First Steps for the Game Day

As I wrote about earlier, I’m exploring a Goshen Game Day.

This past week, I’ve been emailing back and forth with a venue coordinator to see about available dates. I haven’t signed anything yet, but things look good. My hope remains to have a game day in downtown Goshen on a Saturday during the winter months.

I’m hoping that there are lots of people seeking a day long distraction during the doldrums of winter – and are willing to pay to help me recoup costs and seed another game day.

Presently, it sounds like I will be able to get a 200 person facility for a reasonably good price – tables and chairs included. And when the venue says all day…they mean 8am until “have it ready for tomorrow morning.”

Once the ink has dried on the contract, I will begin hitting up game masters for running a session or two – I’m tentatively thinking of 4 hour slots. Before I went into this, including myself, I had two people who I knew would be willing and eager to run – Nick Garcia and myself. This left me a little nervous, as I am hoping to have at least 4 RPG games per time slot.

However, as I began exploring the options, potential GMs started emerging. These aren’t people I’ve contacted, but more “people who may be willing to GM.” As that number grew, my anxiety concerning having enough GMs abated.

It was all a matter of probability – going from 2 to 3 possible GMs is much larger marginal increase than going from 7 to 8 possible GMs. And if there are 8 GMs there is very likely 12 GMs. Whereas if there are only 2 GMs it seems likely that there are only 4 GMs and no more.

Turning Back the Clock

When my good friends Matt, Granger, Jeremy, and Bryan turned 30 oh so many years ago – 2003 I believe – several of us threw a 30-30-30 party. Thirty people, playing 30 different games, for 30 hours straight. It was relatively easy to coordinate and was a wonderful time.

In fact, two people ended up meeting for the first time and proceeded to get married later that year. With 30 hours of constant interaction, I figure they got about 10 solid traditional dates in a very quick time frame.

The 30-30-30 event was a bit different in that there were no role-playing games being played. Instead there was Settlers of Catan, 16 player Halo game, Princes of Florence, Puerto Rico, and a whole slew of other “Euro Games.”

Coordinating a day of GM-less games is so much easier.

Back to Present Day

I’m looking now, and everyone’s schedules are more complicated – the regular Monday night dinner and games at my house are a fading memory; Note to self, blog about the Monday night dinner and games. We can barely get our regular group together.

My hope is that this game day can take what is normally a private affair – namely playing games around your dining room table – and connecting them with other people who share common interest.

The extremely tentative schedule for the day is as follows.

  • 8am – begin setting up, making sure we have supplies (e.g. index cards, pencils, paper)
  • 9am – Slot 1: open the doors for open board gaming, GM-less RPGs (e.g. Fiasco, Microscope, etc.)
  • 1pm – break for lunch
  • 2pm – Slot 2: scheduled RPGs, open board games
  • 6pm – break for supper – Is this enough time for eating in downtown Goshen?
  • 7pm – Slot 3: scheduled RPGs, open board games
  • 11pm – wrap it up

One thing to keep in mind is that I will need to recoup costs, so the tentative costs are $5 per slot, or $10 for the whole day.

I’m also still noodling on family discounts, seeking out sponsorships, seeing if I can get coupons for local meals for that day, and just about anything to make this a great day.

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.