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


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Rotundo07 Apr 2017 8:01 a.m. PST

Bowman, would you consider a ten dollar stamp that allows four hours to shop? I have been a supporter of a shopping pass. All those daytrippers sharing badges. At that price, they might chuck the bucks and play it straight.

The Wargaming Company07 Apr 2017 8:16 a.m. PST

As a vendor and relatively new on the scene of HMGS-East conventions I will say that we were surprised that vendors seemed to largely accept that people had to pay the general entrance fee to shop. We were well aware of the practice, but had assumed it would be something that vendors would dislike as it potentially reduces their market.

For point of comparison, AdeptiCon allows open access to vendors by whomever wanders in. To play a game you must pay a fee, thus it lowers the barriers to entry for shopping, which is obviously of benefit to the vendors.

-TWC
thewargamingcompany.com

grtbrt Inactive Member07 Apr 2017 8:31 a.m. PST

Bowman ,Why are you so worried about the day shoppers ?
If indeed they make up a large part of the income of the convention-which is very doubtful -Then the income model on which HMGS stands is very weak .
a shopping pass only benefits the convention and vendors .
It should only be used to visit the vendor hall ,not the flea market area(which means people need to be checking the badges -which I have not seen evidence of in years) Cold wars I was able to shop in the Flea Market and play games without my badge (forgotten in car ) – I only realized this when my 12 year old said" Dad where's your dork badge ?"

grtbrt Inactive Member07 Apr 2017 8:35 a.m. PST

Day shoppers will bring in money to the vendors and if they like the con might become full members and attend it on a regular basis -thereby generating further money .

I have numerous friends that would go for a day shopping pass-but don't because as they state – "why am I paying money for the right to spend more money ?

TSD10107 Apr 2017 9:09 a.m. PST

The dealer hall is the only place where the badge is ever checked. Shows you the priorities. Clearly HMGS sees a sizable amount of people they charge $20 USD for the privilege of shopping, else they wouldn't have that older lady who is there every con so vigorously guarding entry. I went the entire con with my badge not visible since it was on my bag, and no one batted an eye, not at games, not in the flea market.

Personal logo EccentricTodd Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 9:32 a.m. PST

Based on a Cold Wars 2013 vendor layout…

If all tables are sold in the vendor area, $100 USD each (which is still cheap by convention standards), that's something like $30,000. USD I wouldn't think that building rents out at $10,000 USD a day.

So, in my mind, the walk in public should be more than made welcome.

This is the internet age, instead of paying to get to shop, I can just stay home and buy online. Paying to get in, should be a thing of the past.

If we can't be inclusive of other gamers, we will wither away. In business if you are not growing, your dying.

civildisobedience07 Apr 2017 10:32 a.m. PST

Add me to the let people shop for free list. With the Internet draining shopping dollars, it is in the interest of the conventions to support the dealers any way possible, as the loss of that revenue would be devastating and the loss of the shopping as an attraction would badly damage the cons.

Let's start by not needing volunteers to man the entrance and check everyone's badge (as noted, you could sneak in and play a game no problem, but the shopping area entry is guarded every second). That saves rooms, food vouchers, etc. Then, ditch the armed guard. I shudder to think of what that costs, and what an utter waste it is. Another example of taking ourselves too seriously. Ditch those costs, and it will more than offset whatever number of people would stop paying because all they want to do is shop.

Don't forget, shoppers are supporting the con by supporting the dealers paying to be there.

Disco Joe07 Apr 2017 2:38 p.m. PST

"This is the internet age, instead of paying to get to shop, I can just stay home and buy online."
And of course buying online gets you free shipping costs or do you have to pay for shipping?

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP07 Apr 2017 7:15 p.m. PST

Ah, the age old argument raises it's not so well thought out head again!

How many more people would Free Shopping bring in? Handful? Hundreds? Thousands?

How many additional Volunteers would it take to man each Entrance/Exit for each game room at the Host to Check for "Paid" Badges ALL Day, Every Day of the Show? How much more money would it cost for all those extra Volunteers? Or do you believe folks will actually Volunteer to do a Thankless Job for nothing? Don't forget Reliefs for things like Bathroom and Meal Breaks!

As it is now, GMs are supposed to check to ensure everyone in their game has a Badge! About 98% of them don't bother, as they don't see it as part of their job!

How long before "Paid" Attendance goes from 2000 (CW 2017 Figure) to more like 200? As everyone will soon figure out how to game the System and claim they are only there to shop in the Vendor Hall!

Then how does Attendance actually get Tracked? Right now it is based solely on the number of Badges Sold! So how do you account for the "just shopping crowd"? Give them a different colored "Free Badge"? Sure! Yet that still means that each shopper will have to Check-In somewhere to get their "Shopping Only" badge. Another line to stand in, good idea?

That's the kind of things that have to be considered, and even those are just some quick basic thoughts!

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2017 3:51 a.m. PST

I have numerous friends that would go for a day shopping pass-but don't because as they state "why am I paying money for the right to spend more money ?

Because it costs money to have the vendors in a paid for, convenient facility. The "I want to shop for free" friends of yours expect to have their shopping financed by the paid convention attendees and the HMGS membership. Look, if they had any interest in the conventions, they'd go. Since they don't, they can shop for free now……….online.

Don't forget, shoppers are supporting the con by supporting the dealers paying to be there.

I don't see the logic. At least a shopping pass would offset the cost from the paid attendees and the general membership. But I agree with your comments on the cost of running a "shopping voucher" and the security guard. The "I should be able to shop for free" crowd wants the benefit of having the vendors in one convenient place without the added expense of shipping. The savings they get are funded by others. If they weren't shopping at the cons, they'd be buying the product anyways online. Or they get their friends to pick it up. Otherwise, how do they get their stuff?

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2017 3:56 a.m. PST

For point of comparison, AdeptiCon allows open access to vendors by whomever wanders in.

Apples and oranges.

But let's try that. Let's raise the admission fees for Historicon '17 to those of Adepticon and charge fees for every game and tournament. And have a free entry for shoppers only. How do you suppose that would work out at Historicon this summer?

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2017 4:10 a.m. PST

Bowman ,Why are you so worried about the day shoppers ?

I'm not. I would be able to exploit a free shopping pass all weekend. I'm part of a group of friends that are spread far and wide, and only see each other at these conventions. We play in each other's games that are not in the PEL. Sometimes some of us do play in registered games and tournaments, and take Hobby University courses, but badges are never asked for. The only reason we wear our passes is to get into the vendor hall. We'd be the first to benefit from exploiting any "Shop for free" pass. So bring it on.

Of course, we know we would not be contributing to the sizeable costs of running the convention. With that in mind, why even bother to join HMGS? I could enjoy all the benefits of the cons, shopping included……… on someone else's dime.

Do you see the problem now?

Rotundo08 Apr 2017 4:20 a.m. PST

May I give a different perspective on day trippers? I live just south of Philadelphia. Many of our gamers could concievable drive each day of the con. We stay as a mini vacation. A day pass would be more for guys who would come up due to other interferences. If one had work Saturday night, he may come up for tje morning for hands on shopping, to be around it, to support it because they will be a full participant at anotjer time. Guys have Friday night weddings. They feel it is not worth a one night stay on Saturday. So you sleep late, come up in the afternoon, stay late, roll home. The author of the original post is a cop. He comes as he can. Point is, guys who do not pay $20 USD, are not going to pay $10 USD, $5 USD, or a quarter. Most guys will do right by HMGS because they believe it is right. All my examples are actual examples. When there time is compressed on tjese weekends they are not gaming anyway, they are visiting and shopping. I would be ok with a cut rate for them. I do b elieve they should be asked for something. No one could completely monitor every shopper. We are depending on thier honor, no matter the price. Some people just don't have any. HMGS isn't going to change that, no matter what they do. Give a break to the honorable, those who come anyway even though they cannot enjoy the whole expierence. This really was not about the money…for me anyway. HMGS is sitting on $300,000 USD as of the Friday night meeting report. They could cut a break to those of us with less stable employment or schedules.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2017 4:27 a.m. PST

Rotundo, most of what you are saying is an argument for a discounted day pass.

Most guys will do right by HMGS because they believe it is right.

