A Call to Vol II—Gen Con 2018!

Wednesday, January 17, 2017

I just finished attending MarsCon in Williamsburg, Virginia, and am making my way back to Seattle. An unexpected snowstorm kept me in Atlanta a bit longer than I planned, but piloting skill and no ice meant the plane flew today and I made it safely to Seattle this afternoon.

This weekend, badges for Gen Con went on sale. We sent the message out that our volunteer call would go live on Wednesday. So here it is! As the program continues to grow and evolve, we make changes from year to year to streamline processes and help the convention run smoothly. With over 300 volunteers and around 1700 tables of organized play games running, Gen Con is easily our largest event. This means even more attention on processes and efficiency. The changes below are the same adjustments we made to PaizoCon and are aimed at bringing all the large conventions into the same logistical umbrella.

First, we changed the nomenclature from session or slot to block. Each block is 5 hours. This unifies the terminology from the event support form used by our event organizers and keeps things consistent across the board.

Second, we ditched using the Tier system to describe how many volunteers. It is a RPGA holdover that caused confusion, as the lower number the tier, the more slots a person volunteered. Also, we have tiers for our scenarios, so having tiers for volunteers caused some confusion in our data. This year, you register for the number of 5-hour blocks you wish to volunteer.

Third, we are setting an 9-block maximum for volunteering, with the goal that no volunteer will do more than 8 blocks and that no one will be scheduled for more than 3 in a row. A full day is hard (been there, done that) and we want people to take breaks to sleep, eat, bathe, and see what the convention has to offer. This is really, really important, no matter how much of a GM/HQ machine you want to be!

Fourth, it is my understanding that the hotel lottery and badge refunds changed this year. I submitted our badge request and should be able to drop them into volunteer accounts as soon as we send out the acceptance letter and have an acknowledging email in reply. This should allow volunteers signing up for less than 8-blocks to submit their names for the hotel lottery, which occurs in February.

Fifth, we are looking at ways to streamline our processes and reduce the number of HQ personnel. In the interest of efficiency, we also are looking for volunteers willing to commit to 7 and 8 blocks. Anyone may volunteer for a HQ position, but I want to be forthright about the limitations of the position from the beginning.

Finally, we are looking to schedule tables bottom up, instead of top down. By starting off with a few tables of each scenario, then increasing based on ticket sales; we should be better poised to respond to player demand. Hopefully, this means that we will have fewer tables fail to make and fewer GMs released. Volunteers will have their block schedules before event registration opens, but may not have scenario list until late June/early July. We are still committed to getting scenarios into GMs hands at least 2 weeks before Gen Con starts. While this split schedule means more emails and paperwork, it should mean fewer changes at the last minute. Hopefully, a more streamlined system all around and more efficient use of our GM pool.

Block times:

BlockRPG/ACG GMsHQ
Thursday Morning7:30 AM to 1:00 PM7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Thursday Afternoon1:30 PM to 7:00 PM1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Thursday Evening7:30 PM to 1:00 AM7:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Friday Overnight1:00 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 AM
Friday Morning7:30 AM to 1:00 PM7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Friday Afternoon1:30 PM to 7:00 PM1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Friday Evening7:30 PM to 1:00 AM7:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Saturday Overnight1:30 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 AM
Saturday Morning7:30 AM to 1:00 PM7:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Saturday Afternoon1:30 PM to 7:00 PM1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Saturday Evening7:30 PM to 1:00 AM7:00 PM to 1:00 AM
Sunday Overnight1:30 AM to 7:00 AM1:00 AM to 7:00 AM
Sunday Morning8:30 AM to 2:00 PM8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

We base benefits on how many blocks a volunteer commits to working. The chart below illustrates the breakdown:

Block CommitmentHotelPrint ProductBadgeT-ShirtsBoon/RewardStore Credit
8 BlocksChoice of 3
7 BlocksChoice of 3
6 BlocksChoice of 2
5 BlocksChoice of 1
4 BlocksChoice of 1
3 BlocksChoice of 1
2 Blocks
1 Block

The details of each benefit are as follows:

  • Room—One-quarter of a double room. Volunteers may indicate their roommates preferences when completing the questionnaire.
  • Badge—A free 4-Day Gen Con 2018 badge
  • Print Product—A FREE copy of one Paizo print product. Offerings are TBD, but will include at least one Starfinder and one Pathfinder title.
  • T-Shirts—Limited release t-shirts (purple for GMs and orange for support staff) given every other year.
  • Store Credit—Paizo.com store credit at $10 per slot
  • Boon/Reward—A Gen Con exclusive boon/reward for Starfinder (RPG), Pathfinder (RPG), or Pathfinder (ACG).

Those interested in volunteering, please complete the Gen Con 2018 volunteer questionnaire. The leads and I will consider everyone who completes the form, but reserve the right to select volunteers who have worked at Gen Con in prior years. When you complete the form, please read all the question descriptions, as they give details for what information we need to place volunteers where they are best suited.

