Recommend
1 
 Thumb up
 Hide
8 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » General Gaming

Subject: Running a gaming con rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: convention [+] [View All]
Michael Leuchtenburg
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I have let myself be convinced to run gaming at a local convention (http://www.pi-con.org/). While I've been working cons in a few positions for a few years now, I've never run gaming before. So, I have a few questions for you folks.

Firstly, do you know of any good gaming conrunning resources? Mailing lists, forums, wikis, other websites - whatever.

Space. I have a choice between two possible spaces: 3000 square feet during the day, moving entirely to 2200 square feet at night when there are some other events in the 3000' space. Now, obviously, having to move would be annoying, but is it worth the trouble to get the extra space? About how many people would you say I can get in those spaces? I'm currently estimating around 20 square feet per person, which would indicate that in 2200 square feet it should be possible to get 110 people gaming - a decent number - and moving up to 3000 square feet would get me up to 150. Given that our total attendance last year was around 200, and that there are other parts to the con (it's a scifi/gaming con), that seems reasonable. But is 20 square feet per person a good estimate? If so, I'll almost certainly go with the space that doesn't require moving.

What kind of organization of gaming do you appreciate? Would you rather see more organized tournaments, or more open gaming? Keep in mind that there won't be a thousand people at this event, so the chances of a tournament for anything particularly heavy are roughly nil, much as I'd enjoy seeing them. But outside of tournaments, organized tutorial sessions? Other organized gaming which I'm not even thinking of?

Prize support! If we are going to have some tournaments, or even just a raffle, it'd be great to get some games from companies. Any suggestions on which companies I should approach and which I shouldn't bother with?

Lastly, if anyone knows of designers, publishers, etc. reasonably local to the Springfield, MA area, I'd love to hear about them so that I can invite them to come to the con, to demo, sit on panels, or just to game!

Thanks folks. I hope to see some of you there. I'll be pimping it when we get closer to the con, which will take place August 10-12, 2007, including more information about what I'm planning! Oh, and if anyone wants to help out, we can always use more staff - now *or* later.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chad Bergeron
United States
Framingham
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ah, thank you for mentioning the locality of the con towards the bottom. I could not find this info anywhere on the website. I help run a similarly sized convention (Intercon) out on the Chelmsford area.

Firstly, I think you are being very generous in your 20ft/person estimate. I'll bet you can squeeze it tighter than that, with a reasonable table layout. I think about 15ft/per could be done.

Second, if the con tops around 200-250, and there are other things going on, I wouldn't think more than 75% of the con would be gaming at once, at an outside estimate. That's just based on my experience that 10% of any con isn't doing anything scheduled at any specific time, because they're napping, or eating, or hanging out with others chatting in the hallways, etc. Of course, that can vary with the con, but at 2200 feet, and 150 simultaneous gamers, you should be ok.

Third, moving space _sucks_. It means people can't get into that 6 hour game of Roads and Boats, or that 8 hour game of Railroad Tycoon. Even if someone just wants to play some Pitchcar or Crokinole, they'll have to move sizeable equipment.

So yeah, I vote for not moving.

And let me know if I can help the con somehow from the wrong end of the state.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Scott Nicholson
Canada
Brantford
Ontario
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I will concur that you don't want to pack up and move space, from experience.

From my experience, 50 people can play games comfortably in 1000 square feet, with space for boxes of games and things like that.

Events - I would suggest a combination of open gaming space and tournaments. I like the WBC setup, where there is a demo session that runs before the first rounds of the tournament, and then a large space for open gaming. This gives you either choice, based upon your interests. You don't need lots of people for tournaments; 16 people can make for a 2-round tournament with a competitive final table.

Now, that said, are you doing all types of gaming or just boardgaming? CCGs and miniatures take more space than boardgaming. RPGs can take lots or little space based upon maps used; they will use the space allotted. That said, RPGs are much better scheduled, while board games tend to work better in an open play environment (unless it's set up as a tournament or teaching setup).

Panels - I haven't had a lot of luck with panels in the board game domain; most people want to play board games and not listen to them. You'll have a small turnout, and if it's easy to set up, you could do a few. It would be better to pick topics that appeal to different types of gamers.

I've had a lot of luck with icebreakers and game-show style events where people are broken up into new groups. It gets people meeting new folks and perhaps breaks up the "I just play with my friends" scenario.

Another thing I came up with recently was putting together flags to indicate that someone needs players. Nothing fancy - just something that raises a few feet and says "Looking for Players". This makes it easier to communicate to others that you have a game that needs players.

Just a few ideas from a neighbor down the road in Syracuse...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Bakalchuck
United States
Durham
North Carolina
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Some companies that are "near" Springfield, Mass.

Winning Moves is in Danvers.
Gamewright is in Watertown
Face 2 Face is in Providence, RI

Also, 15 Sq per person is more than enough if you have mostly 4 player games.

Hope this helps,
Boomer
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mrs. Meeple
United States
Manassas
Virginia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I know from going to one particular game con that they include food money in their budget and buy tons of junk food and support items (candy, water, sodas, peanuts, donuts, chips, coffee, ice, cups, paper plates, napkins, etc.) which they set out each day. I think most players spend so much time playing they really have a hard time dragging themselves away to eat a decent meal and having that noshy-type food helps them keep up their energy.

That same con also asks people to bring used or new games with them for some kind of award picking or trading event, and also ask folks to contribute something that represents their state for gift baskets they use as awards. They also give out goodie bags.

Just from my experience - good luck! Sounds like a lot of fun!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Leuchtenburg
United States
Cambridge
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Chad,

You could help by coming to the con and running a tournament or two. Or, for that matter, we should have space for some one-room LARPs, or LARPs which can be run using the public space in some way, which I know you also do.

I'll get back to you if I think of anything specific you can do ahead of time. I'll probably be creating a gaming area mailing list for the con, and I'll poke you about it when I do so.


Scott,

Probably board games, CCGs, and RPGs. No minis, as I don't have any terrain tables nor do I know anyone who does. Plus, I don't think we really have the space and personnel to do that well in addition to everything else. I'm not about to kick it out of the open gaming space, but I don't think I'll be putting energy into it either.

We're having panels on other topics, so if any good gaming panel topics come up, they'll probably get tossed in there. Otherwise, it's not really important. I certainly can't think of any gaming panels *I'd* want to attend. Perhaps a talk on the history of a certain mechanic.


Mrs. Meeple,

We'll be running a consuite just down the hall from the gaming area. Free drinks, munchies, etc. Last year we even had free cheesecake, while it lasted.


Cedric,

How many hours do you generally expect to do in exchange for a comp over the course of a weekend con, as a GM?


For those citing space estimates, keep in mind that I'm including empty space, storage space, space for people to stand in when entering the room, etc in my 20 sqft/person estimate. Sounds like the consensus is that it's about right, *maybe* a little high. I'm going to stick with a high estimate until I see more people packed in than that, since it's better to estimate high than low, typically. Unless it means we run out of chairs. Since the hotel provides those, that shouldn't be a problem.

I think I will try to run a few tournaments, after thinking more on the matter. Heck, one of our resident Magic players may even be certified as a judge by then; we could get official prize support and everything. It'd probably pull more people in to the con, and that's definitely one of my goals for this year. Some other tournaments will also definitely be in the offing; I just need to figure out what. It will partially depend on what other people are interested in running, as I don't expect to have time to run many events myself during the con, as I have other duties in addition to heading up gaming. Perhaps I'm wrong, and there won't be many fires to put out - but I'm not going to assume that.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.