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Subject: TAGE 2015 Cancelled rss

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Craig Somerton
Australia
North Ryde - Sydney
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Received an e-mail last night from the TAGE organisers stating that TAGE 2015 is cancelled. Anyone else get the e-mail?

I know they have been making a loss for the past three years, much of it from their personal funds and from their company.

Such a shame. I was really looking forward to it again this year.
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Simon "that sci-fi guy"
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No I didn't get that email. Shame, I was looking forward to it also.

Seems odd that they would get to August before working out that it wasn't going to happen.

It's a loss for the board gaming community in Sydney, and leaves Australia's largest city without a con.
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David Harding
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Yes it's off.
The email also said they were looking to host future boardgaming events as an alternative but they weren't sure what they would be yet.
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Marlon de Silva
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Silverwater
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Yeah, I got the email too.

It's sad to see it cancelled; we used to make a nice weekend out of it, including the after-hours gaming. A great bunch of people to volunteer for.

I'm looking forward to seeing what they'll announce on boardgaming... they certainly seem to get plenty of support from the community here on BGG.

Cheers, Marlz.

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Des Lee
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I got the email - I think it was sent to prior volunteers.

It's a real shame that it didn't work out. If I wasn't going to be overseas I would have certainly volunteered again for this year.

You would think there would be enough demand for a CanCon-like event for tabletop gaming in Sydney.
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Clive Cleland
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Baulkham Hills
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It's the event that got me hooked just over 12 months ago, and I was ready to block out the full weekend for it this time.

Such a shame it hasn't worked out for the organisers.
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Chris Whale
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I can confirm that this is cancelled. Largely due to lack of sufficient interest/support from the Toy side to take it to the next level and make it profitable in the long term.

However Charles is keen to get feedback and ideas from the Gaming community about what they would look for in a convention or Gaming event. Something different but complementary to Cancon/Bordercon.

Feel free to post here or GM me with thoughts. He is considering having workshops in Syd/Mel/Bne to promote discussion
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Des Lee
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Chris, I would be happy to be involved in workshops or discussion groups.

I've been to CanCon just the once, but enjoyed it very much. It's interesting that the toy side isn't returning the desired results, it may result in a shift away from families and more towards the geek gaming crowd.

I would love for there to be a multi-day event in Sydney for tabletop gaming, with the following:

- Covering boardgames, CCG/TCG/LCG, miniature wargames
- Games library / free play area
- Publisher reps showcasing and demoing upcoming or new releases
- Games retailers offering a selection of bargains, new/imported release and/or accessories
- Tournaments (I don't usually go in these, but I can see how that might appeal to some people and attract more visitors)
- After-hours gaming
- Maybe even some talks on game design, discussion groups etc. One thing that makes SDCC, GenCon etc stand out is the panels and discussions. May be difficult to secure guests here though I guess....
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Greg Cox
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Shame, I was looking forward to taking the kids this year.
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Simon "that sci-fi guy"
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losfp wrote:
Chris, I would be happy to be involved in workshops or discussion groups.

I've been to CanCon just the once, but enjoyed it very much. It's interesting that the toy side isn't returning the desired results, it may result in a shift away from families and more towards the geek gaming crowd.

I would love for there to be a multi-day event in Sydney for tabletop gaming, with the following:

- Covering boardgames, CCG/TCG/LCG, miniature wargames
- Games library / free play area
- Publisher reps showcasing and demoing upcoming or new releases
- Games retailers offering a selection of bargains, new/imported release and/or accessories
- Tournaments (I don't usually go in these, but I can see how that might appeal to some people and attract more visitors)
- After-hours gaming
- Maybe even some talks on game design, discussion groups etc. One thing that makes SDCC, GenCon etc stand out is the panels and discussions. May be difficult to secure guests here though I guess....

Add to that the annual Boardgames Australia Awards and protospiel events. I'm sure BGA would consider being involved should a Sydney event get off the ground again.

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Michael Green
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As a supporter/volunteer at TAGE this hasn't come from left field, and I respect the decision of Charles and team to not continue. It is a shame it didn't quite get to sustainable levels as it was a great event enjoyed by many.

