ANNOUNCING TSUNAMICON 2019!

By now many of you are wondering what to expect from TsunamiCon this year, and why the long silence. With the deepest apologies for our lack of communication, I will now be addressing that question as completely as possible.

For the past three years, our convention has called the Wichita Scottish Rite in downtown Wichita our home. The Scottish Rite is a beautiful venue with a great deal of available space, and we had long hoped to continue growing into the nooks and crannies of the building as the convention grew from year to year. Alas, this was not to be. As you may or may not have heard, the building changed hands this year, and it is this event that lies at the heart of our delay in announcing this year’s convention.

A change of ownership of such a massive and expensive piece of property inevitably required some patience on our part as we attempted to negotiate a contract for 2019. I have every confidence that the new owners will find great success in the utilization of their event space in the years ahead, but after a few months of semi-regular discourse on the matter we were simply unable to negotiate an agreement that would serve their needs in the use of their property and the needs of the convention and our attendees. Ultimately, remaining at the property would have increased our costs considerably, and we had no guarantee that we could meet their requirements in the time frame available. With a heavy heart, I resigned myself to the idea that we would need to shop the convention around to other venues once again.

In the five years since our first convention, of course, the landscape for local events has flourished and shifted. Inevitably, this created new challenges in attempting to book an alternative venue at such a late date. I proceeded with two basic priorities: that I could retain the services of a sufficient venue in early to mid-October, and that I could negotiate a fee structure that would allow us to best serve our community and still throw one hell of an event at the 11th hour. Local bookings on our priority weekends were understandably scarce, and costs varied wildly from venue to venue.

I am pleased to announce that a community very close to our recent efforts has kindly opened its doors and offered a solution that meets both needs. With the quirky sense of irony that often seems to follow us around, we will be moving this year’s event across the street to the Midian Shrine Center and scheduling the event for October 18th thru 20th. Much like when we moved to the Scottish Rite, the layout of their venue provides some different challenges and new opportunities, and I am excited to see how it comes together and grateful for their enthusiastic hospitality.

Again, I apologize for the long delay. The wait is over, and it’s time to plan our event in earnest. Now we need to make up for lost time. I do intend to run a short Kickstarter campaign, as I’ve received numerous questions about it and it’s always proven to be a good venue for spreading the word about our con, so keep your eye out for that announcement and please help spread the word.  Also, as I need capital to help build materials for upcoming events and begin the process of updating our signage and promotional tools, I will offer a limited discount price on early VIGs if you’d like to pick them up now.

For everyone who has continued to echo their support for the con and kept reaching out to me for updates, I can’t thank you enough for helping keep TsunamiCon alive in our hearts. Sometimes these kinds of challenges can seem a little overwhelming, and I always seemed to find a kind word or anxious query at exactly the moment I needed it to keep focused on the event. I appreciate your faith, and I hope you’ll help me make this year’s event as fun and fulfilling as possible.

Sincerely and with the utmost humility,

THREE WEEKS To Go!

In three weeks time, the curtain rises once again on Wichita’s premiere tabletop gaming event! With more than a hundred games on the schedule – plus special programs, panels, cosplay, live entertainment, and lots of prizes to be given away – TsunamiCon 2017 promises to be our best convention yet! As we barrel down on TsunamiCon weekend, I encourage you to grab your tickets in advance, sign up for some games, and plot your course for three solid days of gaming goodness! Here’s a few of the highlights:

Thanks to Envoy, our Play-To-Win program has now grown to around 30 titles, all of which are up for grabs! Just check out one or more of the games on the list and give them a spin, then sign up for your chance to win a copy of the game. Games are free to sample from the TsunamiCon Game Library, and you’ll even find a handful of Play-To-Win demos on the schedule, so feel free to sign up! We have some fantastic selections from a variety of publishers! Enjoy community favorites like Betrayal at House on the Hill and Pandemic, or sign up to win a copy of the infamous Sheriff of NottinghamStarfall from Pandasaurus Games, KOSMOS’s mind-bending puzzle game Dimension, or Grail Games’ abstract treasure One Zero One.

