I have the numbers crunched from QuinCon 35. There is some good news and some bad news to extrapolate from the event, but overall I think it went well. Let’s start with some numbers. We had 6 SFS tables, 16 PFS2 tables, and 3 PFS2 Bounty tables. The tables numbers were comparable to the last two pre-pandemic QuinCons (33 & 34) in that we were only down a couple of tables overall. We filled 111 player seats at those 25 tables, so with the GM counted in, that’s 136 seats which also was pretty comparable to the previous QuinCons.
Where we were down massively was in total number of individual players. On the other hand, we had some very dedicated hard core players attending QuinCon. The combined total number of players and GMs was 31. We did hand out five new player cards. We also saw several former players playing 2e for the first time from various locations which is always a highlight. Other potential players dropped in for a bit to learn more about what we were doing and we had several of our regular Conclave players drop by who unfortunately could not play due to work commitments.
That’s probably one of the biggest drawbacks to organizing a convention. No matter when you schedule it, you always hit something else going on. We had many Conclave players who could not come to the con this year due to work. That is just beyond anyone’s ability to control. We also had people who used to attend QuinCon who could not attend this year as they had moved away from the area. We cannot control that, but they could move back (hint, hint).
I could list several things that I thought were a problem, but those things are always a problem. We had a low turnout from outside the League of Aroden area, but on the other hand, the ones that did come from Iowa and Southeast Missouri were dedicated players and GMs who, in my humble opinion, did one heck of a good job in making this con a lot of fun. I don’t even want to think about how this would have turned out without them there.
That also goes for everyone who came. Cons are about people and having fun. The people who can’t or don’t come to our con miss out on a great time. They missed out on a lot of fun at this year’s con too. Hopefully, they can make it to next year’s! What is more important are the people who did come to QuinCon this year. You all made this a lot of fun and worth the exhaustion I had at the last session. We could not have a good con without you. Thank you for coming! To see the joy on your faces as you played our favorite games made it all worth the effort.
Of course, I also need to call attention to our GMs. Each of you deserves a big thank you for volunteering. Just as we cannot run the tables without players in the seats, we can’t have a table without the GM at the helm. We had a first time PFS2 GM running for us on Saturday morning. He also was kind enough to bring snacks and drinks for everyone, so when you see Ron Schwartz, tell him thanks. Then ask him when he’s running his next table!
Truthfully, I think we have to consider this year’s QuinCon a success on our end of things. The last two QuinCons were cancelled due to the pandemic. There was no online replacement con. Everywhere that a con has been cancelled for at least a year, the player and table counts are down 30 to 40 percent if not more. Many small cons folded up entirely and many more are very questionable for continuing on because they are not financially viable with the smaller numbers. Not only that, but they require workers which are in short supply.
That leads me to something else that impacts our cons and our lodges. I’ve spoken with Venture-Officers across the nation and the ocean as well. Almost every lodge lost 50% of their player base due to Covid. A lot of small lodges have disappeared because their venture-officers have left the program and there was no one else left. Any lodge that waited until 2022 to restart live play is down even more players. There are some places that have yet to restart live play and they may never restart at all.
There is always a turnover of players and officers annually. That’s just life. But this is showing us just how important communications is for everyone. It also shows us how important it is to our hobby for people to sit in the GM chair and run a live table at the FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store) on a regular basis. Where that is happening, the lodges are gaining players and growing. It does take some time to rebuild to where we were pre-pandemic, but it can be done.
This also shows us how important live gaming is to FLGSs too. Not all of them survived the pandemic. The ones that got back into live gaming fairly quickly (Spring of 2021) and were not in bad financial shape to begin with have generally survived. In some cases, they’ve thrived because players have gone to where the live gaming is at. Many stores who avoided live gaming and put a lot of restrictions on players when they did have live gaming are either struggling or out of business. Some have survived, but they are pretty few and far between.
I think this is why the League of Aroden is doing well compared to many lodges in the US today. We got back to live play as soon as we could in two lodges and even started a third. We got into a new game store as soon as it opened and in my opinion the relationship between us and them has been mutually beneficial. The only problem area we are having is the mask requirement at one FLGS which has killed live gaming for them. Hopefully, that requirement will be coming to an end soon as the case counts drop in that area.
With all that said, I think the upcoming gaming year will be a good one for us. So, as we close the books on QuinCon 35, let’s look forward to seeing each other at the table and welcoming more players to the table. This is a great hobby where people of all walks are welcome. We are not playing Papers & Paychecks! We are playing Pathfinder and Starfinder. We are having fun playing a game together that we enjoy. Let’s have some fun doing what we love to do together!
See you at the table soon!