An entirely epic gaming convention taking place in the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center over Memorial Day weekend!
Earlier this year, I spent upwards of 13 hours crammed into the back of a Kia to get to Indianapolis for the biggest gaming convention I've ever seen. Worth it? Hell yeah! But it made me think that it's time for this part of the Midwest to get a properly massive geek-con of our very own. And the DECC is just the place!
The more support we get and the more quickly we get it; the more incredible Berserkon will be! If we start hitting stretch goals, it'll mean more events, more guests, and possibly even more time.
People on our team have cut their teeth organizing and running a smaller local convention at the University of Wisconsin-Superior known as SoupCon. It's a project they've been involved with for a few years now, and even though it's a one day thing, it's really popular.
Our liaison to the DECC is very involved and terrific at her job. We're honestly blown away at how supportive and helpful she's been with making sure we have exactly what we need when we need it, and offering useful feedback and advice.
There are also game-store owners who have experience running big events on a regular basis. For my part, I'm the one who knows people, and is willing to get in front of the camera and make a boob out of myself. So I guess that means I'm the PR guy and organizer!
I've also been in contact with my ZOE pals who just put on their first convention this year. This is the biggest event most of us (apart from April of the DECC) have been involved with, but these are smart and dedicated people that I have absolute confidence in!
Our location is prime for residents of the US, as well as being just a day's travel away from Winnipeg and Thunder Bay.
Potential sponsors (who might also become backers) will be keeping an eye on this Kickstarter to see how many people will come to this neck of the woods for a bigger piece of the gaming scene!
We've been talking to Paizo, Fantasy Flight, high level M:tG judges, Privateer Press, AEG, and several others.
There will be RPGs, high-profile TCG tournaments, wargaming, a LAN room, board games (CATAN!), costume contests, and all kinds of celebrity guests! More details will be released as more companies see how much demand there is for this event and want to jump on board!
LETS GET OUR BERSERKON!
(Incidentally, the bad-ass background music is courtesy of purpleplanet.com! Thanks guys!)
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Even though the DECC is willing to take a chance on us, some of the big companies don't like to deal with Kickstarters before they're a sure thing with concrete numbers to lay down. That is why we hope you'll buy badges here and now instead of waiting for regular preregistration - without lots of involvement now, there won't be a preregistration!
I'm coordinating with celebrity guests from around the country (and some from Canada and one potential guest from the UK), and between that, managing a website, and handling PR, I'm assembling a team of dedicated local gamers from the Duluth/Superior area with skillsets uniquely tailored to making this entire undertaking - from the launch of the Kickstarter to turning out the lights on the last day of the convention - run smooth and efficiently.
The DECC and visitduluth.com are also providing incredible support for this campaign, and will see to it that we've got the best possible deals on hotel reservations and convention space. No convention could ask for a more ideal city.
This is the most ambitious KS-based gaming convention posted to date, but the amount we're after is less than half that raised by most successful Kickstarted convention (congrats Gaymercon!). With all of these excellent people and institutions at our backs, we are poised to bring the upper Midwest a convention the likes of which it's never seen!
Most people have two options - flying directly into Duluth, or landing in Minneapolis and taking a 3 hour shuttle or bus ride up North. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Here's the rub though; the Duluth International Airport costs significantly more to fly through for many (but not all!) compared to the Minneapolis International Airport. Be sure to factor in how much you could end up saving by taking the long way, minus whatever the shuttle or bus would cost!
No! There will be SEVERAL hotels setting housing blocks aside! The Radisson and the Holiday Inn are both a short skywalk jaunt (or complimentary shuttle ride in the Holiday Inn's case) away from the convention center, while the Canal Park Lodge, the Hampton Inn, the Inn on Lake Superior, and The Suites on Waterfront Plaza are all only a few blocks away. With the everything so close at hand you could very easily get by without a car at all.
Are there places that can serve up ample food and beverage, and will they have special promotional menus?
Yes and maybe! The DECC itself will have concession stands open for 8 of the 12 hour con day, and there are also several fast food and coffee joints near at hand. For slightly more up-scale dining we've got the Grandmas franchise restaurants that include Grandmas Sports Garden, Little Angie's Cantina and Grill, and Bellisio's. There's also a Famous Dave's, Old Chicago, Green Mill, and Red Lobster.
Whether we can convince any of these chains (we've particularly got our eye on the Grandma's franchise) to carry special dishes or menus is largely dependent on how much interest we can prove we've got. Every single person that buys a badge increases the likelihood that we'll be able to make Berserkon spill over to the local eateries!