It is time to begin working on 2017 convention things.
We have a location and a date - and have managed to keep it within Noble. We'd talked about moving it to Olney, but couldn't find a location that was within our price range and didn't have a long vetting process. You have no idea of how difficult it is to work a gaming convention into the bible belt.
I remember when we first opened our game store about fifteen years ago and how some kids had to stand across the street and watch as their friends came into the store. This was around the time the first Harry Potter book was released and some of the more religious parents were pretty sure their kids were turning to Satanic ways and would begin flying broom sticks. Too bad the broom stick thing didn't work out. Can you imagine the miles per gallon you'd get out of that?
The convention planning is moving right along. I have Jon McDonald who has begun sending out emails to a long list of companies asking for game swag. Mary Morris has offered to return to the NobleCon volunteer pack and help. Sadly, I am losing three members of my team: Cecil, LD, and Darin are moving to Texas in late spring. Despite the setback in help, I've started delegating duties and hope to make this the best convention ever.
We're about to begin scouting for dealers - If you know of a shop that would like to set up at the convention - Let them know about us. I'll have the dealer's packets up by next weekend and ready for down load. We will have a separate dealers room this year, which means the dealers aren't stuck at their booths from open to close. They get to wander around and see things at the con - and maybe even sleep.
We have our first piece of game swag - a Star Trek five year mission game, donated by Liquid Resins from Olney, Il.
I'll keep you updated on events as they unfold.
I woke this morning thinking I had a year to get ready for this. Then reality set in. Most of the things we need are ready and partially packed. Sheets have been printed off. Booklets made (still need to staple them). Vendors contacted and volunteers (mostly) contacted and confirmed.
That doesn't mean I'm sitting back and enjoying the good life. Nope. Need to finish the concession shopping, strip down the cook shack of equipment, and then set up our stuff for tomorrow.
We have been gifted with amazing prize, GM, and auction support from game companies that know the needs of the gamer. They have been very generous with us. We hope you like what they've given us.
Gale Force 9 was the first to send us a ton of stuff, plus I worked Gen Con for them and got a couple extra great games.
Then it steam rolled:
Join us at Noble Con. Have fun and roll them dice!
We're just a few days away from the first Noble Con and I wanted to send out some thank you's.
The Kessel Run is taking place outside in the outfield of the OLNEY CENTRAL COLLEGE WEST RICHLAND CENTER. Phil Britton was very generous in letting us use the outfield. He has done an amazing job getting the ball diamond up and running out there. Thank you Phil for entrusting something you care so much about into our care.
On that note: The Kessel Run is subject to weather conditions. If it is too windy or rains, we will have to cancel. So - cross your fingers and let's hope for good weather.
2. The amazing artist who is letting us use the Kessel Run image. CC was able to track the artist down and get permission for us to use the art. I can't thank you enough for lending us your art. I'll get the link up and running for the artist's redbubble account so you can check out more of the artwork available.
3. I want to thank all the amazing people who have offered to help out. The volunteer list (no particular order)
and a special thanks to our Kessel Run judge: Nathan Preevo. Couldn't do the Drone Course without his help.
I also want to send out a special thank you to Blank's Insurance Agency for helping us get our Event Insurance and Print Forge for their excellent printing on Cecil's artwork. And to my co-workers at Liquid Resins for being so wonderful and supportive of my insanity over the last couple of weeks. Amber, Linda and Mendy - thank you!!!!
We just had a great meeting tonight with some of the volunteers and they have renewed my spirit. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives. You work obsessively on a project and suddenly realize you have been banging your head on the desk for the last week and running into the wall with your little robot feet trying to figure out what you should work on next. And, getting nothing accomplished. For me it’s been late night panic attacks wondering how I will possibly complete everything that needs to be done before the convention. They’re not really panic attacks, because I can still breathe, it’s more like my brain freezes as my mind scurries around like a trapped mouse running through the long list of things I need to do.
That said, we have the schedule mapped out. Keeping with the 2 to 2-1/2 hour games we have three-hour game sessions set up.
Saturday, October 15th:
Doors open at 9am and the first game session starts at noon.
1st session: noon to 4pm
Dinner break & Shake Ups in Ponyville: 4 to 5pm
2nd session: 5 to 8
Auction and dinner break runs from 8 to 9 (*auction rules apply)
3rd session: 9 to midnight
Sunday, October 16th:
doors open at 8
4th session: 9 to noon
Lunch and prize drawings (must be present to win) are from noon to 1
5th session: 1 to 4
There is more news coming soon.
