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Pre-PAX Unofficial Tabletop Room

AprecheApreche Registered User regular
edited April 2011 in PAX Archive
At PAX Prime last year there was a great deal of tabletop gaming going on in the hotel lobbies, especially the Sheraton, before and after PAX. If say, hypothetically, someone rented out an entire hotel ballroom and filled it with tables and chairs on Thursday night, would you be interested in gaming there? How about if there were food and beverages? What if there were alcoholic beverages? If you have something to sell, would you be interested in sponsoring such an event? We're leaning heavily towards the event being free to attend (if it even happens at all), but would you pay a cover charge if we had one? How much?

It was just so hard to fight over tables and chairs at the Sheraton last year, we are considering doing everyone a favor and renting out a space so PAX people who get into town early can game in comfort before the real excitement begins. If there is enough interest, we will do our best to make it happen.

Apreche on

Posts

  • mersaultmersault Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Hell yeah, I would be down for that and so would my three friends. We're coming in on Thursday afternoon. We are staying at the Doubletree Club Bayside, but I'm driving so we'd be able to go to whatever hotel it's being arranged at. We play Warhammer 40k, and I'm bringing Space Hulk, which none of us have ever played before.

    mersault on
  • mersaultmersault Registered User
    edited January 2011
    Didn't realize this thread had Prime on it. Are you asking for PAX East or for the next Prime event? We're going to PAX East.

    mersault on
  • ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Assuming this is for PAX East, but even if it isn't, the advice still holds true:

    1) Ballrooms are very expensive to rent out, and often times come with catering requirements. Most hotels won't allow you to bring in your own food or beverages or have a bunch of pizzas delivered. Having vendors selling things creates lots of complications. At the very least you should do extensive research, because very often it isn't as simple as renting a big room and filling it with tables and chairs. In addition to that, my personal opinion is that no one should be fronting this or gifting it to the community. It just creates opportunities for awkward situations. If everyone wants to chip in and do something, that's great, but having someone pay for it or front the money is, in my opinion, not advisable.

    2) While it might not be strictly required, you should run this by Penny Arcade as a courtesy. PAX is using more and more of the space in attached/adjacent hotels as the event gets bigger and bigger. Will call, pre-registration, and the Pegasus Theater occupied most-if-not-all of the ballroom space in the Sheraton last year. PA is awesome about supporting the community event organizers with good information, so this should definitely go through them, even if it's just a head's up. Community events are awesome, but I think we're all in agreement that we don't want to be stepping on PA's toes while doing them.

    3) In the past, the general rule of thumb has been that we aren't supposed to solicit vendors or sponsorships away from PAX itself. I had the idea of getting sponsors to help alleviate the cost of the Post-PAX Party the first year, and (though I don't remember who I heard it from), I was told that, that was a no-no. PAX relies on sponsorships and vendors to partially fund the expo, and they don't need us siphoning off those people to run community events. So I would also be careful about that. Obviously I can't speak for PA themselves, so for any clarification on this matter, get ahold of someone official. I'm just relaying what I was told, and it makes sense.

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  • Gene ParmesanGene Parmesan Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    I inquired about this last year, and yeah they are super expensive, especially if you stay late at all. If the areas were split up between hotels it might be better, I mean it's not like they do the pub crawl at one bar.

    It's a good idea, but if you rent out one room with food, and stay past 10 or so, they have to pay the staff to stay late. Even 2-3 hours the cost can be around 800, and goes far past a grand if you rent it for later in the night.

    Gene Parmesan on
  • AprecheApreche Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Yeah, we are considering this for Prime, not East. It's a bit too late to be planning for East, don't you think? Unless that's East 2012.

    We are well aware of the expense of hotel ballrooms and the mandatory catering and such. If they are forcing catering on us, might as well just go with it and feed everybody. Also, there is the cost of table/chair rental.

    Thanks for the info about added cost of staying late. That is something I was not aware of, but if your number of $800 is accurate then that's not so much.

    As for sponsors, we have no intention of taking any vendors or sponsor dollars away from PAX itself. In all honesty, I don't see why anyone would sponsor a one-night game room in lieu of actual PAX sponsorship. If there is any sponsorship, it would be from people who are not sponsoring PAX, or it would be strictly in addition to their existing PAX participation. You don't take away from actual PAX to boost up pre-PAX.

    We also would definitely not rent out any rooms that PAX itself was using, such as the Sheraton. That's a no-brainer.

