The TsunamiCon Experience

 

My wife is currently taking a marketing class, and while she was discussing one of her current assignments last night I was reminded of something fairly profound.  I’ve made an effort to market the convention as exactly what it is, at least on the surface.  It’s an event at a hotel wherein you get to play games all day long for three amazing days.  We’ve added a bunch of features and events to give the convention a robust appeal, from demos and tournaments to panels and cosplay.  The end goal is to make the convention as memorable an experience as possible.

Therein lies my recent revelation.  The appeal of a game con is that it’s more than what it is… it’s an experience.  You get there as early as you can and spend up to 16 hours packing in all the gaming you can take.  You sit down with friends and strangers and check out games you’ve never played before.  You fit in a few of your favorites, maybe even teach some of your fellow gamers how to play!  You try out That One Thing you’ve never gotten around to playing before.  You grab the occasional snack to keep yourself moving, maybe take a break at some point to get a real meal at the hotel restaurant or one of the nearby eateries.

You take a few minutes to check out the vendors, sign up for drawings for new games and gaming products, maybe relax for a few and watch the cosplay contest or attend a panel on game design.  At the end of the day, maybe you’re exhausted and head up to your room, or maybe you meet up with some folks who are gaming in theirs!  Maybe you hit the hotel bar and have a few drinks with new friends, talk about the day and make a mental checklist of the games you still need to check out.

Either way, you get to do all again tomorrow!

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A Game Con isn’t just an event, it’s an experience.  I’ve been heartened by how many people still talk about last year’s TsunamiCon and the great time they had.  Right now – in Wichita – it’s a unique opportunity to spend an entire weekend doing what you love, and doing it in style. With friends, with family, and with an amazing opportunity to connect with so many other gamers!

We’re closing in on our funding goal, but we only have a few days left to make it happen.  Help us bring the TsunamiCon Experience back to Wichita this fall.  Buy your tickets now via our Kickstarter page and help us cross the finish line (we have to hit 100% to get any of the cash!).  We’re so close… now we just a need a little more love to make it real.

To sweeten the deal, we’re going to put our Kickstarter backers into a hat (yes, you’ll all fit… trust me…) and give away a hotel room for at least one night of the convention!  So now you can get a great price on your ticket and have a shot at winning a hotel room for the con!

Back our convention, and experience TsunamiCon with us again this fall.  You won’t regret it.

Tabletop Day Announcements

GameDayPic01Today is International Tabletop Day, an event designed by Geek and Sundry to bring tabletop gaming enthusiasts together across the  nation and around the world in celebration of our unique and extraordinary hobby.  Our community is joining the celebration, of course, by hosting a Tsunami GameDay event at our hometown FLGS.  Even now, I’m finishing up badges and promotional materials and getting ready to load the audio gear into the car for our live podcast this evening at the store.  But I wanted to take a few short minutes to update everyone on the pace of things to come for TsunamiCon 2015.

First of all, discount VIG tickets are still available, as are our pre-Kickstarter vendor discounts.  I have decided to keep the sale going through end of the month.  On May 1st, these discounts will no longer be available.  So if you want to grab a VIG ticket at an amazing discount, now is the time.  Similarly, the 10% savings on vendor packages will no longer be available after month’s end.

The reason for the sale is to collect as much money as possible prior to the launch of our Kickstarter campaign, which goes live on May 5th.  Every dollar we collect between now and then helps drive down our Kickstarter goal and improve the likelihood of success.  We had a fantastic first year event, and we look forward to blowing the doors off again this year with an even bigger and better program.  We need the Kickstarter to help make that happen, and buying in now helps ensure our victory.  And, you know… discounts.

If you’re in Wichita this weekend, I encourage you to drop by the Burrow this afternoon or this evening and say hi.  We’ll be taping some testimonial footage for our Kickstarter campaign, so we’d love it if you took a couple minutes to tell us what you love about TsunamiCon or what you’re looking forward to at this year’s event.  I look forward to seeing you!

Wherever you are, get out today and play some games!  Game stores the world over are joining the fun, so you’re pretty likely to find something nearby…  Check the Tabletop Day listings for your home town on their website.  And be sure to tell people about TsunamiCon!

Have a great day!

Gaming

I’d like to take just a few minutes to discuss the variety of gaming events we expect to see at TsunamiCon.

