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"Are we now looking at the end of gaming conventions?" Topic

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30 Nov 2020 6:31 a.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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companycmd28 Jul 2020 9:29 a.m. PST

This has been brewing since before Covid 19. Do you think conventions as we know them are now dead in favor of smaller leaner and more meaningful neighborhood gaming meetings? As vendors no longer have store fronts, whats the point of a vendor area anyway? If I were a vendor I'd just show up with a ton of hand outs and posters and such.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 9:40 a.m. PST

I enjoy regional conventions and certainly hope they will continue

As to vendor areas – not only do I spend money there – but it allows me to see new products first hands, be tempted, and even share ideas and so on

NOLA Chris Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 9:41 a.m. PST

Local rules will determine sizes of gatherings allowed,
so we may be stuck with that restriction,
but for some of the smaller local conventions I have hope!

With the new rapid tests becoming more available and more reliable, I have been looking into setting up a station at the entrance, and screen all comers…
15 minutes, if you are positive, you can't come in…

Not 100% reliable, but a way to help keep down the spread,
and allow attendees to feel more comfortable with going to a Con

(we'll probably just include the test in the entry fee)

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 9:51 a.m. PST

I really hope the Convention scene picks up post coronavirus, as I frequently discover thing I didn't know I wanted or needed!
Its great meeting other players too!--as well as the traders, who are very keen to chat and sell me stuff!

Dn Jackson28 Jul 2020 9:54 a.m. PST

Things will eventually get back to normal and shows will be back on. People are far tougher than we give ourselves credit for. As for the vendor's area, it exists for the same reason grocery stores have drinks and candy by the register; impulse buys! I quite often find things at shows that I didn't even know existed, so a handful of handouts wouldn't move me to buy from someone.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 10:07 a.m. PST

Someone's going to have to explain to me what a "meaningful" miniature wargaming convention is before I can decide which "meetings" are more meaningful.

But as to whether conventions are dead, of course not. The presence of two or three thousand friends, some of whom I haven't met yet, fills a need which twenty gamers in a basement does not, even apart from lectures, classes, games, flea markets and vendors halls, all of which work better with a large attendance sharing a common interest. (The absence of a store fronts is an argument in favor of vendors halls, companycmd, not against. It's the presence of web sites which argues against. But they need the vendors hall to introduce me to the web site.)

That said, they won't be the same. The historical miniatures community skews old. Some of us will be dead or too old to attend--more so than the fantasy and SF gamers and the franchise games. It's unlikely any vaccine will work better than a flu shot--about 50%--and there are people on TMP who are claiming they need a vaccine of "proven effectiveness" to return to conventions, so some of them may never leave their basements again. My guess? Historicon 2022 will be maybe 3/4 the attendance of 2019. (Little Wars may do better, as Cold Wars retreats into the Atlantic.) Within the next five years or so look for roped-off sections at the major cons where only miniatures from particular manufacturers are allowed.

But it still beats what we have right now.

Von Trinkenessen28 Jul 2020 10:08 a.m. PST

In the UK I think that it's too early to tell. But I think several clubs and organizers have taken a big hit with this years cancellations, hall bookings etc.
Also with a lot of Gamers in the vulnerable older overweight section of the population , so will we be eager to venture out?
What will the new normal be:- Mega,regional, micro or niche interest specific cons who knows.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 10:14 a.m. PST


I went to twistlords con in Oklahoma city last weekend, So There is always hope. Had Maybe 80 people attendent. Masks were required and everyone entering the convention each day had their Temperature taken. We will also be contacted in 2 week for a update to see what if any People at the Con got Covid. There 6 dealers and 6 Flea market booths. Big shout out to Warlords games for pull this off during Convid Panic.





14Bore28 Jul 2020 10:46 a.m. PST

Just no, This is not the end of civilization or anything.
Deaths are coming down and ways of prevention and remedy are at hand and getting better.

Garand28 Jul 2020 11:09 a.m. PST

There are two vaccines that are in the works that appear to be effective too.


Sgt Slag28 Jul 2020 11:50 a.m. PST

Either we develop herd immunity, or the virus keeps mutating, and it kills all Humans on the entire planet… My money is on herd immunity.

Life will return to normal. This is not the first pandemic, nor will it be the last. The "Work from Anywhere" shift in business cultures, will likely become permanent: businesses will save BANK on owning/leasing buildings, and office spaces. What effect this will have on salaries (formerly based on geographic locations, and the local cost of living), is yet to be shaken out. My wife has already discussed the possibility of us moving to North Carolina, from Minnesota, to work 'remotely', as it will soon be allowed.

