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Constructive Feedback - Unplugged 2017

2

Posts

  • nevermore13nevermore13 Registered User regular
    So obviously as with any first year PAX there will be growing pains. Overall it was a great PAX, lots of gsmes, amazing enforcers, and grest attendees. With that being said there are a couple of improvements i would like to see:

    Please move the main theater to it's own room. The noise from being so close to tournaments was especially distracting during the acq Inc panel Saturday night.

    Please give pat Rothfuss a bigger theater. His line capped over a half hour early so it would have been nice to see him in main theater.

    The layout was a little confusing especially figuring out how to get to the areas in the lower level, as the map made it seem like it was right below us and that wasn't the case.

    Lastly enforcers did a good job but having three separate queue lines in the same area is a little confusing.

    surette
  • laserdoglaserdog Registered User regular
    I would love to see the return of the Sumo Bean Bag areas.

    "Unplugged" or not, having multiple casual areas sprinkled around to crash, rest and socialize is a mandatory feature of PAX DNA IMHO.

    ltgruntmouseydew
  • WeWantTheFunkWeWantTheFunk Registered User new member
    Event signup prior to the con. It's 2017 and you are experienced at running cons. There no excuse.

    More RPG's

    Other than that, do the same thing next year.

    DoveroSchmulkiSweendoggedly
  • DoveroDovero Registered User new member
    Piling on here..

    Pros:
    1.) Yay! A gaming convention in Philly! Right next to Reading Market. My friends and I ate well all weekend long
    2.) The Free Play system was fantastic and, frankly, saved the con for me and my friends (more on that in a moment). Being able to walk through, find a game and check it out, one per badge with no fuss was excellent. Each of us checked out a game and sat for a few hours playing various games that had piqued our interests.
    3.) The Enforcers- Not always the most knowledgeable, but certainly friendly and earnestly trying to be helpful.

    Cons:

    1.) The RPG fiasco has been well documented. We stood in a line in a hallway, then were moved into a room and re-queued. From that room, we were escorted down the same hallway to another room (giving people ample ability to be the stronger salmon and move ahead of the space they were) and then queued again in another room just to find out all of the sections were full. Well that was a waste of nearly 2 hours. We got into 0 RPG sessions over 3 days. If it hadn't been for the Freeplay area, we probably wouldn't have come back after Friday.

    2.) WHY OH WHY MUST NEARLY EVERYTHING BE A TOURNAMENT?!? The stuff you could register for that wasn't an RPG was a tournament. I get that there are some uber-competitive people out there, but not all of us, and I'd rather be spending time playing games with my friends casually than playing competitively against strangers. I get how tournaments are fun and no big deal with electronic games at other Paxs because you're just sitting at a computer/console. It's a whole different social dynamic when you have to sit across from someone face to face and play competitively. More events that are structured around specific games, played casually would be nice.

    3.) RPGS pt 2- There are some fantastic systems that are not Pathfinder and D&D. More choices, more rooms, longer sessions (3-4 hours is a better time slot for an rpg game than 2 hours. In a 2 hour game, you're losing at least a quarter of the time getting the players set up and familiar with their characters and the scenario). Advanced registration prior to the start of the con.

    4.) More room for the Free Play. There was no room Saturday afternoon to get a spot to play. We ended up having to sit at a table in the tournament section that wasn't being occupied.

    5.) Event registration- just like with the RPG, this was a dumpster fire. Not being able to pre-register for games meant we were winging it all day each day and that took some joy out of the con. As stated, Gen-Con has a fantastic system that I would highly recommend you emulate in some fashion, especially around the RPG sessions. I don't understand why the registration lines (for stuff like the Minis and Theater) were in the main room, and it really wasn't clear where to go in that room (signage complaint).

    6.) I get that this was a first try, but the vendor space was pathetic. Small booths made for little demo space. We waited an hour to try and demo a game because they could only have enough room to run 1 demo at a time. It felt like the 3rd party retailers had bigger spacers than the game companies. Need to double the size of the Vendor Hall space (at a minimum. Perhaps move Free Play to its own large room and kill two birds with one stone?) and increase the number of vendors. I think I saw 1 cosplay vendor, no ChessEx, only 1 Geek T-shirt vendor. I also agree with a prior comment in regards to the board game demoing- We tried to demo more stuff JUST TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO because we couldn't get into the events we wanted to register for on any day because of the ridiculous same-day-line-try-your-luck system.


    Thank you for trying. Without major improvements, My friends and I won't be back.

  • crazyg0od33crazyg0od33 Registered User new member
    edited November 21
    starrymeow wrote: »
    I would suggest "suggesting" to vendors with products that may be bought from other sources to sell theirs below MSRP. Vendors Like CoolStuffInc almost sold out of all their boardgames by the end of the convention because they were undercutting publishers on the expo floor selling at full MSRP. One thing I also noticed is that barely any vendors discounted their products by the end of the convention, even the ones selling at full MSRP. Unfortunately, everyone has a smartphone that can and will find the best prices online. I had a large budget intended for buying games this past weekend, and most was given to Amazon.

    On the topic of training volunteers, I love what Child's Play stands for and I donate progressively more each PAX that I attend. However, I witnessed some Cookie Brigade volunteers that were unprofessional and bordered on extorting donations. Please provide more customer service training to newer volunteers for future Unplugged.

    CSI was selling at their own prices, which are always below MSRP - so I think that's not really undercutting as much as just selling games like they normally do.

    But I made a similar point above, and totally agree. Spirit Island $25 or more above what's available online won't make me buy it, no matter how badly I wanted it

    Dovero wrote: »
    Piling on here..


    6.) I get that this was a first try, but the vendor space was pathetic. Small booths made for little demo space. We waited an hour to try and demo a game because they could only have enough room to run 1 demo at a time. It felt like the 3rd party retailers had bigger spacers than the game companies. Need to double the size of the Vendor Hall space (at a minimum. Perhaps move Free Play to its own large room and kill two birds with one stone?) and increase the number of vendors. I think I saw 1 cosplay vendor, no ChessEx, only 1 Geek T-shirt vendor. I also agree with a prior comment in regards to the board game demoing- We tried to demo more stuff JUST TO HAVE SOMETHING TO DO because we couldn't get into the events we wanted to register for on any day because of the ridiculous same-day-line-try-your-luck system.

    Pretty sure the companies pay money to get whatever sized booth they want. So vendors could've easily bought more space had they paid for it. I'm sure CSI paid a lot for their HUGE space, because they were making money off of the games. That's not on PAX. I agree with increasing the space. Chessex possibly just decided not to come? Also not on PAX.

    I think you make good points, but I think you also expect PAX to basically cherry pick the size of vendor booths / which ones attend.

    This was the same weekend as BGG Con as well, so a lot of vendors may have chosen to go there instead...

    crazyg0od33 on
    Dovero
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Fizzster wrote: »
    Additionally, the FEEL of PAX wasn't there. I don't know if it was because there were a lot of first timers, or what, but at East, I can walk up to a table that's playing a game I'm interested in, and they will either ask if I want to play, or at least include me in the conversation about what's going on in the game. I didn't get that AT ALL at this PAX. I know it's not the convention's fault, but the crowd seemed to run in their own little cliques. As a solo attendee, that wasn't very fun.

    Also, there was nothing going on after the hall closed. It felt DEAD after midnight, which is unfortunate. Most of the time at other PAX shows, I could walk into the hotel lobby and there would be a massive group of gamers all playing.
    This really surprises me to hear. I was remarking to some people about how awesome it was that unplugged felt very much like you could just walk up and chat with people about their games and play and how I very rarely feel that way at East.

    Also, the hotels I went to in the evenings were positively packed full of games.

    I 100% believe your experience, it's just always interesting to me that people can see polar opposites in the same setting.

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    WizarDruCanderson1989ltgruntmouseydew
  • iltailta Registered User regular
    edited November 21
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Fizzster wrote: »
    Additionally, the FEEL of PAX wasn't there. I don't know if it was because there were a lot of first timers, or what, but at East, I can walk up to a table that's playing a game I'm interested in, and they will either ask if I want to play, or at least include me in the conversation about what's going on in the game. I didn't get that AT ALL at this PAX. I know it's not the convention's fault, but the crowd seemed to run in their own little cliques. As a solo attendee, that wasn't very fun.

    Also, there was nothing going on after the hall closed. It felt DEAD after midnight, which is unfortunate. Most of the time at other PAX shows, I could walk into the hotel lobby and there would be a massive group of gamers all playing.
    This really surprises me to hear. I was remarking to some people about how awesome it was that unplugged felt very much like you could just walk up and chat with people about their games and play and how I very rarely feel that way at East.

    Also, the hotels I went to in the evenings were positively packed full of games.

    I 100% believe your experience, it's just always interesting to me that people can see polar opposites in the same setting.

    I too had the opposite experience. Around 10:00pm on Saturday I walked right up to a table in Freeplay looking at a game and asked if they had a spot for another player. They waved me right in. I got the opportunity to welcome someone else into a game I was playing at a different moment. And my hotel (the Home2Suites) had gaming happening in the lobby until the wee hours every night. After Sunday night my room group packed it in at 2am and there were still multiple tables going.

    It's extremely important for the organizers to hear all data points, but it's equally important to remember that each of us is, after all, only one of those points.

    ilta on
  • ZeroHourHeroZeroHourHero Registered User regular
    edited November 21
    I only had two real issues, one can be chalked up to my fault, the other... not so much.

    1) Purple Playmats: Maybe for the PAX (Venue) Stuff, if we're going to go 1 Day Pass Route, set aside X Per Day.
    I was one of the first people in mini-merch Sunday. When I saw they were already sold out, I beelined to main merch the moment the floor open. They were already gone as well. I made due with a Deck Box, and Sleeves, and a random other PAX PLaymat, but as I love purple and this was the first unplugged, I was super stoked to pick one up. I get stuff sells out, I get Sunday is the last day. I can see the argument "If you wanted it so badly, should have come Friday/Saturday." I would have loved to, If schedule had allowed.

