Conventioneering isn’t a real word but it probably should be!
I also posted about what I believe a Convention organiser wants. In that same post I also said “I know why I attend conventions but that’s not the purpose of this post.” This time however I am going to write about why I attend conventions and how that’s evolved over time.
When I first went to GenCon UK it was all about (for me that is) celebrating the hobby and being part of it. Yeah sure I played some games and bought some games and chatted to random people but in the main it was to be part of it.
A convention experience needs to a positive one about your hobby after all some people may just want to go to conventions to play 1 game all weekend, others may want to go to play no games and just socialise but either way I believe you’re likely there to celebrate your hobby alongside others which results in you celebrating the hobby as a whole.
When I first went to the Edinburgh gaming convention – +Conpulsion – it was about celebrating the localised hobby in Edinburgh. This was also about promoting +ORC Edinburgh at that time and there was a pretty decent contingent of ORCers who went. I’ll likely do a general post on Conpulsion in the future so won’t talk too much about it here.
So by participation you may suspect that this means to play games. Obviously that is part of it but initially this was more about participation in the convention itself.
At GenCon UK 2005 I signed up to be part of the team of volunteers who set-up and break-down the site. There were financial incentives for doing things like this but that wasn’t what motivated me to do it. I wanted to experience the set up, the atmosphere of conventioneering from the point of view of the organisers.
Essentially I wanted to look behind the curtain of the convention and see what it was like. What this gave me was an appreciation of the effort that went into creating and running an event of this scale. It also gave me the chance to speak to traders/retailers who were there as part of the break down to glean some information about what worked for them at the con etc.
The other key way in which you can participate in a convention is to run games. I did this at Conpulsion on two occasions (I think, might have been 3) and this was to support the organisers in having another game to add to the schedule and one of those games was my Prison Break Star Wars game.
Another new word I’ve invented.
One of main reasons I go to a convention like Conpulsion now is to socialise with friends that I don’t see as often as I used to during my ORC days. I remember one such Conpulsion I spent more time in the bar than anything else just chatting with friends I’d not seen for a while.
That might sound a bit odd to go along and not really do anything hobby related but it was the hobby that brought us together as friends in the first place and so it just seemed to make sense that we’d sit and chat and drink and maybe, just maybe, play a game.
This is after all a social hobby so socialising at a convention seems like a logical step.
As I look forward to GenCon Indy 2014 a lot of the sensations I have are under the Celebration heading but who knows maybe there will be Participation and Mingleation too!