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Con in a Box - Resources for boardgaming convention directors

This blog is dedicated to helping boardgaming convention directors run successful cons.

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Table of Contents

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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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...-
gamers-attend

Open Gaming Aids - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39424/open-gaming-aids

Administrative Supplies - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39422/administrative-supp...

Attendee game sales - https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39419/bring-buy-and-aucti...

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...-
con-directors-during-w
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Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:55 pm
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Getting Support from Game Publishers

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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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.

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

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... They have donated to a small con before.

Games Workshop (Blood Bowl, Space Hulk, Warhammer) custserv@gwplc.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 support@plaidhatgames.com. 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. Donated to a small con before.

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 support@playtmg.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 wes@wizkids.com. 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. http://wizards.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2305/

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 zmangames@asmodeena.com. I'm waiting on their response.

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?

Hi.

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?

Thanks!

Eric Engelmann
Director, Congress of Gamers, http://congressofgamers.org
6829 Needwood Road
Derwood MD 20855
USA

http://tinyurl.com/condirector (manual for small con directors)
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Wed Jan 4, 2017 2:25 pm
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Game Design Workshop

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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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 the UnPub option successfully for many years, and just had a great experience 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
7. Sales

As con director you could help with:
Peer support
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.

Play testing
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

Marketing
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.

Recognition
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
Critics' Choice
Playtesters' Choice
etc.

Face-to-Face with a publisher
I really don't know how one would arrange this. Anyone know?

Sales
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 .
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Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:17 pm
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Third annual workshop for small con directors during WBC?

Eric Engelmann
United States
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Maryland
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Meet and greet other con directors, share ideas, and discuss challenges at the third annual WBC workshop for directors of small boardgame conventions. I'll try to schedule it for Friday night, July 29, at 10pm. I'll post more details closer to meeting date.

Don't know WBC? Visit http://www.boardgamers.org/wbcindex.html
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Sat May 21, 2016 4:31 pm
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Optimizing your Con Web Site

Eric Engelmann
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There's a lot more to say than this, but it's a good start:
https://www.findgamers.us/news-item/qJ8=/Making_Convention_W...
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Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:57 pm
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Welcome Con Newbies

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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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.
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Mon Oct 5, 2015 4:24 am
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Resources Links for Con Directors

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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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
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Sat May 9, 2015 12:27 pm
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Transport and Lodging - Helping gamers attend

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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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.

https://www.airbnb.com/s/1150-Carnation-Dr%252E-Rockville--M...

http://www.hotels.com/search.do?resolved-location=GEO_LOCATI...

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://CouchSurfing.org
http://Flat-Club.com, CoG link: http://flat-club.com/Flat/Search?location=Rockville,%20MD,%2...
http://www.hospitalityclub.org (http://secure.hospitalityclub.org/hc/hcworld.php?city=11624)
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...

http://Alterkeys.com

##Hospitality service
##Pasporta Servo
##Roomorama
##Servas Open Doors
##Travelmob
##Tripping
##Vacation Rentals By Owner
##Wimdu
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Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:54 pm
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Open Gaming Aids

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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Open gaming has been part of every con I've ever attended. The easy way to manage this is to just provide some table space for it and let attendees fend for themselves. This works fine when the attendees mostly know each other, but I think con directors can do more to provide a better open gaming experience at larger cons.

For larger cons, here are some suggestions to help players get seated.

1. Provide access to a Games Library with plenty of popular and easy-entry titles. Splendor, Ticket to Ride, and Settlers of Catan are typical titles.
2. Get volunteers to demo tournament games, especially new titles, at fixed times and locations.
3. Provide simple signage, such as that used at WBC, to indicate tables looking for players, teachers, or learners. A cardstock tent is OK, a triangular prism tower (corrugated plastic sheet material cut into three rectangles and taped together) is better. Here are examples for GCOM's Winter Game Fest. http://emsps.com/wgf/opengaming/
4. A Scheduled Open Gaming (SOG) system is more work, and I've never seen it work as well as I'd like, but it's an area I'm thinking about and working on. Here is what WBC is doing (a fairly formal, vetted process): http://www.boardgamers.org/wbc14/sopengaming.htm

I'm using a Google Docs spreadsheet for the Congress of Gamers SOG. Every visitor has full read-write access. I'll change it to read-only with select editors and email requests for others if there is misbehavior, but there's been no serious issue after three conventions. All visitors can now view and edit the up-to-the-minute SOG schedule even during the con. Here's the link to the spreadsheet:
http://emsps.com/cog16.

