Earlier this year I was thinking back on how much fun I had at Adepticon, Gen Con, and Worlds last year and how much I REALLY wanted to go again. But while I remember having a blast at all these events, I also remember something else: they were all really expensive. Between the badge, tournament entries, hotel, travel, food, and everything else, going to more than one of these events can quickly become prohibitively pricey.
So, I decided to approach things a little differently this year and see how cheaply I could attend one of these events. And you know what happened? Not only was I able to attend Adepticon for free, I literally made a profit on the weekend!
This is going to be the first article in a series of articles I’m calling Destiny on a Dime. The general idea is to discuss playing Destiny on a budget, and can range anywhere from traveling for events (like this article), to casual formats, to trying to be competitive for as cheaply as possible.
Now, keep in mind that not all of the strategies that I’m about to discuss will be for everyone, since some of you may have different priorities/restrictions than others. However, my hope is that someone on the fence about attending a GQ due only to the cost will find something in this article that helps make it possible.
The Cost of a Galactic Qualifier
So the obvious place to begin this study is to figure out the approximate cost of attending one of these events. I’m using Galactic Qualifiers for the purposes of this article because they are the most frequent and easy to calculate events, but many of these principles can be applied to regionals, Worlds, or any other major event that you’d need to travel to.
Here is a full breakdown of all of my costs to attend Adepticon in March of 2019:
|Tournament Entry Fees (2 Trilogy, 2 Sealed)||$120|
|Hotel (4 nights, split with 3 friends)||$215|
|Playmats (4 total, GQ exclusives)||$80|
|Draft Pods (2)||$50|
|X-Wing Vulture Droid (Adepticon Exclusive)||$21.20|
|Food (All meals, 4 days)||$121.07|
A quick note: We drove to this event, so we didn’t have to pay for a flight. We split the cost of gas, but my friend who drove hasn’t told us how much we owe yet. I expect it to be somewhere in the $20-30 range.
That brings us to a total of $647.27 for the entire event ($526.20 if you don’t include food).
That’s a lot of money. You may find yourself asking how I managed to counteract all those costs, and honestly the answer is quite simple. I sold virtually all of my prizes. Now, this isn’t the only strategy you can use to reduce the cost of the trip (I’ll go into more of these strategies in a bit), but it’s certainly one of the most optimal ones.
The great thing about selling prizes you acquire is that you can choose to sell as many or as few as you want to recoup costs. Maybe you like the prizes and want to sell just enough to cover the cost of the entry fees, or your hotel stay. As for me, I went full extreme and sold almost everything to see how far I could take this experiment.
The important thing to understand about the spot gloss cards that are awarded at these events is that they are exclusive to Galactic Qualifiers, so they have value in that not everyone has access to them. Now, I’m not saying you should go out and price gouge people who are unfortunate enough to not be able to attend one, but the value you get in ticket prizes certainly outweighs the cost you spend to acquire them.
In my example, I played in 4 of the 7 available GQs this past weekend, as well as two draft pods. I ended up going 5-1, 4-2, 4-2, and 3-3 in the GQs, which when combined with the two pods left me with 58 tickets. Of course your results in the individual events will vary, but even if you lose every game and play in 4 GQs, you’ll have 24 tickets, enough to buy 2-3 spot gloss cards. And let’s be real, you’re not gonna lose EVERY game, right? This leads to my first tip:
Tip #1: “Pre-Sell” Prizes You Don’t Want
Whether you’re looking to sell everything like I did, or just a few things to help cut costs, try to find someone who may be interested in purchasing prizes before you even go to the event. In my case I had two friends who couldn’t attend Adepticon, but wanted spot gloss cards. So I sent them the options and ticket costs and had them tell me what they wanted.
This removes the risk of buying a spot gloss and not being able to find someone to buy it at a decent price. I also offer these friends a cheaper price than you’d find on eBay because it saves me the fees as well as the hassle of shipping, making it a win for all involved. Try to work out a reasonable price before you go so you’re all on the same page. I ended up settling on $9/ticket, which is quite a bit cheaper than what the spot glosses were going for at the time, but as I just mentioned, I deemed it well worth the reduced hassle. If you want to maximize profits you can probably sell for more than that on eBay, keeping in mind that this also comes with more risk.
So, with my 58 tickets, here were my net purchases/sales:
Not too shabby! Also note that I didn’t play in 3 of the 7 GQs, and I spent most of my free time doing other things (sleeping in, going to the gym, browsing the vendor hall, etc) instead of playing in pods. Plus, I’m not even counting the participation prize cards, which generally sell for ~$20 each. So, there’s room to improve in this area too.
At this point I’ve already reduced the cost of my trip from $647.27 down to $125.27 (and a measly $4.20 if you don’t count food). That’s pretty darn good if you ask me! Now again, I personally don’t care much about the spot gloss cards, but I understand many of you do. If repping this sweet swag is important to you, I’d recommend that you keep 1 or 2 for yourself and sell the extras. Every little bit helps.
But I didn’t stop there. Which leads to my next tip…
Tip #2: Keep an Eye Out for Con Exclusives
Last year at Adepticon, Legion was being announced and there were tons of exclusive Legion swag that people who couldn’t make the event wanted. This year, they were selling exclusive Viper droids for X-Wing and playmats for Destiny (Chewie, Iden, Sebulba, and Cody). Some may look down on flipping items like this, but I view it as giving those who are unable to attend these events the opportunity to acquire collectibles they want, while compensating me for my time and effort.
I was able to purchase the Viper droid for $21.20, and sell it for $50, just by waiting in line for it for about 30-45 minutes before the vendor hall opened. I then sold a Chewie mat on eBay for $60 ($20 purchase price). The person who won the auction mentioned they would be interested in the other 3 mats if I could get them, so I bought 1 of each of the others and sold them at $40 each.
So now these con exclusive sales netted me another $230. Subtract the $15.24 it cost me to ship the playmats, and that’s another $214.76 back in my pocket.
At this point, the entire trip, including food, lodging, event entry…everything, cost me $647.27, and I made back $754.17.
In other words, I got paid $106.90 to attend Adepticon this year!
How sick is that?!
Now, selling things isn’t the only thing you can do to help cut costs, so let me close with some other general tips. You many not use everything I talk about in this article, but hopefully some of these tips will help you in planning your next GQ adventure!
Tip #3: Take Advantage of Free Breakfast
Most hotels offer some form of free breakfast at this point. You’re going to be spending LONG hours in the convention hall playing Destiny, so take advantage of this free meal and fill up on a nice, big breakfast before you head out! This will help keep you energized for longer, and cut a meal’s worth of expenses out each day.
Tip #4: Hit Up a Grocery Store
When you first arrive, take a group of people and head out to a local Walmart, Aldi, or whatever other grocery store and grab a bunch of supplies. I usually grab snacks (protein bars, nuts, etc) to munch on when I get hungry throughout the event, but I’ll also grab a cheap jar of peanut butter, jelly, and a loaf of bread to make sandwiches. I spent $7 on those three things and had enough for lunches for the entire trip. Certainly beats spending $12 on a convention hall grilled cheese every day!
Tip #5: Drive If You Can
This one seems obvious, but if you’re within a reasonable distance, driving is much, much cheaper than flying. It was about a 7.5 hour drive for us, but we were three to a car so it wasn’t all that bad. Plus, we had a car there to get around in throughout the weekend, which was nice to have.
I’m sure there are many more ways to save on these trips (travel rewards points is one good example), but these are the ones I opted to use to be able to experience a great time with friends and compete in Galactic Qualifiers without breaking the bank.
Have other tips that I didn’t mention here? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page!
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