    I don't understand why one person "gifting" the room to the community is icky, but there are alternative ideas. We can pay for the room, but have a child's play suggested donation at the entrance. We can just have a suggested donation to pay for the room straight up, and we'll cover the difference and give excess, if any, to charity.

    The main idea here is that there are a ton of people tabletopping in the hotel lobbies before and after PAX. There aren't enough tables for everyone, and the tables are far from ideal. We want to find some way to get even more game on, to make the long trip to Seattle even more worthwhile. It might take more than one try to get it right, but I think it's worthwhile if it can be done.

    Apreche on
  • DreamReaperDreamReaper Registered User
    edited January 2011
    I'd love an opportunity to get some newb exposure some tabletop games in a lower-key setting than PAX.

    DreamReaper on
  • Gene ParmesanGene Parmesan Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    Is there an encore in the plans?

    Gene Parmesan on
  • AprecheApreche Registered User regular
    edited January 2011
    What do you mean by encore?

    Apreche on
  • MLORDMLORD Registered User regular
    edited February 2011
    What type of games are primarily featured in a tabletop room typically? More wanting to know so I may be able to pick up some rules prior to coming :)

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  • HepgeekHepgeek Registered User
    edited March 2011
    Man, I hope there's an encore. Gaming at the Sheraton was one of my best memories from PAX last year. This year I'm bringing as many games along as I can manage.

    Hepgeek on
  • LexiconGrrlLexiconGrrl Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    We just got back from PAX East 2011, where we took two whole carryons full of board games to play into the wee hours of the night in the hotel lobbies. The problem was that the hotel attached to the convention center only had tables available in the restaurant/bar area in the lobby, and by the time Sunday rolled around they were so anti-gamer that they literally put 'reserved' signs on all the tables so that nobody would sit there to game.

    I talked to the bartender and understood that the issue was that gamers were parking at a table all evening and only ordering a soda. I can understand the hotel's position, but with tons of open lobby space on 2 levels, there was plenty of floorspace available to set up folding tables and chairs. Folks could have wandered down to the bar to order drinks or food themselves.

    It was clear that the hotel had no idea how the community would behave during the convention. If no one makes this sort of suggestion to the Seattle hotels -or- comes up with an alternative, there could be a repeat of what we experienced.

    So...
    I think that if someone were to 'gift' an entire ballroom to the PAX community for the weekend, it would be:

    a) Incredibly, incredibly generous and deeply appreciated by everyone (especially those who can only afford a soda when gaming at the hotel)

    b) A great way to provide a legit 24-hour tabletop gaming area (as requested about a thousand times in the Suggestions thread!)

    c) Probably necessary to think about maximum exposure for the fact that it's there. Maybe published in the PAX program or a poster in the TT checkout area or in the Convention Center lobby: anything to let folks know about it.

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  • SmallLadySmallLady Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Apreche wrote: »
    Thanks for the info about added cost of staying late. That is something I was not aware of, but if your number of $800 is accurate then that's not so much.


    I don't understand why one person "gifting" the room to the community is icky, but there are alternative ideas. We can pay for the room, but have a child's play suggested donation at the entrance. We can just have a suggested donation to pay for the room straight up, and we'll cover the difference and give excess, if any, to charity.

    First point.. I'm pretty sure the $800 number is a massive lowball on the cost of doing something like this for one day/evening. But that would take time and research to look into.

    Secondly.. it's not so much icky as we really have no idea what PA's plans are for PAX Prime this year, so it could be a sticky situation. However, if you email Khoo, and discuss with him, he should be able to give you a heads up if this is a good idea or not in conjunction with their own plans.

    edit: Sigh, i just realized this is a fairly old post... however the points still stand.[/SIZE]

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  • Gene ParmesanGene Parmesan Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    We can just tip well, Batenders and bussers are happy and no one is out of several hundred (or more probably thousands) of dollars that could go to lots of things.

    Gene Parmesan on
  • RicinRicin Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I missed out on gaming because after Thursday night they locked down the tables at the Westin (@ PAX EAST). Also I think you would be looking at 1500-2000 a night because you are keeping it open 24 hours or at the very least 12 (10PM to 10AM). So from Thursday to Sunday it would be 4500-6000.

    If I win the lotto I would like to do this but I would more than likely donate to Child's play because it is a very worthy cause.

    Also buy some geek chic furniture ... expensive but very awesome.

