Gencon 2017 is next month and I did a last minute check of the Gencon event spreadsheet, looking for anything that I might want to play. While looking through the spreadsheet I realized that there is interesting statistical information hidden within. Specifically, it is possible to extract a good estimate of Gencon 2017 event demand based on the data set.
Here is the methodology I used for my analysis. I calculated the percentage of seats available for chosen RPG events by company as of June 30th, 2017. I leave it to others to crunch the numbers for board and miniature games. Combining the “Max Players” column with the “Tickets Available,” column I generated a percentage of seats available by company. My assumption was that any event leading with “RPG####” met my criteria. The seminars were also removed as they have massive seat counts and threw off the numbers of people actually playing games. I think this primitive number crunching gives a snapshot of demand, which I think is a reasonable placeholder for the popularity of a game overall. I also did not do the entire list of RPG companies, but I did pick the notable ones and a couple of interesting outliers.
First, Gencon as a whole as a bit of trivia. There are 349193 total seats for all events (of all types, not just RPGs) and of those 192116 are currently available. This indicates that 55% of the seats at all events at Gencon 2017 remain unsold. Interesting, but fairly meaningless because items like seminars/tournaments/movie showings have huge available seat numbers and likely skew the results.
Here are the results.
|Company Name||Total Seats||Seats Unsold||Percentage Unsold|
|Catalyst Game Labs||1632||111||6.80%|
|Exile Game Studio||354||37||10.45%|
|Monte Cook Games||768||41||5.34%|
First, the extremes on the chart. White Wolf has 222 seats available and sold all but one. This implies they are underserving their fan base. Not surprising as White Wolf is a shadow of a once great empire with a large fan base. Long neglected by its owners, I see a possible resurgence if WW actually ran more slots.
At the other extreme, Paizo’s numbers show that Wizards of the Coast ceded supremacy at Gencon to Paizo. Baldman Games runs the “Dungeons and Dragons” effort for Wizards and they are only offering half of the seats of Paizo. That said, Baldman’s 25% unsold implies that they are providing a seat count more in line with demand than Paizo at 45%. In either case, they are clearly the “Big 2” at gencon for RPG offerings.
The Cash Cow
“True Dungeon” is a license to print money. Offering 8840 seats and selling all but 156 states clearly that this is a wildly popular event. I knew that but doing the math on the gross receipts for 8684 players, at $62.00 each, comes out to $538,408.00 in four days! This number does not even include the swag and tokens TD sells. Not bad for a glorified haunted house. If I was working at this monster, I would ask for a raise. Capitalism at its finest. I approve.
The Venerable Ancients
Chaosium, Palladium, Goodman Games and Exile Game Studios are long time publishers in the RPG industry and their strength shows here. While not running vast numbers of events, they have respectable numbers and low unsold percentages. A nice showing all around.
The Young Guns
Monte Cook Games, Ulysses Spiel and Posthuman Studios also put up good numbers, with Monte Cook Games in the lead (accounting for both number of events offered and percentage unsold). Ulysses Spiel , in particular, looks off to a good start with the “Torg” release and a respectable seat count.
Monocle, which I doubt you heard of, is a new company with an interesting idea; the Weave RPG. Weave uses a tarot deck, an Amazon Alexa device, and a smartphone. Even with minimal exposure, it managed to sell very well. I am playing this at Gencon 2017 and will let you know how it goes.
That is it for my humble mathematical efforts to determine gencon 2017 event demand. I hope you find it interesting and let me know how many ways I made statistical errors. 🙂
Trask, The Last Tyromancer