The Convention Convention

DieconAre there conventions for people who run conventions? Convention conventions? Con-Cons? Or are Con-Cons attended by con men?

For the longest time, I’ve been really hesitant to go to a convention. I’m an introvert, so the idea of walking into a room of thousands of strangers makes me cringe. Also, I didn’t quite understand the value of going to a convention. Why would I walk around dressed as Iron Man when I can do that at home? (I should note here that the image in my mind of all conventions is that of Comic Con.)

However, I run a board game company now, and conventions are a big part of the industry. So in the last month, I’ve been to my first two conventions ever, both board game related, both in the greater St. Louis area.

The most recent one was this past weekend out in Collinsville, a convention called Diecon (which is decidedly less morbid than it sounds–the “die” refers to the dice you roll for many games). It was a really well-run event with somewhere between 500 and 1000 attendees, and I had a great time.

I spent most of the time with my business partner, Alan, teaching people how to play Viticulture. Overall, I had a really good time. The people were very nice, and I’m continually flattered that people want to play my game. It’s a little exhausting teaching people the same game over and over, but it’s worth it. I just need to learn to balance the teaching with some playing of other games too.

Also, I should point out that game conventions are actually excellent events for introverts who like games. You can sign up to play pretty much any game, and people are often looking for other players. Very little small talk is needed because most conversations are within the construct of the game itself (introverts typically loathe small talk. I love a good conversation, but smalltalk bores and exhausts me).

Have you ever been to a convention of any kind? What was your experience like, especially in relation to your personality type?

4 thoughts on “The Convention Convention”

  1. I should note the EPA (Event Planners’ Association) has its own convention. Aside from Geekway last month, I’ve been to conventions for my fraternity, professional organization conventions (AEA, PRSA), and conferences which are like conventions except with the intent of mainly hosting break-out sessions. I’m actually attending two in October, one of which I’m planning.

      • I caught on so quickly I managed third, IIRC. I invested too heavily in workers in that game. Still, you and your partner did a great job of teaching the game, and since I cut my gaming teeth on Titan and Civilization when I was your age, the Viticulture rules weren’t all that difficult to absorb.

        That’s one of the things I like about it. It’s simple enough that I play it with my ten-year-old and he can follow the rules, pretty enough that it attracts his eye, and deep enough to have interesting strategies. I only play in groups (aka, not my kids) twice a month, but try to get this in each time.


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