Countdown to Big Bad Con

Here’s a handy list of dates so you’ll know when everything Big Bad Con is happening. These dates will be updated and refined as we get closer to the con.

May 29 – June 30: Big Bad Con Kickstarter

July 1: Big Bad Con Scholarship application opens.

July 13: Big Bad Outreach event at the University Village in Albany

Mid July: BackerKit surveys going out.

Mid August: BackerKit surveys due.

August 15: Event submissions close (until then, submit your events here)

August 15: Big Bad Con Scholarship application closes.

Late August: The events schedule will be published and the first date of sign ups will be finalized.

August – September: Big Bad Online games scheduled.

Early September: Phase One of game registration will go live. More info on sign ups here.

September 15: Scholarship funds distributed

September 20: The Big Bad Con group rate at the Marriott ends (until then, book a room here).

October 11: 6PM the doors open. Come get your badge and join in our social events and pickup games.

October 12: 9AM our first games start.

October 14: 8PM our last games end.

October 15: We start planning for 2019!


Proof of 501(c)(3) Status

A few folks have noticed that if they donate to Big Bad Con their contributions are tax deductible! Yes!

Also, several employers offer their employees time off to volunteer at charitable organizations. Yes, we qualify for this too!

If you require proof of Big Bad Con’s 501(c)(3) status, there are several ways to get it.

  1. You can just list our Federal EIN number: 81-2912392. For most folks, that’s all that’s needed.
  2. If you want to go a bit deeper, you can also provide our IRS Determination letter.
  3. If you want to get our most recent status, you can visit the website, use the Tax Exempt Organization Search and view our Determination Letter as well as Publication 78 Data, and Form 990-N status.

If there is any other information you need with regards to our tax exempt status or how you can write off your charitable donations, please feel free to reach out to


Thanks as always for all your support!

2017 Doctors Without Borders Contribution


Donation Confirmation

Thank you for supporting Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Your generosity gives us the financial independence we need to provide emergency medical care to men, women, and children in more than 60 countries around the world.

Sean Nittner
Big Bad Con, Inc.

Wolf Chase 2017 Crowdrise Donation: $700.00
One-time Gift: $1,300.00
Total: $2,000.00

Doctors Without Borders has not provided in whole or part any goods or services to the above-named donor in return for this donation. Doctors Without Borders is a qualified tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. EIN: 13-3433452. You will receive an official printed acknowledgement/tax receipt via postal mail approximately 3-4 weeks from the date of your gift.

If you have a question about your donation, please click here for a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions. You may also contact Donor Services at (888) 392-0392 or at

To read our Commitment to our Supporters — a statement of our commitment to independent, needs-based programs, financial transparency, and effective and cost-efficient fundraising — please click here.

As a supporter we encourage you to stay connected with Doctors Without Borders online:

Thank you, again, for your donation to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). We are truly grateful for your support of our programs.

The U.S. section of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural
and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care. ©2018 MSF All rights reserved.

Big Bad Con 2018 Planning

Big Bad Con 2018 planning is underway!

Here’s a few things we’ve already arranged:

  • Contract with the Marriott signed. We’re on for October 12-14.
  • An extra day of the con! October 11 with will be pre-con day with open gaming, badge pickup, and some get-to-know-you special events!
  • The hotel booking link and game submissions are underway.
  • The 2017 feedback is in! Plans for improvements are posted below
  • New art for Little Red and The Wolf has been commissioned from the amazing Eden Parkinson (who did our 2017 art). Can’t wait to see what she cooks up!

Mark your calendars to be in Walnut Creek in October, it’s going to be awesome!

Some great pictures from 2017. Click here to see them all!

2017 Feedback – what we’re doing to improve 2018!

2017 was qualitatively and quantitatively our best year yet! We had more stretch goal guests, more game rooms, more scholarship recipients, more teens, more panels, more board games, and many more events. However, there were also a lot of changes and we did hit a few bumps along the way. Here’s the feedback we got from our wonderful attendees, and what we’re planning to do about it!

Thoughts on the data

This was a lot to comb through. We first split out all the comments, then categorized them, reviewed them, reviewed them some more, and met to talk about reviewing them. We also discussed which changes are in our power to make and which ones are out of our hands. We’re looking at this from the standpoint of customer service, safety, policy review, staffing, and technology improvements.

Charts and more charts!

For all the ratings, we asked people’s satisfaction on a scale of 1 (not satisfied) to 6 (very satisfied). The pink bar (which is new this year) means Not Applicable. That was interesting information as well! Here’s the breakdown of what we learned.


Takeaway: Despite not having the Big Bad Con app ready this year, moving signups to an all digital method worked pretty well this year. One major improvement was that we didn’t have multiple systems of record (the website, badges, and the wall of signups). Still, we continue to work on ways to make advance signups as fair as possible, and reduce the stress of frantically refreshing your browser on Saturday at noon.

Results: We’re working on signup improvement in a few ways. For getting into games at the con:

  • Discord: In particular onsite, we’ll be using Discord (and encouraging others to use it as well) to arrange pick-up games, fill empty slots, and help people find out what’s happening RIGHT NOW.
  • App development: We’re looking at a solution that will flag open games and make it easier to sign up from your mobile device.
  • Kiosks: We’re adding a few new game registration kiosks this year.

Signing up in advance:

  • We’re fine tuning which games count against your quota and which ones don’t, so folks have a bit more time to sign up for larps and big games.
  • Staggering game signups so they won’t all be Saturday at noon PST. We’ve tried to pick times that we think the most people will be free, Saturday isn’t always the best!


Takeaway: Overall these were great numbers to see. The one area where noise was an issue was in Games on Demand, particularly in the small lobby where we did signups.

Result: We’re going to re-arrange the space in Games on Demand so folks waiting for their boarding pass to be called have more space.


Takeaway: We have the best people. It’s so great to know that year after year our staff and volunteers are being considerate and helpful! We did have one or two hiccups though, and we’ve talked to the folks involved to ensure we’ll be even better in 2018. One thing a few folks were sad to miss was the free tea and coffee. At the hotel’s request we moved it away from their concessions stand and into the board game room.


  • We’ll be letting folks know when they come to register where to find free coffee!




Takeaway: This isn’t great. The food at the concession stand was not vegetarian or vegan friendly (only a salad on offer), the hours were inconsistent, and the prices were a little steep.

Results: We don’t have a lot of control over this one unfortunately, but we’ll work with the hotel to have more vegetarian options and longer hours.






Takeaway: We used our space much better in 2017 than we did in 2016 and the events benefited from it, but there’s still some areas to improve:

  • Having more teens attend Big Bad Con as well as more teen events, and more marketing of our teens track.
  • The Games on Demand waiting area got way too crowded and was understaffed during game boarding.
  • All our play-to-win games were given away without a chance for folks who were playing in RPGs to claim them.

Results: There’s lots of room for improvement here, and we’ve already got ideas on how to do it:

  • Hosting more teen outreach programs.
  • Moving our GoD boarding area into the Contra Costa salon.
  • Adjusting the play-to-win raffle to hold the games for folks who are at the con but not present when winners are announced.

We’ll also be increasing the use of our Discord server to announce games looking for players, new games starting, “tell me about your character” booth openings, and when prizes are being awarded!




Takeaway: Our GMs and players are, as always, the very best part of Big Bad Con. Without you wonderful folks bringing your excitement and compassion to the con (and to the table) we wouldn’t have a con at all. Thank you all for being so wonderful!

Results: Let’s keep doing more of this! (Playing great games and being great to each other, that is!)