    Ricin

    Ricin on
  • just1legendjust1legend Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    How about this, we should do a Gaming Crawl. We start in Sheraton. Then we work around the hotels playing board games all night long. That way we could save money and possibly help other who just want to take part while not traveling to the Sheraton.

    just1legend on
  • pillarofdawnpillarofdawn Registered User
    edited March 2011
    Yea to do something like this it would require thousands of dollars if you were to keep it open 24 hours. I think if we were to create a kickstarter for this it might be achievable(and thats a very big MIGHT) someone would have to have some serious bank to be fronting this themselves. The only possible way I see this realistically happening is if PA organized it. I think the reason we don't see something like this is for the exact reasons that the PC and console freeplays aren't open 24 hours. However I would love to see a 24 hour tabletop room.

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  • LexiconGrrlLexiconGrrl Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    Unless say, the gaming were to move to Thirteen Coins or Beth's Cafe or the Hurricane Cafe (formerly the Doghouse, as in "all roads lead to the doghouse").

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  • beta_angelbeta_angel ColoradoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I'd just like to point out that something like this on a Thursday night is going to end up going right against the MMT, Pre-PAX Dinner and the Tri-Wizard Drinking Tournament (and possibly others).

    All of which have cost associated with them.

    The point I'm making is too many costly functions has the high probability to yield said functions not making enough to cover expenses. I'm just cautioning that if something like this is to be put on, you should contact the organizers of the other functions because the 'competition' may put a strain on those functions.

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  • kropotkinkropotkin Forum Badge Creator London UKRegistered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I believe the best way to have such an event is to keep it low key as it is now. Have some people rock up to the Sheraton and Hyatt (the two core hotels) and play tabletop games in the lobby area on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. It's worked out really well for the past few years and we certainly don't need another gaming event being run prior to PAX itself. Remembering how massive the tabletop gaming area was at PAX East this year and how full it was well into early morning, another organised event prior to it really isn't needed.

    What I'm trying to say here is; let PAX do its thing, and just settle into the swing of things by having unofficial meet ups prior to it.

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  • ArcoArco Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    The idea of a 24-hour tabletop area is awesome. I'm not sure it's necessary, being that PAX is only closed for about 8 hours each day (the amount of sleep you should really be getting), but fuck it, it's awesome.

    Advertising in the PAX program is almost certainly a no-no. I don't work for PA so I can't speak for them, but I doubt they'd be willing to put, "Hey, if you don't like OUR tabletop area, you can always go try THIS tabletop area," especially if it's open during the same hours.

    I agree with Kropotkin that the way it is now; low key, no pressure, no commitments, no expectations; is the way to go. However, I do think there's another level of awesome here that could potentially be reached, if it's handled properly.

    Money-wise, fronting the bill is just a bad idea unless you're fully prepared to pay for the whole thing. I would even go a step further and say don't do it even if you ARE prepared for that, simply because that sucks and no one should have to bear that burden, whether it's an individual or a business. Ask anyone who's planned a big community event and they'll tell you: do not put up your own money or credit. With that many people, there's going to be errors, inconsistencies, and problems. It's not a question of if, but when and how much. Speaking from experience, both personal and PAX-related, I'd say to just avoid this kind of situation altogether and keep the door closed on that kind of potential ugliness.

    As for a gift... I guess it's possible that someone could be so generous as to donate hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars to fund an extended tabletop area, but I'd be very skeptical of that. I would fully expect that person or business to expect something in return, subsidize the cost with advertising, etc. That's just the way the world works. Very few people or businesses are willing to throw down cash just because they're awesome. So if it is a gift, be very candid and upfront with the community as to what you're doing, what you expect, etc. because catching them with surprises might lead to awkward situations.

    My ideal solution would be to find out how much this kind of thing would cost, set up a chip-in, and only proceed once the amount has been met. If the community wants it, they'll make it happen. If they don't, they won't.

    Arco on
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  • AprecheApreche Registered User regular
    edited March 2011
    I think a lot of people are misunderstanding what the idea here is.

    We already have lots of tabletop gaming in lobbies on Thursday night and Sunday night. The problem is those lobbies have limited seating, and the tables are far from ideal for gaming. The idea is to get a room of some sort with ideal gaming tables just for Thursday night and/or Sunday night, (just one to start), so that the lobby gamers can be more comfortable. Also so nobody misses out on lobby gaming due to not being able to get a seat or table.

    Still in the investigation phase. Just notice that a lot of people are commenting on it having the wrong idea what it's all about.

    Apreche on
  • Gene ParmesanGene Parmesan Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Even 4 hours both nights would be thousands.

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