A question on Min-Cons

edited October 2006 in Meetups / Conventions
So, here is a question I have been asking myself for a little while now, and it's time to open it up to a more general audience. I am pretty clear many most of you aren't in my general geographic area. This is more a quest for your opinions. My local little Mini-Cons have been building some steam. I "sell out" my GM slots in under a week at this point for a one day session, 18 slots total. If someone near you was doing a similar type deal-e-o, would you:

1) Want a single day of gaming madness. RP slots at 10am, 3pm, and 8pm (4 hours each)
2) A full weekend with Saturday remaining as you see above and Sunday having RP slots at 10am and 3pm. We would go shorter that day.

I am seriously considering trying it, but it represents a pretty substantial time commitment from me, as I am finding these things already hit me pretty hard in terms of my work load.

Any thoughts would be seriously appreciated as to pros (wait for it) and cons.




  • It depends where it was. If I could travel there, easily, in a day, I'd want it to be a day long: less of a commitment to something I didn't know very well. If it was a journey away, and especially if I had to stay somewhere, I'd want the full weekend: otherwise it's not really worth the journey.

    Also, I'd refuse to go to anything that used the word "deal-e-o". Is that wrong of me?

  • Chris, before I answer, you run EndGame, the gaming store, yes? Aand you're talking about all the GM slots selling out or you're talking about the GM slots of you GMing selling out? Do you see increased sales volume during Minicons, and how does that increased sales volume compare with admission/tickets for the minicon?
  • edited October 2006
    Graham - "Deal-e-o" is part of the package...sorry. :P

    Joshua - I am one of the co-owners of the store. When I say all the GM slots sold out, I meant that people signed up to run games in the 18 slots I had available in one week. Poor choice of words on my part. As for an increase in sales, maybe 25% - 35% better than an average weekend day. The convention "ticket" sales pretty much barely cover costs. I give the GMs a small bit of store credit for their time and also give them all the snacks and drinks they can put down while they run their session. (We try and have someone come through every couple hours to make sure they are hydrated and sugared). So, admission price for players tends to only cover this, badges, and the extra person I bring in to help cover the counter while I run a game or two.

    Hope that clears thigns up slightly.

  • Chris: I was at the Endgame mini-con this past weekend, and Nancy and I enjoyed ourselves enough that we're definitely planning on coming to the next one, so here's a data point that you can directly use.

    The short version: I doubt that we would come to two days in a row. Most likely we would do what we did this time, which is come for the 10am and 3pm sessions one day.

    The thought process: We live in Mountain View, so it's a full hour's drive to get there. Getting out the door at 8:30 on one weekend day was hard enough. Two in a row? eegh. Especially since two hours' driving plus full day of gaming with slightly odd meal schedule is tiring. It was really nice to have Sunday to recover. This was a beautiful thing about KueiCon last year. It happened on a three-day weekend, so after two full tiring days of cool gaming, we still had a full day to relax!

    When I think about gaming events that I'm really willing to sink more than one full day into, it ends up being largely about the people. I'm really excited about GenCon SoCal because I'll get to meet in person and game with all the cool Storygames folks. I got a bit of that at the mini-con because Paul was there, but it's not on the same scale.
  • So it sounds, Chris, like the benefit of your minicon is to garner a little more sales and build some brand recognition for your store. I don't see either of those functions really being bettered by going to two days. Have you considered staying open later on minicon days and starting a fourth time slot?
  • Joshua, to clairifiy a point...while sales and branding are nice, that's not the main goal. Odd as that may sound. What we are really trying to do is expose people to new games, that's why we chose the 4 hour format to maximize exposure. If I added a 4th slot, it would start at midnight, and end at 4am. I don't think I can handle that...

    Albert, perfect...thanks for an atendees perspective.
  • Our local Gameday is held three times a year. We do one Saturday like you do twice a year and a weekend long one like you suggest once a year in April. It's pretty successful, but we do have about a dozen GMs offering their wares each time. Does that help?
  • Mark...oh, mixing it up is SMART. Helps LOTS!
  • Hi Chris,

    I've been to two of your minicons now and find them to be a fresh alternative to the time and money sink of a "real" con. While I only live 5 mins from the store and could easily attend both days if it was Sat-Sun, I agree with others and don't see the real use of doing that. It seems like you are doing these more to build brand and to get people trying new product than to strictly make money. In that case it might make more sense to go broad rather than deep.

    So why not try and do more of them a year? Every two months perhaps? Your open gaming space is really good for creating community, and the minicons are a great way to bring people in who might not be around for those normal weekly games. So the more often they occur, the more likely that someone from San Jose or San Ramon will put it on their calendar and visit your store.

    Chris B.
  • edited November 2006
    Thanks for your thoughts Chris.

    We are going to do 4 a year mainly because they start bumping into some of the larger cons locally. We have them somewhat strategically placed between Dundracon, Kublacon, and Conquest. There are some other contributing factors like manpower, and other events taking up the space. I have had a lot of other feedback, and I am pretty much moving away from the two day idea.

    I appreciate the comments!
  • Also, from the sound of things, doing them any more often would result in Chris' death.
  • Only mostly...

  • I've been to three of your mini-cons, Chris, and for me they're a valuable resource and lots of fun. I can't advise you on your business but if you had additional events on Sunday it would be good for me simply because there'd be more variety to choose from. As things stand the 8 PM timeslot is too late for me. That said, I'm not sure I'd come for a full four timeslots both days. Most likely I'd pick one day, or if there were really attractive events across two days, I'd go to one on one day and one or maybe two on the other. (Basically, I can't devote a whole weekend to gaming.)

    Thinking about this a little, I guess I'm saying that an additional day wouldn't be likely to increase the amount of time I'd spend at the mini-con. As things stand I haven't had any difficulty finding two worthwhile events each time.
  • Well, I've only been to one, but I had a good time. The minicon gave me an excuse to stop at the shop, make a small purchase that I wanted to make anyway, and gave me the opportunity to meet other gamers in the area I just moved to. Frankly, I'd rather do the minicon than the actual full-on cons in the area. More relaxed and I get a much bigger bang-for-my-buck. Plus, End Game is a pretty impressive shop, anyway- I'm not used to gamestores that look more like a proper store than a over-age clubhouse.
  • I've been to two of the Endgame mini-cons. It's a great opportunity to try out new games. I would see smaller but more frequent mini-cons, maybe one Saturday every 1 or 2 months rather than a full weekend every 3 or 4.
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