Coordinating a Game Day

UPDATE: Goshen Game Day 2013 is scheduled

I’m exploring what it would take to get an RPG Game Day coordinated in my hometown. The demographics slant very heavily towards board games, but I know several are lapsed RPGers or RPG-curious people – and RPGs being a somewhat private hobby, I’m sure there are those out there that would surprise me.

I’ve helped get 2 somewhat large Board Game day events coordinated several years ago, though those were amongst friends – albeit 30 or so friends.

Currently, my suspicion is that I would want at least 3 GMs for this first attempt at a game day, and perhaps as many as 5 GMs. Looking at some longer running game days, it appears that they have two 4-hour slots at their game days.

Does it make sense to scrounge up GMs first and then coordinate a date? Or do you think people prefer a date that they can pencil in? And I really don’t want to step on the toes of the fledgeling South Bend Games Day – I can’t make it to the first iteration, but hopefully this will continue.

Facilities? There are two that rise to the top, one is a 4 season city park facility, the other is a banquet hall. The banquet hall has a better location, namely near the downtown which is actually quite vibrant, but the cost could be prohibitive. It is possible another option may emerge.

Food? Assuming the price is right, the downtown venue would be ideal for food. Goshen has some truly fantastic restaurants in the compact 3 block area. And maybe with a bit of leg work, I could get some “use that day” coupon arrangements with them.

And as far as recovering costs for facilities, do you view them as a sunk cost? Or do you charge an entrance fee? Or charge per game played?

Does it make sense to keep the scope limited to RPGs? Or are there those who would come if there were board and card games.

Has anyone had experience with coordinating a Game Day in a not so urban area – horror stories? My hometown, Goshen, is 30K, Elkhart is 50K, we are about 40 minutes from Warsaw 14K, South Bend 100K, and Mishawaka 50K. The area is much more analogous to a large suburbs.

Any and all advice would be appreciated.

12 thoughts on “Coordinating a Game Day

  1. Hey, I’m one of those lapsed RPGers!

    Of course I’m interested, though my participation of course is more subject to work and childcare concerns than non-interest in the idea. Still, keep me in the loop.

  2. I wouldn’t say to charge a fee for people wanting to come, but just a whip round with a hat is usually enough, as people who game are lovely people indeed, and prone to sporadic fits of generosity.

    If that’s not enough, employ the charity fundraising plan that the British Student Nationals does every year. £1 for a re-roll, limit two donations pre roll. You’ll be amazed at how much you make, and it’s also a way of people to help ensure they’re a bit more successful. If you’ve got new people coming in, that could help keep them hooked.

    Earlier in the year, the nationals in Cardiff raised over three grand for charity using this method. Admittedly, there were hundreds of gamers over a three day event, but still…

  3. The crowd that does this near me charges a nominal fee for each 4-hr gaming slot ($5 each, I think?) and then just breaks in the middle, letting everyone deal with his/her own food. There’s plenty within walking distance and you can eat at the venue if you want to bring your own.

    If it were me, I’d probably coordinate dates with the bare minimum # of DMs you need first, then open slots for others who want to run. Your bases will be covered, but you won’t block anybody who wants to participate. If you can, have a variety of games, and maybe an indie. The opportunity to play new or weird stuff brings people out where I live.

    Good luck! Areas without gaming REALLY need people like you to get the community together. I’m not near you, but I’m still really glad you’re doing this!

    • I think I have 3 GMs that I can “guarantee” can run. So with some advertising and cajoling, I think I can get 5+ GMs and several board game facilitators – if the space allows.

  4. Pingback: Nigh-Weekly Assembly: Of GenCon and Classic Settings | The Gamer Assembly

  5. Pingback: First Steps for the Game Day | Take On Rules

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