This past weekend I attended an event that I would classify as a micro-convention. Gamerati in collaboration with Dragonflight held a game day where members from both groups came together for a day full of gaming, complete with a tournament, game demonstrations from publishers, a few vendors, an open play game library, and a prototype lab.
The great thing about a micro-convention like this is that it is all about playing games. Yes, there were vendors selling their wares (I even picked up a cool aluminum die!), and publishers running demos, but the real focus is having a place to gather and play games for longer than that four-hour window that we usually get at our weekly game night. However, I noticed something as I observed the hall throughout the day. The various groups of people that were there; friends, families (with and without young children), gaming groups, and role-players were keeping to their groups for the most part. Whomever somebody was playing games with at one time during the day, they were usually with the same people at other times throughout the day. Role-players I understand have to keep to their own groups, as they have campaigns, pre-existing characters and story-lines to uphold, but everyone else should be breaking groups to play games with other people, otherwise why go to a convention? For everyone that I played with (aside from one demo), I could have done so at the regular meetup I attend. In a convention setting the event organizers have the means to help people organize games outside of their regular groups, and all it takes is a bit more planning and effort. To be clear, I am not saying that the game day was a bad event, I am just saying that it could have been better for some (myself included) if just a few simple things had been implemented. I think that in smaller events like this one, the organizers assume that most of the people will know each other or at least a fair number of people, and don’t take into account that some people (like me) might be there who are new to the area, new to the group, or even walked in off of the quad (the event was held at a college).