Gencon 2017 Event Demand–A Mathematical Analysis

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
Paizo 12326 5619 45.59%
Catalyst Game Labs 1632 111 6.80%
Baldman Games 6862 1716 25.01%
Ulysses Spiel 261 61 23.37%
Monocle 285 58 20.35%
Chaosium 1302 231 17.74%
Palladium 339 37 10.91%
Exile Game Studio 354 37 10.45%
Monte Cook Games 768 41 5.34%
Posthuman Studios 310 15 4.84%
Goodman Games 978 28 2.86%
True Dungeon 8840 156 1.76%
White Wolf 222 1 0.45%

 

The Extremes

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.

The Upstart

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

 

 

trask

Trask is a long-time gamer, world traveler and history buff. He hopes that his scribblings will both inform and advance gaming as a hobby.

5 thoughts on “Gencon 2017 Event Demand–A Mathematical Analysis

  • July 13, 2017 at 6:34 pm
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    Just a note, but it looks like Paizo’s numbers are skewed by a bunch of one hour Pathfinder/Starfinder sessions, which all look to have all their tickets available still. At 88 sessions of 16 or 24 seats each, that’s 1,760 seats that would show up as underutilized in your calculation. They still do gave a lot of unsold seats, but the actual number for “real” RPG sessions is probably a little lower than 45%.

    Reply
    • July 14, 2017 at 10:11 pm
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      Good catch. I thought it likely that there was something skewing the numbers. That said, they still have significant unsold inventory.

      Reply
  • July 14, 2017 at 12:07 am
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    The only one you didn’t comment on specifically was Catalyst Game Labs. Curious on you thoughts for them. (Full disclosure, I freelance for them and have both run and organized events for them in the past, hence my interest in this, because trying figure out a good event ratio is difficult… as is finding enough volunteers to run said events. This year though I’ll be there solo as a tourist and not working in any capacity, which will be nice :))

    Reply
    • July 14, 2017 at 10:10 pm
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      Sadly, just ran out of time, so I did not run the numbers on all the larger game companies.

      Reply
  • July 14, 2017 at 4:54 am
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    The 156 True Dungeon tickets are for free seminars. There haven’t been more than 20 tickets available since a few hours after they became available.

    Reply

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