June 18, 2024

Your 2023 in Wargaming, Part 3 – Conventioneers

Brant Guillory, 19 January 2024

Last month, we asked you about your 2023 wargaming and we’ve been slowly churning through some results.  Today, we’re looking specifically at the responses revolving around convention attendance.  We asked the audience if they’d attended any conventions over the past year, and a little under half of the respondents reported that they did.


To recap, a little under half of our respondents attended a convention last year.

2023 Stat Charts.008

That’s still over 100 over that made it to a wargaming gathering, so that’s not too bad!


Which cons did you attend?

2023 yearEnd Conv Conventions Attended

By far, the most popular answer was “other” with over 60 responses.  But of the ones we provided in the pre-formatted list, Connections, SDHIST, Origins were the most common answers.  Note that respondents were free to choose all that applied, so we had some people pick 6 or 7 options.

 


Why do you attend the conventions that you do?

Primary Factor in Choosing Convention Count
Cost – the overall cost to attend, including travel & accomodations 3
Events – what games or key events are offered 17
Friends – who else is attending that I want to see 25
Organizer – who is running the convention 9
Proximity – the con is close to me 49
Timing – the convention is held at a time that works for me 18
Grand Total 121

It looks like the majority of you are looking for conventions that are nearby, and then linking up with friends at them.

 


How does convention attendance impact the number of games you buy?

Attend Convention ➡️

⬇️ Buy more games

No Yes Grand Total
A lot more than 2022 29 23 52
More, but not by a lot 54 44 98
Not quite as many as last year 44 45 89
Way fewer games than in 2022 21 9 30
Total 148 121 269

Convention attendance doesn’t seem to have a significant effect on whether or not you’re buying more games.

 


How does convention attendance impact the number of games you play?

Attend Convention ➡️

⬇️ Play more games

No Yes Grand Total
No, I didn’t play nearly as much as last year 20 8 28
No, didn’t play as much, but it was close 29 30 59
Yes, played more, but not a lot 64 56 120
Yes, played a lot more 35 27 62
Total 148 121 269

Similarly, convention attendance doesn’t seem to have a significant effect on whether or not you’re playing more games, either.

 


How does convention attendance impact the opponents with whom you play?

Attend Convention ➡️

⬇️ New Opponents

No Yes Grand Total
A whole lot of new people 12 13 25
Some of my prior opponents, but more new ones than the previous year 10 26 36
Mostly my same gaming buddies, with a few new faces 32 45 77
The usual suspects 36 24 60
Primarily a solo gamer 58 13 71
Grand Total 148 121 269

So solo gamers aren’t attending conventions in great numbers – who knew?!  But otherwise, folks attending conventions played with some new faces, but not by an overwhelmingly dominant amount that there’s any absolute conclusion to be drawn here.

 


Cost of Convention Attendance

2023 yearEnd Conv Cost of Attendance

Perhaps leaning into the ‘proximity’ factor for our convention-goers, not a lot of people are spending over $500 on their conventions (which is roughly travel to a weekend convention w/ a 2-night hotel stay).  Folks staying at home?  Folks only staying one night at a hotel?  Crashing with friends but still traveling a ways to get there?  This might be worth asking more detailed questions in the future.

 


Cost of Convention Purchases

2023 yearEnd Conv Cost of Purchases

We might look at this in greater detail based on the conventions people report attending.  The gut reaction would probably be that attendees at conventions with big vendor halls – Origins, GenCon, WBC, even CSW – are likely spending more there, but overall, the convention attendees replying to this survey aren’t treating conventions as a significant shopping expedition.

 


Primary factor in attending vs cost of attendance

Cost of Attendance ➡️

⬇️ Primary Factor in Attendance

Under $100 $100-200 $200-500 over $500 (blank) Total
Cost – the overall cost to attend, including travel & accomodations 1 1 1 3
Events – what games or key events are offered 3 2 4 8 17
Friends – who else is attending that I want to see 2 2 9 11 1 25
Organizer – who is running the convention 1 3 5 9
Proximity – the con is close to me 21 12 8 8 49
Timing – the convention is held at a time that works for me 2 5 8 3 18
Totals 28 23 33 36 1 121

Looking at how much people spend to attend their conventions, based on the reasons they choose to go, it looks like people are willing to spend some money to attend with specific friends, and to a lesser extend, for specific events.
Attendees looking for conventions close to home are those more likely to try to save money on the cost of attendance, and keep their convention expenditures as cheap as possible.

 


Overall spending of attendance + shopping budget

Cost of Attendance ➡️

⬇️ Shopping Budget

Under $100 $100-200 $200-500 over $500 Total
Under $100 20 13 10 10 53
$100-200 8 8 19 14 49
$200-500 2 3 10 15
over $500 1 2 3
Grand Total 28 23 33 36 120

For your overall convention budgets, not a lot of respondents are dropping four-figure amounts on the combination of attendance plus shopping.  In general, folks aren’t shopping a lot at conventions, but we knew that already.  Attendees that are keeping the cost of attendance cheap aren’t spending a lot of money at all, perhaps because many of the smaller, local convention don’t have a lot of shopping options, whereas the larger, more expensive-to-attend cons necessarily limit the overall shopping budget because of the money already committed to travel & lodging.

 


So overall, it doesn’t appear as though convention attendance seem to have a whole lot of impact on whether you buy more, play more, or play with new folks.

There’s little need of tests of statistical significance with this group, as it’s a subset of an already-limited population, but even just eyeballing them, you can tell there’s not enough separation to really see much difference between the two populations.

As we’ve mentioned repeatedly, the stats you’re going to see here are not trying to describe “the wargaming population” but rather “these are the people that replied to the survey”.


2023 YEAR-END WARGAMING SURVEY
THE ORIGINAL SURVEY ~ DESCRIPTIVE STATS ~ CROSSTABS PART 1 ~ CONVENTIONEERS ~ CROSSTABS PART 2 ~ FAVE GAMES ~ OPEN RESPONSES


Thank you for visiting The Armchair Dragoons and mounting up with the Regiment of Strategy Gaming.
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There once were Dragoons in their chairs,
Wargaming expertise beyond compares.
With passion they’d play,
Strategizing all day,
The Armchair champions, nobody dares.
In the hobby, they stand proud and tall,
Wargaming prowess, they enthrall.
In each tabletop fight,
They prove their might,
Armchair Dragoons, the best of them all!

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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