Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Huntsville Gaming Convention?

So maybe it is just me, but what is with the gaming scene in Huntsville? (I’ve been trying to understand it for almost 3 years now since moving here.) Oh sure, I know there are some gamers that get together at Haven and the BookMark to game, but what I don’t understand is… where’s the con??? As far as I know, there isn’t a gaming convention in Huntsville or anywhere nearby, yet this town is full of geeky engineers so we should be spilling over with techie, gaming, and other hobby stuff. Are there just not enough gamers in the area to financially pay for a gaming con? Do the gamers around here not support cons (i.e., don’t attend, don’t run games, etc.)? Anybody got the answer? And if so, will you share it? (This may lead me to post about why no posts on Haven’s blog ever have comments/replies…)


Anonymous said...

There has been a regular Con in Huntsville, Constellation. But it has shrunk and shrunk every year. I think most people get their Con fix by driving or flying from Huntsville to other venues such as Atlanta for Dragoncon. The level of geek engineers also means there is a level of more frivolous money. So flying and driving to other Cons is not that big a deal.

Aahz said...

I've actually contacted Constellation via E-mail for the past couple of years and they really don't seem that interested in gaming... at least, I haven't noticed a big schedule of games on their website and they don't cut any kind of deal for GMs. (The way I see it, if I'm going to run 1 or more games for a con, I'm a volunteer and should get something for my trouble. Paying full price AND working just doesn't seem right.)

As far as travelling to cons go, I can understand that since I'm heading to Memphis for MidSouthCon this weekend, but that's not to say I wouldn't attend a local con. Heck, it would save me 3/4 my expenses if I could go to one locally (and that ain't chump change)!

Anonymous said...

Concur with the description of Constellation and it's general policy towards gamers. They are a small convention (~250 to 300 attendees, including con committee), and so they cannot afford to give away very many free memberships. Typically there are a few discounted memberships for people who dedicate a significant portion of their weekend to keeping the game room running (12 hours or more in the past). This policy changes from year to year, however. The thing is, the con committee doesn't get free memberships either, so it's very hard to convince them that anyone should get free or discounted memberships, since they work ALL weekend, not just part of it, and they work through a good part of the year to make Constellation happen. The best way to ensure a cheaper rate is to decide that you want to come to Constellation early, make it a priority to run games there, and buy your membership 6 to 12 months in advance, when the rate is half the cost at the door.

Having said that, there have been organizations in H'ville that run 'gaming weekends' at various hotels. I forget the names, but, like so many other non-profit hobby organizations, there have been personal disagreements, personality conflicts, and these organizations wind up splitting up, and the events cease to exist.

Finally, for myself, I can say this much: There is little utility (for me) in playing or running games at conventions. I've done it, and enjoyed it, and I don't criticize those who do. But for the expense of gaming at a convention (admission, food, hotel, time spent writing, etc. . )Generally, I'd much rather play for free with my friends. I suspect that this is the big killer of game conventions in the area. There are enough geeks in town for us to actually meet and enjoy each others company without the artificiality of a convention.

Famous Tim

Aahz said...

Your final argument carries the most weight to me. I enjoy gaming conventions and the chance to play with new people and new games, but that is not for everybody. I totally agree that you do have more fun playing a game with friends instead of strangers. Perhaps that is how most gamers feel in Huntsville?

Anonymous said...

There was a gaming con that was run in Huntsville by a group know as H.O.G.S. (Huntsville's Outragious Gaming Society)about 15 years ago. They were some of the same people who participated in the Constellations. In fighting and politics generally led to their break up.Since that time table top gaming is dying out as computor gaming becomes more advanced. I would love to see table top game hang on, but what with the time and effort it takes to get people together for it, I do not see it being able to compete with something as easy as flip on a PC and playing something like World of Warcraft.