If you have questions, please put them in the comments section of the questionnaire or email them to GenConLeads@gmail.com. Also, if you are willing to help with cleanup Sunday afternoon after the GM meeting (usually 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM), please indicate your availability in the comments section of the questionnaire. Volunteers assisting with cleanup will receive pizza for dinner, one additional block of store credit, and potentially other goodies.

Huge thanks to everyone who gives of their time and resources to help make us the largest organized play program in the world. We couldn’t do it without you!!! You are simply the best volunteer team out there and it is my greatest pleasure to work with all of you!

Until our next blog—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge

Organized Play Manager

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Tags: Adventure Card Guild Conventions Gen Con 2018 Organized Play Pathfinder Society Starfinder Society
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Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Please, please, please, READ THE INSTRUCTIONS carefully when completing the questionnaire to avoid any errors or miscommunication.

*** Venture-Lieutenant, Illinois—Vernon Hills aka Lindley Court

Yes! Just submitted mine. Ready to be on the team again. :)

Sovereign Court ***** Venture-Captain, Florida—Orlando aka Shane M.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Submitted as well. :)

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Not this year, but maybe next.

Dark Archive *** Venture-Agent, Ohio—Cincinnati aka Northern Dreamer

Happily submitted. :-)

** Venture-Agent, New Hampshire—Bow aka Tirion Jörðhár

Submitted and looking forward to running at the big con again.

*

submitted it should be fun to volunteer this year

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Leg o' Lamb

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Not this year, but maybe next.

Noooooooooooooooooo!

***

Another year, another round of working myself to death in exchange for a book and a hotel room.

***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Unfortunately, I can't this year.

*

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The volunteering has been made, now the waiting begins.

Liberty's Edge **

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I will not be volunteering this year. I am taking my son, who is 16, to GenCon this year and we will be enjoying being there.

Looking forward to see everyone!


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber

looking forward to seeing everyone again this year

The Exchange ***** Venture-Agent, North Carolina—Charlotte aka eddv

Probably going to be my year at Origins for the first time in a while and I can't really afford to do both.

The Exchange *

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Got home to this happy surprise! Volunteered for 5 slots this year, gonna get that badge! Lol Hope to see you all there!

Grand Lodge *****

Am I reading it right that there are no volunteer shirts for anyone GMing 3 blocks or less?

Silver Crusade ****

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I know this is probably not the right place to post this, but do so with all due respect. While GENCON 18 planning is well underway, any update on games still not reported from GENCON 50? Specifically, 9-00 and 1-00, there maybe other I'm not aware of.

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Another year volunteered for, another Gen Con to look forward to!

Silver Crusade **** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Korolan

Volunteered! High Tier, Here I Come!

The Exchange ****

If reading it correctly, if I want to get room and not do 3 in a row, than will have to do an overnight? This makes it harder to volunteer. Sleep is vital for me.

Silver Crusade **** Venture-Captain, Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh aka Korolan

Jeff Morse wrote:
If reading it correctly, if I want to get room and not do 3 in a row, than will have to do an overnight? This makes it harder to volunteer. Sleep is vital for me.

It looks like Sunday there is a 'Clean Up' slot that might qualify for your 8th?

Grand Lodge *****

Quinn Shannon wrote:
Volunteered! High Tier, Here I Come!

Didn't you read the instructions? There are no more volunteer tiers. Unless you mean that you want to run high tier scenarios... which is insane. But then again, you are quite crazy.

Ha!

We are friends and this is friendly ribbing.

*

Quinn Shannon wrote:
Jeff Morse wrote:
If reading it correctly, if I want to get room and not do 3 in a row, than will have to do an overnight? This makes it harder to volunteer. Sleep is vital for me.
It looks like Sunday there is a 'Clean Up' slot that might qualify for your 8th?

I understood that Clean Up would only qualify for an extra $10 store credit but does not raise any other (planned) rewards.

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

Naren Prasad wrote:
Am I reading it right that there are no volunteer shirts for anyone GMing 3 blocks or less?

Volunteer T-shirt’s are required for all volunteers. You earn one for each day volunteering. That being said, the shirts are usually in limited supply. If you already have serviceable shirts, we ask that you not take any as it may mean another volunteer does not get any. We have the roster from last year and will be cross referencing that to qualify volunteers for shirts this year

***

Sixth We don't want you to work more than 8 blocks but, this year we've increased your work load from 7 to 8 blocks if you want to earn 1/4 of a hotel room.

I'm really going to have to reevaluate my schedule this year.

Scarab Sages *****

unfortunately, no Gen Con for me this year. Have fun everyone!

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

The rewards package has largely remained the same while the society has grown significantly. It has forced us to reevaluate what it takes to run the convention. The changes were necessary to meet the demands of the show and to make efficient use of our limited resources.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

How long will the call for volunteers be open? I want to know what the general schedule is because I want to play certain games with wife, but would be okay running at other times.

