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"Make Historicon Great Again!!!!!" Topic

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Stepman328 Mar 2017 7:49 a.m. PST

This was my post from the summer…

18Jul2016 3:28p.m.PST
Do the "Mid Night Madness" on Friday night, cancel the Saturday afternoon flea market session, let the vendors that get a flea table for Friday night leave their stuff set up for the Saturday morning session, if they want to…Money earned in the flea market from Friday night and Saturday sales go to spending in the vendors hall and also allows people the ability to game more on Saturday…

historygamer28 Mar 2017 9:56 a.m. PST

Money earned on Saturday night likely goes out the door home.

And the question still remains, what do you do with a half empty room during peak hours?

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2017 11:00 a.m. PST

Ok, so my brilliant idea is flawed.
So, how about everybody starting at the same time, with a first-timer's starter discount, with "frequent flyer miles" that could build up to a sizeable reduction to the vendors who are regular attendees?
This rewards both the newbie and the loyal attendee vendors.

historygamer28 Mar 2017 1:37 p.m. PST

Treat them all well, provide a nice venue and lots of attendees. That's all you can really do.

TSD10128 Mar 2017 4:09 p.m. PST

leave their stuff set up for the Saturday morning session

And then you'll have to have 2 volunteers watching the stuff because its a large room with a lot of traffic and people playing games very late.

you missed the rest of my point.

Haven't you guys basically hijacked that area because it wasn't in official use at the time? Now that there could be an official plan with it, people are upset?

Rotundo29 Mar 2017 6:05 a.m. PST

Yes TSD. Not everyone wants to play organized games. There are alot of D-bags out there. This limits thier effects. We pay extra for this elitism. No GM free pass for us. Of course, telling a clown he is just that is worth $25. USD

Poniatowski29 Mar 2017 8:21 a.m. PST

OK, addressing a few things….

Discounts???? Really? Compared to other shows across the US and elsewhere, including board game shows, comic-cons, etc… HMGS shows are waaaay under priced for both admission and annual membership…. membership is underpriced.. we haven't seen any real cost increases from HMGS in years…. I am not rich by any stretch of the imagination, but if you want a better venue, better food, better anything… we first need to put up or shut up….

You cannot expect any of those improvements without increasing pricing…. period.

On trying new things…. I am all on board with that…

I want to mention FIRST though….

1. most folks selling in the flea DO indeed turn around and spend MOST if not ALL of said gains in the dealer hall. Anything else is lies… I have been around enough to know one thing for sure…. the only folks NOT spending their money from the flea in the dealer hall are in fact dealers, disguised as flea marketers… which is against policy anyway. Oh, or folks selling off estate materials form a recently departed friend and gamer. The later being totally understandable.

2. it is waaay cheaper to be in the dealer hall for the weekend than setting up for all 3 flea market sessions. Simply do the math…

3. we will NOT be eliminating any sessions, but I am planning on moving one of them for Fall-IN! 2017…

4. It is a pure myth that the flea market is taking money away from vendors (see item number 1).

5. "IF" I move a flea market session to a later time AND vendors want to participate…
a. Only be allowed to purchase a flea market table if they meet the criteria for getting one… MUST BE AN ACTIVE HMGS member.
b. Will have to follow all of the rules… it IS a flea market, no stacked boxes, no dealer hall stuff, etc… (we are considering adding a clause of NO SHRINK WRAPPED/SEALED merchandise in the flea market)… That alone would keep put most vendors.

Now, on to why the above… I want to clearly demonstrate that the regular flea market sessions are not taking money away form the vendors… I will be watching table sales closely… do not think that we will not be wise to dealers trying to buy up all of the flea tables of a late session so no one else can sell.. I will just increase the size of the area and sell more tables.

Also, it was suggested to me that even if the dealers do NOT participate in the late night sessions that they "think" by moving it to a late time slot will mean the day trippers will spend more time in their areas spending their money instead of going to the session that was moved late…. I aim to prove this statement wrong. Gamers are calculating… very few purchases I make in the dealer hall are "compulsory"…. we plan it out… we go there to look for new things and to even plan to buy future stuff ONLINE form said companies… going to shows is the cost for being a dealer.. to show your product…

No matter how you slice this, the ONLY advantage of moving a flea market to a later session is to allow dealers WHO GAME to sell off their used stuff… they deserve the chance to do so and if they are stuck manning their booths all day long, this opportunity isn't available to them unless they have a friend watch their booth or close their booth to get to a session to sell.

ANY OTHER reasoning is flawed and has a political agenda…

So, OK…. with that said… YES, Fall-IN! 2017 will have a late night flea market…. PERIOD. So, moving on.. there is a lot to consider…. Currently there are 4 sessions….
Friday afternoon, sat morn and afternoon and Sunday morn (free).

