Organizing the Con

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 10, 2011 - 11:46am
Tossing out some ideas about organizing the con for general feedback and discussion:

Gaming sessions:
My plan is to initally put up a signup page for GM's and allow them to post a title, short description, min/max number of players, and what session(s) they want to run the game in.  Once we have sessions that GM's have commited to, I'll open up a player's page for people to sign up for the specific games and sessions they want to participate in.  I'd like to get the GM page up by the end of the month at the latest and have the player's page up by no later than the first of the year.

Advertisement:
I'm going to work up a flyer and a short blurb for the con and set up an inital web page for it.  I'd like to have the ability to register set up by then as well so people can sign up immediately if they want.  Once that is done we should all start posting about the con anywhere that comes to mind (facebook, twitter, gaming sites and blogs, etc) to get the word out.

Patch Design:
The more think about it the more I think I like the idea of not having a 100% embroidered patch.  I like the idea of leaving the part of the patch that is space (above the planet and behind the AS) as just the base black cloth of the patch.  That gives the border, the ship, the stars, and the planet a raised 3D effect above the background of space.  And if we get the patches comercially produced, saves about $0.50 per patch on the cost.

Con Prizes:
I have a near new Alpha Dawn boxed set (pristine shape except for some wear on the corners of the box and 7 of the counters have been punched.  6 of the counters are missing but I can replace them with counters from another like new boxed set I have that has all the counters punched.)  I was thinking of offering that up as a door prize.  Basically for every session you either Referee or actually play in, you get an entry in a random drawing.  The winner gets the boxed set.

I was also considering, as an incentive to get people to Referee a session, to give all Referees an extra patch.  The bonus patches would be mailed out after the con once the Referee had acutally run the sessions they had committed to.

Maybe we want to do other prizes as well.  Suggestions or donations are welcome.

Registration Cost:
This really depends on two factors.  One is how much it costs to produce the patches and second, how many people show up.  I can set up a payment page through Paypal to accept credit card/electronic payments.  The overhead cost on that is $0.45 per registration.  The patch will weight 1-2 oz and so the shipping cost will be $0.44-$0.84 to mail them out to US participants and $1-$2 to mail them overseas.  So just the overhead for registering and shipping the patch is $1.29 for US participants and $2.47 for those overseas.  I'm assuming that most of our participants will be from the US.

We're still waiting to hear what it would cost for w00t to produce the patchs (and whether or not his wife would be willing to do so).  Commerical production of the patches would run $5.47 per patch if we made 25 and $2.85 per patch if we make 50.  That's the price if we don't have them 100% embroidered.  Add $0.50 per patch if we do.

At the $2.85 per patch, a registration fee of $5 seems reasonable for the con.  Basically if you register you get the patch so you are paying $5 to buy the patch.  And $5 would cover the cost of the patch, registration overhead, shipping fees, and leave just a little extra to do something with.  Do we think we could get close to 50 people interested in registering (if for no other reason than to get the cool patch)?  I think we might but maybe not.  As long as we think we might get close, I have no problem ordering 50 patches and paying for the difference out of my own pockets.  However, if we don't think we can get that many to register, then the registration fee may have to be $7.50 or $8 to cover the higher production cost.

Another possibility is to just go with a $10 registration fee that definitely covers the cost of the patch regardless and then use the extra money to provide more giveaways or use it to help in production of the modules.  The question is if the registration fee was $10 instead of $5, how many people wouldn't participate because of the extra five dollar cost and is it worth it.  I think we could do it on $5 per person but $10 per person would result in less worry up front on covering costs.

WOTC:
Do we need/want to tell WOTC about this?  The last thing I need is to start collecting money for the con, get the patches made, and then get a cease and desist letter from WOTC and have to refund the money and eat the costs.  Does anyone think they will have an issue with us doing this that we need to worry about it?  Should I ask them? (I have the e-mail of the brand manager responsible for SF.  At least she was the one who responsed last year when I sent them a letter looking for permission to license SF.)

Anyway, that's all I can think of right now, let me know if you have any ideas, suggestions, or other comments.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
October 10, 2011 - 12:08pm
I don't think we want to tell them; as its more of a case of let sleeping dragons lie. I'm fine with the 3D effect. Perhaps the thing to do is to make it a charity event. With a minimum suggested donation. Which is merely. 50¢ to $1.00 over the overhead cost. No mistaking it as profit since its explicitly billed as charity. And no corporation will want the publicity of beating up on a group running a charitable event. Has WOTC ever publicly supported a charity? Ultimately the corp is owned by Oprah, what's her favorite charity? If I had to choose it be Children Hospital Boston since they've taken such good care of my daughter who was born with Aperts Syndrome.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 11, 2011 - 10:37am
Okay, preliminary website for the con.  Check it out and let me know what additional information needs to be put up before we go public with it.

Star Frontiers Virtual Con 2010
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 11, 2011 - 4:13pm
Related to organizing the con, what information do we need to collect from the registrants?

