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Questions about a gaming convention

I was hanging out with a group of friends on Monday night. We started talking about gaming conventions, what we liked and didn't like about the cons we've been to, how we might do things differently.

That got me thinking: Among my gaming friends and connections, we have enough expertise to potentially start a gaming convention of our own. Obviously there are a host of logistic issues we'd have to solve. But the most important issues are: What would attract people to attend a gaming convention?

This blog post is the start of answering that question. If you have any interest in gaming, would you reply to this post and give us some idea:

- What kind of games do you like? Some examples: board games, stand-alone card games (e.g., deckbuilders), collectable card games, miniatures, role-playing games (tabletop or live-action).
- What length of game-play do you enjoy? Short (less than an hour), Medium (2-3 hours), Long (4+ hours)? This might vary depending on the type of game you like.
- Are there any games or styles of games you'd like to try?
- How far would you be willing to travel a to gaming con? (We're probably hold the con somewhere in Rockland or Bergen counties.)
- If you've been to a gaming con before, what did you like? What didn't you like?

One of us is preparing a more structured on-line poll to get some of this information. Until that poll is ready, I thought I'd ask for some informal responses. Just reply to this post with your answers. Feel free to forward it to anyone you know who's a gamer.




( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2016 12:39 am (UTC)
I'll get the ball rolling:

My favorite kinds of games are longer-style board games (on the order of 3+ hours), like Eclipse, Mage Knight, and Arkham Horror.

I also like tabletop role-playing games. I prefer the ones that emphasize story-telling over tables and charts. I'd really like to see how a professional runs a Fate Core-based game, to improve my own GMing abilities.

I also like short humorous or light-heared RPGs, like Paranoia, Toon, or Star Wars. Those I'd be willing to play in short one-off sessions.

I've never been to a gaming con. I've hung around the game room at Lunacon, which is held at a hotel 45 minutes from where I live. I've both commuted there every day from home, and stayed in the hotel, depending on my finances at the time.
Oct. 19th, 2016 11:34 am (UTC)
Local home-spun Cons
The two local home-spun Cons we go to have different vibes. WGGCon is 3 days of pick-up games and donation driven (about 200 people attend). ConnCon/FalCon has scheduled games with volunteers to teach them and pick-up games (anywhere from 200-500 people attend). ConnCon has grown from church hall to hotel in less then a decade it has a fixed price to attend. WGGCon is growing slower. Both of these grew out of gaming groups that met regularly. They've also grown during the time that the hobby board game industry has gone from fringe to 1.2 billion dollars.

Here are a few ideas.

1) Rental hall. Large enough for 50-75 people.
1a) Easy parking
1b) Open from 8am till 3am (for setup and cleanup)
2) Game library. The bigger the better
3) Website
4) Volunteers
Extras that would expedite growth.

5) Schedule of games to be taught. As many NEW games as possible.
6) Volunteers to teach games
7) Volunteers to run RPG's
8) Volunteers!
Here are a few things that would help post-con word of mouth

a) Door prizes
b) Auctions
c) raffles
d) Snacks/drinks for free (or low cost)

The reason I think a 50-75 person hall is helpful from the start is it will allow a Con to grow a following before it has to move. Teaching new games will draw gamers looking for the new hotness.

While I like WGGCon, I prefer ConnCon. WGG is an excuse to hang out and play games for days. I find we mostly hang out with the same people playing the same games. Conn puts us in new games with new people.

The folks that run these things work. Gaming time for organizers is slim to none and if the Con gets big...Slim leaves town!
Oct. 21st, 2016 01:33 pm (UTC)
Gaming conventions
Survey link coming soon!

In the meantime, here's my thoughts about gaming conventions.

I attend conventions to play favorite games that I don't get to play often enough and also to try new games. This applies to RGPS and Board games. I will occasionally play other types of games. Sometimes I will run a game at the convention.

A disorganized convention (little / no signage, disengaged or snarky volunteers, poor info about what/when/where for the games, bad communication with GMs, problematic registration process) is an interest killer for me. There's a difference between understaffed or having a logistical issue in an area and being pervasively and consistently a hot mess. I have more tolerance (albeit with some eyerolling) of a very rigid / rules-y convention that operates well than I do for coming into a convention where you are lucky if anyone can tell you were the registration booth is or what area the RPG tables are located.

I'm at a convention to game. Of secondary importance is vendors/dealers hall, and I'll hang out with friends or new acquaintances. If it is a large convention I will look for miniatures painting and terrain tutorials. I won't necessarily expect those at a small or local convention. Everything else -- autographs, movies, writing tutorials, guests of honor, auctions, contests, video game rooms -- are neatly piled in the "stuff I never do" category. And if I am in the mood for such things, I will seek out a media convention.

The only club games I consistently (one a year at Origins) participate in are the ShadowRun Missions. I have now played 2 Adventure League games. Remains to be seen whether I will play more; I wasn't a member of RPGA or Pathfinder clubs.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )