Running Events at MegaCon – A Brief History of My Toils for The Spoils
by John Westcott
For those of you who don't know me, my name is John Westcott (Oneyus on the forums) and I live in Orlando, Florida. Before I go into how I wound up running events for The Spoils at MegaCon 2012, let me give you a little back story on what led me to this point.
Thanks to the efforts of Jeff Millegan (tgrtrax), I found The Spoils at DragonCon in 2010. It was my first time at the convention and I was wandering around the gaming floor, looking for something on which to spend my money. I walked around a corner to find a massive pile of boxes on a table with a sign hanging over them saying “The Spoils.” I was intrigued. Long story short, I bought a two-player starter for $5 bucks. This will sound extremely silly, however, spending that five dollars has altered my life. I never would have thought in a million years that I would be in charge of running events at a convention less than two years later from that moment. Here is how it happened ...
I was instantly hooked on this game. I started playing Magic: The Gathering back in Revised and have since played many different CCGs, but The Spoils, for lack of a better phrase, took the cake for me.
After DragonCon, I arrived back in Orlando wanting to find other players for this great game. I soon realized that besides my wife, there was only one other Orlando based player according to the forums.
I immediately started demoing the game once a week at my local store because I knew this game could sell itself. After about two months, the store manager decided to order some product and I had a little play group. Then came MegaCon 2011 and Arcane Tinmen (AT) decided to get a booth and run events at the convention. I networked with a lot of new players at the con and, over the course of the next year, the play group steadily grew
Fast forward a year and we've come to the point where I decide to run events at MegaCon 2012. I found out that AT was not going to be at the con and knew at that instant that I needed to do something about that. I got in contact with Michael and the folks at MegaCon and secured table space for events. I had a feeling that this year would be good for The Spoils at MegaCon and I was right.
Day 1 – What to expect?
Admittedly, I was a little nervous about running events at a convention so I made sure to get to the convention center early (around 9 a.m.). After parking and making my way into the center, I quickly got a badge and located the card gaming room. Set up was a breeze and, with the help of Will Clark, we had some really sweet banners to hang from the doors.
When Ken (R&D Lead Designer) showed up, he brought a gigantic “The Spoils” sign made out of the cards themselves. This would prove to be a huge attraction in front of the card gaming room and we used it to drag people in for demos. I also had the chance to go onto the con floor early since I was working with a local vendor, CoolStuffInc. After setup was complete it was just a matter of waiting for people to shuffle into the card room.
Around 5 p.m. we had enough people to run the constructed event which turned out to have an interesting meta. I saw several decks using Montgomery Blatherscyte, two Ass decks, a mono-Warlord dragon deck (my creation and it didn't hold up), a mono-Warlord deck of the Sligh variety (if memory serves me) and the winner of the tournament, a Rogue/Gearsmith deck with Martial Artists and gear cards.
I started running demos sometime around 3 p.m. and ran several demos until we closed up near 11 p.m. Day one was pretty much over and things were looking positive. I'm not sure anything could have prepared me for what happened next…Day 2.
Day 2 – The Swarm
After taking a brief nap I woke up to be back at the con between 8-9 a.m. There was to be a pre-constructed tournament at 12 p.m. and I had several people from Day 1 that were to show up.
The demos started around 10 a.m. and did not stop until 11 p.m. The amount of people who were interested in the game was literally over-whelming, which was awesome!
The table space we had reserved was generally filled with people playing with pre-con decks. At around 1 p.m., Temlav (his handle on the forums) ran a draft event with six people, if I'm not mistaken.
Sometime around 5 p.m. the pre-constructed event that was supposed to happen at 12 p.m. happened. There were eight people who played in the event and it went off without a hitch. All players who participated in the event had a blast and most of them also participated in the panel discussion with Ken, which actually occurred during a pause in the pre-con event.
The panel discussion lasted about an hour and a half and the great part about it was that we had brand new players already getting involved in R&D.
I am looking forward to voting on the card ideas when they hit the forums and so should you.
I left the con sometime around 1 a.m.
Day 3 – “Wow, there really isn't anything to do today, let's go play The Spoils”
On Day 3 of the con I ran even more demos. Did I mention that I ran demos? Ken ran demos. Jeff demoed the game to people. Demos, demos, demos, and more demos were run on Day 3. Ken actually went around talking to everyone in the card gaming room and, at one point, was teaching an entire table full of people at once. Go Ken, people skills for the win.
Many of the players from the previous two days of the con were sitting at the table playing The Spoils. There were actually several Yu-Gi-Oh players who started playing by the end of the con. Even when I packed up everything and everything was in the car, people were still playing The Spoils.
Did I mention that I thought this year would be a good year for The Spoils at MegaCon?
Movements in Progress
There is currently a group of people in Jacksonville who are getting their local shop, Hammer Hall Gaming, to carry/order The Spoils product for them.
Islander Comics in Merritt Island is now carrying The Spoils and there will be a big Demo Day on the 31st of March.
Coliseum of Comics in Kissimmee will now be carrying/ordering product for their local The Spoils players and I am trying to set up a Demo Day at the store on April 28th.
Also, there is a group of players in Miami that want to get the game started in their area. All of these events stem from MegaCon and the efforts of the players in these areas.
I learned a lot about running events at a convention and I am looking forward to next year and coming prepared with lessons learned. So who is volunteering with me next year?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how you can help and the potential for a free badge at MegaCon 2013.