EXTRA LIFE 2016 DEBRIEF
The beginning of the Mystery House year is spent planning, outlining, and preparing to execute. The Summer is spent on events, travelling to conventions, and publishing comics. By the time we reach the Fall we're exhausted. We need a break. We want to play a game. Not ones to do anything lightly, why not play those games for 24 hours straight to raise money for sick kids at St. Luke's Children's Hospital via the Children's Miracle Network in a fundraiser called EXTRA LIFE.
This year's event was hosted by ABU Games for the second year-in-a-row. Their excited and knowledgeable staff organized a schedule of events featuring a wide variety of games like Magic the Gathering, Pathfinder, and locally produced games like Pass-a-Fist.
As you walked in the door you were immediately greeted by one of our awesome volunteers who would tell you about our fundraising efforts, how to donate, and guide you to your chosen game.
Most of the action happened in the main room within sight of the store proper.
Hundreds of gamers flooded in to play and to generously donate. We invited a lot of local organizations to come and run games for people based on donation. They were also given raffle tickets for time played and for various achievements within the game. All these organizations donated killer prizes that we gave away every hour, and based on donation milestones. Ninja Division is a fantastic game publisher who was onsite demonstrating a lot of their killer board games.
We also had Pass-a-Fist in the house, demonstrating their locally designed and crowd-funded card game!
Down a hallway and set up in a former basketball court was the Star Wars miniatures game X-Wing Squadron, Warhammer 40k, and Gem State Smash, who set up about a dozen TVs and systems to play Wii, WiiU, and Gamecube, and to host Super Smash Bros. tournaments!
When we first teamed with ABU, their big angle was "Gamers Carnival" and in that spirit a big part of the event has always been face-painting.
Face-painting is a great way to include the kids which is who this event is aiming to help. Kids like these two lovely ladies who frequent St. Luke's Children's Hospital themselves!
When it was time for a raffle our volunteer Michial from Treasure Valley Gamers would run to the back of the building where two D&D games ran simultaneously beginning every 4 hours! He'd collect their raffle tickets and any last minute donations to ensure they didn't miss out on their chance to win prize bundles worth up to $100!
I had a lot going on, MCing the event and administrating for the volunteers, but I was able to break away a couple times to record episodes of our Mystery House Radio podcasts "All There is to Know" and "Pascagoula Runners!"
In the wee hours of the morning things settled down. It got hard to stay awake. I'm usually in bed by 10. So I set up a "charging station" in the locker room portion of the men's restroom. This is where I refilled my coffee AND charged my phone!
Throughout the event we used a thermometer to keep track of how much money we'd raised, how much we'd raised in 2015, and how close we were to this year's goal of $3,000!
We weren't sure we'd make it. Our heads were drooping. Our eyes were closing. Then, two hours before the end, ABU staff burst into the room clutching the thermometer and announcing that we'd done it! We'd obliterated last year's total and met our goal of $3,000, surpassing it by $6!
In the end it was a great event. Our most successful fundraiser yet. And it was a freaking blast. Special thanks to Andrew Emerson for hosting our livestream via Let's Suck at Games, to the Pathfinder crew, and to Guru Donuts, Bittercreek Alehouse, and 10 Barrel Brewing for their generous food donations.
See ya next year gamers. Play games, HEAL KIDS!