From Conception to Convention Part 4: U-Con and Fanfare

I know, I know, I know…  I have no excuses.  Well, actually I have plenty of excuses—work, family, other hobbies/interests.  I had every intention of getting this blog out at least once a month.  Boy has that proved to be tougher than I thought.  My hat is off to those who do this regularly.

At the end of my last entry I committed to telling you all about U-Con and Fanfare.  But before I delve into the experience itself, I want to give a thank you to the staff that put together both events.  Not only were they both excellent shows for their fans, but we had great interactions with the people running both conventions, and their support for GrandCon, their willingness to answer questions, and their offer of future advice and assistance is just heartwarming.  It is a great industry to be part of.

U-Con was a ton of fun.  One of my highlights of any convention for me is teaching games.  The Grand Gaming Academy was there teaching Clever Mojo’s Sunrise City, Stronghold’s Milestones, Thornhenge’s Lyssan, and quite a few others.  There were a good number of vendors, between 5 and 10 by my memory, and we were able to have conversations with all of them to tell them about GrandCon and gauge their interest in taking part.  Personally I got a chance to play a couple games: Mage Wars and Cash’n Guns.  I enjoyed both.

One of the truly funniest interactions was with a vendor, who took a look at our vendor agreement and said that he felt we were charging too much for a 2-day convention.  Now without getting into specifics, I’ll say that our table price is <$100, and for that you get your table with tablecloth, 2 chairs, 2 badges, power, wifi, 2 bottles of water, and we feed you 1 midday meal each day.  (Hey vendors, is there any other convention out there that feeds you?!?)  I’m no expert, but my pricing seems pretty fair to me.  Oh well, you can’t please everybody.

Overall I have nothing but compliments for the U-Con staff.  The people were friendly and well-informed.  They had a beautiful onsite program, a great space, and everything ran very smoothly.  So that was Saturday, and Sunday it was on to Fanfare.

Now I know this is a gaming site, and Detroit Fanfare is a comic book convention, so I’ll not dwell too long.  Our ride over was overshadowed with just a tinge of nervousness since the I-96 shooter had not yet been caught.  Fortunately, neither Brian nor I had to take a bullet in pursuit of our quest to get to Fanfare.  Now I have long since know the difference in behavior between game con attendees and comic con attendees, but walking into Fanfare really hammered that home.

Whereas game con attendees tend to vacillate between a Dealer Room where you walk around and a Gaming Room where you find a place to be and then stay there for a while, comic con attendees are all about moving around.  People don’t sit down to enjoy their comic purchases in the same way they sit down to engage their new game.  (This has been one of the unique challenges in planning a show that brings the two together.)  Instead of a Dealer Room and a Gaming Room, Fanfare is all Dealer Room, and the energy and noise is just crazy.  Table after table of industry professional engaging the fans, it was overwhelming…and it went on and on and on.  Fanfare was very large, and something to which we can hopefully aspire for GrandCon and Grand Rapids.

Brian and I made our rounds, but instead of a few minutes, it took us hours, and we still did not see everyone we had hoped to.  But we made many good contacts and there was a lot of enthusiasm for a GrandCon.  Everyone agreed that it was definitely time to make that happen, and I think a lot of folks were impressed with the plan that Brian and I have to bring it together.

So overall: mission accomplished.  Not only did we have a great time personally, but we made huge strides on behalf of GrandCon, and the concept was received with overwhelming support by everyone.

As I’m typing this we are only 9 days from the New Year.  Brian and I have been hard at work behind the scenes rallying support for GrandCon, and we have a HUGE announcement that we’ll make on New Year’s Day.  To quote myself, this is going to take GrandCon from the “little con that could” to the next level.  So very excited to make this public, but you’ll have to wait just a bit longer for my next entry.

After that I want to take some time to highlight the incredible Prince Conference Center.  I’ve been to a lot of conventions, and this place is top notch.

Talk to you soon.

Marc Specter

Manager, GrandCon

Recorded 23 December 2012


Related posts:

  1. From Conception to Convention Part 2: The Only Ship That Won’t Sail, You Say?
  2. From Conception to Convention Part 3: Extra Life 2012
  3. From Conception to Convention Prelude & Part 1: How I Got Here
  4. MACE Convention Wrap-up
  5. MACE 2011 Convention Wrap-up
3 Responses to “From Conception to Convention Part 4: U-Con and Fanfare”
  1. Matt Riddle says:

    looking forward to this Con. In for sure.

  2. Marc Specter says:

    Hey Matt, thanks for the kind words. Brian and I are working our tails off to make this a landmark event.

  3. Lawrence Bergen says:

    This should be an awesome event! I am sure you will need a larger venue next year. Grand Rapids is an awesome place to visit. Thanks for putting this on!

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