GC II Comments and Suggestions

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Totan, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. Totan

    Totan Spellbinder

    I was really impressed with the results this year - especially given the significant growth. I wasn't sure how much organization to expect this year, but from the outside it seemed like things ran pretty smooth.

    Some suggestions for the future:
    30 minute breaks between slots (maybe 60 minutes for dinner) - to allow for a little bathroom and food breaks without eating into game time; or flex time for a game to run over a little.
    Of course retain the 24 hour gaming. I played 'til 3:30AMish Friday and 5:30AMish on Saturday :) and it was AWESOME!!!

    Do not have events scheduled during the 2 hours of the auction. It was a bummer managing to get in to Metzer's game only to have to go my next event after less than 2 hours. Really didn't get to do much or experience much of his GMing style.

    So my suggested schedule would be something like: (Fri, Sat, Sun) 8:30a-12:30p, (Fri, Sat, Sun) 1:00p-5:00p, (Fri) 5:30p-9:30p/(Sat) 7:30p-1:30a, & (Fri) 10:00p-2:00p

    A little more complex, but I think it would be more functional.

    I might have more thoughts later, but those are my main ones. Really looking forward to Gary Con III.
  2. lejanius

    lejanius Level 0 Character

    I have to second the auction problem

    my event was scheduled for 5 PM, on the table next to the auction. Within 2 minutes we had to pack up and find a new place to play. Luckily there was room in the open gaming room so it wasn't a big deal, though we did displace some people and cause a bit of confusion when they returned and their pile of boardgames had moved

    it would be nice if no events were run in the tables near the auction or at least have some way or knowing what was going to happen ahead of time.

    all things considered it worked out just fine and I have no complaints but it was somewhat of a bummer to have to pack up and move 11 people to a new spot.

    otherwise, great weekend all around!
  3. Totan

    Totan Spellbinder

    Some other thoughts and ideas that have re-coalesced over the last few hours:

    The option of having one’s home town (and/or state) printed on the badge.

    Some different size tables (single, double, triple, and for those crazy big games 4 or more), so that small events can be more cozy, and large events have enough room for people to not be on top of each other.
  4. osarious

    osarious Chevalier

    Allow enough time to potentially finish the adventure. In both Frank's "To the Aid of Falx" and Tim Kask's "Return to the Frozen North", we only finished approximately a third of either adventure. These should really have been a double slot adventures, to allow players to have a reasonable chance to finish. This is not a critcism of either Tim or Frank. But my daugter and I both felt 12 players was too many; with a lot of "downtime" while waiting to do something. I understand the idea of a large number of players to give more people a chance to play, but I felt it diminished the play experience. I also understand the GM's had other things to participate in (Auction, Circus Maximus, etc.) Maybe my suggestion is not reasonable, but I feel it is something that would enhance the play experience for all involved.
  5. francisca

    francisca Troubadour

    Given the amount consumed, you might consider pitching New Glaurus the idea of becoming an official sponsor. :D
  6. Donal

    Donal Administrator

    Definitely a great Con. And it's not just the staff/volunteers/family that make a great Con, it's the attendees. You guys were a great bunch, for sure!

    Keep the comments rolling, we appreciate any and all constructive feedback. Just go easy on us. :D
  7. Contrarian

    Contrarian Level 0 Character

    I agree that the auction should have its own slot if there's going to be that much stuff.

    Otherwise, I'm good (and going on record with that, so this thread isn't all squeaky wheels demanding grease). Ticketing went well for me. I don't need long breaks between events if there's a snackbar nearby. (Hell, I probably ate healthier at Gary Con than I do in normal life, with all those turkey sandwiches!)

    As for time slot length, that's always an issue with D&D and conventions. Some groups move through dungeons quickly, and some don't. It helps if people remember they've got limited time. (I was a non-ticketed player in a Hackmaster game where certain players spent an hour shopping and haggling with NPCs. Not exactly being adventurous, there.) Doubling the timeslot length might just encourage dawdling. Really. Trust me on this.
  8. osarious

    osarious Chevalier

    I guess I hadn't thought of that aspect of it. Although large groups also tend to magnify the problem.
  9. lejanius

    lejanius Level 0 Character

    another thing to consider about time, since I submitted an event it was up to the GM to determine how much they needed. I booked a double slot and only used a little over 1 because of this.

