Circle DC 2023 & Circle DC 2024
How was 2023 and what is in store for 2024?
In December 2022, I wrote a post titled Planning and Budgeting for a First Time Game Conference: What Could Possibly Go Wrong? That first time game convention - Circle DC 2023 - turned out to be a rather solid soiree.
First the numbers. We had 110 attendees, including 95 paid attendees at $75 per badge. We waived the registration fee for anyone under 18, for media folks, and for our outstanding volunteer workers. We decided not to charge for raffle tickets, so we had ticket income of $7125. The venue was $4000, transaction fees were $695 and graphic design was $295. Technically that produced a profit of $2135, although we had some other costs I paid in cash or in trade for baseball tickets, so we roughly broke even.
How was the event? We surveyed our attendees and overall it seems folks had a pretty good time. But we also learned some lessons for Circle DC 2024. We decided to scrap tournaments - I love a good tournament, but the setting is much more suited to learning new games and meeting interesting people in the hobby. On the flip side, although a majority of attendees were not interested in “outside activities” like visiting the Pentagon or catching a baseball game, it was compelling to a significant minority. Hence, we will be expanding that aspect of the convention this year. We, of course, learned some lessons on how to make the event run smoother. And, while the Naval Lodge was quite the charming venue, it did have some drawbacks.
We also generated some nice media buzz for our first convention. Washingtonian magazine had a nice story on both Votes for Women and Circle DC and National Public Radio discussed Votes for Women in the context of the ongoing board game renaissance.
Perhaps most importantly for Fort Circle is that I signed two new games at the convention - Night Witches by David Thompson and Elizabeth Davidson and Peace 1905 by Nathaniel Berkley, S.P. Shaman, Maurice Suckling and Bill Sullivan. While I knew I wanted to publish Night Witches, Peace 1905 wowed me at the convention and I would probably not be publishing it if I hadn’t had the chance to play it in person with the designers. I also was able to play Blood & Treasure by Dan Bullock and let’s just say that was also fortuitous.
All in all, I was quite pleased with how the convention went - but at the same time made notes for how to improve the 2024 edition.
So what is new for 2024? First, the venue. We will be hosting at the Planet Word museum here in Washington, DC. The venue is a little bigger (and has better lighting, Volko!) so we are capping registration at 160. We also bumped up the price to $99 for a badge.
We are also going to expand the “outside activities” - primarily to try to keep up with all the neat things Harold Buchanan is doing with San Diego HistCon and HistCon East. The Naval War College is cool, but so is Washington, DC. And while the 2023 edition ran fairly smooth, I cannot help but think this year will be even better.
I should warn you that the badges are selling fast. The convention is April 5-7 and we have already sold 60 of the 160 badges - and that is without sending an email to the Friends of Fort Circle email list. So hurry up and grab a badge and we will see you in April!