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"FINAL REPORT ON THE WEEKEND 2017 and 2018 news" Topic


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828 hits since 9 Aug 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Ottoathome09 Aug 2017 1:45 p.m. PST

Dear List

The Weekend is almost two months old and my final report on it was not able to be published because of my status as persona non-gratia and not to be trusted to behave myself while the cat was away. On the other hand Col Bill Gray (ret) provided an excellent and wonderful report complete with pictures and comments so I shall defer to that.

THE AFTER ACTION REPORT/KEEPSAKE BULLETIN, our 48 page full color booklet with battle reports on most of the events, humorous articles, and reviews will be available soon. It is PRINTED and not available electronically so if you are interested in it please contact me at sigurd@eclipse.net

The Dates for THE WEEKEND 2018 are June 20 to June 24 2018 at the Continental Inn, Route 30 East (Lincoln highway.

The theme for the convention will be "VICTORY AT SEA" celebrating Naval games throughout history. We will be hosting an Art De La Guerre tournament again.

Among other things we shall be ..

*Holding our Military Science Theater show and combining it with our kickoff dinner in a grand pizza and wine and beer bash.

*Brining back our "Off the Table Modeling Contest" and our "Off the table Painting Contest". These will carry cash prizes. for first, second and third place. We have a new scheme for this which should work much better.

*We are prospecting with certain vendors to start up a vendor presence at the convention. We want to entice those dealers who are also gamers and offer them a place where they can play as well as sell. We don't want them to have to be at their booths all day. For them just as for Gamers and attendees, the cost for coming is the same, nothing if you take a room at the Continental. We feel that dealers provide an experience as worth as GM and attendees and all are equally valuable and welcome. Therefore we are trying to figure out a model we can have this without going to the big-time-dealer area like Historicon or other conventions.

Legion 409 Aug 2017 3:57 p.m. PST

Sounds like a good time !

kayjay09 Aug 2017 6:18 p.m. PST

Sorry I missed it but had an opportunity to go to 'Sail Boston'.

Early morning writer09 Aug 2017 6:45 p.m. PST

Maybe there needs to be a The Weekend West. What do you say, Otto?

That would be a west coast version of your event.

Ottoathome09 Aug 2017 7:32 p.m. PST

Dear Early Morning Writer

And how do I do that.

Early morning writer09 Aug 2017 10:24 p.m. PST

Perhaps, good sir, someone else does it rather than you. Someone based on the western side of our little continent.

Ottoathome10 Aug 2017 1:31 a.m. PST

Ate you volunteering Hal?

Early morning writer10 Aug 2017 6:28 a.m. PST

I am not a cannibal! I don't even eat non-volunteering Hals!

However, if you mean what I think you meant, then perhaps yes.

Ottoathome10 Aug 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

Well my contact is sigurd@eclipse.net We can talk anytime, or do so on the phone.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP10 Aug 2017 8:54 a.m. PST

Early Morning Writer,

No pressure, but with sincere apologies to Otto for arguably hijacking his thread…

It's about a 6-hr drive for me to Sacramento, but so long as the non-canabilism policy remains in effect, if you build it, I'll try hard to come with one of my big (but relatively fast-moving!) Second Afghan War TSATF games.

I might be able to recruit a couple other "mad" GMs I know down here in SoCal to bring games as well, to supplement your local Northern California talent -- or maybe we split the difference and hold it somewhere in the Central Valley?

Ottoathome10 Aug 2017 1:22 p.m. PST

There you go Early Morning Writer.

Early morning writer10 Aug 2017 8:36 p.m. PST

Otto, will email some time soon though buried under remodeling at the moment.

Mad Guru, will discuss further for sure.

Here's a concept:

The Four Cornered Weekend – West

One corner for 19th century colonial gaming
One corner for 19th century non-colonial gaming
One corner for 18th century historical gaming
One corner for the wildly imaginative gaming such as pulp, vsf, imaginations, etc.

And maybe another corner or three for other things.

Ottoathome11 Aug 2017 8:47 a.m. PST

Dear Early Morning Writer.

A few words .

First! You need three things to make a convention.

