Premier Event Groups for Gen Con 2018
Posted by derekguder

Premier Event Groups for Gen Con 2018Each year we try to identify and highlight some of the best event groups and companies at Gen Con, based on their attendance data!The requirements for inclusion in the program are pretty strict:

  • Tickets turned in for more than 90% of events
    Groups must maintain turn in tickets for more than 90& of their events (i.e. 10 out of 11 events must have some kind of ticket data, even if it’s “0 players showed up”).
  • Maintain at least an 80% overall attendance rate
    A group's total actual attendance (based on tickets turned in) must be at least 80% of the total maximum number of players, as submitted with the group's events.
  • 60+ Actual Players
    Groups must run events for a total of at least 60 actual players, based on ticket data.
  • Discretionary Criteria
    In addition, groups that are eligible for the program as a result of their tickets must still maintain a good working relationship with Gen Con. Specifically, groups must still submit in their events and badge/hotel requests on time (and accurately). We reserve the right to refuse inclusion of a group for any reason, including too many errors during event submission, late requests, excessive complaints, or other significant problems and obstacles.

We provide the following benefits to premier groups as a token of thanks and a bit of recognition for their hard work:

  • Priority Event Placement
    Qualifying events will be placed before other events submitted within the same cycle. They would still be subject to the overall cycle format, but would get top priority within each cycle
  • Event Chart Highlight
    Event listings for qualified gaming groups are included in a separate file consisting of premier (and Gen Con presents) events that still have tickets remaining.
  • Two Email Blasts
    Before event pre-registration begins and again before it closes, premier events in general will be promoted in an email blast to attendees, specifically linking to the list of premier events with tickets remaining. Premier events are also often selected for inclusion in email blasts promoting specific events for attendees to check out.
  • Premier Group Highlights
    Premier groups can be included in the event highlights online and in the program guide. This is an opportunity for groups to attract new players, as well as a way to provide some recognition and show our appreciation.

Most of these benefits are automatic, but we do need premier groups to send us their highlight details by filling out this Google form and emailing their print-quality (300 dpi) logo as a .png file to [email protected]All details for the premier program are due no later than Sunday, April 22. Any premier groups that have not provided appropriate details by that point will simply be listed by name.And now, without further ado, the full list of premier groups for 2018!

  • 37 Zombies
  • AerodromeACE
  • Baldman Games LLC
  • BYOV
  • Catalyst Game Labs
  • CoGG
  • Comedy Rock Geek Enterprises
  • Crafty Gamers
  • Cryptozoic Entertainment
  • CU Adventures in Time & Space
  • Cubicle 7 Entertainment
  • Damsels of Dorkington
  • Dan the Bard
  • Darkness Remembered
  • DPH Games Inc.
  • Elder Entertainment
  • Exile Game Studio
  • Experimental Gamer
  • Feldra Gamers
  • Firelock Games
  • Gale Force Nine
  • Gaming Nomads
  • Gaming Paper
  • Geek & Sundry
  • Goodman Games
  • Goon Games
  • Great Northern Games
  • Greyhawk Reborn
  • Grognard Studio
  • Helaman's Warriors
  • Heroes of Rokugan
  • Indiana Landmarks
  • Indy Brew Bus
  • Infinite Imaginations, Inc.
  • Iron GM, LLC
  • Knights of the Arcade
  • Komedio Comedy
  • Late Knight Games
  • Legends of the Shining Jewel
  • Lupis42
  • Magpie Games
  • Maille Man
  • MAMS Gaming
  • Metalhead Minis
  • Michael Beuhler Events
  • Mind's Eye Society
  • MU Skulls
  • National ASsociation of CRazed Gamers
  • Northern Virginia Gamers (NOVAG)
  • Novus Ordo Seclorum
  • Oathbreaker Games
  • Ottawa Red Shirts
  • Paladin Miniatures Studio
  • Pamean Games
  • Party of One
  • Pimp My Board Game
  • Plaid Chameleon Games
  • Red Raven Games
  • Reliquary Game Studios
  • Rusted Portal Games
  • Saving Throw
  • Stronghold Games
  • SWM Gamers
  • Team Hassenplug
  • Tectonic Craft Studios
  • Tenth Imperium
  • The Escape Room USA
  • The Game Crafter
  • The Guild of San Marcos
  • Triangle Game Night
  • UH.Publishing Inc.
  • Urban Myths
  • Vesuvius Media
  • White Wolf Publishing
  • Windmill Game Co.
  • Worldbuilders

Posted by watchdog

We sold out every event, so with 98 total ticket slots we could have had 19 no-shows and still qualified.