Also, how do we volunteer for Origins?

Grand Lodge ***** Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

1 person marked this as a favorite.

The open remains open until all needs are filled. Last couple of years that has been right up to Gen Con. As described in the blog, the schedule won’t be available until some time in June/July. In order to better provide the scenarios in demand, we are going to publish a partial schedule around the time of open registration and then add tables as tickets are sold. I will provide block schedules to the volunteers prior to open registration so volunteers will know which slots they are off and available to play. The actual scenario schedule will be released some time after that in June.

****

I want to volunteer, but I want to experience the new material as it comes out....oh decisions decisions!

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Lyrralt, then do what I do.

Volunteer for your level of comfort, and use the other slots to play!

This will be my 5th year spending the weekend in the Sagamore... and I don't feel like I've missed a thing!

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jack Brown wrote:

@Lyrralt, then do what I do.

Volunteer for your level of comfort, and use the other slots to play!

This will be my 5th year spending the weekend in the Sagamore... and I don't feel like I've missed a thing!

Yes, but the Minnesota Crew is a little... extraordinary.

Shadow Lodge *****

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Is that the polite term now?

Dark Archive *

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The League of Extra-ordinary Not-So-Gentle-Beings?

That is not a *slam*, by any means. The amount of dedication and focus the Crew brings to things is intense!

*****

Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

The League of Extra-ordinary Not-So-Gentle-Beings?

That is not a *slam*, by any means. The amount of dedication and focus the Crew brings to things is intense!

Sounds about right...

Dark Archive ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Leg o' Lamb

2 people marked this as a favorite.
TOZ wrote:
Is that the polite term now?

Some of us are supernatural so we stack.

Shadow Lodge *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.

*maskpalm*

Paizo Employee ***** Organized Play Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Chaosorbit wrote:
I know this is probably not the right place to post this, but do so with all due respect. While GENCON 18 planning is well underway, any update on games still not reported from GENCON 50? Specifically, 9-00 and 1-00, there maybe other I'm not aware of.

No, this wasn't the best place, as it has nothing to do with Gen Con 2018. Except that the lead working on resolving the 2017 issues, Todd Morgan, is also a lead for 2018.

But I can give an update. Todd is working on the reporting. He had to wait until after the issues with the database were resolved, then started inputing the data. He will post on the relevant threads after he finishes the input. Then we will look at the reports and see if there are still issues in the database.

Dark Archive *

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Is there anything we can do to help the GC50 process?

Back on track: Very excited about prospects for GenCon this year.

Grand Lodge ***

>_>

*signs up for the slog*

*** Venture-Captain, North Dakota—Fargo aka CosmicCubicle

My weekend for a badge and a bed, my liege!

Dark Archive *

Hi Tonya, Hi Bob!

Wow this call is out EARLY! Nicely done.

Will there be demos in the vendor hall again this year? What should we do for the request for shifts there?

Also, I’ve been Booth Support, HQ, GM, and Demos since the year before year Zero, and have had 7 to 8 slots per year. Maybe this Year I finally get a second star. Yaaay.

: )

Good luck with all the madness!

Baron Arem Heshvaun aka Noel Anthony Reiner de Leon de Joya

Shadow Lodge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

After a year on the Usher side of things, I'm coming back to the GM side.

Grand Lodge **** Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Glad it's back to the beginning of August so it doesn't interfere with the school year. Looking forward to it!

Shadow Lodge **** Venture-Agent, Ohio—Dayton aka The Usual Suspect

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Man, can't work 7 slots for hotel space anymore? This is going to be a rough con.

*

Unfortunately my lack of a nova is going to prevent me from signing up for being a 8-slot Starfinder GM. I'll have to work on getting games under my belt quickly. Perhaps I'll finally start running some online games like I've been planning to do.

***

2 people marked this as a favorite.
"The Lucky Halfling" wrote:
Unfortunately my lack of a nova is going to prevent me from signing up for being a 8-slot Starfinder GM. I'll have to work on getting games under my belt quickly. Perhaps I'll finally start running some online games like I've been planning to do.

I have not heard of PFS/SFS turning away GMs for the lack of stars or novas.

*

Swiftbrook wrote:
"The Lucky Halfling" wrote:
Unfortunately my lack of a nova is going to prevent me from signing up for being a 8-slot Starfinder GM. I'll have to work on getting games under my belt quickly. Perhaps I'll finally start running some online games like I've been planning to do.
I have not heard of PFS/SFS turning away GMs for the lack of stars or novas.

Me neither. I signed up as a 0 Star GM (earned my first there) at GenCon 50 as max slot volunteer.

*

I just hope that my contact/website information hasn't ended up blocked in a spam-filter somewhere.

Also not a star'd GM but that may change by the end of this coming weekend if reporting for a convention in November comes through.

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