Budgeting

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Another first draft, this time on budgeting for a game.

[size=120]Budgeting[/size]

Budgeting is the process of forecasting the financial costs and incomes an event will have. It is important to budget before you announce your event, so that you can include accurate prices in your details.

Projects of NZLARPS
When running an event as a project of NZLARPS, you should ideally present your event budget to your regional committee before announcing the event to potential participants. It is at the discretion of your regional committee whether they approve any given budget, so don’t take it for granted that they will do so. Larp event projects of NZLARPS are expected to run a small profit, around 10%-20% of the cost of the event, to help pay for the upkeep of the gear library and other costs involved in providing larp services to the community. If you make a loss NZLARPS will take the hit. It’s fine that this occasionally happens, but it’s not the preferred outcome. If you are running a series of events, it may be acceptable for your early events in the series to make a small loss as a result of investment in resources for the setting, so long as it is expected that later events will make a larger profit. However, it is up to your regional committee whether they approve budgets that predict a loss.

Costs first
Before you can work out what to charge players and crew, you need to know how much your game will cost to run. There is a famous case study in New Zealand business schools regarding the local take-away chain Georgie Pie. Apparently, it was decided to sell some small pies for $1, to attract customers. However, the small pies actually cost more than this to produce, and they were popular. It’s said that this was part of the reason Georgie Pie eventually closed. The moral is: work out your costs first, then charge more than enough to cover them. If you think the resulting price is too steep and you want to lower it, then you must also find a way to lower your costs too, so there will still be a profit. In the business world there is such a thing as “loss leader” products that intentionally make a loss to attract customers to other, more profitable products, however this strategy is seldom employed in the world of not-for-profit larp event running as participants expect a certain fairness of prices.

Costs come in two flavours. Fixed costs are items that will cost a set amount no matter how many participants you have, such as venue hire. Variable costs are items that need to be budgeted per person, such as food. In order to budget for variable costs, you need to be able to make a rough estimate of not only how many participants you will have, but how many will fall into each price bracket (full price, discounted for early payment, crew price, etc). You guess will not be perfectly accurate, but there will be leeway in the budget in case you don’t get as many people as expected. The society can offer advice on the proportions of players who are likely to pay early or be NZLARPS members, based on previous events.

NZLARPS provides a spreadsheet for you to enter your financial forecast into, which can be found here.

If you are hiring a venue, then you should enquire with the venue to get a quote for the price. Prices advertised on websites are not always up to date. The venue managers may need to know when in the year you want to hire, and how many people will be attending or staying over. Accommodation prices sometimes depend on the number of guests. Note that if you are running a project of NZLARPS, then the society will be hiring the venue. As such, you represent the society when dealing with venue managers, so please be polite and don’t say anything to cast the society into disrepute or make it less likely that we will be able to hire the venue for future events. It may be worth mentioning that we are a non-profit hobby organisation, as some council-run venues may give discounts or be entirely free for such groups.

If you are serving food and/or drink at your event, you need to estimate how much it will cost you per person attending. If you have a cook, then they should provide you with a per-person estimate. It would not be unusual for a weekend event to cost $15 per person for a snack on Friday night, two breakfasts, Saturday lunch, and Saturday night dinner. A single dinner might cost around $5 per person. Staying within your food budget, while ensuring you provide enough food to satisfy people, requires careful consideration of the price of ingredients. A larp is not usually the place for expensive ingredients. In your food budget you also need to consider any incidental food preparation and presentation costs. Washing liquid, kitchen wipes and spray, paper cups, anything that NZLARPS does not already have, the venue won’t provide, and your players can’t be expected to bring. Often, players are asked to provide their own cutlery - this is especially appropriate in medieval-styled settings.

Venue hire and food are essentially consumables, as is any rented equipment. We pay for them and use them at the event, but we don’t get to keep them to use for future events.

Gear, on the other hand, is rather like a form of profit. If your budget includes items such as costumes, decorations, and props, then these items will become the property of NZLARPS and add to the pool of equipment available to future larps. Gear budget can be both for materials that you’ll use to construct items for your event, and for items that you purchase that are ready to use immediately. The more your budget allows you to purchase items suitable for re-use, the less concerned your regional committee will probably be about exactly how much monetary profit you will generate. Note however that there is only so much space to store and transport bulky gear, so be careful when considering investing in large items.

However well you budget, there will be unexpected expenses. It pays to have a “Sundry” amount budgeted for, that can be used for costs before or after the event that you didn’t predict. If you don’t end up needing to spend this amount, it can be added to the profit.

Pricing

Early payment discounts

NZLARPS member discounts

Crew pricing

(work in progress)

This seems quite focused on weekend games rather than one-offs. The latter are much simpler on venue, but have other costs as well.

Other one-off budget considerations:

  • printing
  • envelopes
  • badge-holders - NZLARPS Wellington has a stock of these; I assume Auckland does too.

For one-offs, consult the venue-list in your respective city to see what suits. Should include a note on the cheapest / most popular venue for such events. In Wellington, this is Turnbull House. In Auckland?

Gear: Should remind people to check with their regional gear officer to see what is available (to avoid buying another wheel). Could also try and steer people towards trying to borrow gear which is unlikely to be reused (insofar as it can be, of course).

Could give some idea of “standard” prices for various types of games, both as a guide to player expectations and as a starting point to check financial viability.

Thanks, here’s an updated draft with those items included.

Items that are specific to a certain style of game could either be put in sidebars in the guide, or we could make separate guides with some material repeated, as Mike suggested.

[size=120]Budgeting[/size]

Budgeting is the process of forecasting the financial costs and incomes an event will have. Make your budget before you announce your event, so you can advertise accurate prices.

Projects of NZLARPS
When running a society project event, present your budget to your regional committee before announcing the event to players. Your regional committee may suggest changes before approving your budget. Projects of NZLARPS are expected to run a small profit, around 10%-20% of the cost of the event, to help pay for the upkeep of the gear library and other costs. If you make a loss NZLARPS will take the hit. It’s okay that this happens sometimes, but not ideal. If you are running a series, it may be acceptable for the early events to make a small loss as a result of investment in resources, so long as the series is expected to make a small profit overall.

Costs first
Before you can work out what to charge players and crew, you need to know how much your game will cost to run. Work out your costs first, then charge more than enough to cover them. If you think the resulting price is too steep and you want to lower it, then you must lower your costs too, so there will still be a profit.

Estimating your costs
Costs come in two flavours. Fixed costs are items that will cost a set amount no matter how many participants you have, such as venue hire. Variable costs are items that need to be budgeted per person, such as food. In order to budget for variable costs, you need to be able to make a rough estimate of not only how many participants you will have, but how many will fall into each price bracket (full price, discounted for early payment, crew price, etc). You guess will not be perfectly accurate, but there will be leeway in the budget in case you don’t get as many people as expected.

NZLARPS provides a spreadsheet for you to enter your financial forecast into, which can be found here.

If you are hiring a venue, then you should enquire with the venue to get a quote for the price. Prices advertised on websites are not always up to date. The venue managers may need to know when in the year you want to hire, and how many people will be attending or staying over. Accommodation prices sometimes depend on the number of guests. Note that if you are running a project of NZLARPS, then the society will be hiring the venue. As such, you represent the society when dealing with venue managers, so please be polite and don’t say anything to cast the society into disrepute or make it less likely that we will be able to hire the venue for future events. It may be worth mentioning that we are a non-profit hobby organisation, as some council-run venues may give discounts or be entirely free for such groups.

(TODO: help with finding a suitable venue. This might be best somewhere other than in the Budgeting chapter)

If you are serving food and/or drink at your event, you need to estimate how much it will cost you per person attending. If you have a cook, then they should provide you with a per-person estimate. It would not be unusual for a weekend event to cost $15 per person for a snack on Friday night, two breakfasts, Saturday lunch, and Saturday night dinner. A single dinner might cost around $5 per person. Staying within your food budget, while ensuring you provide enough food to satisfy people, requires careful consideration of the price of ingredients. A larp is not usually the place for expensive ingredients. In your food budget you also need to consider any incidental food preparation and presentation costs. Washing liquid, kitchen wipes and spray, paper cups, anything that NZLARPS does not already have, the venue won’t provide, and your players can’t be expected to bring. Often, players are asked to provide their own cutlery - this is especially appropriate in medieval-styled settings.

Venue hire and food are essentially consumables, as is any rented equipment. We pay for them and use them at the event, but we don’t get to keep them to use for future events.