We had 22.

Congratulations to MU Skulls, NOVAG, and Infinite Imaginations. The number of groups that have qualified for Premier status every year it’s been offered is now down to you three.


Posted by createncraft

We so proud to be on this list and to be part of the SPA section!
Crafty Gamers!

Posted by mu skulls frank watchdog

watchdog wrote:
We sold out every event, so with 98 total ticket slots we could have had 19 no-shows and still qualified.
We had 22.


Really sorry to read that. No shows a constant plague at Gen Con and I'd like to see a wait list implemented. If a player knew they were first on a waitlist they may bother to show up for a chance to get into a game. 

Posted by sgibson260

Well, being one of only three groups for all the years was a surprise. We also have been plagued by no-shows. Our solution has been to put up an easel-style white board on the storage box between our two tables, with a daily-updated list of what events we are hosting in the next 24 hours and text saying "GENERICS WELCOME at most events." We also make it very clear to all walk-ups that have questions or are admiring our tables/events that they should come by, and we we will try our hardest to take generic tickets. Of course, our events are miniature games that can scale up to larger numbers, not delicately balanced role playing events.

One zombie game we ran, we had 8 slots sold at pre-reg, with ZERO players showing up at the table. The same event four hours earlier, we had to turn away five players with generic tickets. Unfortunately, I don't have a better solution than what we've done.

Looking forward to seeing you all at GenCon!!!

Steve Gibson
Northern Virginia Gamers (NOVAG)

Posted by loripecchia

Thanks for including us as one of Gen Con’s premier event groups !!!

37 Zombies is expanding past offering just RPG’s this year, and are excited to be introducing some board game and LARP events. 

We hope to see many many of you there :) 

Thanks again Gen Con friends and GMs for being a part my favorite week of the year!!! 

Posted by hassenplug watchdog

watchdog wrote:The number of groups that have qualified for Premier status every year it’s been offered is now down to you three.

How many years has it been offered?  We've managed to be on the list every year after our first. 

We have a waiting list for every game (22 games) that we maintain ourselves.  That pretty much means we have one person dedicated to tickets & the waiting list.

Team Hassenplug

Posted by suegrau

I'm honored that Infinite Imaginations, Inc (III) has been a Premier Group for every year it's been offered.  I have the distinct pleasure of being the coordinator for some of the best GMs around, and we're all looking forward to GenCon 2018.  

This is our 36th year at GenCon, and we have 126 events running this year, but, like so many others, we do run into that no-show issue.  We work hard on our RPGs/LARPs/ZED events, and it's heartbreaking when an 8 person event sells out but then folds because of no-shows.  

One of the things we do which both helps our players as well as our premier status is to do everything we can to find players who end up without a game due to no-shows another event to play in.  We coordinate between our GMs and track who is running at capacity, who has room for a player or two and who doesn't have enough players.  If we have an 8 person event and only 3 people show up, we'll try our best to get them a seat at another table.

However, I know a lot of other Premier Groups aren't as large as we are, and so they can't find something for these players to do.  I wish that somehow ticket sales could be factored into Premier status - if your game is sold out in advance, but your players don't show, there sadly isn't anything you, as a GM, can do about it.

Sue Grau
Infinite Imaginations, Inc.
Event Coordinator

Posted by sethstewart

Would love to get back on this list! How do we do that? DrunkAssGames killin' it for 7 years, going on 8.


Posted by frif10kitty

@derekguder - if I would like to email to ask about my group & why we didn't make premier status what email would that be?

I know in years past we were there, so I just like to see what we can do as a group to improve :)

Posted by derekguder

[email protected] is fine - I'm always happy to confirm data with folks, though you can probably run the math yourself, if you want. Grab your event export from last year.

Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by frif10kitty derekguder

derekguder wrote:
[email protected] is fine - I'm always happy to confirm data with folks, though you can probably run the math yourself, if you want. Grab your event export from last year.
Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC
Thanks. I will contact my EO from last year.  Myself & Joe are newer to being EO for Gencon for RJ and I wanted to figure some stuff out. We used to make Premier Group status, so I love to strive to get back there :)

Posted by aj_27

Thanks for recognizing UH Publishing, Inc as a premier event group with Universal Horizons. We still have open spots and always accept walk-ins and generics at third floor, JW Marriott. We offer games throughout the convention and hope to make premier status again! I always feel experiencing new games, game terrain, and campaign arcs are the best part of Gen Con!

