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Subject: Why no conventions in Pittsburgh, PA? rss

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Emperor Penguin
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Thanks, I think have the organizer's contact info somewhere. I'll pass the info along to him.

Eric Engelmann wrote:
IvanGrimm wrote:
About an hour north just outside of Sharon PA is http://roundtablecon.com

It is very small. This year was the first year so it was not well attended. I'm trying to spread the word so it will be better next year.

Here are some techniques to market a small con:
https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39411/marketing-your-conv...

Here's how to run an ad on BGG (a GREAT deal!!)
https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39415/advertising-your-co...
 
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Eric Engelmann
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ackmondual wrote:

I know EuroQuest (in Pikesville, MD) did a survey to con attendees if they would rather expand the con to let in more people, but up rates across the board since they'd need to rent out convention center type space, even if it is on the smaller side, which is already more costly than a hotel space, or limit attendance and maintain the same rates and levels of service.

Growing pains are a real thing with running cons as well.

The key is to find the right niche. The cons I run are all designed for local gamers, though they often still come from far away while visiting the area for other reasons. I found that weekend space rental for up to 350 gamers is not bad, and, with careful attention to design and lots of prep, the crowd is manageable with a very small staff. A resourceful con director can run one of these for a few thousand dollars.

A week long con for thousands requires lots of talented specialists, expensive facilities, and DEEP pockets.

Instead of "growing up" to a larger con, I've branched out to four very similar, weekend cons per year. Great economy of scale and plenty of opportunity to refine the model. By next fall, I'll be ready to franchise it :D.

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Looney Llama
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There's a mini gaming get together every month in the north suburbs. About 20 or so people attend. Gaming goes on from noon to 2-3 in the morning. I get my fix there.

By the way, WBC is serious gaming. The players are very good and are interested in winning. It can be eye opening to see how proficient some players are at certain games. There is open gaming with many titles available. I went for the whole week this year and enjoyed it immensely.
 
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Robb McClune
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I believe EDOG is in Erie PA this weekend.
 
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Jason Panella
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Butler, Pa. also has two conventions: one in the autumn (SIB Con) and one in the spring (COS Con). They lean heavily toward RPGs, but there's still a decent amount of board gaming and miniature stuff happening.

Anyway, I've long been frustrated about the lack of a somewhat larger convention, considering how vibrant the gaming scene is here. We used to have Three Rivers Con and then GASP Con (and yeah, I'm still angry at Steel City Con for what they did). I think it's very possible to try to get something going again--just takes folks coordinating!
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Marty Sample
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What was the issue with Steel City Con?
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Eric Engelmann
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jasonpanella wrote:
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I think it's very possible to try to get something going again--just takes folks coordinating!

I'm happy to help out a local organizer. I have a trailer with 300 popular board games and shelving for them. Also table signage that will handle smaller cons, but which would need supplementation for a con with over 800 people.

See https://boardgamegeek.com/blog/3891/con-box-resources-boardg... for the materials and type of support I might be able to provide.
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Jason Panella
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Marty S wrote:
What was the issue with Steel City Con?

I want to be careful in what I say because I might be getting some things wrong—I'm not a member of GASP and wasn't privy to all of the details. I did attend GASP Con, though, and thought it was absolutely fantastic.

From what I understand, the folks who run Steel City Comic Con used a personal grievance against a vendor to flex their muscle and swing the non-compete clause in their contract with the Monroeville Convention Center to force out all other "competing" conventions...even ones that have no overlap (like GASP). As a result, GASP Con hasn't happened since 2015 (ish?) and has been struggling to find a new home.

I could be way off on the details here, so if someone knows something, please correct me.
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aries wind
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Um, that's not for boardgames, which I believe is what the OP is looking for.

Replay may be mainly for pinball and arcade games but we had ~25 tables setup for board games and a library with maybe 200 games in it for people to play. Also there were maybe 5-6-7 people around all the time to teach games or help people pick what might be fun.

