It was about 10 years ago, summer of 2013, when I first uttered the word “TsunamiCon” to my fellow podcasters on Metagamers Anonymous. We’d been casting pods about gaming for over a year at this point, and I had been inspired by a show I listened to out of Chicago to connect with a local game store – The Burrow – and launch our Tsunami GameDays. We were working on our second such event, and I remember telling my crew about a con in St. Louis that had been constructed by the hosts of a podcast. And I said… “I see TsunamiCon in our future.”
It got a good laugh.
We weren’t the kind of people who launched major events. Those took money. And vision. And a lot of work. It wasn’t until after we met Shaun and Eli at one of our early GameDay events that a plan started to take shape. I had more than a decade of experience planning events when I was in radio, but I’d never even been to a game con. Shaun and Eli, on the other hand, had helped run the gaming at several conventions over the years, and the idea of building one from the ground up was appealing. Jonikka helped me run the numbers and we started working on a game plan.
In the spring of 2014 we launched our startup. I had seen another convention out of Waco, TX, launch a Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell tickets, and I realized that we had finally (potentially) solved the last big problem: raising capital. None of us had much money to put into the endeavor, and it would take a large injection of cash up front to secure a venue, print programs, merchandise, promotional materials, pay for hotel rooms, catering, equipment, signage – the list went on and on!
And that’s how we did it. Kickstarter.
I know it may be hard believe if you’ve never been in the business, but in 10 years we’ve never made a dime on TsunamiCon. As we grew the convention became more expensive, and any money we made – which wasn’t much! – went right back into the event. In a very real sense, it’s a labor of love… and we know that our community gets that. Because so many of our friends and fellow gamers volunteer their time, energy, and yes, CASH, into helping make TsunamiCon an amazing place to spend a weekend in Wichita.
The Pandemic hit us hard, of course. The costs of running an event have skyrocketed, while our attendance numbers took a dive. It took everything we had and then some to make 2021 happen… we gave until it hurt, and in some ways we’re still reeling. But there was never a question that we’d made a run at Year 10. This event means a lot to us and our community, and we owe it to ourselves to keep on giving.
But we need money. It’s been a few years since we turned to Kickstarter for help, but we want more than anything to make this year’s event successful, and the cost of entry is daunting. Kickstarter represents our first best chance at putting together the bare minimum funds to kick things into motion, and we the community to pull together.
So pledge. Get your friends and family on board. If you’re not sure about how Kickstarter works, ask us. Share the campaign. On Facebook. On Twitter. To your Instagram followers, on TikTok – wherever you can! It’s important. Not to line anybody’s pockets or make anyone feel important, but just to help provide our local gaming community a place to get immersed in gaming fun and frivolity for three amazing days!
This campaign has been a grind, but it’s far from over!