Gear, on the other hand, is rather like a form of profit. If your budget includes items such as costumes, decorations, and props, then these items will become the property of NZLARPS and add to the pool of equipment available to future larps. Gear budget can be both for materials that you’ll use to construct items for your event, and for items that you purchase that are ready to use immediately. The more your budget allows you to purchase items suitable for re-use, the less concerned your regional committee will probably be about exactly how much monetary profit you will generate. Note however that there is only so much space to store and transport bulky gear, so be careful when considering investing in large items. You should contact your regional NZLARPS Equipment Officer to find out if the items you need already exist and can be used before buying, renting or making your own. Even if NZLARPS doesn’t have precisely what you’re thinking of, we may have something near enough. If you need items that are unlikely to be reused in future larps, it’s worth investigating borrowing or renting them. Some larpers are happy to lend their personal gear to help events to run, or may charge a small rental cost or ask for free attendence at your event in exchange for lending a significant number of items.

Some games have considerable stationary costs. You may need to print character sheets, name badges and briefing documents for every player. If your game has pre-written characters, you should have at least one copy of every character printed for the game, because some players will not bring their own. If you are handing players a stack of documents, it pays to put each player’s documents into a large envelope, and these will also need to be budgetted for. There may also be in-character documents to be printed. If you are using name-badges, you will need a badge-holder for each participant. NZLARPS has stores of these in Wellington and Auckland that you can borrow. (TODO: add estimated prices for printing, provide instructions and prices for using the NZLARPS laser printer )

However well you budget, there will be unexpected expenses. It pays to have a “Sundry” amount budgeted for, that can be used for costs before or after the event that you didn’t predict. If you don’t end up needing to spend this amount, it can be added to the profit.

Pricing
(TODO: give advice on typical prices for different styles of event, how much profit is normal, etc)

Early payment discounts
(TODO: discuss why early payment discounts are a good idea - in order to get collect some funds early to be used to pay for early costs, and also to ensure people commit to the event. Give advice on the proportions of players who are likely to pay early)

NZLARPS member discounts
(TODO: discuss why giving member discounts is a good idea. Give advice on the proportions of players who are likely to be NZLARPS members)

Crew pricing
(TODO: discuss why giving crew a special price is a good idea - mostly to attract enough people towards crewing.)

This would be a good article to progress towards publication. Would anyone like to revise and contribute?

For the Pricing section: the standard price for a one-evening theatre-style game in Wellington is $20, with a $5 discount for NZLARPS members. At this price, a 15 player game should turn a profit of around $50, depending on costs.

One aspect I would like to see included is an explicit statement of discounts/koha for contributors such as GMs or caterers. i.e. if the GMs are not paying the crew member’s fee (because of the effort they put it), it needs to be transparent from the outset. Same goes for koha for important tasks such as catering or photography, the discounts/koha (which are, effectively, the same) need to be explicitly stated.

I’ve picked this up to have a look through, and hopefully get Anna to review. Will re-post here when done.

I spent a couple of uninterrupted hours on this today, so have got the guts of it mostly done. I’ve sent it to Anna for her comment, so am now waiting for her response.

Here’s what I’ve got so far, so any/everyone can comment … Proper Formatting not done yet…

[size=120]How to Create a Budget for your Larp[/size]
By Ryan Paddy, Hannah Jackson

As much as we like to create worlds of fantasy for interesting characters to populate, the reality of running a larp is that it is set in the real world, and real world considerations of cost need to be thought about. Unless you are a wealthy philanthropic game organiser, where you are happy to spend your own money to give pleasure to many others, (in which case please run many games), you will be wanting to make sure the money side of things balance.
In this article we talk about some of the common things to consider, and how NZLARPS can help.

Contents

Why create a budget?
How can NZLARPS Help
Steps in creating a budget
    Estimating your Fixed Costs
        Venue Hire
        Gear
            Materials to construct new items
            Prop & Costume Hire
            Consumables & Makeup
            Transport
            Costume Cleaning
        Cook Koha
        Sundry or Contingency
    Estimating your Variable Costs
        Food and Drink
        Stationary & Printing
    Pricing
        Typical Prices
        Discounts
        Payments

Why create a budget?
A budget is the document where you forecast (have an educated guess) about the expected income and costs associated with an event.
[]Writing it down in an easy to read format makes it clearer in your head and can then to be shown to others for their input.
[
]It is important to budget before you announce your event, so that you can include accurate prices in the details you are giving attendees.
It is a requirement of NZLARPS, so the society members are reassured their money is being well spent.

How can NZLARPS Help
One of the main things that NZLARPS does is to be the “banker” for an event. It will pay costs before the event, and before the players play, with the expectation that the income from the players will cover these costs later on. To do this, your larp needs to become a “Project of NZLARPS” fill in the forms found here [*link] and go to a committee meeting (usually held once a month).

