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Calling All Potential Sonic Line Riders

flatlineflatline Registered User regular
edited July 2013 in PAX East
Traditionally, the Sonic Line to PAX East has been the 176 Northeast Regional. This was chosen because it leaves at 12:02 from Union Station in DC, allowing enough time for anyone traveling from the southern lines (Metroid and Star Fox) to link up and travel with the larger group on to Boston.

However, one of the biggest 'problems' with the Sonic Line is that it doesn't get into town until after 8pm, missing the Pre-PAX Dinner entirely and requiring some luck and a lot of running to catch the bar crawl. This has prevented at least some forumers from really getting on board (sorry for the pun).

The mitigating issue is that we don't want to leave anyone from the other lines behind - the whole reason for the Train Alliance is to travel with fellow gamers and have fun. However, Metroid and Star Fox require getting up super early in New Orleans or Florida, and don't seem to be nearly as popular, so I'm not sure how many people we would actually lose. Hence, the poll.

*Note, this poll is unofficial and just trying to gauge the feelings of the group at large

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Calling All Potential Sonic Line Riders 72 votes

Keep the Sonic Line as the 176, leaving at 12:02p and getting in at 8:10p
9% 7 votes
Look at an earlier train like the 86 (8:40a-4:28p) or 174 (10:20a-6:25p)
72% 52 votes
I hate trains (why is this even an option?)
18% 13 votes
flatline on
«13

Posts

  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    So for me, I ride from BWI - this is nice because with the 176 I can still work a half-day before hopping on the train.

    I've always wanted to check out the pre-pax dinner, because once pax starts I hardly ever stray far from the BCEC/Westin. If people would rather keep Sonic on the 176 I'm OK with that too, I just like to book my travel early and figured the discussion should start now.

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  • xenardxenard Registered User regular
    I've pretty much already decided to take the 86 so I can hang out and socialize. On the 176 I arrive and pass out in my room.

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  • BearTheHumanBearTheHuman Registered User regular
    So, the whole reason I don't take the train is because it comes in so late. I would much rather do that, and I would if it were earlier.

  • MalfeisMalfeis Protagonist. 2d10 hit die. Chaotic Neutral. Registered User regular
    My group has never had the chance to ride the Sonic line - we like to arrive in Boston and see the city, eat dinner and do some pre-PAX stuff. The 86 is perfect for that.

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  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    One of my worries is that this will fragment the group, as a lot of people just assume the Sonic Line is the 176 nowadays. I would hate to ruin a bunch of people's experiences because they got on a late train with no other PAXers on board. I wonder, if the group decides to change, if we could get it tweeted or something to reach people who aren't active on the forums.

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  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    flatline wrote: »
    One of my worries is that this will fragment the group, as a lot of people just assume the Sonic Line is the 176 nowadays. I would hate to ruin a bunch of people's experiences because they got on a late train with no other PAXers on board. I wonder, if the group decides to change, if we could get it tweeted or something to reach people who aren't active on the forums.

    Good point, but don't most riders read the forums or have friends who read the forums? I think it's worth the risk. I know that more people will ride if it's earlier. I plan to ride regardless.

  • EagleAlphaXEagleAlphaX New JerseyRegistered User regular
    My group is considering taking the train this year. Some of us want to do the Pokecrawl, so if we do take the train, we will definitely be taking an earlier one. The Sonic Line seems like a great idea, but we will absolutely not be riding it if it's getting to Boston at 8 P.M.
    flatline wrote: »
    One of my worries is that this will fragment the group, as a lot of people just assume the Sonic Line is the 176 nowadays. I would hate to ruin a bunch of people's experiences because they got on a late train with no other PAXers on board. I wonder, if the group decides to change, if we could get it tweeted or something to reach people who aren't active on the forums.

    I agree that splitting up the Sonic Line group is a bad idea, but if there are people who are taking earlier trains, I think there should be some sort of coordination for those trains (perhaps a Tails or Knuckles line to keep with the theme).

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  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    My group is considering taking the train this year. Some of us want to do the Pokecrawl, so if we do take the train, we will definitely be taking an earlier one. The Sonic Line seems like a great idea, but we will absolutely not be riding it if it's getting to Boston at 8 P.M.
    flatline wrote: »
    One of my worries is that this will fragment the group, as a lot of people just assume the Sonic Line is the 176 nowadays. I would hate to ruin a bunch of people's experiences because they got on a late train with no other PAXers on board. I wonder, if the group decides to change, if we could get it tweeted or something to reach people who aren't active on the forums.

