Got Con? is a three part series originally written and posted the summer of 2009 for Northeast Wars’ web site. It is republished here over the course of three Mondays for completeness’ sake.
Previously on Got Con?, we discussed finding conventions via the local hobby store and just talking to people who share your interests. That will become an ongoing theme in your search for that perfect weekend getaway, if it hasn’t already. Two more routes of investigation await you behind the jump.
Even more so than a hobby store, organizations centered around the hobby or interest in question are strong social hubs. Although they might serve fewer people than the friendly local game store, the level of social interaction is often high and sustained over a long period of time. Members may find that their club organizes annual trips to conventions, or just serves as the informal network through which prospective travelers connect and make plans. You may even find the group’s website includes a calendar of local events, as the Nonchalant Gnome Gaming Society’s does.
Sometimes, it’s the local club that organizes the convention itself. Schenectady Wargamers Association puts on Council of 5 Nations, for example. This is often particularly true of college-based student organizations, like Plymouth State University Gaming Club‘s Econocon and New England Gaming Association’s N.E.G.A. Convention, to use two New England-centric examples.
In the righthand sidebar, we have a steadily growing list of regional gaming groups, many of whom sponsor conventions of their own. (And if you don’t see one there, let us know via our Contact form!)
This one may seem counter-intuitive; after all, if you have a convention to which to go, you hardly need to be looking for one, right? Well, not necessarily. Perhaps there are conventions you know of, but the subject matter isn’t always to your taste. Not every gamer wants to hit the splatter cinema circuit.
However, even if a known convention isn’t your thing, it can provide leads to other conventions. Many conventions will provide an area for promotional freebies: fliers, bookmarks, pamphlets and such. The table in the picture above is a prime example. Often on such freebie tables you can find fliers for still more conventions. And depending on the size and formality of the convention you’re scouting, the freebie table typically lies outside the “badges only” areas — if there are any; some conventions will let people wander and observe without buying a badge.
While at these conventions you’re not terribly interested, try pumping staff members for news of other events — not while they’re working, natch, but in idle moments. Depending on the local region and how the hobby communities interact, the convention organizer circuit can be a pretty small one, particularly thanks to events like SMOFcon.
Once you’ve given this post some con-sideration, try putting some of its advice in action — or let us know what you think in the comments section. In the next installment of Got Con?, we’ll look to the internet for convention-finding tricks and tips.