I feel the same, and that's why I won't follow my scenario above.

This really was not about the money…for me anyway. HMGS is sitting on $300,000.00 USD USD as of the Friday night meeting report. They could cut a break to those of us with less stable employment or schedules.

If we dip into this, the first thing I would want to see is some financial relief to the vendors, instead of the membership. But that might be another topic.

civildisobedience08 Apr 2017 8:38 a.m. PST

Does anybody really think we'd have huge numbers of people sneaking in to play games and not register and pay if we didn't have big brother at the door checking papers?

HMGS started to take itself way too seriously, and that was the beginning of the decline. I imagine previous BoDs staring at the mirror, seeing themselves splendid uniforms of the banana republic dictator variety.

How about just chilling? Stop worrying that six people will sneak in. Stop panicking that HMGS might lose out on $200 USD…and stop spending $2,000 USD to prevent that from happening.

If a problem develops, deal with it then. But stop acting like we're defending national secrets here.

catavar08 Apr 2017 10:55 a.m. PST

It's my understanding that the tight security at the barn, and checking ID's for badges, were instigated for problems that have already occurred. Maybe not everyone's as honest as we would like them to be?

thomalley08 Apr 2017 4:11 p.m. PST

So people can sneak in and play all the games they want as long as they don't shop? Of course that could mean that attendance isn't down, but that more people are playing the system.

civildisobedience08 Apr 2017 5:15 p.m. PST

What problems? That seems far fetched to me.

Figure the cost of the rent a cop, the hotel rooms, food, etc, for the staff at the door, and imagine how many devious infiltrators need to be caught to pay all that. A hundred? More?

Rotundo08 Apr 2017 7:00 p.m. PST

Civil, I would agree.

Rotundo08 Apr 2017 7:06 p.m. PST

Yes Bowman, I am a proponent of a shopping pass. I have always been.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP08 Apr 2017 7:09 p.m. PST

It's not that far fetched when you consider that about 10% have been "gaming" the system for years, and another 10% have pulled off an end around of the system whenever they get the opportunity.

That observation is based on my experience working as an assistant with one of my local Vendors who attended the shows regularly over many years! So those numbers aren't just a guess!

If it wasn't so easy people wouldn't be doing it! But denying it isn't a problem, or believing it's only a very minor one just allows it to continue unabated!

civildisobedience08 Apr 2017 9:29 p.m. PST

How exactly did you calculate those "gaming the system" and come up with those two ten percents?

Seriously, I don't think the bulk of the gaming community is sitting up nights plotting how to scam their 30 dollar fee

catavar08 Apr 2017 10:46 p.m. PST

Next time you pre-reg ask why they now insist on seeing ID to get your badge. Far fetched indeed.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 2:47 a.m. PST

Yes Bowman, I am a proponent of a shopping pass. I have always been.

I'm not averse to a limited and paid shopping pass, the potential for abuse and added administrative headaches notwithstanding.

What galls me is the "why am I paying money for the right to spend more money?" crowd, who basically want their savings subsidized by the membership and paying attendees. I have no idea how many there are, but it must be sizeable as different ones come out of the woodwork after each convention with the same complaint.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 2:55 a.m. PST

Seriously, I don't think the bulk of the gaming community is sitting up nights plotting how to scam their 30 dollar fee

Civil, no one said the "bulk" but you. It doesn't matter if it is one person or a thousand. The "I wanna shop for free" people are doing so on the dime of us who did pay our $30 USD, including you and I. And that's wrong. They should pay for the convenience of having the vendors all under one roof just like the rest of us.

How exactly did you calculate those "gaming the system" and come up with those two ten percents?

Probably the same way someone else came up with:

Stop worrying that six people will sneak in

Rotundo09 Apr 2017 9:04 a.m. PST

I agree with these last two posts Bowman expect the price I would guess.

TSD10109 Apr 2017 10:17 a.m. PST

The "I wanna shop for free" people

Wear and tear on the car. Time driving. Gas costs. I'd hardly call it "free" for the vast bulk of people who live outside of Lancaster.

They should pay for the convenience of having the vendors all under one roof just like the rest of us.

