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PHENOMENON 2020

"The Journey"

2, 3, 4, 5 October

In your own house!

Pheno News

2 August 2020 | PhenomenonOnline 2020

Dear Phabulous Pheno Writers Past, Present and Phuture,

With the convention postponed for this year, we would like to invite you to join us in a celebration of Pheno Games designed to share the fun and joy of roleplaying even if we can't do it in person.

We are inviting writers to package up their old games so that they can be run by local gaming groups in the comfort and safety of their home. There is a template to help you gather all your thoughts, resources and to consider any copyright implications (see link below), and Stuart Barrow along with the Pheno Committee will prepare your game so people will be able to download it from links provided on the convention website. The links at the top of this page will take you to the games when they are ready.

We aim to have blurbs up on the website by Saturday 26th September with the download links to the games going live when the con would normally start, Friday October 2, 2020. All games will be available for download for free for a period of two weeks. Due to the short timeline however, we ask you to make your submission as soon as you can, so we can have everything ready to go on the day.

And to all our wonderful players... Ever really enjoyed a game at Pheno and wanted to share it with your friends who couldn't get to the con? Ever played in a huge freeform where you only got to see a small fraction of the plots and wanted to read all the other character sheets just to see what was going on? Well, stay tuned, this may just be the answer you were hoping for.

Here is the template for submitting your game.
Here is a sample game from Stuart Barrow using the template
The email address to send your games to is in the template

25 May 2020 | Pheno 2020 Update

Hi everyone, I hope you've all been well and managing during the current circumstances.

I realised that unless you've been attending org meetings, or you are one of our brilliant GMs who have sent in their game submissions, then you haven't heard from us for a while. As such, this post is to give you an update on Pheno, and assure you that we're still around and working on what we can organise for the con. It's not an easy task right now, with everything changing so quickly, but we're doing our best. :)

So where are we up to? We're delighted to have received many games submissions from our GMs, who should have received an email from the Writer Wrangler to advise their games have been accepted and blurbs will be the next things we need from you. My personal thanks to those who have been able to submit games - we could not have Pheno without your efforts.

Our current approach has been to prepare for the convention as though it is running as close as possible to what we have done in the years previous. We have requested and received game submissions, and our intent is to still have pre-registration online via the website, and have folks sign up for the games they are interested in. Our venue booking is secured and, as said venue is a school, they have already taken on installing hand sanitiser stations in every classroom and other cleaning measures to support their day-to-day operations that we will be able to use.

Ultimately, we honestly don't know what Pheno will look like this year. We will be following government advice and running the con as best we can, in a way that keeps our GMs, attendees, and orgs safe. We will continue to post updates when more information is available.

I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone in October - and in the meantime, if you have a specific question, feel free to send us an email at the link below and we'll answer as best we can.

Hope to see you all soon.
Emma Sharman
2020 Phenomenon President

Contact us by email or through our Facebook group.

8 February 2020 | Run a game for Pheno 2020!

OwO, what's this?

  It's a FORM.

And better than that, it's a form that is used to register your interest in running a game for Phenomenon 2020!

Game submission closes on Good Friday, 10th of April. (Around midnight, I'll be off causing trouble and will probably forget until the morning.)

Phenomenon is committed to promoting a diverse mix of writers, GMs and players - I'd love submissions from gender and sexually diverse, various age groups, levels of ability, and varied cultural and racial backgrounds. All are welcome at Phenomenon, and your games will be celebrated.

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

When game submissions close, the committee will get together, assess space requirements against number of games suggested, and I'll give out the happy news.

— Jim Woodman (Writer Wrangler)

26 January 2020 | The Journey Begins!

The Pheno Orgs are happy to confirm there will be another Phenomenon Convention in 2020, running Friday 2 October to Monday 5 October! The theme for 2020 is 'The Journey'. Further updates will be made to this website in due course.

Contact us by email or through our Facebook group.

Your Pheno Orgs for 2020

Games and fun at Pheno

Phenomenon is a roleplaying games convention (but there may be other stuff as well).

Check out what we did in 2019:

The team (tabletop) games are the most traditional kind. Freeforms (LARPS) are live action games, more like improv theatre. The Triptych and Diptych are our showcase games, sets of three and two games that teams complete to compete in to get their names on the perpetual trophies. But you can play any of them you want—they're pretty cool.

Other fun includes a discussion panel, a costume contest, and the Sunday night banquet!

So what's a Phenomenon anyway?

Phenomenon will contain a wide range of exciting, creative, imaginative, and fun roleplaying games for your enjoyment. Pheno aims to extend the roleplaying community in Canberra—to provide a place where you can relax, chat, make new friends, play games both familiar and unfamiliar, and otherwise do stuff you wouldn't normally do on a weekend.

What's a roleplaying game (RPG)?

Do you remember playing 'Let's pretend' when you were a younger? Same thing, only with rules. Have you ever watched a movie or TV show, or read a book, where you wanted to be a person in that setting? Or one of the main characters? Did you ever want to show them how it would be done properly? That's roleplaying.

In most RPGs:

  • You have an invented persona, your character, who participates in a fictitious world via your interactions with the other players in the game.
  • One player makes up the world and arbitrates any challenges the world may throw at your character, or conflicts between your character and other characters. We tend to call this heroic soul a GM (short for game moderator or mistress or master or Morph).
  • There is no winner. You play to invent/tell a shared story and to have a good time with your friends. When everyone has a good time, everyone wins.

Although RPGs have no winners and losers, most Pheno games are judged competitively. The GMs (who mostly, have written their own games) are looking for the players that best depict their characters and that entertain them—and the players you're with—the best. They will give trophies or certificates to these players.

But that's only one aspect to playing in games at a convention like Pheno. If you have fun, if you meet new people, if you laugh, you cry, you swear undying enmity on your (fictitious) new arch-enemy, then you're doing it right.

So what now?

For now: watch this space!

Can I write a game for Pheno?

Yes. We'd love you to! Pheno welcomes and encourages new designers. There is even a shiny New Designer award .

Contact Pheno |

Phenomenon 2020 will be brought to you by Phenomenon Labs Inc.