Jun 092010
 

If you live anywhere near Long Island, NY and are looking for something fun to do on August 21 and 22, look no further.  RetCon is Long Island’s new gaming convention and it looks to be a heck of a lot of fun.   Pre-registration ends July 1st and offers a $10 discount from the the door price.  $30 for pre-registration for both days or $20 a day at the door.

Another way to get in for a discount (or free!) and to get a discount from a kick-ass looking local game shop is to run a few events.   If you’re interested in running a game you can contact the folks at RetCon.

RetCon is Long Island’s gaming convention run by gamers, for gamers! We’re veterans of all sorts of games (Board games, Miniature Games, RPGs, TCGs, and more) and we want to share our passions with you. So, beak out your armies, sharpen your pencils and polish your dice; let’s play some games!

RetCon is taking place this year at the Four Points Sheraton in Plainview, on Saturday, August 21st and Sunday, August 22nd, from 9am to Midnight on both days.

I spoke with Reeves, who runs a huge gaming group that meets 5 times a week and who’s spearheaded RetCon.
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TC: 275 people in your gaming group and you meet 5 times a week!  Are you
there all the time?  Do you sleep there?  What’s it like dealing with 275
role players?

Reeves: We play at a store in Plainview called “Ravenblood Games“. Unfortunately
the store is only open five days a week otherwise I honestly think we’d
have games going non-stop. I use Meetup.com to organize the group. They
have a pretty great calendar system that lets people RSVP to attend any
games that they are interested in. It was pretty instrumental in getting
our game off the ground. People found out about us pretty quickly via
Meetup and we went from four people to a hundred people in a matter of
months.

Now the store is usually pretty packed with people. There are days when we
take up all four of the gaming tables. Our busiest night usually hauls in
about forty people. The most we can fit at any given time is about
thirty-two or so. Usually people don’t play every night and most of the
members come once or twice a week to play. Only a few hardcore players
(like myself) go to the store all five days that it is open. I usually
wake up in the morning, go to work, and then go to the store until ten
o’clock every night it is open.

Dealing with that many people can get to be pretty rough at times. Working
with Ravenblood Games is thankfully amazingly easy and the owner really
helps me out with scheduling tables and organizing some of the events and
games. We run into scheduling conflicts sometimes now that there are so
many people and we’re trying to find out how to fit more people in the
store without it getting too loud to play.

TC: What prompted you to go out on a limb and create your own Convention?
How long did it take to become a legitimate business entity, secure space,
decide on what you’d be running and the rest of it?

Reeves: It was almost on a whim honestly. I’ve run some small scale “cons” at the
store here and there, but we were limited on space and capped out at 50 or
so people at a time. I always joked that we’d need to rent out a hotel to
fit all of our players in one place. One day I sat down and decided I was
going to make it happen. There isn’t a dedicated gaming con in the area
and I really felt like I could give something back to the community by
stepping in and running one myself.

Becoming a business actually wasn’t too hard. It was just expensive. I had
to register as an LLC and pay all of the fees associated with that
process. I just filled out the paperwork on one of those corporation
websites and they pretty much figured everything else out for me. That was
the lowest effort part of this whole thing. It did end up costing me
hundreds of dollars more than I was expecting, but in the end I think it
will work out just fine.

Securing space was VERY difficult. I had to find a place that would
support two hundred or so players at tables of eight people each that was
also affordable. I contacted ten different hotels before I found one that
was willing to host a game con and wouldn’t completely clear out my bank
account. The whole process took about a month once I started calling
places. I ended up settling on the Four Points by Sheraton in Plainvew,
New York. It actually ended up being only a quarter of a mile away from
Ravenblood Games which is making everything MUCH easier in my opinion.

As for the schedule, I just reached out to people in the community and
asked them what they wanted to run or play. I got a pretty great response
from everyone and decided to divide the schedule into half RPGs and half
Board Games. We had a surprising amount of interest from some local LARP
groups so I ended up renting out an additional room so that we could host
their games as well. The event schedule for the con filled up within a
month of me announcing the convention. People even approached me to try
and get MORE space for gaming, but I had already rented out ALL of the
meeting space in the hotel!