Or they could just shop online, where even with shipping costs its likely to be cheaper than full retail in the dealer hall. Some sites not only give a discount, but toss in free shipping over X amount of dollars. Who in their right mind would pay extra to pay full price? Not me.

What galls me is the "why am I paying money for the right to spend more money?" crowd, who basically want their savings subsidized by the membership and paying attendees.

You're having your entry fee subsidized by the vendors paying an unsustainable price for tables with archaic rules that force them to be there on Sundays when they do little business and drives up their cost. It galls me you don't remember that. It galls me you don't factor in time driving, gas cost, and the like. What if the people who only want to shop are already paying a yearly membership to the organization?

Since the dealers are being milked so nicely, maybe you'd throw them a bone once in awhile.

civildisobedience09 Apr 2017 10:27 a.m. PST

Bowman,

What DOES matter is spending probably thousands of dollars on rent a cops and perks for "volunteers" to stop that ONE person that so gets under your skin. If it costs ten times as much to police against a few people sneaking in, doesn't it seem stupid to obsess over it and waste that money?

We're not even talking a shoplifting equivalent here, since the more business the dealers do, the more they can afford to continue to come (and let's be honest, half of them are on the brink of throwing in the towel).

civildisobedience09 Apr 2017 10:33 a.m. PST

Bowman,

Okay, "six people would sneak in" was clearly a casual phrase, not a specific estimate of numbers. If you look at the two posts and the contexts, you will see the difference. Or, likely, you will not, since you just want to try to make the point that HMGS is well-served spending many times the cost of any missed registration fees on the expenses of locking down the entrance to the dealer hall.

TSD101 hits it right on the head. You can be a jackboot all you want. Why not set up a sniper just inside the door to catch anyone who sneaks by the "volunteer" at the entrance and the armed rent-a cop sitting just inside. How about roving hunter patrols? How about random checks of people in the dealer area (your papers, please!)? None of that will change the fact that moving conventions, declining attendance, the Internet, and other factors are squeezing the dealers to death. One of these years a big chunk will all drop out at once, and then, at least, while you're paying $75 USD for you registration to a dying convention, you can at least take solace that no one is riding on your registration fee to sneak into the dealer area.

catavar09 Apr 2017 11:05 a.m. PST

I don't believe the Constable is there just to stop people from coming in. He's also there to benefit the vendors.

TSD10109 Apr 2017 12:02 p.m. PST

I don't believe the Constable is there just to stop people from coming in. He's also there to benefit the vendors.

My question is, was theft ever a big problem at the cons, or was there a major incident that caused them to hire one? Is it something that The Host requires the convention to have as part of the rental for safety or insurance purposes, or was there some major incident in the past?

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 12:36 p.m. PST

I think HMGS should hire a good web designer and up the quality of their online presence. The first thing to do is to hire a photographer to come in and take some professional pictures of the games. Make the website one where people look at it and want to attend.

I also think that HMGS should begin promoting non-historical war-games. There are plenty of open tables, and some of the games are awful and bring down the vibe. A bad looking historical game is worse than a good looking non-historical game. The bad looking games are just depressing, and have a negative impact on the convention floor. Conversely, if you get some, say, really enthusiastic Warhammer game masters in, that would be a boon. It is the enthusiasm that is key. And, if you can get some of those enthusiastic Warhammer game masters to pick up historicals, then you bring additional enthusiasm into the hobby, which will draw in even more people. In either case, it's the quality that is key. At the very least all models should be painted to a "reasonable war-games standard."

The reason for doing this is very simple. Young kids like non-historical games. If you run non-historical games next to historical games you get the younger crowd in. This will give them an important exposure to the historical hobby.

Ultimately, the games themselves, and not the online presence, is the best advertisement historical wargaming has compared to non-historical wargaming. On the balance historical games are more impressive visually, because the most serious historical wargamers are willing to put more time, thought and creativity into making good looking games; I think that is inarguable. Its why I began playing historical war-games. Also, we complain a lot on here about the cost of figures, but historical figures are much, much cheaper than non-historical figures. This is the biggest reason I switched from Warhammer to historicals. Other people will do the same thing.

