Last week's Edge of the Empire core rulebook release was well timed for my guest appearance at Kantcon. It meant I could run the full game for a variety of people several times in a very short time. Why would I care about that?
Easy. Practice. Nothing improves one's knowledge and skills for running a game than actually running the game. Convention events provide a unique opportunity to play the game multiple times in a row. Repetition really cements rules knowledge over time, but this is only one benefit. Want to improve in a short time? Run the same adventure multiple times at a con. Here's why:
You have to teach and explain rules to others.
This does two things. One, you have to know the rules well enough to explain them clearly. Two, every time you do it, you will refine your descriptions. There is some trial and error involved, so it won't always be for the better, but eventually it will improve.
The more you use a rule, the easier it is to remember it.
Players will force you to find the weird or uncommon rules.
Players do the craziest things...but sometimes they are perfectly reasonable, if not the first thing you might think of. Every time you need to pull out the book to find a uncommon rule, the better you will remember the rule, and the better you learn the game.
You will remember your mistakes and avoid them next time.
The players will not play like your regular group.
Or at least not exactly like your regular players. They will challenge your expectations and assumptions by the actions they try. Remember, surprises are fun. Usually.
You will play with different ages of players, and they will focus on different parts of the game.
This can be a challenge, as sometimes vastly different aged players don't always work well depending on the players. Still, it may highlight parts of the game you don't normally focus on.
Every session is different.
One of the best aspects of running an adventure multiple times is comparing how each group plays through a scene, starting with the same information. Not only that, but the groups will compare results, and have a great time seeing how clever they were...or not.
The more you run the same adventure, the better you will run it.
After running an adventure once, you learn the pit falls and rough spots . If it is your own adventure, it is basically a playtest. The next time, you will better explain a scene or know how you want to play a character. You will discover what the players pick up on, and where they go astray. You might even run it faster because you don't have to think up new character responses or look up how a rule works or pause as often to figure out the next scene or reaction.
Don't know a rule? Don't include it in your game.
This is a useful tip for new GMs especially. Don't know the starship rules yet? Avoid creating a need in the game you are running, and use other scenes instead. If you're running an adventure written by someone else, you might not have that option. So, another thing to try is using some rules in a very limited scope, with the bare minimum needed for the scene. You can build from there in later games.
So, for kantcon, I ran my own adventure, "Escape from Nar Shadda," a direct follow up to my Crates of Krayts adventure in the beta. I didn't have time to create characters, so I grabbed the free RPG day characters off of FFG's site and went with those. They are good con characters with the added benefit of experiencing how Obligation works. I also ran a beginner game session, and those turn out different every time.
If you haven't visited the FFG site since the book came out, you can now find a character sheet, ship sheet, and a group/base of operations sheet, all of which are useful.