Eric EngelmannUnited States
MarylandEric's actual photo!
So you want to run a con... - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/34647/so-you-want-run-con
Resources Links for Con Directors - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/41832/resources-links-con...
Budgeting and Logistics - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39420/budgeting-and-logis...
Venue Selection and Negotiation - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39416/venue-selection-and...
Feeding the Gamers - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39421/feeding-gamers
Optimizing your Con Web Site - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/52162/optimizing-your-con...
Volunteers - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39423/volunteers
Tournaments - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39414/tournaments
Getting Support from Game Publishers - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/61156/getting-support-gam...
Game Design Workshop - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/57184/game-design-worksho...
Welcome Newbies - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/46460/write-tutorial-con-...
Transport and Lodging - Helping gamers attend - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39757/transport-and-lodgi...-
Open Gaming Aids - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39424/open-gaming-aids
Welcoming Diverse Gamers - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/81882/welcoming-diverse-g...
Administrative Supplies - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39422/administrative-supp...
Attendee game sales - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39419/bring-buy-and-aucti...
Running a No-ship Math Trade - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/71771/running-no-ship-mat...
Awards, shirts, and swag - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39418/awards-shirts-and-s...
Vendor/Exhibitor Tables - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39417/vendorexhibitor-tab...
Registration Process - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39413/registration-proces...
Games Library - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39412/games-library
Marketing Your Convention - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39411/marketing-your-conv...
Advertising Your Con on BGG - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39415/advertising-your-co...
Third annual workshop for small con directors during WBC - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/54318/third-annual-worksh...-
This blog is dedicated to helping boardgaming convention directors run successful cons.
11 Oct 2018
- [+] Dice rolls
05 Oct 2018
Anyone who has spent time around gatherings of board gamers knows they have their fair share (and more), of quirks, needs, and interesting personalities. Board games may be unique in the way they enable face-to-face social engagement across class, educational, economic, gender, disability, and neurodiversity lines.
Many small con directors are unaware just how many board game players in their area are reluctant to attend a convention out of fear of exclusion, ostracism, harassment, or various emotional challenges.
Let's be clear: A con director has VERY limited abilities to make the world a perfect place, but can make it just a little bit better with just a little effort. That bit of effort may be enough to encourage a stay-at-home gamer to venture out of their comfort zone and attend your con, enriching both their life and your con's bottom line.
So, what practical things can you do?
The most important thing you can do is to make sure everyone who visits your con's web site knows they will be welcome. I'm working on boilerplate and checklists to make this as simple as possible.
For now, here's a draft blurb:
Template text a con director might use:
Board Gaming is an activity everyone can enjoy, and board game conventions are a great opportunity for ALL gamers to get together and play. Gamers who are deaf, color-blind, have dexterity issues, have sensitivities to crowds, noise and some types of lighting are welcome. If you'd like an accommodation you think might be possible, given our very limited labor and budget, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your need and requests or suggestions. Please don't be shy! Even when we can't help, we'll still appreciate your request.
Check List draft:
1. Is there a quiet area stressed gamers can decompress in?
2. Is there a gaming space with abundant natural light?
3. Which gaming rooms have great light? Which have poor or modest lighting?
4. Are there gaming rooms which are expected to be quieter than others? etc.
5. Distances from handicap spaces to building entrances
6. Is there all gender restroom marked as such? A single occupancy restroom?
7. Are chairs available which are sturdy enough for a VERY heavy, ambulatory gamer?
8. Do restrooms have a handicap stall with grab bar?
9. Is the WiFi good? How is cell phone reception in various parts of the facilities?
10. Service or companion animal restrictions?
11. Are elevators and escalators actually working?
12. Are there any rooms that are NOT wheelchair accessible (due to renovations, etc.)?
13. Which entrances have automatic doors?
14. Will exposure to elements be necessary when moving between activities (exposure to rain between buildings, etc.)
15. Are any lines expected to be outdoors, with exposure to rain, cold, sun?
- [+] Dice rolls
17 Dec 2017
If you are not familiar with Math Trades, read up on them here:
then return before thinking about how you might run one at your con.