    I agree that splitting up the Sonic Line group is a bad idea, but if there are people who are taking earlier trains, I think there should be some sort of coordination for those trains (perhaps a Tails or Knuckles line to keep with the theme).

    But... that's pretty much the definition of fragmenting the group; calling them different names doesn't really change that. There have always been people who take earlier trains, it's just not publicized here on the forums to avoid confusion. If the group as a whole(ish) decides to make the Sonic Line an earlier train, that's the only one that will get pushed.

    (note that I'm not an official representative or anything, the whole train thing is Moe's baby. I'm just the guy who heard grumbling and decided to take the group's pulse on the issue)

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  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    flatline wrote: »
    But... that's pretty much the definition of fragmenting the group; calling them different names doesn't really change that. There have always been people who take earlier trains, it's just not publicized here on the forums to avoid confusion. If the group as a whole(ish) decides to make the Sonic Line an earlier train, that's the only one that will get pushed.

    (note that I'm not an official representative or anything, the whole train thing is Moe's baby. I'm just the guy who heard grumbling and decided to take the group's pulse on the issue)

    I think there is capacity to handle to pre-pax trains without danger of weakening either. I took the earlier train last year. I think it could be awesome if it was a dedicated community pre-pax train, even if it had exactly the same number of Pax people as last year. Although there were many Pax people, there was not a great deal of mingling. Without being an organized community event, everyone stuck with their group or themselves--and we were scattered throughout the train pockets. Maybe I was just too timid, but this made it harder to join games and meet people. Even in the cafe car, where there were a few games going on, it felt too low-key and scattered to join or even to observe. I don't think the problem was lack of people, but lack of organization.

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  • TabooPhantasyTabooPhantasy Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    There are so many of us that take the Sonic line I think an "early" Sonic line and a "late" Sonic line would be beneficial. The cars get very full (particularly the cafe car) and it makes it hard to do anything but play Mario Kart for many of us.

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  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    edited August 2013
    I could easily jump aboard the train in Philly and would happily trade the drive to Boston for being on a train with other PAXers. I didn't consider it last year because I didn't want to be "late" for the Pre-PAX events. An earlier train would be awesome!

    (Missing the experience of driving in Boston really wouldn't hurt my feelings either.)

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  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    There were enough people who wanted to get some gaming in, but they couldn't get on the 176. So, yea, an earlier option would be great.

    Also, we get on at Philly, so I'd actually be happier to get a slightly earlier start. Really, the only people majorly affected by this are probably the ones getting on at DC.

  • BearTheHumanBearTheHuman Registered User regular
    I think looking at the poll results it shows that there is a demand (even though most people aren't active until the months leading up to East) for an earlier train being community organized. People like myself don't take the train because we want to participate in community events in Boston that night. Worst case scenario, someone takes initiative and organizes an early bird train (maybe the Shadow Line?).

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    (maybe the Shadow Line?).

    Knuckles imo

  • FireWaterFireWater Registered User regular
    Well I am flying this year, I didn't have as much fun on the sonic line as I thought I would have last year.

  • TopherRocksTopherRocks Rockstar Beard Grower Kent, OH or Long Island, NYRegistered User regular
    When I don't drive up with friends, the train is the way to go for me but the killer is that it always comes in so late. I'd much rather be coming in earlier and be able to go do pre-pax stuff.

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  • mmpiemmpie Registered User regular
    Omgosh if the Sonic Line could be earlier, that would be fantastic.

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  • huggyd1huggyd1 Registered User regular
    I would really prefer a train like the 86 to get to Boston as early as possible. It would be my first time taking the train, so I would also love to game and meet other gamers on the way up. It sounds like the 86 may be turning into the train that has a lot of gamers AND gets to Boston early.

  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    I think it should be said that there may be fewer paxers taking the train from Philadelphia this year. Jet Blue has caused a price war on fares to Boston, which can be had for $133, which is about the same cost as the train. I originally planned on the train from Philly, but now I am flying. This might affect how or if you split the pax trains.

  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    gonexall wrote: »
    I think it should be said that there may be fewer paxers taking the train from Philadelphia this year. Jet Blue has caused a price war on fares to Boston, which can be had for $133, which is about the same cost as the train. I originally planned on the train from Philly, but now I am flying. This might affect how or if you split the pax trains.

