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Nov 1-4, 2018 Kansas City

Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center

Main Hall

And another Midwest GameFest has come and gone, and wow! Another year of changes and growth with lots to discuss, so let's get to it!

Photo Gallery

How about a montage? Isn't it time for a montage? Everyone needs a montage! Check out all the fun over at our huge photo gallery on Facebook.

Note: The photos are public access, so no Facebook account is needed.

ยป VIEW PHOTOS


The Good

The Venue

We kept the same venue this year and everyone we heard from adores Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center. Not only is the facility first-rate with regard to amenities and services, but the hotel staff bent over backward to meet our every need. A great bunch of folks doing great work, and it shows every year. One of the best parts of hosting Midwest GameFest at a hotel is that the convention never really shuts down: when the main hall closes, games can continue out in the pre-function or other areas of the hotel. We had some great feedback on this from gaming night owls.

We'll be back in 2018... watch for dates coming soon!

Signs


Record Growth

In 2016 we officially counted 450+ unique attendees. In 2017 we added a number of new event categories, featuring over 200 events ranging from tabletop role-playing and board games to cosplay events and panels. We also offered an Amtgard foam combat demonstration, a virtual reality experience, a blood drive, a mega-game and more!. It all added up to a growth rate of 5.6% year over year, with 475 unique attendees: a record for us! We also had record exhibitor participation with a growth rate of nearly 30% year over year, with 22 exhibitors. We managed to cover our expenses and break even, which is all we can ask. We invested in more hard assets this year, including a number of metal wayfinding signs to our arsenal. Here's to an even bigger 2018 as we seek to improve the mainstays we have and broaden our offerings to include even more new things.

Attendance Chart 2017
Exhibitor Chart 2017

Strong Harvesters Donations

Kansas City's gamer community continues to show its heart with contributions to our food drive and benefit raffle for Harvesters Community Food Network. Attendees donated just over $930 and over 89 pounds of non-perishable food! Amazing, especially considering that every dollar translates directly into three meals served. That means the money alone provided 2,790 meals to those in need across Harvesters' 26-county service area.

Publishers, exhibitors, and others graciously donated over $1,200 worth of games and merchandise to stock the raffle, a record for us! Once again, hats off to the amazing efforts of Sponsorship Coordinator Peter Anderson!

Harvesters Money 2017
Harvesters Weight 2017

 

Harvesters Warehouse - Barrels of Food

Photo courtesy of Harvesters


Red Cross Blood Drive

We added a Red Cross blood drive this year and managed to managed to provide 20 units of blood! And not a Vampire: The Masquerade LARP in site! =) This was a big hit and we plan to do it again in 2018. Look for details this Spring!

Red Cross Blood Drive 2017


Onsite and Nearby Food

McCoy's Whiskey and Wine Bar opened for lunch each day at 11am, serving drinks and bar food like pizza and buffalo wings. New this year at McCoy's were the amazing burgers and wraps! And prices were kept down by offering lunch discounts. We heard lots of and lots of good things about the onsite food choices this year. And of course the hotel front desk sold snacks, sodas, and other nick-nacks at good prices just down the hall. Los Cabos Mexican Grill, adjacent to Stoney Creek, served up some of the best flautas and other Mexican fair we've had! A little further down the street, there was Pizza Ranch, Slim Chickens, Cheddar's and tons more!

Stoney Creek Misc

Photo courtesy of Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center


Special Guest Rick Loomis

We've had special guests before, but it was a special treat having industry veteran Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo Games around. Rick has been involved in the tabletop hobby game industry since its modern era began and has long been involved with GAMA, the industry trade organization that runs Origins. Rick hosted a special poker game in McCoy's, ran a Nuclear War tournament, sold his wares, offered sage advice, and more! If you didn't get a chance to interact with Rick, you missed out.

Rick Loomis 2017


Cosplay Returns!

One of the coolest additions from the last couple of years has been the addition of cosplay events. Cosplay coordinator Legendary Rose Cosplay, and guests George and Justin Westwater, Joe DiGusto, and StarburstCosplay served up some great events for attendees. There were fun panels, how-to workshops, and a costume contest!

Check out the massive photo gallery over on Facebook for some great shots!