Projects of NZLARPS

When running a society project event, present your budget to your regional committee before announcing the event to players. Your regional committee may suggest changes before approving your budget. Projects of NZLARPS are expected to run a small profit, around 10%-20% of the cost of the event, to help pay for the upkeep of the gear library and other costs. If you make a loss NZLARPS will take the hit. It’s okay that this happens sometimes, but not every game. If you are running a series of games, it may be acceptable for the early events to make a small loss as a result of investment in resources, so long as the series is expected to make a small profit overall.

Note any profits from one game go into the general NZLARPS account and are not earmarked to particular campaigns, thus you cannot consider any profit from a previous game as a transferable credit to the next game.

Gear

NZLARPS has an extensive pool of costumes and props that you can use in larps. You need to contact the regional gear officer [*link] at least one week beforehand to organise this. If your game is a project of NZLARPS and includes purchasing or making new props or costumes, then these items will become the property of NZLARPS and be added to the pool of equipment available to future larps. Note however that there is only so much space to store and transport bulky gear, so be careful when considering investing in large items.

Financial Records

NZLARPS needs to ensure its money it being spent appropriately, so will require the game organiser to submit final “Actuals” accounts, detailing the costs and income that actually occurred. This is also beneficial to the game organiser to analyse what has happened, and where the money went, to have a better understanding for the next game. As part of this process, game organisers are required to keep and hand over receipts for all expenditure for the event. This is standard practise with dealing with money in any organisation, and is a safety mechanism to ensure both sides of the party are being treated fairly.

Steps in creating a budget
There are three steps in creating a budget, which are explained in more detail later on.
NZLARPS provides a spreadsheet for you to enter your budget/financial forecast into, which can be found here.

Estimate your Costs

Before you can work out what to charge players and crew, you need to know how much your game will cost to run. Costs come in two flavours fixed and variable. There will be some cost that happen before the event, and some that may happen afterwards, but this doesn’t not really relevant to the budget

Calculate your Pricing

Take your total cost, add on 10%-20% profit and then divide by the number of people you expect to attend. Consider different pricing options, and how many people will fall ito each category.

[i] Adjust as Required [i/]

If you think the resulting price is too much and you want to lower it, then you must lower your costs too, so there will still be a profit.

Estimating your Fixed Costs
Fixed costs are items that will cost a set amount no matter how many participants you have, such as venue hire.

Venue Hire

If you are hiring a venue, then you should enquire with the venue to get a quote for the price. Prices advertised on websites are not always up to date. The venue managers may need to know when in the year you want to hire, and how many people will be attending or staying over. Accommodation prices sometimes depend on the number of guests.

Note that if you are running a project of NZLARPS, then the society will be hiring the venue. As such, you represent the society when dealing with venue managers, so please be polite and don’t say anything to cast the society into disrepute or make it less likely that we will be able to hire the venue for future events. It may be worth mentioning that we are a non-profit hobby organisation, as some council-run venues may give discounts or be entirely free for such groups.

Gear

Items such as costumes, decorations, and props can be split into many different categories, but the main difference from the budget point of view, is whether the items can be re-used, and become assets or if they are used up, or consumed.

        Construction Materials & new items

Gear budget can be both for materials that you’ll use to construct items for your event, and for items that you purchase that are ready to use immediately. The more your budget allows you to purchase items suitable for re-use, the less concerned your regional committee will probably be about exactly how much monetary profit you will generate. You should contact your regional NZLARPS Equipment Officer to find out if the items you need already exist and can be used before buying, renting or making your own. Even if NZLARPS doesn’t have precisely what you’re thinking of, we may have something near enough.

        Prop & Costume Hire

If you need items that are unlikely to be reused in future larps, it’s worth investigating borrowing or renting them. Some larpers are happy to lend their personal gear to help events to run, or may charge a small rental cost or ask for free attendance at your event in exchange for lending a significant number of items. Commercial prop hire places such as First Scene often have websites you can peruse their items and costs.

        Consumables & Makeup

As the name indicates these are items that are used up over the course of a game. Also include delicate costumes/props that will likely to be damaged over the course of the game, and not re-useable in the future.

NZLARPS has a boxful of facepaint and other makeup, but over the course of games this is used up. Other examples of consumables are - sponges for applying facepaint, wipes for removing facepaint, sunblock, fake blood, slime & pus, elf ears, special effect contact lenses, special effect fingernails.