OK, how best to organize and execute a math trade at a small convention?
Getting a volunteer to create and execute the trade
It's best to delegate this task, but you may need to do the first one in your area yourself. There are two major software systems for running trades (http://bgg.activityclub.org/olwlg/ and Abecorn.com). If trades have taken place at a convention within driving distance of yours, there's some advantage to run the same system, since the learning curve appears to be substantial for many of the potential participants and the volunteer is more likely to be familiar with it (and so more willing to volunteer to run the trade).
Marketing the trade to traders and attendees
The first basic principle is to start the trade early enough that your con marketing campaign follows it. The second is to make sure there are enough games offered when attendees first visit the trade list to persuade them to add their own. Posting games for trade does take some effort, and some people won't want to invest the time on a trade that doesn't look promising. How do you do that? Start by posting some of your own games. Remember, you don't HAVE to trade them. Get a friend or two to seed some trade material. Beg them to do so EARLY, so that the first traders don't visit a ghost town, and not return.
Exchange methods and benefits of each
1. Drop off before 2pm, pick up after 2pm - This is what I use at my cons. Print a sheet for each successful trader, including trader's BGG name (the one they traded as) and the games they get and give. Place the sheets alphabetically on a table or floor area. Requires traders to drop off games next to each sheet BEFORE 2pm, then pick up their games any time after 2pm. Advantages are minimal time taken away from gaming (gamers can drop games just before they start an 11am game, for example, and pick up when their game ends at 2:45pm. Disadvantage is that your games are left unattended for a brief time. "Shrinkage" has never been a problem in any of the math trades I've seen. I generally place the trade area next to the con's vendor, to encourage traffic in that area.
2. Real time drop-off line - As traders arrive at the 2pm trade location, the first arriving trader stands in the first position in a growing line, places their games in front of them and holds up a sign with their trading name. As additional traders arrive, they hold up their own sign and traverse the line, picking up and dropping off games with traders who arrived before them, then taking their station at the end of the line, their own sign. This works well if ALL your traders show up on time, have their signs prepared, and know what they are trading and with whom. If that's not the case, this gets pretty messy. I don't recommend this for any real-world group of gamers.
3. Real time assembly and shout out - Traders gather at 2pm. The Trade organizer then does a roll call of traders. As each is called, the givers and takers step forth and exchange. This works well for small groups when all traders show up on time, but still pulls them away from any games in progress.
Problems and suggestions for managing them
1. Help attendees hook up outside the scheduled trade time Some traders REALLY want to play the game they traded for ASAP. Sometimes personal emergencies prevent arrival at the swap time. It may also happen that the seller discovers pieces/parts/condition issues they were unaware of at listing time or the buyer discovers a problem after the trade, but before leaving the con. Each of these could benefit from giving traders the ability to easily contact each other DURING the con. The trade organizer could offer traders the option of submitting mobile phone details in a BGG personal message to the organizer, who could then share them on the trade sheets (see #1 above), on a clipboard at the trade location, or in a non-crawlable page (for example, here's this page's link with spaces added. https:// boardgamegeek. com/blogpost/71771/ running-no-ship-math-trade
You could also remind traders to exchange contact info with each other, but that's a lot of duplicative work for participants.
2. Traders may want to sell the games that don't trade
To help them use the con's auction store or auction for this, post the trade results BEFORE any Auction Store and/or Auction submission deadlines.
3. A very small portion of traders won't show up for the trade.
I'll guesstimate this at one in 30 ("Life" can happen to anyone!). Broken trades are generally resolved by the missing trader paying to ship the games he's getting and giving, or compensating other traders with cash.
- [+] Dice rolls
04 Jan 2017
Wouldn't it be great if game publishers showered your small con with free copies of hot new games, visits by celebrity game designers, free trips to GenCon, etc? Yeah, but that won't happen. Publishers are businesses, and struggle every day to make even a small profit for their investors. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how your small con can help them sell more games.
