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"Sponsors, Prizes, & Unappreciative GMs" Topic

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960 hits since 7 Jan 2013
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Jan 2013 10:52 a.m. PST

In my last few convention visits, I've run into this puzzling behavior…

What happens is that a GM is running an event at a convention, and the event has been sponsored by a company. The company usually sponsors an event to promote their products and services, and the GM usually gets some freebies. The company also often offers prizes for the game participants.

What I've noticed, at the end of these games, is that the GM fails to treat the prizes with respect. They act as if its somehow distasteful to distribute these "trinkets," or as if deciding who gets what is too hard of a job for them.

For example, I know of a painting service which provided a painted unit for the GM, asking only that he distribute painted samples of the service's work to the game participants afterwards. At the end of the game, the GM just threw the samples onto the table and set "help yourselves," without even explaining what they were.

In another game, the GM received a free set of rules in return for running a game using the publisher's latest edition. The publisher provided small bags of free dice for all the players. When it came time to distribute the prizes, the GM acted as if the prizes were so worthless that no one would want one!

I don't get it. Sure, the company isn't at the show, and will never know how the GM behaved. But I think it shows a real lack of class on the part of GMs who behave this way.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 11:21 a.m. PST

So are you wondering if this is wide spread behavior, or just isolated cases?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian07 Jan 2013 11:29 a.m. PST

In my limited recent experience, it is depressingly universal…

AndrewGPaul Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 11:29 a.m. PST

If I were playing in those games, I think I'd be having a word with the sponsors.

Is there a correlation between this behaviour and other traits of poor GMing?

Angel Barracks Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 11:34 a.m. PST

But I think it shows a real lack of class on the part of GMs who behave this way.


TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 11:38 a.m. PST

The few times I have got prize support I was really appreciative and made sure that they players all knew.

Personal logo Meiczyslaw Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 11:41 a.m. PST

Selling out isn't cool, donchaknow.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 11:49 a.m. PST

In my limited experience of running games at conventions, when I had a sponsor, I had the players vote on the prizes.

It doesn't cost any more to be polite than to be a dork.

Rubber Suit Theatre07 Jan 2013 11:54 a.m. PST

Was the event planned to be sponsored, or was it just handed to the GM at the last minute ("the con sponsors gave us these freebies…")? If the guy just gets to the table with his convention supplies that he's spent months preparing and gets handed cheap baggies of dice, he may hold them in a bit of disdain. Also, at a con that many spend hundreds of dollars to attend, a buck or two worth of dice *is* pretty uninteresting (unique dice notwithstanding). Nothing against the company it's a nice gesture and all, but like candy containing corn syrup, I would probably leave them on the table for the next guy.

The guy with the painted unit and painted samples sounds like a real twit, though.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 12:24 p.m. PST

In the couple of games I've been in with prizes, the GM treated them very well – in one case, he gave a total @$$hole of a player (and not just a jerk but a not very good player, either) a prize, just to avoid the problem the guy would have caused. That's ok, because I got a better prize out of it (in my estimation) than I would have gotten had the guy not gotten one.

OSchmidt Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 1:44 p.m. PST

As a GM who has given out prize, though not from a corporate sponsor, I can understand a little of the discomfort in choosing which player is the "Best" or such like that. I'm also not a very competative player so I don't understand the mind set. However the point is, as a GM. I find it very hard to determine which player is "the better player" on an objectiv basis as -- being a GM, my attention is so often drawn to answering questions and the functionarlity of the rules that I don't have the time to really scrutinize who is doing better. Nevertheless I do like to give something to the players as I am appreciative of them playing the game, especially a game they may not know. So I solved the problem a long time ago by just bringing an ice chest of soda and beer and informing eveyone that as a player in the game, they had free access to it and could take what they wanted.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 3:14 p.m. PST

When I donate stuff as prizes, i encourage a GM to avoid "best player." Instead be creative and give them out for:

  • Chokeasaurus Rex: biggest crap out at a critical moment.
  • Mr. Binary: Player most likely to roll either a 1 or a 10 but nothing in between.
  • Huzzah! To a player who carried out a high-risk, high-reward action/plan and lived to tell.
  • Brutus: Most cut-throat/backstabbing player.

And so on….

Most GMs I've sponsored have done great by me as I almost always hear from one of their players afterward.

A note to sponsors: help your GM out. Put together little kits in bags or boxes with freebies, card and brochures. Put address labels or "Courtesy of" labels on the prizes so the winner knows who provided it. Send them a sign or banner to display.

A not to GMs: Don't like selling out. Just say no!

Mako11 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2013 4:18 p.m. PST

I've never seen that, but don't attend many conventions.

At the last one I did attend, where a large pirate game was put on in 15mm, and Old Glory provided some very nice prizes, they were handed out at the end of the game, with the appropriate reverence, and all that received them were very pleased, e.g. various packs of minis, cannons, and even a nice resin vessel, if I recall correctly.

It was clearly stated which company was generous enough to provide the prizes to the participants, and they were handed out for various accomplishments during the game.

Their painted minis were also used during the game as well, which was a nice tie in for that.

ming31 Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 4:29 p.m. PST

I have and then I went to a small convention and we got prises ( not big) but everyone was happy to get something and players played harder knowing that there was a prize no matter how small .

wingnut07 Jan 2013 4:36 p.m. PST

The companies that have donated to our game in the past have been most generous in their promotions and all prizes were given out to the players at the game. Our award events are carnival-esk where the players vote on Unluckiest pirate career, tally up points for best career in several different categories, receive a single pirate figure for just playing and prizes we award for just random reasons. Afterward I post thank-you's and banners on my site to those companies.
Most of the miniatures companies out there are struggling to survive a generation of virtual game trends that give instant gratification to an A.D.D. generation. It's simple if we don't promote the games we enjoy, the companies that make them won't expand lines, maintain obscure titles or survive. So if selling out is what it takes to keep a hobby alive I enjoy, cut the check.

PS:personal thanks to Old Glory 25's, Laser Dream Works, Recruits and Ainsty Castings for previous donations and accommodation for our players.

stormchaser Inactive Member07 Jan 2013 7:05 p.m. PST

Generally speaking, when we give out the prize support from our sponsors, it goes first to any kid that actually stayed involved in the game. Then usually to someone who died the most glorious death and finally the biggest playmaker in the game. No repeats, and bad behavior will not be rewarded.
In addition, sometimes you get the same player that will show up repeatedly over the course of the weekend just because they think they will get some free swag. Rarely, will they get additional prizes.
Luckily, our sponsors our very generous and we probably get about 75-100 bucks worth of support per game, so I never feel embarrassed.
Finally, we always have placards at our tables advertising who is sponsoring the game and advertisements for the companies.

richarDISNEY07 Jan 2013 9:40 p.m. PST

Not me.
When I got swag to give away at the end of the game, I make a big deal about it.

I try to explain to all of the players what the swag is and why and who gave it up.


Angel Barracks Inactive Member08 Jan 2013 2:27 a.m. PST

Actually this reminds me of a small little event one chap does here in the UK to raise cash for his local armed forces.

This is the event:


He makes a very big fuss about which companies have donated prizes and or time to the prize fund.
He properly appreciates it.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP08 Jan 2013 9:39 a.m. PST

I've never seen that at any HMGS conventions. Maybe I just didn't see it.

I run some tournaments at these cons and ask for sponsorship from various manufacturers. Those that have donated get mentioned by us at the tournaments and we STRONGLY recommend that the players patronize those same manufacturers.

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