Rather than see this as a failure, I'd like to call out the success of the past 3 years - running one heck of a toy and game expo for the public unlike anything of it's kind in the Sydney area. For this many thanks to all the organisers, volunteers and people who came along.

While the toys part wasn't much attraction for many/most who hang out in the BGG traps being BG focused, the reality was it helped to draw a very different crowd exposing many families and the likes to the world of hobby gaming - unfortunately this just isn't going to happen as much at BG-specific things which generally appeal to people already in the hobby (with some curious visitors).

The announcement was sent out to all previous TAGE volunteers (not the TAGE news mailer, at least at this point), like Chris mentioned this isn't end of story but other opportunities for BG events may be investigated in the future - and they'll have the support from many of the regulars around here who are passionate about the hobby (including me).

Personally I feel there is easily a market/interest for BG-con like events in the greater Sydney area, Des has a lot of good suggestions for standard things which should go into it to make it great. However I feel part of the challenge will be to make it family/kid/newbie friendly, marketing it as such, and making those people feel welcome to intro them into hobby gaming. The "toys" part of TAGE helped to break down that invisible barrier but more BG focused events would have an invisible barrier up as most would see it is a niche / geek culture not for them (just the reality of the situation - think everyone you've told you enjoy hobby BG'ing where their perception of gaming is Monopoly and not much else, that look you get [you know the one] that's what I'm talking about).

Anyway, I'm rambling. But in summary much thanks to Charles and the whole TAGE team for organising and running previous events, I have many fond memories from attending and all my non-gaming friends I managed to persuade to check it out always had a great time. So well done guys...
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Orca_au wrote:
I can confirm that this is cancelled. Largely due to lack of sufficient interest/support from the Toy side to take it to the next level and make it profitable in the long term.

However Charles is keen to get feedback and ideas from the Gaming community about what they would look for in a convention or Gaming event. Something different but complementary to Cancon/Bordercon.
For me:
- open gaming
- game retailers (incl. jigsaws, I love those things)
- major publishers / demos of fabulous new stuff
- second hand stall
- protospiel
- small rooms for RPG gaming w/out background noise
- variety of food and drink (incl. a real coffee cart)

Turn offs:
- tournaments (Charles, I know this is your favourite thing, but they kill open gaming by eating up all the tables, which in turn kills ticket sales -- tournaments should be separate events as they are in the CCG community)
- toys (board games and toys don't really go together outside of Kmart)

I guess the big question for me is why be different to Cancon and Bordercon? Those events work because they are giving gamers what they want. What we want from AGE is something like Cancon or Bordercon, but in Sydney where we can get to it. The point of difference is you're in Sydney! This is a big thing, this is sufficient.

I suspect the reason to be different is to try and make it a profitable venture, rather than a labour of volunteer love like Cancon and Bordercon. There's nothing wrong with that (you've got to pay the rent), but I wonder if it's realistic with where gaming is at in Australia. It might be best to start smaller (with a higher ticket price) and build up interest and economies of scale over a few years.
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Iain Triffitt
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I'd love to hear a retailer's version of how TAGE has been for them. Milsims lost money at Cancon which is why they stopped going (it was mainly transport costs.)

I was working out a family gaming day idea a few years back when TAGE came in and saved me the trouble.

I think it's possible to do a low cost pure gamers con in Sydney - starting at one day and seeing if we can stretch it to the weekend.

I'm sure a community hall can be hired (I was looking at places around Parramatta as that's the demographic centre of Sydney) - the trouble then comes with gamers demanding access to alcohol requiring either a pub or a club and the guaranteed numbers to make it worth their while. Or somewhere near a pub or club.

To make it a true family con (which I'm more in favour of) we would need a dry venue but a lot more marketing to bring the non-BGGers in. We could also attract sponsorship to cover some of the costs.

I agree with sbszine - the only difference from Cancon/Bordercon is that it's based in Sydney.
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Des Lee
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I forgot to mention - a Learn To Play area like at TAGE could be good too - I felt it was a success the last couple of years when I've attended. That would help to cater for the new and curious crowd.

