I finally did something I’ve been threatening to do for a bit now – I’ve taken the first steps in what I hope will evolve into a modest board game convention!
Now, this is something I have absolutely no experience with, but I’m also not looking to turn this into an event that is totally out of my league. I have a full-time job (that I love), and I’ve never tried to treat anything I do with board games as more than the hobby I love. If I ever tried to turn this into some sort of money maker, I would lose the patient curiosity that I’ve come to really enjoy about gaming.
I did, however, want to do what I could to document the process in this blog, not only as a way to organize my own thoughts, but also as possible encouragement for anyone hoping to do this themselves. Hopefully, you can learn from any mistakes I’m bound to make. Also, Harrison said he wanted to compare notes, as he’s been kicking around his own ideas, so that sort of cemented the idea for me.
Alright, let’s talk about the scope. I opened by calling this a “modest” endeavor and I do intend to keep it that way. I don’t want to get caught up with extraneous stuff like seminars or vendors – I really want to remain true to the meetups I love to organize. So that’s exactly where I’ve based this entire thing. I’m setting out to create what will more less be a larger-scale meetup for our gaming group and other locals – if it naturally turns into something else, I’m fine with that, but this is really the core of what our group loves and that’s where I want to start.
The obvious first question is….where?
I kicked around the idea of a fire hall. These can be pretty cheap event spaces that are not unfamiliar with hosting large, seated events. My hesitation, though, is the built-in cost, as most fire hall events that I’ve investigated are outsourced to a catering company – seat covers, bartenders, wedding-type stuff. We obviously won’t need that and a catering company will be much less likely to rent us the space at a discount when they could hold it open for someone with an actual catered affair. I do intend to come up with some solution for feeding players who will be spending basically their entire day at the event, but the focus is play, and a catering company isn’t really going to care so much about that. So, I put that idea on the back burner.
Instead, I started to swing wide in the opposite direction – absolutely free (or damn close to it). I’m thinking community centers, libraries, etc. My concern here, though, is that I’ve been to meetups at the library and, well, you get what you pay for. The staff doesn’t care that you’re there and I don’t want guests to feel like a burden. Second, I mentioned feeding guests…and that might be tricky at a library. This will likely stand as a last resort…
I’m not sure, really, why it wasn’t my first instinct but the brewpub that has hosted our regular meetups for over two years now actually has a banquet room. Friends of mine have rented it out for small wedding parties, etc. It’s a decent size, beautiful space, they already know us, and they have good food and beer! Furthermore, I expect the space to be on the cheaper side since serving their own food is how they’re really making their money.
So I shot off an email to the owners pitching the idea! And with that, the first step, I’d say, has been officially taken.
Once I hear back, I’ll move onto what I think is the next logical phase – finances. I’d like to keep this as cheap as possible and am definitely not looking to turn a profit on this. I told Diana that I wanted tickets to be between $5 and $10 for the whole day, so how many tickets do I need to sell to actually make this thing possible…?
More on that, hopefully, soon!