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Constructive Feedback - Unplugged 2018

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Posts

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    zerzhul wrote: »
    one of the chief reasons I go to PAX and not other conventions is that I don't want to plan out my weekend ahead of time and have a bunch of commitments to make, I want to mosey about and just try stuff that's around

    Except that's mostly a myth at PAX. The stuff people want to prereg for aren't the things you can mosey around and wander into anyway. Those things are filled up by people who planned ahead to wake up super early and get in specific lines to sign up that morning. It's effectively the same as pre-reg, only with the added, "lets make people wake up super early in the morning for 80% of them to be disappointed" instead of letting people find out if they're not getting into things beforehand and make decisions from there on what they want to do with their con.

    All the "mosey" type stuff like the expo hall, free play area, panels, and so on, would still be in the "mosey" category. We can just do without the "Someone who doesn't plan can get in!" Theater.

    Schmulki on
    ltgruntIgpx407Dex Dynamoskellernesbit37
  • bluebombardierbluebombardier Registered User regular
    Mizerak wrote: »
    I have a standing offer to contribute $150 to the WorldBuilders charity on the day that one of the purple long-sleeved (size XL) PAX Unplugged 2018 shirts (does not need to have Enforcer on the back - I am not looking to impersonate an Enforcer) shows up at my door.

    Every long sleeved Enforcer shirt will always say Enforcer on the back, and for that reason, they are never for public sale. Some have been known to turn up at second-hand stores as folks leave our ranks and clean out their closets, but Unplugged shirts will be harder to come by given the lower number of Enforcers at the first two shows compared to East or West. You're welcome to try your luck, but the one absolute, 100% guaranteed way to get one is to join us next year ;)

    VqOf6Tv.png
    Xenomaster
  • XenomasterXenomaster Registered User new member
    Plus enforcer shirts are actually so warm and comfy we are never giving them up, like they are all my winter shirts now.

  • MizerakMizerak Registered User new member
    Mizerak wrote: »
    I have a standing offer to contribute $150 to the WorldBuilders charity on the day that one of the purple long-sleeved (size XL) PAX Unplugged 2018 shirts (does not need to have Enforcer on the back - I am not looking to impersonate an Enforcer) shows up at my door.

    Every long sleeved Enforcer shirt will always say Enforcer on the back, and for that reason, they are never for public sale. Some have been known to turn up at second-hand stores as folks leave our ranks and clean out their closets, but Unplugged shirts will be harder to come by given the lower number of Enforcers at the first two shows compared to East or West. You're welcome to try your luck, but the one absolute, 100% guaranteed way to get one is to join us next year ;)

    I understand and appreciate all that, but if you have leftover shirts that say "PAX Unplugged 2018" on them, why would they not be available after the con? They have the year on them, so it is not like they can be used next year. I would not wear it AT a PAX convention, as people might get the wrong idea that I was an enforcer there, but unless you have real use for a dated shirt, why not do some good by taking me up on my offer?

    As for becoming an enforcer...any time I attend a convention it will be with my wife, so that is not an option for me. We like to travel the con together.

    I am not losing sleep over this...if I cannot get a shirt, so be it. I am just exploring all avenues before giving up.

  • XenomasterXenomaster Registered User new member
    Mizerak wrote: »

    I understand and appreciate all that, but if you have leftover shirts that say "PAX Unplugged 2018" on them, why would they not be available after the con? They have the year on them, so it is not like they can be used next year. I would not wear it AT a PAX convention, as people might get the wrong idea that I was an enforcer there, but unless you have real use for a dated shirt, why not do some good by taking me up on my offer?

    As for becoming an enforcer...any time I attend a convention it will be with my wife, so that is not an option for me. We like to travel the con together.

    I am not losing sleep over this...if I cannot get a shirt, so be it. I am just exploring all avenues before giving up.

    Unfortunately there is still the big enforcer word on the back. Pax doesn’t want any confusion at a con because we are there to answer any question an attendee has and help however we can. Having more people with enforcer shirts just adds to confusion

  • MizerakMizerak Registered User new member
    Xenomaster wrote: »
    Mizerak wrote: »

    I understand and appreciate all that, but if you have leftover shirts that say "PAX Unplugged 2018" on them, why would they not be available after the con? They have the year on them, so it is not like they can be used next year. I would not wear it AT a PAX convention, as people might get the wrong idea that I was an enforcer there, but unless you have real use for a dated shirt, why not do some good by taking me up on my offer?

    As for becoming an enforcer...any time I attend a convention it will be with my wife, so that is not an option for me. We like to travel the con together.

