The Muskegon Area Gamers held their first Extra Life Event. Well, that’s not exactly true. We supported Byte Club Gaming last year. But this year we held our own event at The Gaming Annex. Here is a rundown:
Extra Life 2017
I began planning this year’s Extra Life event in 2016 after last year’s event. There were several things about last year’s event that left me feeling unsatisfied. I was pretty sure I would support another event–I just wasn’t sure where the venue would be. We flirted with the idea of having the event at Griffin’s Rest. But they are as of yet still not open. The event would have to be at The Gaming Annex.
The event always takes place a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. That means it takes place a couple of weeks before Black Friday. And every Black Friday I wake up at 4am to stand in line at Out of the Box.
Jeff at Out of the Box is a huge supporter of Black Friday sales. He has great deals on Black Friday: special releases, deep discounts and hourly giveaways. I get there around 5am and there is already a line. The sale last year drew members of our group like Rocky and Jeremy (Scott) Pyne who were in also standing in line.
I was perusing the games in the deep discount area when I saw Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers. I thought this would be a nice addition to a goodybag. Wouldn’t it be nice if the goodybags at Extra Life had games in them? And thus preparation for Extra Life 2017 began on Black Friday 2016.
2. Brandi, our special events coordinator
Brandi has been coming to The Gaming Annex since February 2016. She has been a steady member of our Thursday night crew ever since. She was a great help in supporting our special events like the Escape Rooms and outings to the likes of others such as this escape room Austin. When she was co-organizing our own murder mystery, Death Wears White, it was clear she needed to be given an official role: special events coordinator.
She, along with her cohort Holly, did a lot of decorating and preparing for the Kids’ Gala in October. Managing an event with 10 little ones was ambitious. But Extra Life would be a whole new challenge. And she was up for it!
3. Scope of the Event
I knew I wanted every goodybag to have a game in it. This would be a nice surprise, especially for all the 2016 attendees. I spent a lot of time accumulating games in our basement. It took lots of coaxing to get Debbie to believe all those shrink-wrapped games had been in our basement when we bought the house.
I dumped the whole lot of games off on Brandi and said, “Deal with it!”. She bought bags to put the games into and made them look nice. (She actually did a fantastic job; I’m just being flippant).
The next aspect was how many people to have over. We have limited tables and parking. I thought 10-12 people. Brandi thought we could handle 14-16. She was right. We made enough goodybags for 14-16.
Extra Life is a charitable event. So charging admission for the event was the main way to raise funds. I thought last year’s price point of $30-$35 was reasonable. This price would include your goodybag, three meals and 25 hours of games.
Meal preparation for 14-16 people was a lot more painstaking then it is for a typical Twilight Imperium game. Brandi’s bestie, Abbey, was a great help. Abbey knows someone who knows someone who knows Greek Tony’s. She was able to get us Greek Tony’s pizza for dinner. It was delicious. I ate the pizza over a garbage can like a %$@# savage.
We had Crockpot Central for lunch and midnight snacks. I made Swedish meatballs. Tasha made her Annex-wide famous taco dip. And others were generous and brought lots of cookies, cakes and snacks.
Last year we had a raffle. We had modest success with it. I wanted to do another raffle this year, anticipating more hype this go around.
Last year we did a standard raffle. You buy tickets. The tickets go in a hat. We draw a ticket from a hat. And you win the game. Rinse and repeat. Brandi had the bright idea of doing a Chinese raffle. This is where you have not one hat but several hats. People put their tickets in the hat accompanying the prize they want to win. So we had five “hats”. People put their tickets into Sword & Sorcery, Dominion, etc.
It was a much bigger success than last year. This year we had five different winners (whereas last year, we kept pulling Joe Morse’s tickets). Jonathan won Tiny Epic Quest; Matt won The Lost Expedition; Rob won Dominion Intrigue; Brian made up for last year by winning Sword & Sorcery. And Ms. Brandi herself won Teenage Mutant Turtles: Shadows of the Past.
The final contest was at 9PM. It involved Nick Sima and a lollipop. Not just any lollipop. This was Satan’s toe: a lollipop with a 9,000,000 Scoville rating. People would bet on how long they thought Nick Sima could keep it in his mouth. And to our surprise, he did 10 minutes! Special thanks to all the folks at Longer Days for their support.
5. The Games of the Day
The real question on everyone’s mind is: what games did we play? Yes, we may have raised some money for a children’s hospital. But did we play some awesome games in the process?
And the answer is: yes, we did.
I broke out Eminent Domain. We played this with the Escalation expansion. It was a smashing success. I think we have a dark horse game here.
I thought a group how to play Endeavor. I love this game. And I’m glad we played this just in time for the launch of the 2nd edition.
Dusty and the crew played Twilight Imperium 4th edition. He wrangled Tasha into playing. Tasha liked it so much she has already RSVP’d for our next game in late November. Bill was on board too. He loved it. The rest of us who didn’t play got to enjoy the slapfest between Nick Sima and Dusty.
Brian brought The Captain is Dead. He played it with 6 or 7 people, almost the full complement. It went over well. Then the table broke out Dr. Steve’s Photosynthesis game and gave it a whirl.
After midnight, Ben and the crew thought it would be amazing to start playing Tales of the Arabian Nights. That game lasted until 4am. To wake ourselves up, we played several rounds of Happy Salmon.
We rounded off the event with a bunch of party games like Wavelength and Word on the Street.
6. Final Numbers and thoughts
We had 14 attendees at the event. We raised $817 at the event and another $50 after the event (thanks mom!)
The event was a smashing success. Everyone loved the games they played, the games they got in their goodybags and the games they won at the raffle. We really outdid 2016’s event.
Are we going to do this event again next year? More than likely. I have some ideas about how to do things better. And Brandi’s wheels are already turning too. We are going to get more food donated. We will be more proactive in this in 2018. The goodybags next year will be as good or better next year. And the price point will be about the same. We will definitely not being having a Scoville Challenge next year. But we will have some other contest that is both fun for the spectators and humiliating to Nick Sima.
On a related note: Out of the Box is having its Black Friday sale in a week or two from now…
7. Where the fun happens
You can watch all our videos and shenanigans here: