Luke: Regarding Registration Changes

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by heyscot, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. heyscot

    heyscot Level 0 Character

    Hey Luke (and everyone else),

    I just wanted to again thank you for everything you and the team have done this year. I know the registration's been rough for us all, but I hope it doesn't spoil anyone's enjoyment when they get to the Con because I know that's the last thing any of us would want.

    I heard you're going to switch the system to the one that GenCon and GameHole use and charge for events. That's cool. My only suggestion is to make the events a flat fee instead of a tiered cost. Everyone should have the same opportunity to play with everyone instead of paying more to play with some people vs. others. Like the old days!

    My two cents,

  2. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    That's just one option we're evaluating for next year. There's been a lot of people's thoughts and opinions on these boards and we're taking them all into consideration along with what we think will work best for our vision of the registration system. Which, obviously, is not what we had this year.
  3. athornton

    athornton Footpad

    It's strange. I personally would probably benefit from a pay-per-event system. That's 'cause I'm an IT guy. I have a job that pays me, I'm willing to bet, better than the average Gary Con attendee. I have more budgetary discretion than a lot of the people we go with every year, and probably than many of the attendees.

    But it somehow doesn't feel right. I felt this same pang several years ago during the auction, where I was bidding against someone who wanted the same thing I did, and I when I won the item...well, I realized I'd become that guy that I always hated when I was a kid and trying to buy RPG stuff. You know, the guy who walks in while you're trying to figure out whether you can buy S3 because the color insert and Illustrations For The Players made it cost like $8.95 and that's a lot of money, and that guy takes it off the rack in front of you and then to add insult to injury, also C1 and G 1-2-3 and D 1-2 and D3 and Q1 and then just spends $50 on modules like it's nothing and walks out.

    But also, obviously, what we did this year didn't work.

    Maybe a slightly broader swath of premium events--basically everything 5SP and up being a premium pay-to-play event, with a cap on how many each person can be in--and then something like the current system for all the others? Dunno. I'll be happy to talk this out with anyone interested over beers at Gary Con. You can solve a lot of the world's problems over beers. How many stay solved the next morning is an open question.
    Poindexter, Jarlaxle and heyscot like this.
  4. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    What I say here is by no means official policy or strategy of Gary Con, but Brendan's thoughts to contribute to this discussion:

    -There are people with the means to pay to get what they want.
    -There are many more people that can't compete with those others in a limited scenario (only so many "popular" events).
    -There is a balance to strike so that the people that pay more feel like they get value for their money, while still leaving enough for everyone else to feel like they have a shot too. That's making sure that the Con supplies enough "popular" events sufficient to cover all "high roller" types but leave enough of those same events open for everyone else. Our stats on initial registration (54% of VIP event seats still unsold) suggest we did pretty good on the "fairness" of this model- system issues notwithstanding. In fact, we probably could have sold a handful more premium badges and still left plenty for everyone else.
  5. heyscot

    heyscot Level 0 Character


    I'm Old. I started going to GenCon when I was in 5th grade and my Pop was cool enough to drive me up to Union Parkside. In those days, I don't think there were any tiered access systems for registration. It was just a flat registration fee and then $2.00 a ticket.

    Please don't let money be the defining factor for whether or not someone gets to play in a game by Frank Mentzer. We can't expand our hobby that way. Give commemorative stuff in special deals ("for only $50 more you get A DATE WITH TOM WHAM AT THE LAKE GENEVA LIBRARY!!!") but don't restrict the games.

  6. stahlnee

    stahlnee Spellbinder

    Does not appear to an issue with getting to play in a game by Frank Mentzer. There are 5 seats left for Death in the Wreatched Swamp, 8 seats left for Ad-Lib Dungeon, and 3 seats for Sword of Oxidane.
    brendar likes this.
  7. glamcrist

    glamcrist Footpad

    I think his point is that if it cost $10 to play in a VIP game, that would price people out. IMHO, that would be exclusionary, rather than inclusive, and contrary to what I understand the spiritual focus of Gary Con to be.
  8. stahlnee

    stahlnee Spellbinder

    If it is about $10 per game on top of the badge fee, then I feel there should be no game ticket fee.

    If there is a game ticket fee then the badge fee should come down.
    Poindexter, brendar and heyscot like this.
  9. mordrin

    mordrin Spellbinder Staff Member

    I agree with the general sentiment here.

    I'm not crazy about the tiered registrations. I realize their impact was pretty limited this year, but I also have misgivings that once you start with that approach, it gets very easy to say "well we only added 2 extra Premiums this year - that's no real change" many times, while the total slowly creeps up.

    I'd hate to see a similar philosophy applied to event pricing (if that route is chosen) - a $1/hr for standard events, $5/hr for VIP events sort of thing.
    heyscot likes this.
  10. brendar

    brendar Staff Member Staff Member

    If a Con is going to take this approach, it is absolutely paramount that the 'balance' be maintained between 'value for money' and 'equal access'. There is a sweet spot there, and as long as you stay in it, shouldn't be a problem. Just don't get too greedy, right? That is not what Gary Con is all about.
  11. Erik Olsen

    Erik Olsen Chevalier

    I probably wouldnt do a VIP ticket again TBH, the extra cost just doesnt return the value with an open registration. Anyone willing to pay 125-250 a day for a Con should be given priority over significantly lower ticket costs. However they do it next year, they have at least 6-8 months to learn from any mis-steps from this year to make things more accessible to everyone.