Cosplay


Other Special Events

We hooked up with Novastar Gaming Center to provide attendees with an emersive virtual reality experience, and wow was it cool! Participants donned a VR headset, and stood in a small ring that allowed them to walk in any direction. Their movements were translated into VR and the audience got to tag along for the ride. Special guest Richard Norton brought along his Artemis Spaceship Bridge SImulator for some harrowing space combat. Talk about a great team building exercise! We also features Sector 37, the mega-game from Hybrid Vigor Studios, which features


Other Special Events

We hooked up with Novastar Gaming Center to provide attendees with an emersive virtual reality experience, and wow was it cool! Participants donned a VR headset, and stood in a small ring that allowed them to walk in any direction. Their movements were translated into VR and the audience got to tag along for the ride. Special guest Richard Norton brought along his Artemis Spaceship Bridge SImulator for some harrowing space combat. Talk about a great team building exercise! We also features Sector 37, the mega-game from Hybrid Vigor Studios, which features a simulated space conflict for a large group of participants. We also had the folks from Amtgard's Duchey of Centerpoint demoing their foam sword combat techniques and selling their wares. There was the 30-year Star Wars RPG retrospective presentation given by KC's own Sterling Hershey, the Gamer's Garage Sale, Dungeon Delve, and much, much more. These events were well attended and we look to expand these types of offerings going forward!

Virtual Reality 2017
Artemis 2017

Mega Game 2017
Star Wars 30 Year Retrospective 2017

Amtgard 2017
Amtgard 2017

Heroes of Rokugan

Heroes of Rokugan has long been a staple at Midwest GameFest, and 2017 was no exception. Folks came from all over the country to participate in this long-running Legends of the Five Rings organized play event, and the Saturday evening live action interactive event was a hit as always! This was the second year for HoR's special LARP, and the hotel staff were not nearly as taken off guard as the first year! ;)

Heroes of Rokugan 2017


The Bad

Meh. There's always something...

Exhibitor Move-in Chaos

Due to miscommunication on our part, Thursday morning rolled around and our exhibitor booths hadn't been set up by the hotel. In fact, there weren't enough tables and chairs to set them up at all! The venue thought we were bringing in our own tables and chairs (our fault). They scrambled to provide booth tables and chairs as exhibitors arrived, but unfortunately the issue was hard to ignore. By afternoon Thursday things were sorted out, but stress and confusion for our exhibitors is not something we seek!

Food Wait Times

There were welcome additions to on-site food options this year, but with those came some growing pains. Many attendees experienced long wait times at McCoys, due to the food preparation bottleneck there. We are working with the venue to come up with solutinos for 2018. Stay tuned! 


Thanks Where It's Due

From the comments we've received, most folks had a fabulous time and are looking forward to 2018. And so are we! We need to send love out to our volunteers, partners, and guests who helped make this annual event a great success. There's always someone who gets left out of lists like this, though, and if it turns out to be you, please don't take offense. =) Folks are listed alphabetically by first name.

Volunteers

Partial list: Ankit Goyal, Arturo Vera-Felicie, Bob Roby, Cole Pelletier, Hailey Grime, Hanna Turner, John West, Landon Cornett, Laura Johnson, Megan, Melinda Peters, Mike Czerniewski, Ryan Perrin, Steven McRoberts, The Amazing Cameron Gramarye, The Amazing Winfreys (Harley, Sarah, Benton, and Charles), Wade Tripp, and Weena Counsman

Partners

Brian Beal, Ethan Parker, Jeremy Putnam, and Nick Seal

Guests

Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo Games and Richard Norton (with his Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator) 

Staff

Beth Perrin, Bill Michels, Brad Kelley, Dave Berg, Gwendolyn Rose (Legendary Rose Cosplay), Heather Anderson (Lothlorien Woods Cosplay), and Peter Anderson 

Sponsors

  • Platinum: Anthony Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, Cheapass Games, Crypt Monkey Studios, and Double Exposure's Envoy Program
  • Gold: Jeff Porter Illustration and Miniature Market
  • Silver: Peculiar Games and Hobbies, UltraPro, and Sydney's Pet Spa
  • Friends of Midwest GameFest: Brotherwise Games, Daily Magic Games, DV Giochi, Roxley Games, Slugfest Games, and Stonemaier Games

Final Thoughts

We had a blast putting on Midwest GameFest 2017 and the new 2018 team is rearing to go. We'll get our dates finalized and posted, and start the planning process in January. Watch for planning meeting announcements via Facebook to get involved and help make the fun a reality!

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