Gaming areas too loud

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by brendar, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    I've seen this complaint leveled against every convention I've ever been to or read about. What can we do about it? Please, if you have been to a convention where this wasn't a problem, what did the organizers do to address crowd volume?
  2. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    Other than spread out further? You're stuck. Same problems as the old Lodge. Time to accept the noise.
  3. chainsaw

    chainsaw Troubadour

    I'm not sure what you can do about the noise level in the main rooms. Like Jon said, other than have fewer tables, there aren't too many options.

    Separately, if you have the whole hotel next year, I would recommend axing the band in the bar. Way too loud on Friday night and pretty much made the open gaming tables above the bar in the far end of that hallway useless. Instead of the band, set up a few more open gaming tables in the bar area. The bar tables back at the other hotel were always very popular and I think these would be too. People sat around and played card games, board games and RPGs and ordered beer. Worked well.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  4. glamcrist

    glamcrist Footpad

    I actually thought it wasn't as bad as previous years, but that may just have been my personal experience. previous years i had a lot of games in the 20-table lobby area, just the fact that most gaming was in smaller rooms with less games helped a lot. i.e.: Pathfinder room was quieter this year than last, imho, as it was in a room with a lower ceiling and more paneling. The tables typically weren't smashed together as much either, which I thought helped as well. So, while yes, noise was still a problem, I thought it was much less so than at the previous venue.
  5. mordrin

    mordrin Spellbinder Staff Member

    Yeah, I was going to start a discussion on this, too. I won't say I've had this problem at every con/location, though.

    Thoughts I have (some are approaches, some are just observations, some are more feasible than others)

    1) Using the same amount of space - when you have lower utilization times, don't fill one room and leave another empty - half fill them both.
    (Not saying schedulers did or didn't do this, just putting it out in case)

    2) Use more space. I don't know what the con budget looks like or the charges, but I do know there was a fair amount of space not booked for GaryCon use. If it's a matter of 2-3k extra, I think it's really, really worth it.

    3) RPGs seem to have more hearing problems and generate more noise than board games, I think.

    4) The noise is more a factor of density than total amount. Some of my bad noise times were in a tiny room that only held 5 tables. (And, btw, I think hearing was worst in the center, because noise was all around you. If you have 4 or less games to schedule - keep it hollow and leave the middle open!)

    5) Maybe a better place for the bards next year? They were too close to a number of gaming tables and only added to noise.

    6) Are there any affordable options for noise reducing equipment - either rented from GRR or to be handled by GC - curtains, portable wallboards, whatever? I have seen curtaining utilized before.
    I'm no expert in this sort of thing, and it would take some research - but here's an example of the type of thing I'm talking about:

    7) Also may want to revisit con sizing. If it keeps growing and growing, any solutions to crowding and noise are automatically only temporary. Where would the next large enough place to go be? Is bigger better?
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  6. Ancalagon

    Ancalagon Level 0 Character

    While I'm certain what I'm about to suggest won't be popular, I'll say it anyway just to get it out there. Another option for reducing noise is capping membership at a level that would reduce the amount of noise.
    Rogue likes this.
  7. stahlnee

    stahlnee Spellbinder

    Also at the hotel this year was a wedding and big game hunters group. It seems to be a good mix of people and not overload of one group or another.

    Not sure it would be possible or even feasible to book the entire hotel.
  8. mordrin

    mordrin Spellbinder Staff Member

    8) I assumed the band was the resort's and not GaryCon's. If GC actually has any control over that, definitely they can go.
  9. chainsaw

    chainsaw Troubadour

    Right, I knew it wasn't the convention's band, but I was hoping with us having the whole hotel maybe we could axe it.
  10. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    This is right. We asked for the bands and DJs to scram, but the bars in the Grand are technically open to the public so unless we have the whole venue booked, they're something we have to deal with. We're planning to discuss this issue with the Grand again for Gary Con IX because it was pretty disruptive.

    As for Dan the Bard, he always has a tough time figuring out a new venue. He's a gamer too, so he gets it. We had a lot of great spots we wanted to put him that would have been less disruptive to gaming but because they were public areas and there were other events, the Grand asked us to keep him limited to our designated spaces. Next year we should have more leeway with him.
    Jarlaxle and dndgeek like this.
  11. ScottEDouglas

    ScottEDouglas Level 0 Character

    I've learned to live with Dan the Bard; what Brendar said. But the jazz band has got to go (and they were pretty good, too). It spoiled what would have been an otherwise very pleasant TSR reunion.

    Another comment I heard was a Ziggy Stardust riff for about five minutes in the Evergreens (?not sure what night). That was extremely disruptive and a number of folks commented negatively about it.
    Jarlaxle likes this.
  12. LastFighter

    LastFighter Level 0 Character

    I have seen cons use 'suites' on the ground floor of hotels very successfully.

