Running a Demo Event

About two months ago I organized and ran an Age of Sigmar Demo event at Kingdom Con in sunny San Diego. I wrote most of this article a couple of weeks after the event and paused right when my schedule got out of control. Now I am revisiting this article with the perspective of also seeing the results of community engagement. With the amazing help from my buddy Rob from our Wednesday AoS group I feel we put together a great event.

Kingdom Con is a four day game convention that hosts The Broadside Bash, paint classes and judging by CK Studios, tons of tabletop gaming space, and a vendor hall. For the demo Rob and I volunteered from Friday through Sunday. We reserved 2 tables to lay down mats, terrain, and armies. Rene, the head of mini tabletop games, gave us prime space right in the main hall between the vendors and The Broadside Bash. Also, we had prize support in the form of a raffle from At Ease Games!

I am going to group the rest of my musings by: what was required to run a large demo of AoS, the pro’s and con’s of running a demo for 3 days, how to measure success of a demo event.

For the demo Rob and I decided on bringing our painted models themed from the Start Collecting! lines. The idea was to show you can play a game right out of the box and have fun while showing off the hobby a little bit. Between the 2 of us we had 8 armies that mirrored the Start Collecting range. I printed up the warscrolls and 4 page rules books for each army and put them in a packet for players to use. I also worked part time driving for Lyft to earn some extra cash for 2 FLG mats from Frontline Gaming and 2 tables worth of terrain. It was totally worth it, not only it look great for the event but now I will always have the terrain and mats to use again. I also bought a few cheap measuring tapes from Wal Mart and already had a ton of dice. Finally, we had cards and flyers for our league night, social media groups, and website to hand out to participants and anyone who stopped to say hi.

Running the demo from Friday through Sunday had its pro’s and con’s. First the pro’s. Running the event for three days gave plenty of time for people to come and see us and play a game or two. If it was just one day we definitely could have conflicted with Kingdom Con member’s schedule and never had time to interact with interested AoS players.  I will say we did get a majority of our players Friday night and a steady stream all day Saturday. Sunday was almost a bust due to very low attendance but still got a couple of games in. As I mentioned before, we were given very good floor space. The table and terrain with models out got a lot of people to at least stop and say hi and exchange information.

One of the primary cons was that Rob and I couldn’t really participate in any of the events over the weekend. Waves of interested players came by during peak hours and we were never sure if it was safe for one of us to be gone long enough to demo a different game. It shouldn’t be a big deal but was frustrating on Sunday when we really didn’t get many players. It was also tough being in the next room over while all your AoS buds are getting their tournament on, but got to have a beer or two with them.

As far as measuring success I went in with the attitude that getting anybody to play would be a success. By the end of the weekend we had 16 people sign up for our raffle, they had to participate to sign up, and about a half dozen more who we know did not want to sign up for the raffle but played with us as well. For me that was a huge success. There were some people who wanted to try it out because they wanted to feel out where 40k was heading but for the most part there was genuine interest from all who participated in either getting back into the hobby or starting from scratch.

In the end I know we have a couple of players from the demo that now join us on Wednesdays. Furthermore in the last couple of months our regular turnout rate has doubled. I believe it has been our positive community involvement, not just at Kingdom Con, but on social media and at our local store that has recruited more players.

Final thoughts: Next year I think I will just run a demo on either Friday or Saturday. I do feel we need more AoS events at next year’s Kindom Con other than the demo and GT. By displaying various ways to play such as a team event and narrative event on top of what we did this year I feel we will grow our community even more.

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