Here you will find the latest news and announcements in the weeks leading up to the convention. Check back often for the latest information!
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!
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.
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
Some 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.
One 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.
Secondly – 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.
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!
Today 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!
When 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…
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.
I’d like to take just a few minutes to discuss the variety of gaming events we expect to see at TsunamiCon.
Roleplaying 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.
Miniatures 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.
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!