Our annual TsunamiCon Cosplay Contest is a source of endless wonder and excitement, a beautiful and imaginative spectacle starring some of the area’s most brilliant cosplayers, and we could ask for no more fabulous venue that the Wichita Scottish Rite. Join us this year for a chance at cash and prizes in one of several categories, or just plan to show up and enjoy the show! Prize contributors include this year’s sponsor Epic Cosplay Wigs, and Tahnee Lane Photography.

Also, be sure to check out one of our feature cosplay themed panels scheduled for early in the day on Saturday!

Don’t miss out on your chance to board the Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator. Bring your friends or join a crew as a bridge officer aboard the Artemis and immerse yourself in a unique gaming experience. The simulator runs throughout the convention, and attendees are welcome to participate as often as you like.

So, all hands on deck, maties! It’s going to be a wild ride!

Announcing TsunamiCon 2017!

Yesterday afternoon at our Tsunami GameDay at the Burrow, a lovely geekworthy gift shop on the east side of town that hosts our quarterly and pulls out all the stops to make us feel at home, Liz and I posted a video via Facebook Live announcing the dates for TsunamiCon 2017.  We couldn’t be more excited to be getting a chance to do this again, now launching our fourth consecutive year celebrating tabletop gaming here in America’s heartland.

When and where?  TsunamiCon 2017 is happening October 6th, 7th and 8th.  As always, we’ll be bringing you three days of gaming goodness with all the class and level of service you’ve come to expect.  And best of all, we’ve been invited back to the amazing Wichita Scottish Rite Center!  Ask anyone who attended last year’s festivities… the venue was as immersive and powerful as the staff was wondrously committed to making sure everyone had a great time.

What will it cost?  We’ve worked hard to keep prices manageable, and I’m happy to say that we will not see any increase in ticket prices this year. Advance VIG tickets are now available.  You can expect to pay $40 at the door for a weekend pass, less if you pre-order tickets online or pick them up during our Kickstarter campaign.

Another Kickstarter?  Seriously?  Yes.  We take pride in bringing you a quality event at a great venue, and it’s costly.  I am happy to say, however, that we are positioned better than we ever have been, and we will not need near the amount of money we tried to raise in previous years.  Be watching for the Kickstarter in March or April.  It’s your chance to get the best price available on ticket packages, convention swag, vendor space, and advertising.  Every dollar goes to making the event great.

Fantastic!  What can I do now?  To start with, pick up your VIG ticket if you are so inclined.  Then spread the word.  Let the gamers in your life know that you’re coming to TsunamiCon.  Get everyone on board.  The bigger and better the event, the more fun it will be for everyone involved, and the easier it will be to grow on in the years ahead.

Thanks for checking in.  And game on!

T-Minus Six Weeks to the Con!

romanhelmavatarWith less than six weeks to go, the waters recede ahead of the oncoming storm.  A wave appears on the distant horizon, and excitement builds as we prepare ourselves for the inevitable strike… TsunamiCon is coming.

This week it’s finally time to start shifting gears.  We’ve been hard at work planning the events that your convention organizers, volunteers, special guests, and local GMs have in store, and the schedule has started taking shape.  In the coming weeks, you can expect to see us highlighting specific events, telling you more about them and inviting you to take part.  You expect to see some video promotion, audio features through our podcasting network, blogs and social media posts, and so forth.  In fact, if you skate on over to event registration now, you’ll find a collection of different RPG offerings, some miniature gaming and other tabletop games, LARPing sessions, and more!

Also, swag has been ordered, and we’ll only be able to sell a few more VIG tickets, so if you’re interested it’s time to make your selection.  Some of the swag has already shown up… *grins*

We also have even more prizes coming in from companies such as Atlas Games, Czech Games Edition, Looney Labs, Cheapass Games, and more!  As always, if you have a question that you can’t find an answer to on the website, you can check our FAQ or drop me a line at [email protected].

 

T-Minus Nine Weeks to the Con!

metanonhelm2With TsunamiCon clearly on the horizon, it’s time to take a moment to inhale sharply the sense of excitement and apprehension.  What adventures await the unwashed masses as we descend upon the hallowed halls of the historic Scottish Rite in downtown Wichita?  What stories will we have to tell our children and our grandchildren?

