Saturday, June 04, 2011

In Which The Warlock Petitions Your Support...

It's not often I ask you, my few and faithful readers, to assist me with anything, so I'm going to ask now.

Please don't exclude our educators, GAMA!
This past May, GAMA--the organization behind the Origins Game Fair--announced the future dates for Origins 2012 and 2013.  In both cases, the Fair will be taking place the weekend after Memorial Day, during the last bit of May and the first days of June.  This is a massive change, in that Origins is traditionally held during the last week of June, occasionally stretching into the first few days of July.

However, this change comes at the expense of a massive segment of the gaming population.  The project dates of the next two Origins Game Fairs run concurrent with the last week of school for Dayton Public Schools, Cincinnati City Schools, the Ohio State University, and many other institutions throughout the Ohio Valley.  Columbus Public Schools, in fact, will still be in session until June 14th, 2012. 

This shift in date prevents educators, librarians, administrators, and pretty much anyone who works in the education field from attending the next two Origins Game Fairs.  With only limited time off during the year, educators are outright unable to use personal or professional days to take time off during the end of the year.  Further, families with school-age children will be unable to attend, as students are discouraged from missing end-of-year activities like commencement ceremonies, final exams and more.

The date change flies in the face of an amicable relationship between the community of educators and GAMA, as Origins has always held a special track of events specifically to cater to educators.  Similarly, this move is a slap to parents of school-age children, who have previously been among Origins' target audience, complete with "family friendly" tracks and a "kids-only room" run in conjunction with Mayfair Games.

It is my belief that Origins will face a sizable and crippling drop in attendence, as the communities of educators and of school-age families are unable to attend.  I value Origins as a convention--it's been, by far, my favorite gaming convention since I began attending.  Frankly, it both disappoints and even frightens me to think that this may be my last Origins Game Fair, simply because of my profession.  Even if you are not an educator, even if you do not have school-age children, this change affects you:  how many of your GMs or fellow players were teachers?  How many volunteers and vendors have school-aged children?

If you feel as I do, please sign the petition that I've created, hosted here:  PetitionOnline--Origins Date Change
Nothing changes unless we, as a gaming community, speak up!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:13 AM

    I attended Origins in 2008 and 2009, and I recall seeing those "Educator" ribbons everywhere I looked. As I recall, qualifying for one of those meant that you got in at a discounted rate and could get into certain events for free. In theory, the convention makes up those lost dollars by bringing in more people, thus convincing exhibitors to pay more for booth space.

    But what if that theory hasn't panned out lately, and the convention has been losing money on the Educator deal? Obviously, they wouldn't want to earn the ire of the public by ending the special outright, so perhaps they hope to alleviate it by limiting the number of people who are able to take advantage of it.

    Any thoughts on this, or am I just a conspiracy theorist?