Dragonflight is a small gaming convention in the Pacific Northwest… at least… until this year it was. Last year it *might* have hit 400, maybe. This year, by midday Saturday, it hit over 800.
This is the second year after the con was coup d’état’d by Amy Gembala, with last year being the last year with the old regime and plenty of politics and firings and leavings in the middle of the year. Last year, it was light on the RPGs, medium on the board games, uber light on the LARPing and almost nonexistent for the miniatures.
I didn’t come this Friday as I was working at my day job, but Saturday I came to sit our table for our publishing company. When they opened the door the room was instantly filled. Compared to last year, where two or three people came in, it was a welcome change.
About half the attendees are women. About a 10th of the total attendees are next generation. These numbers are awesome! It means that people care enough about gaming to a) perform a Coup d’état to get one of the only actual table top gaming cons in the Northwest back on its feet and save it from looking like a long turd down the crapper, b) care enough about *this* con to have doubled the attendance in a year, and c) get their children involved. (Take THAT you anti-gaming and “women don’t game” people).
I showed up Sunday not knowing what to expect. Last year, Sunday was a dead day. There was no one for the first 2 hours. It was nice because it meant the dealers got to talk, but it was really no good for business. Sunday this year was amazing. When the doors first opened, there were at least 15 people in the room (that’s a lot comparatively), with more people showing within the first half an hour.
I asked a couple of dealers who hadn’t been here in a while what made them come. Dealers like Frog God and Kobold (wonderful RPGs) said it was because they decided they were not doing Gencon this year, live in the area, and chose to come back to the con that they came to as teens. I asked Zucati (awesome dice and dice boxes) why and they said they were at Gameratti and saw an advertisement for it. That seems to be the key, advertising wasn’t here before.
This has always been a fun convention for me. I have rarely had a bad time at all (aside from not selling very many books). I’ve always had a fun time bonding with other dealers, as you do when you are in the dealer’s room.
This crowd both surprises me and makes me very happy. Dragonflight is thriving. Tabletop games are thriving. The proof is here!
*edit: my French is bad. Where I said coup de grace, I meant Coup d’état. Sigh.
- From: Amy Gembala Minor notes – last year’s attendance was 675 and this was my third year as convention director. Next year…1000!!! I’m glad you had a good time. 😀 (Hugs)