Well… for that matter, you could just bring them along.  *grins*

TsunamiCon planning is in full swing, and we’ve had some very exciting developments in the past week or so.  So let’s get to it:

TC16VIGADMITONGAs per our agreement with the venue, Venue 332 at Wichita Scottish Rite is an official corporate sponsor of TsunamiCon 2016.  They’re easily as excited about this event as we are, and they’ve taken additional measures to try and elevate our event.  We now have access to pretty much the entire facility… and that means more than enough space to suit everyone’s needs.  To keep the noise levels under a bit more control.  To move our entertainments and cosplay contest into the auditorium and our VIG Lounge into one of the coolest rooms in the house…

… Which brings us to our VIGs.  If you have ever considered taking part in our VIG program, now is an excellent time.  These specialty tickets are still available for a short while, and they are a fantastic way to get the most out of the convention.  You get all the swag, you get to hang out in the lounge and graze on the victuals and hobnob with the other VIGs, and more, depending on your level of involvement.  It’s a great way to show support for your local convention, and it’s a fun way for us to show you how much we appreciate your patronage.

Artemis-52Innovative gaming experiences!  Sounds cool when I say it like that, doesn’t it?  We have some very cool things happening this year, including the reappearance of Allan Grohe’s phenomenal ALIENS tactical miniatures RPG.  We also have some original LARP-like events happening this year, like Shaun Duncan’s original scenario The Purge, which plays out throughout the day on Saturday, and a hilarious live-action event based loosely on Monty Python’s eponymous Arthurian reenactment.  And finally, we’ve added the extraordinary Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator to our schedule for this year’s convention, which allows you and your friends (or you and a group of complete strangers, for that matter!) to take over the bridge of a starship for a unique and very personal gaming experience.

And all of this if FREE with your TsunamiCon badge!

So let’s get started, shall we?

The TsunamiCon Experience

A few years ago, our convention was one of a handful of newly-minted localized gaming conventions popping up across the country that were being run – not by independently wealthy entrepreneurs who could afford to throw $10,000 into a black hole on a whim – but by ordinary folks living paycheck to paycheck who had a clever idea and a will to persevere.  We saw a hole in our local hobby community that we desperately wanted to fill, and we found an opportunity to fund our convention in an as-yet unconventional way.  We crowdsourced it.

ShaunVIGWith a collective holding of breath, the local and regional gaming community took to Kickstarter to help fund our tabletop gaming convention here in Wichita, by purchasing tickets and swag ahead of time and providing us the necessary startup capital to make it work.  By the time November rolled around, we had a working model for a local gaming con and were ready to greet the masses.  And we were pleasantly surprised to find that our premiere event blew the doors off of our immediate expectations.  In fact, compared to many other Midwestern gaming cons that had launched in the previous handful of years, our first event was a virtual barnburner.

TsunamiCon is a tabletop gaming convention designed to provide local and regional casual and dedicated gamers alike to ruminate with like-minded folk and enjoy the labors of their hobby for three days straight.  Our management team is comprised largely of dedicated RPG enthusiasts, but we owe much of our success to a rabid enthusiasm from the local hobby boardgaming community, which had virtually exploded overnight in the previous two years.  Local game masters and demo teams brought a variety of gaming opportunities to the con, and we watched in awe as peoples young and old, from here in town and far away, streamed into the building over the course of the weekend and sat in on the fun.

scottisritecollageAt TsunamiCon, it’s easy to find gamers interested in sharing the joy of their favorite games.  Some involve elaborate tabletop displays, some little more than books and dice, some are played with cards or meeples, and some with little more than your imagination – we even have live action experiences that give you an opportunity to more fully immerse yourself in a role for a couple hours.  To round out the weekend, we’ll have party games, live comedy entertainment, a diverse marketplace, fantastic on-site concessions, geeky panels and cosplay events, and more!  It’s a way to step out of everyday life for a couple days and become drenched in the pomposity of fun and positive vibes.

To elevate the experience further in Year Three, we selected a venue that will take your breath away and leave your head spinning.  Join us this October 7th, 8th and 9th at the beautiful and historic Wichita Scottish Rite Center in downtown Wichita.  Advance discount tickets are available now.

Announcing TsunamiCon 2016!

There are numerous challenges associated with running a grass roots convention, but nothing so daunting as securing the venue and the dates for the upcoming year.  As TsunamiCon continues to grow with the gaming community in and around Wichita and draw larger crowds from outside the city, this part of the process will become less stressful, but at this point we still have to approach each event much like it’s our first, negotiating with venues and raising capital to get things started.  Happily, we have managed to secure an amazing venue for TsunamiCon 2016.

This year’s event will be hosted October 7th, 8th and 9th at Venue 332 at the Wichita Scottish Rite Center in downtown Wichita.  This is an exciting move for our little organization, as we move away from a strictly hotel-oriented environment and attempt to forge a new relationship with a truly breathtaking venue, suffused with a historic and immersive atmosphere that will be sure to delight gamers with its old world charm.

The location is excellent.  If you’re a Wichita native, you may have driven past the Scottish Rite numerous times without even really soaking it in.  It’s located at First and Topeka, just a block north of Douglas and east of Broadway, and offers ample free parking in a lot situated just north of the building.

TsunamiCon LLC maintains the same dedication to producing a quality convention experience that you have come to expect, and we will be working with VisitWichita to establish housing opportunities with nearby hotels.  As always, our focus will be on the gaming, with a large banquet hall for the games, an attached annex for this year’s vendors, and other rooms we can use for special events.

We currently plan to launch our primary crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter at the end of April.  Until that time, you can help us raise our starting capital (and lower the Kickstarter goal!) by purchasing your VIG memberships and vendor booths early.  Meanwhile, follow us on social media and watch the website for updates on upcoming promotions and special events.

Let’s make 2016 the best convention yet!

Why Kickstarter?

TC2015long

A few days ago, we launched our Kickstarter campaign for TsunamiCon 2015, and it’s starting off rather nicely.  We have a long way to go if we’re going to fund this convention, and this is in many ways the most critical stage of our planning process.  So it kind of threw me yesterday when one of our backers mentioned that there were a lot of local gamers last year who felt that Kickstarter was an inappropriate venue for funding a gaming convention.  I’d like to take a moment to address that idea.

Why Kickstarter?  The first thing you need to understand is that I’ve been thinking about running a convention for years.  What started as a small group of like-minded gamers with our Prismatic Tsunami forums (now lost to antiquity and Russian spambots) has slowly blossomed into a global community tied together through our podcasting network, our periodicals, and our enthusiasm for gaming.  About a year after we launched the Metagamers Anonymous podcast, we decided to start hosting local GameDay events in our home city of Wichita, and we started building connections with the local gamer population.  TsunamiCon was a no-brainer.

But the truth is, conventions are extraordinarily expensive to run, and none of us are independently wealthy.  We really wanted to put together something special for our community – something big enough to incite even some of our fanbase from across the nation to make the trip to Wichita to game with us – but we had no startup capital.  That was when I started looking at Kickstarter, and I quickly found that several new conventions had popped us across the Midwest by virtue of successful crowdfunding campaigns.

If you’re not familiar with Kickstarter, it started as a way to permit creative projects – like games, books, electronic innovations, and clever inventions of all sorts – to reach out to potential customers and secure a means to fund their efforts.  Without a middleman.  As a musician, I loved the idea of being able to pre-sell an album I hadn’t yet recorded so that I could at least afford to make my art into something tangible that I could share, without having to secure a record contract and lose most of my money to the corporation behind it.  More importantly, as any musician who has ever perused a record contract can tell you, you instantly end up signing over much of your creative control to the investors.

Which is exactly what we didn’t want to do with TsunamiCon.

Using Kickstarter to fund an event is a perfect fit.  It allows us to pre-sell tickets and use the money for funding, rather than having to come up with thousands of dollars on our own.  It gives us a powerful medium for connecting with fans and giving them the opportunity to really show their support.  We use the reward system to provide access to convention swag (again, collecting the funds to actually have the swag made!) and VIP opportunities at the con, as well as provide accessibility to would-be vendors and advertisers.  And better yet, the Kickstarter website provides us with tools that help us reach a broader audience, unbound by our social media connections.  Anyone looking for a gaming convention or even just browsing the website (which, believe it or not, a lot of people do) can find us and immediately elect to get involved, and there’s even a social connection between account holders who choose to follow each other’s activities that immediately alerts your friends via email when you back our project.

