Phenomenon 2024 Phenomenon 2024

Run a game at Pheno

We want to share your games!

Pheno is built on the amazing games our writers create and present. We are endlessly grateful for the time and effort they put in. We are proud of our reputation as Canberra’s friendliest role-playing game convention.

We look for games that tell interesting stories, from diverse perspectives. Pheno is a home for all kinds of games from emotionally complex dramas to light-hearted romps, and we are always looking for innovative concepts. We host games from established systems (we’re looking at you, D&D), indie and home-brew systems, or no system at all.

Part of the reason Pheno is Canberra’s friendliest convention is because our Writer Wrangler Team is here to help you with advice at every stage as you write your game, from crafting the perfect blurb, giving feedback during the writing process, playtesting your game, and taking care of you during the convention.

New Designers

Pheno welcomes and encourages new designers. There is even a shiny New Designer award.

Here is the New Designer Policy

Triptychs and Diptychs

Pheno presents showcase games each year: a trio of more serious games (the Triptych) and a duet of lighter, more humorous games (the Diptych). These games showcase what we consider the best of Pheno roleplaying: characterisation, genre, entertainment, innovation.

Traditionally, we invite respected writers to present these games, but we're trying a different approach this year. Instead of approaching writers directly, we will select these games from the submissions made. When you submit your game idea, you’ll be able opt-in for possible selection as a showcase game.

How to run a game at Pheno

Our Writer Wrangler team is here to help you through all the stages of writing and running for Pheno. We are always contactable via Contact Pheno.

1. Submit an idea

Game ideas for Phenomenon 2024 closed in early June. However, if you have an idea for 2025 you can always Contact Pheno.

2. Finalise your blurb

Once your game submission has been accepted, you’ll be asked to submit a final blurb by a particular date. A blurb is something like the back cover of a book – it serves to give potential players an idea of why they might like to play your game. Our Writer Wrangler team is here to help you edit and refine your blurb.

Former Writer Wrangler Ingrid Bean's thoughts on blurb writing:
The Art and Science of Giving Good Blurb (49K doc)

Please note we are strict about the deadline for blurbs. Missing them makes us miss other deadlines, which is bad for the other designers and makes us organisers cranky. If you cannot meet the blurb deadline, tell us as soon as possible. If you tell us after the deadline passes, we cannot guarantee your game will run.

3. Write your game

As the months fly by (cue pages falling off a desk calendar), the Writer Wrangler team will check with you to see how you’re doing. The team is available to help through this process – just let us know what you need. We have a stable of experienced convention writers on hand who can help you refine your concept so you can produce a game you are proud to present.

4. Playtesting

We regard the playtesting of games as a good thing. It helps you iron out any kinks in your game (it also gives the organisers an opportunity to play the games they won’t have time to play at the convention). The Writer Wrangler team can help you organise playtesters.

5. At the Convention

At the convention, the Writer Wrangler team is there to help! After the initial briefing in the GM lounge (and collecting your thankyou gifts), we can help you find missing players, fill empty sessions, and most importantly, direct you to the free coffee/tea/hot chocolate, and show you where to collect your daily Red Sash Volunteer delivered lunch and dinner orders.

Having run the game, talked yourself hoarse, and given out the trophies, you can sit back at post-con drinkies to bask in the adulation of your players and endless affection of the convention organisers.