Transport

You need to consider how to get the gear to and from the venue. Depending on the size of your game, how much gear you want, the amount of spare space in your and other attendees cars, you may want to considering using a trailer or van

    NZLARPS Auckland owns a large covered trailer, about the size of a horse float.  You may want to use this, contact Mike Curtis at least one week in advance.
    Considering the weight of the filled trailer, the person who volunteers to tow the trailer to the venue may experience significant increase in petrol useage. It is a kind game organiser that will offer a petrol voucher ($50 typically) and will make it more likely that the person will volunteer to do this again in the future.
    If you want to hire a smaller cage trailer, then factor in this cost - get quotes from several commercial hire outlets, rather than depending on the local petrol station.
    Another alternative is to hire a van, get quotes from commercial outlets.

Costume Cleaning

Any NZLARPS gear used for an event needs to be clean when it is returned to the Gear Shed. It is the responsibility of the game organiser to ensure this happens. If it is a small game, they may be happy with washing them at home. However for large games held over weekends where mud and fake blood are common, it is usual to take these to a commercial laundromat. This cost is typically

Cook Koha

For a weekend game, the task of planning, preparing and cooking for all the larp attendees is a significant effort. Considering the limited pool of capable experienced people within the larping community willing to take on this task, a koha payment has become typical $200 to encourage these people to do it again in the future

Sundry or Contingency

However well you budget, there will be unexpected expenses that you didn’t predict. For example damage to the venue. Allow for this in your budget by having a Sundries amount, calculated as 5% [?]. If you don’t end up needing to spend this amount, it can be added to the profit.

Estimating your Variable Costs
Variable costs are items that need to be budgeted per person, so you need to be able to make a rough estimate of how many participants you will have. Remember to include yourself and the other GM/organisers. Your guess will not be perfectly accurate, but there will be leeway in the budget in case you don’t get as many people as expected.

Food and Drink

If you are serving food and/or drink at your event, you need to estimate how much it will cost you per person attending. It would not be unusual for a weekend event to cost $15 per person for a snack on Friday night, two breakfasts, Saturday lunch, and Saturday night dinner. A single dinner might cost around $5 per person. Staying within your food budget, while ensuring you provide enough food to satisfy people, requires careful consideration of the price of ingredients. A larp is not usually the place for expensive ingredients. In your food budget you also need to consider any incidental food preparation and presentation costs. Washing liquid, kitchen wipes and spray, paper cups, anything that NZLARPS does not already have, the venue won’t provide, and your players can’t be expected to bring. Often, players are asked to provide their own cutlery - this is especially appropriate in medieval-styled settings.

Stationary & Printing

Some games have considerable stationary costs. You may need to print character sheets, name badges and briefing documents for every player.

    If your game has pre-written characters, you should have at least one copy of every character printed for the game, because some players will not bring their own.
    If you are handing players a stack of documents, it pays to put each player's documents into a large envelope, and the cost of these will also need to beincluded. There may also be in-character documents to be printed. 

    If you are using name-badges, you will need a badge-holder for each participant. NZLARPS has these in Wellington and Auckland that you can borrow.
    NZLARPS Auckland has a laser printer available to use (even for non-NZLARP Projects) and will charge 5c per printed sheet.  Contact the NZLARPS Secretary [*link] to organise access, at least one week before you need to use it.

Pricing

Typical Prices
When you have decided on your game pricing, you may want to compare these prices to what else is available to your potential attendees, and if it is reasonable value. For example, other larps, other events in similar hobbies, cost of an evening entertainment like the movies or a restaurant meal. Here are some common price points for larps.

Weekend Games
Day or Evening Games
    one-evening theatre-style game in Auckland
    one-evening theatre-style game in Wellington is $20, with a $5 discount for NZLARPS members. At this price, a 15 player game should turn a profit of around $50, depending on costs

Discounts
Remember the more discounts you give, the less income you have. If you have several pricing categories/discount options, you will need to guess at how many attendees will fall into each category.
One way to think about discounts, is to work out the base cost for attendees, which will be your “after discount” price. Then add on your discounts (usually in increments in $5 or $10) to give you the pricing for each category. For example an early discount is another way of looking at a late payment penalty.

[*][i]Early payment discounts[/i]
    in order to get collect some funds early to be used to pay for early costs
    to ensure people commit to the event.
    The proportions of players who are likely to pay early is ….