Let me put it this way. I'm 35 years old, and one of the youngest historical war-gamers I know. There are millions of non-historical war-gamers in the US alone. You need to join the streams. There is zero reason not to do so. I think you can respect the HCON charter while also bringing in new blood.

Advertising, both online and in hobby stores, is another thing HCON should be doing. It doesn't cost very much money to print off a few thousand color flyers and distribute them. Especially since you have an army of members, many of whom presumably go to local hobby stores. Ask people to pt up flyers. At least ASK. Put a flyer on the website as a PDF so that people can download it, print it off and post it at hobby stores. Make an effort to bring people in, and then the project will speak for itself, and the hobby will grow, because it enriches peoples lives. HMGS should set itself an annual goal of 5% growth. Completely, absolutely do-able.

But HMGS needs to step up their game.
Exhibit 1: Why the f*%^ is this the HMGS twitter feed?

https://twitter.com/hmgs

No, wait, this is:

https://twitter.com/hmgsmidsouth

No, no, no… this is..

https://twitter.com/hmgs_psw

No…

https://twitter.com/HMGS_HOBBY_U

Wait…. wait a minute….

link

This guy posted some pictures of a table I set up with my 3mm figures on it and I didn't even know! Ha!

Here's one thing HMGS could do.
Get a twitter feed and use it to distribute eye candy, both from the conventions, and from a portal that allows members to upload their own weekend games, as well as games from the regional conventions.

Found it!

https://twitter.com/HMGS_Inc

48 followers. 0 Pictures despite it being a visual hobby. Last post is from 2015.

There is a Facebook page though…

https://www.facebook.com/HMGS.Inc

Which uses as its top banner a single 28mm figure. An average-quality sculpt, a 4 paint job Nazi, who bears more than a slight resemblance to Adolf Hitler.

I'm not knocking WW2 games, and of course, you need super-villains before you can have super-heroes. But maybe, just maybe, something could be put up to better represent the hobby, and modeling in general, like, oh, randomly, this:

picture

Or this:

picture

Just saying.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 1:52 p.m. PST

If you run non-historical games next to historical games you get the younger crowd in.

This is, at best, only partially correct. This would be like offering kids a choice between a bowl of ice cream and a bowl of peas and carrots, and expecting the result to be a love of vegetables.

If you want to get the attention of fantasy/sci-fi gamers, you need to go where they are instead of expecting them to come to you. Taking really fine and approachable historical games to places like GenCon, Origins or Adepticon would be much more effective. Doing this would help establish historical miniature wargaming as a viable genre within the larger hobby in the minds of gamers who aren't all that familiar with it and have been put off by a public perception of stodginess and a high bar to entry (which, as has been pointed out, HMGS has missed many opportunities to dispel). Then, Historicon could and would be what it was originally intended to be; the place where gamers come to play great historical miniature games.

Also, any effective outreach would include the very fertile recruiting ground of those who already have an interest in history, and not just those who have an interest in games.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 2:11 p.m. PST

Civil:

Or, likely, you will not, since you just want to try to make the point that HMGS is well-served spending many times the cost of any missed registration fees on the expenses of locking down the entrance to the dealer hall.

I said no such thing. Please reread my posts

Why not set up a sniper just inside the door…..

Jeez, you are ratching up the straw man. I haven't been talking about guarding the vendor hall at all. I'm arguing against shoppers who don't want to pay the entrance fees to the convention. Again please reread my posts.

forwardmarchstudios Supporting Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 2:49 p.m. PST

War_Artisan-

I agree that an outreach is possible at the other conventions. Also accurate, I think, is your observation that there needs to be a focus on approachable historic war-games. The Flames of War tournaments are good examples of a historic war-game being able to bring in new people. Partially, this is a commercial issue- FoW is a major company, and very well supported. Maybe it's debatable, but I wonder if the FoW tournament could just as well go its own way and have its own convention, apart from HMGS? It is almost big enough, and sufficiently its own beast.

But, I digress.