GameDaySummer14-06Roleplaying Games (RPGs): Tabletop RPGs are a particular passion of mine and my senior staff, and we want to see the practice strongly represented at our con.  First, if you are a Game Master and want to pre-register your games (which provides the added benefit of a price break on your ticket), you can bill your games ahead of time and link potential players to the page where they can sign up.  We encourage you to link directly to the game description you add to the conplanner page from your social media accounts and such to help raise interest and fill the seats.  If you’re a player, check out the preregistered games and sign up for something.  Of course, there are always likely to be potential GMs hanging around The Dungeon ready to field a group on the fly, and GMs shouldn’t be shy about trolling the con for potential players.  Even if the tables are filling up, our staff will certainly be on hand to help you find a place to sit down and play.

One of my favorite things about game cons is the sheer variety of RPGs that inevitably spring from the woodwork.  Sure, if you want to play D&D or Pathfinder, someone will be running it.  We even have a full schedule of D&D Adventure League games registered on the conplanner site if you want to try out 5E for the first time.  But we also have GMs who like to run GURPS, Call of Cthulu, Fate, Savage Worlds, Paranoia, HERO System, World of Darkness, and numerous other niche offerings, which makes a game con the best place to try something new or get a chance to play something that may not be available to you on a weekly basis.

Board Games: We have a lot of serious board game enthusiasts involved with the con, and we will have an extensive library of games available to check out and knowledgeable staff who can help you get started.  Bring your friends to try something new, or make some new friends sitting around the table.  You can even bring your favorite games with you and show ’em off; a game con is a great place to find players!  We’ll also have board game tourneys like our Ticket To Ride event that are free to get into and a whole lot of fun.  Just for showing up, you’ll get a free token for our convention-wide Zombie Dice tournament, which you can sit down and play for a few minutes at any time and start racking up the wins toward the convention championship.  We’ll also have a number of game designers, peddlers, and enthusiasts running demos throughout the con.

For an added bit of fun, we’re planning some party game special events in The Commons on Friday and Saturday evening.  More to come on that later.

Card Games:  Sure.  We’ll have card games.  In addition to group-oriented games like Munchkin and Fluxx, which can be found in the Game Library, we’re paying special attention to the LCG and CCG crowd.  We have Magic tournaments scheduled for Friday and Saturday night in the War Room, and you can expect to see some really cool LCG demos on the schedule, as well.

Xwing2Miniatures Games:  Here at TsunamiCon, we have a healthy respect for the miniature wargames that spawned the RPG hobby to begin with back in the days of yore, and an even healthier respect for those who dare to pitch painted pewter and plastic forces against each other in combat mortal.  The War Room will be home to just skirmishes.  You can bring your armies with you and challenge your friends or random passersby or participate in one of our miniature gaming tournament events.  We have some fun events in the works, including a Star Wars W-Wing Miniatures tournament, some cool demos, and some of that pesky Warhammer stuff.  Keep an eye on the tournament page for schedule updates.

LARPs:  Live Action Roleplaying may seem like the antithesis of tabletop gaming, but we know believe that imaginative gaming is a universal language.  And frankly, I’m a fan of immersive play, and you can’t get much more immersive than a LARP.  We have some cool stuff planned.  You can be a survivor in the zombie apocalypse, an assassin skulking about the con, or sign up for a dose of honor and intrigue in our yet-to-be-scheduled Legend of the Five Rings LARP.

Whatever your taste in social gaming, it has a home at TsunamiCon.  Have an idea you want to try, a game you want to bring out and play, something new you want to dive into, or even just browse through the options and soak up the atmosphere… we want to see at the con this year.  With bells on.

Or maybe not the bells.  I think you know what I mean.

Next time, we’ll talk about some of the fun featured non-gaming events we have planned for our game con.

 

TsunamiCon 2014 Update

The Vision:  Wichita has cons.  We have scifi cons, anime cons, steampunk cons, comic book cons… the list goes on.  Of course, they vary in magnitude, and many of them offer gaming… but there are currently no gaming cons.  Certainly not on the scale we want to offer.  We imagine a convention capable of entertaining as many gamers as our surrounding environs can throw at us.  We want big rooms for tabletop gaming, organized tournaments for CCGs and minis, LARPs!, live entertainment, specially organized RPG events, a dealer hall/artist alley, cosplaying contests!, rooms for private panels, live media coverage, a VIG gamers’ lounge, a ton of swag and awesome prizes, and MORE!  Did I mention LARPing?!  We want to give you the biggest, most exciting gaming convention this city has ever seen…  Let’s field a few questions.  You… in the front.