As you can see, it’s a win-win.

In short, if you’re a gamer who feels like conventions should only be run by people who have the cash (who are often largely interested in obtaining more cash), I offer you in turn a chance to help fund a convention from the ground up and add your voice and ideas to the mix.  We listen to you – not a team of investors – because you’re the ones who control our fate.  Without your patronage, there is no TsunamiCon.

Sure… we hope to one day make enough money at one of our cons to pay it forward and no longer require crowdfunding, but for that we need to grow our convention into a much bigger event with more attendees.  Understand that a lot of cons that aren’t even as big as ours frequently fail after just a year or two because the organizers aren’t making enough money to cover their costs and often end up with bad debt.  Nobody likes that arrangement, and by funding it ahead of time we can be confident that our event is paid for.  And at this point, we’re spending pretty much every dollar to make the convention bigger and better.

And by the way… Kickstarter is easier than ever to use.  It takes 30 seconds to make a new account, and you provide your credit card information when you pledge your support, then you’re charged on the last day of the campaign if it funds.  Which also means there’s no risk, because you aren’t charged a thing if we don’t make enough money to fund a convention.

So help us out.  Pledge if you can.  It gets you your ticket early, and the prices won’t get any lower.  Your money contributes directly to the success of the convention, not to line anybody’s pocket.  There’s no downside.  And if you can’t contribute now, at least help us spread the word.  Let your gamer friends know what’s happening, because TsunamiCon 2014 was an amazing experience, and we’re jonesin’ to do it again.

I look forward to seeing you at the con!

V.I.G. (Very Important Gamer)

vigpicWhen we were trying to come up rewards last year to help offer our community uber-fans a way to show their support and get more out of the con, I came across the idea of providing a VIP ticket that comes with some swag and special perks.  The reason was two-fold… One (1), we wanted to engage people who were super-excited about the convention and give them a chance to really show it.  And two (2), we needed a way to bring in extra money up front and offer a suitably powerful reward for our devoted Kickstarter backers.  We offered a full suite of convention swag, including a handmade item that was only offered to VIGs, and a specially-stocked lounge where they could retreat from the craziness of the con and relax for a bit, socialize with their fellow VIGs and convention guests, and grab the occasional snack or soda.  For most of our VIGs at last year’s convention, I heard nothing but praise, well-worth the cost.

Bringing back the VIG program was a no-brainer.  This year we’re at a new location, and the cost of running the con is a little higher across the board.  VIGs will be only marginally more expensive than last year – we’re certainly not trying to soak our most ardent supporters for additional cash – but we’re also upping the game.  VIGs still get a three-day pass and the same great swag: this year’s T-shirt, commemorative dice, a unique gift or two, and anything else we can come up with to add to the mix.  But this year’s lounge will actually be a hospitality suite in one of the hotel’s Executive Lofts on the top floor, just an elevator ride away from the action.  (They’ve been remodeling, so I haven’t had a chance to look in on the updated suite, but as soon as I do I’ll post some pics.)

We still offer two great VIG packages.  Our Silver-level VIGs get everything I’ve already mentioned.  For a bit more, we also offer a limited number of Gold-level VIG tickets, which include access to a special gaming event on Sunday afternoon and dinner that evening with TsunamiCon guests, management staff, and the cast of Metagamers Anonymous.

Best of all, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the program.  Our Silver-level VIG packages are currently available for just $60 (normally $75), which is a ridiculous value.  And our Gold-level VIG is currently only $100 (normally $125).

You can do the math.

Why the deep discounts?  Because right now is when the money matters most.  We’ll be launching our Kickstarter campaign around the end of April, at which point the prices will go up, and the more money we have in the bank prior to launch, the lower our Kickstarter goal can be.  Which I don’t mind telling you is a huge deal.  We want more than anything to be able to provide a fun and successful convention worthy of our community, with plenty of gaming, entertainment and events, tournaments, activities, and so on.  It’s a big undertaking… and it’s expensive.

So help us get the ball rolling on TsunamiCon 2015 and pick up your VIG ticket today!  We’ll make it worth your while…