Last year, I published a really ambitious convention schedule. I wound up missing a few of those events (I never made it to PAX AUS, unsurprisingly), but I kept to the schedule pretty closely. I remember going into UK Games Expo thinking I’d over-extended myself, and leaving with the certainty that I’d return in 2017.
Here’s the schedule, with analysis and thoughts below. I’m only listing public events and trade shows; I’m not listing invite-only conventions like the Gathering of Friends.
(No booth, but will be running events for The Networks and Wordsy)
Geekway to the West
St. Louis, MO
UK Games Expo
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Dice Tower Con
(No booth, but I will be running playtests for upcoming games and holding seminars)
Gen Con remains a must-attend, and Origins built up enough amazing buzz for The Networks that I feel I need to return this year. It’ll be my 3rd year at BGG.CON with a booth and my 11th overall. Essen SPIEL and UKGE are also crucial for me, as they let me reach an overseas audience that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
I’ve decided to avoid small shows that focus on video games, and only have board games as a sidebar. They’re just not worth my time anymore; I need to spend that time at shows that better target my audience. Trying to sell my games to someone who isn’t disposed to buy board games in the first place is a struggle I may be able to take in a few years, but for now, I have to focus on more winnable battles.
I’ve also dropped out of the PAX circuit for 2017. PAX South 2016 was absolutely wonderful, but it’s just too far away for me, and I didn’t have any stock when it was held this year. PAX East is extremely expensive, it’s impossible for a publisher of my size to get any booth space in the tabletop area, and my performance there last year outside the tabletop area was lackluster. PAX AUS and PAX Prime are too far away for me to attend in 2017, and the newly-announced PAX Unplugged is the same weekend as BGG.CON, which I’ve already committed to. I’ve heard that PAX Unplugged will not overlap BGG.CON in the future, so I will likely exhibit there in 2018.
I had wanted to attend UnPub, but had to pull out. I wouldn’t have any prototypes there in time, it wouldn’t be a selling convention for me, and it conflicts with a new part-time job I have at a local escape room. It’s a shame, because I love UnPub, and I really want to attend next year.
I considered attending BGG.Spring, but the timing just wasn’t right. I would have gone from Geekway to BGG.Spring to UKGE in three consecutive weekends, and that would have been too exhausting.
I’ve been at Dexcon, a local convention in Morristown, NJ, for at least 10 straight years (at least, it feels like that), but it overlaps with Dice Tower Con this year, so I will sadly have to miss it. But I will be attending their other two shows, Dreamation and Metatopia.
I had wanted to attend the Granite Games Summit, and I hope to someday! But it conflicts with the Gathering of Friends (not listed above as it’s invite-only).
I hope to see you at some of these shows soon!