With the last Tabletop Scotland event being held in 2019 I had a feeling of apprehension coming into this year’s event.
- Not about attendance levels. Our pre-sales had blown the doors off 2019’s pre-sales.
- Not about whether people would have fun. Put gamers in front of games and that’s largely a given.
- Not about whether our exhibitors would have a positive experience, especially those with us for the first time. Again, put gamers in front of games and other adjacent things then they’re going to explore and investigate it, especially if it was something new to them.
The apprehension was one driven by having not done it since 2019, and likely in part due to fatigue thanks to catching COVID post Gen Con.
So what was the apprehension about?
- Was all the hard work put in to prep and plan for the event going to pay off?
- Had I considered every possible scenario and made sure we had an answer to resolve it?
- Did we have enough volunteers? – It’s worth noting that there is no such thing as _enough_ volunteers…
Until we opened the doors there was no way of actually knowing.
But there were two other things which I don’t think I really appreciated until the event got closer.
- Was I going to enjoy it?
- Plus perhaps crucially, would I want to do it again?
To understand number 1, you have to go back to the 2018 and 2019 events.
- 2018 was hard largely because it was the first one we did, but also because this was the culmination of a vision I had which was refined by the others in the team to the point that we knew what the event should be. The problem was that I didn’t relax throughout the weekend, which meant I didn’t get a chance to savour and enjoy what we’d achieved until afterwards.
- 2019 was hard primarily because we doubled the floorspace and perhaps jumped too soon into that additional complexity. We also had a lot of last minute stuff to deal with.
As with 2018, I didn’t relax during the 2019 con to be able savour and enjoy it.
2022? Well, other than a few tech issues, the occasional decision and some “have we done this?” moments, I didn’t actually have anything specific to do during the convention other than chatting to attendees, our charity partners, volunteer & event team, press, guests and exhibitors. In other words I relaxed and was able to enjoy my / our creation. This freedom was largely down to the efforts of the rest of the yellow team and our amazing volunteers, plus of course we’d done it before so certain things just click into place.
The time I was able to spend with folks at the convention was invaluable, especially those friends that I haven’t seen since the last event in 2019 and many for even longer. Ultimately the freedom provided me with the fuel I’d been running out of during the preparation. Which leads into number 2.
To understand number 2, you have to factor in a few things…
- I have a full time job which is very busy at the best of times.
- I was ill from late January through to early May, which was energy sapping. This impacted a chunk of our planning for the con but we muddled through.
- Then I get COVID early August after being at Gen Con.
Alongside those, I think I’d forgotten how much time and effort is spent on planning the convention. In the 2-3 months prior it essentially becomes a 2nd full time job. A lot of that is of my own creation, I obsess over the little things and like to respond to questions immediately. I like to think that obsessiveness helps make the event work as effectively as it does, but who knows right?
As a result, when combined with the above, I felt drained physically, mentally and emotionally going into the convention. All of which had me seriously wondering whether I wanted to do it again.
There’s a kind of expectation that Tabletop Scotland will happen every year. An assumed state that obviously we’d want to do it etc etc. I’ll be honest and say that it wasn’t until the Monday after the convention that I really felt the desire to do it again. That’s because everything largely worked as planned, and as a result I was able to relax and even enjoy the convention. But it’s also because I’ve missed doing it, missed the people, missed the thrill of opening those doors and seeing friends old and new come in.
So, Tabletop Scotland 2023? That’s the plan. When we have something to share, we’ll share it.