One problem historicals have is that it is not really a commercial hobby; FoW, GW, and the like are commercial hobbies. There are probably more FoW players than all other historic war-game periods combined. Compare that to Fire and Fury, or any of Sam Mustafa's games. These are widely play-tested, but also one-man-shows, two examples of a fractured landscape. It is very difficult to bring people into the hobby because of its fractured nature. The presence of the commercial games can bring people in to witness the advantages of historical relative to the commercial games; intellectual depth and cost are the biggest.

Pico Armor, where I'm a discussion board mod, recently re-did their website, and spent a lot of effort trying to come up with new ways to approach the hobby, both to sell, and to utilize the internet and social media to try and grow it. I don't know if the conversation resulted in increased sales yet, but it was a good one to have.

Also, the sugar/vegetable thing is a apt comparison to illustrate my position- kids like sugar, but when they grow up into adults they realize they like vegetables. But if they never get exposed to vegetables, they would never realize how to eat healthily.

Personal logo EccentricTodd Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 5:08 p.m. PST

Should HMGS own more (do they own any?) game tables based on history. Shouldn't we expect a scale model of Gettysburg, and Waterloo, maybe Agincourt? (28mm, 15mm, 6mm,…) I'm just thinking maybe they don't have complete armies to fill the tables right away, but provide something glorious to look at, and play on.

I think we need to look at HMGS (and the conventions) as something that is providing value for all of us. Vendors, Players and the Public (in that order, lol :-) ).

I think that per-internet frenzy, it provided a gathering point, of games and players that you just couldn't find anywhere else. Back then, that would have been enough.

Fast forward to now. I don't feel like what we have is caught up to the internet age, and what that means. We have groups of like minded people that can gather together (like on this forum). We have google, and can find random and obscure miniatures to buy. We could get exposed to new games, where today you can follow blogs and podcasts. So, we almost have all of what was done in the old days just a computer click away. So, what is left… the physical, the see it and get overwhelmed. I think that goes back to having terrain, having a quality check for games, prizes and swag.

Outreach to the public. Assuming the Vendor hall is free (sorry Bowman), put the bid display of whatever battle there… put up some Plexiglas and tell the public to come and look, or watch as the battle unfolds. How hard would it be to let the crowd roll some dice, or even issues some orders, or just watch.

Off topic, but really on topic. Shouldn't HMGS find a way to set up battles (same big ones as above (is the horse dead yet?)) and get high school history students to have a look, or play? Isn't that one of the ways to try and gain interest in history and gaming? How is are new members being introduced? I'm not saying they should sped a lot, but I think HMGS needs to spend some money in promoting especially in non-traditional ways.

The Wargaming Company09 Apr 2017 5:49 p.m. PST

If one reviews the financials posted by HMGS-East, they will see that while the organization has a lot of capital, year-over-year it spends almost exactly the same amount it raises.

Thus, while many times during online discussions the organization's funds are indicated to be in excess of what they need demonstrated by "how about we spend money on XYZ", the money actually appears to be working capital roughly adequate for its allotted purposes.

This is available to be reviewed and considered by all HMGS-East members, which is how I came to review it.

(EccentricTodd This is not a specific reference to your ideas but rather a general statement as there have been numerous references to what HMGS-East should do with its funds in this thread).

-TWC
thewargamingcompany.com

Personal logo EccentricTodd Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Apr 2017 6:05 p.m. PST

Give then community, I would imagine terrain, could be a group effort. Plywood and big sheets of foam are not that expensive. Storing it could cost you if you had to rent a place. Getting donations in material could go a long way, especially if those who donated had names around the edge of the table.

If you told me you were doing Agincourt and wanted me to paint up and donate 80 archers or so for the cause, I'd be inclined to do it. I could be wrong, but I bet the dealers would help out with their products, because they see it helps them in the end.

I think we identify what we think we need to do as a group, then figure out the how. If the in and out are the same, that's almost bad news. A few years of bad shows and you're done. I think that's why it needs to be about more than just 3 shows. Lets theme park it up a bit. We need a wow factor (not World of Warcrack).

Rotundo10 Apr 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

Todd, noble idea. But what do you do when the one guy donating 100 28mm French Knight with livery is a stone nut who does not show, nor does he tell you he is not coming, nor does he ever show up again? I speak of personal experience and I did vett him. He was a friend. Much harder to vett from five states away. There are several top notch games sprinkled in every con. Sorry to be negative. Just trying to be realistic.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 5:42 a.m. PST

Thus, while many times during online discussions the organization's funds are indicated to be in excess of what they need demonstrated by "how about we spend money on XYZ", the money actually appears to be working capital roughly adequate for its allotted purposes.

