*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
June 24, 2022, 08:00:01 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 86 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: CODCON and me  (Read 4178 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« on: April 15, 2002, 06:57:50 AM »

Hello,

A few months ago, someone emailed me a link to RPG.net in which a fellow had announced a "Game Design and Marketing" panel at a local Illinois con, and calling for people who might like to join. I got in touch and got on the panel, and fortunately remembered all of this in time to plan for it.

CODCON is the annual effort at the College of DuPage, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, smack in the middle of the D&D belt. For those of you who don't know this ... if you start in Madison, WI, and go south about to Springfield, IL, missing Chicago to the east, you are in the "gamer spawning ground" of the U.S. Tons of stuff emerged and continues to emerge from here, in all these weird little towns set among interstates and farmlands, like Lake Geneva and Lombard and Naperville. Walking along that imaginary line I just drew, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting someone who "knows Gary," or wrote stuff for early TSR, or helped to found a significant company, or otherwise was involved in the whole history of it all.

And it's still like this. The Apophis Consortium arose all glistening and spiky from this place. XIG is the newest bunch, and some of them are already successful designers and freelancers (e.g. Scott Leaton, Fairy Meat). I have no idea why this area is so gaming-creative rich; perhaps it's the horrifyingly bland landscape, the bleak winters, and the utter dearth of anything resembling fun teen culture. Kind of an American Siberia ... but that's the coastal Californian's usual reaction to the non-urban Midwest, so I shall stop now.

But back to CODCON, which was founded by the gaming club at DuPage (College of DuPage, hence C.O.D., hence Cod, hence CODCON), whose faculty advisor is an all-grown up prof gamer guy (like me!) named James Allen. The main contact page is here. I decided to attend for a whole bunch of good reasons.

1) I like grass-roots conventions and gaming activity. That, to me, is the heart of the hobby, as opposed to the solvency of any big company with a large advertising budget and options for bad movies. In other words, getting ten people to consider playing Sorcerer or any other actual-play game is more important to me than getting ten big-wigs in tassel loafers to consider venturing money on some non-gaming media activity.

Related to that, I do not regard the hobby as an aging, isolated demographic from the 70s. I may conform to that profile, but all my observations attest instead that every group of kids produces a sub-set of actual, active, creative role-players. Therefore a college con strikes me as the ideal.

2) As the faculty advisor of the one-year-old DePaul gaming club, which is running its own, and very first, campus con in June, I need to get a clue very fast about what such an event looks like and what its organizational concerns might be. This was CODCON VII, meaning they'd done it six times and hadn't come a-cropper yet. Cue fact-finding mode.

3) What, miss a chance to promote actual play and creator ownership? Right nearby?

So last Saturday, I packed up with a couple of my fellow role-players, Tod and Julie, and we picked up Dav Harnish too. Driving through a series of highways, towns, and intersections that all looked suspiciously alike, we arrived.

More to follow soon ...

Best,
Ron
Logged
Jared A. Sorensen
Member

Posts: 1463

Darksided


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2002, 07:02:36 AM »

I'm truly dissapointed that the convention wasn't called CODPIECE.
Logged

jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2002, 07:34:49 AM »

Hello,

So what happened at the con? It included the following:
1) A couple of vendors, mainly local stores [DemonCon comparison: check]
2) A couple of companies with demo setups [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]
3) Fairly extensive game room setups, with both signup/scheduled games and grab-a-table games [DemonCon comparison: check]
4) Panel discussions [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]
5) RPGA and White-Wolf LARP presence [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]
6) Lots of whackin' one another with padded weapons [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]

For DemonCon, we decided not to do some of the above mainly because it would take too much time and organization, given our expected attendance. If I'm not mistaken, a lot of these events or activities have been incorporated over time, so that's my plan with DemonCon as well.

So, how about the panel? It included the following people:
Scott Leaton, author of Fairy Meat and freelance writer, including for Star Children
Rich Ranallo, designer and co-owner of Star Children
Bill Fawcett, co-founder of Mayfair Games, previous owner of Games Plus (a big and well-regarded store in Illinois), and designer of about a bezillion games and game-related products back to the early 70s
Christopher Clark, Inner City Games, also a long-time writer and game designer (e.g. Fuzzy Heroes), currently handling the Lejendary Adventures line
And me!

Clearly, two real young guys and three real old guys, but one of the old guys (me) is more like the young guys in terms of participation in "the industry." All male, all white (shock!).

What got discussed? (1) Industry history, especially the relationship of distributors to manufacturers. I was pleased to see that my perceived interpretation of the "two big shifts" (one in the mid-80s, one in the mid-90s) met with some agreement from people who were there. I was especially pleased that the distinction between "push" marketing downstream and "pull" marketing to the end-use consumer was very clearly made, and everyone expressed strong preference for the latter.

(2) Internet publishing, including some strong disagreement about the role of PDF "support" and internet promotion in general. However, simultaneously, everyone seemed to agree about the subcultural power of the internet in terms of generating buzz and bringing actual gamers' interest better into the light. There's a bit of a conundrum here, in that, if one already associates book sales in the stores as "the" industry, then we're already in a conceptual divide that means my own views (for instance) can't be communicated very well in the first place.

(3) Rather a strong consensus on the publishing practices of WotC and White Wolf, and not especially polite. I freely admit that I did not moderate some of my comments, but will also say that I wasn't alone. It isn't hard to see, at this point, that Hasbro is unlikely to continue supporting the D&D property, and many people are laying bets as to what happens next.

These are only my own notions about what went on. So, if anyone else who was there wants to tell about what they saw or might think about it, please chime in.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Jason L Blair
Member

Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2002, 07:44:58 AM »

I wonder if this might not be better served being in a "Convention" forum.
So far in this thread I'm not seeing much "Sorcerer" specific material. With GenCon planning coming up, and also because I (and many other people) want to increase indie presence at conventions, do you think The Forge could set up a "Convention" forum to discuss how best to accomplish these things? It could also be a great place to discuss indie-friendly local cons.
Logged

Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Mytholder
Member

Posts: 205


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2002, 08:15:38 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hello,

So what happened at the con? It included the following:
1) A couple of vendors, mainly local stores [DemonCon comparison: check]
2) A couple of companies with demo setups [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]
3) Fairly extensive game room setups, with both signup/scheduled games and grab-a-table games [DemonCon comparison: check]
4) Panel discussions [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]
5) RPGA and White-Wolf LARP presence [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]
6) Lots of whackin' one another with padded weapons [DemonCon comparison: not doing this]

For DemonCon, we decided not to do some of the above mainly because it would take too much time and organization, given our expected attendance. If I'm not mistaken, a lot of these events or activities have been incorporated over time, so that's my plan with DemonCon as well.


If you have a spare room or two, then getting in touch with the local WW larper or RPGA might be worth it. Generally, they're fairly self-contained, and will organise their own events. Just make sure the person you're dealing with is, well, sane, and won't try to take over your con/whine/make a fuss/your life hell. The nice thing about both of those "special interest groups" is that they have their own internal communications and fanbases, so getting them to come to the con means you might pick up a few extra punters who wouldn't otherwise have come to or even heard of the con.

Then again, if the con's small, it might get overshadowed by outsider events. I can't get used to the size of America.

No "7) Post-con pub meet/table quiz/auction/etc"? Social events are what keep people coming back to the con...

Eep. Sorry. I've dropped into con mode.
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2002, 08:20:44 AM »

Hi Gareth,

No "7) Post-con pub meet/table quiz/auction/etc"? Social events are what keep people coming back to the con...

You are absolutely right, my friend. That is definitely getting incorporated.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!