Many of you have been wondering why you have not heard anything about FaTDoG 2019. I’ve been trying to decide what to do going forward. There’s been a change of circumstance in my life and I am now currently retired from the practice of medicine.
Since FATDOG left the realm of my basement, it has always been a labor of love, and I always tried to keep the attendance fee at a very reasonable price by subsidizing the event out of personal income. However, it has become a victim of its own success and the rapid growth of the convention has greatly raised the amount of subsidy required. We are now getting over 160 people attending regularly and to break even financially would require an entry fee of approximately $60 per person with an attendance of 140 people. We do have a fantastic deal at the Radisson because the contract stipulates if food and beverage costs are equal to or greater than the price of the room ($6000) the room will be free of charge. Hence, we get a tremendous venue space and excellent food for a very reasonable price. I raised the entry fee to $35 last year, but you do get a lot for your money including two excellent five course hot meals, free beverages, a fairly substantial door prize, vendors, a fleamarket, and a fantastic game raffle wrapped in 15 hours of amazing gaming. My concern is that if I raise the price to $60 to cover all expenses, we would have a severe drop off in attendance.
I have been lucky enough to have disposable income to make up the difference but now that I’m retired circumstances have changed a bit. I now must consider three options.
1. Not hold FATDOG at all
2. Hold FATDOG in some type of income neutral venue
3. Proceed with FATDOG as is but charge a much higher entrance fee.
Option 1 was never a consideration as we have a great group of gamers on Long Island and I wanted to continue the tradition in some fashion.
I will skip over option 2 for the moment and discuss option 3. FATDOG at the current venue costs approximately $10,500. This includes approximately $7500 for the food/ room, $1500 for tips to the maître d’ and staff, $1000 for the door prizes and raffle, $500 for commercial liability insurance and the rest at sundry expenses including advertising, Facebook pages, etc. The biggest cost is obviously the food/room but as I stated above, we do get an excellent deal. And exhaustive search for other less expensive venues on Long Island that can accommodate the growing attendance while allowing us to game from 9 AM to midnight was unsuccessful. I must thank Dave Vanderheuf who searched high and low on Long Island for other venues. Other venues such as museums/libraries are not open on the Friday after Thanksgiving as they consider that a holiday. VFW’s and churches will not give us time past 4 or 5 PM. Additionally, in those venues, we must do all the setup of tables and chairs and the breakdown afterwards. Surprisingly, they are not cheaper than what we have in our current situation. Other hotels are 3 to 4 times the price for the same size room and charge us for three sessions: morning, afternoon and evening.
So …what are we to do? I would need a guarantee of 150 attendees paying $60 per person before I could sign the contract for the event. I do not think this could reasonably be done unless we have a tremendous groundswell of support. I leave it to you, the paying public, to decide.
There were additional factors that steered me away from the bigger event. As the event has grown, I spend more time running the event then time gaming. This has made the event less satisfying personally. It also takes a bigger effort each year to organize, set up and take down. While I have some help from my wargaming club, I hate to impose on them further.
Which brings us to option 2. As many of you know, FATDOG started in my basement many years ago as an invitation-only event among wargaming friends. This option would bring us back to something like those roots. We have a free venue space at the Bethpage library from 9 AM to 9 PM. However, it can only accommodate 50-60 gamers. There would be no hot meals, but we will provide heroes and side salads like we used to do at FATDOG. There would be a small entry fee of $15 to cover those costs. This option involves some difficult and distasteful choices as we simply cannot accommodate everybody that has attended in the past.
Therefore, I am opening it up to discussion for the next two weeks before I must decide as to how to proceed. Please feel free to leave comments on FATDOGcon.com and our Facebook page. Please keep these comments tasteful and the discussion polite.