That is a good point.

In that case there should be some extra funds available in 2018 as Historicon comes to a cheaper venue. Some of that money may have to go to rent the large room at the Continental Inn. And I'll suggest some goes to subsidizing the vendor hall, to give the vendors a break. It may even cause more vendors to make the trip.

Rotundo10 Apr 2017 6:00 a.m. PST

Ss far as $300 USDk. Fairly certain that was in excess of the budget.The funds generated at H-con pay for H-con. Unless I misunderstood.

Disco Joe10 Apr 2017 6:21 a.m. PST

Patrick, I thought that the funds were not con specific but were organization specific as in HMGS.

The Wargaming Company10 Apr 2017 7:24 a.m. PST

Rotundo,

If you review the financial records you will see that ~$300K is what HMGS-East reports as its total holdings.

You will also see that its reported operating budget for the three conventions it runs total approximately ~$300K.

Thus, it would seem that the obvious conclusion is the ~$300K is effectively working capital, at least on an annual basis.

-TWC
thewargamingcompany.com

The Wargaming Company10 Apr 2017 7:29 a.m. PST

And I'll suggest some goes to subsidizing the vendor hall, to give the vendors a break.

I must speak out about this point as you've mentioned it a couple times and others have stated it in the past. I really do not understand the driver, it seems almost wrong-headed. The cost of the booth rental for the eastern conventions plays no bearing what-so-ever in our choice to attend as a vendor.

The notion that vendors at the eastern conventions need some form of subsidy in order to continue or begin attending is just foreign to us. We began attending HMGS-East conventions last year (2015) and, again, no part of our decision to attend was impacted by the current cost of renting the vendor booth. We did deliberate on the likely cost-benefit ratio of attending, but the cost of the booth was a non-factor in our considerations.

As a vendor, there are a lot of things we wish historical wargaming conventions did, none of them include subsidizing the vendor hall. Many of these can be considered for HMGS-East conventions but most apply much more broadly to *most* historical conventions.

Some examples would be more formal advertising and sponsorship options which might include (these are in no particular order):

Swagbags which can feature product samples, advertisements, and coupons.
More and better program advertising options.
An online advertising option that is more than posting the list of vendors.
Formal options requesting, sponsoring, and securing some of the secondary small game rooms.
Examples of what can be done and what advertising options there are.

These could be provided in a variety of ways at low or no-cost to the convention. Some could be added as value-adding offsets that come "free" with being a vendor, others could be fully vendor paid options.

There are other improvements that can be accomplished through either additional volunteers or money which would be of benefit (these are in no particular order):

A clearer vendor booth selection method the current method is functional but can be improved.
Parking lot control during loading and unloading this is less of a problem at Historicon than at Cold Wars and Fall-In because of the venue, but that is about to change as Historicon moves back to The Host in 2018.
Prolific signage throughout the venues to both direct attendees and advertise events.
Standardization of vendor booths between the three HMGS-East conventions on the Historicon model, don't rent us "tables" we're not the flea market.
Prolific and constant communication regarding timelines, deadlines, and convention status HMGS-East did a decent job of this regarding The Host in 2016-2017 but communication channels should be standardized and communication should not only be able the "big" things.
Post-convention surveying of the membership regarding their experience, their desires for the convention, what activities they participated in and what they chose to avoid, and why.
Sharing of the surveying results with the vendors at least in the areas that pertain to our role and related areas of the convention.
Formalize what "sponsorship" of a game means as right now it does not appear to actually indicate anything, it just attaches the name of a club or company.
Up-to-date and accurate dissemination of historical information regarding: attendance, number of games, categories of games, number of vendors, and any other statistics that are available.
Formalize "pickup game areas" for non-PEL free gaming so that people know where they are.
Consider providing resources for "pickup games" from loaner terrain to a board game library with a checkout.
Offer free public access to the vendor hall.