Which session should get moved and why? Sat morning is NOT moving.

No matter how you slice it… the flea market, dealer hall and gaming all conflict with each other time-wise…

Thanks for reading and I hope this didn't burn anyone up as this is MY PERSONAL OPINION AND NOT THAT OF HMGS…. I am just trying to make things better and grow the show… I know I cannot please everyone, but I have no agenda other than making things better and growing the shows.. folks on TMP who know me in person know this to be true… so no fires please…

historygamer29 Mar 2017 1:26 p.m. PST

Dan: A couple of things to consider:

1. What is the purpose of this "new" flea market shift? If the goal is for, "…vendors want to participate.." you need to take into account the logistic of that. The dealer area only closes at 6pm. If the flea market starts at 7pm that is not enough time for them to close up, go get stuff from wherever, and get there to set up in time. It also doesn't allow them time to eat dinner. Forget relaxing.

2. Have you contacted the dealers to see how many would want to participate (sell stuff)? Might want to do that first.

3. If the dealers are just going to stroll through on their way to dinner, is it worth the effort to stand down the afternoon flea market just for that?

4. Is the expectation that other attendees will stay later? Remember, this would be the third flea market iteration of the weekend, not the first or second.

5. So if the morning flea market shuts down at 1pm, and it takes about 30 minutes to move people out, what happens in that rather large area from 1:30pm to 6pm? Kind of a large chunk of prime real estate to leave sitting empty for so long.

6. If the dealers are your intended sellers in the flea market, why not let them bring other stuff over, as long as it is discounted? Say minimum of 10% More? I don't know, but that would really get interest I would think.

7. You might want to run a smaller test program of this idea instead of going full bore. Designate a line of tables along the windows, offer them to the dealers first, then fill empty tables with others. Keep a large part of the room for open gaming and the tournament guys. If it goes well on a smaller scale, go bigger the next time around. This would also allow you to keep the afternoon flea market and take income from both. This would only work if the primary occupants of the evening flea market were dealers as that way it would be all new stuff. This would be the have your cake and eat it too option. :-)

One question you seem to predicate the dealer flea market idea on the fact that dealers can't sell their fleas otherwise. Is there a restriction on dealers on what they can sell at their booths? I find that hard to believe given some of the junk I've seen for sale in the dealer hall over the years. The recent con had jewelry for sale in one booth.

TSD10129 Mar 2017 3:38 p.m. PST

So, OK…. with that said… YES, Fall-IN! 2017 will have a late night flea market…. PERIOD.

Good for you for trying something new. Just be prepared for the whine.

If the dealers are your intended sellers in the flea market, why not let them bring other stuff over, as long as it is discounted? Say minimum of 10% More?

That's laughable. I'm sorry, but at the flea market I expect flea market prices. Make it 30%. This is no better than the guys who are at con after con peddling the same crap in shrink rap for 10-15% off dealer prices for all 3 sessions trying to secretly run an off the books business in the flea market.

The recent con had jewelry for sale in one booth.

If you wanna go that route maybe we should ban the movie guy too because its not miniatures.

historygamer29 Mar 2017 4:52 p.m. PST

I did say "More?." I made a basic suggestion, not a decree.

As for jewelry to movies really? You don't get the connection? Have you ever stood there and watched his movies? I fail to see the connection between military history and costume jewelry.

That said, if you get some more military miniatures, then yes, use the space for that. But the booth selling jewelry was also selling some other miniature stuff. Of course that goes back to my point that apparently the stuff dealers set out is not regulated so why can't the dealers just sell their unwanted wargaming stuff during the day at their own booth? Not a whine, but a fair point to ask.

And for the record, I rarely bother with the afternoon flea market. I would also point out to the dealers that the morning one was moved an hour later so as not to conflict with the dealer hall opening. By noon the first flea market is fairly beat. That's only two hours.

Bosco05 Inactive Member30 Mar 2017 3:41 a.m. PST

I would have no problem with dealers selling personal stuff at their booths if they wanted at whatever price they felt was appropriate. They paid for the booth and should use it as they see fit. Anything that makes the con more financially viable for a vendor is probably a good thing.

Most vendors have limited staff so setting up and staffing a second location in the flea market might not be viable

As for non-wargaming vendors, I wouldn't have a problem as long as it was exceeds booths space being "sold" to them. I suspect their yield wouldn't be that great as I'm not really hoping for jewelry at the con

Then again maybe I'd by more if I had a way to buy my wife something to distract her while I unloaded the car….

thomalley30 Mar 2017 6:01 a.m. PST

We are considering adding a clause of NO SHRINK WRAPPED/SEALED merchandise in the flea market.

