April 7, 2008

Events Report: Northeast Wars

This past weekend, I attended Northeast Wars: The Resurrection in Burlington, Vermont. The con has been on a haitus for the past ten years, and has recently returned, sponsored by Vermont's biggest gaming store, Quarterstaff.

The con attracted around 160 people over the course of three days, from April 4th through the 6th, a good number for something that was really only in planning for 3 or 4 months. The gaming was spread out over a couple of large rooms, split up by miniatures, RPGs, board games, war gaming and cards, and a couple local vendors. Overall, this was a really small, quaint con, that was quite a bit of fun to walk around for.

My role was pretty limited - basically walking and talking to people. Given the size of the event, the shock and awe factor really wore off quick, and I only spent a couple hours walking around as a TK. I did pose for some pictures, threw a couple people into a wall, the usual trooper things to do, and people really liked the 501st's presence there.

What really was fun was helping advertise for the con on the nearby Church Street, a pedestrian shopping street. With a handler on Saturday, and a girl dressed up as a ESB Han Solo on Sunday, handing out fliers and posing for pictures. This doubled as a really good recruiting and presence for the group and for the convention - we handed out several hundred fliers.

I've also discovered a couple additional storm troopers in the state, someone from St. Albans, who seems to have slipped under the NEG's radar for a time. I was also approached by someone on the street who asked if I was wearing an FX Suit - apparently he has one as well, local to Burlington, and was not a member, nor was he aware of the 501st. I told him about the website and that I'd be helping out at the Free Comic Book Day at Earth Prime Comics, so hopefully he will find, contact and join us, which will help bolster our Vermont numbers a bit. (4 additional, up from just two that we were aware of, not including 1 inactive - Five total. Figure in three to five recruits or potential recruits and we have the start of some good numbers in Vermont.)

The con itself was a good recruiting oppertunity. There are a handful of people who were interested in the 501st, and I answered a number of questions about what we do, and what the NEG has been up to. The girl who was dressed as Han Solo and her husband seemed really interested, and I ended up posting several of our recruiting fliers, as well as laid them out at the table - a number were taken. Several more have been placed at Quarterstaff Games and Earthprime Comics

The organizers are planning on doing this next year, and with more planning, have invited us back, and we'll have some more opportunities for donations to a charity organization, plus some things we could do on our own. Hopefully by that time, we'll be able to get more people here for this. While 1 TK worked, more would be better. He might also have us help out next year prior to the con to help advertise a bit, such as going out a couple weeks before hand to get more attention.

Wranglers will also be a must, especially for the Church Street excursions - There were a lot of people there, and it was helpful to have someone carrying fliers and explaining things to people, taking pictures, etc. There were also a couple annoying people - a couple drunks, one guy who pulled my gun and one particularly annoying woman who I think was pretty high. While Annick (my Han Solo companion) was helpful, this was something that we both weren't prepared for, and I think having a plainclothes person would be helpful. At the con, I had no issues at all. I need to remember a camera with fresh batteries next time though. Mine died and I didn't get any pictures for the weekend. Urg.

Jonathan, the general manager of Quarterstaff games, was extremely helpful, and really, really loved having me there to help out and walk around. He's going to keep in touch to let me know if they have any further events - Free COmic Book Day is one upcoming one - that they'll have in the store, and he's pretty connected to the local geek community, which should be helpful once the Clone Wars series hits theaters. This is an event that has a lot of potential and if I'm around and free, I'll be there.

Very fitting that I return home to find a Star Wars marathon on TV.

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