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Behind the Counter

The Conventional

by Marcus King
Sep 11,2003


Behind the Counter: The Conventional

By: Marcus King, owner of

Being a retailer who often gets "out from behind the counter" and attends a lot of conventions, trade shows, tournaments and other "game industry" related things, I get to see a lot of gamers, and do more than the average retailer gets to see and do.

In 2003, I have attended 25+ conventions, have about 7 left this year, attended the Gama Trade Show, the Alliance Open House, and a few other things.

As many know I, Marcus King of TitanGames, ran the Used & Rare Game Auction in 2003 at Origins. It was a last minute deal between myself and GAMA (the Game Manufacturers Association) which allowed the tradition of a used & rare game auction at Origins to continue. I do not know the details of why they were without an auctioneer, but with only about 8 weeks till the event, I stepped in to take over, and continue the tradition.

ORIGINS was the FIRST game convention I ever attended, in 1977 or 1978, I don't remember which. And, I do remember buying a whole shoebox of lead miniatures for $10 at the auction. WOW!! That was cool. And, selling some of those miniatures to my friends back home at a profit was my first taste of making money in my hobby. I guess ORIGINS gave me my start in games sales.

At the 2003 Origins Auction, my crew and I had fun, it was a lot of work, and of our 12 people who were volunteers, and paid staff, only me and one vonulteer had ANY auction experience prior to the 2003 Origins event. All in all, I feel we did a pretty good job. NOT as good a job as the 2002 Origins Auction Crew did, of course, but not bad.

For the past several weeks, I have been negotiating with Mark Santillo of GAMA about the auction for 2004 at ORIGINS. I was told a few weeks ago that I was the guy for the 2004 auction at Origins. A "Verbal agreement" if you will.

However, after leaving the Alliance Open House in Fort Wayne, on Saturday, September 6th (My Birthday!) I got a call from Mark Santillo, and was informed that GAMA had decided to take bids on the 2004 auction.

I want everyone to know we had a blast running the 2003 event. However, we will not be putting in a bid for the 2004 auction.

This is not because I am upset. In fact, I am not upset at all.

I like GAMA, I like Origins, I had fun. But, my crew is not the best suited for this event if they want the Auction to be a "WOW" event, they are better off with either Michael Cox of Centurion Distribution doing it, or Ken from Weekend Warrior doing it (or both!). GAMA wants to make the Origins Auction Event something that will bring people in all on it's own. Something to write home about, if you know what I mean. It would take my crew years to get to that level of ability. There are other organizations out there who can step in and deliver that level of event now.

Mark Santillo, Anthony, Mark Simmons, Jonathan Albin and Chris Watson from GAMA have all been helpful and supportive of our efforts as a vendor, at the auction, as a retailer member of GAMA.

I have absolutely NO hard feelings at all, No regrets. I look foward to being AT Origins as a vendor. I look forward to being able to concentrate all our efforts on our booth, and I will put a LOT of stuff INTO the auction in 2004. I plan to attend the Gama Trade Show in the spring, and renew my membership with GAMA.

I want to thank the GAMA staff for allowing us to take the auction in 2003. We did the best job we could with limited prep time, and no experience, no software, only two laptop computers, and only one returning volunteer (Sherrie!) from previous auctions. Larry Zoet also helped us a bunch, and he had previous GENCON and ORIGINS auciton expperience.

It was fun. It is something I will brag about for years to come (gamer geek that I am!). And, my new partner, Ted Wilson, was a volunteer at the Origins Auction, and his work ethic was such that I asked him to become my partner at TitanGames.

And, I am glad to have been instrumental in continuing the tradition of a used and rare game auction at the ORIGINS GAME CONVENTION. I honestly think it would have been a shame to have broken that tradition.

Best Wishes to all those who bid on the Origins Auction for 2004. If you have never done an auction of this size, let me say one thing: Don't. :) It is a HUGE undertaking. But, I will support whoever get the auction for 2004.

Okay, time for me to get back to work. Lots of stuff to do, after our weekend at FOUNDATION GAME CON in Lansing, Michigan, and our trip at the same time to the Alliance Game Distributors Open House in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were spread a little thin here, and it's time to recover a little. Vacuum the shop. Pet the cat (really, we have a cat at our shop, his name is Leroy Brown, and he's "one Bad Cat").

Marcus King
637 Capital Ave SW
Battle Creek, MI 49015

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What do you think?

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All Counter Talk columns by Marcus King

  • On Discounting by Marcus King, 15dec05
  • Think Different by Marcus King, 11oct05
  • GENCON, August, and TitanGames by Marcus King, 29aug05
  • Another Month at Titan Games by Marcus King, 06jul05
  • The Past Week at TitanGames by Marcus King, 10may05
  • The GAMA Trade Show by Marcus King, 13apr05
  • Con Jobs by Marcus King, 08mar05
  • Don't Skip The Retailer by Marcus King, 11feb05
  • How To Open Your Own Game Store by Marcus King, 14jan05
  • The Christmas Crunch by Marcus King, 22dec04
  • Light at the End of the Convention Tunnel by Marcus King, 15nov04
  • What It Takes To Open a Game Store by Marcus King, 15oct04
  • The Big 3 by Marcus King, 13sep04
  • Discoveries by Marcus King, 11aug04
  • Con-Man by Marcus King, 19jul04
  • Turmoil by Marcus King, 16jun04
  • Business is Business by Marcus King, 12may04
  • GAMA On! by Marcus King, 09mar04
  • On A Serious Note by Marcus King, 10feb04
  • Predictions for 2004 by Marcus King, 20jan04
  • Game Retailer or Game Club? by Marcus King, 11dec03
  • The Weather Changes... by Marcus King, 11nov03
  • The Deluge of Dead Products by Marcus King, 14oct03
  • The Conventional by Marcus King, 11sep03
  • Solutions to Problems and Good Feelings by Marcus King, 11aug03
  • Two weeks in the life of a retailer by Marcus King, 16jul03
  • In Store Gaming, and our love-hate relationship with it by Marcus King, 12jun03
  • Raising a Good Retailer by Marcus King, 28apr03
  • The customer is always right (right?) by Marcus King, 02apr03
  • Introductions by Marcus King, 24mar03
  • Jumping the Grand Canyon with Pikachu and Friends December 20, 1999
  • GTS'99 April 20, 1999

    Other columns at RPGnet

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