I think none would be wrong. I bought and sold lots of shrink warped stuff and I'm no dealer. Second copies of books. Rules that were never opened. Troops I bought for a period and then changed scales, so I never got to them.

Nick Pasha30 Mar 2017 6:10 a.m. PST

Flea markets do take money away from the vendors. People go to the flea market before trying the vendors to see if they can pick up what they want cheaply. To say that people who sell at the flea market spend their money at the vendor hall is conjecture. But they definitely compete with the vendors and hurt their sales. Especially the smaller vendors.

historygamer30 Mar 2017 8:04 a.m. PST

Personally, I think the flea market vs the vendors is almost impossible to quantify. We can't say for certain that if there was no flea market the dealers would have better sales.

I know my own experience is when I sell in the flea market I tend to spend more in the dealer area. When I don't, I seem to spend less. But then again, it depends on what I "need."

I rarely buy stuff in the flea market I'd buy in the dealer area. But that's just my experience.

Stepman330 Mar 2017 9:17 a.m. PST

I don't think any reputable dealer is going to try to sell his product at the Flea Festival. I just don't see the likes of Lon or Steve from AoG or "The Flag Dude" being like that. Maybe stuff from their private stock of leftovers or figures long neglected…

I would think the move the Friday afternoon session. This gives the short weekend travelers a chance to hit the Flea Circus and then still game later on and then some time in the dealer hall on Saturday.

Any money I've ever made in the Fleastevities, I've paid for my room first then I made it rain in the dealers…mo money, mo money, mo money…Usually if I spend anything at fleapaloza, its only been a few bucks here and there…I'm looking for a deal, not an unconsensual love making session…which many vendors seem to forget…also I see the same stuff brought convention after convention…(doesn't it get tiring trucking the same stuff show after show?)…

Dan, you do you…I'll support anyone that steps up to the plate to advance the convention and its mission to provide us with a positive experience…

historygamer30 Mar 2017 9:32 a.m. PST

I'd agree with what Stepman said, but again, my unsolicited advice would be to poll the dealers to see how many would actually participate – not just go to shop. If the later, save your time and skip the idea.

TSD10130 Mar 2017 10:12 a.m. PST

I think a bigger question is why so many people feel dealers are entitled to money made at the Flea Market and why its even a discussion or justification. The two serve two different kinds of people, if Flea Market rules were enforced against the semi pro sellers buying all 3 sessions.

Like the Flea Market, 80% of the dealers don't carry what I'm interested in so they get nothing more than a cursory glance. That is not to say their products are bad, they're just simply not what I game. Getting rid of the Flea Market completely would not increase the amount of time I browse there, nor would it increase what I spend no matter what anyone thinks. Dealers who believe otherwise are deluding themselves.

I hit the flea market in the hopes of finding old terrain projects, out of print stuff, or collections of painted figures at a good price. I hit the dealer hall for new releases, books, etc.

Disclaimer: I have never sold anything in the Flea Market, and this past Cold Wars I spent 3x as much in the dealer hall as the flea market.

wargamingUSA30 Mar 2017 1:47 p.m. PST

So why not have both vendors and a flea market at Historicon, vendors and no flea market at Cold Wars, and a flea market but no vendors at Fall In? It will focus retail spending and let vendors know when they can expect to see customers wanting/expecting to see their wares… Historicon and CW. With this approach vendors who really can only afford to attend two cons won't have to try to guess which ones might provide the better ROI.

It will reduce the administrative burdens for CW and Fall In by not having both venues and also mean the space requirements for Fall In are significantly reduced, likely expanding the number of location options.

(Clearly I'm in the "bigger isn't always better" camp.)

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP30 Mar 2017 2:10 p.m. PST

As a dealer, I have no intention, as in zero, of setting up in the proposed night time flea market session. I don't have merchandise to dump at flea market prices. I don't think it's a good look for a dealer to be blowing out anything in the flea market, not to mention I work my booth for 9 hours on Saturday and the last thing I want to do Saturday night is work the flea market as well.

I'd like a shot at all those terrific bargains I hear so much about but never get in on. The two years Historicon was in Valley Forge, the flea market was right next to the dealer area and I had the chance to wander over there several times each session. I found some terrific terrain items, some great Qualiticast out of production ACW and Napoleonic packs and last but not least, made a contact with a seller who had a raftload of Der Kreigspeilers that we did a deal on, just tremendous scores for my 20mm collection.

So my goal is to shop, not sell………………..

Ottoathome Inactive Member30 Mar 2017 2:37 p.m. PST

A few questions.