1.MONEY- The Easiest. you can get a facility for three days with a large room which is all you need to start, usually for below $100 USD a day.

2.LABOR- Harder- You need people to help you and you will find that 80% of the time you will be disappointed. People will talk a big line but when it comes time to produce they will squirm out. What I did with the Weekend was make it so you needed almost NO labor to run it.

3.ATTENDENCE- This is the hardest and most intractable part. Remember that for all people…ALL PEOPLE, wargames is a social hobby they engage in for pleasure, pure pleasure. They are also HUMAN and naturally lazy. Why should they go to a convention if they already have a gaming group. People are also habit driven. If you make a convention it is something new, and you have to convince them to go. If you make a convention model that requires attendance of 1,000 then you are going to fail.

Now let's get down to your items.

"The Four Cornered Weekend- West."

First off, drop "The West." I did not copyright "The Weekend". First off-- I can't. It's a common term. You cannot copyright general words or common forms of speech. Jim Dunnigan tried it with "Nazi" and the courts chopped him off at the knees. More than that, I didn't get into the convention business to make money or for an ego thing, I got into it to provide games and fun to gamers, and to bring back a sense of fellowship, camaraderie, and good times that was getting leached out of the conventions of the HMGS and others.

Your idea of the four corners is good because it gives you a neato name that is rememberable.

Themes in a convention for example, are perfectly useless. No one is going to go out and buy an army for a theme like "The Hanna Barbarian War." They are going to put on the games they have, and play the games they want to play in. I use a theme merely as an excuse to slap some comic photo or a pin-up of some good looking girl to get peoples attention. I have no illusions people are going to fall all over each other trying to fulfill it. People want to come to the convention, have fun, play games, socialize with their old friends, meet new ones, eat, have fun, play games, drink, tell tall tales, cat about people who aren't there, and have fun. Did I mention the having fun?

That's a long way around to tell you that they want to do what they want to do and your wants have nothing to do with it.

I go back to the basics.

First of all you have to WANT to have a convention. If you are not fired up by the idea of it and have some cause to champion YOU will not have the stamina to do it.

Let's take MONEY.

This year after a dry spot of several years The Weekend finally broke even. The money we took in equaled the expense of the rental of the ballroom and other rooms and services at the facility.

Wait. I lied.

That's just covering the immediate expenses. Each year I put out a quarterly PRINT newsletter to my 300 addressee mailing list I also put out a 48 page full color After Action Report/Keepsake booklet, and lots of other publications that cost with postage and printing is about $800 USD a year. That's all out of pocket BEFORE any direct costs for the convention! That hurts when you are on social security. However I do it because of love for the hobby and the convention and it is inordinately pleasurable to do.

BUT OTTO! You say, why don't you do it electronically?!!!

Simple- waste of time. No one will read it. Electronic advertisement is worth what it costs you. Nothing. No one reads it, no one writes it down and whatever you put in it has no more impact on a viewer than the 6th porno image before the present one. With a pamphlet or flyer it may hang around on their desk for a week or two and they might actually read it.

Let me tell you this about "marketing." If you have a product people want they will tear it out of your hands to get it. You don't need advertising. If you have to convince people to buy it, then that's marketing. Since I've retired

Any and every "marketing expert" will tell you that the best most effective, and most powerful marketing method is "word of mouth." I's also the cheapest. That's what I've used on the weekend. That it costs nothing helps you when you are starting out.

2,LABOR The Weekend has been going into its ninth year. It's still largely a one-man-show- Me. Most of the time when people have "wanted to work with me" on something either in The Weekend or when I was working on HMGS shows with Walt O'Hara, or other projects, what they meant was that they wanted to approve the work that I did. That's right, they were not going to do the work, only approve and tell me what they wanted me to do with the work that Idid.

Start small so you can handle the whole of it yourself if you have to.

3. ATTENDENCE- Invite all your wargaming friends. They'll come because they are your friends, and they like to hang out with you. They may give you a little money they rarely will give you work, and most of that will be useless. Their ideas are not your ideas. But if you start small you can see how the attendance goes, which is what you will live or die on.