For publishers, it's mostly about exposure. They need gamers to see their games and play their games, which makes those gamers (and the many other gamers con attendees influence) MUCH more likely to BUY their games. Will your con have 200 gamers? How many of those will see, play, or buy the publisher's game as a result of attending? Asking for a copy for the con's library doesn't sound like a great investment unless that copy will be promoted and extensively played at the con. Before contacting a vendor, be sure you have a plan for their donation that has a very good prospect of getting them high exposure.
Will it be used in demo sessions, showcased in a play-to-win program, or promoted as a prize? Will it be highlighted on the con's web site during con marketing? Will results of play at the con be shared with a broader gaming community? How much "buzz" will the publisher get from their contribution?
I'm working on a list (below) that identifies contact methods and requirements for potential support from major game publishers. I've added short lists of games that I sometimes see in organized play at conventions. This is obviously just the early start of a work in progress. I'll migrate this to a Geeklist when the bulk of my research is completed, so hyperlinks are easier to create. The sad truth is that most of these publishers don't even respond to small con director inquiries. I'll do three attempts with each, one month apart, so you can see which publishers to not bother reaching out to.
Alea (Castles of Burgundy, Princes of Florence, San Juan, Macao) English speaking areas should check their licensees(?) including Rio Grande. I didn't attempt contact.
Arcane Wonders (Mage Wars Arena, Sheriff of Nottingham) Ambassadors program allows YOU to be an ambassador, but doesn't appear to have a way to send an ambassador to a small con. http://www.arcanewonders.com/contact-us#formBuilderCSSIDCont... They have previously been a good partner to another small con. I got a quick response with a one-time use 50% discount coupon code offer for their web store.
Ares (War of the Ring) http://www.aresgames.eu/contact-us I filled out their form, and got an email the next day from Isabella Long, Isabella.Long @ aresgames.eu, asking what type of shows my cons are, where they are, and what the attendance and attendees are like. After giving that info, she quickly replied that she'd try to donate some games to the con library a couple months before the con. On email follow-up a month before my next con, she sent copies of Odyssey and Aztlan for my cons' library.
Asmodee (Mage Knight, Blood Rage, Eclipse, T.I.M.E. Stories, 7 Wonders, Troyes, Kemet, Sherlock holmes Consulting Detective, Arcadia Quest, Nations, Splendor, Jaipur, Lewis & Clark, Mysterium, Seasons, Dixit, Merchants & Marauders, Manhattan Project, Takenoko, A Few Acres of Snow, Hanabi, Flash Point, Pandemic, Formula D, Diplomacy, Liars Dice, Can't Stop) They have an events space where you can create an entry for your con. https://community.asmodee.us/forum/133-events/ General contact form: https://www.asmodee.us/en/contact/form/ No response to first form completion.
Bezier (Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Suburbia, Werewolf) Sent generic email info request. Got an email back from the Double Exposure team (which represents Bezier and 60 other publishers) asking for event details. http://dexposure.com/envoy
Catan Studio (Catan) Does not have a program to send games to conventions, but could help you run a Catan National Qualifiers Event, which cons of any size may run. Contact Donna@catanstudio.com. Basic requirement is payment of $250 plus transportion costs to send your tournament winner to nationals.
Columbia (Hammer of the Scotts, Julius Ceasar, Crusader Rex, Slapshot) eMail James Eisert castlearchon @ gmail.com. He'll want to know: 1) Where and when is the convention? 2) If there a fan base of any Columbia games (wargames, HarnWorld RPG, or family) already in the area 3) What is the expected crowd? 4) If someone is running a Columbia game in a specific slot or tourney 5) The web site for the con
I answered the questions, but got no further response.
Days of Wonder (Five Tribes, Ticket to Ride, Memoir '44, Small World, BattleLore, Quadropolis, Pirates Cove, Mystery of the Abbey) After you create an account, you can place events in their online calendar, https://www.daysofwonder.com/en/event/new/ but I could find no contact form or email address. I did not attempt contact by snail mail.
Eagle-Gryphon (Through the Ages, Brass, Railways of the World, Gallerist, Age of Steam, Rococo, For Sale, Struggle of Empires, Empires: Age of Discovery, Roll Through the Ages, Can't Stop, Vinhos) Contact by customer-service @ eagle-gryphon.com Awaiting reply to my email.