1. If attendance dropped when Historicon was moved to an area other than Lancaster, what makes anyone think the attendance at Cold Wars which is almost the same as Historicon will NOT drop just as much.

2. Much the same with fall-In.

3. I have noticed that the original poster asked for ideas to make Historicon Great Again. OK. Very few people did that and mostly it, as it always does, degenerates to a snit of "Why I hate the Host." or an endless debate of Flea-Market versus Dealers.

Daribuck Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2017 4:03 p.m. PST

RE: I want to clearly demonstrate that the regular flea market sessions are not taking money away form (sic) the vendors…

I would be astounded if you could somehow prove that. Which I simply cannot see based upon the evidence that I CAN see.

Just my comment, as someone who ONLY goes for the Dealer area and the Flea market, so I hope to have some knowledge about that singular topic. I have been a dealer at three HMGS East conventions for the past five years, and bought and sold in Wally's before that.

The perception from about 90+% of the Vendors I have talked to is that it is pointless for us to stay open while the flea market is open, and there IS a noticeable drop in business while Wally's is open. Now you may say "that is completely untrue, but NO one from HMGS has asked my opinion, while I, on the other hand HAVE asked the opinion of every dealer I talk to. And as I stated, 90% of them agree with my statement.

Fortunately, the solution is simple, and it continually stares us in the face, and I am consistently amazed that the organizers cannot or choose not to see it. The solution? Have Wally's open EXACTLY when the dealer market ISN'T! As far as I can tell, EVERYBODY wins, as dealers can now buy AND Sell at Wally's, and sales made at Wally's can be used at the Dealer's the next day!

So, who loses? Well, no one as I can see, but some might argue that the "day trippers" are the losers. Really? I'm not sure I see how, because my plan encourages them to stay LONGER, and perhaps even stay overnight! Imagine that. And who wins? Well, anyone who wants to "shop" at any time during the day.

Anyhow, I've said my piece many times. It is so painfully obvious to me the best solution, and a sad shame that management (or whoever is in charge!) cannot see it. Want to help the dealers? LISTEN to them, for crying out loud!

Six Sided Simulations!

TSD10130 Mar 2017 4:35 p.m. PST

And as I stated, 90% of them agree with my statement.

And 90% of statistics are made up. Of course you'd see people agree with anything they feel would impact their bottom line in a positive way.

Fortunately, the solution is simple, and it continually stares us in the face, and I am consistently amazed that the organizers cannot or choose not to see it. The solution? Have Wally's open EXACTLY when the dealer market ISN'T! As far as I can tell, EVERYBODY wins, as dealers can now buy AND Sell at Wally's, and sales made at Wally's can be used at the Dealer's the next day!

The sense of entitlement towards whatever money people make or spend at Wally's continues to boggle my mind.

So, who loses? Well, no one as I can see, but some might argue that the "day trippers" are the losers. Really? I'm not sure I see how, because my plan encourages them to stay LONGER, and perhaps even stay overnight! Imagine that. And who wins? Well, anyone who wants to "shop" at any time during the day.

Dealers have first crack at everybody on Friday when the doors open at noon, and the line is always all the way back out to the crumbling stairs with people clamoring to get in. Even on Saturday, the dealer hall is open before the flea market, first crack again. If you think me or others are going to wander the dealer hall for hours upon hours looking desperately for something to buy instead of playing games, you're dead wrong. Also, they are day trippers because they only want to spend 1 day at the con. Maybe they have to work a day, prior commitments, etc. It doesn't matter. Respect their decision. Trying to force them to spend more than they want by attempting to deny them one of the draws of the convention, just no.

Daribuck Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2017 4:52 p.m. PST

RE: Trying to force them to spend more than they want by attempting to deny them one of the draws of the convention, just no.

/Anger mode on./
WTF?? Did you even read what you said? Am I advocating FORCING anyone to do ANYTHING? Do I think ANYONE is going to "wander the dealer hall for hours upon hours looking desperately for something to buy instead of playing games, you're dead wrong." Look, I realize this is the internet and all, but for someone in this hobby, I expect some intelligence! Come on!

Many people (sorry if that statistic is too hard for you… I eliminated any number…) have said they want to help the dealers. I,as a dealer have made a suggestion based on (GASP!) conversations with OTHER dealers. You shoot it down immediately. If you are NOT a dealer, then why the heck would you know ANYTHING about i?

/Anger mode off./
Have a nice day.

TSD10130 Mar 2017 5:30 p.m. PST

WTF?? Did you even read what you said? I expect some intelligence! Come on!

Then articulate better, because it sure reads like you want to force day trippers to stay late at night to get the benefits of the flea market or else they'll have to settle for whatever you have in the dealer hall.

