PaulCon

Here’s the latest proposal from Tempe Mission Palms, which has meeting rooms and is located right in the middle of some awesome stuff in Tempe:

Best dates they have available are 5/11/17 through 5/13/17. The only overlap I’m aware of is ChupacabraCon.

I can reserve 30 rooms, $129/night would be the rate. It’s highish because it’s also in the middle of spring training (sportsball stuff) here.

The next set of dates would be 6/8/17-6/12/17 and the room rate drops to $109/night.

The meeting room rentals aren’t bad, 5 rooms x 3 days for $2250 total. So spread around 30 attendees, that’s $75/person and since those rooms are rented no matter what, that’s a nut that must get covered even if I don’t get a full 30.

Yah, this is more than a bigger convention. That’s why it’s called economies of scale.

None of this even addresses populating 5 or 6 tables with facilitators/events across three days. Honestly I’ve been so preoccupied with just the logistics of finding space that I haven’t begun to think about, you know, the games. I can’t run everything every day!

0 thoughts on “PaulCon

  1. 30 rooms is probably more like 50-100 attendees, with double or triple occupancy, and accounting for some couples attending where just one half of the couple plays.

    Personal thoughts:
    $109/night is more feasible for me to make it. $75 attendee fee is pretty high, especially in combination with a high room rate. Will you knock anything off for GMs or volunteers? Will you have a VIP package (I once booked the VIP package at a smallish con which came with con badges, a little swag bag, and the room rental and was utterly stoked because it meant I didn’t have to fight over the room). Do you plan to run a Kickstarter? Will you have a safe conduct policy?

  2. Safe conduct policy, sure, and/but I don’t know that it’ll be a wide-open to the public event.

    Kickstarter maybe? Hadn’t thought about it much.

    Good call on the number of rooms. Honestly I’m thinking 30 attendees.

    The rest…Unfortunately no. I’ve been thinking very small time.

  3. Stephanie Bryant for sure I will.

    The deeper I dig into this in a serious way, the more outgunned and overwhelmed I feel. Andi Carrison is volunteering to keep me sane, thank goodness.

  4. Just thoughts from working on a much bigger national convention.

    Do you have an attendee goal? Max?

    All gaming all the time? Game development? game business meetings

    How can you get participation from people who don’t attend?

    I like the idea of PaulCon Kickstarter what non-attendee awards could be in play?

    posters?
    shirts?
    video feed?

    What about a sponsorship? Cut of what people sell at the Con?

  5. Stephanie Bryant nice!

    I’m slightly tempted by luke crane’s deal at the old BurningCons to require everyone run something, but that’s a big ask. I like the outcome, I even like the purpose, but I can already tell it would not be the most popular idea ever. Dunno. Maybe I need to just do it and treat that requirement as the first opt-out.

  6. Micah Shaeffer the vision, to be honest, is a very small gathering of folks. If I could house everyone in guest beds around the city, I’d still have the problem of finding enough playing space.

    An early iteration of the idea was to rent some huge house and use the bedrooms, dens and living rooms as gaming space. I’m going for intimate an unofficial, not at all a place to sell stuff or run panels or whatever.

  7. I’m so in for this.

    Especially the help keep Paul from tearing his hair out part. 🙂

    Things I Know: Yes, there’s totally a code of conduct. It’s important that expectations are stated, shared, and upheld. /Even/ for a not-public event. That’s how one supports their guests and demonstrates that individuals’ well being and safety matter.

    The organization and imparting structure to Game Playing will happen. It’ll be awesome. Even when we don’t know what it looks like just yet.

  8. I was actually going to suggest that “you will GM at least one game” being a requirement for entry being a good way to get a particular “feel” to the experience, or deal with the question of how will you get GMs. I also know it would scare off many women who aren’t experienced convention GMs, which would be a shame. But I have thoughts on how to maybe make that less daunting.

    In any case– if I come to the con, I’m willing to run games.

  9. The more you talk about your vision, Paul, the more it reminds me towards Go Play NW.

    I know folk have talked about GPNW a bagillion times, and imma do it for a bagillion-and-first time:

    GPNW is hosted at Seattle University and attendees overwhelmingly stay in the dorms (soooooo affordable for being in the middle of Seattle). A ballroom that’s attached/part of the dorm building serves as a central play space, but there is also the lobby for hanging out (couches!), and lots of cubbies and places to tuck up for quieter playing. People show up to play games, there is a strong culture of “contribute by running a game,” and there are no panels or exhibitors or the like. The schedule includes a big chunk of time to eat an evening meal (because socializing is also important).

    Anywho. I will try to resist getting swept up in this just yet. Not that I can resist having opinions. PAX South first. Then PaulCon!

  10. Hmm, Arizona is pretty dern close. I definitely vote to keep it reeeeeeally small, especially the first time. 30 people is good, like a large-ish house-con. JiffyCon started out about that size.

  11. Threads like this tend to be full advice, but I do run a small con for about 60 to 70 people that takes place each year, and can share details of what goes on behind the scenes if it’s helpful.

  12. So one thing, maybe the only thing, hanging me up is my desire for smaller conference rooms rather than a bigger classroom/ballroom. There are actually quite a few decent large classroom/ballroom facilities available through the city of Tempe and at reasonable rates. But I hate, haaaayte that environment for actually playing in. So I’m trying really hard to find a space with divvied-up meeting space, and we just don’t have that here that I’ve found yet.

