Lets talk about #gaspcon2013 !
GASP (Gaming Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania) organizes GASPCon – the annual convention held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
GoD at GASP started last year when after a great Origins/Gencon Games on Demand Nick Wedig and I started discussing bringing it to GASP, and Jason Godesky stepped up to volunteer to organize it.
GASP brings out roughly 200 people. We lost the RPGA room this year (conflict schedule with MarCON) and we clocked in over 260 folk (the con grows by about 50 people every year). The con had to move to a bigger space this year.
GoD last year had 2 assigned tables in the open RPG room (separate from the Pathfinder Society and RPGA spaces). We over-ran our space frequently (at one point Nick had 7 people signed up for Inspectres so we split the tables and he and I each ran a table) grabbing open tables as we could get them.
This year was even better!
Folks that ran games and manned the table: Jason Godesky (if you see our sweet digital display? Yeah he organized that), Michael Godesky, Giulianna Lamanna, Brianna Sheldon, Pete Figtree and Nick Wedig!
We were given 4 tables to run on. We ran 21 games, which had 75 total players (I stress players. Think in terms of Tickets for the bigger cons), of which 29 were unique (lots of people liked what they saw and came back for another game or two!).
Four our small local con this was a good success. More than 10% of the people who attended the Con stopped by GoD!
Now if you’ve made it this far here are a few thoughts and lessons I learned about running a con at a small convention.
1. Make sure you have signs up. Having clear directions to GoD helped.
2. Work with the Organizers. GoD is a flexible event that fits organically inside other schedules. If you can make it into the informational booklet – great. Not everyone reads those. If you can get announced at the beginning of the Con this is even better.
3. Talk to the other GMs or make sure the info is available to other (non-GoD) GMs. If their table is full (and some games are popular and have wait-lists) let the folks know that a zero-previous-knowledge RPG is available at GoD. Cancelling a game because not enough players showed? GoD probably has games to fit a few people into.
4. Make sure to bring games of various lengths and skill/knowledge level requirements. Sometimes folks don’t understand your 4-hour game-slot delineators, or have a game in 2 hours and just want to get something quick in.
We have the advantage that one of the Con organizers is an indie gamer and has helped us navigate whatever we needed from the Con organizers (big thanks to Dan Cetorelli).
Local cons are definitely a great place to showcase indie games (you get a much higher visibility than at giant conventions where it’s harder to get noticed).