...Faster than I thought it would.
Who knew a year could fly by so quickly? It was just a year ago that I mentioned to Zack Bookwalter from Galactic Games & Things that I wanted to run a game convention. “That’s a great idea.” He said between customers. That was all I needed to begin planning Noble Con.
I’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t always been easy. Dan and I have been on the other side of the isle at game conventions – as a store, running a booth or just hanging out – but to actually step up and do this is a whole lot different than selling for a few hours and going back to the hotel to crash. It has become a life style. I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with someone that didn’t include “have I told you about Noble Con?” Conventions are no long gone to just for fun and games. They are my new playground, used to introduce others to our convention – I don’t carry dice or game books, but flyers and business cards.
In a couple weeks we’re hitting another local convention - C4 Comic and Pop Culture Event on September 24th at Lincoln Trail College. If you haven’t heard of it – be sure to stop by and check it out. Dan will be running games and I’ll be…yep, you guessed it…. talking about Noble Con and handing out flyers.
I’ve just ordered the name badges and lanyards. We have tentative times set for the scheduled games, and I’ve finally hit a wall. After ten months I am willing to admit I need help. So, I’ve called in The Super Friends. That’s what I’m calling them. The list of volunteers who have offered me their time and energy to make Noble Con a success. If you feel the need to join The Super Friends, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll happily assign you a task. It won’t be anything too difficult – and hopefully it will be fun.
Dan and I went to Nerd Con. Dan to run and play games – me to talk to everyone and his sister about Noble Con. I talked so much I had to stand and watch one of the cos-players suit up, not because I wanted to watch him wiggle around and crawl into his uniform – but because I was afraid if I left and came back – I wouldn’t have a voice to talk. He told me to talk to him while he dressed – they were fantastic – just like everyone there.
Dan’s game started out slow. He was running a Savage Worlds Rome game based on gladiators. His first player was a 12 year old – I’ve never played before. Then Les Anderson joined in. I think he was a bit worried playing with a 12 year old too. Now, usually Dan’s games are more of a PG-13/R variety and I could see him re-thinking the game plan. Then two other kids asked to join in. They were brother and sister and about the same age as the first player. If I were to die today, I would die knowing that gaming was safely tucked in the small hands of this next generation. They played better than many adults we’ve played with over the years. They played smart, got into their characters, were creative and had fun. They even asked where they could buy the book and what they needed to play. I think their game plan was to go buy the book and start running their own games.
My adventure went just as well.
Three of the dealers – Clock Tower, Guardians Comics and Brian K. Morris were excited to come to Noble Con. Clock Tower had spoken to Dan previously about attending the con and running demos, but Saturday was a confirmation of that plan. Brian K. Morris – what can I say about him and Todd Black were like a vaudeville act and I was their straight man, playing into each of their word games like we’d rehearsed the route a thousand times. They were funny and excited to join us in our convention adventure.
I’ve since learned that Castle Perilous Games from Carbondale has agreed to join us also. Dan and I have attended and or been part of conventions that Scott Thorne has had tables at. He is experienced and has a quirky sense of humor that is both scary and funny. I remember meeting him at the first Die Con and was intimidated by him. He was so self-assured and in his element, like a ring master of the dealers. We were just starting out and had no clue of the reality of what we were getting into. Dan and I tried to follow his example over the years. Scott has spoken on NPR radio about Game Day, written numerous articles and reviews about games and gaming. He one of the true authorities on games. Having his company join us give Noble Con an air of authenticity. We are a real con now. J
Whenever someone walked in the door and made it into the second room, I was there. I told maybe about 80% of the room about Noble Con and why they should visit us. Everyone at Nerd Con was wonderful. They stood and listened to my reasons and not a one of them toss the paper way in front of me. In fact, I didn’t see even one of our flyers just laying around. Everyone took them and put them away in their packs.
2 am this morning, after recounting the Nerd Con adventure - Cecil and LD asked me what I would do if more people showed up than what I had anticipated – I think I just smiled and said “laugh.” Yes, I would just laugh with happiness.
