New organizer -- will these formats work?
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Posted by catbus

The last time I attended Gen Con was in 2000 (!), and I've never hosted an event before, but this year I've got a book I'm promoting, and I'm trying to come up with ways to do so within the event format, since I won't have a booth or a vendor permit. (Don't worry, I'm not trying to sell merch under the table.)

The book is on D&D 5E player character tactics, and I want to run some events that are workshop-like but also include elements that will engage participants or appeal more broadly to a passive audience. In particular, there are two formats I'd like to get feedback on:


  1. A panel featuring me along with several prominent actual-play streamers, in the form of a two-part presentation. In the first part, they reveal characters that they've created, and I talk about what kind of combat encounter tactics to use with those characters. In the second part, I DM a combat encounter that they play through, using the tactics discussed.
  2. A single-table workshop with a similar two-part structure, except that in the first part, as DM, I provide the tactical advice in character as an NPC, and in the second, the participants play an encounter that's framed as a "training exercise."

Would these formats fit the Gen Con event guidelines? Am I correct to infer that under those guidelines, the panel would have to be free to audience members, but the workshop could be ticketed as a game? Is there anything else I should be aware of if I plan to host events along these two formats?

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Posted by derekguder

Both of those sound like cool events, and the first one seems pretty straightforward to me.

The second event is the same as the first, but instead of for an audience, people are getting tickets to sit at the table and directly play, is that correct?

That's pretty different than most workshops we have, but it's certainly not bad or impossible to accommodate. I would make sure to explain that in detail in your description and special request details, so we know what kind of space you'll need (i.e. a single table and not a full room).

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Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by catbus

That's more or less correct. It's not exactly the same as the first, but the principle is the same: an hour of instruction, an hour of actual play, and yes, in the second, the people who buy the tickets are the people who play.

Are there any particular times at which it's customary for events like these to begin (e.g., even hours or odd hours)? Do you have any advice on when to schedule the panel?

Also, can you tell me more about "most workshops you have"? It was clear to me that games are ticketed and panels/seminars are free, but I'm not sure exactly where non-panel workshops fall in that schema. I assumed that a "sage on the stage"–type workshop was still considered a seminar; is that true?

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Posted by derekguder

Yes, seminars are always free, but workshops have a price like all other events. The line between the two can be a bit nebulous sometimes, but in this case I'd call the stage event a seminar (it's for an audience) and the table a workshop (you've working directly with people and giving them direct advice.

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Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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Posted by catbus

For the panel presentation, are "minimum players" and "maximum players" 1 and the maximum audience size? What would be a good maximum size for this audience?

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Posted by derekguder

The minimum and maximum players fields are always for the tickets that will be made available for the event and the space that will be reserved for it.

You should set the max players to what you reasonably think the high end of your audience will look like. If you don't have other events you've run to go on, I'd recommend 50 or fewer, unless you feel like you have an absolutely killer idea - and the apparatus to promote it widely.

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Derek Guder
Senior Event & Program Manager
Gen Con LLC

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