Gaming Convention Budget Tips


This past year I have gone to more gaming conventions year then ever before. Mainly as designer attending the various local Protospiels  to run playtests of my designs.  I’m still unpublished , so at best this is a hobby for the time being.  While I enjoy doing it, I have other financial goals i’m trying to accomplish so I’m trying to be as budget minded as possible.  The here some tips in no particular order .


Bring your own food/meds


While it’s fun to eat out with friends, food and drinks can really rack up your expenses.  The method I use is to bring bread and peanut butter. Yeah the bread will get smashed up but you can eat and peanut butter sandwich  for just about any meal of the day.  7 bucks could feed you for several days.  I also carry a water bottle with me  most cons will have water ether in water coolers or from vending machines.  Try to avoid foods that need to be cooked  like  Ramen since you might not have consistent access to a microwave or hot water. Bring a small ration daily medications just in case you get a migraine or have stomach issues while attending the con. These medications are gouged pretty heavily at hotels.


Flea Market


If you are like me you may have some games in you collection that you are no longer playing.  While you could spend some time to list the games on Ebay and deal with shipping and other hassles.  Many gaming conventions have Flea markets for gamers to sell unwanted products.   Now to sell games at the at flea market the convention may charge a fee for the table. Work together with your friends and share a table at the flea market. Now your not going make the most you could on what your selling  else but for the amount of effort used to move the product it could be the best bang for your buck.  If I plan on buying anything I try to limit to less then what I take in at the flea Market.  If there is a game that you have your eye see if there a used copy at the flea market that can be a huge savings over a new copy.


Volunteer at the Con


This can take several forms. Many conventions will give gamers who run X hours in registered slots free admission to the con . So if there is an RPG one shot that you can run in you sleep or with little prep (dread, fate, Fiasco) if you sign up to run the required slots and enjoy your admission for free.  Another form may be in agreeing to help assist the con, watch the door to the dealer room ect. Most cons will have these details on their website.


Driving Home vs Staying in a Hotel


Depending how far away you are from the convention  you may consider not staying in the hotel.  I was an hour and 15 minutes away from my last con and even if I split a room at a nearby motel.  It was sill about $30 cheaper for me to drive.  While staying at nearby hotel my save you from #FOMO (fear of missing out)  you need to examine all of your options if you carpool and drive different days that could be a huge savings.


These are some the strategies I employ to limit my expenses at gaming conventions. Let me know how you stay on budget while attending game conventions?


Pacificon Protospiel 2017 Wrap Up

This is what a came into the weekend with Plutomancy


This event marked the one-year point on my game design journey. I stated on my previous post I had hit a rut in my design work. With the Protospiel at Pacificon I was hoping to get the wind back in my sails. I was Planning to try and be as frugal as possible at the con, I only ate out 1 once over the three days. Breakfast being provided Saturday by Pacific Rim Publishing and Sunday by Breaking Games. Thank you so much, some of us are starving artists and it was very much appreciated. The Protospiel was also sponsored by The Game Crafter, Game Kastle, The League of Game Makers, Jonny Pac Games, Bezier Games, Mayday Games and Impressions Distribution Services.  I had Planned to attend Friday Saturday and part of Sunday.

The game I was testing was Plutomancy. A magic item set collecting magic game with a rondel mechanism. After some feedback from Kublacon I have added some other elements that wanted to test out. Friday, I ran the game 4 times each time removing some troublesome spells and seeing from the feedback that some of the actions had gotten more complicated or troublesome.

Saturday, I made a different board out of Hex cards altering the space to remove the some of the unneeded aspects.

This is an exaggeration of what changes I made during the protospiel

I turned around and decided to hold off on doing some more tests and play some other games and collect myself because I was starting to get anxious and wanted to change more than I should at once. I felt like I needed to step away for a bit, so I went to the “paint and take area” and painted a Rob Zombie miniature shown here.


I did do several play-tests with the new board and a different end game condition and that fixed some of my issues. I still need really sit down and ask myself what am I trying accomplish with Plutomancy.  It’s hard to take feedback if I don’t really know if this feedback is steering me in the direction I want to go with the game.  That analysis I will save for a different post.

The cards that I removed from Plutomancy over the course of the weekend. 

Now for some specific shout outs.  A huge thank you to John and Ka for letting me crash in their room Saturday night. I was planning to sleep in my car somewhere but with the current heatwave that wouldn’t have ended well. They even set aside a Towel and provided me with plenty of water to fill my water bottle.  Jordan thank you for that extra Al Pastor Burrito! I was determined to only eat the food I had brought but that burrito hit the Spot! Thank you anyone that played Plutomancy that weekend. I realized that the newer features may have been clogging up the game-play.  I left the weekend  streamlining some of the cumbersome aspects.

I played some Fantastic prototypes over the weekend. To name a few  Dice Age, Scott Caputo’s Japanese garden Tile Game ( next time I will take better notes), Swing the Deal, Little Red Riding Hood, Dragons Duel?(Bard Games, David Huntley) and Arcane Knowledge,Royal Favor, Meeple Minions and Singularity are the ones off the top of my head. Looking forward to see the next iterations of all these games!

Looks like for me the next big playtest event for me is Dundracon in February.  I’m hoping to begin active development of Forged from Ruin 2.0 and have the Plutomancy completed before the end of 2017.  Stay Tuned!