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D&D Next at Gen Con

From: Mark K.
Sent on: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 11:41 AM

Greetings, Gamers!

Every year I put out a call for GenCon DMs to help run D&D stuff (or other games by Wizards). This year is going to be a little bit different. It is the 40th anniversary of D&D, as well as the launch of a new edition of the game. Most of you know that this group started off as a D&D group only. We've got the best DMs right here, and I want to tap that resource.

Some of you may already be aware that Wizards of the Coast contracts a company called Baldman Games to manage their GenCon events. So Wizards gives money to Baldman Games and provides them with the material that they want run at the convention, and Baldman Games manages getting the DMs and staff together, securing the gaming location, providing rewards for DMs, etc.

In general, Baldman Games needs 200+ DMs to cover the demand for tickets. There are never enough volunteers to run all the games that people want to play. In order to entice people to volunteer, Baldman Games offers rewards. Even if you work just one slot (about a 4-hour game), you get something—normally a game product, book, board game, minis, etc.  If a volunteer works 4 slots, they receive more product, as well as a 4-day badge for GenCon, which this year would cost $70. A badge allows you to get into the huge convention exhibitors hall and play in some free events, and then tickets for further games can be purchased.

The other big issue with GenCon is the hotel space. All of the rooms within easy walking distance of the convention center sold out in 10 minutes this year. All of the rooms within even relative distance of the convention center sold out in an hour. There are some rooms around Indianapolis still available, but they are not close enough to walk, and parking around the convention center gets problematic quickly. So one of the greatest perks of working for the convention is a free hotel room in a place connected to the convention center – a 3-minute walk. This saves a person over $1000 they would have to spend on a room. Generally speaking, to get this perk a volunteer needs to work 7 slots. With the convention running from Thursday morning to Sunday afternoon, that generally means working 2 4-hour games on Thursday, Friday, andSaturday, and then 1 on Sunday. Some people divide it up differently to fit their own schedules (like working 3 on Thursday and Friday and then 1 Sunday to have Saturday free).

Although the greatest need is for DMs, there are other things people can do. Staff is needed to handle lines, sort paperwork, collect tickets, etc. This year, since it is the launch of a new edition, there will probably be a staff needed to help players with character creation and rules comprehension before the players go to their games. For me DMing is the reason to go, but it does give people other options.

The call for volunteers generally goes out in June. This year it will hopefully happen sooner because of the crazy nature of GenCon this year. It is quite possible that we will need double the normal volunteers to handle the demand. This year will also be special because with a new edition coming the need to prepare DMs ahead of time. In some cases, the people volunteering to run games at GenCon will get copies of the rules early to be prepared to run games.

Information will be made public about some of this stuff later this month and over the next months, and I know GenCon is a long way off (it runs from August 14-17), but I wanted to give you all an early warning in case you were interested in attending. If there is a year that you want to attend to play some D&D, even if you don’t volunteer to run games, it is this year. Let me know if you have any questions. It is always a great time, especially if you go with a group. Thanks!

-Mark K.
(P.S. Thanks to Shawn Merwin for text)

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