Monday, April 5, 2010

TARGA: Mission GenCon 2011

It's too late to set up for this year, but one thing I'm pushing for TARGA's plans is to have a TARGA/OSR/whatever booth at GenCon 2011. We light up the online stores top sellers lists, win ENNIEs, have everyone online talking, for and against, about Old School, but at the premier RPG convention... we got zip.

This is ridiculous. This needs to change.

I'll tell you this, if I lived in the States, I'd have a booth at GenCon all on my own. There is a reason that the big companies roll out new game lines and big new releases at GenCon. It's a publicity bonanza.

(for all I know, Black Blade's got a booth this year, or Brave Halfling or Goblinoid already has plans for a GenCon booth. Wouldn't that be a pisser. But I've heard nothing along those lines about any of them doing such things.

By the way, I've got Goodman Games, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rogue Games, and Brave Halfling on board to send me stuff to sell at Ropecon. I ordered quite conservatively, just 3 copies of all applicable titles, but I'm already in deep enough shit if I'm miscalculating the Finnish market for old school stuff, right?)

There's a lot that needs to happen before this gets done. Just the booth space alone costs about $1000. Assuming the box set doesn't fall on its ass, I've pledged $250. Only fair since I count on this benefiting me a great deal.

I brought up fundraising ideas to the TARGA board. I sort of dropped the ball on Green Devil Face late last year because of everything here I needed to get organized, but I still have a new issue ready for editing and formatting. I bet others have short projects or adventures they'd be willing to donate to the TARGA cause, for this GenCon thing and for other activities, and I've put forward the idea of TARGA getting its own storefront on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow to sell these things.

With the recent hoo-ha (and all the painful "What's TARGA?" comments) happening at the same time TARGA (spearheaded by Shorten's efforts) handing Luke Gygax a $350 check at GaryCon for the Gygax memorial, I had a few thoughts.

TARGA's widespread visibility is irrelevant to its ability to perform outreach and do good work. Organizing convention games and International Traditional Gaming Week is all good and well, but I suspect it's TARGA getting its name on things people are doing anyway. Maybe I'm wrong. Either way, "we can manufacture Hoffmann lenses until we're blue in the face, we're not going to reach enough people." We need an event.

And there's no bigger event than GenCon for what we do. Whether people associate the work done with TARGA or not is irrelevant. It's the work, the goal, not the credit, that's important for an outreach organization.

We're building this thing up, all of us, block by block. I have a good feeling about my project (but I would say that, wouldn't I?), more of us are selling in the multiple hundreds of copies of some of our releases, and I think by next year it just might be time to show up on the industry's doorstep and knock their goddamn socks off, and let the greater gaming public know that we're here, we're serious, and we're going to kick their ass in a way nobody's been able to kick it in over twenty-five years.


  1. The auction was seriously hard to find on the website. I missed out on a Bunnies and Burrows auction that went for a criminally low price IMO. The final totals were relatively easy to find, but finding the auctions while they were active was a pain.

  2. I'm teaming up with Fat Dragon Games to have a Labyrinth Lord presence at GenCon this year. I can't make it myself this year for a number of important reasons. Maybe next year though! I don't always inform other publishers what my various plans are, which is why you were unaware of this.

  3. What's interesting is that you ended your other post with:

    "Last night's TARGA conference call was eventful. I'll let the official update happen before I talk about how I envision things happening. "Shit or get off the pot" time."

    I'm sitting here asking myself "What call?"

    So I go and look back on the front page of the Wiki, Blog, Web Page, and the recent emails. No notice of any calls.

    Checked my membership status---Yup. Still a member.

    How does someone make the call list?

  4. You may be partly right about TARGA attaching a name to things that were going on. But the difference, I think, was that TARGA spurred those people either moved those events from someone's basement to the FLGS and/or made a more concerted effort to reach new people with the mantra that old school represents a different way of gaming that they might enjoy.

    For a volunteer group just getting started, this is pretty good work, and somewhat more than what the phrase "things people are already doing" might suggest.

    There is a lot of old school gaming going on out there that most people don't see. Changing what is seen is a good first step, even if much of that was going to happen anyway.


  5. >I don't always inform other publishers what my various plans are

    Yeah, I don't expect notifications but I do try to keep up. Is this the first time you've announced this publicly?

    >There is a lot of old school gaming going on out there that most people don't see. Changing what is seen is a good first step, even if much of that was going to happen anyway.

    Hmm that is a good point. I guess I just take for granted that all this other activity is obviously the result of a lot of play.

  6. You should go contact that Stuart guy to run Green Devil Face. That dungeon room contest was pretty much the same thing.

  7. @Joe - it was a Board of Directors call, not a general participation call. Just an FYI.

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  9. oops, messed up that post above...

    @James: I haven't made any very visible announcements (but it's certainly not a secret). I mentioned it on a thread about GenCon on my forums, and in the Labyrinth Lord Society newsletter, because there are going to be several LL games at GenCon and people can be directed to the FDG booth to find copies of the game.

  10. A booth at GENCON is almost as compelling as the general quantity of events, of which there are many OSR-style events still on the ledger typically.

    To not be at GENCON, when everyone and their mother including Live Action Heroclix (really compelling Ms. Marvel among other costumes last year) is in fact there is frankly glaring. Is it a symptom or a root cause? I feel thankfully it is the latter: the collective wherewithal, resources, and dispersed nature of such a confederated movement.

    In the world of gaming these days, waiting until 2011 or 16 months is an eternity. I will make it a point this year to provide my feel of the convention at large. I complain each year yet find myself back in INDY.