Warhammer and a player’s pocket-book don’t always see eye to eye. For most players you either play in your home or you are short drive away from free gaming. Warhammer while not card game accessible is with a few tables and some terrain not that labor or cost intensive. With the luxury of having access to any game anytime you have to wonder why would anyone want to leave the confines of free gaming and head out and pay to play games against random strangers?

Of course we have many reasons most common is meeting new players or for competition. If you were to put a price tag on just those two requirements it would be fair to say $30 bucks for a one day and $50 bucks for a two-day event. Thinking of in movie ticket terms– doesn’t this sound fair? If each game is the length of an average movie you can expect that price (give or take) your entertainment expectations.

So once you start charging more than $50 bucks it is reasonable for one to start raising those expectations. So what do you look for when an event starts to inch closer to $100 dollars? Here is what many people look for in no particular order.

  • Access to cheap liquor or food
  • Good Judging
  • Good terrain and tables
  • Good organization
  • Decent and cheap hotel to stay at
  • Multiple chances at prizes
  • Swag
  • Accessible event space
  • Over 30 players
  • Air conditioning
  • A creative way to make your event stand out (like playing on an aircraft carrier)

So what do you expect from an event that charges $125? Should you expect free tickets to the closest strip club with at least five minutes comped time in the champagne room? If not booty shaking then at least a generous swag bag at the door and solemn swear that none of your games will be against a douche bag. Now you might be wondering is there really an event that charges 125 bucks? Just few weeks ago Mechanicon charged that whopper of a number. From most accounts the event was well run and drama free. Except for the price tag! Mechanicon is trying to grow into an Adepticon styte event, this is fine, but Adepticon doesn’t even charge that much. In fact Adepticon is only $65 bucks if you just wanted to play in the championship GT only. Adepticon you get a full swag back, a full dealers room, a great hotel, over 1000 wargamers, and much more.

Mechancion you get what again? If you look at the website it is not too clear what you get, but a chance to play random guys over two days with a “chance” to win something.

I understand people are trying to make some money. This though is not the hobby to try to do it in. At best your goal is break even. After seeing first hand the train wreck known as the Conquest events of Gabriel Vega you have to wonder what are these organizers thinking? There are many ways to run an GT. One way is not to price out your players. If you charge $125 bucks you better expect people to question the value of the experience when they make a decision  to attend next year. Let us use NovaOpen as great example of a good cost for enjoyment event (setting aside any feelings about format or drama). NovaOpen is only 50 bucks and you get:  door prizes, at least four games on one day, and a chance for three more the next day. Every game you play you get entered in a raffle for more prizes and most of the stuff mentioned on the list above. Granted the TO of that event knew he was going to probably lose money, but he still went ahead knowing that.

Part of the problem is actually Games Workshop. They gave special permission to events across this land to hike prices. The Indy GT circuit has led to an attempt by some to gouge players by dangling a chance at getting a ticket to the Las Vegas. The GT circuit has also lead people either completely incompetent or in over their head to try events that fail. You just cannot put “Vegas qualifier” on your event and hope people are going to drop at least $60 plus bucks on your event.

Another potential pitfall is the creation of a new tier of player; one that is a cut above the rest not because they are better players, but because they have the deep pockets to prove it. The extreme being the ETC which attempts to bring together “best” players from around the world to play against each. It could create a Tony Stark situation where him and his buddies can only play, 40k would start to look more like polo and less like ping-pong. So unless 40k gets a Mark Cuban as a player sponsor that pays for the best and the brightest, you can expect more of the I haves filling up our bandwidth with their paper tiger egos.

Many TOs need to start thinking more what they want for their events and judge if it is really worth the time and effort. There is no shame in starting out small and cheap and build from there.

So what is your price tag?