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RPG» Forums » Actual Play » Conventions and Meetups

Subject: [Gen Con 2019] Most RPG Seats by System rss

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This is my annual analysis of RPG events at Gen Con in terms of volume. For some reason, people other than me have been interested in the results in previous years!

Again this year, I'm just going to do one round of analysis. The events have been live for a few weeks (data as of 5/31).

Also, again, I did minimal normalizing of the Game Systems which amounted to fixing a few typos.

The data does include LARPS, Games on Demand, and Organized Play (such as RPGA) events.

Past years:

[Gen Con 2013] Most Seats available by System
[Gen Con 2014] Most seats available by System
[Gen Con 2015] Most RPG seats by System
[Gen Con 2016] Most Seats by System
[Gen Con 2017] Most Seats by System
[Gen Con 2018] Most RPG Seats by System
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Seats Avail Filled Game System
10749 1910 82.23% Dungeons & Dragons
5521 563 89.80% Pathfinder
2376 102 95.71% Call of Cthulhu
2172 444 79.56% Starfinder
1292 210 83.75% Shadowrun
1162 113 90.28% Dungeon Crawl Classics
945 945 0.00% Games on Demand
789 308 60.96% Legend of the Five Rings
710 139 80.42% Star Wars
690 303 56.09% Chicago ConLARP
505 153 69.70% homebrew
493 9 98.17% Savage Worlds
434 49 88.71% Hero System
414 92 77.78% Fate
357 11 96.92% Sentinel Comics
342 0 100.00% Numenera
276 73 73.55% Cypher
252 23 90.87% Ubiquity
234 0 100.00% Star Trek Adventures
227 95 58.15% Cthulhu Live
226 3 98.67% Masks
219 7 96.80% 13th Age
202 3 98.51% Trail of Cthulhu
200 45 77.50% 7th Sea
186 0 100.00% Delta Green
182 0 100.00% Mutants & Masterminds
176 2 98.86% Kobolds Ate My Baby
167 28 83.23% RuneQuest
156 2 98.72% Mutant Crawl Classics
153 34 77.78% Vampire: The Masquerade
150 107 28.67% Mind's Eye Theatre
150 20 86.67% Zombie World
150 131 12.67% Laws of the Night
150 5 96.67% Bluebeard's Bride
140 6 95.71% All Flesh Must Be Eaten
138 65 52.90% Universal Horizons
133 91 31.58% 1879
132 13 90.15% Earthdawn
132 8 93.94% Clockwork: Dominion
131 5 96.18% Dragon Age
129 0 100.00% Dread
127 0 100.00% Shadows of Esteren
124 17 86.29% BYORP
121 1 99.17% Genesys
114 0 100.00% The One Ring
110 0 100.00% Monster of the Week
110 3 97.27% Manifest the RPG
108 35 67.59% Battlelords
106 46 56.60% Chronicles of Darkness
105 0 100.00% Star Wars RPG
102 0 100.00% Adventures in Middle-Earth
102 0 100.00% Doctor Who
102 0 100.00% Night's Black Agents
100 0 100.00% Urban Shadows
100 63 37.00% Cartel
97 32 67.01% HERO
97 0 100.00% Paranoia
96 15 84.38% Bulldogs!
96 6 93.75% CthulhuTech
96 0 100.00% Cthulhu Dark Ages
94 10 89.36% Golden Hour
90 6 93.33% TimeWatch
90 2 97.78% D20
86 51 40.70% Crawlspace
84 1 98.81% The Strange
84 4 95.24% Phoenix: Dawn Command
84 11 86.90% Aetherium: The Roleplaying Game
84 0 100.00% Warhammer Fantasy
84 0 100.00% Red Markets
79 11 86.08% Dungeon World
78 3 96.15% Swords of the Serpentine
75 54 28.00% Eternity's Edge
