Archive for February, 2014

TotalCon Bound

TotalCon is very soon and I’m starting to get excited!  I didn’t mean to make such a big thing of it this year, but the trip seems to have run away with itself.  Originally I was just going for the weekend, but a friend contacted me about sharing a room and was going down Thursday night.  Now, “the weekend” already included Friday night in my head, and since I wasn’t going to GenCon this year I figured I was due a day off and could include the entire day Friday in my trip.  Then we started discussing when on Thursday we should leave.  I signed up to run a game Thursday night at 7, still late enough to have a full day of work, but then I started waffling about leaving a little early or even taking a half day, and finally just threw up my hands and took the whole day off.  Now my friend is talking about attending a 3:00 PM game on Thursday, and I’m noticing there’s a 1:00 PM game that sounds kind of cool…

To soothe my sense of self-indulgence I am including a slight corporate spin this year.  I’ve printed up a bunch of post cards for Road of Kings, and will be passing them out to anyone who will take one.  They have QR codes for the iTunes and Google Play URLs on them.  This was an idea I already had for PAX East this year, and figured what the heck, why not bring them to TotalCon?  I’m actually really curious to see what effect if any these will have on sales for us this weekend.  While PAX is more specifically for video games, and has a significantly larger attendance, TotalCon feels more like our actual target demographic.  I’m kind of excited actually to really be targeting “our people” so specifically and seeing how they react.

But mostly I’m going for the games.  I’m looking forward to playing with Tim Kask and Michael Curtis again.  I loved playing in their games last year.  I think I also signed up to play a game or two run by Travis Miller, who had the balls to run some shorter 2-hour games in the 10AM-12 slot.  That’s an idea I’ve batted around myself in the past, so I’m really psyched to see how that works without taking the gamble myself.  Also Travis is a great DM, so I’m sure those games will just be dead fun regardless.

Between this trip and chatter at the office about starting up a new regular campaign, this little old blog may just be seeing some new life in the coming weeks.  Here’s hoping.

Convention Concerns

OK, I’m back.  Road of Kings is out there and doing well, and I think I can breathe now and think about other things.  Time to get this blog back on track.

I want to talk about GenCon.  I was not able to go to GenCon last year due to moving, and again this year I won’t make it for various reasons.  That said, I do still keep an eye on things, and anyone reading this blog will know I’ve posted several times about the growth trend it’s been experiencing for the past several years.  Now, however, it’s getting a bit ridiculous.

Housing for GenCon sold out this year in less than a day.  According to the email:

To put this in timing perspective, last year, open rooms existed in the block through March 18. In 2013, housing took seven weeks to ultimately sell out. This year’s sellout of rooms with three or more consecutive nights happened in less than three hours with all other rooms selling out quickly thereafter.

Coincidentally, last Thursday’s Big Bang Theory featured a plot whereby the main characters try and fail to buy tickets to the San Diego ComicCon.  Four guys sit poised over laptops timing the moment tickets go on sale, then rapidly start refreshing their browsers trying to get into the system’s queue to buy tickets.  Yup, for the past several years, that sounds exactly like my experience with GenCon’s housing and event registration systems.

To be honest, I’m kind of scared by this trend.  Is it a bubble, and will it pop?  If not, will the experience of going to this convention worsen as it continues to bloat and become impossible to get into anything?  Will this flood of interest spill over into smaller local conventions, and if so what effect will that have?

In Big Bang, Sheldon decides to try and start his own competing convention.  I’m already there my friends, I’ve been running a small local convention for a close group of friends now in it’s 7th year — HelgaCon.  To be honest, these days I’m way more excited about HelgaCon than any of the other conventions I attend.  It combines the joy of playing games with the pleasure of seeing old friends I haven’t seen in a long time.  There’s no dramatic rush to get housing or sign up for events, and the best thing is, none of the games ever suck.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward next year to finally getting back to GenCon, assuming I can get in.  This year though, I’m sure I’ll still get plenty of good gaming in, and I’m kind of glad to not be spending two Saturday afternoons sitting at my desk hitting the refresh button over and over.