    There is some responsibility on the GM's part to ensure he books enough time to get his event done, if he can't he should book more or run it in an open game area without restrictions. Just my thoughts on that
  10. mark

    mark Spellbinder

    Fantastic job by all the staff and crew this GaryCon II. If it keeps getting better every year as it has thus far, this is easily going to be the best convention for everyone ever in no time at all. I think there were very few hiccups this year but things went great for me, from my perspective, almost across the board. Please don't think of any of these suggestions as complaints, as I had the best time I have had at any gaming convention ever, and I've been going to conventions for about 35 years. So, there. :D

    I'd suggest an expanded program with fewer slots and spread out a bit more. Some of this is predicated on remaining at the Lodge and getting a bit more space. That room opposite the bathrooms could be added as open game space and the current open game space used as expanded scheduled game space. An extra vendor could be added in the space where the hotel was storing the angled bar section at the bottom of the stairs, if that's a consideration. I thought the raffle system was pretty neat and fairly well handled. The scheduled events being back to back necessitate them being interupted for such things. These could be done again at the top of each afternoon and evening slot Friday and Saturday in the main, scheduled game room as before, but with the following scheduling adjustments, it might work out a bit easier on all involved. I'd also suggest stronger incentives be given for committing to scheduled events as a Referee/DM/GM and for players. Open gaming is great but the backbone of any convention is the schedule of events and doing more to support this builds a stronger convention overall.

    Thursday -

    Early Arrivals Reception 6pm onward. I suggest adding the long conference room opposite the bathrooms at the Lodge and using this space for the reception Thursday evening and open gaming (and for open gaming all convention). Include a cash bar and buffet in the space from 6pm through 8pm. The Next Door Pub is nice but neither next door nor largely a pub, being more a family restaurant. It isn't really condusive to breaking out beer and pretzel games nor wandering around and just meeting and greeting since many of the people in the place aren't involved in GaryCon, just local folk out to dinner or drinks. The hosts and wait staff were basically trying to scoot anyone not eating off into the bar which was overcrowded from the start. An on-site reception makes meeting and greeting both easier and closer to where the majority of attendees are staying. I'd also suggest having a few raffle prizes for Thursday evening around 7:45pm as an incentive to early arrivals.

    Friday -

    First Slot 8am - Noon

    (an hour for lunch and prep before second slot)

    Second Slot 1pm - 5pm

    (an hour for dinner and prep before third slot)

    Third Slot 6pm - 10pm? (have Referees/DMs/GMs warn of possible late run in description)

    Saturday -

    First Slot 8am - Noon

    (an hour for lunch and prep before second slot)

    Second Slot 1pm - 5pm

    (allow for longer dinnner slot on Saturday due to crowded restaurants)

    Auction 6:30pm - 7:45pm (a little more than an hour ought to be enough time, right?)

    (allows fifteen minutes for people to get ready/snacks/drinks for the evening games)

    Third Slot 8pm - Midnight? (have Referees/DMs/GMs warn of possible late run in description)

    Sunday -

    First Slot 9am - 1pm (a slightly later start for those who were up late)

    (an hour for lunch and prep for second slot)

    Second Slot 2pm - 6pm (one last game for the hardcore players)
  11. mark

    mark Spellbinder

    Agreed. :)
  12. JediSoth

    JediSoth Troubadour

    My only real beef was the surprise I had finding out that I actually signed up to run 3 slots of my game. The way I read the event submission instructions, I thought I just had to put in 3 preferred times, meaning, if I submitted one game, I would get one slot from the three, depending on availability. I didn't expect I would get all three slots. It was a little overwhelming, and, in fact, I ended up having to cancel my third game because I ran out of steam.

    Though, not knowing ahead of time who was playing in my games was actually a blessing. Had I known my Saturday morning game only had 2 people signed up, I might have considered canceling it. I ended up with 4 walk-ons and the game turned out to be one of the most fun games I've EVER run.

