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Convention Attendance

As I have retired and gotten older, and now moved to Florida which is farther from the major game conventions than my old home, I’ve had to pick and choose which conventions I go to. I stopped going to Origins quite a few years ago because it had diminished, and I’m not convinced yet that it has recovered sufficiently to be worth my time and money. It appears I will not be going to the UK Game Expo again (it is more than 4,200 miles). (Keep in mind, being retired means you have more time than money.) Last year I didn’t go to GenCon because I wanted to avoid the 50th anniversary insanity but mainly because the schedule just didn’t work out.

I try to attend WBC in Pennsylvania (880 miles from here) and then go to GenCon, possibly with a few days with my brother and sister-in-law in DC in between. This year (2018) I’ve once again decided to skip GenCon.

I also like to go to Prezcon in Charlottesville Virginia at the end of February. I know a fair number of people at both Prezcon and WBC, whereas at GenCon I might see a few people I know but everyone is so busy there’s rarely time to talk. Perhaps, for me, it’s too consumption-oriented. Moreover, it’s really a story-convention, not a game convention per se, and I’m not story-oriented in games.

I attend small conventions here in north Florida – there aren’t any big game-only conventions nearby. Rapier is a small (150) convention in Jacksonville where there are just enough people interested to get a fair bit of playtesting done. SwampCon is a free two-day multi-media convention at U. Of Florida, 10 miles from me, that has a game component.

Dice Tower con is the big convention in Florida, now in Orlando. But the Dice Tower caters to the “oh shiny” generation and games that are often puzzles disguised as games - not my interest. There’s a prototype con also in Orlando, but I couldn’t go to both it and Prezcon this year because of scheduling. I went to the first one a couple years ago, and it was, once again, just about all about parallel competition puzzles disguised as games. Which I just cannot bring myself to design.

In 2020 GenCon and WBC will be at the same time, and I’ll surely prefer WBC.

Keep in mind, I have never gone to conventions to play games, I go to talk with people and listen to people and learn things, and possibly pitch games to publishers. Pitching at GenCon doesn’t strike me as fruitful because you’re competing with so many other people pitching at the same time, to the point where some publishers are almost punchdrunk from seeing one game after another. At WBC and Prezcon there aren’t many publishers but I do have the opportunity to talk with them at length and possibly play my games with them. Most of the small conventions don’t have any publishers in attendance.

Comments

Proto ATL

I'm a Florida boy that transplanted to Atlanta. I HIGHLY recommend making your way up here to check out ProtoATL (disclaimer: I'm one of the co-hosts).

We're billing it as "half Protospiel, half designer showcase" with the slogan "Design.Play.Network." We have 16 publishers (Renegade, Stronghold, Mayday etc.) signed up to look at games, but it is going to be much smaller and way more intimate of a setting.

This event takes all the noise out of big giant cons and provides a distilled, focused experience for playtesting and meeting publishers. (www.protoATL.com)

Also, btw, the prototype con in Orlando, EPiC, was an absolute blast. You should go next year.

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