    I usually take the train up and fly back Sunday evening. If you buy early, train and airfare are often close price-wise.

    Taking the train isn't about it being cheap, it's about having an easy, comfortable trip where you can play games and meet people and get into the PAX mindset.

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  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    flatline wrote: »
    Taking the train isn't about it being cheap, it's about having an easy, comfortable trip where you can play games and meet people and get into the PAX mindset.

    This is exactly how I feel about it. I drove last year and would much rather spend the time on the train meeting people and gaming my way to Boston (assuming this can be done in time to arrive for pre-PAX activities.) I suppose I could arrive earlier if I flew and perhaps do some sightseeing, but I discovered last year that I'd rather focus on PAX rather than run myself completely ragged trying to do it all. This is certainly a personal preference, but the way I see it, there are fifty-one other weekends to sight-see in Boston. :)

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  • gonexallgonexall PhiladelphiaRegistered User regular
    I totally get that, and I was tempted to go with the train for the social experience, but I also want to get there early for pre-pax stuff. I hope there is an earlier pax train and will be interested to hear how it goes. Maybe I jumped to soon at the low fare for the plane, but at least I'll see you all at the pre-pax game stuff, after you have been playing games for six hours an I have been...going through airport security.

  • mmpiemmpie Registered User regular
    gonexall wrote: »
    I totally get that, and I was tempted to go with the train for the social experience, but I also want to get there early for pre-pax stuff. I hope there is an earlier pax train and will be interested to hear how it goes. Maybe I jumped to soon at the low fare for the plane, but at least I'll see you all at the pre-pax game stuff, after you have been playing games for six hours an I have been...going through airport security.

    As someone who got on the sonic line in Philly last year, I didn't get to see the camaraderie everyone's talking about. Maybe it was just my car, but it was kind of quiet and people stuck to themselves/their groups. It was still fun, don't get me wrong, but I guess I was just expecting something different?

    My group talked this weekend and it sounds like we will be flying, but not 100% yet.

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  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    mmpie wrote: »
    gonexall wrote: »
    I totally get that, and I was tempted to go with the train for the social experience, but I also want to get there early for pre-pax stuff. I hope there is an earlier pax train and will be interested to hear how it goes. Maybe I jumped to soon at the low fare for the plane, but at least I'll see you all at the pre-pax game stuff, after you have been playing games for six hours an I have been...going through airport security.

    As someone who got on the sonic line in Philly last year, I didn't get to see the camaraderie everyone's talking about. Maybe it was just my car, but it was kind of quiet and people stuck to themselves/their groups. It was still fun, don't get me wrong, but I guess I was just expecting something different?

    My group talked this weekend and it sounds like we will be flying, but not 100% yet.

    The bulk of PAX people are in the last car, did you look there? Were you on twitter? For the past 3 years I have run games in the dining car (I am usually able to snag a table between Philly and NYC, which gives us 4+ hours) and I tweet every 15-20 minutes using whatever #sonicline hashtag seems to be popular that year. The past two years have been big on Cards Against Humanity, with up to 8 or 10 people playing at a time (and hey, beer is right there!), but I've also brought other games like Munchkin, Gloom, and Mad Scientist University. Other PAXers also grab dining tables; I know I've seen a few games of Pandemic, Magic, and more DS/Pokemon than you can shake a stick at.

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  • mmpiemmpie Registered User regular
    flatline wrote: »
    The bulk of PAX people are in the last car, did you look there? Were you on twitter? For the past 3 years I have run games in the dining car (I am usually able to snag a table between Philly and NYC, which gives us 4+ hours) and I tweet every 15-20 minutes using whatever #sonicline hashtag seems to be popular that year. The past two years have been big on Cards Against Humanity, with up to 8 or 10 people playing at a time (and hey, beer is right there!), but I've also brought other games like Munchkin, Gloom, and Mad Scientist University. Other PAXers also grab dining tables; I know I've seen a few games of Pandemic, Magic, and more DS/Pokemon than you can shake a stick at.

    Yes I was on twitter, but it did seem packed when we went through a few cars, especially the dining car. I walked through a few times to get said beer :D

    I guess we were just unlucky.