Daribuck Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2017 6:02 p.m. PST

RE: Then articulate better,

Fair enough. I accept your pointing that out.

Friends? Onward!


Poniatowski31 Mar 2017 4:56 a.m. PST

@Historygamer… thanks for your insight!

@Bosco05… YEs, dealers can sell at their booths, you have a very valid point, but there are 2 sides to that coin… vendors also want to buy flea market stuff too (please do NOT derail this by stating some dealers DO go to the flea, but stuff and then go back to the dealer hall and mark it up and resell… not an issue… if you get what you want for it in the flea, I don't care what the buyer does with it)

@thomalley… that was just a suggested measure to try and limit the retail sellers from being in the flea is all, there could be better ways to handle this.

@Nick Pasha.. please, no trolling… I respect your opinion but strongly disagree… I have been doing the flea market for years on end and speak to everyone around me… I don't shut up unless someone hands me a beer or food… anyway… for the most part… NOT CONJECTURE…. but rather EXPERIENCE ha sshown me first hand… as I mentioned before.. most folks I come across in the flea do indeed spend most, if not all of their flea earned money at the dealer hall.. the rest are possibly dealers. I made $200 USD in the flea at CW17 and spend over $300 USD in the vendor hall… I AM NOT AN ANOMOLY….

@a few of you…. I HAVE SPOKEN to dealers… a lot of them do want to be able to do the flea market for the right reasons… the rest want to move it off schedule with the dealer hours because they "think" they will get more money that way… as stated by many others.. that simply isn't true… and a few rare ones think that they will come in and buy tables up and stop others from "taking away their money".

@TSD101… you have a very valid point…. no one is entitled to anything…. I myself am looking for things none of the dealers are selling so I go to the flea to look for them. You cannot get angry if folks don't want to buy from you.

@WargamerUSA… per my earlier statement… the 2 actually co-exist… removing one, means less sales for the other…

@DoubleG…. the INTENT is NOT for dealers to sell their STORE STUFF, but rather their own personal stuff from gaming.. there is a huge difference….

@Daribuck… we will agree to disagree… The solution is not as simple as you lay it out. I have been doing shows since the 80's…. AND, I have been both in the dealer hall as a dealer for OLD GUARD PAINTERS & TCS and lots in the flea market… You speak some truth… YES, the dealer hall traffic drops off when the flea market is open as folks are looking for stuff/deals that you cannot get in the dealer hall… what do you expect??? If you want to win that business… lower your prices OR carry older stuff folks want… both of those ideas are of course silly for a dealer to do though… so we are back to square one…. dealers will see less revenue if the flea market is moved to the night… WHY…. because.. the ingrained dynamic is… sell in the flea market and then go to the dealer hall and spend your money…. there is nothing you can say other than walk around (like I have) and actually speak to both dealers and flea marketers about what they do with their money…. dollars to doughnuts… MOST folks in the flea sell and then spend in the dealer.. the exceptions are estate sellers and or stores….

In the end, there is only so much time at the shows and even if the flea was moved to a different time… not only would you see dealer hall spending drop…. you would see dealers standing around as folks just spend only so much time in the dealer hall anyway… so they would still be standing around… AND.. dare I say it…. sales would drop because folks would be wanting to either save money to see what they can get at night in the flea market OR they wouldn't have cash to spend in the dealer hall until at night when they make some to spend….

You see, it isn't everyone, but it is enough…. and sales would suffer it the dealer hall… the math is simple….

I also need to counter your 90% statement…. most restaurants are open at time OTHER THAN lunch and dinner… they are literally dead or pretty close to it.. do they close the doors at those times because business drops off and stay open for the main lunch and dinner rush and make a financial killing? No they don't…. My point… people know what is in the flea market is, well… fleeting.. they know what is at the dealer hall will be there…. God forbid HMGS patrons want some variety??? It isn't like they owe the dealers their money for coming. And any dealer worth their salt knows… the shows are NOT THE money maker.. it is a chance to drum up new business, make some sales, but mostly show their products and get folks interested…. if they think they can rely on internet sales without going to shows… they know better. Shows are a part of the deal…. I know they want to maximize their profits…. I get it, I understand it.. who wouldn't… but attempting to shut down or run out of town any competition.. well, that is just insane… and that is what a LOT of dealers try to do or want to do to the flea market.. when, in reality… the flea market puts cash in hand for people to go and SPEND at the dealer hall. Sorry.. you will never win that argument with me or anyone I really know that sells there…. we all go to the vendor hall… cash burning hole sin our pockets and spend.. spend more than we made even… Are you guys NOT listening.. the majority of the folks are like me…. we sell and then add that to the money we spend…. I spent an average of $300 USD+ a show… most of which is made in the flea…. If I have an awesome day in the flea, some dealer is going to have an awesome day in the dealer hall…. BECAUSE I SPEND IT ALL!!!

