Thursday, November 15, 2012

So you wanna be a tournament player? The cost to compete

Glory.  The sweet taste of it is enough to drive men to the bitter brink of sanity.  To stand over your enemies victorious . . . . heroes are born in such ways.

But how much does it really cost to compete?  If you going to run with the bulls, you gotta be able to keep up.  Get out your wallets, kiddies, cause this ain't gonna be cheap. 

Lets's take 2 fairly big tournaments, Adepticon, and Feast of Blades

For the purposes of this discussion, we are going to make a few assumptions.

1. You have a painted army.  This may sound like common sense, but lots of players have their 'fun army' or 'fluffy' army as its come to be know, and their no holds barred WAAC army, and rarely the twain shall meet.  An army can costs hundreds of dollars, much much more if you pay someone to assemble it and paint it for you.  And lots not even get into if the army doubles as your team play army or painting competition army.  So for sake of argument, let's just say you have an army.

2.  Let's also assume you are going for the MIDDLE OF THE ROAD trip, ie, enough to have a good time, not scrimp, but not spend lavishly either.  So, that being said, what do you need?

You need a way to get there (bus fare, a plane ticket, gas $$$, etc)
You need somewhere to stay, probably a hotel
You need money to participate (fees ,events, games, etc)
You need to eat

Of course there are exceptions to the rule.  You mommy might pack you PB and J for 3 days and you might crash on a friends couch, or live in town, etc.  However, let's assume for sake of this article you don't.   You live out of town, you came to play, and you plan to spend a little dough. 

Now, let's get down to brass tax . . . how much for the ape, err . . . trip.

Because I live in Raleigh NC, which is about as East Coast as you get, let's use that as a launching off point.  Plug in your own data accordingly.

Item 1.  Travel

Since this is the modern age, I'm going to take a plane to get there.  Yes, I could cram myself into a car with a few other guys and save on gas $$$ while sniffing their farts for two days, but I'm going to save a little pride and sniff a strangers farts at 20,000 feet up instead.  So, how much?

They say airfare is more affordable than ever these days . . . so is it?

Okay, using American Airlines, looks like I can go round trip, to and from the airport for about $265 bucks.  That price includes tax.  Of course, I'm going to have to check a bag, which is another $25.  After all I have my army bag and then I have a small carry on with (let's hope) a change of clothes and some soap at least.  I suppose you could get creative, dress in 6 layers and just use those clothes for the whole weekend, but since that's gross, let's save your pride and say you have 1 carry on and your 'army transport' to check.

Total so far:  $290

You've also got to get to an from the airport.  Yes, you could certainly have a friend drop you off and pick you up.  Let's assume you do that for your IN TOWN airport ride.  It'll save you money on parking for sure.  However, once you get there, you are going to have to either rent a car (let's NOT do that, after all, hotels are islands unto themselves) or take a cab from the airport to the hotel.  Let's assume the cab ride costs you $30 bucks, which is reasonable.

Total so far:  $320

Okay, plane, check, cab, check, but what about the hotel?  A man's gotta have somewhere to rest his head after a long day of battle.  So far the prices have been consummate, but now they start to diverge.  .  

For Adepticon, the primary hotel is ALREADY FULL!  They do have a secondary hotel.  Four days w/tax for a room comes to $446 bucks.  The other kick in the pants is now you have to get to and from the convention center from YOUR hotel.  It's only .7 miles away, but you do have an army to transport.  Do you want to lug all that almost a mile through the windy city in April, when it will STILL be cold?  Probably not.  Let's assume you are going to take a cab TO and FROM the hotel each day, for $10 bucks a pop.  Over 4 days that's $80 bucks.  Yikes.

For FoB, it's a little better.  The hotel for the event still has availability, it's only a three day event, and it's cheaper on the room.  Three days there are only $306.

On a side note you COULD only go one or two days to either event, and save some $$$ on the room, but I'm assuming you came to play, so you're staying for the duration.

Total so far:  $846 (Adepticon), $626 (FoB)

Okay, our wallet is starting to feel that squeeze, but the big stuff is out of the way, fortunately.  Let's talk about the commodities.