_AJ Schmidt_
Universal Horizons

Posted by otthawk1


Thanks again for another Premier listing .. we are adding maps and players every year .. look forward to another great GenCon.

Aerodrome !

Posted by gothvader mu skulls frank

mu skulls frank wrote:
watchdog wrote:
We sold out every event, so with 98 total ticket slots we could have had 19 no-shows and still qualified.
We had 22. 

Really sorry to read that. No shows a constant plague at Gen Con and I'd like to see a wait list implemented. If a player knew they were first on a waitlist they may bother to show up for a chance to get into a game. 
This is why we will never get to be a premier event group. We have been running games for years. We always get good feedback. We always put hours of time into each event. But the no-show rate is killing us. We raised ticket prices as a solution this year and still had entire games no-show. It's a real issue and I wish Gen Con would address it. It hits RPGs especially hard, particularly if you are running games like Call of Cthulhu which need a certain number of players to have it run well. With events so spread out, it is hard to find generics to fill those seats. And it's not just the GMs who are being hurt by this. My biggest issue is having one or two people show up and not have a game because everyone else no-showed. 

Posted by derekguder

If you have suggestions on what to do that would actually combat no-shows and not make individual attendee's experiences worse, I would love to discuss them.

As always, I'll review attendance data during the fall, but in previous years RPGs have not actually suffered from no-shows more than other events, though their small scale does mean that when a group of friends fails to show it can have a large impact on individual events.

My usual suggestions are to raise prices, run high-demand games, and to run games for 12-18 players at a time (spread out across multiple tables, of course), to reduce the chance that no-shows will cause an event to get canceled altogether.

Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by gr8cthulhu

Derek, wait listing would be a great idea. If individuals could go on "standby" and receive a text or email alerting them that an event had an opening, I believe it would help address the no-show issue.

Posted by derekguder

Potentially, but I don't think it is as simple as that, honestly, and that is not a feature we will be likely to be able to implement in the near term.

Also, keep in mind the realistic timeline this would require onsite: the GM waits 15 minutes to confirm players aren't showing up, alerts some/all people on the hypothetical waitlist, then waits another 15 minutes for them to get the message and find them, which only works if they already have generics. In the ideal situation, that's a 30+ delay before there's any indication of whether it was successful, and that's before including real-world delays and complications.

I suspect it would not have a significant impact on overall fill rates, to be honest, except for maybe a few key events that folks are willing to drop plans and rush to attend. It seems like the games that are able to weather no-shows with minimal impact are those run by groups that are organized at scale and have the apparatus and player base to fill as needed - basically, organized play programs for Pathfinder or D&D. Gaming groups that can established enough of a reputation that attendees are willing to play almost anything they run and can reliably seat a few extra people a slot may want to try to build to a similar path.

Otherwise, I have a feeling that figuring out a way to have a "games with open seats near me now" or establish hotel HQs as a reliable and central place for folks looking to hop into something would work better than a simple wait-list - but RPGs are always going to be in a difficult spot as (in my experience) players tend to be looking for more specific things than general boardgames, whether that's the system, setting, or genre of the game.

Derek Guder
Event Manager
Gen Con LLC

Posted by roderick

As a Hotel HQ, we usually get the GMs coming up and saying "If anyone needs something to do  push 'em our way", but we rarely get people saying "I've got generics, what can I do". Mostly because the Hotels are destinations rather than a place to walk through looking for something to do. You go to a hotel because it has an event you want to attend, rather than looking at it as a place to look for a random game.

At the Union Station, at least, we're more likely to get people just looking at the architecture than looking for a random game. 

Posted by watchdog

It looks like we’ll fail to qualify for Premier event Group status for the second year in a row. Last year was disappointing, but with similar results this year, I think the RPG culture has changed at Gen Con. It’s still gaming driven, but not event driven unless it’s one of the huge events: Paizo, Baldman’s D&D, etc.

By not worrying about qualifying, we can focus on the fun parts of running events. If we qualify in the future, great. If we don’t, that’s okay too.

I will make one suggestion re: the Premier Event formula. Instead of 80% attendance, try this: Group’s must either get 80% attendance, or 80% of your tables must be “filled”. In this context, filled = 5 players per table.

Right now a single table event can have up to 8 players, but a six player event where five show up helps a potential premier group (83% attendance) while an eight player event with six players showing hurts the group (only 75%.)  

With the 5 players per table rule, GMs aren’t punished by increasing the number of potential players to increase the possibility having enough players. A GM would be a lot more willing to expand a game from 10 to 16 players as you suggest if they know they won’t get hurt if only ten players show up. 


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