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Subject: Is one the lonliest number at gaming conventions ? rss

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Chris Kovac
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If you are like I you usually attend at least one gaming convention a year be it a small local one or something like Essen or Gencon. Now most people try and go to meet up with friends or go with the spouse/kids. If you have two to four players it is the best to play most Euros these days. However what if you are like I and go solo. Then you start to have issues. Yes you can go to gaming demos and sign up for tournaments. However for gaming demos especially at the major conventions to accommodate one player for a multi player game is tough. You need other players to play the game and having the game company rep teach the game is more efficient than having him have to play the game which ties him up. I am not saying that game companies will not accommodate "single" gamers but it is a lot easier to show the game to a group of gamers rather than just one. Another feature of many conventions now have gaming rooms or libraries where gamers can check out games old and new and try them out on there own. As a single gamer it is very hard to join up with a group (hey you could be axe murder for all they know) so often these rooms are not of much use to single gamers. What I would like to see is the organizers creating areas where singles and couples could be joined up to for ad hoc gaming groups. It would allow for more people to get the full gaming experience out of a convention and allow for more interaction between gamers as a whole. So that is my semi-rant. So what do you think ? Are conventions biased against single gamers or not ? If so what do you think gaming conventions could do to mitigate this issue ?

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Eric Brosius
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This may possibly apply to some cons, but it doesn't apply to all of them. For example, at the World Boardgaming Championships you need only show up at the scheduled time and place for a tournament game and you'll get to play (I should include the fine print: to be safe, you should bring a copy of the game.) And there are plenty of cons where the culture involves inviting people to join you.

I suspect that the larger cons are more likely to be challenging for singles than the smaller ones.
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Joe Huber

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mrtoronto wrote:
So what do you think ? Are conventions biased against single gamers or not ? If so what do you think gaming conventions could do to mitigate this issue ?


No, not in my experience. As my wife is not a gamer, I attend most conventions by myself, and I've never had a problem. Of course, I have a preference for smaller conventions, which likely mitigates the issue for me. But even at Essen, I didn't find it to be a problem. And I'm strongly introverted and mildly agoraphobic; if I can deal with it, I have a hard time imagining it to be an overwhelming problem.
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I've never been to a con, but I've been to board game meet-ups both solo and with a friend and I much prefer solo.

It is far easier to break away from a group that is setting up a game you aren't interested in if you are by yourself than it is if your friend is with you. Especially if they are willing to play that game.
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Gregor Terrill
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mrtoronto wrote:

Another feature of many conventions now have gaming rooms or libraries where gamers can check out games old and new and try them out on there own. As a single gamer it is very hard to join up with a group (hey you could be axe murder for all they know) so often these rooms are not of much use to single gamers.

I think this is totally untrue. The main draw of all the conventions here in Ottawa are open gaming libraries, and I've gone to many by myself. If you see a group in the library, just talk to them. Ask them if they're looking for/can accommodate another player. I think you'll find most people are open to meeting new people - they're at a convention, after all.
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The Gen Con game library, Origins board room, and BGG.con all have "players wanted" signs specifically so people can join games with others. At all three events people are very accommodating and allow strangers to play with them.
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monchi
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I would suspect in many ways one is a better number if your intent is to play games. If you go with a group the only advantage is that you have enough people to play the games you want to play, but it also means you all need to agree on the games you want to play. Going solo gives you far greater flexibility.
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Adria D
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monchichi wrote:
I would suspect in many ways one is a better number if your intent is to play games. If you go with a group the only advantage is that you have enough people to play the games you want to play, but it also means you all need to agree on the games you want to play. Going solo gives you far greater flexibility.

I agree with this sentiment. My fiance and I arrive at Cons/gaming events together, but we don't play all our games together. This is a chance for us to play games the other person isn't a fan of - he'll go to tabletop minis, and I'll look for euros.

If I'm setting up a game at a Con and we're not at full player capacity, I usually try to keep an eye out for singles/couples who show interest or appear to be looking for a game.