Firstly, if you go to play then you have to pay to stay.  Try saying that three times fast.  Each event has different pricing.  For Adepticon, it's free to attend, but $45 to participate in, well, anything.  To compete in a tournament it ranges depending on the event, but the 40k GT Open is $35.  Now, it's a four day event, and the GT open is only 2 days of the event, and only one if I don't make it to the second day.  Let's assume you've got a little down time at the event.  Maybe on your off days (Saturday/Sunday) or even Friday if you don't win on Thursday.  Adepticon has TONS of stuff to do . . but the kick is a lot of it costs.  Pay to play games range from $5 bucks up to $15.  Let's give you a mix and say you play one $15 dollar event and 2 $5ers.  That's $25 total.  That brings your total event fees at Adepticon to about $105.  Think of it like seeing 8 movies back to back at the local cineplex.

For FoB on the other hand, it's simple.  $75 bucks gives you a weekend pass, which covers all costs, including your GT fee. 

Total so far:  $951 (Adepticon), $701 (FoB)

Okay, we're done now, right?  Wrong!!!  A man's gotta eat!  You gotta keep up yer' strength to help vanquish your opponent.  Let's assume both hotels have continental breakfast (or you bring a box of poptarts and ration them out over 4 days . .  Poptarts now come 8 to a box!  That's 25% more pop!   Did you know?)  You still need to do lunch and dinner.  Let's assume you do lunch and dinner every day of the tournie, except the last day, where you just do lunch on your way to the airport.  You can probably get by on $10 - $15 bucks a meal.  I'm going to assume $15, because you are going to be limited to shops within walking range of the hotel or even worse, inside the hotel, and you might want a mid day snack, bottle of water, can of soda, or the like.  So basically $30 bucks a day, and $15 on the final day. 

Total so far:  $1056 (Adepticon), $776 (FoB)

Okay, NOW are we done . . . almost.  Both these events have vendors.  Do you mean to tell me you are going to spend 3 days geeking out and not buy anything?  What's your Will save, +14?  I dunno think so.  You are GOING to buy something.  The only question is how much.

Also, half the fun of GT's is camaraderie, which is Latin for beer.  You mean to say you aren't going to go get a beer with Goatboy or Spikeybits if asked?  OF COURSE YOU ARE, YOU GUTLESS LITTLE LACKEY!  It's called peer pressure, and guess what, you're going to give in.  Why?  Because these people accept you.  GT's are the closest things gamers get to a pilgrimage.  

Let's lump both of these together into a joint account and call it 'petty cash'.  $ to throw around on drinks, dice, books, t-shirts, insert your crack of choice here.

Total so far (and final!!):  $1106 (Adepticon), $826 (FoB).

So . . . there is is, black and blue and red all over.  The cost to compete.  Was it as expensive as you thought, or worse?

Bear in mind this article is NOT intended to be a jibe at GT's.  Quite the opposite in fact.  If you are going to start budgeting, just save about $40 bucks a week and you too can be a tournie player.  The guys who go to these are card carrying members of an elite club, and we all know that we really DO want to be at the cool kids table.  However, for most of us GT's just aren't a reality we can face, what with the average one costing about $1000 bucks!

Of course there are ways to save at the pump.  Sharing a room, packing snacks vs. buying meals, being thrify with vendors, walking to the hotel from the OTHER hotel . . . all of this will save you $$$, hundreds maybe, but you have to budget your time vs. your money, in other words, value.  Is it worth it, to you, to walk vs ride, or sleep in privacy vs. listen to another man snore all night, etc.

The choice is yours. 

Caleb, WMG

Summary Table

Feast of Blades

April 18-21st 2013
October 26-28th

Chicago, IL
Denver Colorado

attending badge cost
$75.00 Includes tourney and wknd badge

tournament cost

other events
$25.00 (15+10) $0.00

petty cash

Hotel room
$446.22 Primary hotel booked $306.38 (89/night plus tax)

$105.00 7 meals at 15 each $75.00 5 meals at 15 each

$290.60 (25 for checked bag) $290.60

Cab fare, to and from airport
$30.00 from hotel to airport $30.00 from hotel to airport

Cab fare, to and from hotel, daily
$80.00 10 each trip, 2 trips per day $0.00

Totals $1,106.82