73 21 71.23% Kids on Bikes
72 0 100.00% Scion
70 28 60.00% Brass & Steel
70 0 100.00% Invisible Sun
68 7 89.71% Courting Murder
66 1 98.48% Thousand Arrows
66 4 93.94% Blue Planet
64 0 100.00% The Dark Eye
61 15 75.41% Wild Skies
60 0 100.00% Root
60 33 45.00% Grimm
60 0 100.00% HackMaster
60 46 23.33% Fading Suns
57 0 100.00% Powered by the Apocalypse
56 38 32.14% Geist: The Sin-Eaters
54 1 98.15% A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying
54 13 75.93% D20 Modern
54 0 100.00% The Yellow King
52 0 100.00% Werewolf: The Apocalypse
51 25 50.98% Wrath & Glory
50 0 100.00% Descent into Midnight
50 1 98.00% QAGS
50 34 32.00% Reacting to the Past
50 0 100.00% Unknown Armies
50 0 100.00% Ite' Gaming Engine
49 2 95.92% I was a Teenage Creature
48 0 100.00% Middle-Earth Role Playing
48 0 100.00% Blue Rose
48 13 72.92% Harnmaster
48 8 83.33% Torg Eternity
48 0 100.00% Zweihander
46 0 100.00% Fantasy AGE
46 6 86.96% Cinemechanix
46 0 100.00% The Expanse Roleplaying Game
45 7 84.44% RIFTS
44 0 100.00% Toon
44 2 95.45% Justice Inc.
42 2 95.24% American Freeform
42 41 2.38% Dragonstorm
42 0 100.00% Over the Edge
42 0 100.00% Fall of Delta Green
42 16 61.90% Era of the Ninja: RPG
42 20 52.38% Jumpers
40 23 42.50% The Show Must Go On
40 10 75.00% Undying
40 14 65.00% Pasion de las Pasiones
40 9 77.50% Dodeca System
40 14 65.00% Palladium Fantasy
40 2 95.00% Velvet Glove
40 10 75.00% Never Going Home
38 5 86.84% Rememorex
38 0 100.00% Changeling: The Lost
36 0 100.00% Pugmire
36 2 94.44% Aces & Eights
36 1 97.22% Wreck Age
35 0 100.00% Luchador: Way of the Mask
35 16 54.29% The Ward
34 0 100.00% Exalted
33 1 96.97% Buffy the Vampire Slayer
33 1 96.97% Fiasco
33 0 100.00% Modern AGE
32 10 68.75% Endless Terrors
32 0 100.00% Star Trek
32 8 75.00% Ironclaw
32 11 65.63% Castle Falkenstein
30 8 73.33% Magischola
30 1 96.67% Conan
30 4 86.67% To Live and Die in the West
30 5 83.33% Dystopia Rising
30 2 93.33% Fate Accelerated
30 5 83.33% Heroes Unlimited
30 0 100.00% After Ragnarok
30 0 100.00% Mongoose Traveller
30 12 60.00% Negotiation Matrix
30 0 100.00% Planet Crashers
28 4 85.71% Unisystem
28 0 100.00% Outbreak: Undead
28 0 100.00% Overlight
28 3 89.29% Icarus
27 0 100.00% Gamma World
26 5 80.77% Pythos
26 4 84.62% Champions
26 1 96.15% Iron Kingdoms
25 14 44.00% Mystic Empyrean
25 0 100.00% Laser Kittens
24 0 100.00% Honey Heist
24 0 100.00% Mutant City Blues
24 0 100.00% Mouseguard
24 0 100.00% Engle Matrix Game
24 16 33.33% EVERYVERSE
24 0 100.00% Feng Shui
24 0 100.00% Crash Pandas
24 0 100.00% Deadlands
24 0 100.00% A Grandiose Disaster
24 0 100.00% King Arthur's Pendragon
24 0 100.00% Die Laughing
24 0 100.00% Magonomia
24 20 16.67% Division Six
24 0 100.00% In the Labyrinth
24 0 100.00% Ars Magica
24 0 100.00% Monarchies of Mau
24 0 100.00% Ten Candles
24 0 100.00% Mythras
24 8 66.67% Tails of Equestria
24 4 83.33% Starship Adventure
24 7 70.83% Terror and Tentacles
24 0 100.00% Planet Mercenary
24 4 83.33% Wicked Pacts
24 2 91.67% Vortex
24 0 100.00% Rocket Age
24 1 95.83% They Came From Beneath the Sea
