September 14, 2010

To Run a Con...

So I'm going to run YetiCon for 2011 from beginning to end. Wow. I feel a bit like doctor Frahnkenshteen above.

This is my first time ever arranging such an event... okay, any event other than something like my son's birthday party - this should be marginally more complex. I'm going to be posting here the things I learn, the things with which I struggle, my victories and defeats.

First off... where the hell is the first off? Where do I begin? There is a lot to do! We've announced it over on Yes the Truth Hurts for next June/July - giving me 9 (ish) months to pull this off. And I've also started recruiting for some needed help as well - but much of that won't be needed until later.

So I've started working on a few areas:
  1. Venue and date. Somewhat important [/sarcasm]. We have bids in from several locations that we're evaluating. From onsite locations (held inside a hotel), to offsite (need hotel in walking distance... fat guy walking distance at that, too) - there are several options that we're exploring based on features, convenience, availability and price. The bid window closes this Friday, and we'll decide from there. I have a representative from the local Visitors & Conventions Bureau working it with us. She'll actually drive us around to do site inspections, work with the venue management, etc.
  2. Sponsors. As soon as the above is decided, we're going to board the sponsor train and hopefully it will be able to leave the station. I've got my guts and a guy who thinks he can do it to try and nail down some good prize support. Until then, I still have to work on a proper value proposition to get the sponsors on our side. May have some hurdles to clear based off YTTH 'rep' - but maybe it will help us with others.
  3. Launch website. I've got some artwork already in, so starting to get the look and feel into place. Think YTTH, but not as ugly, lol. It will still probably just be a blog, but fully using the Blogger Pages functionality - we'll see if it's viable, mostly because I don't want to have to be bothered to code the whole damn thing and host it somewhere. Yeah, the cost is minimal, but it's another cost that eats into the Yeti pie. Also, there will be a subhosted blog just for the staff of Yeti that only they can read  can all contribute.
We have some definite ideas about format and rules, but those are probably going to be the easiest thing to get done. I still need to line up swag, printing, and a dozen other things, but they're on hold for now.

My general timeline for now is to get the venue, date, & website completely done by the end of October and the sponsors started on immediately after. We won't be done with sponsors until ... well, until the first dice are rolled.
By the end of the year, I'll get registration setup, have the charity lined up, and publish test missions. We'll also be looking at the swag & printing at that time.
From there, I hope to have a better picture on what I need going forward. We'll see.

For now, I've just got to take on small bites - thinking of the whole thing makes my head swim. Oh yeah, and I've got to get my mini-power struggle with Andy done (no, it's not a big deal - but it is there). He is concerned (and perhaps rightly so) that Yes the Truth Hurts is the big draw for Yeti, and that if he isn't the TO, then it will be diminished in its drawing capabilities. I am concerned that I will do 99% of the work and if that is the case, then I need final say on the stuff and am the TO. Either way, it's still a YTTH production, and we hope to make the community better for it - locally and everywhere else tournaments are held.

- John


  1. Leveraging Andy's sponsorship and support is not the same as him being the TO.

    You'll note the NOVA's success in spite of the fact that I was largely unknown prior to embarking on that journey.

    I'd run tournaments before, up to size 32 attendees, but that's it. The YTTH production / association is clear one way or another, and Andy will undoubtedly be head rules judgey type, so you really don't have to fret that issue. Plus, true or not the "perception" is that you are the calmer/less aggressive of the two of you, which will have a positive impact on potential attendees of value (i.e. good, strong gamers with well-respected names) coming out who might have some reservations about Andy (nothing you can do about that).

  2. Well Mike, my perception was also that by me running it and not Andy, that I would be able to have that "distance" for sponsors that need it - even though we're the same organization.

  3. You basically get the best of both worlds, IMO. Go to it, and as usual let me know if I can offer my $.02 at any time.

  4. One thing I'd suggest is to run a smaller (up to 32 attendees... wonder where I got that number from ;) ) tournament or two with the sorts of missions/rules/etc that you plan on using. The idea here is to get ideas/experience on what works/doesn't on a more local scale (make your first mistakes small so you can avoid the big ones)

  5. Hudson - we'll definitely be publishing the test missions early and testing the crap outta them. Hopefully we'll have others test them as well.

    Then two or three months before the actual event, we'll publish a primer that has as near to the final missions as we get.

    We may also try to run a mini-tourney beforehand just for staff so that they can A) get a chance to play and B) familiarize themselves with the missions by playing them.