Note that I discovered the hard way that requests for editing rights are more likely to be sent to the owner's GMail account, than to an email address you place in the spreadsheet instructions. So do check your GMail account daily for edit requests if you offer that option.

I'm also using an optional Geeklist discussion with links to spreadsheet entries. Your SOG volunteer leader will create a geeklist and add entries for each posting, since posters may not be handy with BGG use. BGG veterans could create their own entries and links.

Just set up a con using an batch of pre-scheduled open gaming events optimized for maximum play time. I used the tourney schedule from one con (Congress of Gamers) for scheduled open gaming in GCOM's Winter Game Fest. Check it out on: http://emsps.com/wgf/scheduledgames/directorspicks.htm
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Sun Mar 1, 2015 10:55 pm
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Volunteers

Eric Engelmann
United States
Derwood
Maryland
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Even superman couldn't run a con by himself. You really need lots of talented volunteers to run an affordable and sustainable con. With only a few workhorses, even the most enthusiastic will burn out after a couple of cons. The old saying is that MANY hands make light work. So, how do you recruit and retain LOTS of volunteers? First, make a master list of activities and break them down into the smallest pieces that can be efficiently done by one person.

The con director would ideally have no at-con tasks assigned. He should focus on pre-con and post-con activities. This makes it easier for him to fill in when someone can't fulfill their assignment, needs help, or something unexpected happens.

For example, "Games Library" could be broken down into:
1. Solicit, assemble and share list of available games
2. Pack games for transport (if centrally stored)
3. Transport games and/or transport shelving
4. Set up shelving
5. Unpack and shelve games
6. Straighten games several times per day, during play breaks
7. Pack games (checking inventory for shrinkage)
8. Pack shelving
9. Transport games/shelves

Getting a volunteer to do all of that is much harder than getting someone to volunteer for just one piece. For example, a very local guy might be perfect just for shelf setup and/or takedown. Even the busiest gamer can be begged/praised or shamed into doing 10 minutes of work. Getting a gamer to contribute something will also often build their sense of community, making this a better world!

Marketing could be broken down into:
1. Flier design
2. Flier printing
3. Flier distribution and posting
4. Newspaper press releases
5. BGG
6. Local clubs
7. Meetup.com
8. email direct shots

Snack bar could be broken down into:
1. Creating shopping list (guidelines, really)
2. Shopping and delivery to con
3. Snack bar setup
4. Snack bar shifts (don't leave a lot of cash in the till, or course)
5. Pizza order process
6. Pizza order pickup (if you don't do delivery)
7. Pizza dispensing
8. Remainders selloff/distribution
9. Packup/cleanup

Recruiting volunteers
To find volunteers for your convention, first approach people who already volunteer at gaming events in your community. If they are already spread too thin, they may have suggestions for others you might approach. If it's a non-profit con, check out service opportunities at local high schools. Many states force teens to "volunteer" before they will let them graduate. If you are a parent who already has experience shaping a child into a productive adult, you already know that you definitely do NOT want a forced teen laborer, but a school's service program may make it easy for you to recruit enthusiastic volunteers and do some marketing at the same time More to follow...

Retaining volunteers
Managing volunteers isn't easy. It's sometimes said that you'd have to be crazy to work for free when you could be having fun playing games. Unless you want to manage crazy people, you need to turn the work into something rewarding and/or fun. It's much easier to retain volunteers who feel a sense of accomplishment and ownership of their activity. You can do this with a shirt, a special badge or badge holder, perks (free admission, no auction fees, free lunch, etc.), web site commendations, announcements, listings on flier, web site, and program, etc. For some people, a few words of sincere thanks is all that's needed. Take good photos of volunteers helping out, and put them on your con's web site. More to follow...

Registering Volunteers
I'm trying http://SignUpGenius.com as an alternative to volunteers emailing me.
See http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0545aba92c7-volunteers for an example con volunteer form.
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Sun Mar 1, 2015 10:51 pm
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