Fantasy Flight (Star Wars: Rebellion, Imperial Assault, and X-Wing Minis, Android: Netrunner, Mansions of Madness, Eldritch Horror, Twilight Imperium, Battlestar Galactica, Tigris & Euphrates, Descent: Journeys in the Dark, Game of Thrones, Arkham Horror, Cosmic Encounter, Ingenious, Merchant of Venus) I originally completed their default form and, after a few weeks, got a reply to use this form: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/ffg-event-support-appli... I completed the form on 10/19/2018. They have donated to a small con before.
Games Workshop (Blood Bowl, Space Hulk, Warhammer) email@example.com Sent an email asking if they have someone who could demo paint and play.
GMT (Twilight Struggle, Dominant Species, Commands & Colors: Ancients, Paths of Glory, Combat Commander: Europe, Here I Stand, 1960: The Making of the President, Battle Line, Virgin Queen, Thunder Alley) I sent an email to gmtoffice @ gmtgames.com. Got a reply after a couple of weeks asking what games were of interest. Explained myself and am awaiting their reply.
Hans Im Gluck This company develops many popular games, but others publish them.
IELLO (Through the Ages, Codenames, Tzolk'in, Alchemists, Star Realms, Galaxy Trucker, Dungeon Petz, Dungeon Lords, Space Alert, The Resistence, King of Tokyo, Egizia, Vinhos, Innovation, Automobile, Last Will, King of New York, Smash Up) Web site has links for organized play, but they don't work. EMail sent to info @ iellogames.com. They responded with an offer to meet at the New York Toy Fair and links to Donation and Ding and Dent games. The offered games didn't include their top ranked games, but did include Innovation and Mexica. You will have to pay shipping for the free games, so don't ask for anything you don't actually want.
Kosmos English versions of their games are published by Rio Grande, Mayfair, and Fantasy Flight.
Lookout English versions of their games are published by others, I assume.
MayFair (Caverna, Agricola, Le Havre, Patchwork, Tigris & Euphrates, Steam, 1830, Grand Austria Hotel, London, Automobile) Their website offers event @ mayfairgames.com for "Events". I sent an email. Awaiting a response.
North Star (Evolution, Wits & Wagers) North Star has been a GREAT partner to conventions in the metro DC area, which is their company city. They have provided library copies, performed demos, led games, and rented space. Contact them at https://www.northstargames.com/pages/contact-us
Plaid Hat (Dead of Winter, Summoner Wars, Mice and Mystics) Donated to a small con before. You can register your event on their web site: http://www.plaidhatgames.com/events/create. To request volunteers, etc. use firstname.lastname@example.org. I emailed and am awaiting a response.
Portal Others distribute their games.
Queen (Alhambra, Shogun, Lancaster, Fresco, Wallenstein, Kingdom Builder) http://www.queen-games.com/en/the-queen-games-publishing-tea... Completed form directing questions to their VP, Beate Haasbach-Gupta. Awaiting reply.
Rio Grande (Puerto Rico, and MANY others). If a convention has a permanent game library for the attendees, they may contribute games to it. If you do have a permanent game library at your convention, send an email to Scott Tepper, Customer Service/Operations, rggscott @ aol.com about a month beforehand, and he may send you some games for the library. Rio Grande doesn't like their donated games used in giveaways or as prizes. Donated to a small con before.
Steve Jackson (Love Letter, Munchkin) Donated to a small con before.
Stonemaier (Scythe, Viticulture) I asked them for a promo prize for the Scythe tournament I was GM'ing at PrezCon and they sent me a new pack of Scythe metal coins. Sweet prize! I haven't asked about other con support, but they do have an ambassador program that was to send PrezCon FOUR experts to help with the Scythe tourney, demos, learning games, etc. I never found them. They just donated coins and a map extension for Scythe prizes at my next two cons.
Stronghold (Terraforming Mars, Gret Western Trail, La Granja, Village, Kanban) Contact form is on http://strongholdgames.com/contact-us/ and email at info AT strongholdgames DOT com. They offer a 75% discount on demo copies of games for retail stores. No response yet to my form entry.
