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Our Connection to TactiCon

As you may know, RailCon was originally conceived to be a convention which moved about the country to allow access to it by as many interested train gamers as possible. The first RailCon took place in Denver, the second in Lancaster, PA. The third in 1997 was bid out and the Worcester, MA package won. We were very excited about this location but RailCon never took place in Massachusetts. This development was not due to any problem with the site or our liaison there but came out of financial necessity. At the time, Mayfair Games, Inc was sold and the new owners informed us that they could no longer give us the kind of support we once expected from our primary corporate sponsor.

RailCon is an expensive proposition. In its first two appearances, we either lost a few hundred dollars or broke even. It was always a concern of the TGA's that RailCon not cause financial harm to its parent organization if it should fail. Such an event would have broken the TGA which has never had a large treasury. During RailCon's inception, the people at Mayfair guaranteed us that they would underwrite any losses that were incurred by the convention--not because they wanted RailCon to be a mouthpiece for their products but because they wanted to support train gaming. This enterprise seemed the best way to achieve that goal. With Mayfair no longer able to make that guarantee to the TGA, we determined to rethink how we would stage RailCon.

A number of factors went into the reshaping of RailCon `97. We wanted the convention fees to stay at the same level for our attendees (in fact, the convention fees were less than 1997 than in 1996), while maintaining a high level of professionalism. We wanted to keep the site up to the standards we had set in our previous conventions and yet, we needed to reduce expenses and reduce risk of loss to the TGA. We decided the best way to do this would be to find another convention which would act as an umbrella convention and could take up much of the cost of the operating costs.

We looked at several conventions including GenCon, the Strategicon conventions in LA and TactiCon in Denver. GenCon was ruled out because, at the time, we didn't know if GenCon would exist and because we didn't think it would be easy to work with convention management. We decided against the LA convention because it was on the West coast. This narrowed down our choices to TactiCon which meant bringing RailCon back to Denver. This decision made a lot of financial sense to us. One, it had the advantage of being local for the convention organizers which cut down on shipping and transportation costs. We also knew that we could work with the TactiCon organizers who were eager to have RailCon become part of their convention. There were other advantages for RailCon attendees, including:

  • Convenient, frequent and fairly inexpensive airfares into Denver

  • Inexpensive room rates

  • Access to an extensive Exhibitor Area

  • Access to a games auction which would include a train games section

As an added advantage, gamers would be registered with TactiCon and would be able to participate in the larger convention , as well as RailCon.

In the months following RailCon `97 and our new format for the convention, several groups have insisted that RailCon `97 was nothing more than the train game section of the board game section of TactiCon. This statement does a grave injustice to both conventions. In truth, both the organizers of RailCon and the organizers of TactiCon were simply following the example of several notable conventions, DragonCon for example, which brought several conventions together under an umbrella type of situation to cut down costs, increase visibility among different groups of gamers and comic book collectors and to offer more of interest to everyone involved. This type of symbiotic relationship can be greatly beneficial to all conventions involved.

In RailCon/TactiCon's case, both conventions maintain different staff, publish separate program booklets, hold separate awards ceremonies and give out different trophies. RailCon runs in a separate area of the convention hotel. By agreement, no train games were run by TactiCon gamemasters and no train games appeared in its schedule.

And yes, we intend to run RailCon in this format for the forseeable future. It works that well! There may come a time when for expediency's sake or to better serve train gamers that we may begin to move RailCon around North America again. But until that time, you can rest assured that we will continue our mutually beneficial relationship with TactiCon.

For more information on TactiCon, visit the Denver Gamers Association Web Page at


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The contents of this Web Site are copyright © 1998 by The Train Gamers Association, Inc. All rights reserved. Designed by Scott Lininger. Last modified Tuesday, 16-Jun-1998 12:38:52 CDT .