Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Pop-Up Tabletop Gaming Zine Library : An Idea So Crazy, It Just Might Work

August 29, 2014, through September 1, 2014 is DragonCon - a huge convention that turns a handful of hotels in downtown Atlanta into a mini-city full of geeks and nerds of all kinds. 

This year marks the third time I will attend (I only moved here 4 or so years ago, so I don't feel too badly about that) and for the first time I will try to participate beyond being a consumer (literally buying crap or as a player in other peoples' games). As I've mentioned before, I am going to submit proposals to run a few sessions of b/x for the gaming track. 

But, the idea that came to me the other day, and one that means quite a bit more to me, is that I will setup and run a pop-up tabletop gaming zine library!

Not exactly!
 (image from:

What do I plan to do?

  • I will bring my tabletop gaming zine collection with me.
    • I may also bring a small pile of non-gaming zines with me, just for variety, as long as they are at least tangentially related to nerd-dom
    • It will be some kind of display - working out the details now.
  • I will setup here and there around DragonCon  (most likely I will be in the open gaming room, since there are oodles of open tables) between gaming events and panels that I am attending for people to browse, borrow, and read zines during their down time, with the request that they return zines before they walk off (or at least leave them on the table where I'm seated).
    • Anyone with a convention badge is free to use the pop-up zine library.
      • Borrowing is limited to 1 zine per person at a time.
      • Yes, there is a chance some of my zines will disappear. I'll take one for the team.
  • I will have basic materials for people to create their own 1-page, aka "pocket mod", print zines (paper, pencils, erasers, pens, Sharpies, scissors) and possibly offer brief lessons to anyone interested in simple binding for print zines or even making their own custom notebooks (3-hole and 5-hole stitched bindings).
    • These might be special "scheduled" time slots.
  • I will advertise the pop-up library, including my location and schedule with signage, as well as online via Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram
  • I will distribute bookmarks, flyers, samples, etc. for 6 Iron Spikes & a Small Hammer, and for anyone else who wants to provide me with material, via the pop-up library or by direct request at the con.
    • I will not leave promotional materials on tables around the con - it's against con rules.
  • Anyone local, or coming to town for the con, who might want to collaborate on this, let me know.

Hopefully, some people will at least stop by out of curiosity. If I manage to get one person interested in checking out zines generally, or tabletop gaming zines specifically, I'll consider it a success.


  1. You don't think the organization running the convention will charge you?

    1. Hi Chris,
      A valid concern for sure.

      I don't think they will because I'm not selling anything. I know in the past, others have had issues selling stuff and not having a table in the vendor's hall and I don't have any intention of going down that road.

      The con offers free tables to fan groups and such that aren't vendors, but I didn't have my brainstorm until well past the deadline for that option (those are prime real estate in a high traffic area).

      Regardless, I'm confident I'm not in violation of any con policy. Worst case, they tell me I can't set up my suitcase in the open gaming room (which is vast) or inside the con hotels and then i just go to a food court at the attached mall, or to the nearby park, or wherever. That's the beauty of the pop-up concept - completely mobile and non-permanent.

  2. OK, sounds like you won't have any problems.

    I've never been to DragonCon, even though I have a friend who is is more-or-less in charge of the film fest there, and is wife does daily updates. I have not been to a convention of any kind in many years (I don't count the professional conferences)! When I lived in Chicago, I went for many years to Little Wars and GenCon when it was in Milwaukee.