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Would you rather go to one big con or a bunch of little con's?

Started by Seth M. Drebitko, March 17, 2010, 08:50:45 PM

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Seth M. Drebitko

So pretty much just like the subject says; would you prefer to have a booth at one big gaming convention or go to say 4-5 smaller ones. I am thinking in theory that it might be better to have tables at smaller conventions where you could have a more personal environment with people, and then just show up at larger ones to network, and mingle.

Opinions, advice?
MicroLite20 at
The adventure's just begun!

Malcolm Craig

Hi Seth,

I'll preface this by saying that I'm primarily talking from my experience in the UK con scene. The only other cons I've been to are Gen Con Indy and KapCon in Wellington, New Zealand (an excellent little con, I must say).

Also: are you primarily thinking about things from a sales point of view, a networking point of view, or a combination of many things?


Here in the UK there are two events that I regard as 'big' cons. Games Expo in Birmingham is a three day, broad based (boardgames, family games, cards games, wargames, RPGs, etc) convention that tries to cater for as many tastes as possible. At this time, GE is the 'big' con in the UK (2500-3000 attendances over the con period) from an RPG point of view. I see GE as first and foremost a sales con.

Dragonmeet in London takes place over one day and is again primarily a sales con. It attracts somewhere between 600-1000 attendees, as far as I am given to understand.

Both of the above are pretty much the two must-attend events in the gaming calendar, for me as a publisher. yet they are not so big that you can't achieve personal contact with the people interested in your games. It's one thing that myself and others who are part of the Collective Endeavour pride ourselves on: making personal contact a key part of the interaction between publisher and customer.

However, there are sometimes instances where the smaller cons (between 50 and 300 attendees) produce better sales than the large sales cons. Obviously, there are number of factors affecting this. One thing to be noted: I have the advantage of not having to attend numerous small cons. Since we established the Collective Endeavour, this gives the members of the group the ability to have their product at cons without having to attend. Most importantly (and linking back to the personal contact issue) the games are represented by people who are just as enthusiastic, informed, and dedicated to my games as I am. That's a great advantage to have and wonderful example of mutual support in action.

So, to answer your question: Would you rather go to one big con or a bunch of little con's? , I'd have to say that I would strike a balance between the two and attempt to create mutually supportive networks that give you a presence at conventions where you can't attend.

Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios

Part of the Indie Press Revolution

David Artman

If you're talking about attending to play and meet people, several smaller cons is much better. I suspect that's also true if you're talking about promoting your game--a strong local core can spread word of mouth better than those who notice you in the maelstrom of a major con (i.e. Origins).
Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages

Seth M. Drebitko

The biggest thing would be promoting and marketing, so sales would be mostly just there to help me break even. For a donation (or trade of some sort) I would be giving out ashcan style spruced up booklets of microlite20 rules and an adventure written for the con. To go along with this I would have some other merchandise and stuff that I was actually selling.

The thing I am waffling on with the bigger cons is  the cost; a smaller con seems less risky. I suppose since running a booth is different than attending it might be better to do some trial and error with smaller cons.
MicroLite20 at
The adventure's just begun!

Jason Morningstar

Goals. Small cons if you want to play your game a lot and introduce people to it through play. Large con if you want to make connections with other designers and publishers. Small cons if you want to enjoy yourself, large con if you want to move product, assuming you have representation or a booth. I wouldn't go to Gen Con without being associated with a booth.