Home Forums General Conventions and Shows Pay to put on a display game?

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  • #170235
    deephorse
    Participant

    This discussion is currently causing disquiet on a FB group I belong to.  A sub-set of this group regularly puts on display games, and has done so for many years.

    It appears that one show must have asked them to cough up some readies if they wanted to display at this show.  The show’s name has not been revealed, to the best of my knowledge, but it’s a large one (three sports halls apparently), and it’s probably located in the Midlands or South to judge by where the sub-set live and normally display.  They certainly don’t put on games anywhere near where I live.

    The reason given for having to pay to display is that the show made a loss last year.  What with Covid and all, I can understand that.  I can also understand that making a loss could threaten the very existence of a club, or the future of a show.   The proposed charge hasn’t been revealed, so I don’t know whether it’s £5 or £500.

    My view is that if I was being asked to pay then, amount depending, I probably would, provided that this was the only time this came up.  I would want to see the show survive so that I could display in future years.  I would seem to be alone in this point of view though.  Other FB members were outraged, many thinking that people were attracted to shows because of the display games.  Perhaps some are.  I know that I’m not, but we’ve had this discussion before.

    So, if you were in this position would you pay up, or would you boycott the event?

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #170236
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Assuming the cost to game is no more than the door cost sure.

    Having run shows I am aware that some people offer to put on games to get free entry to the show for them and their mates.

    EDIT: Quite often they will then buy things from the traders/B&B before the paying public get chance.
    Which to me seems bang out of order.

    #170237
    willz
    Participant

    No I definitely would not pay to put on a game at a wargame show, one of the reason lots of people visit wargame shows is to see or participate in demonstration or participation games.  Asking fellow gamers who give up their time to build, paint and work with the public pay for the privilege is obscene and ignorant.  If you are having to pay for that privilege you may as well do their own closed events with a couple of dozen like minded gamers.  If the event organizers are getting paid for the honour of all your hard work does that mean they will carry all your items in, set them up under your supervision and interact with the public while you direct any questions on the game to their committee, who will charge a fee for the answer.

    I don’t think I would boycott the event as a visitor but I would not put on a demo or participation game,

    Slightly similar subject several years ago I was selling wargame items at wargame shows and contacted a wargame event to book a table to sell lots of items, the price of 12 foot of table was ok at £100 and was happy to pay the fee but they also wanted me to donate items for their auction to the value of £50.  I politely declined to rent a table and sold the items on fleabay.

    I appreciate that to organize and run a wargame event is time consuming and cost money but asking the life source of wargame shows to cough up money is short sited.

    Edit I have made financial donations to very small invited wargame events to help with the cost of hiring the hall, my answer above is based on large wargaming events.

    #170240
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Alumwell? 😉

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #170241
    zippyfusenet
    Participant

    I have paid an admission charge to a convention where I GMed a game. It was a reduced charge for GMs, but it was a charge.

    I feel flattered and valued when I get into the con free for running a game, but I run the game to support the con, not for the freebie. I GM, donate to the raffle and buy raffle tickets, and buy and eat the dubious convention food, all to support the con. Sometimes I even help set the tables up.

    Game conventions here in the fly-over are not big money makers, and if we want them to continue, we had better support them.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    #170245
    Norm S
    Participant

    I have always seen those putting on games as being a goodwill contribution to the show, so on balance, I don’t think they should pay a fee, but perhaps a compromise might be that each of those gamers pay half admission if the point about finances is so critical.

    having recently been to Hammerhead, I think the argument for participation games is strong, so perhaps the show organisers can wave any fee if the table is engaged with the public and doing a participation game.

    I am always grateful for everyone at a show who gives their day up to make it work and to make my visit feel like a treat. Most tables have clearly had a lot of work put into the terrain and figures, plus the bit we can’t assess is just how likely a table is to inspire punter to go off and spend cash with the traders and so I feel that game tables are part of the synergy of a wargame show and we need to value them.

    It does have to be said however that there are game tables at shows (and have always been) that are ‘closed’ to the presence of the public and it is clearly some mates having a game and they don’t want to be disturbed by some nuisance member of the public asking a question or showing interest.

    So basically, after all of that waffle, if we can get all tables to be pro-friendly to visitors, then I think they have already earned their place at the show. If we drive down the enthusiasm of people to want to put a game on in the first place, then our shows will become all the poorer from the outcome that falls from that.

    I shall mention hammerhead again, because they seem to have the show model of the future and their participation games stops the huge emptying of shows by noon, rather people stay more hours and consequently sustain the traders better.

    #170282
    MartinR
    Participant

    I’ve run a lot of (participation) games at a lot of shows. Pay to run a game? It would have to be a really, really good show……

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #170288
    Ruarigh
    Participant

    Running a display game can be hard work if you do it right, and thankless at times as wargamers come up and tell you how your lovingly researched and modelled game is wrong in some ‘vital’ detail. I would not pay to do it. I could imagine paying standard or reduced entry fee to a show, if I had enough support on the game that I would have free time to do the rounds though.

    Never argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

    https://envirocitizen.eu
    https://emidsvikings.ac.uk/

    #170294
    hammurabi70
    Participant

    Willing to pay the entry fee of an ordinary punter but no more.

    #170295
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    had a well thought out post that was eaten by the “login monster”.  So, short version:

    Yes, I think a display game should pay to display as it’s more of a monument to the displayers rather than a vital draw for the show.  I would be really really put off if I saw a super cool game and was told I couldn’t play because it was a private game that I could watch, sort of like eating a buffet in front of the homeless.  I have never seen one at a show in the US, just participation games.  I would bet that in pure economics a participation game feeds more back to the show via traders and entry fees than a display type.  I myself have bought minis that I got to play a game with, but can’t say that I’ve seen others play a game and then gone and bought the same.

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #170296
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    had a well thought out post that was eaten by the “login monster”. So, short version: Yes, I think a display game should pay to display as it’s more of a monument to the displayers rather than a vital draw for the show. I would be really really put off if I saw a super cool game and was told I couldn’t play because it was a private game that I could watch, sort of like eating a buffet in front of the homeless. I have never seen one at a show in the US, just participation games. I would bet that in pure economics a participation game feeds more back to the show via traders and entry fees than a display type. I myself have bought minis that I got to play a game with, but can’t say that I’ve seen others play a game and then gone and bought the same.

     

    Yes, but we’re not in the US.

    The main reason I went to shows was to spend money on the trader’s stands. Now I don’t bother, online’s easier and I don’t have to take part in a scrum around every stall only to discover after I’ve been soundly beaten with backpacks that they haven’t actually bought any Wallachian pole dancers riding goats or whatever to the show, “but you can order them now and we’ll post them…”. Nah.

    Participation games are often dull affairs, and with the noise and other distractions not very satisfying. If I want to participate in a game it’s easier to get a few mates together at home.

    Display games are eye candy, and mostly just fill up otherwise unused space. Before the internet there were some good ideas and techniques that could be picked up by observing and asking the players. Charging people to put them on is a non-starter, why would anyone bother?

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #171183
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I’ve been running games for over 25 years at shows – mostly CRISIS in Antwerp. I’ve won a few trophies with my games as well, 3 or 4 total IIRC. Some years I did put in a lot of effort, other years it was more something put together 2 weeks before the show 😉

    But anyway, would I pay to put a game on? Doubtful. I do expect to get free entrance though, or a free drink at the bar (depending on the size of the show – I’m happy to pay the entrance fee for very small local affairs).

    It really depends on the character of the show. Many shows have trade stands for ppl to buy stuff, and then games run by clubs. What’s the purpose of these games? Apart from whether you can participate or not, the real purpose of these gaming tables is to have anchor points such that wargamers can socialize and talk about the hobby, get to know new people, have a chat with old friends, etc. The game itself is often secondary – at least in my experience.

    So, as a game organizer, I feel I’m adding to the show, not taking from the show. I don’t NEED to run a game, rather, I want to contribute to make the show a succes. The show NEEDS gaming tables, not the other way around.

    Moreover, the people who put on games often also are the “big spenders”. One show organizers once told me that those hardcore wargamers, willing to run a game, also often are the ones that buy a lot of stuff from the traders. At a minimum, they buy a lot of drinks and snacks as well, since they’re there for the entire day.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #171184
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    So basically, after all of that waffle, if we can get all tables to be pro-friendly to visitors, then I think they have already earned their place at the show.