If properly marketed and conveniently situated, there's no reason why it can't draw in the new AND curious.
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Iain Triffitt
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losfp wrote:
I forgot to mention - a Learn To Play area like at TAGE could be good too - I felt it was a success the last couple of years when I've attended. That would help to cater for the new and curious crowd.

If properly marketed and conveniently situated, there's no reason why it can't draw in the new AND curious.

Cancon and Bordercon both have signs that people can use to show the kind of players they want (e.g. they're prepared to teach the game, only some familiarity required, only experienced need apply.)

A dedicated learn to play area, though, is a great idea. A kind of "My First Euro" with Settler, Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island/Desert, Qwirkle, etc. I'd probably throw in Code Names now as well.
 
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Brian Boyle
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Was disappointed, but not surprised, when I received the email.

I had been to all previous TAGEs and loved them - but was glad that someone else was doing the organising.

I agree with Iain in that it *should* be possible to support a BorderCon/CanCon like event in Sydney - but the effort involved in organising and marketing (particularly the latter) will be significant.

I can't see anyone volunteering to do this from the Sydney community. My guess is that it would likely be an almost full-time job (for more than one person) over many months to make it into the sort of event that even I would consider going to.

And the lack of sponsors/game stores would be a real issue. There are a couple of OLGS in the Sydney area that have sprung up over the last two years and there are also new (or revitalised) BG groups appearing around Sydney. However, this barely constitutes grounds for saying that the demand/awareness of BG culture is growing in Australia.

Build it and they probably won't come...

Sorry to be such a realist. Love someone to prove me wrong of course.

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David Harding
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sbszine wrote:
I guess the big question for me is why be different to Cancon and Bordercon? Those events work because they are giving gamers what they want. What we want from AGE is something like Cancon or Bordercon, but in Sydney where we can get to it. The point of difference is you're in Sydney! This is a big thing, this is sufficient.

I agree!
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Iain Triffitt
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sysyphus wrote:


And the lack of sponsors/game stores would be a real issue. There are a couple of OLGS in the Sydney area that have sprung up over the last two years and there are also new (or revitalised) BG groups appearing around Sydney. However, this barely constitutes grounds for saying that the demand/awareness of BG culture is growing in Australia.



There are now so many Good Games franchises in Sydney (hell, there's two within a ten minute drive of my home) I'd be surprised if they wouldn't be interested in underwriting a gaming con.
 
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Craig Somerton
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I was shattered when I read the e-mail this morning. I loved working in the learn to play area and feel we all introduced many. many people to a brand new world of gaming.

Having spoken to Charles quite a bit over the years, it was clear this was a labour of love. He is as passionate about games as we are and would love to see our hobby expand and grow to become more mainstream.

Through his company he was plowing a truckload of cash and personal effort into the expo, in the hope it would finally expand, but each year it didn't hit the numbers and proved to be a loss that simply wasn't sustainable for him or his business.

I know he was hoping to secure a major toy company as a principal sponsor. I suspect that fell through and he just couldn't afford to keep draining his own funds to continue the dream, not when other people weren't prepared to come to the party. The numbers coming through the door simply couldn't justify the outlay.

Considering the success fo SupaNova and the huge con in Melbourne, I'm still surprised a city as large as Sydney can't attract sufficient interest for a con like this. Then again, this is still very much a niche hobby with a market dominated by the likes of Hasbro and their multiple iterations of crappy, bloody Monopoly.

I'm also happy to be involved in any discussions and planning for a Sydney-based con.
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Craig Somerton
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sysyphus wrote:
And the lack of sponsors/game stores would be a real issue. There are a couple of OLGS in the Sydney area that have sprung up over the last two years and there are also new (or revitalised) BG groups appearing around Sydney. However, this barely constitutes grounds for saying that the demand/awareness of BG culture is growing in Australia.

Build it and they probably won't come...

Sorry to be such a realist. Love someone to prove me wrong of course.