And I will say this…. if I had to wait until late night for the flea market session (saying they were all moved to times when the dealer hall is closed)…. no dealer would see any of my money until I had a chance to sell and look in the flea for things I am looking for….

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 9:31 a.m. PST

Actually, the vendors might take the slack-time provided by the flea market opening crush as a chance to grab some food or a nap; provided they have someone who can keep an eye on their wares briefly. If the traffic is that diminished, this would make sense to take advantage of the lull.
Play up the lack of crowding as the time for a genteel stroll through the nicely-organized vendor barn, not being jostled and deafened by the human-sea-charge of bargain-hunters. I personally used this tactic to cruise the Vendor barn last year when my sense of balance was compromised, and I was pulling a small cargo wagon along to help stabilize my walking. Also, if I were a vendor trying to win some of the flea market traffic, I would offer a "Flea Market Kryptonite Special", a percentage off between X and Y hours that happen to coincide with the operating hours of Wally's Basement ("What a coincidence!") And yes, I have had lots of show/retail experience at this: I helped my wife and business partner sell reenactor fabric out of a tent at events for over a decade, so "today's specials" were part of our planned daily draw to the public. Offer a free geegaw or widget, or "Buy 5 or more and get 20% off!"

thomalley31 Mar 2017 10:11 a.m. PST

Or keep the vendor area closed for the first hour of the flea market (vendors can rest, shop, eat) and keep the vendors area open a hour after the flea market closes ( so people can spend their new found funds).

civildisobedience31 Mar 2017 10:18 a.m. PST

I just want to throw out some thoughts about the perennial, "HMGS cons are SO CHEAP compared to other cons" meme.

This is not meant to insult anyone involved in HMGS conventions, but conventions like Hcon and Cold Wars are not reasonable comparisons to, say, Origins.

At Origins one year, the registration line was long, but they had people walking up an down the line, urging anyone with a mobile device to preregister (there was no wait at the prereg line). My friend and I did that, and a few minutes later we were in. HMGS, on the other hand, shuts down prereg, what, a month before the con?

Origins is much better organized. GMs can avoid the usual feral hunt for chairs for a game, or to hunt down the perpetrator who made off with one of your tables, probably because someone else didn't get the number he was supposed to.

My point isn't to beat up on cons like Hcon, just to point out that they are not the same kind of professional operations, and comparing pricing is not an even match.

Besides, basic economics says a lower price increases demand and a higher one reduces it. It doesn't matter that somebody thinks Hcon should cost $100 USD or not. We're here hand-wringing about the declines in attendance, not shooting our mouths off about growth and the "next level" (though we've been there too), so talk that the cons "should" support higher prices seem foolish. They don't.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

"Or keep the vendor area closed for the first hour of the flea market (vendors can rest, shop, eat) and keep the vendors area open a hour after the flea market closes ( so people can spend their new found funds)."

The vendors _are_ open an hour past (6pm) closing of the late flea market session (5pm). Sadly, the packing up of the flea market goods cuts into the time available to haul ass over to the Vendor barn to spend the cash burning holes in flea marketeers' pockets.

We need to stop looking at the situation from a victim/oppressor, predator/prey, or parasite/Host (pun incidental) viewpoint. We need to form a symbiotic relationship where all may benefit to some extent.

Poniatowski31 Mar 2017 11:12 a.m. PST

@civildisobedience… HMGS has a will call now where you can, at any time register for the show, even while in line… if you do not want to wait….

Please give HMGS more credit than that.. a LOT of our staffers used to or still do work for Origins, GenCon, etc…. We are pretty damn organized, we are just understaffed.

There is always room for improvement and HMGS is striving for that improvement, but do not be so easily charmed by the "big" shows…. they have all kinds of problems too.

Last time I was at origins (admittedly a decade ago…) it was a literal cluster… My pre-reg was lost, I was double charged… I can go on and on.. and I love Origins!

civildisobedience31 Mar 2017 11:46 a.m. PST


I tried to be very clear that I wasn't slamming anyone involved in running the cons. Just making the observation that the events are not comparable (e.g. in that Origins is $70 USD so Hcon should be too).

One thing that would be nice is if HMGS would get rid of that appalling software system they have. I doubt anyone around now is responsible for that terrible purchase, but it is a disaster. I still am amazed every time when I see how long it takes to register someone…and that's with the volunteer sitting in a chair staring at the screen for enormous amounts of time.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 11:51 a.m. PST

The perception from about 90+% of the Vendors I have talked to is that it is pointless for us to stay open while the flea market is open, and there IS a noticeable drop in business while Wally's is open.