    That’s the idea! Gaming tables are there to stir enthusiasm about the hobby and to socialize with fellow wargamers. Whether the game is a demonstration game, a participation game, a tournament game, a whatever game, doesn’t really matter. What matters is that there are tables that make wargamers meet each other.

    Nevertheless, there’s sometimes confusion, both by clubs running a game and by visitors, about what these gaming tables are for. Indeed, the typical example are a bunch of mates not interacting with anyone else and playing their own game as if at home. But I’ve also seen visitors reluctant to socialize. “Are you interested in this period?” No answer. “You want to play along for a turn or two?” No answer. “What games do you play yourself?” No answer. Then they wisper something with their friends and move off to the next table 😉

    But I’ve also met visitors *demanding* to play, right there and then, “because that’s what I paid the entrance for!” They simply don’t understand many games are often simply talking points to start up a conversation, not a ride in  theme park to have a good time.

    But the worst is if some parent drops of his kid at your table. I’ve nothing against kids at shows, but I’m not there to babysit either. I want to enjoy the show as well 😉

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #171198
    Andrew Beasley
    Participant

    But the worst is if some parent drops of his kid at your table. I’ve nothing against kids at shows, but I’m not there to babysit either. I want to enjoy the show as well 😉

    Tempting to say game turns are too long – short games = high turnover of kids and time for breaks.

    Some shopping areas (and stores) have specific areas for kids to be entertained while ‘the adults’ do adult things. Wonder if any show would consider paying for a couple of games or caretaker specifically for this?

    Of course the people running the game could explain that parents have to stay with the kids if they are under a given age – a horrible comment on the beliefs in parts of the world. A clear guide from the organisers would help – along the lines of limited photography signs that pop up at some shows.

    Even worse would be ‘no kids allowed’ – hopefully I’ll never see or hear a show like that!

    My joke ‘solution’ would be to offer to look after them for one game and after that you reserve the right to feed them e-numbers, sugar and caffeine based drinks…

    #171232
    deephorse
    Participant

    A clear guide from the organisers would help – along the lines of limited photography signs that pop up at some shows. …

     

    I’ve not encountered this before.  Could you expand a bit more on what these signs say you can and cannot photograph?

    Play is what makes life bearable - Michael Rosen

    #171234
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I have seen signs where the faces of people are not to be published online.

    I suspect a combination of shyness, simple privacy and in some cases people trying not to be located by those that would do them harm.

    #171250
    irishserb
    Participant

    When I helped run conventions, usually as an event coordinator, the staff would organize the show, run the show, some of us might even run a gaming event or two, and most years, we paid admission to get into the show.  We looked at all of it as our contribution to promoting the hobby and building the gaming community.

    If your thing is presenting a display game, and you attend a convention that is in danger of  going away, and you want to continue to present your game, I would think that you might be willing to kick in a couple of coins to help make it happen.

    The number of coins required might reasonably be a deal breaker, but the general pretention that my game is so masterful, that somebody else is obligated to pay for a place for me to show is very grand of me, I think.

     

    #171254
    zippyfusenet
    Participant

    I have seen signs where the faces of people are not to be published online.

    Ye gods. Where I come from, we like to see our own and our friends’ happy faces gathered around a game table, posted on the social media of our choice.

    We’re all under constant surveillance by security cameras, anyway, and our phones listen to us and report what we say.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    #171255
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    When I helped run conventions, usually as an event coordinator, the staff would organize the show, run the show, some of us might even run a gaming event or two, and most years, we paid admission to get into the show. We looked at all of it as our contribution to promoting the hobby and building the gaming community. If your thing is presenting a display game, and you attend a convention that is in danger of going away, and you want to continue to present your game, I would think that you might be willing to kick in a couple of coins to help make it happen. The number of coins required might reasonably be a deal breaker, but the general pretention that my game is so masterful, that somebody else is obligated to pay for a place for me to show is very grand of me, I think.

    Yes, of course, and it clearly depends on the type of show. I don’t mind paying the entrance fee – although for the bigger shows it’s already above 10 euro. Given the fact that I’m there all day, do spend a fair amount at the bar etc, I think it’s nice if game organizers at least get something in return, either free entrance or a free drink or something like that.