Our advice in short to all historical conventions: Don't worry about charging less, instead focus on offering more, and start with what is easy and inexpensive. Focus on lowering non-cost barriers to game hosts, attendees, and vendors, in that order.

Let us be clear: The Wargaming Company, LLC enjoys the HMGS-East conventions because we feel they are well run, and we are excited to continue to attend them as a vendor but if we are going to discuss "what can HMGS-East do with all its money?" the answer is growing and improving the convention, not subsidizing the booth cost of vendors.

-TWC
thewargamingcompany.com

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 8:19 a.m. PST

The notion that vendors at the eastern conventions need some form of subsidy in order to continue or begin attending is just foreign to us. We began attending HMGS-East conventions last year (2015)

Since you have only been a vendor recently, you may have missed some of the complaints of increased costs to the vendors in recent years. If that is not an issue, then I'm clearly mistaken about vendor's overhead costs and everything is clearly good. My apologies. I understand that vendor table costs may be decreased for 2018.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 8:49 a.m. PST

The Wargaming Company proposed:
" Prolific signage throughout the venues to both direct attendees and advertise events.
Formalize "pickup game areas" for non-PEL free gaming so that people know where they are.
Consider providing resources for "pickup games" from loaner terrain to a board game library with a checkout.
Offer free public access to the vendor hall."

Seems like these put together would draw unattached/game-seeking gamers to an area where they are interested in finding a non-scheduled game, and are also in an open-minded frame of mind (read: susceptible to spontaneous impulse activity). Placing some pickup games in any empty areas in the vendor barn would a. draw potential customers and b. provide an active usage of some of the products available at the booths located not far away--signage to that effect being very helpful.

The Wargaming Company10 Apr 2017 9:12 a.m. PST

Bowman,

We are aware of both the increases that occurred prior to our participation as you correctly note and the complaints that followed.

What we are expressing is that regardless of the complaints, the cost of the vendor booth is not a large practical barrier to entry. Therefore, resources are better allocated elsewhere.

-TWC
thewargamingcompany.com

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 9:53 a.m. PST

On a different point: previous mentions have been made (mine own included) regarding getting younger folks, specifically school-age students, involved. Several posters have made mention of establishing and fomenting after-school gaming clubs, and have already done so. What could be done to have a "School Day/Field Trip Day" for Friday with appropriate chaperones (read parents) required? How can we present this as a learning opportunity--promote basic figure painting and color management via Hobby University classes? Show the teachers/parents the topics of the seminars offered, and those offered in the recent past? Have the teachers provide information regarding the periods of history being covered this year? (perhaps to allow the students to see examples of the conflicts that took place within that time)

historygamer10 Apr 2017 10:42 a.m. PST

When FI was held at Timonium, there was some higher than usual theft reported. I'm not sure what the shoplifting levels are at the Lancaster facility, but asking why they need a constable on site is a valid question.

The Host is a porous facility. In the past there was some expectation from the BoD that GMs would help enforce players having badges. The only area the org can really ensure payment is the dealer hall – at least at the Host. The same held true for the Ike as well. A long past survey HMGS did revealed that almost all respondents said they go to the dealer hall.

Obviously HMGS can ensure near total control of access and payment at he FCC, which might indicate more realistic attendance levels (meaning the unofficial count at the Host could be higher than reported) for that facility. Attendance could be higher for cons at the Host. I've know a lot of people who cheated the system over the years. Some bought badges and traded them off, some only came to play in games and never got a badge. As I said, the only control point is the dealer hall.

historygamer10 Apr 2017 10:51 a.m. PST

How about putting what the vendors sell – product lines, gaming periods, etc., in the program booklet. Not everyone knows and it would let the dealers self-select what aspect of their business they want to promote and make the booklet more useful.

In regards to gaming in the dealer area, maybe it's just me, but I don't see lots of space available for that idea on the floor. If there was such space I'd suggest putting the flea market in there instead. In fact, part of the flea market could be held on the balcony area at the Host. Years ago it was used to host the painting competition (remember that???), but now largely sits unused. By splitting the flea market area and placing some up there, it would answer a lot of what has been proposed regarding this topic. I'd opt for that location when I get a table.

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