Gateway 2017 by Andrea Rittschof

Gateway 2017 was our first out of state event. It is part of a trio of gaming conventions run by Strategicon in Los Angeles, CA.  Held Labor day weekend, it was filled with exciting events and provided us the opportunity to hang out with new and old friends.  

The first hurdle was getting out there and figuring out what inventory to take. We could only take the car, which while it holds a lot as a decent sized hatchback, it can’t hold everything. We decided on a mix of new inventory, vintage books and a few board games. We figured going to a gaming convention there might be some call for the games.  We piled ourselves up into the car Friday morning and headed out!

The second hurdle was traffic. Unsurprisingly, it took us longer to leave than we’d anticipated and traffic in Los Angeles was bad coming in. We managed to reach the hotel, Hilton LAX an hour before the dealer’s room opened up.  Needless to say, we needed to hustle, so we used the valet service for the first night, just to get out of the parking lot faster. Duncan got us set up in record time and we were ready to go by the time the doors opened.

The coolest part of the organization was a game they set up for the dealer’s room called the grid game. It entailed participants going to each vendor and getting a stamp on their game board by listening to the vendors pitch. Thanks to the game we handed out tons of business cards and it certainly helped with sales.

We also got to enjoy the launch party for Fires of Eidelon, the game produced by Magic Meeple, a game design company owned by our friends, Ian and Patricia Stedman. It also gave us the chance to catch up with Trish and Ian. Duncan even got the chance to play Fires of Eidelon.

Our neighbors in the dealer’s room were great, sharing space willingly and cheerfully. We were in the corner and had to keep passing them to get to our area. They were very gracious and even fed us snacks.

We learned a couple lessons. One, leave more travel time to get the event so we have more time when we get there. Second, if we go out for food, don’t leave my medicine sitting on the table. Pack them away right after taking them so they don’t get left behind. The restaurant won’t have them when you go back to check. Finally, pack more snacks and food. We can manage expenses better with some planning ahead.  

All in all, it was a great event! I loved the organizers and we learned a lot. We will be sticking closer to home for a while but Gateway goes on our list of conventions we would return as a dealer.