It's not a full fledged con but it was still pretty fun and a lot of games for the 3 days
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aries wind
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Pictures are a bit sparse but here are two from 2017(it was about 2x bigger in 2018)
http://www.nerdspan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/IMG_4588-...

http://www.nerdspan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/IMG_4590....
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Jason Panella
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arieswind wrote:
Pictures are a bit sparse but here are two from 2017(it was about 2x bigger in 2018)
http://www.nerdspan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/IMG_4588-...

http://www.nerdspan.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/IMG_4590....

Nice! The DLLCC is such a great space, especially that particular spot.
 
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arieswind wrote:
Quote:
Um, that's not for boardgames, which I believe is what the OP is looking for.

Replay may be mainly for pinball and arcade games but we had ~25 tables setup for board games and a library with maybe 200 games in it for people to play. Also there were maybe 5-6-7 people around all the time to teach games or help people pick what might be fun.

It's not a full fledged con but it was still pretty fun and a lot of games for the 3 days
Folks may want to be specific in future discussions then.

If any con that has an "adequate enough" bg presence will work, then cons like that, and also something like MAG Fest DO count. However, if you want primarily bg-ing and focus on that, then they're a no go. In MAG Fest's case they get 13K to 16K attendees per year, but they're mainly about video games and their music/concerts. However, they did utilzie a very large conference room dedicated to bg. OTOH, for their Dominion tournament back in 2011, it was nothing but base game laugh A "proper bg con" would've had expansions
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rush howe
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I own a school building in McKees Rocks

5000 sf on the ground floor
 
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Jason Panella
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A bit of a delayed follow up, but I decided that I would try to make some initial steps to get a small convention started sometime in 2020 or 2021. I'm fascinated by the possibility of using one of the facilities at North Park or South Park, though I'm not wedded to that idea.

Nothing may come of this, but if it does, I'll post more here.

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Pete Lane
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One thing I'd suggest is work with your local sci-fi/fantasy convention for space. Chances are they likely run a small room already that needs love, or have a demand but no real way to know how to start one.

Example, we have a huge casual fantasy convention where gaming was relegated to a small room and was mostly tucked away in a hard to reach area that no one wanted to go out of their way to reach even though you'd see gaming in whatever open area existed. As the popularity of gaming grew, the convention started this fantastic game library and kept it updated but had no real room for it. Now, we've moved to a new hotel and suddenly there is a full half ballroom just for table top board gaming right in the thick of action. It's really one of those "you build it, they will come" situation and I think many older conventions are slow to catch up or just don't know HOW to make a dedicated room work well.
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Jason Panella
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That is good advice. Pittsburgh has a few niche conventions—one for anime, one for old-school arcade gaming—that do have small tabletop areas. None for general fantasy or sci-fi, though. We did have two larger tabletop cons (which a heavier emphasis on RPGs) that have left a void, though, so there is definitely an audience.
 
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Max Jamelli
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squared82 wrote:
I must’ve missed that about WBC. The last I heard was it was in Lancaster.

WBC left Lancaster after the 2015 con I believe. This year will be the 4th year at 7 Springs. Glad you found out about it - you can come to hang out and play now!
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Marty Sample
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WBC didn't leave, it fled in absolute disgust at the conditions at the Lancaster Host . That said, the last couple years new owners have dumped a lot of money into renovating, but the price has increased substantially. The con has 6 or 7 more years on a contract with 7 Springs and I think its a great venue.
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Richard Irving
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Marty S wrote:
WBC didn't leave, it fled in absolute disgust at the conditions at the Lancaster Host .

Well, if the Host's old owners had done routine maintenance, the WBC would probably still be there. Even then, staying there was the board's second choice. .

Luckily, our contract ran out the year before the water main broke flooding the place on Memorial Day 2016. shake
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Clint Conner
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ReplayFX is the same time as GenCon. cry

Does WBC have casual gaming?

I would love for a more focused board game convention to come to the Pittsburgh area.
 