Right now all I think we need is:
  • Name
  • e-mail
  • Mailing address
  • whether or not they want to referee
Can anyone else think of any other data we need to collect?  I've almost got the registration process wired up, just need to do the backends of the forms on the con site so that they actually collect the data.  Just want to make sure I have all the information I need before I turn them on.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

iggy's picture
iggy
October 11, 2011 - 6:08pm
I think $5 is cool.  I'd do $10 even.  In boy scout patch collecting a rare patch can easily go that high.  I do however think that we should keep this not for profit and publish the books so that all see how it payed out, positive or negative.  If it went positive we just come up with some extra swag like a printed convention pass / name badge.  The participant provides his own holder and necklace.  Smile  If it goes negative then good will has a chance to prevail because the budget is published from the start and all can see the effects as registrations come in.
-iggy

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 11, 2011 - 8:48pm
At the moment, my plan it to allow registrations to accumulate until sometime around Christmas.  Registrations will continue until March 8th but by New Year's I figure that I at least will have a feel for how many patches we'll actually need.  Although maybe not since there will still be two months until the con starts and I'm sure lots of people will procrastinate.

The truth is, if we have them professionally made, we'll have to order at least 50 to get them cheap enough to make a $5 registration fee cover everything.  Since we'll need to get that many anyway, I'm tempted to just order them now.  I don't mind covering the difference between the patches we use and the total cost, I'll just use the extra patches somewhere else.  Plus if we do have extras, I can offer a second patch to anyone that referees a session.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 14, 2011 - 5:51pm
Okay.  I have the registration pages all wired up. These let you pay via credit card (using Pay Pal) or by providing all the information needed and then paying by check.  If you pick the latter option, you are presented a page (and sent an e-mail) with my address for sending the check. 

I guess at this point we could start advertising if we wanted to.  I'm still working on pages to sign up for gaming sessions and show the list of registered participants but those aren't necessarily needed right away. I'll be working on them in the coming days.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

jedion357's picture
jedion357
October 14, 2011 - 5:55pm
We're going to need a flyer to post around the internet. something with the pertinent info and the logo medalion in the corner.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 14, 2011 - 6:17pm
Yes, that is my next project.
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TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 15, 2011 - 12:19pm
Sample flyers in the download section.  Let me know if you have any suggestions for changes.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 20, 2011 - 3:21pm
(crickets)

I guess the silence means that people think the new versions are okay.

In either case, with the registration process all set up, is there any reason not to start "papering" the internet about the con?  If not, I'll make a post to the SF Yahoo group mailing list and post on twitter and my blog to start getting the word out.

The only reason I can think of to possibly hold off is to wait until I get a "create a game session" web page built that will allow referees to register a game session they want to run.  Since that is decoupled from the registration process, however, I don't really think we need to wait.  Related to this, for a discussion of what information that page needs to collect.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
October 20, 2011 - 5:55pm
Wonder if I can get a copy of the flyer as a picture not a pdf. a png file would be good
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 21, 2011 - 8:01am
I posted a PNG version in the downloads section.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
October 25, 2011 - 3:26pm
Okay, I've wired up most of the con web site now.  You can register, either via mail or credit card, and you can create a game session.  The scheduled page is wired up as well to show all the games currently scheduled.  Each game has a description page that is linked to from the Join a Game page and the schedule page.

The only thing really missing at this point is the ability to actually sign up as a player and a page for referee's to edit there game descriptions.  I'm also sure that there are a bunch of minor things that could be done to make it better.

However, those missing items are not necessary right away (we need referees to start games before people can join them.  At this point I think there is enough to make the site live.  Feel free to start advertising.

Also send me any comments or suggestions you have for the site.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
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clikkclikk's picture
clikkclikk
May 24, 2012 - 2:08pm
Just curious, any new anniversary con showing up at the horizon? BTW, have the patches already been released? :)
Last game played: Somewhere in the 80th (Vrusk by heart) -- fond of Jugger, a "post-apocalyptic" sport

Karxan's picture
Karxan
May 25, 2012 - 1:05am
@Clikk, TerlObar has lots left. Click on this link  http://starfrontiers.info/VirtualCon/patch.html and you can order one. Just follow the directions. Any questions TerlObar has his email there, he is a great help. The patches are awesome.

clikkclikk's picture
clikkclikk
June 14, 2012 - 7:13am
Thanks a lot! 
EDIT I just ordered it, can't wait to hold it in my hands ... excellent idea, and work!
Last game played: Somewhere in the 80th (Vrusk by heart) -- fond of Jugger, a "post-apocalyptic" sport

clikkclikk's picture
clikkclikk
June 19, 2012 - 5:33am
I received the patch today! I must say I am deeply impressed, TerlObar. The patch is stunning indeed, and the document attached makes it really even more special. 
Last game played: Somewhere in the 80th (Vrusk by heart) -- fond of Jugger, a "post-apocalyptic" sport

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
June 19, 2012 - 12:04pm
Good to know they arrived safely before you moved.  And I'm glad you like them.
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Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine