News and Announcements

Here you will find the latest news and announcements in the weeks leading up to the convention. Check back often for the latest information!

Let the Games Begin!

We all know that the beating heart of any game con is the big damned room where the magic happens, and this year we don’t aim to disappoint.  Schedules are going up, which means it’s time to start planning your weekend at TsunamiCon!  We have piles of new games being posted on our event schedule, as well as a host of game demos courtesy of Cardboard Carnage, Tabletop Heroes, and our own TsunamiCon game wardens!  We’ll update the site with new event information as plans are finalized, so continue to check back with us and be sure to sign up for some games.

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To get started, you can list a new game or sign up to play HERE.

Highlights include:

  • D&D Adventurers League and Pathfinder Society.  There are numerous games scheduled for each system throughout the convention, starting as early as Friday morning and running through Sunday afternoon.  Don’t miss out!  Reserve your seat at the table now!
  • Warmachine/Hordes Steamroller Tournament.  Starts on Sunday morning at 10am and runs through the afternoon.
  • Star Wars Xwing Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
  • Duel Grounds’ new Cthulhu Deckbuilder game demos.
  • Numerous games and demos from volunteer GMs!

Additionally, this week on our Facebook event page, we’ll start highlighting different gaming opportunities for the con and make announcements as new events are posted.  TsunamiCon is weeks away, and we plan to make the most of it!

Where To Begin…?

TsunamiCon 2015 is fast approaching! You’re ready for 3 solid days of gaming goodness this October, so how do you get started? Let’s start with the basics:

We will assume you already know what TsunamiCon is: a three-day convention that provides attendees with the best variety and highest caliber tabletop gaming entertainment Wichita can offer, with demos, tournaments, and gaming experiences to serve the needs of hard-core hobbyists and amateur gamers alike. We expand on this core product with related activities and entertainment, including cosplay contests, miniature painting, live geek comedy, and so much more.

If you need to know more, you should definitely poke around the website and see what the convention is all about.  In the next couple weeks, you’ll start to see new gaming and event schedules appear, with tournaments, demos, organized play, casual gaming, panels, cosplay, LARPs, and more!  If you want to run some games, all the better!  You can submit your game now on our Submissions page.  Note:  If you plan to run a couple games, you can get a nice price break on your weekend pass.

You can find the basics on our Registration page, including the hours of the con, links to buy tickets and reserve your hotel room, and a general rundown of what you can expect as a TsunamiCon attendee.  Finally, follow us on social media for regular updates.  Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!  And if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, let us know!  It’s your home town game con.

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.

Giving Back to Our Community

Curtis's Pathfinder game gets intense.

Since our very first Tsunami GameDay back in early 2013, the goal of the TsunamiCon management team has always been to spread the joy of our hobby and connect with fellow gamers.  No matter how you cut it – no matter how weird or introverted or socially awkward you might be – tabletop gaming is a purely social activity, and the broader the player base, the more fun there is to be had.  We have never once doubted our aspirations or that the local/regional community was worth the effort.

TSUNAMICON is a labor of love.  It’s a big game con, because Wichita deserves a big game con.  And our experience last year showed us that the community can support it, which is what leads us today.  In our first year, we approached the convention with a broad safety net.  None of us are rich… we’re struggling families trying to keep our collective head above water, and we happen to love gaming.  If the 2014 Kickstarter failed, we would know that there just wasn’t enough interest in supporting the event.  We could be on our merry way without any significant debt… a lot of work, but very low risk.

Then we had a fantastic game con.

In 2015, we knew we were looking at a more expensive convention.  We were forced to move to a bigger venue, and we suddenly had to pay everything up front.  We broke even the first year but made no profit, so we had no choice but to run another Kickstarter.  It’s a great tool, but I can’t overemphasize the amount of work involved and how stressful it is to watch the funding level crawl toward a goal it may never reach.

We approached this year with the confidence born from last year’s success.  TsunamiCon was a hit, and the feedback from the community suggested it would only get bigger.  But we still needed money, and more of it.  We engaged many returning vendors and received strong support from returning attendees who bought in early to help us get our crowdfunding goals down as much as possible.  We were forced to launch our campaign earlier than we wanted because the venue’s pay schedule requires about half the money four months out.f

DealerHallDay2-1Some people have asked what happens if the Kickstarter fails.  As I write this, I still have every reason to believe we can succeed, and I hope you will help.  But if we fall short… well, let me posit the two extremes of the available spectrum.  Best case scenario, we find alternative funding quickly enough to put together the money for the venue (unlikely, but not impossible) and work against the clock to try to secure the rest before the con.  If we haven’t paid the venue over $5K by October 20th, our contract empowers them to cancel our event.

Worst case scenario… we are unable to secure quick alternative funding and the business folds.  We owe a lot of money to the hotel for early cancellation and – more importantly – we have to pay back everyone who bought in early because they believed in us or were excited to do business with us again this year (or both!).  It would force us to plunder any reserves we have and put our livelihoods at risk, because some portion of those early funds have been spent on things like the hotel deposit, our business license, promotional expenses like flyers and such… Let’s just say, the risk this year is significant.  And to be honest, that debt would be enough to keep us from trying it again.

What I’ve learned from running TsunamiCon:  You can’t please everyone.  Some people are always going to try to tell you what you’re doing wrong.  You can spend 40 hours a week above and beyond your 40+ hour job working on the con and still not know if you’re going to succeed.  You will spend a LOT of time buried in emails, FB messages, questions on Twitter and G+, 95% of which won’t  yield significant results in terms of capital or convention support.  You will ultimately spend three days on your feet, putting out fires, working with vendors and venue staff, fielding complaints, and trying to anticipate problems before they occur, and never get to spend even an hour gaming with your friends…

… And it will all be absolutely worth it.  I get to spend THREE SOLID DAYS surrounded by hundreds of folks having a blast because I spent all that extra time and energy, put my gamer family through the wringer, and dealt with all the stress of organizing, promoting and funding a convention.

Now I need your help.  Back the Kickstarter.  Buy your tickets.  Get the swag.  Buy your friends tickets, or convince them to buy their own.  We intend to do everything we possibly can to have a convention this year, and we need the support of our gaming community to make it happen.  No hyperbole… no dodging the question.  We. Need. You.  It’s our convention… yours and mine.  And this is how we make it happen.

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The VIG Experience

vigpicOne of the most exciting rewards we offer TsunamiCon attendees is the V.I.G. (Very Important Gamer) experience.  As a reward for providing a higher level of support during the funding process, VIGs have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the convention.

First of all, the VIG ticket is an all-access 3-day pass, and ticket holders are eligible for any drawings and giveaways we conduct throughout the con.  Additionally, the specially labeled VIG badge you collect at will call is accompanied by a preordered TsunamiCon T-shirt, our custom commemorative dice, and any additional swag we manage to cobble together for the package.  (This year’s Gold VIGs even get a quality, embroidered TsunamiCon dice bag from dicepouch.com.)  Last year, we handed out handmade leather key fobs.

And we have some very cool rewards were eyeing with particular interest for this year’s event.

lounge1Secondly – and perhaps more profoundly – there’s the VIG Lounge.  The lounge is a hospitality suite set aside specifically for VIGs and TsunamiCon guests.  It’s a place to retreat occasionally from the crowd and the noise and graze a little on the available finger foods and stash of soda we keep stocked, as well as occasional bonus meal items.  This year, the lounge is located in one of the Holiday Inn’s Executive Loft Suites, just an elevator ride to the top floor high above the convention center, where you can relax and refresh yourself at your leisure throughout the event.  You can even game a bit with fellow VIGs, and we’ll plan to have a few scheduled games in the lounge available for signup.  Maybe even some after-hours revelry.

The lounge was very popular last year, and we’re excited to bring it back to TsunamiCon 2015.

And all that comes with the basic Silver-level VIG membership.  Gold-level contributors also get access to an exclusive Tsunami Living Campaign gaming event, as well as dinner at the Green Mill Restaurant on Sunday night with our management team, TsunamiCon guests, and the cast of Metagamers Anonymous.

We feel the value of the VIG ticket and the VIG experience at the con is a fantastic way to reward our contributors and fans, and you can take advantage of our limited number of VIG tickets via the Kickstarter campaign.  Every dollar raised through the Kickstarter helps fund our convention, paying for the venue, the food, the guests, and all the cool swag.  By buying in now, you’re not only supporting the con…

… You’re making a difference.

Why Kickstarter?

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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!

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!

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…

TsunamiCon 2015 Schedule Announced!

The management and support staff of TsunamiCon, LLC is happy to report that we have officially scheduled this year’s event.  TsunamiCon 2015 will be held at the Wichita Holiday Inn at Kellogg and Rock on October 23rd, 24th and 25th.

Changing locations and weekends for the con was a difficult decision, but we strongly feel that we have made the best decision for the success and expansion of our event.  The staff at the Holiday Inn is enthusiastic and excited to have us on board, and the recently-remodeled facility will provide us with an excellent venue that easily serves our needs.

We are currently offering excellent deals for vendors, advertisers and sponsors interested in being part of this year’s event.  Attendees interested in purchasing VIG packages can also get them at a considerable discount by buying in early.  We will begin regular ticket sales via our Kickstarter campaign, which is scheduled to launch the first of May, at which point prices will be adjusted accordingly.

For further details regarding this year’s convention, follow us on Facebook and keep an eye on our website.

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.