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Jamie Tang
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Maziken wrote:
Does WBC have casual gaming?
YES

There is a large dedicated open gaming space along with a large library of new games. There is also a room dedicated to "monster" games that take more than one day to play. There is also an area for Rio Grande games to demo new games from its catalog. There are lots of other demos, usually by tournament GMs and sometimes by designers.

I have friends who:
* only play in open gaming
* only play in monster gaming
* only play in tournament gaming
* play in all three

I do all three.

Don't be put off by the "tournament" label. I consider it scheduled gaming, so that you don't spend time looking around for players and then have to decide upon a game. You know that at 10 am in Laurel if you bring a copy of X, then you will get to play it. If you don't know the game, you can still show up. I've had the GM put me at a table with other interested and inexperienced players and demo to us. Instead of "forcing" someone who'd rather be playing game Y to play game X, you can find 3 other rabid fans who want to play it. There are multiple special events and you don't have to pre-register for each. You just show up.

www.boardgamers.org It's now $30 a day and you will enjoy it enough that you will schedule more time next year.
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Marty Sample
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jatang wrote:
Maziken wrote:
Does WBC have casual gaming?
YES

There is a large dedicated open gaming space along with a large library of new games. There is also a room dedicated to "monster" games that take more than one day to play. There is also an area for Rio Grande games to demo new games from its catalog. There are lots of other demos, usually by tournament GMs and sometimes by designers.

I have friends who:
* only play in open gaming
* only play in monster gaming
* only play in tournament gaming
* play in all three

I do all three.

Don't be put off by the "tournament" label. I consider it scheduled gaming, so that you don't spend time looking around for players and then have to decide upon a game. You know that at 10 am in Laurel if you bring a copy of X, then you will get to play it. If you don't know the game, you can still show up. I've had the GM put me at a table with other interested and inexperienced players and demo to us. Instead of "forcing" someone who'd rather be playing game Y to play game X, you can find 3 other rabid fans who want to play it. There are multiple special events and you don't have to pre-register for each. You just show up.

www.boardgamers.org It's now $30 a day and you will enjoy it enough that you will schedule more time next year.

Agree with all of the above.

And best of all, WBC starts a week from Friday !!
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Jamie Tang
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Maziken wrote:
I would love for a more focused board game convention to come to the Pittsburgh area.

Out of games you've rated, there are tournaments of Scythe, Command and Colors: Ancients (also Napoleonics), History of the World, King of Tokyo, Terraforming Mars, Brass, Battle Cry and Love Letter.

Click on picture for tournament information.
http://www.boardgamers.org/wbc19/previews_2019.html

Make a schedule to see which days you'd most like to attend.
http://aidanp.github.io/event-scheduler/app/
 
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Jason Panella
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Maziken wrote:

I would love for a more focused board game convention to come to the Pittsburgh area.

Hopefully you'll hear some good news in the next year
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Max Jamelli
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Marty S wrote:
jatang wrote:
Maziken wrote:
Does WBC have casual gaming?
YES

There is a large dedicated open gaming space along with a large library of new games. There is also a room dedicated to "monster" games that take more than one day to play. There is also an area for Rio Grande games to demo new games from its catalog. There are lots of other demos, usually by tournament GMs and sometimes by designers.

I have friends who:
* only play in open gaming
* only play in monster gaming
* only play in tournament gaming
* play in all three

I do all three.

Don't be put off by the "tournament" label. I consider it scheduled gaming, so that you don't spend time looking around for players and then have to decide upon a game. You know that at 10 am in Laurel if you bring a copy of X, then you will get to play it. If you don't know the game, you can still show up. I've had the GM put me at a table with other interested and inexperienced players and demo to us. Instead of "forcing" someone who'd rather be playing game Y to play game X, you can find 3 other rabid fans who want to play it. There are multiple special events and you don't have to pre-register for each. You just show up.

www.boardgamers.org It's now $30 a day and you will enjoy it enough that you will schedule more time next year.

Agree with all of the above.

And best of all, WBC starts a week from Friday !!

WOO HOO!!!
 
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