    Still, it's just a niggling little thing. I thought for a small, young convention, it was well-run and a heckova lot of fun!
  13. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    Good gods, do I heartily second this suggestion.
  14. silas

    silas Chevalier

    I had a great time, and I think everything went pretty smoothly. Just a few suggestions:

    1. Some time between events--I found it hard to go from playing in one event to running another with so little time. Maye 30 minutes?
    2. DMs/GMs should really try to limit the number of players to the people who have registered. I saw numerous instances where one of the well-known VIP-type DMs had 15 people in his game, while other games nearby were starved for players. I would limit RPG games to 10 players and be pretty strict about that number--otherwise, other games will have to be canceled. I don't think we want everyone trying to get into one event at the expense of 5 other events.
  15. Totan

    Totan Spellbinder

    I agree with the people that are saying events should be (generally) limited to the number advertised. Even if the GM is used to handling a large group, I think that efficiently handling a large group of stangers that aren't used to working/playing together, is an extremely tough thing.

    In further support of the above Silas post, I can say that I heard of a game that got desimated because the players heard that a celebrity GM was letting all who showed up play so several bailed on the game they were signed up for to play the celebrity game. While I understand the motivation, that is not cool.

    I also agree that the really large games tend to diminsh the quality of play.
  16. tavis

    tavis Footpad

    I like running big groups but I agree that 10 players is a good compromise between wanting to let a lot of people play and giving each of them the ability to hear what's going on!
  17. Totan

    Totan Spellbinder

    I don't think there should be a hard and fast rule about player count, as long as people know what they are signing up for / getting in to ahead of time - and sufficient table space can be arranged.
  18. Donal

    Donal Administrator

    We left the player count up to the DMs, so I agree with Totan on this one. When you signed up for certain VIP events, the player count was listed at 12. You kind of knew what you were getting into (perhaps even when some of those VIPs let the count go to 14).

    Besides, I don't play in a Mentzer/Kask/Kuntz/Ward event because I want to complete a module. I play because I want to see their DMing style, hear their stories, and see how they handle pesky annoying players who complain about how the game is too big. ;)
  19. Rhuvein

    Rhuvein Troubadour


    I can understand what yer saying Silas, but we've got to remember that many people go to GC and the LGGC before that, just to play in a game with those great VIPs. And it should be up to them (the DMs) to decide how many people that they wish to have in their game.

    Also, if there were a couple of games needing people, perhaps those DMs/players should join forces and/or recruit players if at all possible. I did see many people who didn't seem to be gaming, but were walking around.

    I was thrilled and happy to be able to play in some of these VIP games in the past, so since then - I've been playing in many other games with the non-VIPs and have enjoyed those immensely.

  20. tavis

    tavis Footpad

    Yah, I think the "knowing what you're getting into" part is more important than the idea of 10 being a hard limit. It should definitely be up to the individual DM how many people they want to set their limit to, but it's probably best if that limit is announced beforehand and adhered to. I'm really just speaking to myself here because I didn't do that with the game I ran Saturday night. We had several different people helping to recruit players fearing there wouldn't have been enough, and what we wound up with was more than anyone knew they were getting into! I felt bad that I wasn't able to deliver the more intimate kind of game I'd implicitly promised, and so am reminding myself that next year I'll want to keep the count to the original plan and resist the temptation to say "sure, everyone in the pool".

    Re: recruiting players, I really liked the system I saw at Anonycon where the folks who were doing registration also helped GMs figure out whether they had enough players, and assisted in combining groups that didn't. It normally sucks when you're all set to run something that doesn't have enough players to go off, and you don't learn that until it's too late to get into another game as a player. (Gary Con is an exception; the one time this happened out of my three Metamorphosis Alpha games, I'd had so many great experiences already that I was glad to take a nap instead).

    If the schedule is rejiggered to allow a half-hour break before slots - which I fully support - that'd be a great time to have some centralized wheeling and dealing to merge all the GMs with too few players into one or two groups where everyone's happy. (The GMs should certainly play a major role in this, but just having one place to go if you're looking for players or a game would make it easier). If y'all are interested I'll be glad to put you in touch with Anonycon's organizer, Max Saltonstall, so you can pick his brain about how he made this work so well.

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