    2) I'd like to echo the map issue. I did the scavenger hunt successfully, but almost didn't complete it because while the Map described level one, I wasn't aware Level One was in a different building, and had issues locating it, and the AFK Room once I did find it.

    On that note. Maybe we don't put an event thing like the PAX XP stuff on the room that is supposed to be for quiet time for folks that need it. It seems counterintuitive to drag people towards the area folks who are trying to decompress for whatever reason, are in. Maybe that's just me, I'm just saying.

    To comment on another few comments though:
    starrymeow wrote: »
    However, I witnessed some Cookie Brigade volunteers that were unprofessional and bordered on extorting donations. Please provide more customer service training to newer volunteers for future Unplugged.

    That's not PAX, that's a community activity group. They generally do good work, but the PAX Convention itself, while it allows them to do their thing for Childs Play has no hand in who joins, how they're trained, etc...
    BIHJack wrote: »
    kc2dpt wrote:
    You'd basically need a person with a laptop and a second monitor and a spreadsheet.

    How about a mobile app that allows you to look at games that are currently looking for players?

    A PAX Unplugged LFG App would in fact, be the dopeness.

    In closing Two follow up thoughts:
    1. This was the first PAX for 3 out of four of my crew, and the first con PERIOD for one of them, and everyone had a great time once they got past the shock. The only complaint they had was they were only there. This led to me simply looking at them and going "Welcome to PAX. Now you know why I said coming down Sunday wouldn't be enough. Next time, maybe you listen to your PAX Loving friend."

    2. There is a distinct difference between offering critique and being a jerk. Learn the difference. This isn't directed towards anyone here commenting, but on an incident in the middle of a demo of Atlas Game's Witches of the Revolution. The person playing with me shredded the person doing the demo, was condescending, and even after the developer (who I later learned was the CEO) handled all of his questions with respect and more patience than I would be able to muster, was kind of abusive.

      One of his biggest comments was that the game was overly complex, and then later said it was to easy. I attempted to remind him that they were doing a demo, so of course it was easier, as they need to do demos to a plethora of people, and was met with "Well... It's still to easy." He then effectively launched a list of demands that the developer "Needs to do before the game is released, if he wants people to buy it." to Atlas. The creators of Gloom. Not random dude in a garage with index cards (not that theres anything wrong with it, everyone starts somewhere) and eventually decided to reset the game in the middle of MY turn.

      I mean he picked up the pieces, put them back on the board, reached over to my side, picked up my stuff, put them back on the board, and walked away because HE was done. Without saying a word to me, or the developer. Just took it upon himself to decide everyone was done.

      So yea. Critique Good. Being a condescending jerk, bad.

    P.S. I highly recommend The Red Dragon Inn and Witches of the Revolution. That is all.

    ZeroHourHero on
  • BrandchanBrandchan Registered User regular
    edited November 21
    Living near Philly most of my life I've been waiting for a con that I've actually wanted to go to in my "home" city for years. This was finally it.

    I had a really great time. Next year I want to stay in the city instead of commuting in each day.

    And that being said the location was great. I've been to a ton of cons on the East coast and a few on the West coast. I really liked the access to food (in my experience only the Hynes is comparable). I love East but access to food from the BCEC is always a pain. I actually found the convention center pretty easy to navigate.

    I got in three RPG sessions with Games on Demand between Saturday and Sunday. I had a great time at all of them. I am in the camp of not doing sign-ups before the con. I like being able to just join in a random RPG I've never played before.

    Also, maybe because I am used to anime cons and PAX East I am used to Line Con so that aspect didn't bother me much.

    Now for my nitpicks:

    Space for RPGs - Now being said I don't want to pre-reg for these before cons. But I do think there needs to be much, much, much more space and RPGs going on. Also, if Games On Demand could run a staggard schedule that would be awesome (maybe two rooms?)

    Sound level for RPGs - As others have said the noise level in the RPGs made it hard to hear the GMs. Not sure what could be done, but it would be great if something could be done to dampen the noise level.

    Better line orginzagion - While, Unplugged still had better line management than pretty much any anime con I have ever been to, I felt it was lacking compared to East. Also, if there are going to be lines to sign up for things in the Queue Hall then there need to be signs.

    Water access - Someone else mentioned this before but I haven't been to a con in a long time that seemed to have so little access to water. I brought my own water bottle but when I went to refill it I had to really look for a water fountain. Only to find the water, in the said fountain, to come bearly trickling out. I was unable to refill my water.

    Signs - While I didn't have a hard time getting around. I did not realize where the RPGs were until late on Friday because it wasn't listed on the signs with the arrows.

    Brandchan on
  • ZeroHourHeroZeroHourHero Registered User regular
    Just had an idea for the RPG issue.

    Cubicles, yo. Like you'd have in an office. Big enough for a table and chairs. I know they're rentable from certain companies, and with a grid system it wouldn't eat up to much extra room, but would reduce the cross chatter significantly.

    Mind you I didn't go to RPG, I'm just basing the noise level on what everyone else is reporting.

  • iltailta Registered User regular
    edited November 22
    My own thoughts:

    I've been attending PAX East since 2013, as both a speaker and a guest. As always, the lists of cons will be longer and more detailed than the list of pros. Please don't take this as a statement about my enjoyment, or about my feelings about the level of organization here. The pain points are, in my opinion, totally addressable, though some hard choices may have to be made. I want to be clear: in my opinion this was a generally good convention, and an excellent first convention. It wasn't as smooth as East, but East has been running for the better part of a decade. It would be unrealistic to expect the very first PAXUP to have all the bugs worked out. I expected bugs, and I encountered several, and my friends encountered more, but we had a pretty great time overall and I returned home already looking forward to attending next year.

    PROS
    • I love that this convention is a thing. Going in I was worried that it would feel empty, or that it would be a total mess, or that it would just be freeplay tables for miles with nothing else to do, or that tabletop simply couldn't sustain a convention at the level that I expect from a PAX. I was also considering the possibility that it might totally replace East for me. Having been through it I think that there is space in the world for both, and I'm glad that they exist at opposite ends of the year. I'm probably a two-convention guy for the foreseeable future, so long as I'm available on the right weekends, and if I'm not then I'm really glad I won't have to wait two years between East Coast PAXes. So thank you for seeing that, as Jerry put it, PAX Unplugged already existed inside PAX East, like a Russian nesting doll. That version of PAXUP has outgrown its container, and it was time to let it stand on its own.
    • The low price vs East, assuming that holds, is super attractive. $60+hotel+travel bought a lot of fun. Unlike East, since so much of the floor is freeplay and TT vendors, the show didn't feel "over" at 6:00 on Friday and Saturday, since I knew I could always find something fun to play or another store to walk through until everyone got kicked out for real at midnight.
    • Enforcers were, as always, extremely friendly and helpful when possible, but it often felt like they weren't all working from the same playbook (more on this later).
    • LOVED the line tracker in the app. I think that was put in for East 2017, but it was a great addition here as well.
    • Main floor felt nicely spaced, if a bit disorganized. The aisles were pretty wide and I didn't feel that claustrophobic crush I often do in most of East's cramped pit of a floor. There were parts I never even got to see, because there was so much interesting stuff on display. Again, for a standard con the stuff on display was good, for a first year, and especially considering it was the same weekend as BGG.con AND the marathon, it was downright fantastic.
    • Tabletop signup starting as soon as there was a line in the queue room: SO SMART. Let people ask questions, sign up, collect their tourney tickets, and then walk away to be somewhere else. Don't make them stand around for hours just to wait until exactly 10:00 to fill out a form that you have ready to go at 8:30. I wish DDAL and Megagames and everyone worked the same way.
    • Kids day was a really great idea! I don't have any kids of my own yet, but it made me really happy to see so many families on the expo hall floor, and the developers and other attendees did a great job of accommodating them, being welcoming, and just generally being the cool PAX family I know we all can be.
    • I know PAX doesn't control this in post-marathon-bombing Boston, but the lack of bag check security theater in Philly was so enormously refreshing. It just made the whole thing feel so much friendlier and kept people moving along. Please fight whatever battles you can to keep that garbage away from PAXUP as long as possible.