    I am not losing sleep over this...if I cannot get a shirt, so be it. I am just exploring all avenues before giving up.

    Unfortunately there is still the big enforcer word on the back. Pax doesn’t want any confusion at a con because we are there to answer any question an attendee has and help however we can. Having more people with enforcer shirts just adds to confusion

    Yup - I can appreciate that too. But as the person who would potentially be wearing said shirt (still hoping), I would not want confusion either. I would never wear the shirt at a convention, because I would not want someone to approach me and expect me to be able to know/do what the enforcers know/do. It works both ways to keep anyone but Enforcers from wearing the shirts at a convention.

  • DisenchanterDisenchanter Magnolia, DERegistered User regular
    This was my 2nd PAX and my 2nd Unplugged, last year was very last minute for me and my family, but I had no complaints.

    This year, my son and I made it our thing to do, just the two of us and again it was an amazing weekend and look forward to making it our annual thing.

    Demos were abundant and well run
    Enforcers were courteous and knowledgeable
    Free Play worked out very well for us all weekend
    The Panels that we wanted to attend we had no issues with and enjoyed greatly
    Panelists and workshops appeared varied and relevant to the audience



    My only complaint for the whole weekend was just the spacing of panels/workshops, if you went to one and wanted to go to another that was an hour or less later the "ghost line" was already over full for what was available for seating. Honestly, this is fairly minor in my opinion, heaven forbid I have to make a choice on what panel or workshop was more important to me.

  • Dex DynamoDex Dynamo Registered User regular
    edited December 2018
    This was my second Unplugged, and I have to say: I was pretty thoroughly underwhelmed last year, in regards to my ability to do the things I wanted to do (particularly around non-D&D RPGs); and this year, I felt like there was a massive improvement in that area. I couldn't be happier overall with this year's PAX experience.

    I'll break down my specific pros and cons based on the things I did:

    First, I GMed for Games On Demand:
    • Strengths: Staff was friendly and well-prepared. Organizing games on the hour instead of bi-hourly cut down on wait times in a huge way (though, see below). And having a set-up table with water, gum, and office supplies was beyond helpful.
    • Opportunities: While the lines this year were shorter, I still don't understand the decision to go with a general line queue instead of the boarding pass system used at other conventions. It seems like a needless time tax, and a wasted investment to stand in line for an hour to play a two-hour (in some cases) game.

    Later, I GMed a game that I submitted through the LFG form before the con.
    Strengths:
    • Having a sign-up sheet was a fantastic addition! I had a full suite of players when it came time to play--and I didn't have to hustle and beg on Twitter/Forums/Etc. to get them
    • I loved having more RPG Freeplay areas. Expanding that space, and situating it in smaller conference rooms instead of the massive Freeplay areas Tabletop and Miniatures got, was ideal for RPGs, which need a lower volume, and require a lot more speaking.

    Opportunities:
    • Table reservations need to be actively enforced. I showed up at 7PM for my game, to the table I was supposed to have reserved, and there was a group DEEP in a game. Thankfully, there were empty tables nearby, or else my reserved game would've been a bust. BUT, that raises the question--why was this group not asked to move? Or, why were they not told "hey, this table is booked at 7, if your game is going to run past, consider this table instead?" Or even, why did an Enforcer not just swap table numbers at 6:45, at make sure no one sat at the NEW Table 7? And the same thing happened with another game I signed up for as a player the next day. If you're going to give GMs the ability to submit games (which you should! it was great!), there needs to be more effort put into making sure those games have space, and that space is free when those games are happening.
    • As much as I loved the added RPG Freeplay areas... I didn't know most of them were there until mid-day Saturday. Which, signage, particularly around RPGs, was a huge opportunity. First, the sign pointing to the RPG area from reg pointed down an escalator which planted you on the wrong side of the street. Second, there was no sign for Games On Demand, and several people I spoke to flat out couldn't find it. Third, there was no sign saying "more RPG stuff this way," indicating we should be going down the hall and around the corner from RPG HQ. More signs, please.

    I walked the halls a bunch:
    • Strengths: I can't tell you how happy I was having the entire convention center. The Expo hall was more spacious, and easier to walk through. Noise levels were a bit lower, because panels, tourneys, dealers, and freeplay weren't all in direct competition. I demoed more games without feeling crowded or packed in. Just a great layout all around.
    • Opportunities: Again, more signage as to where things were would be hugely helpful.