24 15 37.50% Promethean: The Created
24 0 100.00% Ork!
24 4 83.33% Robotech
22 0 100.00% Amber Diceless
21 5 76.19% Time of Heroes
21 1 95.24% Basic Fantasy
21 4 80.95% My Little Pony
21 0 100.00% Conan Role-Playing Game
20 1 95.00% Our Last Best Hope
20 0 100.00% GURPs
20 5 75.00% Blue Rose (AGE)
20 13 35.00% Passing
20 8 60.00% Dreamchaser
20 2 90.00% Crossroads Carnival
20 0 100.00% Monsters and Other Childish Things
20 0 100.00% Mayor Cat
20 9 55.00% Epyllion
20 18 10.00% Windfall Homebrew
20 1 95.00% Dark Times
19 1 94.74% CAPERS
19 0 100.00% Spirit of 77
18 2 88.89% Psi-Punk
18 6 66.67% Star Frontiers
18 0 100.00% Dresden Files
18 10 44.44% Small Wardens
18 1 94.44% Escape from Teddy Bear Island
18 0 100.00% Conan 2d20
18 6 66.67% Heroic Dark
18 0 100.00% Gobblin
18 0 100.00% Heart
18 0 100.00% Fear Itself
18 0 100.00% Spire
18 0 100.00% Robotech RPG
18 5 72.22% Scarred Lands
18 1 94.44% Trinity Continuum: Aeon
18 0 100.00% Fate Core
18 2 88.89% Pathogen Unclassified
18 8 55.56% Otherworlds
18 10 44.44% INK
18 0 100.00% Mistborn Adventure Game
18 12 33.33% Legends of Nas'Arial
18 5 72.22% Blightrealms
18 0 100.00% Ninja in a Box
18 1 94.44% Maximum Xcrawl
18 0 100.00% Warhammer 40,000: Wrath & Glory
18 5 72.22% We Hunt Bugs
18 6 66.67% Modified Spark
18 4 77.78% Velvet Generation
18 10 44.44% Survival of the Able
18 5 72.22% Predation
18 4 77.78% Pirates of a Shattered World
18 0 100.00% NecroMech
17 0 100.00% Tunnels & Trolls
17 0 100.00% Dogs in the Vineyard
17 0 100.00% Wrath and Glory
16 0 100.00% Pokemon Tabletop United
16 0 100.00% Sign
16 4 75.00% Home by Dark
16 1 93.75% Adventure!
16 4 75.00% homerules
16 6 62.50% Dead Reign
16 8 50.00% Boldly Go!
16 0 100.00% Warhammer 40k Deathwatch
16 0 100.00% Firefly
15 1 93.33% Spy
15 0 100.00% We Used to be Friends
15 0 100.00% Code Warriors
15 2 86.67% Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies
15 3 80.00% Rest in Pieces
14 1 92.86% Nova6 Core
14 13 7.14% Aggregate
14 0 100.00% Teenagers from Outer Space
14 0 100.00% Alternity
14 1 92.86% Gobblin'
14 0 100.00% Little Fears
14 13 7.14% Cold Start
14 0 100.00% Renaissance World
14 0 100.00% Catthulhu
14 0 100.00% Traveller
14 10 28.57% Draxia
13 0 100.00% Thirteen Demon Princes
13 0 100.00% It Came From The Late Late Late Show
12 2 83.33% Draco system (5e based)
12 0 100.00% Swords & Wizardry
12 0 100.00% DramaSystem
12 3 75.00% Starship Infernum
12 0 100.00% Werewolf: The Forsaken
12 0 100.00% Altered Carbon
12 6 50.00% Beyonder
12 0 100.00% Vampire: The Requiem
12 2 83.33% Universal Storytelling System
12 0 100.00% Call of Catthulu
12 0 100.00% Changeling: The Dreaming
12 4 66.67% Cavaliers of Mars
12 0 100.00% Tales from the Loop
12 0 100.00% Champions / Hero System
12 0 100.00% Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed of
12 0 100.00% The Hero Instant
12 0 100.00% The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen
12 0 100.00% The Expanse
12 0 100.00% Dark Heresy
12 1 91.67% Treasure Hunter
12 0 100.00% Godlike
12 0 100.00% Serenity
12 0 100.00% Hunter: The Vigil
12 12 0.00% Pip System
12 10 16.67% OneDice
12 0 100.00% Shadow of the Demon Lord
12 1 91.67% Purgatory House
12 0 100.00% Index Card Role Playing Game
12 0 100.00% Rational Magic
12 1 91.67% Elite: Dangerous
12 3 75.00% Red Bat Homebrew
12 0 100.00% Story Pillar System
11 0 100.00% Murders & Acquisitions
10 2 80.00% Ascent to Madness
10 0 100.00% Backstory
10 1 90.00% Threadbare
10 3 70.00% Cthulhu Dark
10 0 100.00% The Sword, The Crown, and The Unspeakable Power
10 0 100.00% Afterlife: Wandering Souls
10 0 100.00% Part-Time Gods
10 0 100.00% Marvel Super Heroes
10 0 100.00% Leagues of Gothic Horror
10 0 100.00% Dusk City Outlaws
10 6 40.00% Elven: Immortal Guardians
10 0 100.00% Symbaroum
10 0 100.00% Synthicide
10 2 80.00% Ninja Crusade
8 0 100.00% Dungeons & Dragons White Box
8 3 62.50% Classified
8 2 75.00% Unisystem Cinematic
8 0 100.00% Companions' Tale
8 0 100.00% Rules Light
8 0 100.00% Spacers
8 0 100.00% Wobble
8 0 100.00% In Nomine
8 0 100.00% Punk's Been Dead Since '79
8 0 100.00% Aces &Eights
8 1 87.50% Neo-Babylon
8 1 87.50% Aliens Unlimited
8 0 100.00% ScreenPlay
8 0 100.00% Cyberpunk
8 0 100.00% Adventurer Conqueror King
8 0 100.00% Through the Breach
8 0 100.00% Legacy: Life Among the Ruins
8 0 100.00% Mermaid Adventures
8 0 100.00% Boldly Go
7 0 100.00% Car Wars
7 0 100.00% Savage Worlds Deluxe
6 0 100.00% Alas for the Awful Sea
6 0 100.00% Wraith: The Oblivion
6 0 100.00% World of Darkness: Mirrors
6 0 100.00% Monsterhearts
6 0 100.00% Wild Talents
6 6 0.00% Wild Cards
6 1 83.33% Misspent Youth
6 0 100.00% NPCs the Coping
6 0 100.00% Millennium's end
6 0 100.00% Ashen Stars
6 0 100.00% Beyond the Supernatural
6 5 16.67% Beast: The Primordial
6 0 100.00% Mage
6 3 50.00% Playthings
6 0 100.00% Marvel Superheroes
6 0 100.00% Mage: The Ascension
6 0 100.00% Part time Gods
6 0 100.00% Space 1890
6 0 100.00% John Carter of Mars
6 0 100.00% The Whispering Road
6 1 83.33% Seven Wonders
6 0 100.00% The Black Hack
6 1 83.33% D6xD6
6 0 100.00% Savage Worlds & Science Fiction Companion
6 0 100.00% Space 1889
6 0 100.00% The Witcher
6 0 100.00% Demigods
6 0 100.00% Space 1891
6 0 100.00% Everyone Is John
6 1 83.33% Dime Stories
6 0 100.00% Esper Genesis
6 0 100.00% Marvel Heroic Roleplaying
6 0 100.00% FASA Doctor Who
6 0 100.00% Superhuman
6 0 100.00% GUMSHOE
6 0 100.00% Buffy the Vampire Slayer
6 0 100.00% Prince Valiant Storytelling Game
6 0 100.00% Trinity: Aeon
6 0 100.00% Titan Effect
6 0 100.00% Dungeon Adventure
6 0 100.00% Pulp Cthulhu
6 0 100.00% Promethean
6 0 100.00% Into the Odd
6 0 100.00% Infinity
5 4 20.00% Brutal Blades
5 0 100.00% KULT: Divinity Lost
5 0 100.00% Skull & Crossbones
5 0 100.00% Thedas World
5 1 80.00% Dance 'Til Dawn
5 0 100.00% 10 Candles
5 0 100.00% After the War
5 0 100.00% Haunted West
5 0 100.00% DC Heroes
4 0 100.00% The Quiet Year
4 0 100.00% Top Secret: New World Order
4 0 100.00% Hero Kids
3 0 100.00% Cortex
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Here is the seats * duration slice. In other words, how many hours can we expect butts to be in seats.

