JP On Gaming

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Open letters to con organizers: Tabletop Gaming is important

I have been thinking about this one for the longest time. Two major local cons: FandomFest (Louisville, KY) and ScareFest (Lexington, KY) have effectively removed all gaming from their program. In one case, gaming = board gaming, in the other gaming = mini-demos in vendor booths.

Perhaps I was particularly lucky in Denver where gaming cons were... well... dedicated to gaming. No panels, no massive vendor room (although there were some), no distractions. Heck! There even was Con Jr. where the kids could get groomed to do gamer-like activities! You went there for one thing: TO GAME.

Dear local con organizers,

It pains me greatly to say that I will neither attend nor provide any support FandomFest or ScareFest anymore. Although I *WANT* to support you, it is with a heavy heart, that must say that I see no reason to attend or participate. "Multi-purpose" events like your that focus on fanboys and girls to fill their doors, should not turn away the table-top RPG gaming crowd.

Vendors, guests, panels, talks, and workshops get fans excited or teased about something new and upcoming. While I like *characters* in TV shows, I don't really care about the actors and their latest (usually crummier) projects. I am happy to meet them, but I do not really know what I to say to them that's not idle chatter.

Us tabletop gamers have nothing. Local writing talent - myself included - get nothing. I can talk about my gaming world for a full day about why it is awesome, but sitting players is the icing on the cake, it's the free sample that gets people back next time around. It's how I sell my product. While doing a 20-minute demo may showcase some elements of the setting, it does not provide the environment that turns a RPG into an experience.

I recognize that RPGs take a lot of time and people who attend them do not put in the same money as the CCG, miniatures, LARP or board game crowd may bring immediately to a con. However, we are part of a thriving community. Pushing us out is a good way to accomplish exactly this: get us to stop supporting your event(s).

I strongly urge you all to reconsider your abandonment of tabletop RPGs for your events. Once you do, I will gladly provide you my full support as a player, as a GM, and as a blogger spreading information and "Tales from the Con". Until then, I will stay at home with my kids and simply not talk about you here on this blog or anywhere.

Hopeful yours again,




  1. Being (or having been, as my current status is) a convention planner and Chairman of a multipurpose convention (Geek.kon), I wholeheartedly agree. Conventions that bill themselves as such (MPC) need to put forth the effort to cover the general spectrum of geek-dom which very much includes Tabletop gaming. Though again, having been in that position, I also know the pains of planning and organizing the space one has available.

    Regardless, it's still in a MPC's best interests to try NOT to alienate and exclude an entire category of the geek-sphere. Even if it's just a small room set aside with a few tables. Hopefully, your cons will change their minds. Good luck to you.

    1. It is my most sincere desire that they DO reconsider. I have met so many good people at cons and I want my local events to be successful and "pimp them out" as I've been doing for many of the events I attended while in Denver.