    Lastly, I ran a panel on Sunday:
    • Strengths: I cannot say enough nice things about everyone involved in making panels happen, from the scheduling people (super receptive to questions; on top of everything; gave us plenty of advance notice so we could plan out our panel); to the tech people (got our equipment up and running early, and helped us connect recording equipment to the PA system--and were OKAY with us using recording equipment, which a lot of cons shoot down); to the Enforcers managing lines.
    • Opportunities: Obviously, this is a bit of a pipe dream, based on how many panel submissions are sent in. But a bit more feedback into what gets accepted/rejected would be tremendous. Even if it's a single line of feedback ("We felt this was better represented by another panel," "We're not sure there's enough interest at Unplugged for this," "We'd like a little more expertise on the topic"), having an idea of what you're looking will only make next year's pitches even stronger.

    Dex Dynamo on
    zerzhulskellerbluebombardierAuralynx
  • jprepo1jprepo1 Registered User new member
    edited December 2018
    Schmulki wrote: »
    I think the reason you don't see it as much at East is because the convention center in Boston is out in the middle of nowhere compared to the one in Philly.

    As an FYI, this is not correct. The convention center is in an actual neighborhood of Boston, and is immediately adjacent to the downtown Financial District.

    mod edit: fixed quoting tree

    zerzhul on
  • nesbit37nesbit37 Registered User regular
    Though I do think things went, generally, better than last year, I want to echo the two biggest complaints I have about this year. Lines and security theater.

    I understand lines have become a cultural thing for PAX. I've seen the debates for them, and I am frankly not convinced by it. I attended 8 tabletop game conventions this year. All of them but PAXU had schedules of events to not only let people know what was going on but also to facilitate tickets (these were free at some cons and an added cost at others). Things related to finding and attending games went smoothly at all of these conventions EXCEPT for PAXU. Time is too precious at these conventions, and spending it in lines for most things are pretty basic at other tabletop cons in unacceptable. Yes, you will have to wait in lines for things at any event, but the idea that lines allow the person who wants it the most because they are willing to spend X amount of hours to get it is crazy. Tickets aren't perfect either, but they not only preserve your con time but also let you look at a schedule and see what is going on. You can still walk around and find things by happenstance, but with a schedule I can at least find out who is playing what and when and go find that game rather than hope there is a copy in the library and then find people outside of my group that want to play it. This is all doubly important for RPGs which are much more difficult to have pickup games with at a con if you aren't prepared to play before the con.

    I don't have anything new to say about the security. It felt like it was just there for show and didn't actually achieve anything. I get that metal detectors may stop someone who on the spur of the moment decides to do something impulsive but since they weren't checking boxes, were not really checking bags most of the time, and barely wanding anyone it quickly went from an annoyance to a large frustration and wondering what portion of the badge fee went to that charade.

    ltgruntskellerTopherRocksDex Dynamoheplinger
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited December 2018
    Schmulki wrote: »
    zerzhul wrote: »
    one of the chief reasons I go to PAX and not other conventions is that I don't want to plan out my weekend ahead of time and have a bunch of commitments to make, I want to mosey about and just try stuff that's around

    Except that's mostly a myth at PAX. The stuff people want to prereg for aren't the things you can mosey around and wander into anyway. Those things are filled up by people who planned ahead to wake up super early and get in specific lines to sign up that morning. It's effectively the same as pre-reg, only with the added, "lets make people wake up super early in the morning for 80% of them to be disappointed" instead of letting people find out if they're not getting into things beforehand and make decisions from there on what they want to do with their con.

    All the "mosey" type stuff like the expo hall, free play area, panels, and so on, would still be in the "mosey" category. We can just do without the "Someone who doesn't plan can get in!" Theater.
    Maybe it's a perception thing, then, regarding my thoughts on that. I have generally been informed by my friends who go to gencon, origins, etc, that you have to schedule your whole day or else you don't get anything out of the convention. If that's just for the stuff I don't do anyhow, then that's not really a conflict. Like I said, If there's room for both, all the better.

    zerzhul on
    skeller
  • eriepopeeriepope Registered User regular
    @zerzhul at both Adepticon and Nova Open when registration opens you can start registering for classes, workshops, and tournaments. This allows you to plan your activities around what you want to do. You can pack your day as full as you want. If you would rather just mosey and find some pick up games, explore the dealers area, hang out in the painter's lounge, that's fine too. If there is something you missed signing up for there is a chance they may have an open seat and you can pop in, you just need to ask. But where it saves you is from having to choose between workshops and games. And it saves you from wasting the first 2-3 hours of your morning hoping you will get a chance to do what you want.

    skeller
  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Schmulki wrote: »
    zerzhul wrote: »
    one of the chief reasons I go to PAX and not other conventions is that I don't want to plan out my weekend ahead of time and have a bunch of commitments to make, I want to mosey about and just try stuff that's around

    Except that's mostly a myth at PAX. The stuff people want to prereg for aren't the things you can mosey around and wander into anyway. Those things are filled up by people who planned ahead to wake up super early and get in specific lines to sign up that morning. It's effectively the same as pre-reg, only with the added, "lets make people wake up super early in the morning for 80% of them to be disappointed" instead of letting people find out if they're not getting into things beforehand and make decisions from there on what they want to do with their con.

    All the "mosey" type stuff like the expo hall, free play area, panels, and so on, would still be in the "mosey" category. We can just do without the "Someone who doesn't plan can get in!" Theater.
    Maybe it's a perception thing, then, regarding my thoughts on that. I have generally been informed by my friends who go to gencon, origins, etc, that you have to schedule your whole day or else you don't get anything out of the convention. If that's just for the stuff I don't do anyhow, then that's not really a conflict. Like I said, If there's room for both, all the better.

    I haven't been to Origins, but you're right, Gencon does it just as terribly on the opposite end of the spectrum. You're right, you need to prereg for everything. Even if you want to hop into something which wasn't prereg'd for (or someone no-showed for), you need a spare ticket to do so.

    But as you allude to, something in the middle is really a good answer. If something normally has a line such as workshops and panels? Allow prereg. If something normally has a huge demand where people are angry/disappointed when they show up on the day of and can't get in, such as some of the RPGs? Allow prereg. Everything else? Show up, mosey around, sit down, and play.

    And of course, advertise quite well on the site and in the app how to prereg and then which things are full (with a realistic waiting list), make it obvious in both places as well so as many people as possible know not to bother showing up for a full event and can plan their day around doing other stuff.

    And for things like RPGs, if prereg is done early enough and things fill quickly, the con will get an idea of the demand and know they need to put a call out for more DMs and shift things around to have more space to run more tables.

    ilta
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Schmulki wrote: »
    And for things like RPGs, if prereg is done early enough and things fill quickly, the con will get an idea of the demand and know they need to put a call out for more DMs and shift things around to have more space to run more tables.
    I definitely think this is an important thing that PAX is starting to learn how to do that didn't have a translation from other PAX shows to pull upon.

    iltaSchmulki
  • nesbit37nesbit37 Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    Schmulki wrote: »
    And for things like RPGs, if prereg is done early enough and things fill quickly, the con will get an idea of the demand and know they need to put a call out for more DMs and shift things around to have more space to run more tables.
    I definitely think this is an important thing that PAX is starting to learn how to do that didn't have a translation from other PAX shows to pull upon.

    FYI you need to incentivize DMs to come, and I know you are mostly letting other groups handle bringing DMs in, but chip in some support beyond just the free badge if they DM enough hours. It takes a lot to get DMs, especially good ones. I do a lot of the organization for Adventurers' League play in Philadelphia throughout the year, and I regularly DM at cons (usually Gamehole, Origins, Dreamation, Dexcon, and sometimes Gary Con and Gen Con) and you can't just put out a call and hope they come. It takes meaningful rewards.

  • SchmulkiSchmulki Registered User regular
    Well, how do you attract the good ones without attracting the bad ones? Give more for showing up and you start to attract people who aren't so good at it, but are thinking, "hey, if I do this, I get X, so what the heck, lets give it a shot!"

  • nesbit37nesbit37 Registered User regular
    Schmulki wrote: »
    Well, how do you attract the good ones without attracting the bad ones? Give more for showing up and you start to attract people who aren't so good at it, but are thinking, "hey, if I do this, I get X, so what the heck, lets give it a shot!"

    Not really, at least not in my experience. Not every DM you recruit will be the best there is but in the end they still need to show up and DM their hours to get their stuff. People aren't going to go to a con and DM for 2 days of it because they're scamming someone out of a book or two.

  • heplingerheplinger Registered User new member
    PAXU 2018 was my first convention ever. It was really cool to finally get to see one in action, but holy cow was it overwhelming!

    My opportunity to go was kind of last-minute, so as a first-timer in that situation, I felt like I needed a lot more research and planning. I found myself wandering around like a lost puppy, never sure where to go or what to do next. I stressed way too much about how to best use my limited time. Most of my time was spent wandering the expo hall. I really appreciate that it felt like there was a lot of room to move, and even the smaller booths seems to have good visibility and prominence. I enjoyed seeing the variety of games and components. I wanted to try out some demos, but always felt like there was a better use of my time than loitering until it freed up.