Societies will change, but people will not. Cheers!

RudyNelson28 Jul 2020 12:25 p.m. PST

These same questions have been discussed several times before. However we still are having shows.
The first scare was actually a none medical situation. It still happens but it occurred when the cost of tables was reasonable. The event was one of the cost of gas scares in the early 1980s and again later in the decade. Speculation was that it would become too expensive to drive to the shows by vendors.
Actually another round of dealer cost speculation occurred when show staff decided to skyrocket booth costs. Some dealers bailed others did not.
The first medical speculation to the end of shows occurred when the AIDS epidemic hit in the 1980s. Options such as getting motor homes and wearing gloves was discussed.
The next medical was during one of the flu outbreaks. H1N1 hit hard but no masks or mass cancellations.

So will shows be extinct? Hope not but will hotels take the risk or community centers?

Thresher01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 12:34 p.m. PST

Yes, for now, but despite the hype from some, the current virus will eventually end.

HMS Exeter28 Jul 2020 1:57 p.m. PST

I'm hoping it mutates into a much more contagious form with a new symptom profile consisting of 2 sneezes, 10 minutes of diarrhea, followed by an irresistible impulse to Gangnam Style for an hour, followed by a solid 2 year immunity.

I would pay SERIOUSLY GOOD money to see certain of our world leaders doing the horsey.

…enjoy that coffee…

Long Valley Gamer Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 1:58 p.m. PST

Right now everyone is simply speculating. If they come out with an "effective" vaccine things should snap back to normal pretty quickly once folks have confidence. Lots of pent up demand. The carnage the pandemic caused on business's will become clearer when they all reopen. A good chance lots of new business will open to replace the ones that closed. Things have a way of balancing out…

Striker28 Jul 2020 2:20 p.m. PST

It'll depend on the venues I think. With states going between "all clear" to "the end is nigh" it seems very risky to commit to a con that may be a non-event and nothing the organizers or venue could do about it. I think regional/small cons will have a better grasp on things as they don't have to plan for 50k+ people coming. As for vendors, I impulse buy a lot at cons and if they just handed out ads instead of having products I wouldn't bother visiting the vendor area.

walkabout Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 3:21 p.m. PST

and despite the hype from some wearing a mask when near people was always a good thing to do.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 3:34 p.m. PST

Nah. Cons are about playing with new people for me. Local doesn't do that.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP28 Jul 2020 3:58 p.m. PST

No, we are not.

John Armatys28 Jul 2020 3:59 p.m. PST

+1 Thresher01, but I'd add that I've "been" to two virtual events, Let's Roll in the US and VCOW in the UK, both were excellent and I hope that they will have imitators and that virtual shows will continue post Covid.

DinOfBattle228 Jul 2020 7:54 p.m. PST

Definitely not.

Wargamer Blue28 Jul 2020 8:56 p.m. PST

I travel from Australia every few years to go to Salute. I really hope this show continues.

snurl129 Jul 2020 12:34 a.m. PST

I want to go to Salute someday.

Uparmored29 Jul 2020 3:46 a.m. PST

Hopefully they cancel Cancon this coming January. It's gotten progressively worse over the last decade and needs to be put out of its missery.

Don Manser29 Jul 2020 3:50 a.m. PST


KSmyth29 Jul 2020 9:05 a.m. PST

I hope not. In NHMGS (Pacific Northwest) we've definitely lost our smaller events (30-40 attendees) through the rest of the year. I'm hoping we'll have some revival in 2021. Enfilade has grown from a 200 person event in 2000 to nearly double that in 2019, so there is definitely support from the community. But the virus will dictate the whether and how it gets done.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2020 9:06 a.m. PST

I enjoy conventions, hope they come back (July soonest would be my bet), though I wish HMGS could get off of this civic convention center kick and look for nice hotel conference center facilities instead.

Brownand29 Jul 2020 12:19 p.m. PST

hope not!

JanissaryAga30 Jul 2020 10:30 a.m. PST

I really hope not, conventions are my only way of meeting other historical players at this point.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2020 11:15 a.m. PST

Another who hopes not. I'm an impulse buyer and want to see and touch new stuff. Buying via Internet or mail has never done it for me. There is also the chance to meet old and new friends, make jocular comments and host a few post-game. Onward through the Fog!

Double W31 Jul 2020 3:34 a.m. PST

As someone whose work is tangentially related to the events industry, this year will likely kill off a lot of events. We are seeing events as far out as January getting either pushed back or converted to virtual events, and many organizations that produce events are on the verge of bankruptcy if not folding outright. That said, most of those are business events and therefore related to business travel. Gaming conventions are obviously about having fun and I think there will be a big desire by many people to once again travel and congregate after a vaccine is developed and things return to normal. (For attendees, that is. For vendors is is obviously about making sales.)

One big question is what will happen to the support structures for those events. It is hard to understate how big a hit hotels, restaurants, and airlines are taking right now, and they are unlikely to fully recover for years. A lot of those lost business meetings mean convention centers will have a tough time making money. I think gaming conventions will go on but places to hold them, as well as travel options, will be a bit more limited than in the past.

Nick Pasha31 Jul 2020 5:27 a.m. PST

Covid-19 has devastated many parts of the economy. The cons are one small part of the economy that depends heavily on face to face contact. There is no way to protect attendees from exposure. Too many moving parts. Since Covid is not going away I am afraid cons will.

TRUgamer31 Jul 2020 9:24 a.m. PST

No, they will go on as before. Maybe not as many attendees as before, but people will yearn for for what conventions provide. Sure some will opt not to return whether it's health concerns or they managed to survive without conventions. They may change, but they will go on.
There are enough people out there that will long to finally get back together with old friends, acquaintances, colleagues and vendors. Also don't underestimate the lure of people selling off their their cast offs. There aren't many replacements for the old Flea Market table.

I look forward to seeing it happen in the near future. Hopefully several of these drugs under development continue to show promise.


Grumble8710631 Jul 2020 9:53 a.m. PST

Echoing a couple of points that others have made, first, reasons I go to in-person conventions.

Though I rarely impulse buy, in most cases I definitely want to look at the product in my hands even if I have seen it online -- whether figures or a new set of rules. So I wait until there's a convention with a dealer area. If that's a year from now, well, I have plenty of figures and rules to keep me busy (painting the one and getting my aging brain around the other!)

And there's the factor of seeing people, some of whom I only see at conventions. Over the years this has become more and more important to me as a reason to go to cons -- including the opportunity to volunteer and work with a great bunch of people.

Finally, how else but in-person am I going to find the serendipitous gem that suddenly appears at a flea market or dealer's area and that I HAVE to get? grin

An example that comes to mind is a clearance sale that Michigan Toy Soldier had a couple of years ago with a treasure trove of white metal models. I doubt they would have put those online, and even if they had I doubt I would have bought them sight unseen.

As for the future of in-person conventions, something will become workable and many people will decide it's OK for them to go. Others won't. The pandemic may hasten a trend away from historical miniature gaming due to the aging demographic, but I doubt it will bring it to an end.

JanissaryAga31 Jul 2020 10:46 a.m. PST

It is sad that historicals seem to have a dying age demographic. I think fantasy and science fiction wargaming used to be more a pipeline into historicals but that does not seem to be the case as much anymore (unless someone who has been in the hobby longer can correct me). Especially since GW products, being the largest properties in the hobby, are trending toward a skirmish oriented gameplay that doesn't draw in people that would play a mass battle historical game. Hopefully if conventions continue that will expose people to historicals and pass on the hobby.

pvi99th01 Aug 2020 2:49 a.m. PST

Janissary – there are a lot of skirmish level historical games at conventions. Many people, myself included, prefer the smaller scale combat games.

As for conventions, make them endurance tests. Everyone is locked into a "gaming room" for fourteen days. You can't leave and nobody can enter. You have to bring in your own supplies and ration or defend it for the length of the convention. After two weeks the survivors are tested and either quarantined, hospitalized, sent home, or sent to jail for what they did during the convention.

It would certainly test the mettle of those that really want a convention. Make it a pay per view event and the organization hosting it would make some money. It would become a gaming version of Survivor.

I don't think large conventions are finished yet. Attendees will be fewer, with some never attending again, but I think that you will always have your die hard people that would attend. I would imagine some here would have attended a convention held at a hospital in New York City in April, with no PPE allowed. I think the long term impact will be how many conventions return year after year, if attendance goes down, doesn't recover, and they really aren't making money.

TRUgamer01 Aug 2020 6:36 a.m. PST

"I don't think large conventions are finished yet. Attendees will be fewer…. "
"I think the long term impact will be how many conventions return year after year, if attendance goes down, doesn't recover, and they really aren't making money."

It's a good thing HMGS has it's sizable cash reserve to help weather these choppy seas.