Tasty Minstrel (Orleans, Village, Eminent Domain) Contact them at email@example.com Awaiting reply to my email. A separate contact indicated Double Exposure supports Tasty Minstrel Games.
Treefrog (A Few Acres of Snow, London, Automobile) Looks like they are just designing now, not publishing. Not sure about their existing titles. Haven't tried contacting them.
Victory Point I've never seen any of their games in organized play, but they do donate games. See http://www.victorypointgames.com/contact-us/
Wizkids (Mage Knight Board Game) The only contact method I know of is firstname.lastname@example.org. They responded quickly to tell me they only support WizKids Official Events, including WizKids Opens or conventions they attend. They will share your con info on their social media pages.
Wizards of the Coast (Lords of Waterdeep, Magic: The Gathering, RoborRally, Vegas Showdown, Betrayal at House on the Hill) You have to create an account, then complete a form to contact them. It took multiple tries, but I did finally get a form response to my request:
"Unfortunately Wizards of the Coast does not have the ability to provide unattended convention support, however we do have a process for requesting special guests for your event! We'd ask that you reply with the information requested in our page on Convention Support, linked below:
I didn't act on this, since my cons don't feature special guests.
Ystari (Caylus, Shakespeare, Yspahan, Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective) As of 1/16/2017, Ystari does not provide any support to small cons.
Z-Man (Terra Mystica, Agricola, Robinson Crusoe, Le Havre, Voyages of Marco Polo, Fields of Arle, Russian Railroads, A Feast for Odin, Pandemic, Stone Age, Troyes, Ora et Labora, Goa, Hansa Teutonica, Carcassonne, Agricola: All Creatures Great and Small, 1960: The Making of the President, Dungeon Lords, Clash of Cultures, Endeavor, Merchants and Marauders, Vinhos, Bruxelles, Saint Petersburg) For event support, contact email@example.com. Unfortunately I got no response for many months. I sent another email 9-4-2017. Awaiting a reply.
Additional game publishers who have been good partners to other small cons in the past: AEG, Warlord Games, GameSalute, Guillotine Games/CMoN, I Will Never Grow Up Gaming (Prizes), Field Marshal Games (Prizes)
Double Exposure represents 60 publishers, including Stronghold, Bezier, Tasty Minstrel, HABA, and Victory Point. Contact Avonelle Wing, avonelle @ dexposure.com or visit http://www.dexposure.com/home.html
The following is boiler plate text I'm using when contacting publishers:
What support is available to directors of board game conventions?
I run small board game conventions, with 250-350 gamers, in the DC Metro area, and would like to explore how to get your support for featured XXXXXXXX games. This could include any of: ambassadors to demo games, GM tourneys, etc., game promo items for prizes, play-to-win copies, library copies of games, ad space in con program/website, etc. Could your marketing team let me know what might be available and under what circumstances?
Director, Congress of Gamers, http://congressofgamers.org
6829 Needwood Road
Derwood MD 20855
http://tinyurl.com/condirector (manual for small con directors)
- [+] Dice rolls
26 Aug 2016
Yeah, it's a common dream to want to be a best-selling author, a millionaire athlete, a famous actor, a rock-n-roll star, and, in the gaming community, a top-100 BGG game designer. The thing is, a gamer doesn't have to actually GET there to have a great time pursuing the dream.
A local boardgaming convention event can provide a great deal of support to aspiring designers. In my part of the USA, a con director can choose to organize something through UnPub (http://unpub.net) or Break My Game (http://breakmygamegroup.com), or roll their own. I've used UnPub and have had great experiences with Break My Game. If you don't have a similar group in your area, here's a list of ideas and resources you might use to produce an independent event.
I'll start with an outline and flesh it out as time permits.