4. MODEL- You have to figure out what your "idea" is, what is the "model" of the show. I made "THE WEEKEND" on a different model than historicon. Historicon, Gen Con, and all the other big conventions are dealer shows. People go to buy and gawk and see, and maybe play a game. The Weekend has no dealers, though we are, after eight years attempting to get a dealer presence it is NOT going to be like the big shows. As I said before, the model is the SOCIALIZING people do at the big shows which is in with among, over under around and through, the games, the dealers etc. That's why the center of ballroom, the focus of the entire con is the munchie pit with its circle of comfy chairs where people can socialize between games and the games around it . Many people have said to me that "Everytime I come to the Weekend" I play more games there than I do the whole rest of the year! they can game CONSTANTLY.

That's the model. I don't have to entertain them with razzamatazz and costumed re-enactors and swag bags and all the rest, I just have to get them together to PLAY!

You have to figure out what the model is going to be at your WEEKEND. I see you have a plan based on your corner idea. What happens if no one shows up with an 18th century historical game? What are you going to do, leave the tables lie fallow? Or do you know you have enough 18th century gamers.

Like I said, start small. Find a hotel with a 30 by 30 room they can rent you for cheap and have tables they will provide you NO CHARGE! Then get your friends together and put on your games, and have enough chinoiserie like badges and forms to make them think they're at a convention, and stand aside and let them have fun.

Have munchies. A couple boxes of soda, a case of beer, a pile of junk food, that's all you need. Trust in the generosity of gamers who will also bring their own.

Don't worry about negotiating with a hotel. These Bleeped texts on TMP who go on about hotel demands have never negotiated with them. EVERYTHING is negotiable. Remember what each side wants. YOU want to put on a convention. THEY want to rent rooms. EVERY hotel will give you credit towards the cost of the room you use for rooms they rent to people coming to your event. An empty meeting room to them is simply an unproductive piece of equipment. They want to rent hotel rooms. You bring in people who are going to use the room and they will always give you credit toward that cost, especially if they have dining facilities and others they make money on. So if they won't talk about that say "Thank you very much" and go to the next hotel down the road. All hotels got tables. They have weddings, they have business meetings, they have social events. They got tables. Once again, learn to say no if they want to charge you. If you are in the favored position of being able to take a large number of rooms, you are blessed, the hotel will bend over backwards for you.

Ignore the sneerers who say "the XXXX hotel is a dump." They wouldn't come if you gave them a free room at the Waldorf with a tart on their pillow.

ALWAYS look at the facility from the standpoint of the gamer or dealer. What is the most important thing for them? How hard it is to load and unload their stuff and how far they have to carry it. At the Contiental, three doors open up at ground level to a vast parking lot. If they didn't have carpeting you could DRIVE your truck right up to the table.

Contact me if you need help.

ONE THING, THE MOST IMORTANT.

Always pay your own way. Do not give yourself a free room. The hotels are adept at doing this and will offer you to move your rent onto other attendees. Don't do it! If you do this you sell your soul, and everyone will know it. You can be silent as a tomb but they will know. Giving yourself a free ride makes you think that all the others are saps and you are putting something over on them. Humans are animals, they can sense fear and contempt.

Keep the idea that we are all gamers, we are all equal and it doesn't matter if you spend a lot of your own money and never get it back, or that you do so much work (who asked you to) or "It only increases my buddies bill by a little." Its a "F**k yer buddy move." Leave that for Junta or Diplomacy. Also don't give yourself a special badge unless it's enormously self deprecating. People want to game with their friends.

If you're not into putting on a convention as a labor of love…

don't do it.

Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2017 10:26 a.m. PST

Continental Inn, Route 30 East

link

For those who don't know.

Early morning writer11 Aug 2017 9:39 p.m. PST

The negotiating isn't an issue, that I can do. But the affordability may be a different matter. Hard to imagine any hotel in the urban parts of California having any meeting room for $100 USD dollars – maybe on Xmas.

But, yeah, not about glory, just about fun. And, Otto, I love the idea of having a convention that makes sure the vendors get a chance to play. Curious to see how – or if – that flies for your convention.

Just early exploration of the idea. We do have several conventions out here but dealer attendance, especially for historical, is anemic in the extreme.

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