One of the things I look forward to in attending a conference for game developers is that it will be full of people who make games (natch). When you pack a crowd of game-making-type people into a contained space, the odds are good that at some point, spontaneous gameplay will break out on the show floor, which can only lead to good times — or long arguments about class balance. In case attendees aren’t up to the task of making games up on the fly, though, there are people hard at work to make sure that there will be something to play while we all mill around Moscone:

Gamelab puts on a game at GDC every year; this time around, it’s the sinister-sounding “Gangs of GDC.” I’m hoping that it won’t actually involve attendees getting rolled by roving mobs of conference organizers; that would remind me too much of the stupid Assassin game that folks used to play when I was in college.

Anne Toole and Sande Chen also running a game, as a way of introducing their newly formed venture, The Writers Cabal. It should be fun, as any scavenger hunt that doesn’t involve staying up all night digging in snow wins points with me. And after all, isn’t the acquisition of phat lewt in the form of vendor tchotchke the ultimate goal of any conference? (If pens and stress balls are the trade show equivalent of rat tails and bear pelts, free copies of games are the +3 Epic Hammer of Bonking. I just hope I don’t have to run back to my hotel too often to dump inventory.)

At any rate, it’s always good to see people remember that games don’t have to involve expensive dev kits or 20-page rule books, or even a magic circle. You just need some people who are in the mood to play, and an excuse to let them go at it. And the tchotchke, of course.