Top 30

S*D Game System
40702.5 Dungeons & Dragons
26592 Pathfinder
10326 Starfinder
9157 Call of Cthulhu
5185 Shadowrun
4447 Dungeon Crawl Classics
3256 Legend of the Five Rings
2840 Star Wars
1918 homebrew
1890 Games on Demand
1724 Savage Worlds
1716.5 Hero System
1368 Numenera
1296 Fate
1200 Laws of the Night
1104 Cypher
1068 Sentinel Comics
1056 Star Trek Adventures
998 Cthulhu Live
904 Masks
850 Mind's Eye Theatre
814 7th Sea
799 13th Age
780 Trail of Cthulhu
744 Delta Green
731.5 Mutants & Masterminds
712 Ubiquity
710 Chicago ConLARP
641 Vampire: The Masquerade
624 Mutant Crawl Classics
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Who's running the events?

Baldman runs the organized D&D events.

Blanks should be individual, independent GMs. Kudos to them!

Top 30

Seats Avail Group
6198 519 Paizo Inc
5802 1461 Baldman Games LLC
1687 171
1310 115 Goodman Games
1281 210 Catalyst Game Labs
1245 30 Chaosium Inc
1103 295 Game Base 7
1002 87 Infinite Imaginations, Inc.
1000 154 Magpie Games
967 160 Indie Game Developer Network
945 945 Indie Games Explosion
742 74 Monte Cook Games, LLC
737 177 No Rails Adventure Team
726 18 Pelgrane Press
690 303 Chicago ConLARP
644 307 Heroes of Rokugan
600 199 Legends of the Shining Jewel
550 36 MAMS Gaming
522 151 DR Games
513 55 Novus Ordo Seclorum
492 208 National Society of Crazed Gamers
412 50 37 Zombies
396 11 2CGaming, LLC
390 0 Cubicle 7 Entertainment
381 44 Cincinnati Arsenal Gaming
375 92 Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
375 16 Onyx Path Publishing
372 3 Kobold Press
354 0 Green Ronin
350 1 Fantasy Flight Games
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And here are the weird things that interest me...

Seats Duration
24044 4
7891 5
5488 2
2236 3
830 1
775 6
628 3.5
449 4.5
382 8
201 6.5
96 10
60 2.5
20 1.5
6 9
6 5.5


Seats Age Required
31317 Teen (13+)
6286 Mature (18+)
5113 Everyone (6+)
341 21+
55 kids only (12 and under)


Seats Experience Required
30651 None (You've never played before - rules will be taught)
10822 Some (You've played it a bit and understand the basics)
1639 Expert (You play it regularly and know all the rules)


Seats Materials Provided
34633 Yes
8479 No
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I think Hero might have the most seats for any system where the Publisher isn't expected to have a booth (well, homebrew is higher, but that's a little different).
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It is weird that there are not more Witcher seats available. I thought maybe R. Talsorian was not there, but they are booth 1852. It doesn't look like WotC is there, but that has not stopped lots of seats for them.

White Wolf will have a booth. That seems weird since they through in the towel quickly and now just license things. I suppose it mostly means people from Onyx Path, but they could have other people there to talk about video games and board games.

BTW, how much are tickets to GenCon these days? Since they are sold out, I cannot find the prices on the website.
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SteamCraft wrote:
It is weird that there are not more Witcher seats available. I thought maybe R. Talsorian was not there, but they are booth 1852. It doesn't look like WotC is there, but that has not stopped lots of seats for them.

BTW, how much are tickets to GenCon these days? Since they are sold out, I cannot find the prices on the website.