[*][i]NZLARPS member discounts[/i]
    NZLARPS is the New Zealand society created to support larp activities, and being a member helps make people part of the greater group.   
    The proportions of players who are likely to be NZLARPS members is ….
[*][i]Crew pricing[/i]
    In some games it may seem that being a player is the more appealing role, so you may end up getting too many players, and not enough people to crew for you. One way to counter this effect is to offer a cheaper pricing option to attract enough people towards crewing.
    Have it clear in your head the minimum number of crew you will need to successfully run your game, and how many you would really like and can expect.
[*][i]GM pricing[/i]
    Considering the amount of time and effort that the GM and organising team put into running a larp, you may think they shouldn’t have to pay as well.  It is a reasonably common practise, as long you are reasonable about it.  It is better to state up-front that these people are not paying, rather than not mention it and run the risk of people finding out about it later and feeling ripped off.
[*][i]Other Discounts[/i]
    As the game organiser you can choose to give other discounts so long as you include these in your budget. Other examples include:
    beneficiaries or students
    electronic payment
    Cook’s aide (this is offered at Chimera)

Payment
Although this is not strictly within the scope of this budget document, it is worth noting the expectation of NZLARPS and the larping community that attendees pay for an event beforehand, or at the event. Payments after the event tend to get forgotten and becomes a hassle to chase up. NZLARPS Auckland has introduced a late payment fee for their projects to deter people from this practise, as it had become a frustrating waste of the Treasurer’s time. This fee [*link] needs to be advertised by the game organiser when you advertise the game prices for attendees. It is an administrative fee which is paid directly to NZLARPS and thus will make no impact on your game costs or budget.

That’s looking good. There are some incomplete sentences and figures, but I imagine there’s another round of editing to go. I’d be happy to do a round of proofreading and editing when you’re ready, that would be easier than listing points.

I think for clarity it needs to end with an idealised example in spreadsheet form, with explanations. This could include examples of each of the points made such as early discounts and food pricing, with an explanation of how they were reached, so that the points are reinforced. People often learn better from examples, and could use the example spreadsheet as a template for their own efforts. Possibly there could be a simple example for an evening game with minimal food, then a more complex example for a weekend game with all the guff.

Having looked at a few budgets, this should add a few things to cover common mistakes:

  • be conservative in your attendance expectations: if it is a new event, assume a low attendance and budget accordingly. That way the risk is all on the upside. If preliminary signups run higher than expected, then you can revise your budget and buy more gear. For a small theatreform, you can probably assume a full cast - but be aware of the effects of one of two unfilled dropouts, and leave slop in the budget to cover it.
  • be aware of risks: what happens to your budget if more people than expected get the discounts? The budget should plan for the worst-case scenario, so that the risk is all on the upside.
  • Avoid heroic assumptions: if you say you can feed people for a weekend for $5 a head, or that every space in your game will be filled with non-NZLARPS members, then you are fooling yourself and inviting a large financial loss.
  • Actually check prices: and if your project is delayed for six months, check them again and revise the budget, so it doesn’t make a $200 loss (I speak from experience here…) Do not rely on getting stuff on special.

The uber-rule: Budget conservatively, for a structural profit: if your budget shows a loss, or a narrow break-even with significant downside risk, then it may not be approved. So, be careful, be conservative, and make sure the uncertainties are all on the upside (that is, result in making more money, not less).

If you are not making a profit, look first at your costs: are you spending a lot of money on props? Are they absolutely necessary, or merely a cool “nice to have”? Can you beg / borrow / rent them? How many attendees would you need to be able to buy them? Is that number credible? Often its a better idea to delay purchase until you have a better idea of numbers (and the budget should show that).

Look at revenue: would it work better if the price went up by $5? While the big campaigns are relatively cheap, they have economies of scale. If you are a small game, covering the same fixed venue costs, you will need to be more expensive.

If all else fails, look at the game structure. Would the first session of your new campaign work better as a day game?


For worked examples, I can probably dig one up for a small Wellington theatreform.

Perhaps the spreadsheet could allow you to enter optimistic numbers (e.g. full attendance), but then apply an adjustment to them to make them conservative.

My standard Wellington theatreform template (which I use for all the stuff I run, and give to Wellington GMs wanting to know what to do) is here.

Its a simple budget, and not a lot can go wrong on it, but it still encourages GMs to assume everyone gets discounted entry to minimise financial risk. That way, if attendance is as expected, you get a nice budget surprise at the end of it to.