Will the Wichita gamer community support this kind of event? Absolutely.  The gamers here in our city are a fun and enthusiastic bunch with a real passion for their hobby.  We’ve met quite a few of them at our Tsunami GameDay events, and we know that – statistically speaking – they represent only a fraction of the local population of tabletop gaming enthusiasts.  AND of course, we hope to draw participants from all over the midwest and beyond!  This is going to be HUGE.

Will there be games on site for us to try, or do we have to bring our own?  You can certainly bring games to share, but we intend to have a nice library of board games a card games for anyone to play, with knowledgeable staff on hand to help you get started.  The chance to try out something new is an important priority for many gamers, and we take fun very seriously.  And of course, if there is anything you want to bring along and share, feel free!

Will RPGs be prescheduled events or open gaming?  BOTH!  We’ll have a web-based scheduling program that allows you to register your games and register to play in other peoples’ games, AND we’ll have plenty of opportunity for you to just show up, sit down, and play!  It’s a great place to meet some friends and get something going, or just bang around trolling for empty seats at someone’s table.  (But we DO encourage you to pre-register if you’re really into the RPGs.)

Will there really be LARPing?  YES!

What if my geekdom is Doctor Who or Firefly… Will there be a place for me at TsunamiCon?  Seriously?  Of course!  Yes, we’re a gaming con… and as such, we want to celebrate everything that we and our fellow gamers have in common.  A con is a great place for a meetup, and you can be sure to find stuff in the dealer hall to tickle your particular fandom.  Want to plan a gathering or special event?  We’ll work with you to make it happen.  Want to play a Firefly or Doctor Who RPG?  Well… guess what. *grins*

Will there be parking?  *blinks*  Next question.

Will there be other events surrounding the con?  I’m glad you asked.  We have a panoply of ancillary events planned… including some promotional events and fundraisers in the weeks before the con.  We’re thinkin’ about some special movie events and social gatherings, and of course a pub crawl.  Definitely, a pub crawl.

Will you have a volunteer program?  Oh, yeah… without volunteers, it’s hard to make an event of this scale become any sort of reality.  We’ll have a plan in place for people who want to comp the price of their badge by serving in the trenches.

Isn’t this all going to be very expensive?  Um… yes.  Yes it will.  And we have every intention of keeping our ticket prices down to a reasonable level.  The first step to making this event a reality is to raise the money, and to that end we plan to crowdsource it.  Once we have the weekend of the con firmly booked, we’ll launch a Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell the badges.  This will be your opportunity to get the most for your gaming dollar, as Kickstarter backers will get all kinds of perks, extra swag, and con cred.  It will also lock you in at the best price for badges and offer great deals on hotel room packages, vendor space, and promotional opportunities.

How can we help?  Like I said, we aren’t even booked yet, because we need money to do that, too.  We need to secure the venue and get all our legal ducks in a row.  You can REALLY help us out by picking up one or our two V.I.G. (Very Important Gamer) contributor levels for early adopters who help us get started.  They are both an excellent value, and will include special VIG badges, plenty of swag (including a TsunamiCon T-shirt… by which point you’ve already made bank on the investment), and access to special events.  Your name will be listed on the hallowed scrolls (or at least on the website and in the programs), and you will have earned the eternal gratitude of the entire community.  Furthermore, we will take every opportunity to sweeten the deal with more swag or special events even long after this opportunity has closed.

The Bottom Line:  If we want an honest-to-gods REAL, high-quality gaming convention right here in the heartland, we have to pull together to make it happen.  Once we get rolling, we’ll need volunteers to help organize and run the event, help with promotion, spread the word, and generally help make it successful… but right now, we need capital.  If you KNOW that you’ll be making a point of attending TsunamiCon, getting your hands on that silver level VIG package is a fantastic value.  And if you want to help us out now and still volunteer at the con, we’ll make it worth your while.  I promise.

So let’s build a convention!