    CONS
    • The guidebook maps were nearly useless, the signage too thinly spread, and what signs there were were not specific enough ("PAX THIS WAY->" yeah, sure, great, but where's Whatever Room???). In East, you have the advantage that everything is clustered around the expo floor, and you've got the flying/walking/swimming A/B/C/D thing to help orient everything to everything else. The map for PAXUP desperately needed a single image showing how all the random puzzle pieces and offshoots and hallways fit together, and the sign UI needed to be approached with arrows at every decision point, and "you are here" maps at key points rather than just the one at the info booth. Also, sometimes it was called "RPG Dungeon" and other times by another name ("RPG Area" maybe?). Not a big deal, but it spoke to a general lack of consistency with the wayfinding.
    • Also, each and every enforcer needs to know where the major things are in relation to where they are standing. On Friday morning I was trying to find the RPG Dungeon and the enforcer I found on the expo floor looked confused and pulled up a map on his phone -- not the PA guidebook map, but some elevation map he found online -- and STILL give me wrong directions that led me off into some dark eldritch netherworld of unPAX. I doubled back and eventually found the super-long line so I knew I was in the right place. :p
    • Speaking of which: it's been mentioned elsewhere but I'll say it again because it can't be said loudly enough: MORE SPACE FOR RPGs. More support for them, too. It seems like PA was caught totally unprepared for the demand here. One enforcer (who is also a DDAL GM himself) was talking about how the DDAL guys, who aren't PAX but just a great goup of people who organize this kind of thing, told PAX/ReedPop they weren't being given enough space, and were blown off. But anyone should have been able to see that 25 tables would simply not be enough. Even when DDAL took over another 20 tables across the hall with whatever DMs they could scrounge together last minute, it still wasn't enough (and I imagine it completely displaced anyone hoping to play their own freeplay RPGs at one of those tables). If someone who does one thing all the time -- in this case, organized play at conventions -- tells you they are really worried about X thing, please assume they know what they're talking about and listen.
    • Somewhat related to this, the line policies were just inconsistent the entire convention, and it caused a lot of heartache and confusion and wasted time and hurt feelings. If you line up first thing for repeating events like DDAL sessions, are you signing up for slots for the whole day, or just the 11:00 slot? Who is capping the line, and are you doing it by hard count or soft count? Can friends join their friends already in the line? If not, does your entire party need to be there when you sign up or can the first 25 people each say they have 6 friends and now the entire session/day is booked, sorry that you waited for the last two hours? Is there a waitlist for when some or all of these people don't show up? How is that waitlist being signed up for and operated? Will people get pulled out of line into a session starting RIGHT NOW if they're by themselves, to fill up empty slots at tables? How is that being handled? And when a mob starts to form at 4:00 for a line that doesn't actually start until 5:00, all of your options will involve some combination of sadness, anger, and physical danger (to be clear, I didn't see any trampling, but that was largely thanks to the enforcer on line duty for that session being a proactive, friendly, but in-charge rockstar. Huge points to him). All of these questions NEED to be answered, ideally in a way that is consistent throughout the convention, and communicated clearly to outside organizers and especially the enforcers, down through to everyone standing (or waiting around to stand) in line, or being told not to return to an area until X time, only to find a line already formed and capped.
    • Related and orthogonal to this: there's no reason to tell people in a capped line, away from major foot traffic, to compress. Similarly, no real need to compress at all if the queue room space is mostly empty, and will remain mostly empty until the time the queues are released to their locations. I know that we're used to having to push in real tight at East, where we're all on top of each other all the time and the main theater holds a LOT of people, but that wasn't necessary here. You can ease off.
    • Similarly, if a line has been capped for the last hour and already includes the waiting list, you can assume everyone at the back of it already knows they're in the danger zone and might not get in. We had at least four different enforcers let us know our chances of getting into the Escape Room on Sunday morning were bad (I ended up being the last person pulled off the wait list, for the last slot of the day). I appreciate it the first time, and I know you're trying to help, but after the second or third time it starts to get pretty annoying and tells me you're not communicating with the other enforcers.
    • On a personal level I just had ridiculously good line karma all weekend (see previous point for an example). I won't go into more details here, and I didn't do anything wrong or unethical or slimy, I just ended up in the exact right place, or asking the exact right question to the exact right person, multiple times throughout the weekend, such that the general confusion and lack of consistency and just dumb luck ended up breaking in my favor. I'm putting this as a con because I know that it likely means that for every time that things broke my way, it meant they were probably breaking the opposite way for someone else, and in another year I could just as easily have ended up on the losing side of the die.
    • NEEDS MORE PANELS. It felt like there were about twelve "topic" panels (ie non-"event" things like AqInc) in the entire con. Considering all the tabletop panels I've seen on the schedule at East over the years, this was a severe disappointment for me. On the other hand, it gave me more time to see cool games on the expo floor, so there's that.
    • As others have said, the Main Theater was not optimally located or laid out, and noise bleed from the expo floor and sightline angles were definitely an issue. There's got to be a better way to arrange your space.
    • Similarly, a lot of space seemed dedicated to tourney tables, but they weren't actually in use that often. Consider a "THIS SPECIFIC TABLE RESERVED FOR SPECIFIC TOURNEY AT SPECIFIC TIME" instead of "THIS WHOLE SECTION RESERVED FOR TOURNEY ALWAYS". This is a perennial issue with East as well, and it's really time it was solved.
    • The in-app swag bag. There needs to be a way to sort those coupons, look at them, check them off, go back, make a note, etc -- you know, like an actual bag filled with papers and stuff that I can peruse or throw out at my leisure. I also REALLY didn't like giving my email address to every Tom, Dick, and Harry just to hold onto a coupon for the one thing I was actually seriously interested in (and another thing I completely forgot about). Also the app kept forgetting what I had saved and made me go through them all, numerous times. So, A for effort, D for execution on that.

    SUGGESTIONS (neither good nor bad, just some ideas of where to go from here)
    • I do wish that the floor was better delineated between developers, sellers, and demoers. At East, it's always nice to walk down t-shirt avenue, or know to avoid it because I don't want t-shirts right now, or see all the little indies in one spot. Maybe consider soft-organizing by game complexity or type? Current and imminent kickstarters / previews, perhaps? What about some curated areas, like the Indie Megabooth, to let us know what new or upcoming games look particularly cool? I made a point to seek out The Climbers based on Jerry's shout-out during Make-a-Strip, and I wasn't disappointed (it's cool! check it out!); I might have otherwise passed it by entirely.
    • The line tracker in the app, as has been mentioned, was great. You can expand this functionality to other things! I'm not into the pin stuff, but I bet that those who are would appreciate knowing when the LE pins sold out. How about the hoodies? Tourney, Megagame, and DDAL signups would definitely benefit from being on the tracker too, depending on how things shake out in terms of sign ups and line policy (see above).
    • Events with multiple start times or very long runtimes, like DDAL and tourneys, were really hard to track with the way the app is organized, because they "start" at 11 and "end" at 6, or even midnight. Consider separate tracks for those, similar to the way the book works. I know there are the filters, but even so, they aren't always intuitive and had a way of turning themselves off with every app reboot. It also wasn't always clear what schedule repeating events might repeat on: every half hour? Every two hours with a random lunch break at some point? It's great that DDAL starts at 11, but if I'm signing up for a tournament that runs 3-5 I need a way to check if that's going to knock out a single DDAL slot or overlap with a 2-4 AND 4-5 without having to walk all the way down to the RPG dungeon to find out.
    • I will echo the need for some parking garage-style pillars or flags to help keep things sane in that giant mass of expo/tabletop hall. Telling someone I'm "by the freeplay checkin/out" isn't super helpful.
    • Let people sign up for certain stuff in advance instead of standing in line. Standing in lines when I'd rather be wandering the floor sucks. Whatever can cut down on that I'm good with. It might also help you not get caught off-guard like you were with DDAL: if you see that it's filling up, you have time to allocate more space for it, instead of the event organizer or enforcer currently in the area being forced / taking it upon themselves to improvise a brand new policy to deal with the current emergency. Maybe have some number of pre-sign ups and some number of in-person sign ups, for the latecomers / procrastinators / plan-changers? Plus a waitlist?
    • If you DO stick with in-person sign-ups, I'm of the "your entire party must be there when it's time to fill out the sheet" school of sign-ups. I'm cool if a few stragglers join their friends already in the line, as long as they're not a giant party abusing that privilege and we're all just waiting around anyway, but it shouldn't be harder to get into Denny's than it is to get into an event that others have been lining up for for hours. If we get to the sign-up table and you're locking down six or seven slots for your friends, they'd better be standing next to you by that point.
    • There's got to be a better way to get from the Queue room to the places people have to go. I don't know if that means a different spot to line up for things, and the Queue Room becomes convention space (Tourney? Coat check?), or what, but that was a very long (and brisk) walk upstream on certain mornings, and there were times where the line all but fell apart, got lost, got infiltrated, or simply was stopped at the door by security that didn't understand what was happening and where all these people were from. Meanwhile everyone else suddenly had to do a very long circuit to get behind the emptying queue. Maybe that police tape needs to be there at the start of the day? Maybe the Main Theater line needs to be in another spot, closer to the actual theater entrance?
    • I know this is probably ridiculous to suggest after Year 1, but considering that it takes 5-10 minutes to demo a video game and 15-60+ to demo a board game, I actually wonder if PAXUP shouldn't go 4-day as well. There were parts of the expo hall I never even got to, and I spent a lot of time there. On the other hand, boy was my brain squishy by the end of the weekend! Still, something to consider long-term, especially if the per-day ticket cost remains so affordable.

    Look, if my last suggestion is that I want there to be more of this convention, you're doing a good job. As I said, this was an excellent first con, and I look forward to seeing how some of the issues I and others have identified are approached and solved in coming years. See you all at East and Unplugged 2018!

    EDIT: HOLY CRAP that was really long. My apologies. Thank you to the organizers for reading my detailed and somewhat rambling thoughts, and those of others on this thread.

    ilta on
    Canderson1989BekerDovero
  • iltailta Registered User regular
    edited November 21
    Oh, one last thing to consider, and it's a more general "mission/vision" kind of question -- what, if anything, are you doing for the local community in terms of exposure and attention? Do you want to be reaching out? Obviously for East and West there's little to no point in doing any advertising, since they sell out more or less immediately so all you'd be doing is subbing in someone else (assuming they even could get their hands on tickets), but Unplugged had Friday, Sunday, and 3-day tickets available right up through the weekend. Literally none of my Philly friends had any idea there was a board game convention going on in their own city, and I know a bunch of them would have really liked it if they had been able to plan for it a few months ahead of time and understood what it was going to be like.

    I believe that great board games are for everyone, and the more people we welcome into this hobby, the better and more interesting the hobby becomes. Family Day was a great stab at this. Go further!

    Now that you have a successful con under your belt, for next year consider reaching out to local media, throwing some ad money at newspapers and radios, reaching out to local gaming stores, schools, etc. ReedPop already does a great job of this with NYComicCon, so I know you can do it for PAXUP too, if you want.

