Friday, September 15, 2006

Build Your Own Game Convention (Part 2)

In the interest of promoting my local game convention (and in having a really easy blog today), here is another interview with Travis Reynolds, one of the powers-that-be behind this opportunity for West Virginia gamers (and others) to get together. Charcon starts three weeks from today (Friday, October 6) at the Charleston Civic Center, and will run for two days.

So, Travis, what's been happening since we last talked?

When did we last talk? What day is it? Where am I? Gosh, we have been really, really busy! We have put out our event catalog for public consumption. We have well over 100 games and the list is still growing. It includes a great variety. I have been spending a lot of time working with vendors, sponsors, the program and trying not to forget stuff.

Just this week we had some great developments. We did an interview for a statewide cultural newspaper called The Graffiti. Our article is not only in it this week, but we are the cover story! Plus, after years of treating our bodies like temples, Nick & I have finally been recognized with a full spread centerfold! A boys dream come true...

Another new thing is that we have incorporated. CharCon is now officially part of a non-profit company. The actual company is named West Virginia Hobby Gaming Association. We did that so that we would not be limited to only CharCon. So, CharCon becomes an event hosted by WVHGA and we can host others throught the year. Everyone who pays to be admitted to CharCon will automatically become a member of WVHGA. At this point, that does not mean much, but after CharCon is over, we plan to focus some attention on the organization and its growth.

Are you happy with the numbers of gamers who have pre-registered?

Yes and no. I would have liked to see more than what we have had (we have 13 at the moment). However, I could have easily seen us have a lot less that that. One of the brightest spots regarding pre-registration is having about half of them be from out of state! It’s great to see people from out of the area excited enough about attending to pre-register!

I know you've asked a lot of the big gaming companies for support. What has been the response?

The response has been great. I think I mentioned in the last interview that we spent a large chunk of Origins networking with vendors and game companies. That and lots of emails has paid off. We managed to wrangle support from Steve Jackson Games, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Twilight Creations, Wizkids, Gale Force Nine, Battlefront, Fantasy Flight Games, The Fiend Foundry and The Evil Empire ©....errr...Wizards of the Coast. Plus, Ted Cheatham has managed to get support from both Rio Grande Games and Z-Man games. So overall they have been very supportive. They gave us lots of stuff we plan to use as both prizes and as items in our Silent Auction.

I've looked at your list of events, and I can see that there will be plenty of spectacular miniature action. And also some collectable card game events. But what about boardgames? What boardgame events can we expect?

Lots! For starters, the Appalachian Gamers will be on hand doing demo's of about 20 different games from both Rio Grande and Z-Man. Also, a variety of Steve Jackson games will be on hand. Plus we have tournaments planned in A Game of Thrones, Silk Road (with the creator even!), Munchkin and Zombies. There are also some other things being discussed that I expect to come together before show time. All in all, a very strong board game presence.

How can gamers sign up for these events?

Two ways: In order to sign up before the show starts, they need to visit There, they can get a copy of the Event Catalog, which will show them who, what, when and so on. Next, they will need to pre-register (which will end very soon, so they better hurry!). Then all they have to do is send an email to and tell us what they want to sign up for.

The other option is to just sign up the day of the show on site.

By the way, I know the con is just two days. But how late will things go? Will they kick gamers out of the Charleston Civic Center at any given time?

Things will go right up until midnight each night. The city requires the Charleston Civic Center to make business shut down at midnight (or so they say), so CharCon will officially close for business at 12. That doesn't mean everyone is out and the doors are closed, it just means things will be shutting down and everyone needs to be getting ready to leave. One of the drawbacks of not being a hotel convention.

Same question as last time: what has been the most frustrating thing about putting together this con? What has been the most rewarding thing?

Lately the most frustrating thing has been dealing with stuff that I not only do not have time for, but shouldn't have to and don't want to deal with. Just petty things that draw my attention away from more important stuff, which only adds to my paranoia that I am forgetting something! I am hoping to reach a point of zen at which I can let all the irrelevant stuff wash over me...

The most rewarding by far was seeing our article on the cover of The Graffiti. We had no idea. It was quite a rush!

And what additional advice would you give to folks who would like to start their own local gaming conventions?

I can't reinforce enough to visit with your local Convention & Visitor's Bureau. Ours has been an invaluable resource. They issued a press release for us just this week and we are already seeing some additional media interest. Also, don't be afraid to ask local businesses and national folks for help. I'm not sure why, but basically none of the big game companies replied to my first email. However, when I sat down to send follow ups almost all of them replied to the second. Just shows that persistence is a key. Keep good notes and maintain a to-do list. Make sure to have very competent people doing the stuff you can't like website and print management.

Thanks Travis.


At Charcon, on Saturday, October 7, at noon, I plan to run A Game of Thrones mini-tournament. Fantasy Flight Games has generously agreed to donate a copy of the Storm of Swords expansion as a prize for the game. Five or six gamers will compete in just one game of A Game of Thrones with the winner taking home the expansion. We will be using some of the expansion elements from A Clash of Kings (ports, fortresses, siege engines), and some of the expansion elements from A Storm of Swords. So if you have any interest in A Game of Thrones this will be an opportunity to win a copy of the new expansion, or at least an opportunity to check out how the new elements work in a full game. As Travis mentioned, you can sign up for this competition by e-mailing the Charcon trolls at Then just show up on Saturday and look for the guy with all the A Game of Thrones boxes. Please be on time or we may have to give your spot to someone on the waiting list.

And even if you aren’t interested in A Game of Thrones, stop by and say hello to me on Saturday at Charcon. If I’m not running the tournament, I’ll probably be demo-ing other games.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks again for this informative and fun interview.
If only this had been posted a month earlier, now my chamber of commerce says it might be to close to iCon to help me out. C'est La Vie, as they say.
Thanks for promoting a local con, and giving tips to those mad enough to try one ourselves.