Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Game Auction Tacticon 2014

One of my favorite parts of any game convention is the auction. My philosophy is to keep it moving as fast as possible to keep everyone's attention focused on the auction itself. Its not easy and it requires that Mark and I stay on our toes and keep things moving right along, once you have the momentum going you don't want to lose it. While the audience certainly wants to get stuff as cheap as possible I have always felt that its my job to get as much as possible for the seller and that's really what I focus on. That requires that the auctioneers be invested in the auction, we don't sit down while selling and we don't stand behind a podium or a table, we are right out there in the middle of it. I'm pretty sure that our approach to the auction is fairly unique and I know there are some auctions that have "borrowed" some of the things we do for their own auctions. Everything is manual, while computerizing it would be a good thing we have never come up with a way that is faster than our manual intake. We also don't have to pause for computer glitches or errors, the slips may pile up but my crew will catch up and we just keep selling without pause.

I think that's why I'm pretty critical of other game auctions. I despise the massive auction at GenCon, in general it is far to slow and lacks energy and I don't think that the majority of the sellers really take away what they should. The lack of energy is certainly a disadvantage but running 12 hours a day for four days means that there are times when the auction hall is almost empty of people and stuff is going way to cheap. I have found this true when I worked the Origins auction as well and I find both of these auctions very frustrating because of that. The LA auctions where a lot of fun when I was helping with those, the auction crews have styles closer to mine. We go fast, we work in jokes and we engage the audience and when you engage the audience that's when the money really starts to flow and the energy from the crowd helps keep you going.

I just finished up the Tacticon 2014 auction this evening. We spent 4 hours selling stuff and had everyone checked out by 11pm. That's our earliest finish in years. I have been told that there is no way that we can sell as much as we do in the period of time we have. I tracked the number of lots sold through the first hour of the auction tonight and at the end of 60 minutes we had sold 72 different "lots". By the end of the four hours we should have sold 288 lots so we were selling a lot every 50 seconds or so. I'll see if I can get an exact count on the lots tomorrow. Fifty seconds seems to long to me, but then there is quite a bit of difference speed wise between Mark and I. While Mark is really good, he's not as fast as I am, while I'm certainly not a professional I have a pretty good cadence and it doesn't take me long to finish off an item an get a good price for it.

So here are a few pictures from tonight's affair

The check-in begins

The tables and floor is starting to fill up as sellers' bring their stuff in to be "recycled"

And a shot from the other side. Those big boxes under the tables are 3d boards for Space Hulk.

A better shot with no one in the way. To the left of the picture you can see the edge of another table that is full of games

The back table is filling up as well 

The money side of the operation

Mark in full auctioneering mode

The paperwork processing begins. First stage is taking money for cash sales during the auction (which we encourage, saves time later). The blue sheets are buyer sheets, for those running a tab. The white sheets are the seller sheets. Both sheets need information from the yellow tag that comes off each item as its sold. The white tag stays with the item and is stored on tables at the back of the room.


  1. I missed out on Space Hulk?! :(

    1. Not really! Those are cast resin pieces to use in place of the cardboard Space Hulk boards. The guy casts up 4-5 boxes of the basic set which is enough to play the Space Hulk scenarios. He then casts up a matching number of advanced sets which contain more pieces. He uses the molds from Hirst Arts head over there and you can see what he is making.