing games is costly, involving a wide range of professionals such as producers, writers, artists, cartographers, editors, layout designers, and proofreaders. And when many games are low-cost or free, turning a profit through organized play is a very tall order. If E.G.O. were profitable at this stage, it would be industry news.

However, a significant part of E.G.O. (and organized play at large) is about nurturing the broader TTRPG community and infrastructure. Alongside players, GMs, volunteers, stores, and our Discord community, our aim is to cultivate an inclusive environment for gaming enthusiasts, ensuring the longevity and vibrancy of the TTRPG community. While we believe in the Everyday Heroes system and its appeal, its success hinges on a robust TTRPG community.

Thus, the E.G.O. program is designed to benefit various industry and community segments. Retailers enjoy free materials, increased foot traffic, and (hopefully) increased sales; libraries and non-profits receive donations; conventions get GM and event support; and GMs and volunteers are provided with support materials and rewards. We even count purchases of other companies’ products towards our E.G.O. Retailer Engagement Points. While each benefit might seem modest alone, collectively, they’re significant. So, cui bono? Hopefully, all of us.

If you’re not yet part of the E.G.O. program, we invite you to join our barn raising. We need you! Together, with our players, Goons, volunteers, and you, we aim to create a thriving community space for all TTRPG enthusiasts. Whether you are a potential player, GM, volunteer, venue, or retailer, just let us know how you’d like to participate through this simple form: https://forms.gle/CAQHxkvsMyusFjgs7 and we’ll equip you for the build. Together, we’ll raise the roof.

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