    (or maybe you don't want, and that's cool too. I'd never want to lose that we're-all-family-together feeling of PAX. Not ever. That's why I said it's more a mission/vision question -- just be sure that if your answer is no, it's a conscious no, and not simply because you haven't had to do it for a few years).

    ilta on
    Canderson1989dragnsteph
  • ZoelefZoelef Registered User regular
    Re: Wireless internet at the convention (I use a flip-phone and separate tablet):

    I incorrectly assumed the Pennsylvania Convention Center was a Comcast Wi-Fi Hotspot simply by being in Center City, and this is not the case. Furthermore (and I checked with a couple of enforcers in separate areas) there were no PAX-specific closed WiFi networks. As a result, my tablet was an expensive brick, and while I certainly felt welcome chatting it up with fellow linemongers, the lack of access to the app left me a bit isolated with other parts of the convention hall, especially the Tabletop Freeplay.

    Assuming PaxUN wants to hold a Fireside Gathering for Hearthstone in 2018, I hope some WiFi hotspot or network is appropriated if only for that side event. I realize now there was a Hearthstone event on Friday night, so if it was addressed then, that's fine too - but still I had squadoosh for internet access during the con.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    Pretty much anything I could add has been beaten into the ground, so I'm just going to add a couple of responses to things I saw people talking about:

    Re: Vendors
    The first thing we did Friday was do a lap through every isle of the Expo Hall. Pretty much every vendor fell into one of the following categories. A) Selling RPG stuffs (I'm not an RPG player, so while some of the stuff looked really cool, I wasn't buying). B) Demoing a game/games which I could tell from the name, just looking at it, or a 1-sentence explanation that I had no interest in it. I tried out a couple which seemed mildly interesting, then saw the prices they were charging for the game and at most, added it to a list to get later. The sticker shock was real. C) Selling board games for higher than the Amazon/Coolstuffinc Mendoza line and not selling anything that is "ooh, I don't mind paying a bit extra because I need it NOW." If it's not cheap or the new hotness, why would I buy it at the con just to have to drag it around with me the rest of the day and hope not to destroy the box in the process. I picked up 1 game from CSI on Sunday since the prices dropped just a bit below their online prices and, well, Pandemic Legacy Season 2 hit that "ooh, I need to have that now" level.

    I'm not saying I represent everyone, but board gaming is an expensive enough hobby that many of us are not going to throw money at it without good reason. We're there and actively looking for that good reason to spend money, please give us that reason!

    Re: Friendliness
    I'm really surprised and sorry to hear someone didn't experience friendly people. I was there with a couple of people and knew a large amount of others, but even with all that, we were talking to new people all weekend in the con, at Reading Terminal, on the train, etc. In fact, we spent much of our time during the weekend at the "First Look from Essen" area and that couldn't have been more friendly. I would regularly walk up to a group who was just finishing up a game, ask how they liked it and what kind of game it is. They would happily tell me and a couple of times, one of the people who just played would teach us how to play so we could hop in and play next. There were almost never a full table of us, so as others walked up, we always asked if they wanted to hop in as well. In the middle of the game, as people came by, we were generally always friendly with them (as much as we could, I mean we did have to think about our turns and stuff) especially when we were playing things like Arga, which had a pretty big crowd all weeekend. Then as we were finishing, if there were others crowded around ready to play and there wasn't an enforcer nearby who could teach the game, I tried to teach the next group how to play as well to pay it forward.

    I certainly know everyone's experience isn't the same, but other than times where we were actively playing something which really required dedicated attention to what's going on that second, the rest of our time was spent making new friends.

    Gundabad
  • redfield85redfield85 Registered User regular
    Other random musings:

    ** I thought the free play area was big enough this time around, but Saturday it definitely took a little to scope out a table (being the sold out day). I definitely agree that the tourney area could be smaller because it felt like it was always empty.

    ** Maybe have an online survey after for free play and let people submit games they want to see in free play for renting. This doesn't concern any experience we had, but just figure it might be nice for others who wanted to try something in future events.

    ** It felt like there weren't many exhibitors that were just selling games. What I mean is not developers and the like, but vendors in general that would have sales on the last day of the con.

    ** More vendors in the free play area for when the expo hall closes would be nice.

    ** What happens to the scarves and dice that people ordered and never picked up? Granted I think the dice are custom made so it might not make sense for PA $$ wise, but I would have bought both if they were for sale at the con (and even now). Puzzling that the scarves weren't for sale at least.

    ** I thought on the site it said there would be a handheld lounge of sorts. I didn't know what to expect (if there was one). All I kept thinking was people sitting on beanbags and playing Hearthstone. I just had the idea of an Unplugged handheld lounge being an area of just high top tables (seats or no seats) and maybe people bring whatever small games might fit on said tables or even the area provides their own games (maybe small card games/quick/casual for standing only for a little bit). Games like Love Letter that are incredibly easy to play and learn and quick.

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  • sibyllsibyll Registered User new member
    This was my first PAX. And my first con! And I loved it!

    I would like the chance to preregister for panels. I got in line an hour early for SU&SD, but turns out I didn't need to because a friend of mine strolled in right as it started. So that was wasted time. And the mini painting that ran in the workshop all afternoon had a constant line. They only let a few people in at a time, so others just camped in the hall waiting for someone to leave the room.

    On Saturday, I went looking through the freeplay area for tables LFG. I know there were cones and signs for the tables (I saw them on Friday), but I only saw ONE on a table, and it turned out they had already found players, but didn't take down the cone. Did no one use those?

    The lending library was kind of picked over on Saturday, and I would have preferred more choices, but in the end I still found something I wanted to play. And the check-in/check-out process was quick and easy.

    The First Look area was my favorite. I'd like a BIGGER First Look area next year.

  • RandomfoolRandomfool loofmodnar New Haven, CTRegistered User regular
    edited November 21
    zerzhul wrote: »
    This really surprises me to hear. I was remarking to some people about how awesome it was that unplugged felt very much like you could just walk up and chat with people about their games and play and how I very rarely feel that way at East.

    The expo hall had the old school PAX feel of actually talking to people who were excited about their games which was great. TT itself seemed similar to East but I have a large group so I don't need the LFG stuff all that much. I do remember one guy aggressively tempting me with a game of Puerto Rico at one point.

    Randomfool on
    I do Pokecrawl things. Professor Team Instinct, Hufflepuff supporter.@loofmodnar

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  • ransimransim Registered User regular
    starrymeow wrote: »
    I would suggest "suggesting" to vendors with products that may be bought from other sources to sell theirs below MSRP. Vendors Like CoolStuffInc almost sold out of all their boardgames by the end of the convention because they were undercutting publishers on the expo floor selling at full MSRP. One thing I also noticed is that barely any vendors discounted their products by the end of the convention, even the ones selling at full MSRP. Unfortunately, everyone has a smartphone that can and will find the best prices online. I had a large budget intended for buying games this past weekend, and most was given to Amazon.

    On the topic of training volunteers, I love what Child's Play stands for and I donate progressively more each PAX that I attend. However, I witnessed some Cookie Brigade volunteers that were unprofessional and bordered on extorting donations. Please provide more customer service training to newer volunteers for future Unplugged.

    Starry, I'm one of the Cookie Brigade organizers, I would greatly appreciate if you could email me some more information about what you witnessed so we can address it with the volunteer directly, my email is ransim@cookiebrigade.org.

    I do know we have some Brigadiers who like to do comedic bits while distributing, so my hope is that could be what you witnessed. Every volunteer at an event is personally on boarded by an organizer, our organizers group is comprised of veteran Brigadiers. We do training and provide guidance to our volunteers as we have very specific rules regarding our messaging and internal operations. I am sorry that you had a negative experience, its not our intent.

    WizarDruTopherRocksvid
  • eriepopeeriepope Registered User new member
    The convention was great. This was my First PAX event. I have been to other Cons such as Origins but with This being the First year I was not sure what to expect. This was my wife's first real large Con, so that was exciting for us. And we brought our Kids (10/7) with us Sunday.

    The two things I noticed that I would like to see improved are:

    1) There was confusion about registrations for things. The App and everything I read said that registration started a 10 am. So why was the Mega Game filled up by 9:45 both Friday and Saturday? Also the RPGs seamed to be filling up before 10 as well. Friday morning I got in the Queue room at 8am to make sure I could get into the workshop I wanted. At 9:40 I heard that they were queuing up in front of the workshop room. I called over an enforcer to make sure I was where I was supposed to be. She check for me and came back to confirm that I was right. but even then when the Line was finally released we found people ahead of up in line for signing up.

    2) Along those lines I would like to see more workshops available. I would love more Miniatures painting classes, maybe even a speed painting competition. Also on other things like Deck building skills for card games. My son and I went to the Pokemon 101 thing on Sunday and both were a little disappointed, we were hoping for more hands on sort of thing. instead we got told go online and find a deck list.

    Good things:

    The Enforcers were great.

    The fact I had my badge in hand when I walked through the doors was awesome.

    Other then trying to get a seat to play Evolution I never had a real issue doing something I wanted to do. (Other then not being able to get into the Mega Game or a tier one adventure league game)

    Once I learned how to use the App it was useful.

    Anyways We are excited for next year.

  • Lucid_SeraphLucid_Seraph TealDeer MarylandRegistered User regular
    A few more thoughts.

    1. The AFK lounge was in a terrible place this year -- right behind the clusterfuck that was RPG. There was space on the 3rd floor of the convention center that housed Media & VIPs, and I'd suggest that next year, AFK be moved up there. I know that accessibility can be an issue, but I think moving it to a place that is QUIET and doesn't involve having to brave a crush of people to reach is more important than basically anything else.