A few months ago I had offered my services to Gale Force 9 to work for them at Gen Con, little suspecting that they would take me up on my offer - happily they did and I get to help demo / play two new games they have coming out. As they describe it: "Star Trek: Ascendancy – a 4X game pitting the Federation, Klingons & Romulans against each other in a struggle for galactic supremacy and Tyrants of the Underdark – a game of intrigue and power brokering designed by the team behind the popular Lords of Waterdeep." I'm both excited and terrified. I have to learn two games in a short time and I'm a master procrastinator who has a thousand and one things that are screaming to be done yesterday - But like any good procrastinator, I know it will all work out.
I'll keep you updated on the Gen Con adventure.
This weekend Dan and I are visiting Die Con in Collinsville, Il. Dan, of course, is gaming and I'm wandering through the dealer's room making contact with vendors and gamers alike. I've given Dan instructions to mention Noble Con at least once every fifteen minutes. I doubt he'll do it, but it is the plan.
I met several gamers who expressed an interest and asked questions - such as the hotel cost - that I need to find the answers to. I have a new project to add to my list - discover the answer to the questions asked. One of the vendors I spoke to and who is interested was Mythica Gaming. They had some beautiful art work and a wonderful card game they'd created called the Legends of Draxia. I don't mind giving them a plug since their work was so beautiful. Even if they don't make Noble Con, you should check out their game. Head over to: http://mythicagaming.com/ and see what their game is all about.
I also spoke to the game library - Atomic Squash - and the great Librarians manning the tables about how they put together their game library. They were very helpful and had some great suggestions. Some of the suggestions are things I've already done, but there were two that really grabbed my attention. The first was the name of a company to contact that is very helpful in getting games - sadly, the moment I walked out of the room - I had already forgotten the name of the company. I will have to use my vast ninja-like abilities to slip past Die Con security to get the company name again. The second was to start a gaming club where members lend the library some games for conventions. Guess what I'll be doing once I get back home?
Dan has introduced me to his friends who come to Die Con every year. All of them have been very nice to me as I tell them all about Noble Con and the benefits of coming to our convention. We're having fun and would love to see you here. Come on over and get in a game or two.
See you at Noble Con!
When Dan and I first discussed having a gaming convention - we ended up reminiscing about how it was GM's were treated better in the old days of gaming. Their ideas and comments were an important part of any convention and GM's were listened to. We decided we wanted to give back to the gaming community and re-establish some of the experiences we’d had from thirty years ago.
Conventions of today - for the most part - treat GM's more as an afterthought or look at them as replaceable. Sure - there are a lot of GM's out there in the gaming world, but to have a good one - one who is experienced and loves running the game for the player's enjoyment - is a rarity. That GM is pure gold. He or She is the equivalent of the mystic unicorn. Someone who should be sought after and wooed with care. We all know that a good game ref transports a player to another realm…the player is no longer seated at a table with four other players – but is now Robar the warrior fighting a long side his friends and fellow warriors as they battle the orcs that have been pillaging a local village –
You are why we began this convention.
We wanted to show our appreciation to the men and women who spend hours preparing for that one game session. This convention is a 'tip of the hat' to you, the Game Master.
That's why our GM's get a portion of their entrance fee back at the end of Noble Con for each registered game they run. Run two games and you end up getting in free - run a third and get a $5.00 certificate for a meal at the Convention Concession Grill. These have to be registered games, not off the cuff games. We want time to advertise your fantastic adventure.
Plus, stick around for Sunday afternoon's GM Award Ceremony and you could win a prize for running a registered game. The more registered games you run, the better your chances for winning some great prizes. We know that GM’s are the bread and butter of any gaming convention. Without you – the GM’s – conventions wouldn’t be any fun. Join us and let’s show everyone what a legion of GM’s can do!
We had a moment where all of us here at Noble Con were wondering "What next?!" Panic ensued and then like the spring rains we've been having lately - it passed. The college had double booked the dates of Noble Con and we nearly drew the short end of the stick - but thanks to the quick work of Terry Bruce, the CEO at IECC, we were able to sit down and come to an agreement pretty darn quick. He understood just how important it is to have community events just like this one and between the two of us we were able to come up with a new agreement that satisfied everyone.
We may have lost a day, but we still get to hold the convention in our original location at the West Richland Center. Those of us hosting Noble Con tip our collective hats to Mr. Bruce. We'd all like to thank him for his timely intervention and willingness to work with our fledgling organization.
So, now it is off to finish organizing our game play.
We hope to see you there!
Noble, IL first and only all-gaming convention.
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