R. Talsorian submitted their events late. They say there's going to be 50+

Here's the price list:

4-Day $110
Thursday $60
Friday $60
Saturday $75
Sunday $15
Trade Day $200
VIG (Sold Out) $600/Returning VIG's - $650/New VIG's

Edit: Only the VIG passes are sold out (so far).
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sdonohue wrote:
I think Hero might have the most seats for any system where the Publisher isn't expected to have a booth (well, homebrew is higher, but that's a little different).


Some Hero stuff will be at the IPR booth. IIRC, they own IPR.
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SteamCraft wrote:
It doesn't look like WotC is there, but that has not stopped lots of seats for them.


Ah, WotC. D&D has never been so hot, yet no booth.

Other booths will have some books but not in large quantities. Last year a friend wanted to pick up the PHB on Saturday; I didn't see one.

Baldman runs their sanctioned events. Other than that, many independent GM's will be running it.
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brumcg wrote:
SteamCraft wrote:
It doesn't look like WotC is there, but that has not stopped lots of seats for them.


Ah, WotC. D&D has never been so hot, yet no booth.

Other booths will have some books but not in large quantities. Last year a friend wanted to pick up the PHB on Saturday; I didn't see one.

Baldman runs their sanctioned events. Other than that, many independent GM's will be running it.
The rumored reason for this is that either:

* WotC refuses to pay what GenCon would demand for the extensive floor space they would want in the dealer hall.

* GenCon refuse to give WotC the vast space they want in the dealer hall, because that would mean crowding out too many other paying customers.

I sure don't know the truth.
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Fascinating as always, brumcg.

I note only 4 seats for the newest Top Secret version, and none at all for the few Old School titles I would be most interested in playing.

GenCon is still a bucket-list item, but I think there's a hole in my bucket.
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skalchemist wrote:
I sure don't know the truth.


They likely made the decision in 2011. Their 2011 booth was staffed by temps, and there was no product for sale. It was so weird. There was no booth in 2012.

I always assumed Hasbro didn't like the visual. FFG had the biggest booth, and Paizo (Pathfinder) had eclipsed them in sales.

bobcatt wrote:
GenCon is still a bucket-list item, but I think there's a hole in my bucket.


It's a weird con. Maybe they are all, I'm not sure.

Gen Con is a spectacle. I'm 100% sure there are better conventions for actually playing games.

Maybe not surprising, I'm signed up for no RPG events. I tried for one, didn't get it, and wasn't disappointed. I can do all four days just gawking at stuff and goofing around with my friends.
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bobcatt wrote:
Fascinating as always, brumcg.

I note only 4 seats for the newest Top Secret version, and none at all for the few Old School titles I would be most interested in playing.

GenCon is still a bucket-list item, but I think there's a hole in my bucket.


Top Secret rocks! We miss it too!
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brumcg wrote:
skalchemist wrote:
I sure don't know the truth.


They likely made the decision in 2011. Their 2011 booth was staffed by temps, and there was no product for sale. It was so weird. There was no booth in 2012.

I always assumed Hasbro didn't like the visual. FFG had the biggest booth, and Paizo (Pathfinder) had eclipsed them in sales.


Are there some non-publishers selling games at GenCon? I assume there are at least a few.

The reason I ask is that consumers are the indirect customers for WotC. Stores are the main customers. So, if you sell your own stuff at a con when another booth is selling your stuff as well, that might hurt the store. Making some money at GenCon, while I am sure would be profitable, might not be worth harming sales at stores.

There is also the issue of staffing. In order to make it worth it for players to come to your booth, you need to have your designers and other main staff there.

So, for them to have a booth, they have to pay money for the space. They have to pay their employees to be there. They have to pay for premium hotel space. They have to pay for travel. If they were to sell anything, they have to pay to have the books shipped. They might also have to pay sales tax on their sales.

You have the weigh that against the benefits. What are the benefits for WotC? Not name recognition. Probably not product sales since other shops will be selling products. If they did sell products, then I suppose it would at least compensate for the cost. Other people run D&D and MtG so there is no need for their staff to do it. Honestly the people who benefit the most from a WotC booth would be 5E designers. This allows them to build up a reputation and audience.

Given that, it makes much more sense for them to not attend.

brumcg wrote:
bobcatt wrote:
GenCon is still a bucket-list item, but I think there's a hole in my bucket.


