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.
|Thursday Morning||7:30 AM to 1:00 PM||7:00 AM to 1:00 PM|
|Thursday Afternoon||1:30 PM to 7:00 PM||1:00 PM to 7:00 PM|
|Thursday Evening||7:30 PM to 1:00 AM||7:00 PM to 1:00 AM|
|Friday Overnight||1:00 AM to 7:00 AM||1:00 AM to 7:00 AM|
|Friday Morning||7:30 AM to 1:00 PM||7:00 AM to 1:00 PM|
|Friday Afternoon||1:30 PM to 7:00 PM||1:00 PM to 7:00 PM|
|Friday Evening||7:30 PM to 1:00 AM||7:00 PM to 1:00 AM|
|Saturday Overnight||1:30 AM to 7:00 AM||1:00 AM to 7:00 AM|
|Saturday Morning||7:30 AM to 1:00 PM||7:00 AM to 1:00 PM|
|Saturday Afternoon||1:30 PM to 7:00 PM||1:00 PM to 7:00 PM|
|Saturday Evening||7:30 PM to 1:00 AM||7:00 PM to 1:00 AM|
|Sunday Overnight||1:30 AM to 7:00 AM||1:00 AM to 7:00 AM|
|Sunday Morning||8:30 AM to 2:00 PM||8:00 AM to 2:00 PM|
We base benefits on how many blocks a volunteer commits to working. The chart below illustrates the breakdown:
|Block Commitment||Hotel||Print Product||Badge||T-Shirts||Boon/Reward||Store Credit|
|8 Blocks||✔||✔||✔||✔||Choice of 3||✔|
|7 Blocks||—||✔||✔||✔||Choice of 3||✔|
|6 Blocks||—||✔||✔||✔||Choice of 2||✔|
|5 Blocks||—||—||✔||✔||Choice of 1||✔|
|4 Blocks||—||—||—||✔||Choice of 1||✔|
|3 Blocks||—||—||—||—||Choice of 1||✔|
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!
Organized Play Manager