On November 3, 2018, the first-ever West Side Mini-Con at Nanakuli Public Library happened! The Last Outpost of Hawaii was the main organizer of the event, bringing in local vendors and artists. I went to help the public library but also to observe. Unfortunately there were many hiccups that I took this as a lesson on the pros and cons of having a pop culture event at the public library. Nevertheless, I enjoyed talking with the vendors and patrons who attended the event with gusto.
The library counted a little over 100 people who attended the four-hour event, from 12 pm to 4 pm. The library had a table outside promoting library services and books while their Friends of Nanakuli Public Library were fundraising by selling snacks and drinks. They’re a friendly group who value seeing the newest library in the Hawaii system flourish!
Plenty of attendees were dressed up and happy a pop culture event like this was held in Nanakuli as many events are held in town, which can be over an hour drive with traffic.
Parents and kids were happy that the event was held at the public library. A few said they were able to check out books and have fun, making it a family fun day for them.
Due to the layout, it made attendees explore the meeting room (separate building from the library) as well as inside the library thus being able to experience everything.
Schedule of panels kept changing/no official schedule given to attendees.
Attendees were asking who the “local celebrities” were as they weren’t properly headlined on the advertisements.
Tabletop room was crowded.
Miscommunication on all fronts, from vendors (an artist was told they were to do a talk but admitted they were not prepared due to not being told beforehand) to staff (there were plenty of helpful staff but due to the schedule changes, not everything was communicated well and had a domino effect leaving attendees unhappy) and online (3 different Facebook events were created for West Side Mini-Con causing discord).
For a first time event, it wasn’t too bad. The main thing is that the attendees had a good time. Despite the hiccups here and there, most families were happy that an event came to fruition while some expressed this could have been executed better.
Success! For two consecutive Saturdays in October, the Aloha Adventurers Guild came to the library to teach the basics of Dungeons and Dragons to patrons. The goal was to encourage creativity, communication, and imagination when creating a character and going on an adventure. Needless to say, it was one of my favorite programs and I’m very happy with the Aloha Adventurers Guild. 10/10 would recommend! I would also like to thank and reference the American Library Association Games & Gaming Round Table for providing the juice to help fuel this program!
The first Saturday, the set-up included the following:
4 areas comprised of 2 tables each. 2 areas were for new players/beginners, 1 area was for veteran players, and 1 area was for character creation and side quests aka Anything Goes.
Character creation/side quest arena was essentially the “Anything goes” sort of area. This table was useful for those who wanted to learn more about D&D, read character guides in-depth, test theories on character abilities/lore, and discuss without having a quest impeding the learning process.
Anything Goes area had a TV screen hooked up to a laptop. The maester of the area can use the TV to demonstrate techniques or show the character sheet and describe what each section is used for. The setup was also good to listen to YouTube videos on D&D.
Table markers were designated so those entering the room can check and go to the table they were most comfortable with. If unsure, a Guildmember would direct them.
In the middle was a small table for players to sign in for statistics but also if they wanted to subscribe to the Aloha Adventurers Guild newsletter for updates on their next game day events!
At fifteen minutes before ending time, a Dungeon Master/Game Master would alert the areas of impeding closure. This ensured the stories and discussions would draw to a close in a timely manner.
We had book displays! Books were available for players to borrow with their library cards. Plenty of Monster Manuals and Player Guides were borrowed both days.
The first Saturday we had close to 50 people. We played from 1 pm – 3 pm, 2 hours total.
Our second Saturday yielded less people (not quite close to 50) but enthusiastic players nonetheless! We had the same setup as before however we added an additional area. The guild advised that it would be best to gauge how many people would want to play a beginner adventure, a veteran adventure, or dabble in character creation so the last table was left up to the Guild to determine what should it be used for. We played the same amount of time, 2 hours from 1 pm – 3 pm.
Two hours is the very bare minimum to host a D&D event. It would be preferable to go three to four hours however as the program was designed mainly for beginners, four hours seem very daunting. Should the program be successful and more consistent in terms of dates playing, three to four hours would be acceptable.
Table markers are our friends!
Whiteboards can be very useful when explaining game basics.
Costumes are not mandatory but always fun to have.
Kids as young as third grade were interested in playing with their parents. It brought into perspective the idea that D&D could be a family bonding game, thus breaking the mythos that the game is made for teens and adults only.
To differentiate the players from the Dungeon Masters and Advisors (2nd in command or assistants to the Dungeon Masters), I got kukui nut leis and glued polyhedral dice. It also helped the players in knowing who to ask for help.