It's a weird con. Maybe they are all, I'm not sure.

Gen Con is a spectacle. I'm 100% sure there are better conventions for actually playing games.


While not games focused, I think the same applies to other cons like San Diego Comic Con. Even if you ignore the fact that it is more about Hollywood promoting movies/TV, the number of attendees is too big for the space. It is wall to wall people in many cases. There are so many things going on and most of them can fill up.

Compare that to say Dallas Comic Con. It is Friday afternoon and I am walking by Adam Baldwin's booth. Some over 60 year old woman was talking to him. This was the fourth time she had paid for his autograph. There was no line or pressure. So, she got to stay there are talk with him. A year or two before, my wife and I ran into him at another con. He was the chatty person this time. We probably spent 20 minutes talking with him. At another con, we hung out with Kristian Nairn (Hodor) and Esmé Bianco (Ros) after the con closed. Of course we were vendors so that is why it was possible. Yet, during the day we saw them both engage with fans.

I am sure whatever you are into for a con, costuming, actors, panels, games, etc. you can find a better experience for that at cons other than the most famous ones. But you miss out on the experience that the giant famous con provides.
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SteamCraft wrote:
Are there some non-publishers selling games at GenCon? I assume there are at least a few.


Absolutely. Cool Stuff Inc., Troll & Toad, and several others. RPGs are not a focus though. I think if someone had a small booth with stacks of D&D, they might do pretty well (but I haven't crunched any numbers).
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SteamCraft wrote:

Are there some non-publishers selling games at GenCon? I assume there are at least a few.

The reason I ask is that consumers are the indirect customers for WotC. Stores are the main customers. So, if you sell your own stuff at a con when another booth is selling your stuff as well, that might hurt the store. Making some money at GenCon, while I am sure would be profitable, might not be worth harming sales at stores.


Getting into the Con is very tough. If you haven't been at the Con in the past three years you aren't even eligible to get a booth. They select a limited number of new vendors from submitted proposals for "entrepreneur alley" but there are only about 18 booths and when we asked how many applications they received for those booths the response was "hundreds." I think if a non-publisher had a booth at Gen Con AND they were making money they'd be nuts to give it up. There are however a lot of other issues, the main one being that if a manufacturer is at the con they can specifically request to be the EXCLUSIVE vendor of their product, which can greatly reduce what products the non-publisher can actually sell and that's in addition to all the stuff you mentioned (staff, food, lodging, etc.).
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bobcatt wrote:

I note only 4 seats for the newest Top Secret version, and none at all for the few Old School titles I would be most interested in playing.


Bottcatt, I thought of another reason for you to go to Gen Con if you like Top Secret. Last year I got Merle M. Rasmussen to sign my copy of the new version. I think I make take some on my old S.I. books this year and see if he'll sign them. He was very nice. Maybe you should run some Top Secret games! Run 3 games with 6 player seats and you get into the con for free!
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BattlelordsOfThe23rd wrote:
the main one being that if a manufacturer is at the con they can specifically request to be the EXCLUSIVE vendor of their product, which can greatly reduce what products the non-publisher can actually sell


This is still a thing - I ran into it last year with Sagrada and Floodgate Games - but it's not as prevalent as it used to be. It was so bad at one point that one of the big stores - Troll & Toad I think - stopped bringing product and had people do online orders from the con. I'm not sure what happened, but it has changed.
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brumcg wrote:

This is still a thing - I ran into it last year with Sagrada and Floodgate Games - but it's not as prevalent as it used to be. It was so bad at one point that one of the big stores - Troll & Toad I think - stopped bringing product and had people do online orders from the con. I'm not sure what happened, but it has changed.


Yeah, it can make finding a small press product at the con a real pain if they have an exclusive vendor other than the producer (who may not be at the con because they're a small company). I can't tell you how long I spent looking for the Godlike RPG one year. Thankfully, now they have their own booth. I have heard the guys at Troll & Toad complaining about it more than once over the years, so it must continually irk them. I've noticed their inventory at the con has gotten more focused over the years. They probably just bring stuff that they know won't have a conflict with anyone there.

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