For the past two years I've attended KantCon, which is a gaming convention located in Kansas City. I've had mixed experiences at KantCon. I don't think that they have enough planned on Friday, which is the best day for me to go. I don't think they have much of a plan for younger children aside from letting them check out board games. And most importantly, I simply don't think they have enough games. Both times I've gone, there has rarely been slots available in RPG's for myself and my son (usually this meant letting my son play while I went off with a board game or wandered the handful of vendors).
This year, KantCon is facing some challenges. Their old venue appears no long financially feasible, so a new venue had to be found. Regardless, prices on admission have gone up. And finally, they are doing what so many people are doing now--using Kickstarter. What are they offering, aside from discount pre-pre-registration tickets? They are offering you the ability to sign up in advance for "Buy In Games." These are particular RPG sessions that will initially be available to Kickstarter participants only, then the pre-registrants, then the schmoes coming in the door.
I get it. KantCon needs money to operate, without it there would not be a convention. But essentially charging an additional $70 to guarantee that you can participate in the best (if not only) gaming sessions, and I have mixed feelings about this. I'd feel better if the KantCon organizers did something to insure that most, if not all, convention attendees could get in on at least one game when they arrived. Maybe having a "no reservations" game or two, or a rolling miniatures game where people could walk up, play for a couple of hours, then leave.
I'd feel particularly good if they had some kid-friendly games available. Get some reliable (maybe even background-checked) GM's to run a game for the less-than-18 crowd like Meddling Kids or Star Wars.
I feel like maybe I need to be part of the solution here, not just a sidewalk prophet yelling at the KantCon organizers to get more people involved in their planning.
But what do you think about conventions charging extra to guarantee spots in games? What's your experience of small conventions, and what would make them better? Comments welcome.