I'd like to see a new model convention with streamlined events without many of the bells and whistles until some kind of normalization returns.

Perhaps a mix of live and virtual gamers to bring in participant from far away or those wishing to avoid the crowds.

As a main feature I'd like to see Clubs compete in game/terrain design contests internationally in an effort to bridge our far flung wargaming communities. Make it a simultaneous event from many locations with live feeds of the premier club games. Several large screen monitors playing the content at each of the venues.

The ultimate social distancing.


Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2020 8:07 a.m. PST

Just be patient.

In the meantime, follow guidelines and wear a mask.

See you next year.

pvi99th01 Aug 2020 1:25 p.m. PST


I really like the idea of a mixed convention. Having both virtual and on-site gaming makes the most sense. Even if COVID vanished tomorrow it would allow more people to attend, without the added expense of travel and hotel. Conventions could truly be worldwide events.

Double G Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2020 2:40 p.m. PST

No one really knows what the future of anything is until we come out of the other side of this pandemic; when that is, God only knows.

It's too difficult right now to predict.

I really don't understand this comment; "As vendors no longer have store fronts, whats the point of a vendor area anyway? If I were a vendor I'd just show up with a ton of hand outs and posters and such."

What does having a store front have to do with vendors filling a vendor hall? How many "companies" who set up at the HMGS shows even do this business full time?

I do, but I do not have a store front, stores fronts are going the way of the dinosaur and they have been for awhile, not sure what the point of that comment is.

And developing a vaccine for this virus isn't going to really solve anything, you can't get people to wear masks, do you honestly think those same morons are going to line up for a vaccine, most of them think there is no pandemic and it's all a hoax.

The rocket scientists that they are……………

oldnorthstate02 Aug 2020 4:36 p.m. PST

They will come back…there are already groups of 10-15 gamers getting together over the course of a weekend period to game for a couple of days…virtual gaming is going nowhere…the social aspect of historical miniatures wargaming is essential.

Over the river02 Aug 2020 6:16 p.m. PST

Shows will come and shows will go but the show must go on. Ask Queen if you don't believe me.

TRUgamer03 Aug 2020 10:41 a.m. PST

Double G,
There is a Flu vaccine available every year and many choose to not get their shots. So once a vaccine is available for this virus whats the difference?

I'll get my Covid shot once they're available. I'm not going to concern myself with what others decide to do. I'll carry on with a new appreciation for general germ hygiene and get back to living normally.


Double G Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2020 3:25 p.m. PST

TRUgamer; I'm with you, I'm getting my COVID shot too once they're available. I thought I read somewhere than unless 80% of the population gets the vaccine, it's going to be largely ineffective.

Maybe I'm wrong or I heard it wrong……………

Wolfhag03 Aug 2020 4:25 p.m. PST

Masks are always a good idea, especially when passing by the D&D and LARP groups at a convention.


captaincold6905 Aug 2020 9:05 a.m. PST

Conventions shouldn't be going on, period. There is a reason cases are rising in a lot of areas.

RudyNelson06 Aug 2020 1:02 p.m. PST

Under Obama H1N1 infected over 60 million people. I worked with the EMA At that time. No quarantine, no masks, just a lot of drills and plans developed. Hospitals and county governments were told to stock more PPE and other supplies that are being highlighted now. Lack of money was their main excuse.

Now only a little over 6 million have COVID and look at the Deleted by Moderator mess. They got business, looking for big bucks, involved and now it became over stated. Add the Republicans not wanting their states left out and it is chaos.

Be clear COVID has infected only 10% of what H1N1 did.

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP07 Aug 2020 3:19 a.m. PST

Sorry but needs context. According to the CDC, in the US, in one year, there were 12,469 deaths from H1N1 (range of 8,868-18306) while in 8 months deaths from Covid-19 exceeds 157,000. Cases may only be 10 percent of the H1N1 total but already 12 times the mortality.

SFC Retired07 Aug 2020 5:36 a.m. PST

I just rec'd an email today telling me that my HMGS membership has expired. And guess what…for the first time in 15years I do not care! No cons not need to be a member? If they rerun in 2021 I will renew…

Grumble8710608 Aug 2020 2:45 p.m. PST

just rec'd an email today telling me that my HMGS membership has expired. And guess what…for the first time in 15 years I do not care! No cons not need to be a member? If they rerun in 2021 I will renew…

Come to think of it, mine is due to expire, too, in August. I usually have a note in my calendar, but not this year. And no notification that I have seen, either.

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