A over two years ago we decided to take a chance.
As a reference and maybe some history, I wrote In Five Years. It was about the events we (NE Privateers) ran and how they grew from 2009-2014.
It was also a lead in to us doing our own convention. In February of 2014, we sat down and discussed how long TempleCon would stay in February. For years there has been rumors of changing the dates, moving to the Spring, Summer or Fall. Maybe moving to larger hotel or convention center.
The New England Team Tournament was like the cute puppy you brought home and it grew up to be a Newfoundland. We had to get a hotel ballroom. Set up in the morning, run a long event and pick up that night. Getting a hotel room Saturday was required to prevent driving while exhausted.
We decided to start CaptainCon. A tabletop gaming convention. Over the next two months, we found a hotel. Planned and got a kickstarter rolling. By late April we had the funding. Rushed to find Vendors, Event Organizers and Volunteers.
The venue was a ballroom and one room across the hall for Vendors.
So, in mid July 2014 we ran CaptainCon. First you pack up a big truck full-o-stuff. Then you drive. Meeting with the Hotel. Set everything up. Then you try to sleep.
Friday Morning it was SHOW TIME!!! We had about 265 attendance. It wasn’t perfect, but we had a lot of old friends attend and play games around the clock.
Sunday night, we took a deep breath. Sat around and made a list of what works and what didn’t. Time to start planning CaptainCon 2015. A years to do a convention seemed like a luxury.
Back to CaptainCon planning. We decided to do the whole floor at the hotel. That is the ballroom and 5 other rooms. We added demo tables in main hallway. An RPG room was supported by a Pathfinder group. Another room for the boardgame Library (which wasn’t big enough). Worked on the food option too.
We designed and build a rack system out of PVC to minimize the number of tables we rented. Spend some money now to save money every year. Our biggest problems the first year was unstable tables.
The Wednesday before our convention, I made a phone call to the Crown Plaza in Warwich RI. My plan was to find out the availability for a summer weekend for CaptainCon. The secretary as polite. “The Sales person isn’t in the office today, I can have her call you back later this week. You know the TempleCon is moving to August of 2016.” I almost dropped my phone. I told her “thank you”, but I was thinking you shouldn’t have told me that.
We do a program that gives you the map and schedule of events. It also has the Captain’s Log information. Places in the programs to get stamps to track you tournaments, casual games, demos, shopping at all the vendor and much more. Everything we planned and changed, work very well. Captain’s Log was popular. Vendor did well. The hotel was sold out, but not of that was ours. The food options worked well too.
We added a painting contest. They didn’t expect over 75 entries. Captain’s Log does it again. Draconic Awards did a great job, wish they could keep attending.
Happy hotel, happy player, happy vendor is a good measure of success. The numbers looked good too. About 385 player. Good growth.
There was quite a bit of discussion about what to do about possible date date changes. We didn’t spread any rumors, but internal discussions happened. There was a general, “I won’t believe it until it is announced!!!”.
Sunday, we pick everything up, load the truck and with any luck, find a place for a relaxing dinner. Once again, more behind closed doors discussion after dinner. Not easy finding dinner after 9 PM on Sunday.
The Monday after CaptainCon we drove to Paul’s and unpacked the truck. I stayed after everyone else left. We made a call to the Crown Plaza so we could check on January, February & March of 2016 dates. We found out that Super Bowl weekend weekend was available in 2016. Skype calls happened. We had done a convention is 6 months, so we knew the amount of work it would take. In less than 48 hours, I was in Warwich to get the ball rolling with the hotel.
Six months to plan a convention, Arrrggghhh….
We had done this before, so we pulled out the plan we had for March -> July of 2014 and changed it to August 2015 -> February 2016.
We did a ton of meeting and phone calls in November and December. Tracking down vendors, Event Orgainzers and getting the word out about the date change.
Draconic Awards was double booked. So. we ran our own painting contest.
D6 Generation was able to attend. They ran a game and hung out all weekend
Friday we had some snow, but in the afternoon it started. A steady stream of people walking up to one of us and saying Thanks you. A lot of New England gamers plan their winter around a February Convention. “Four of us came down from Vermont, we will bring over a dozen people next year”!! I had over a half dozen of those on Friday and I lost count of the total.
Lost Hemisphere can’t do a summer convention. I approached Chris and he agreed to do his Charity Raffle at CaptainCon. Take a look at G’Day report. I still can’t believe we had that much stuff.
Wm/Hd, X-Wing, Armada, Imperial Assault, Guild Ball, Infiniti, Malifeux, Flames of War and many more game had tournaments. Casual games tables for whatever you wanted. Board Game Library was humming. Models got painted at the hobby area.
Once again, happy players, vendor and hotel. The numbers went up to about 465.
Now it is on to CaptainCon 2017. A year to do it again…
Keeping Vendor happy…
Ordering T-Shirts, dice, coins, etc ….
Tracking down Event Organizers so we can finish the schedule…
Getting the paperwork for tournaments…
Writing and printing a 2017 handout booklet…
New hardware for Captain’s Log & New Chess Clocks…
Getting demos scheduled so you have new games to try…
Staff meetings on Sunday, with Board Games and Thai food…
Remember, CaptainCon wouldn’t exist without Pad Thai…
Running a successful convention is like a duck on a pond.
Stay calm on the surface, but paddle like hell underneath.
Till next time…
Just do it…