What designers want/need (often not the same)
Depending on where they are in the development cycle, they may want/need:
1. Peer support
2. Play testing
3. Feedback from testers
4. Marketing (direct to customer/Kickstarter prep)
5. Recognition (awards for a most novel, best, etc. design)
6. Face-to-face with a publisher
8. Bits bucket
As con director you could help with:
Get the designers in a room with each other, preferably an hour BEFORE the play testing begins. Remind them to bring business cards, paper, pens, camera, etc. Name badges should be available. If you have an active designer in your area, have him meet and greet during that hour and get a conversation going. Arrange a group lunch. A Q&A with an authority or publisher could be a huge draw.
Ensure con traffic will discover the designer area and is encouraged to play. Be sure it's on your web site, and post a welcome sign at the door. If the designers have art, use it. Play testing helps designers notice rules that are confusing to new users, broken combos, and other design flaws using a series of "fresh" gamers.
Feedback from testers
Yes, your friends all tell you the game you've wrapped yourself around is super-swell, but they are friends. Anonymous feedback from new users let's you see the cold, hard, unforgiving truth. Your design is great, but rules suck. Your design sucks but they like your presentation. "Too many notes." Con management should provide an anonymous feedback mechanism in addition to voting. Using a checklist will encourage completion of the form. Anyone have a finished form to share? Here's UnPub.net's online form: http://unpub.net/feedback/
Here's a first effort printed form I was thinking of using: http://emsps.com/cog/downloads/PlayTesterFeedbackForm.docx
Put each game design/designer and a blurb on your con web site in a developers' showcase space. If the designers have art, use it.
Awards cost a few bytes of data on a web site, or perhaps a nominal trophy/plaque/certificate. Is an award from your local con going to persuade a company to risk $50K on a game design? Almost certainly not (though it might help just a bit with demonstrating drive), but it can go part way to explaining time spent to puzzled friends or spouse. It's the "participation" age, so the more awards the better. How about these:
Most innovative game concept (this one could actually draw publisher attention)
Best implemented game prototype
XXX Con Design Competition Champion
Face-to-Face with a publisher
I really don't know how one would arrange this. Anyone know?
Some designers may have a self-published earlier game or a Kickstarter promotion under way. Let them know if it's OK for sales to occur, so they'll know whether to keep them secret or not . They might also arrange with one of the con's vendors to do any sales during the con on a consignment basis.
If you have a collection of odd game bits, abandoned game boards, boxes, etc., your designers might appreciate being able to get design bits from it. Open it up to your con's gamers and you build traffic the designers can snag into playtesting. Here's my current bits collection (some of which I harvest from game publisher overstocks). https://www.facebook.com/CongressOfGamers/photos/a.380875571...
- [+] Dice rolls
Meet and greet other con directors, share ideas, and discuss challenges at the fourth annual WBC workshop for directors of small boardgame conventions. I'll try to schedule it for Friday night, July 27, 2018, at 10pm. I'll post more details closer to meeting date.
Don't know WBC? Visit http://www.boardgamers.org/wbcindex.html
2018 meeting was cancelled for lack of interest. PM me if you'd like a physical or virtual meeting in 2019.
- [+] Dice rolls
16 Mar 2016
Please, please, please be sure to place the location, including your state, and the date, including the year, on the con's home page.
There's a lot more to say than this, but it's a good start:
There are MANY types of cons. Most con web sites are flashy and non-specific because form and hype really do sell. High attendance number estimates attract vendors and some gamers, but also discourage some others. If you specify that your con's focus is minis, or RPGs, or Magic, or Euros, you discourage the other gamers. Clever marketers with lots of time and resources handle this by tailoring messages towards each audience.
Publishing con photos
The easiest way to share photos of your con, with captions and titles, is with Imgur. Create an account and create a post. Add photos to that post and give them captions. Then make the post private (that's right) to get a URL you can place on your web site.
- [+] Dice rolls
04 Oct 2015
Creating a Welcoming Environment for Con Newbies
Write a Tutorial for Con Newbies (see comment post below)
And some material from Donna Prior, a veteran con organizer with strong, contemporary social skills:
All of our social media, interviews with press (radio, print, podcasts, press releases), both Kickstarter campaigns, our appearances at other cons (club/fan tables) is targeted on making a safe and welcoming environment for everyone. It is in our mission statement and everything.
