Take on Game Day (Part 2 of N)

I began this multipart series by going over the when and where of game day and getting help. Refining that post, the initial help I was going for was to make sure that I knew what I was personally risking as well as I might be able to give to the GMs for their time.

The next step was very organic.

Getting GMs to Run Games

Remember, my initial focus was to create a role-playing game day. So I needed GMs. But how many? I had no idea. My first estimate was that I could stretch and get 25 RPG gamers; I also knew that I could get boardgame gamers, but boardgames are a bit more self-organizing that role-playing games (more on that in another post).

I began writing a list of potential GMs – and according to my handwritten notebook, I started the speculation on or before September 2nd. With names in hand, I began reaching out. Slowly getting commitments, until I felt as though I had enough GMs.

Many thanks to Derek Stoelting, Steve Sigety, Sean O’Shea, Nick Garcia, Joe Ingold, Jacob Kemery, David Morford, and Matt Boersma. Everyone has spoken very highly of the games you ran and facilitated.

Have a Back-up Plan

But I didn’t stop there. I began securing a few alternate GMs. After all, someone may end up sick or stuck in Columbus during an epic snow storm. For each time slot, I had at least one alternate person ready to run something at the drop of a hat (i.e. Dungeon World, Hollowpoint, Fiasco, and Microscope were some of the backups).

Now Find the Players

And with many GMs set, I began recruiting players for those games. And slowly the games took form. I used Facebook as my main event page but kept the information on this blog. I also kept a Google Docs spreadsheet of events as well as a separate sheet for tracking all the other details (i.e. what needed doing, what to bring, etc.).

Ultimately, I relied on my long time face to face friends to be the base for the gameday, and then engaged several Facebook groups. And by engage, I mean taking to heart what I had learned in my years in University Communications at Notre Dame. I needed to communicate details, and engage with my audience, and educate as needed. (Don, I was listening to all of that stuff, even though I was also keeping Conductor afloat.)

I also made extensive use of Google+ as a sounding board for some things. After all it is my goto location for interacting with table top gamers. If you are a pen and paper gamer, I cannot encourage you enough to join Google+; there are lots of things going on there.

And as Gameday approached I made one audible play that made all of the difference, but more on that in my next post. 

Take on Game Day (Part 1 of N)

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:

And 7 sponsors from afar (many provided physical books and others provided PDFs, both forms were very much appreciated):

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.

The When and Where of Goshen Game Day

Full Details available here

When: Saturday January 26th, 2013 from 9:30am until 11pm or so.

Where: At the Ballroom of the Goshen Theater in downtown Goshen, IN (see the map below or use the link to Google Maps).

Who is this for: For table-top board gamers, role-players, and card players.

What to do before hand: You don’t need to pre-register or anything. If you want to play in a scheduled RPG you should contact me to reserve a slot. Here are the current reservations.

What to bring:

  • $5 for admission per person
  • Optional – A game or two to play
  • Optional – Games to sell by consignment (20% consignment fee)
  • Optional – Additional money to purchase re-rolls throughout the day (Max $6)
Goshen Game Day

Goshen Game Day