If you see someone setting up a game you're interested in, just smile, say hi, and ask if there's room. Most importantly, show interest. They might not feel comfortable inviting random people walking by, but if you show interest in the game, they're probably more likely to invite you to play, or say yes to your request to play.
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Katherine Boag
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BGBTB had a system where they had some flags you could put up if you were setting up a game and needed more players or someone to teach. So a person looking for games to join could easily see which games needed more, or could set up themselves with a game and a flag. This was a smaller con (>500), so the staff were also running around to help find what was needed for flagged games.
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Christopher Dearlove
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As someone who runs a small convention (www.sorcon.co.uk) as organisers we would try to ensure that we tried to introduce people who are floating and can't find a game to other people in the hope of making sure people aren't left out. Many of course can jump in and do that for themselves. But we aren't perfect, and in particular we may not spot this. So we'd ask people stuck to ask us for help. That may not work in a thousand strong convention, and certainly wouldn't work at Essen (which is not actually a convention but a trade show, btw). But if at a smaller event (we'd like to get to over a hundred, we've been a little below that) I hope that should be part of what is offered.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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I've been staying away from the big conventions because I can't expect my non-gamer wife to tag along and it's just not as fun to geek out all by yourself.

Local boardgame meetups and "mini-cons" are nice though because you can sign up for games ahead of time to avoid possibly lurking and trying to join a game.

Likewise WBC is more of a gaming competition so you'll definitely get to play.

BGG.CON is more about community and less about vendors and publishers, so if you're going to jump into a national con for the first time alone it's not a bad choice.
 
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CHAPEL
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I think it mostly comes down to your personality than it does the affect of the convention. I've been 'a single' at many a cons past, and have never had an issue meeting and playing with new people.
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Chuck Knutson
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I am going to my first Totalcon solo. My plan is to bring some interesting games which I have trouble getting to the table, claim a table, and see who wants to join.
 
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John Peterson
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MWChapel wrote:
I think it mostly comes down to your personality than it does the affect of the convention. I've been 'a single' at many a cons past, and have never had an issue meeting and playing with new people.


I agree with this. You'll find cliques of gamers who come together, play together, and make it a "just us" social event, but, in my experience, you need to be open to trying to jump in on a game. Some will say 'no', but others will say 'yes'. I've had great experiences gaming with complete strangers or even people who I barely knew (part of the larger gaming community I live in, but not from my groups). On top of that, once you're "in", you might find a gaming group for an entire weekend (and beyond).

In smaller gaming Cons, I'd advise checking in with the Gaming Coordinator and express your situation (I'm here by myself, but looking for people to game with...). They can hand you a library copy of a game and even point out people who wanted to try it, direct you to people doing demos, or other opportunities....
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Alex Matusiak
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mrtoronto wrote:

If you are like I you usually attend at least one gaming convention a year be it a small local one or something like Essen or Gencon. Now most people try and go to meet up with friends or go with the spouse/kids. If you have two to four players it is the best to play most Euros these days. However what if you are like I and go solo. Then you start to have issues. Yes you can go to gaming demos and sign up for tournaments. However for gaming demos especially at the major conventions to accommodate one player for a multi player game is tough. You need other players to play the game and having the game company rep teach the game is more efficient than having him have to play the game which ties him up. I am not saying that game companies will not accommodate "single" gamers but it is a lot easier to show the game to a group of gamers rather than just one. Another feature of many conventions now have gaming rooms or libraries where gamers can check out games old and new and try them out on there own. As a single gamer it is very hard to join up with a group (hey you could be axe murder for all they know) so often these rooms are not of much use to single gamers. What I would like to see is the organizers creating areas where singles and couples could be joined up to for ad hoc gaming groups. It would allow for more people to get the full gaming experience out of a convention and allow for more interaction between gamers as a whole. So that is my semi-rant. So what do you think ? Are conventions biased against single gamers or not ? If so what do you think gaming conventions could do to mitigate this issue ?



Just out of curiosity, are you a member of TABS or any other social gaming groups in Toronto/GTA?
 
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
I've been staying away from the big conventions because I can't expect my non-gamer wife to tag along and it's just not as fun to geek out all by yourself.


But for me, it is better than not geeking-out at all.

There is a liberation that comes with being at a gaming con by myself.

Sure, I'd love my wife to come along, but that's not her thing and never has been.

So, it is better she doesn't come, as I have the freedom to do what I want when I want for a few days.

My son has been coming with me lately (he is 11), and that has been awesome.

Still, I had some great times by myself.

I think you can have a ton of fun by yourself.

Kevin
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