When the flea market is open there is a noticeable drop in attendees physically being in the vendor hall. No one disputes that. What doesn't follow is that therefore money is leaving the vendors. The attendees are buying in the vendor hall at the other times.

I have to buy all my stuff in the first two hours, so it doesn't sell out. I also preorder stuff that I can't expect the vendors to bring to every convention. I have done all my shopping before the first flea market opens. I may not be back in the vendor hall for the rest of the convention. But I've completed all my purchases, even the unplanned ones.

Don't assume when I'm in the flea market I'm spending money that should have gone to a vendor in the vendor hall. That's the problem with perceptions.

Poniatowski31 Mar 2017 12:22 p.m. PST


Oh, no, I got that… I got what you are saying. I apologize for the misunderstanding. I didn't mean to imply how you took it. It wasn't a lash out. It is just that it is soooo much more complex than that… simple yet complex….

I want to add again though…. you say the software system is horrible…. I have to state again, it has nothing to do with that either. It actually flows very well.. if the volunteer is really on the ball, it takes but minutes to get someone registered… the issue is…. volunteer turnover… SOP retention, etc… MOSTLY it is actually the internet connection and not having a dedicated line that can handle the traffic… seriously… when the net is slow, even our most seasoned volunteer takes 5 or more mins. because of the lag.

Daribuck Supporting Member of TMP31 Mar 2017 12:36 p.m. PST

Gentlemen: Some excellent points, and all valid. Again, the topic of this discussion was, ehhh, what was it again? Oh yeah… How to make H-con (and others?) better! I offered a solution from a singular perspective of a dealer that I thought would benefit everyone… Not just me as a dealer, but me as a potential Wally's purchaser as well

I would point out this: People bemoan the fall off in vendors, which may or may not lead to a fall off in attendance. I offered up a solution from a perspective that "well, here is something that vendors don't like, and might drive them away." And then I proposed a solution to that problem. Are we all really so intractable that we cannot see the merits of the solution, or do we have to shoot first, ask questions later.

By the way, I am not that worried exclusively about the money made or not made by the dealers. My bigger worry is that dealers are "tied" to their areas while the vast majority of their potential customers are elsewhere. It is not like a restaurant where we have a building lease for 5 years. Don't even ask em about Sunday! MAN, what a waste of time. Ask any dealer about that as well!

Do I understand budgets and finance, and the limited resources of a typical attendee? Yes, of course, but as a dealer, it seems unfair that we are asked to be "the anchor" for these conventions, and we do so willingly, but would it be too much to ask to look at things from our perspective once in a while? And just what is wrong with an evening Wally's anyway? Why are people so against that? I truly do not understand… I, as an attendee, would LOVE it!

Just my two cents worth, which is more than I made at Cold Wars this year on Sunday.



thomalley31 Mar 2017 12:42 p.m. PST

Why is the registration software going out on the internet. I would think the only reason would be to access a database, but that should fit on one of the computers at the convention, heck for HMGS, it should fit on a small memory stick.

civildisobedience31 Mar 2017 10:43 p.m. PST


That's interesting. I'd heard a number of people complaining about the system before.

It does seem there is a lot of trouble with the Internet connections. Registration has been a problem at every venue. This kind of hits at my point. A "professional" level show would have trained regular staff and not volunteers, which makes the comparison about what is reasonable an unfair one in terms of rating the efforts of the people involved. But in terms of the attendee, it is a different "product."

I have to agree with comments above, though. It seems to me there could be a system that didn't require Internet access just to do registrations. Even so, it seems likely the amount of data transferred would be very small in the case of a registration. I've stood there more time than I can count, watching the poor volunteers staring at the screen for what seemed like endless amounts of time. Something about the system works very poorly. Again, not taking shots at the people involved, just noting that the system doesn't work very well.

Ottoathome Inactive Member01 Apr 2017 3:20 a.m. PST

A consideration for Vendors who feel their sales are impacted by the Flea Market.

Maybe you are not selling what people want?

I seem to see most of those complaining about this see the solution in being more "responsive" to fantasy and science fiction gaming. Yet I note that 15 to 20% of the games at the HMGS conventions are fantasy and science fiction.

If you carry primarily fantasy and science fiction wares, why come where only 20% of the foot traffic will be interested in what you sell. Are you saying the basic nature of the Historical miniature conventions should change to suit what you want to sell?

I for one game in classic miniature games, Renaissance, Seven Years War, WWII. The dealer hall is a fast-once through for me, as I know those vendors who sell things I want. The others I don't even bother to look at. I'm just not interested.

When I get to the booths I want, I drop hundreds of bucks, maybe a thousand. I'm the guy who if I want something will want them in 36 figure lots for a single regiment.