    Take a room with a king sized bed. Remove the bed. Put in a circular table.
    This is now a quiet gaming room.
  13. LastFighter

    LastFighter Level 0 Character

    I was sitting in an adjacent table when it happened. It was part of their game and they only sang once. It was loud though I agree. We just waited it out for 5 minutes, then continued with our game. I was not too bothered by it.
  14. LastFighter

    LastFighter Level 0 Character

    The band at the bar was very loud and made talking ver difficult. The other bar was a bit of a night club ? Is there a quiet bar venue that could be offered during the con ?
  15. Khasimir

    Khasimir Footpad

    I had commented to my friends that I thought the noise level to be more quiet then years past at the Ridge. I can recall needing to scream to the other players at the table to be heard.

    About the only thing that I could really suggest is that we self police ourselves regarding noise levels. There were some individuals who were extremely, extremely loud in their gaming, which I can understand that the blood gets blowing and some our naturally louder than others but when someone is commanding the attention of the entire room because of their outbursts, that's a little too much. .
  16. Raic

    Raic Level 0 Character

    I agree Khasimir - I found the noise level to be much more tolerable than past Cons. Though, I did not run a game in the Evergreen Rooms which I assume given their size and number of tables would be more problematic. The nice thing about the smaller rooms was the fact they were easy to self police. With only 5 or so tables, sometimes only two or three of them hosting RPGs it was a simple matter of leaning over and asking nicely for some volume control. In larger rooms with a lot of tables even if the players are relatively quiet the ambient noise seems to build upon itself and make gaming conditions difficult. Not sure what the solution to that is.

    As a GM - I would be willing to pay a premium fee to ensure that my assigned tables were in the smaller rooms or an area that had a limited number of tables away from the main gaming rooms. I am not sure if something like this is realistic from a logistics stand point. However, I invest a fair amount of time and money to attend the Con and develop my RPGs. It can be frustrating after doing all that to arrive at your game only to find out you cannot hear any of the players speaking or they cannot hear me. To me, it is worth the extra cost to avoid this situation.

    The Con does offer premium registration options for players. Why not offer the same for GMs?
  17. JediSoth

    JediSoth Troubadour

    I like the idea of spreading assigned tables out during times when demand is low. Other than that, I don't see a 100% hard and fast solution. When a game gets loud, the other games get louder to compensate, so the other game gets louder to compensate... It's a cycle that's very difficult to break and apart from reducing the number of table per room or adding MORE dividers (IIRC all the built-in ones were already in use), which would be an additional expense and make navigation for folks in wheelchairs even more difficult.

    It's still quieter than the massive hall in which the D&D OP and card games were at Gen Con last year. 20'+ ceilings & concrete floor + thousands of enthusiastic gamers... you probably couldn't hear a bomb go off in that room.
  18. gizmomathboy

    gizmomathboy Spellbinder

    Yeah, about the only 2 realistic options are less tables per square foot or more dividers. Either solution is a hit on "revenue".

    Probably to meet fire codes you might not be able to use curtains.

    In EG1 and EG3 I think if you removed 2 tables and put like an 8' high divider down the center of the room (from the doors to the windows) that would have helped. You could still look into room and see what's happening. I think there were like...10? tables in each of those 2 rooms. The dividers could also help a bit with accessibility since that is a surface you can easily measure from since the remaining tables would be in a line.

    I think to let Michael Brown and any other GMs reach peak awesomeness maybe have a checkbox on their event submission for a room with not many tables or even a single table. His Seven Bowies event got really loud at the beginning but they didn't sing any other songs that I think he planned in deference to the other tables. Knowing Michael and the players in the game being able to sing would have put it way over the top.

    I found the noise in the miniature gaming areas (Linwood, EG2, Northshore or whatever it was called where HMGS had there 3 tables) to not be at all. Most likely the nature of those games where it's turned based and the other players are usually scheming silently or waiting for their turns.

    But as we keep re-iterating, noise at gaming conventions is a hard thing.
    JediSoth likes this.
  19. Jarlaxle

    Jarlaxle Troubadour

    I'm not sure I can. I honestly think I might have damaged my ears rang all day Sunday & most of Monday. The noise level in Evergreen 1 was such that I had a hard time running my game.
  20. Buttmonkey

    Buttmonkey Troubadour

    I thought it was much quieter on Saturday compared to last year. That isn't necessarily saying much. I lost my voice last year in a Saturday afternoon game trying to communicate with my players. It was still too loud this year much of the time, but it did seem to be improved. Last year was ridiculous on Saturday.

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