    I got into a bunch of really awesome games and I have no doubt that I will have an awesome time at the Con and really give props to the staff for persevering through a very tough registration. It's very very difficult to balance pleasing most people much less hitting that golden bar of pleasing everyone. Looking forward to meeting everyone and shaking hands with the staff and thanking them personally for their efforts!
  12. JediSoth

    JediSoth Troubadour

    Of course, this year, people paying $130 for the con had no priority over the $65 badges. Hopefully, next year, the whatever badge levels exist will have their differences CLEARLY stated in one central location so you don't have to hunt for the information and make guesses as to what the meaning actually is.
  13. ogrevampire

    ogrevampire Level 0 Character

    Gary Con 4 was my first Gary Con. My friend asked me Saturday Morning early if I wanted to check out a con in Lake Geneva. When I arrived I was amazed on how many people I hadn't seen in decades. Just wandering around we managed to get into a 1st edition D&D game Frank Mentzer was Dm'ing. The guys who pre registered didn't show up, so my friend and I were super lucky to get to play with an IMMORTAL!! That said, I am sure dozens if not more folks who bothered to preregister would of loved to play in that game, and would of showed up. Only the organizers and maybe some DM's know how many folks sign up for the E ticket attractions and don't even show up to the con.

    I would say this, for gold type events, charge $20 a ticket, if you show up, you get that $20 or some other amount as credit to next year, if you don't you loose it. Sure it's extra cash up front, but for loyal con goers, you can consider paying it forward. I am not a rich man, but I love gaming and have a deep, immense respect for those whom designed the fun games of my youth, and the ones that continue to draw upon my imagination and now my that of my son. By charging more $$$ for a famous gaming icon, I think is fair and just. If you want to play, save your pennies and budget for it. Playing with D&D icons should be a treat, a once in a lifetime experience, not a $2.00 meh experience. I believe Gary Con shouldn't be about the money, BUT, The organizers should make a fair bit of coin for their time and trouble. Just my 2 cents.

    Thank you for creating and continue to provide the absolute best gaming convention PERIOD!
  14. Jarlaxle

    Jarlaxle Troubadour

    Yeah, great...if you can go every year! Like many, I cannot.

    If they go to a pay-per-event system, I will more than likely never go to another Garycon.
  15. gizmomathboy

    gizmomathboy Spellbinder

    I am more than happy with the current GP/SP system. I think it works for the most part. When it comes time to figure out which events you get...that's a different problem (and I'll post my thoughts over in the 2017 Registration thread I guess)
    PBurke likes this.
  16. jim skach

    jim skach Troubadour

    I bought three gold badges, one each for myself and my two kids. We will not even come close to using all of the gold and silver pieces. In fact, even if we got every event we wanted, essentially filling our schedules with games from 9 AM to 11:59 PM every day, we would not have used all of our gold and silver. It's been this way for years for us.

    Why do I still buy badges that leave me gp and sp left over - spend more money than I have to?

    Because GaryCon is not about the money or the priority or the VIP or whatever. GaryCon is about getting together and honoring a person through gaming. I buy the highest ticket I can afford (sometimes more than I can afford!) in order to support the convention so we can continue to get together every year and play games to honor someone whose creativity and vision gave me something to enjoy for almost 40 years now.
    thenorthman, Traxion and Poindexter like this.
  17. gizmomathboy

    gizmomathboy Spellbinder

    What he ^^^ said.
    thenorthman and Poindexter like this.
  18. Handy Haversack

    Handy Haversack Chevalier

    Yeah, I'm basically happy with it, too. And I never found the badge levels opaque--though maybe that was leveraging knowledge of how it worked last year. But I found the information about the various badge levels to be pretty much unproblematic.

    Anywho. Made a comment in the other thread saying that I think the ability to load overlapping slots into one's cart is a good thing.
    PBurke likes this.
  19. silas

    silas Chevalier

    I think it all comes down to what kind of convention GC wants to be. It has been said that it is to be a "boutique convention" that caters to a small segment of the gaming population. That is fine, but running it that way comes with its own challenges.

    Doing the math, to attend Garycon 2016 will cost at a minimum $600. This includes a room at the Grand Geneva, the $15 resort fee, and the $65 badge (up from $45 the year before). Now you could find a cheaper room in the vicinity, but then you are dealing with cab/uber fares, etc. (unless you want to drink and drive). So it comes out almost even. Food will be more expensive this year in the Grand Geneva--probably 30-40% more expensive. If you really want pre-registration of VIP events, you need a $500 badge, bringing the cost to $1035

    Looking at a couple other conventions that operate during the same time period with similar attendance numbers: Cleveland Concoction will cost you $400, and the Midwinter Gaming Convention at the Milwaukee Hilton will cost you $424. Midwinter only has one VIP badge at $75, and that gets you a party with open bar and food Thursday night, t-shirt, enhanced swag-bag, and brunch in the ballroom Sunday morning. A $130 badge at GC gets you a cup and t-shirt.

    Conventions later in the year would include Nexus (around $485 to attend at the Hyatt Milwaukee), and Gamehole ($567).

    So even for the lowest-level badge with no perks, Garycon is by far the most expensive convention to attend at its size. That is OK, if you offer an enhanced experience, better events, and a better venue. Since this is the first year at the Grand Geneva, we will see how that plays out, but there are a lot of people, myself included, with GPs we can't even use because of all the registration problems. I don't need to pay more money to game with Frank Mentzer at Gamehole or Nexus.

    Now the money things isn't a big deal for guys with decent incomes, but it can be tough for the college-aged crowd, or families on a budget.

    Now I am not bringing this up to be critical, but only to point out the obvious: GC needs to be careful about its pricing, and if it does want to be a high-end boutique convention, it needs to offer an experience that is far beyond other conventions.
    Jarlaxle and Poindexter like this.
  20. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    To a point, I agree with the ubiquitous one. Just a few more tweaks and it would be better than better. The gp/sp system is unique. Keep it.
    Poindexter, PBurke and glamcrist like this.

Share This Page