This year is the first time that the wonderful people behind SaltCon put on a smaller 2-day convention at the end of summer. They called it SaltCon: End of Summer. I was only able to attend one day of the convention due to family obligations, but I can already tell you that there are things that made this mini-convention as good as the fully fledged event in the spring.
SaltCon: End of Summer capped attendance at 500 people. Yes, that’s still a fair number of people, but it’s only a third of the people who come to the spring event. To many, having more people is better. And they’re right, in some respects.
Having more people attend allows for more events, more hype, and makes it so that the organizers can put more money into prizes, amenities, etc. Of course it also means that you have rooms that become sweltering with the combined body heat of over 1,000 people. The noise ratchets up in the echoing rooms that can contain that many people. And getting games from the Game Library (especially the popular ones) or a table to play them on is a matter of precision timing or hovering and hoping.
With the much smaller attendance cap at SaltCon: End of Summer, the noise was much less intense. It was easy to find a table (even a double-width table). While the body heat did accumulate after a while, it wasn’t oppressive. It merely had a tendency to put me to sleep. Best of all, I could find popular games to check out and try.
Testing New Amenities
This smaller event allowed the organizers to test out a few new amenities on a smaller audience. Not only did the organizers of SaltCon: End of Summer present us with awesome keychains, they also tested several other small and amazing improvements that made our experience awesome.
Primary among these improvements was a streamlined badge system. At previous events picking up your badge could take quite a while as the volunteers searched through huge number of badges, trying to find the one belonging to you. This time, when we walked up to the counter, we said our names and they handed us our badges within a few seconds. Far better.
Attendees of SaltCon: End of Summer also got to pick up little adhesive ribbons to attach to their badges proclaiming their gaming allegiances and achievements. These included accolades like “Every Timer” or “RPG Gamer” or the one I definitely avoided: “Eurogamer”. If you didn’t know or couldn’t guess: I generally hate eurogames.
Finally, the RPG advertisements this year were absolutely amazing. Truly gorgeous. Not only did it make me want to spend inordinate amounts of time in the RPG room, it caught my wife’s eye. While she does play RPGs with me, she doesn’t seek them out. Simply making every RPG stand out and shine in that way was a great way to draw attention to one of the best parts of any SaltCon, let alone SaltCon: End of Summer.
In my post about SaltCon 2018 I talked about “Captain Francisco Martinez” and how much fun we had. He and his wife were the first ones to greet us when we arrived. It was awesome to see them both, and to get to spend some time playing games with Robert. It was a really fun time.
Although I don’t know Dale (one of SaltCon: End of Summer and SaltCon’s organizers) very well, he made a point of greeting my small family when he saw us. David, who oversees the RPG area with the help of some awesome coordinators, recognized me immediately and keep on encouraging me to come back and GM. I think I will.
Almost everyone I meet at a SaltCon event is friendly, happy to get to know new people, and just plain fun. If nothing else, this is one of the greatest selling points for SaltCon and SaltCon: End of Summer.
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