    My biggest issues were my own: going solo and with a lot of anxiety. I wasn't sure what was noob-friendly in terms of events, etc., so I was afraid to push into something and get in over my head, ruining other people's experiences. For example, I went to the Keyforge learn to play table in the tourney room and hung there for quite some time, but everyone else who showed up to learn it came in pairs. So, I was only able to listen in on the how-to, but was never comfortable enough with it to jump in on one of the on-demand tournaments.

    Tabletop freeplay was a bit discouraging solo. Before going, I saw that the website mentions a "LFG Area" but I could not find anything that looked like that. It took me a while to realize there were LFG cones that people put out if they wanted more players at a game, but those seemed to be rarely used. I did finally manage to find some guys waving a cone around and joined them to play something I had never heard of and had a lot of fun, but it took me a lot of uncertain wandering to get there.

    The library looked a bit chaotic, but it seems like there were a lot of good options, just little space to look at them. When I finally joined a group for a game, it was one requiring dry-erase markers, but those in the box were ruined. We spent a deal of time trying to find new markers, so I would recommend having more replacement markers available in the library.

    So, I am having trouble boiling this down to concise suggestions. What I can say is that I feel knowing what my opportunities were was a little tough as a newcomer. I can only imagine how disappointed I would have been had I wanted to do something that had a queue, only to find I should have been there 2 hours sooner. It just seemed like info for the uninitiated was lacking (or I missed something entirely). For instance, I have seen people talk after the con about a "swag bag," but I don't remember seeing or hearing anything of this before. One thing that excited me about going to a con was all the tales of swag I have heard about, but I came away with nothing. It isn't a big deal, I just hate going in to something with the wrong expectations.

    Despite all this, I enjoyed being there and would go again, but I felt like I should have enjoyed myself a lot more.

    Heplinger Gaming
    Henggeler Bookkeeping & Consulting - Cloud-based bookkeeping & advisory services for game shops, cafes, and publishers.
  • GundabadGundabad PAX East & Unplugged Tabletop Manager NJRegistered User regular
    The LFG area had to be scrapped at the last second, but we have the equipment for it already, so we should definitely see it in 2019. Better than just a pile of cones (but we will also have many more cones, so those don't run out). I often recommend the First Look area for solo attendees. With 100+ games set up on the table and Enforcers ready to teach you, people are eager to sit down and play the new hotness with strangers. I am a regular at BGG Con's "hot games" area which is run similarly, and find it the best way to meet new folks.

    I can promise a major overhaul to the organization of the library but one consistent piece of feedback is that the aisle were too narrow. We will at least fix that for next year, and continue to rethink how we do things in that space. The Unplugged 2019 library will likely be around 2,500 games, so we're getting into uncharted waters for PAX, and will spend some time this year working out how to manage that.

    PAX used to have a swag bag, but the last one was at West 2017. Now there is a digital coupon book in the PAX App.

    In general, I do think a better FAQ and "beginner's guide to PAX Unplugged" needs to be developed. Perhaps after East I can work up such a thing. If not in a formal capacity, then at the very least on these forums.

    bluebombardier
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Gundabad wrote: »
    In general, I do think a better FAQ and "beginner's guide to PAX Unplugged" needs to be developed. Perhaps after East I can work up such a thing. If not in a formal capacity, then at the very least on these forums.
    I would be happy to pin an FAQ here. I had picked up doing them for all the other shows (save aus) but didn't have the bandwidth too often this year so they were missing.

    bluebombardier
  • ArcSynArcSyn Registered User regular
    Two things I just thought of for you to consider: The Facebook page seemed to be much more active than these forums. Posting the FAQ and other information there may need to be necessary. I think PAXU is pulling a lot more non-forumers than other PAX. Let us know if you need feedback/extra input for the FAQ/guide.

    Also, I missed PAX XP! I know it's probably just extra expense, but the fun of hunting down those QR codes was great in 2017, and we missed doing that and interacting more with the app this year.

    OSvv7zs.pngjswidget.php?username=ArcSyn&numitems=5&header=0&text=none&images=small&show=recentplays&imagesonly=1&imagepos=center&inline=1&domains%5B%5D=boardgame&imagewidget=1
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    Also something that could be maintained here and linked elsewhere, since there are definitely many active spots that discuss pax.

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