Alas, I believe you may be correct Brian.

The interest wasn't sufficient for board games alone, which was why Charles tried to branch out and include toys into the last expo, but the numbers just weren't there, or weren't growing enough to justify the costs and considerable effort.

Accessible venues in Sydney is also problematic. One can only imagine how much it would have cost to hire The Dome.

People want somewhere convenient, but they also want it cheap. I heard lots of people whinging about the ticket costs last year, never once considering that they were getting many hours, or even a whole day of entertainment.
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Matt Utting
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Thoughts and 2 cents from down south... feel free to ignore them

It's a shame that TAGE has dropped off the calendar. I'd never made it up (though had hoped to at some point) but it was nice having something that was focused on the general public.

sysyphus wrote:
I agree with Iain in that it *should* be possible to support a BorderCon/CanCon like event in Sydney - but the effort involved in organising and marketing (particularly the latter) will be significant.
Aim small to start with and grow it from year to year. Start it as a "let's get all these different groups that meet around Sydney together for one big event". Let it grow, word of mouth will spread from year to year.

For MeepleCon we've found it very easy to convince locals to jump in, but harder to get those from interstate down/up ([shameless]you guys should come down[/shameless]. So it has a different feel to BorderCon... but still very community focussed. I suspect a Sydney event will be similar, especially if you take the weekend that TAGE was in (being so close to PAXAUS).

sysyphus wrote:
I can't see anyone volunteering to do this from the Sydney community. My guess is that it would likely be an almost full-time job (for more than one person) over many months to make it into the sort of event that even I would consider going to.
This is probably the trick. You need someone who is going to keep pushing it. But it doesn't need to be a full time job if you've got a strong group working with that person.

Quote:
Sorry to be such a realist. Love someone to prove me wrong of course.
I think someone will eventually... Nature abhors a vacuum (as does LEGO).
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GeekCroft Gamers
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Orca_au wrote:
Feel free to post here or GM me with thoughts. He is considering having workshops in Syd/Mel/Bne to promote discussion
This one is hard to comment, as a BGG user, I only went to the Expo for the board games.

I might have had a quick look at the toys (and I did once purchase a big lego kit so I could get rid of my young son and wife for the rest of the day), but I was really only there for the board games.

In fact, the thing I probably enjoyed most was the evening board gaming sessions that were also kindly arranged by the Expo.

I keep going to the yearly local model train show and wonder "surely we could do something even better with board games". But maybe this is just an irrational thought driven by the desire to have a regular Sydney Board Game Event.

Maybe the option is to come from the other direction. Start with a small single full Saturday day and night of gaming at a Hall or Centre; then move on to doing it 4 times a year (eg: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) and see if it can grow into some that can be profitable.

Yours in complete business ignorance.
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Michael Green
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Since we're discussing this, go and grab a TAGE microbadge for the memories...

http://boardgamegeek.com/microbadge/31872
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Campbell Page
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I just received the e-mail today as a general attendee who had subscribed. I had taken my kids for the last 3 years and we always made a big day of it. As much as I would have liked to spend more time playing games the toys side did mean that my kids had a fun day as well.

We would take turns with what we would go and do next but I probably got the lesser deal. Being able to see all the boardgames in one place was great for Gosford living person such as myself. (Although now that the Games Store has opened at Erina it now gives us two choices on the coast along with Good Games).

I am disappointed that the expo won't go on and the toy side definitely brought people along that would not have gone otherwise. A Sydney board game convention would be great however, somehow making a family focus to some of it would be good as I know my 8 year old would come and play as well.

(Des you making the trip as big as last time? I am still playing with Friday from last time you went.)
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Des Lee
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mystic_cam wrote:

(Des you making the trip as big as last time? I am still playing with Friday from last time you went.)

Good to see you on here Cam! The trip will be probably a little bigger than last time, and you better believe I'm bringing a lot of goodies home with me!

Agree that it would be good if there could be a family components to any future events or conventions. We had a couple of kids games out at the Learn to Play area at TAGE and something similar would be a good thing to have and promote at the future toyless TAGE
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