When I returned from GenCon
20132012, I was eager to coordinate and facilitate a role-playing game day. Perhaps something analogous to the wildly fantastic Games on Demand, but mindful of the number of potential RPG players. In early September, I began looking into venues.
Where and When
First and foremost, I knew that I wanted something in downtown Goshen. There were a few options, and with a bit of searching, I found the Ballroom of the Goshen Theater. With a venue, I began thinking about dates.
I was dead set on having the game day at one of the downtown locations, because I wanted to support downtown Goshen. I also wanted to showcase Goshen for any out-of-town attendees.
Whenever I explain Goshen to someone I say “We've got one of most everything you'd want, but certainly no more (though when it comes to authentic Mexican food, we've got plenty more).”
While I was looking into locations, Derek Stoelting was coordinating a game day in South Bend in October – I wish I would've been there but it was fall break and me and my family were in Kansas visiting my brother.
Not wanting to compete with another RPG game day, I began looking further out. November seemed too close to the October game day. December…dumb. That left January or later.
The Ballroom was open most of the weekends in January. Being a divorced dad with alternating week with my kids, I decided to schedule this first one on a weekend that I didn't have my kids; They would still be able to attend (I had cleared that with their mom), but I wouldn't be getting them and the game day around at the same time. Note: Simplify your schedule!
This left a few Saturday:
- Jan 12th – too close to the holidays
- January 26th – nothing I could think of, though Winter Fantasy was likely
- February 9th – a game convention in Kalamazo was likely happening Marmalade Dog
- February 23rd – nothing that I knew of, but it was getting a bit late
I pulled the trigger and went with January 26th. Reasoning/Rationalizing that most participants would likely not be attending Winter Fantasy. With the ink drying, I remembered: “Oh yeah, the BoardGamers of Michiana will be meeting then. I should reach out to them.”
Next Steps – Getting Help
Almost immediately, I began reaching out for sponsors, both near and far. And boy did I get a lot. Immediately, VSCA and Magpie Games offered up some books. And Better World Books (Goshen) offered help as well.
By the end, I had 4 local sponsors:
- Better World Books Goshen – a locally owned used bookstore with global mandate.
- A Constant Spring – a locally owned bar with some of the best food in Goshen.
- The Electric Brew – Goshen’s downtown coffee shop and informal gathering place.
- Prospero’s Pen – a local game design company “that happily believes games can make lives better”
And 7 sponsors from afar (many provided physical books and others provided PDFs, both forms were very much appreciated):
- Magpie Games
- Bully Pulpit Games
- Evil Hat Productions
- Margaret Weis Productions
- Paizo Publishing
- Sage Kobold Productions
During September and October, I was very diligent about securing sponsors, because I knew November and December would be a lot more crazy for everyone.
As it turns out all of this early planning and leg work really helped set me at ease about the January game day.
All of this was laying the groundwork for the next step…getting GMs to run games. But I'll save that for my next post.