  13. Paul Beakley​ okay. Not all this will be relevant to your concerns. Also, I happily lifted a lot of the structure from another con run by a friend six months away from “mine” in the same venue.

    The Venue
    Ours is a series of rooms open to hire for various events in an old hotel with lots of crannies. There is one big room with four tables, a smaller room with three tables, four individual “cells” with a table each, and a room with space for two tables but huge noise problems between the two tables.

    So that gives us 11 normal tables, and a further room for a single “big” game (as two normal sized games don’t work there so well). So there’s space for say about 70 people, thinking of an average of one GM and five players per table (with some bigger and some smaller that’s fine; a few people will always have to unfortunately drop out at the last minute, and I wouldn’t fret if attendees climbed a bit above 70).

    One point I’ll make is that the Venue and places to stay are separate issues. Obviously, plenty of people coming will want to stay at the venue, but there are other cheaper hotels and bed&breakfast places in the same city. That’s fine. I’d have nightmares about doing what you seem to be, which is arranging accommodation. That’s not my responsibility.

    And part of organisation is not thinking too hard about things which aren’t my responsibility. I can give some guidance about local hotels, but I’m not responsible.

    Code of Practice/Harassment Policy
    You need one, including a procedure for if there is a problem. Probably at a small con there won’t be any issues, but having a procedure in play is helpful. Find something you like at another small convention, and ask the organisers if you can use it with modifications. They’ll probably be flattered and say yes.

    Money
    If you can, reserve the venue, and only pay when you have a decent number of bookings. Don’t go out of pocket. Work out your likely number of attendees, add 50%. Take the cost of the venue and divide by that number. Round off to get the cost. If coming up to the convention, you find you have spare money, there are things you can spend it on- games for a raffle, badges, coffee in the morning slots, whatever. Do what you can, but these other things are bonuses. Put profits, if any, in a separate account to roll forward for when you do it again!

    Attendees/Promotion
    Put together a simple website. Give it a PayPal button or similar, and open registrations about 6 months ahead. Bear in mind that most of the people coming will at first be friends, and friends of friends. That’s okay (though it’s what may limit the attendance to around 50 to 70, but you may very well be more popular than me).

    The Games
    This is the fun stuff, right? So for each table, there are going to be three game “slots” per full day. Nail the times down, with a break of 60 to 90 minutes in between (my times are 10:00 to 13:00, 14:30 to 18:00, 19:30 until 23:00, with room for games to overrun by agreement of those playing).

    What I do is a mixture of pre-sign-ups and sign-ups at the event. Each attendee gets to pre-book one game. Each GM gets to pre-book another space in a game as a player for each game they run (a GM award with the bonus of not costing anything).

    GMs give their games- system, number of players, a short blurb. I open things up to GMs to give game descriptions at the same time as booking. One caveat…I don’t accept game descriptions from a GM until they’re registered for the event.

    Then I keep track of everything on a lovely spreadsheet. A couple of weeks before the event, pre-books are done manually by e-mail. A few days before the event, I print out sign-up sheets.

    At the event, 20 minutes before each game slot I stick up the sign-up sheets in the designated area (with spaces filled in for pre-bookings), and hover around to check everyone who wants a game has one. Sometimes a couple of GMs won’t have enough players, but if one GM is happy to play, two groups can be merged.

    (Now you can see why I checked before posting all this.)

  14. Paul Mitchener this is all terrific stuff, thank you! I’m so glad I’ve got experienced hands I can talk to about this stuff.

    I’m probably going to drop the accommodations bit and focus on the venue and the games, tbh.

  15. The Gameday I run doesn’t involve hoteling people, so I would refer you to Willow Palecek on that.

    We’re in one big room and usually have 6-7 tables of 4-7 people each, and I can tell you it gets loud. It’s been an issue for some folks.

    We rely on volunteer GMs, and while we typically accommodate all the tables, I know that the burden ends up falling on a group of regulars, some of whom run two slots back-to-back. The BurningCon method is more daunting, but I think it better distributes the load, especially if you’re looking to fill 3+ days of three slots per day.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I’d consider scaling back. Do a house con with maybe 10-12 people and just shoot for Friday night through Sunday, like BurningCon and Forge Midwest. (Right now you’re trying to match GenCon in length, which seems like a lot to me. By Sunday at GenCon, I’m ready to hit the road. By Sunday at FMW, I’m sad to hit the road.)

  16. Requiring everyone bring something they can run and requiring attendees to be supportive good sports for new people trying something new seems the best combo. Unless what you’re after is a more high-quality experience?

  17. You’re not interested in running it with New Mexicon style game pitches for each timeslot? In the years I’ve gone to Forge Midwest, and the one year I went to New Mexicon, I’ve never seen a timeslot come up short for people wanting to run stuff. But if that’s a concern, the way they do it at Gamestorm is to have someone run the pitch who knows the crowd. Attendees are asked to split into people who want to run something in the timeslot and people who want to play. The person running the pitch eyeballs the division, and if it looks to be short of GMs, asks people from the player group who he or she knows to switch over and pitch and run something. “Hey, Jason Corley, can you run something in this timeslot?”

  18. Paul Czege maybe! But that feels like putting the cart in front of the horse.

    Right now I just need space and maybe soft attendance commitments (many of which depends on the money side of this getting worked out).

    I do think pitches work quite well at a certain critical mass and pulls generally strong games. It’s also intimidating, in the same way as the “everyone runs” regime.

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