I'm sorry to be so tiresome but it IS a historical miniature convention. If people want what you're selling they'll tear it out of your hands to get it. No convoluted system of opening and closing and location is going to make up for you having sock no one wants to buy.

Poniatowski03 Apr 2017 4:43 a.m. PST


Yes… I am of the same mind. The idea of going to the net though is so that we only have to do it once. If you do it on a local laptop or say pen and paper even… someone, sometime after that will have to enter it all into the online database. That would create a monstrous amount of work I fear we would never get anyone to volunteer for.

Believe me… we are always trying to figure out better or quicker ways for reg. The "Will call" registration feature is new last year and it really works… it kills the lines at the desk and allows someone to register whenever and then walk in and get their reg/badge…. and NOT wait in too bad of a line…. the will call line moves fast.

thomalley03 Apr 2017 6:53 a.m. PST

Should be able to update on a local network and just download once. Either when you get back, or each night over the net.

civildisobedience03 Apr 2017 9:54 a.m. PST

Honestly, it feels to me like the people running things today are groaning under the weight of crappy stuff they inherited.

Poniatowski03 Apr 2017 11:48 a.m. PST

Yes, I cannot answer that.. I am not net or IT savvy.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP03 Apr 2017 6:45 p.m. PST

Sadly, the organization is still paying the guy who designed their system 2 – 3 grand a year just to maintain and upgrade it! Yet still no one has figured out you don't need a "net" connection to work with it! Pretty Sad I'd say!!

The Wargaming Company03 Apr 2017 9:51 p.m. PST

The ongoing concerns as to the vendor hall vs the flea market make for good drama, but are a net-negative for conventions.

We [vendors] compete for attention as much or more than dollars, as it is the one that leads to the other. Limited access to the flea market drives lines of people looking for deals and a rush to find them. Constant access would alleviate this.

Our vote would be to have both the flea market and the vendor hall open at the same hours for the same duration. If possible in very close proximity.


historygamer04 Apr 2017 4:38 a.m. PST

Interesting. Using the laws of supply and demand – the demand for sometimes hard to find or cheap stuff carried in the flea market is high – the supply of both product and time is limited – even more so now that the flea market opens an hour or so later than the dealers. Perhaps instead of going to the dealers first as intended by HMGS management, many people sleep in a bit, then go to breakfast, or drive up and head to the flea market first, then head over to the dealers after.

Moving them both back to the same time does make sense from that perspective.

Lord Hollier06 Apr 2017 9:22 a.m. PST

I'd like to see the Vendor area and the Flea Market co-located. While the only real issue it may solve is making it easier for Vendors to be buyers in the Flea Market, it should remove a lot of the "perceived issues".

I also think if you made a Flea Market table $25 USD a session (instead of $20 USD), and one Vendor table $75 USD for the weekend (instead of $100 USD), you would eliminate the "vendors in the flea market" issue.

Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP06 Apr 2017 7:31 p.m. PST

I totally agree with you, Lord Hollier.

Personal logo Milhouse Supporting Member of TMP06 Apr 2017 8:50 p.m. PST

Lord Holllier is on the right track

Personal logo EccentricTodd Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 6:25 a.m. PST

I agree, I've said it before myself. The Flea Market and the Vendor hall need to be in the same place. Either at the far end of the vendor hall, or even better sprinkled throughout. You want the bargains, you can see what the vendors are offering.

The vendor hall should be open to the public. Would there be that much traffic, we don't know.

This convention needs more diversity. What I mean by that, is see if it's possible to host other games in an effort to bring in other gamers into the historical gaming market.

Example: If you had *cringe* Magic the Gathering, Pokemon tournaments, along with a few other select board game tournaments (Settlers of Catan, …), you could bring in a bigger crowd, who might get turned on to historical gaming. I would look at any prize money given away, would be the cost of trying to add more to the hobby.

This needs to be a game convention with a focus on historical gaming, but more of a draw to other gamers.
To put it another way, you will go to these three cons if you are already a historical gamer. So, unless you bring in new people, by supporting other types of games and converting them, it will fade away over time.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 7:51 a.m. PST

The Flea Market and the Vendor hall need to be in the same place.

OK. But where would this take place? The Barn? The Lampeter Room? We'll need to move out of the Host to try that out.

The vendor hall should be open to the public.

The public? You mean the "I have no interest in the convention, I only want to shop for free" crowd? Then I'll disagree. It costs money to put on a convention and to get all those vendors in one convenient place. Vendor fees don't all cover it. The buyers need to fund their share with the admission fees.

If you had *cringe* Magic the Gathering, Pokemon tournaments,…..

Anything but that.

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