We do have volunteers who do nothing but teach people games, help people get into games looking for more players. On our games submissions form, we ask folks to make RPGs accessible to all, no matter experience.
We host game days at local game stores, so people can meet us. We are all of the same mindset. Everyone can enjoying games and play games. We help people find games they enjoy.
Our panelists are pretty diverse, and we have a strong focus on supporting "how to" type talks.
We have plenty of crunchier games submitted, but we do a LOT of outreach for folks running gateway games.
We started our con this way, and we have attracted a volunteer list of many PAX Enforcers, who are all super friendly and helpful.
- [+] Dice rolls
09 May 2015
Here are links to resources other than this blog:
Another set of suggestions for running cons: http://www.trhonline.com/viewcat.pl?howtostartacon
SciFi con directors convention http://concomcon.com
Tabletop Game Convention Organizers https://www.facebook.com/groups/Conventions.Organizers/
Convention Organizers guild on BGG https://boardgamegeek.com/guild/921
Boardgame Convention Directors guild on BGG https://boardgamegeek.com/guild/2360
Generic small con wiki: http://conrunner.net/wiki
- [+] Dice rolls
11 Mar 2015
Transport for local gamers
Not everyone has a car. Let potential attendees know how to walk, bike, taxi, bus, and metro to your convention. See if any attendees are willing to do Metro station or bus station pickups. Note that Uber offers a link to a FREE ride. Put the link on your con web site and you get free ride credits, as well. Visit http://riders.uber.com/invite
Transport and lodging for non-Local attendees
Even local cons benefit in several ways by attracting at least a few distant gamers.
1. If you want to increase attendance, you should note that there are many, many more gamers who are distant from your con than local to it.
2. By virtue of the extra sacrifice needed to attend, distant gamers are likely to be more active gamers, and so they will likely be familiar with and expert at larger numbers of games than the median local attendee.
3. Distant gamers will likely play some different games, expansions, rules, strategies, etc. from the local crowd, which can tend toward incestuous play. Fresh is mostly good.
If having distant gamers attend sounds good, note that when your local con makes it easy and economical for distant gamers to attend, they are much more likely to do so (duh!). There are probably gamers two hours' drive away who would happily attend if they could just get a free ride and sleep on a cot for $40 a night. Since it (probably) will cost you nothing to help gamers share transport and lodging, it makes sense to do so.
In case you haven't thought of it, a shared Google map with markers showing gamers wanting/offering rides is free and easy. Here's an example with dummy data centered around my next convention. https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zWouItsOAQwY.kHgKoAVb.... Unfortunately, I've not gotten gamers to use this or any similar tool, so far. It may be that gamers just don't like the idea of sharing a ride with someone they don't know.
For helping gamers find rooms to share and gamers to share rooms, a BGG Geeklist is easy. Using Craig's List is riskier, since criminals looking for empty homes are more likely to troll Craig's List than BGG Geeklists.
Providing pre-constructed links to airbnb.com and Hotels.com for your area might be helpful to those who seldom travel, or who are blessed/cursed with corporate travel planners who normally do all their reservations for them. Here are sample links for Congress of Gamers.
Here are some competitors to airbnb.com. See if there are good matches for your con. If so, you might share a link to them.
http://HomeAway.com, CoG link: http://www.homeaway.com/search/world/region:1/keywords:rockv...
http://9flats.com, CoG link: http://www.9flats.com/searches?utf8=%E2%9C%93&mode=list&sear...
http://BeWelcome.com, CoG link: http://www.bewelcome.org/places/United%20States/US/Maryland/...
http://Flat-Club.com, CoG link: http://flat-club.com/Flat/Search?location=Rockville,%20MD,%2...
http://wimdu.com, CoG link: http://www.wimdu.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&city=Washington+D...
http://vrbo.com, CoG link: http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/maryland/capital/ro...
http://HouseTrip.com, CoG link: http://www.housetrip.com/en/search-holiday-apartments/rockvi...
##Servas Open Doors
##Vacation Rentals By Owner
You might also look up RV parks near your con and venue policies on RV parking.
- [+] Dice rolls