TC: How many attendees are you hoping to get?

Reeves: The con can support about 200 people at a time between board games, RPGs
and LARPing. I think that 200 people is looking pretty good to me right
now.

TC: What games are you currently involved in?

Reeves: This is actually a pretty difficult question. I have trouble keeping all
of my games straight sometimes!

I’m currently running a Conan game that meets every other Friday, I run a
series of games called “RPG 101” to introduce new players to role playing,
I run a regular “Vanilla” World of Darkness game every other Thursday, and
I run Pathfinder Society with a friend of mine about every other Sunday.

Currently I’m playing in a Rogue Trader game every other week, Warhammer
Fantasy every other week, a Vampire the Requiem game every month, an AD&D
campaign every other Friday, an Eclipse Phase game every couple of
Saturdays, a Changeling game occasionally on Sundays, an All Flesh Must be
Eaten game every other Thursday, and a Pathfinder campaign once in a
while. I try to squeeze in games of Warhammer/40K when I’ve got a free
hour or two to kill and nothing else is going on.

I’m currently also planning on running a parallel Star Wars campaign with
my cousin to start next month for about 12+ players as well as kicking
around the idea of running a Samurai themed game like Sengoku or L5R. This
is actually a light load for me. I’ve freed up some time this summer to
focus on getting the convention going.

TC: Where do you see RetCon going in the next few years?  Are you hoping
to expand it beyond this year’s conference?

Reeves: It looks like we’ll be outgrowing our current space immediately. I’m
already looking at renting out larger ballrooms in different hotels that
can accommodate three times as many people. I think that aiming for a five
hundred person con for next year sounds about right. I also want to add
Friday night to the convention schedule starting next year.

TC: Seriously.  275 gamers and 5 times a week?  How awesome is that?

Reeves: It is pretty awesome! We started with just me and a friend trying to get
some people to play D&D with and before we knew it we had so many people
the store had to buy extra tables. Sometimes I still don’t believe how
many people there are. Usually I notice when I want to play a game
randomly, but all the tables at the store are full of people I hardly
know.

TC: Can you tell us a bit about what games will be offered?  Will there be
prizes?

Reeves: Right now we have 48 RPG sessions, over 48 Board Games, four LARPs and a
Warhammer 40K Apocalypse game scheduled. We’ve got a ton of great
giveaways and prizes from various indie RPG publishers as well as big
names like White Wolf. I think that we will have, quite literally,
something for everyone at RetCon.

TC: Why call it “RetCon?”  What’s the Ret for?

Reeves: Naming a convention is possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I had no
idea what to call this thing at all. I put the word out to my group for
ideas and somebody just sent me a txt message that said “Retcon”. I was
like “That sounds perfect!”. It is sufficiently nerdy enough to get the
job done. It just refers to the idea of “Retconning” something in comics
or what have you. It just sounded right.

If you’re going to RetCon you should also know that you’ll qualify for a 50% off coupon for any of my published PDFs available at DriveThruRPG until the end of the convention.

[tags]conventions, rpg, role playing games, retcon[/tags]

About Ben

I'm a geek. A nerd, a dweeb, whatever. Yes I owned garb, yes I still own medieval weaponry. And yeah, I could kick your butt in Mechwarrior the CCG. I love video games, role playing games, tactical board games and all forms of speculative fiction. I will never berate someone for wanting to be a Jedi and take everything Gary Gygax ever wrote as gospel. Well, all of this but that last bit.

  2 Responses to “RetCon – Long Island’s Gaming Convention”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Vicki @ RetCon and RPG Bloggers Network, Troll in the Corner. Troll in the Corner said: RetCon – Long Island’s Gaming Convention  ( http://bit.ly/axFEy3 ) If you're near Long Islan NY in August, check 'em out! #RPG #DND […]

  2. I really wish I could go, this sounds like such a fun con. That perfect blend of just small enough to feel personal, but huge enough to really feel like something. I went to my first con this year and it was that same approximate size, I can’t wait to see what they bring next year.

    If you’ve never been to a con and you can make it to this one or any other, I highly recommend it.

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