    But it also depends on what is expected from you as a game organizer. At most European conventions, games are ‘demo’games, with the only expectation one does interact with the public. However, if I’m obliged to run so many games during the day with sign-up lists etc, then it becomes a different story.

    But if a show would charge me on top of the entrance fee to be there with a game, then the answer would be no.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #171256
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I know someone who was abused and has fled to another part of the country to evade her abusers.
    She has no social media accounts and avoids going online where possible.
    If her abusers found out where she lived they would come and pay a visit.
    As such if she was at a show and asked that her face not be published online I would very much comply with her wishes.

    This is also a common thing amongst schools, many students request their appearance is kept off social media to avoid abusive relatives finding them.

    #171258
    madman
    Participant

    But the worst is if some parent drops of his kid at your table. I’ve nothing against kids at shows, but I’m not there to babysit either. I want to enjoy the show as well 😉

    Tempting to say game turns are too long – short games = high turnover of kids and time for breaks. Some shopping areas (and stores) have specific areas for kids to be entertained while ‘the adults’ do adult things. Wonder if any show would consider paying for a couple of games or caretaker specifically for this?

    Cangames does just this. In the middle of the main event space is a roped off area with about a dozen games just for kids. The gamers running the games looked like teens to me so not too far off the target ages. This way the young players could still participate, at their age level, and the parents could keep an eye on them. Seemed like a wonderful win win for everyone.

    #171259
    madman
    Participant

    Seems like we may have a difference of opinions on what constitutes a “show”. I am from Canada and have attended lots of conventions in both Canada and the US in the past (since Origins ’78) until the early ’90s and again since about 2015.

    All the conventions I attended were games first and traders second. I have never attended what you may call a “show” which sounds to me like a trade show open to the public where the only games are put on by the people selling their wares as a “hook”. If this is the case I can see making the people putting on the games pay as they seem to be just ways to make more sales. Then treat the tables as replacing the same area of stands.

    If this is a gaming event with sellers as a side line then charging to put on a game would follow similar rules. If this is a seller wanting to be next to their stand then I see it similar to the above. If a bunch of guys running a closed game with no or a couple “outsiders” allowed then similar. If just guys putting on games for the enjoyment of others then at most ask them to pay the same costs as participants.

    The rub would be determining what category to lump the “offender” into. It would almost be an after convention determination. Ask sellers to pony up extra $$ up front and get some or all back depending. Ask all guys running events to pay for attendance first then either get a refund or free admission next year. If all the spaces at the table are filled through open registration then getting “closed” tables should be unlikely. If approached by an event runner to run a closed table then they should be willing to pay for it.

    As an aside a guy up here runs an entire (very small, say one to two dozen participants) convention yearly just so he and his buddies can play a once a year monster game. He rents a legion hall and opens it to all comers. His group, and despite being HIS game it is open to all who want to jump in, take up about 1/3 of the hall and we usually get another dozen games in through the day over three or four additional tables. He also feeds everyone. I offered to bring in pizza one year and was told this is his way of giving to the gaming community.

    #171290
    McKinstry
    Participant

    I’ve put on games at HMGS events and went ahead and bought the basic admission for the week but the fees for those shows are minor and I always thought of it as a contribution towards keeping things going in the future.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    #171317
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    We have run participation games at shows for over 40 years.  We have never been charged for putting the game on.  We are a small group seldom more than 6 wargamers.  The games alternated between myself and one other.  We each bore almost the entire cost of our game, travel etc. and this could run to three figures.

    In an earlier post it was suggested that shows have games aimed at kids.  While ours were not aimed at the kids we found that they were attracted to our games.  Why?  they were relatively short, colourful, attractive, used home made scenery (often from junk e.g, a temple made from a large scallop shell, city walls from packaging).  Sometimes they were fantasy, sometimes based on TV or films or books or just fun ideas.  What was common? The kids came back year after year, then their own kids and grandkids came along and the games became sibling rivalry contests.  So we, voluntarily, ran games that appealed to the novice gamer.  Is that not part of the purpose of a show?  To encourage the young to participate?

    Would I pay to put them on?  Well that would depend what it cost me over what I have already spent.  At the moment, maybe not but that has more to do with the “club” now reduced to 2 of us and our advanced years rather than anything else.  If we can recruit back up to 6 or 8 then maybe.

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