    2. Seconding the bean-bag thing. Even if it's just a non-AFK sorta crash area. Perhaps a Card Game or Party Game lounge?

    3. Regarding the World Map... for the other PAX-en, the World Map deliberately resembles a Mario map because, well, video games. Since Unplugged is a wee bit different, I'm wondering if perhaps we shouldn't make an old-skool RPG style dungeon map instead with a more realistic depiction of the convention space. Beyond being more thematic for this particular con, it would help in navigating the somewhat oddly-shaped Pennsylvania Convention Center. Again, as a Line Manager, it was super frustrating trying to explain where the RPG Dungeon, Dire Rat, Dragon, and AFK lounges were, because I had to be like "Okay you either need to go alll the way down that long hallway, take a left, then walk OVER the skybri--no you don't need to go upstairs, you are already ON the skybridge, just make sure you go OVER the road you can see outside the windows--then down the escalator. Don't take the FIRST escalator you see, because you'll end up in the Marathon, you HAVE to take the second one. Alternatively, you can go downstairs and outside, cross the street, and then go inside." There was really no way to explain that to people that was clear and succinct. I think this may be mitigated next year if we have the entire convention space that's not across that skybridge all in one and don't have to share with the Marathon, but the building is still a little weird and could have stood to have some more clarity in those maps.

    If we need a map designer, I know some folks in the RPG industry who would happily draw them up.

    4. On the one hand, I kinda dig the queue room because it looks like an ominous doom fortress >>; On the other, I do think it's awkwardly located in regards to... basically everything. We were having to direct people from all entrances to this particular area, and had a lot of problems where we'd have to send people to Registration, who would then be sent BACK into queue, and people trying to queue up for things like MegaGames instead of in the big queue, and then the already mentioned RPG situation. Unfortunately, I don't know where else in that building is large enough to hold the queue, and I don't know where we could put registration relative to that room which wouldn't be awkward.


    I am not all doom and gloom! I think the convention center itself is actually great and that 90% of our problems regarding lines and difficulty of directions were caused by having to squeeze in between the Marathon and NeoCon (which is not neo-conservatives, but an office furniture convention. Seriously. They had amazing swag -- hamster-sized model office furniture. I wanted them.) If we had the whole building, or even just the part that's not across skybridges, we'd have a far easier time of it.

    Also, Reading Terminal Market is AMAZING. SERIOUSLY. HOLY JEEZ. The location of this convention center is THE most convenient PAX location I've been to. The food is RIGHT THERE. Things like CVS for headache medicine and first aid are RIGHT THERE. Public transit is RIGHT THERE. Cheap good eats and booze are RIGHT HERE. It's such a massive change from the feeling of being off in the middle of fuckall nowhereville of East. For you Seattleites, imagine if Pike Place Market was right underneath the convention center, and kinda expo-hall shaped (as in, a big rectangle instead of a weird wiggley thingy).

    I also liked the 3rd floor cafeteria area. No interest in the food, but the couches and tables were a nice crash space and overflow for the rest of the con, though I don't think a lot of attendees found it because it was upstairs where there wasn't a lot of attendee things going on.

    Sweendoggedly
  • EL_Limon_CubanoEL_Limon_Cubano Boston, MARegistered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Fizzster wrote: »
    Additionally, the FEEL of PAX wasn't there. I don't know if it was because there were a lot of first timers, or what, but at East, I can walk up to a table that's playing a game I'm interested in, and they will either ask if I want to play, or at least include me in the conversation about what's going on in the game. I didn't get that AT ALL at this PAX. I know it's not the convention's fault, but the crowd seemed to run in their own little cliques. As a solo attendee, that wasn't very fun.

    Also, there was nothing going on after the hall closed. It felt DEAD after midnight, which is unfortunate. Most of the time at other PAX shows, I could walk into the hotel lobby and there would be a massive group of gamers all playing.
    This really surprises me to hear. I was remarking to some people about how awesome it was that unplugged felt very much like you could just walk up and chat with people about their games and play and how I very rarely feel that way at East.

    Also, the hotels I went to in the evenings were positively packed full of games.

    I 100% believe your experience, it's just always interesting to me that people can see polar opposites in the same setting.

    Yeah, we had no issues. If a demo was going on the vendor would bring us up to date and dive us in. Also many ppl LFG and open to call ppl in.

    54brd4.png
  • ZeroHourHeroZeroHourHero Registered User regular
    edited November 21
    A few more thoughts.
    1. The AFK lounge was in a terrible place this year -- right behind the clusterfuck that was RPG. There was space on the 3rd floor of the convention center that housed Media & VIPs, and I'd suggest that next year, AFK be moved up there. I know that accessibility can be an issue, but I think moving it to a place that is QUIET and doesn't involve having to brave a crush of people to reach is more important than basically anything else.
    This was my thought. I had mentioned prior to coming that I freak out a bit sometimes with crowds due to PTSD and someone mentioned the AFK room. I had no clue where it was for one, and once I did figure it out, I had no interest in going there due to it being next to RPG.
    2. Seconding the bean-bag thing. Even if it's just a non-AFK sorta crash area. Perhaps a Card Game or Party Game lounge?
    Yea something a little more intimate than the EXPO floor which is a loud ball of chaos would be great.
    3. Regarding the World Map... for the other PAX-en, the World Map deliberately resembles a Mario map because, well, video games. Since Unplugged is a wee bit different, I'm wondering if perhaps we shouldn't make an old-skool RPG style dungeon map instead with a more realistic depiction of the convention space. Beyond being more thematic for this particular con, it would help in navigating the somewhat oddly-shaped Pennsylvania Convention Center. Again, as a Line Manager, it was super frustrating trying to explain where the RPG Dungeon, Dire Rat, Dragon, and AFK lounges were, because I had to be like "Okay you either need to go alll the way down that long hallway, take a left, then walk OVER the skybri--no you don't need to go upstairs, you are already ON the skybridge, just make sure you go OVER the road you can see outside the windows--then down the escalator. Don't take the FIRST escalator you see, because you'll end up in the Marathon, you HAVE to take the second one. Alternatively, you can go downstairs and outside, cross the street, and then go inside." There was really no way to explain that to people that was clear and succinct. I think this may be mitigated next year if we have the entire convention space that's not across that skybridge all in one and don't have to share with the Marathon, but the building is still a little weird and could have stood to have some more clarity in those maps.

    If we need a map designer, I know some folks in the RPG industry who would happily draw them up.
    See my comment on one, and my own previous comment. There was nothing on the maps connecting things. P.S. If you had said "It's dangerous to go alone, take this" and handed them the map, that would have been the best thing ever.
    4. On the one hand, I kinda dig the queue room because it looks like an ominous doom fortress >>; On the other, I do think it's awkwardly located in regards to... basically everything. We were having to direct people from all entrances to this particular area, and had a lot of problems where we'd have to send people to Registration, who would then be sent BACK into queue, and people trying to queue up for things like MegaGames instead of in the big queue, and then the already mentioned RPG situation. Unfortunately, I don't know where else in that building is large enough to hold the queue, and I don't know where we could put registration relative to that room which wouldn't be awkward.
    Feel free to correct me, but what about that mezzanine OVER the queue room, or off to the left side (Facing Expo) I didn't notice that area being super utilized, then again I was there on Sunday so it may have been utilized more on other days.
    I am not all doom and gloom! I think the convention center itself is actually great and that 90% of our problems regarding lines and difficulty of directions were caused by having to squeeze in between the Marathon and NeoCon (which is not neo-conservatives, but an office furniture convention. Seriously. They had amazing swag -- hamster-sized model office furniture. I wanted them.) If we had the whole building, or even just the part that's not across skybridges, we'd have a far easier time of it.

    Also, Reading Terminal Market is AMAZING. SERIOUSLY. HOLY JEEZ. The location of this convention center is THE most convenient PAX location I've been to. The food is RIGHT THERE.
    (For real, and at least one of the places MeltKraft had a Pax Unplugged themed Sandwich, the Tavern Pie, which was this AMAZING grilled cheese sandwich with beef, roast pears, and a red wine reduction)
    Things like CVS for headache medicine and first aid are RIGHT THERE. Public transit is RIGHT THERE. Cheap good eats and booze are RIGHT HERE. It's such a massive change from the feeling of being off in the middle of fuckall nowhereville of East. For you Seattleites, imagine if Pike Place Market was right underneath the convention center, and kinda expo-hall shaped (as in, a big rectangle instead of a weird wiggley thingy).

    I also liked the 3rd floor cafeteria area. No interest in the food, but the couches and tables were a nice crash space and overflow for the rest of the con, though I don't think a lot of attendees found it because it was upstairs where there wasn't a lot of attendee things going on.

    zerzhul on
  • moonwaltz7moonwaltz7 Registered User regular
    I had a great time, and spent nearly the entire time rotating between expo hall, free play, first look, and alpha. Didn't go to any real panels and could never get into a con rpg (finally just played Durance with my friends).

    I think the biggest suggestion I have is to open more separate rooms for freeplay and separate the library out for them. I went to the Shut up and sit down meet up, and it was literally a bunch of people in a room who wanted to play high player count games (two rooms and a boom, captain sonar, wits and wagers, werewolf etc.) and it worked great. I think you could set up a freeplay room specifically for those kinds of games put some copies in the room with enforcers and it could run the entire day. We played two rooms and a boom in the hallway for two to three hours that night, and people just jumped in and out. It also would be a much easier place for people to go to meet people if they knew those large games would be there and easy to jump in.

    First look was neat, but it seems like almost no thought was put into how to organize that space (or at least the person who organized it was not familiar enough with the games). Several games had more or less space than they reasonably needed. In some rows, the game that took the longest time was the closest to the aisle, which just seemed inconvenient for everyone (people playing Gaia Project must have been made to stand up fifty times a game to let people by.)

    Also, as everyone else said, the RPG area was kind of a mess. I would have been happy to run an rpg, but there seemed to be no real way to offer to do that or to join one or anything. Just constant lines for D&D/pathfinder and the four indie games that were running every two hours.

    It also seemed really weird that the main theater was in the back of the expo hall. It kind of worked? But everyone coming and going through the same space for the two most crowded things seemed unnecessary.

    I am not really sure what the point of calling the collection of ads you could get a "digital swag bag." I talked to a couple of vendors who mostly seemed confused. It seems like you could just give up on calling it a swag bag and create a place in the app for vendors to advertise what they are giving away.

    Also, mega games. Demand far outstripped supply. Someone should think about how to address that.

  • TurnBleuTurnBleu Registered User new member
    I had an amazing time, and I loved all the ease.

    PARTICULARLY LOVED
    Line for tabletop tourney, with enforcers coming down the line handing out tickets for games

    COULD BE CHANGED
    1. If the board game vendors knew all tournament games in advance, including mystery games, they could be stocked better
    2. Publishers could be alerted to tournaments in case they want to be involved in any way
    3. Tabletop checkout was on the honor system. Walk away with the board game, or stand in long line to actually check it out.

  • mandaX31mandaX31 Registered User new member
    edited November 21
    zerzhul wrote: »
    mandaX31 wrote: »
    I know I might be isolated in this, but the poor communication between Line enforcers and what was communicated to the fans.
    Example:
    Critical Role panel - Matthew Mercer announces to the crowd they can line up for autographs for their meet and greet at 3:30pm for a 5pm session.

    Hundreds of Critical Role fans get to the queue area - Apathetic Line Enforcers say "Lines full, sorry!"... PRIOR TO 3:30pm

    Alpha/Geek & Sundry Team try to get some more people on line (they do).. The cast stayed until 8:30pm to get as many of their fans as possible.

    From what I've heard this is a recurring theme at Pax's. I honestly hope they look into a hybrid GenCon prereg to avoid people who travel specifically for one thing and miss out because the Line Enforcers were failboat.
    One point I want to make about PAX and the enforcers running things like signing lines is that those enforcers cannot control what someone says to their fans. The enforcers work for PAX, not the random celebrity. If they are told by their management to start a line at a time, that's what they are going to do.
    Which is fine, but the PAX Staff put on the teleprompters at the Critical Role panel for Matt to announce "The 3:30pm lineup start time" That wasn't from the celebrities, that was from the organizers. So who's at fault then?

    zerzhul on
  • redfield85redfield85 Registered User regular
    TurnBleu wrote: »
    3. Tabletop checkout was on the honor system. Walk away with the board game, or stand in long line to actually check it out.

    I feel like I have never even thought about people that might just grab a game and go sit down without officially checking it out. Honestly, I have never had issues with renting stuff because if I can't find one game, I find 5 more to take its place.

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  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited November 21
    mandaX31 wrote: »
    zerzhul wrote: »
    mandaX31 wrote: »
    I know I might be isolated in this, but the poor communication between Line enforcers and what was communicated to the fans.
    Example:
    Critical Role panel - Matthew Mercer announces to the crowd they can line up for autographs for their meet and greet at 3:30pm for a 5pm session.

    Hundreds of Critical Role fans get to the queue area - Apathetic Line Enforcers say "Lines full, sorry!"... PRIOR TO 3:30pm

    Alpha/Geek & Sundry Team try to get some more people on line (they do).. The cast stayed until 8:30pm to get as many of their fans as possible.

    From what I've heard this is a recurring theme at Pax's. I honestly hope they look into a hybrid GenCon prereg to avoid people who travel specifically for one thing and miss out because the Line Enforcers were failboat.
    One point I want to make about PAX and the enforcers running things like signing lines is that those enforcers cannot control what someone says to their fans. The enforcers work for PAX, not the random celebrity. If they are told by their management to start a line at a time, that's what they are going to do.
    Which is fine, but the PAX Staff put on the teleprompters at the Critical Role panel for Matt to announce "The 3:30pm lineup start time" That wasn't from the celebrities, that was from the organizers. So who's at fault then?
    Whomever was in charge of synchronizing those times. That isn't the individual enforcers either way. I definitely agree there's a problem there.

    zerzhul on
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    mandaX31
  • JerikTelorianJerikTelorian Registered User regular
    edited November 21
    The lines are just a bummer for me. I realize that they want to avoid more complicated systems, but wasting time you paid for to stand in line to maybe do a thing is just miserable.

    I want to show up and know what I'll be doing, when. Not show up and be denied to multiple events due to them being full, and then having to schlep through the expo hall for the 12th hour trying to find something to do to make the price of the ticket worthwhile.

    JerikTelorian on
    SteamID -- JerikTelorian
    XBL: LiquidSnake2061
    Shade wrote: »
    Anyone notice how some things (mattresses and the copy machines in Highrise) are totally impenetrable? A steel wall, yeah that makes sense, but bullets should obliterate copy machines.

    I don't know about you, but I always buy a bullet proof printer. Its a lot more expensive, but I think the advantages are apparent.
    Wolf of DresdenDovero
  • WizarDruWizarDru Registered User regular
    So, my PAX Unplugged thoughts:
    I have attended a Gencon, several Origins and a host of regional gaming conventions. One major mental adjustment that I needed to make was that PAX didn't intend to be like those conventions. In particular, only tournaments were scheduled events. This was actually a PLUS, as there was no charge to play a game, but it took a mental adjustment to understand it. I feel that PAX UP did NOT do a good job explaining their approach, which led to a lot of apprehension going in (and some people leaving feeling that the con was good, but disorganized, when it really was well organized, just not the way they expected).

    What worked: It's been said before, but I'll repeat it: the Enforcers CRUSHED IT. Every one I talked to, even when asking me to move, were polite and helpful. From the sole enforcer at the top of the stairs on Sunday who kept a lonely vigil in an empty hall to the Enforcer who went out of his way to find out where the autograph line we were looking for was, to the guy at the front of the line who asked how our con was going, the several who answered requests for info or pointed me in the right direction or the guy who gave my wife a 'I TRIED' award when she failed a game in epic fashion...they were to a person great, IME.

    The venue was great and while some folks say there weren't enough signs, I never felt lost or turned around (and on any occasion when I was unsure, an enforcer pointed where to go). Of course, with the Reading Terminal Market right there, food was never an issue. While I didn't use SEPTA this time, having it be literally right out of Jefferson Station was incredibly convenient for my friends who did.

    I never had a problem getting some table space in the freeplay room on all three days; including after 6PM on Saturday. I was able to attend the three panels I wanted to and was generally pleased overall.

    The expo hall was particularly nice in that there was adequate space to move around. Unlike the crush of Gencon, you could move about and never get stuck in a line, waiting to move.

    The 'First Looks' area was a particular plus. Being able to wait and then try a variety of new games was a big plus to me. We tried Azul, Okanagan, Queendomino and others over the course of the weekend (and could have tried more). It was one of the best things about the con, hands-down.

    What needed improvement: I'm told by some vendor friends that they had VERY LITTLE warning time. At least one of my friends informed me that they didn't know about Pinny Arcade until the con itself and would have been interested in getting some pins made for their booth. Plus they weren't sure about a LOT of details prior to the convention. I know conversion to sales wasn't as good for some as they hoped, but I didn't speak to anyone at the end of the convention, so I don't know ultimately how well it went for them.

    The lack of information prior to the convention was worrisome for many...especially given how virtually every other tabletop convention has a LOT of details available ahead of time about the convention (including pre-registration). Here it was very frustrating, especially when a stock answer was, essentially, 'well, it'll be like all the other PAXes'. That's USELESS information to people who've never been to a PAX before and only marginally useful to those who have, given what a different animal PAX UP potentially was. It would have made a lot of people somewhat less apprehensive if Reedpop/PAX had shared some details about 'how to PAX', essentially. The FAQ file on the Unplugged site seems to skip over a lot of that information with the same myopic assumption. To this point, I still don't quite know how some stuff at PAX UP worked, as it was never explained and I found enough to do that I didn't feel the need to dig further. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that ridiculous permanent line for RPGs wasn't for some special event, but just the RPG room in general. I wrongfully assumed it was some special RPG event, because why would you do something like that.


    Overall, I had a blast. I think the convention was fantastic and really hope it returns next year. I think there is plenty of room for improvement, but pretty much all of my gaming groups enjoyed it (including a lot of con first timers). Well done, and on to 2018!

    surette
  • jtrain1jtrain1 Registered User new member
    edited November 21
    Good:
    Dealers hall/expo was very big and there were alot of companies represented.

    Open gaming area was very ,very big. It was almost completely full by noon and I didn't smell gamer funk with so many people.

    Enforcers coming down the line and handing out tourney sign up sheets ,so you can get it all taken care of before you make it to the desk.

    There was a Tourney status of available tickets with Yellow/Red cards to indicate what was left. That was nice ,but perhaps you can incorporate that into your APP so you can get real time availability so not have to wait in line and get surprised that when you arrive at the front of the line the tourney you want is OUT of tickets.

    Enforcers walking the tourney sign up line with Tickets to events to get the line processed faster.

    I met alot of very friendly fellow gamers.

    Neutral:
    Phily Marathon was the same weekend therefore that made parking a bit harder for people that were just coming in that day.

    Bad:
    Game Tourney sign ups:
    Board game tourney sign ups area was not stated on the app. When I arrive there Saturday morning around 10am I get directed to the Grand Hall for the queue line. I ask one of the enforcers at the Queue hall doorway where is the tourney sign up where. She directs me to a side line of desks and Enforcers handing out tickets, but when I walk over to the line I am told by another Enforcer they are no longer accepting people in the line for it is backed up and I should just line up in the expo line and they will call us over. The Enforcer who was in charge of the line doesn't know what to do for more and more people are walking over to the Tourney sign up from the Hallway entrance. They give in and let us wait in line for the tourney sign ups ,but then direct other people to the expo line. Then in 5 minutes or so they announce that the whole line is now being moved to the main expo hall. I was also told the sign up on Friday was in another location altogether.
    We arrive at and get into another line in the main Hall. Enforcers came down the line with Tickets for certain events to get the line processed faster like Catan,King of Tokyo etc.

    Solution: Keep the Sign up in the same location and not moving around. Have the sign up location on the map.

    A person Signing up 4 other people for 1 Tourney:
    I know why you would do this so people wouldn't have to wait in line and therefore help with for crowd control. But,if that person takes 4 tickets per tourney ,but their friends want to do something else that was 4 people who didn't get to play. I know you had Waitlist tickets for each event.
    Solution: say in the tourney sign ups that if you don't show up by a certain time your reserved seat will be given away to Waitlist then to whoever shows up.

    Actual Board Game Tournaments:
    I only signed up for 2 tournaments.

    The first one is CLANK! at 12:30, it is run correctly by the Enforcers. The amount of time scheduled for this game is correct. The players pretty much set up the board and began.

    The second tournament was 15:30 Terraforming Mars.
    First problem: The amount of time for this game isn't enough for a full 5 player game it will go over the 2 hour limit and if one player has AP(analysis paralysis) you certainly won't get done.
    Solution: Extend the tourney slots by 1 hour.

    Second Problem: the Enforcer who was wrangling all the players admitted to me he didn't know how to play/teach that game.
    Solution: Have someone slightly familiar with the current game to answer any rules challenge or question?

    Third Problem: I asked what version of the game were we playing for in the rule book there is the Corporate Variant and Basic game. The Enforcer said he was letting the players at each table decide what version they are playing. The problem with that is if one table plays Basic mode and the other table plays Corporate you are not holding the same tourney for the challenge rating is different. Also the Corporate Variant will take longer to play for all your Production starts at zero, see First Problem.
    Solution: State in the Tourney description what variant or version is being played.

    Crowds:
    Not much you can do about the mass of humanity ,but alas we are all carrying backpacks or gaming accessories therefore we are all taking up more space. Therefore that makes moving around the Expo Hall/dealers room a bit much for as soon as someone stops to view/play a demo their stuff is sticking out into the aisles.
    Solution: make the Aisles larger between booths.

    Event starting Time:
    All your events started at 10am on saturday ,but it caused a massive wave of crowds in certain areas of the con.
    Solution: Perhaps have earlier start times for events to bleed off the crowd from the Queue line

    jtrain1 on
  • laserdoglaserdog Registered User regular
    mandaX31 wrote: »
    Critical Role panel - Matthew Mercer announces to the crowd they can line up for autographs for their meet and greet at 3:30pm for a 5pm session.

    Hundreds of Critical Role fans get to the queue area - Apathetic Line Enforcers say "Lines full, sorry!"... PRIOR TO 3:30pm

    To expand on this. Critical Role Panel ends at 2:30pm, and a theater full of approximately 600+ people are told that the Critial Role autograph lineup starts at 3:30pm.

    That is correct information. However, the autograph limit was *less* than 200. That is unfortunate math.

    Crowd walks to Queue Room, asks when line forms, the answer is 3:30pm. They wait in a non-line for the line to form, that eventually grows all the way down the main hallway. I don't even know how many people where in it, but it was enough that we were concerned about how to safely begin the line.

    At exactly 3:30pm when the line was "officially" formed, it was instantly capped, because there were approximately 3-5x the number of people waiting to line up than could be accommodated by the signing.

    I know I witnessed first hand a lot of heartbroken and disappointed people, and I hope Critical Role comes to PAX Unplugged next year, and considers adding additional signing events, because their fans are passionate, lovely people.

    zerzhulhierodule
  • surettesurette kill the switch Boston, MARegistered User regular
    Tempus1217 wrote: »
    The line handling for the Acquisitions Inc show Saturday night was an absolute joke. you had people waiting in "line" starting at 5:30, right in front of a bunch of enforcers. other enforcers telling people they couldn't be in line yet since it didn't start until 6:30, again seemed like one hand had no clue what the other hand was doing which is frustrating.
    ltgrunt wrote: »
    Saturday night I had the same problem that I've seen for the past four years at East: The Acquisitions Incorporated line. Every time I check with the Enforcers for what time the queue will start for the Acq Inc show, and every single time I get there at the appointed time and find that they've already let a line start forming.
    this happens every show—people want to line up before the line is officially open, so people sort of just hover nearby and try to be sneaky. unfortunately there's not a lot we can do aside from keeping the actual line area clear, since we can't really prevent people from being near the theatre altogether.
    Grifter wrote: »
    I didn't like the main theatre being in the exhibit hall area. On Saturday I arrived at the queue hall just in time to see the Main Theatre line be escorted into the Exhibit Hall. Since I missed that I had to wait for the rest of the the place to be opened up. An enforcer told us to go to the Main Theatre doors, which were separate from the main doors at Hall A. However, they opened into the same exhibit hall. We were told that the doors would open at 10 to allow the tourney registration people to get to their sign up area and the main theatre people to get to their location. Just before 10:00 AM we were told that those doors wouldn't open until 10:30 AM and that we should proceed to the queue hall to gain entrance. After returning to the queue hall and walking around in a giant circle, as we were returned to the hallway leading back to the exhibit hall they took down the tape and everyone who was walking towards the queue hall was allowed to join in with the people who had already walked around the hall. The whole scenario felt really crappy and if I hadn't been able to get a seat in the main theatre for the create a strip panel with Mike and Jerry then I might have been pissed off enough to just leave. There were a lot of really upset people around me.
    i had a nearly identical experience trying to get into make-a-strip, and i feel your pain.
    ArcSyn wrote: »
    I know this is probably an issue with the convention center itself, but the main theater being 16:9 (to quote Matt Lees of SUSD) made the outer sets of chairs very poor seats and made very few seats good for actually looking at the stage. Yes, there were two large screens, but if I want to watch a screen then I can use Twitch. It also didn't help that it was flat seating, which you can't really change. I would probably suggest, if you had to use the same space next year, just turning the whole setup around and putting the stage to the left where people entered, and just have a longer area but everything is at least centered and in line with the stage. If the stage was maybe a few feet higher (don't know if that's feasible with the material they provided to make the stage) it would help with visibility as well. Sitting behind a tall guy for AI meant I ended up leaning towards the person to my right the entire show. They didn't seem to mind, but it could have been awkward and I was just trying to watch the show.
    Lastly, the tournament area could get VERY loud, which I'm sure you or someone on staff knows already, as they would be cheering or shouting during AI and it was hard to hear the stage sound at times and very distracting. Not sure if they could have relocated further to the other side of the expo hall (closer to hallway side) or something that would have been helpful or just because of shared space nothing would help much.
    a lot of similar feedback about main theatre, and yeah it wasn't ideal at all. i hear and echo all the frustrations regarding sound bleed and confusion about where the entrance and exit were. as far as i know, Unplugged 2018 main theatre will be in an actual theatre, so i'm confident that most, if not all, of these issues will be remedied next time around.

    also, just want to say that it warms my heart that this was so many people's first PAX (and that they had a good time). i hope you come back next year too!

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    4. On the one hand, I kinda dig the queue room because it looks like an ominous doom fortress >>; On the other, I do think it's awkwardly located in regards to... basically everything. We were having to direct people from all entrances to this particular area, and had a lot of problems where we'd have to send people to Registration, who would then be sent BACK into queue, and people trying to queue up for things like MegaGames instead of in the big queue, and then the already mentioned RPG situation. Unfortunately, I don't know where else in that building is large enough to hold the queue, and I don't know where we could put registration relative to that room which wouldn't be awkward.

    Oh, that's easy. Offload sign-ups for events which are going to fill fast (say, anything smaller than 100 people with a con this size) to pre-con registration like every other large con.

    I completely understand that PAX doesn't want people to walk into the con and find out everything they wanted to do is already filled, but, well, if people showed up after 8:30 AM on any given day (1.5 hrs before the con even opens), they were being turned away already, so obviously having sign-ups the day of the con is not solving that problem. At least with prereg, people would know what they can/can't do before arriving (which feels a LOT better than showing up and being unpleasantly surprised) and Enforcers like you are not scrambling to assemble 30 lines for different things.

    Then the only thing the queue room is used for is for large events/panels where organizing 1 line is relatively easy (compared to the mess you guys had to work with).

  • jthom252jthom252 Registered User regular
    Honestly I don't know if there's some kind of limitation to what they can do with that space but I feel like the queue room could of been easily used for free play / tournaments / etc. as well.

    ilta
  • hierodulehierodule Registered User new member
    I had issues with lines/prereg, but that's not what I think was my biggest problem, though eventually I somewhat solved it.

    ONE: I would recommend that PAX make it easier for people to volunteer to run games. Especially RPGS or miniatures. When i heard PAX was coming to Philadelphia I was excited. I've done Origins many times as player and GM, as well as local cons. I like that I can submit games and run tournaments , and i have done so

    I had to search far and wide to find out how to "volunteer" at PAX Unplugged, and basically got told that I needed to be an Enforcer (which is a strange name for people who run games) and that there were already set enforcers but maybe I could apply. But that enforcers get set to do certain things and might not necessarily get to run games they specifically wanted to.

    Well if I wanted to run a Numenera scenario and a miniatures scenario for 8 players that wouldn't work. Eventually (i forget how) I stumbled onto a facebook group Col Wales ran for organizing miniatures games and I was able to volunteer my miniatures service. If I could have done that for RPGs it wasn't clear and I didn't want the hassle if it seems that PAX isn't interested in letting GMS volunteer on ad hoc basis

    TWO: starting at 10 am, (really 11 AM since an hour is wasted on Queuing) is not optimal for gaming. It means events start at 1 hr before noon, so if you want a lunch break and start a 4 hour RPG game at 11 you dont eat till 3. Gaming starting at like 9am-1pm, 2pm-6pm, 7-mid i think makes more sense and optimizes gaming time. I realize that the PA convention center probably charges a TON more if the hours exceed 10-Mid, but 10 am is such a late start.

    Those are my constructive criticisms.

    Glad I went. I hope it improves.

  • AwesomeSlothDadAwesomeSlothDad Registered User new member
    This was the first con I’ve attended in over a decade that I was not there as part of a demo team, so it was a new perspective for me. That being said, I do have a few things to say.

    1) Tournament Registration - They definitely improved the process between Friday and Saturday. On Friday, we had to wait in line until around 9:30 before they started accepting signup forms, then we had to go wait in another line to get into the expo hall. They refined the process by Saturday to prevent people from having to do that again, and that helped a bit. However, online registration through the app would be awesome, if it could be handled properly.

    2) Queue Room to Expo Hall - I am in agreement with the people in this thread who have expressed their disappointment with how the queues were managed. For me, the issue was that once the expo hall opened, there was nothing stopping people from ducking into the crowd being led from the queue room. I saw this occur more than once over the weekend.

    3) Panels - I wasn’t hugely invested in the panels this year, perhaps because there weren’t very many of them. However, I was disappointed when I found that the one panel I did want to attend (Board Game Designer’s Workshop) had its time moved earlier than what was originally posted in the program/app, and I showed up too late to get in. I know that the time was updated in the app, but it would have been nice for a notification of the change to be sent out, if not to people who had tagged the event in the schedule, then at least on the app’s homepage, perhaps a catchall “Schedule Updates/Corrections”.

    4) Maps and Signage - I agree that there could have been more signage in general, especially for things like the First Look area or the Main Theater (I didn’t even realize that the main theater was behind the tournament table area until late Friday night).

    Mind you, apart from these minor quibbles (and in my mind, they are relatively minor), I feel that the inaugural PAXU was a smashing success. The venue was the right size, still with some potential for growth; it was in a fantastic location; the Enforcer squad was as awesome as they have been at any other PAX I’ve attended; and I had a thoroughly wonderful time. I can’t wait to find out the dates for next year, because I will definitely be there!

  • hierodulehierodule Registered User new member
    - Several people overheard in the RPG room: "OH, I would totally have been willing to run a game of _______, but I didn't want to pay $500/day for a table" (Does PAX charge GMs to run games? Seems like they would *want* people to run games that attendees were interested in so that more people would buy badges...)

    I wonder if this is an artifact of considering people who run games "Exhibitors". When I did my minis event I had to load my stuff in Thursday and there was discussion of getting me an exhibitor's badge, and I was asked a few times if I was an exhibitor as I tried to find out where they wanted me to put my stuff....

    people who want to run games and tournaments are gamers. They're volunteers. They can help.

  • erraticninjaerraticninja Registered User regular
    This was my first pax ever. I had a blast and I get what all the hype is about.

    The very good:
    • People were friendly. The welcome home thing fit. I met so many rad people in lines and such.
    • The enforcers. They were also friendly even when faced with sometimes impossible-seeming odds (the RPG area). they were either well informed or tried to get informed. they made the con for me.
    • Philadelphia. I have never been to this city, and to echo what everyone else said I ate very well all weekend and loved the location of the con.
    • I loved the variety of the panels, exhibitors, etc. I felt like there was enough to do that I was torn between conflicting events. I know as this event grows that is also going to grow.
    • Size/variety of the exhibitor area. I never saw all of it I think. and I got pulled into a few demos I really enjoyed.

    The Bad:
    • The queuing day 1. This got figured out so I won't address it again.
    • The size/lack of diversity in the RPG area. Maybe having a specific RPG free play area so I can grab a table, set up a game and then put a LFP flag up?
    • The RPG queuing. An example. I had issues getting into a game on day 1. (see above) but I got into it, so I could then level my DDAL character up to play in a specific Author Only scenario. I was there at 8 am the next day to make sure I would get into that scenario. There were a few people in line before me including one young woman who was there before doors open for the same reason. We waited in the queue area, to go to the RPG queue to then be told we were entered into a lottery for that particular game. I thankfully made the lottery and got to play. The young lady there before me? Did not. I felt like we were being punished for doing the right thing several times.
    • The noise in the main theatre sucked.
    • The AFK room seemed in a weird place. (also shouldn't it have a different name for a convention that has nothing to do with keyboards?
    • Wayfinding in the expo hall was tough, I met some friends on day two and it was a comical moving target game, it probably took us 30 minutes to meet up.


    All of that said I had a blast. I am awaiting announcement/tickets so I can book next year.






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  • TopherRocksTopherRocks Rockstar Beard Grower Long Island, NYRegistered User regular
    edited November 23
    Overall, good show but there's a good chance I'll pass on next year unless my friends feel especially persuasive. I went with my girlfriend who isn't much of a nerd but went because it was cheap and gave her a bit of a deeper look into my nerdy side. She was tough to get interested in anything but I did find some middle ground with her after she found some cute mini dice that caught her eye and I ended up picking up Sushi Go! to play back at the hotel. (she liked it but may have been in part to her beating me)

    The Good:
    • I've done every PAX East except the first one and this felt a lot more like that first year. It was very open and didn't feel congested at all like East does now. Friday spoiled me in terms of the lacking crowd density.
    • The "When Your Partner Doesn't Play Games" was solid and insightful. Really great ideas on the subject and the panelists really tried to cater answers to individual relationships when questions opened up.
    • I finally replaced my copy of Win, Lose or Banana after losing it in the aftermath of a house fire.
    • I finally found a booth selling Citadels! Been wanting to replace my copy that I bought after my very first PAX for a few years now after getting more than a little warn out over the years.
    • Sunday being more family oriented was really cool. Didn't impact me at all but it was rad to see families and especially young kids getting to explore and discover tabletop gaming. Also, kids in cosplay are totally the best thing ever. I saw a little girl in armor and a shield getting the shield checked out and it made me almost wanted to have kids for a minute there.

    The Bad:
    • The building was terrible to navigate and the maps and signs didn't do much to help. I found myself almost walking into the hall for the marathon about a half dozen times trying to find my way to panels.
    • Game pricing seemed to be all over the place through the show. I know there's nothing making everyone have the same prices but seeing Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game range from $35 to $50 between the different vendors was a bit off putting.
    • Panels felt lacking both in numbers and variety.
    • The "How App Driven Board Games Change Tabletop Gaming" panel was a letdown. It felt like the lone panelist was more interested in talking about his own game than app driven games in general. He also just seemed a bit on the surly side as well.
    • Convention Center staff largely had bad attitudes. Props to the one woman guarding the door and soda machine near the queue entrance, though. Saved me from losing a couple bucks in the machine.
    • PAX XP was generally good but there was one code hidden at Lone Shark that was IMPOSSIBLE to find all of Saturday. On Sunday it was on a tissue box at the end of a table. When I went to the info desk to turn in the enforcers asked me if any gave me real trouble and they said that was the one they kept hearing over and over. If you're going to have a code hidden at a booth, PAX should have some way to enforce that it will be visible in some form. Maybe make sure it's on their backdrops where it can't be covered?
    • The digital swag bag was a nice idea but it was largely useless and I have a hunch that awareness was minimal. The tinder setup was dumb, just have it all there for everyone. I didn't see too many booths making note of their participation either. If they were participating in the grab bag it would be great to see their booth at least have a small sign saying something like "Check out our promo in the swag bag!" I only noticed one booth that did anything of the sort (TMG giving away free copies of their game Okey Dokey)
    • The expo hall was tough to navigate. I've said this for years about East but the hall really should have number banners to at least break it down a little bit. Even just a banner over the 100s, 200s, 300s, ect to tell you that much would be a huge help. It's not such a big issue at East with the giants like Xbox giving you an easy landmark to orient yourself to but with a hall of booths that are almost entirely the size of the indie booths at East, those landmarks are almost nonexistent.

    Room to improve:
    • I would have liked to see more organization between demos and vendors. Maybe section off the floor to have them separated rather than all mixed in together?
    • Maybe have some extra stock of the add-on items to sell at the merch booth? I couldn't swing the extra cash for the scarf when I bought my pass but absolutely would have ended up buying one this weekend if I had the chance.
    • More signs everywhere, please! Getting to the Dire Rat theater was especially confusing.
    • I only went to Main Theater for the final round of the Omegathon but the noise bleed was real. The video screens were also super washed out. I think this was from the curtains being too low behind the audience?
    • I'm sure this is a much larger undertaking than it's worth but perhaps there's a way to do a rating on games in guidebook to say how easy they are to pick up or what their accessibility level is? I'll admit I'm far more of a video gamer than tabletop so a lot of booths and demos seem a bit intimidating at times. Coming with a non gamer made that feel even more glaring when I would struggle to find things that would be easy for her to pick up.

    Not sure where to file this but it seemed like the neighborhood was a hotspot for homeless and various hustlers. I could hardly walk 20 feet outside the building without someone trying to get money or sell me something, especially once the sun started to go down. There was even a woman trying to sell little bracelets inside the doorways (airlock?) of the center at one point. I'm not going to be a heartless bastard and say they should be shuffled away but the city should work on outreach programs to try to help it's homeless population better. There's no good reason to have anyone living on the streets, especially when the weather is getting as cold as it was getting at night around there.

    TopherRocks on
  • redfield85redfield85 Registered User regular
    [*] Game pricing seemed to be all over the place through the show. I know there's nothing making everyone have the same prices but seeing Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game range from $35 to $50 between the different vendors was a bit off putting.

    I know Scott Pilgrim was $50 at their booth because it was a special edition/different limited box art. They also had the regular one for cheaper.

    But I do agree. We found a copy of Viral online for $20+ cheaper than at the con. I think it was still being sold by the same company too (on Amazon).

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