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  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    My first year I went with my one friend and we pretty much stuck to ourselves. It was fun, we had a good time playing a LOT of D&D with the WotC staff, but the next year I resolved to talk to strangers. It completely changes the PAX experience. My favorite thing to do now is introduce strangers to new games.

    Betrayal At House On the Hill is a game that I love, and it has a million pieces so it seems complex, but anyone can grok it in a few rounds. With the Haunt/Betrayal element it is great even for a group of strangers. The past couple years I grab it from the TableTop HQ and then just pick random people from the area and teach them the game. Haven't had a bad experience yet. I also like to carry small card-based games like Gloom and Cards Against Humanity around for lines and stuff.

    The TL;DR is that PAX presents limitless opportunities for fun and interesting experiences, but you have to be willing to engage. If you're walking by, say hi! Last year I actually grabbed people who were just on the train for work and taught them CAH - they had no idea what PAX was but they had a blast.

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  • DolarrahDolarrah New JerseyRegistered User regular
    If its the 86, I am there, otherwise I will drive. Pre-Pax dinner is a must for me, and there are some events Thursday I would like to be checked into hotel prior to.



  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    So, any potential decisions on this yet? When tix come out, I'd like to get everything scheduled so I don't have to look back. Looks like a lot of votes for the earlier trains, maybe it's time to start discussing which of the earlier trains would be best?

  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    I think there are enough of us who have said that we'd only take an earlier train or else we'd drive or fly. Since this isn't taking anyone off of the established Sonic Line, then I think we should start planning it.

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  • mentok1982mentok1982 I could never leave you PAX baby. BaltimoreRegistered User regular
    If I used a train (and I think I will) then I would be getting on in Baltimore. I would like to arrive in time for the Pre-PAX Dinner.

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  • flatlineflatline Registered User regular
    I am not an official mod or anything, but I would agree that there seems to be overwhelming support for an earlier train. The 86 seems to be the consensus.

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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    I know @moe fwacky used to run the train trip stuff, but honestly it doesn't need mod approval or anything to pick a different train :P However getting moe to make new maps and stuff would be a good thing.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    I have a voucher, so I need to go to an actual station to get tix, but I'll say right now that I'm going to try to get tix for the 86.

  • LedaXILedaXI Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    My friend and I will be boarding in Philly and would also like to take an earlier train. This will be my first time not driving or flying, and I always go to the Pre-PAX dinner, so I don't want to miss that this year.

  • BrimstarBrimstar Registered User regular
    We board down in Lynchburg VA, and will miss Sonic Line entirely if it does the earlier boarding. There's not a huge number of us, but with the earlier train we'd have to drive to DC to take part. Would make me pretty sad as the train ride up has always been a blast.

  • DelaneyDelaney Registered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Brimstar wrote: »
    We board down in Lynchburg VA, and will miss Sonic Line entirely if it does the earlier boarding. There's not a huge number of us, but with the earlier train we'd have to drive to DC to take part. Would make me pretty sad as the train ride up has always been a blast.

    Hopefully people will be a little more responsive in this thread, but I don't think the traditional Sonic Line is kaput. Speaking for myself, I would love to also experience the train, but I am not willing to arrive so late that I miss Pre-PAX activities. It's not a case of me taking the traditional Sonic train or an earlier one; it's an earlier one or I'm traveling another way. Since there seem to be others in this position, we're simply trying to organize another group.

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  • LedaXILedaXI Chicago, ILRegistered User regular
    Sadly, due to my friend's work schedule, we'll be taking the later train. Sad that I'm going to miss the Pre-PAX dinner this year. ;.;

  • KupiKupi Registered User regular
    I'm a North Carolinian who much prefers the comfort of not having beloved terra firma more than a mile below me, and is utterly ignorant of the Pre-PAX festivities. I plan to correct the latter, but as to the former, I'd love to take the train and meet some PAX people along the way, but by all indications if the Sonic Line is earlier that won't be possible. So, put my vote provisionally (barring further developments) in favor of the traditional time.

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  • OrganichuOrganichu jacobkosh Registered User regular
    yeah, i have always skipped the train because i want to be able to get dinner in boston thursday night with friends- i don't expect them to wait around for me until 9pm (getting in, dropping off my bags, showering). i'd be a lot more interested if it arrived earlier in the day.

  • sukibethsukibeth Registered User new member
    This is my first PAX, so I'm majorly looking forward to running into anyone on the train from DC. Whatever gets decided in the end, I'll be on!

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