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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Blake's Tiger wrote:
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.

It would appear to be a change in the rules for this year then. I took the following from the volunteer registration form:

Gen Con 2018 Volunteer Registration wrote:
While volunteering is open to anyone, to qualify as a GM you must have at least one year of Organized Play experience. To volunteer as a GM for five or more slots/blocks, you must have at least one star for PFS or one nova for SFS.

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

Lucky Halfling is referring to the clause we added this year...

"While volunteering is open to anyone, to qualify as a GM you must have at least one year of Organized Play experience. To volunteer as a GM for five or more slots/blocks, you must have at least one star for PFS or one nova for SFS"

This is an either/or requirement. Sorry if that was unclear. We expect very few GMs will have a nova at this time. Lucky, looking at your play history, you have a GM star and at least one year experience with the campaign. You are fine to volunteer. EDIT--To make the intention a bit more clear, I edited the last part of that language.

We added this language because we had a number of GMs last year who had [next to] zero experience with the OP campaign and some demonstrated little to no knowledge of the Pathfinder game system. For the first time, convention badges sold out and for many, the only way they could attend was to volunteer through the convention or one of the many publishers/vendors in attendance. We even had someone last year volunteer, pick up their badge on Wednesday, and then never show up for their assigned GM sessions. The addition of the experience clause is to demonstrate that we are not interested in inexperienced GMs for this event. Gen Con is not the place for a GM to get their feet wet in the campaign. Thus we are being more selective with our volunteers this year. We are vetting everyone who applies to try and locate any "free riders" and we reserve the right to reject any applicant if we are not comfortable with their resume.

We are also working on implementing a feedback program where players (and GMs) can officially report an experience (good or bad) to the organizing team that can be used to help locate excellent volunteers we want to promote and poor ones we want to purge.

This is all in our attempt to provide the best possible experience for all attendees.

*

Hello Bob,

So we are fine with simply having a Pathfinder Society star to sign up for GMing Starfinder Society? The language appears to state that I would need a nova.

I'll admit that I was not the best at reporting my Pathfinder Society scenarios, but I'm hoping to turn that around with Starfinder Society. It's a chance at a fresh start. I've got a few I'll be getting reported this week and will be working on at least one game every two weeks at a local gaming store. I do hope to start GMing Starfinder a bit more than that though.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

You have a star. That is good enough!

*

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
You have a star. That is good enough!

I was just taking the wording literally. I definitely would like to show my hand at GMing this year.

The Concordance ***

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Fully intending to volunteer again this year! Have a couple of other commitments I need to schedule around (some of which have not been locked down yet) so holding off until I'm confident I won't double book myself.

*

I volunteered for the ones I could 'schedule around', because it is important to get availability in sooner rather than later.

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

My general advice to anyone interested in GMing at Gen Con is to complete the questionnaire. The worst that can happen is we reject the app or offer a compromise to the specifics of your details.

I would caution anyone with less than a year's experience with the organized play campaign and no meaningful OP GM history that you probably will not be approved to run 5+ slots. But, if you want to get a feel for GMing at a major event like Gen Con, offer to GM a block or two. We are much more likely to take a "risk" with an unknown resource if the potential for a poor table experience is limited.

Shadow Lodge ***** RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 aka WalterGM

7 people marked this as a favorite.

GenCon? Hah! My appendix was removed last year--I'm immune to my previous weakness! Expect nothing to keep me from attending all 4 days in style.

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Thank you for the advice and quick responses, Bob. I'll get my registration form in this week. I've had experience with some other conventions, but I can definitely understand wanting to minimize risk in these kinds of situations.

Dark Archive ****

Even though I'm not going this I'm pleased about adding the very modest organized play experience requirement to GM. Having had a very poor experience with a new GM last year it is an appreciated move.

Scarab Sages *****

Agreed. I think this solves an issue we had from back in 2015, where someone pretty new to gaming in general, wanted to GM all the things and then wanted to Tier 1 Gen Con. My fellow VOs from MN and I felt we could coach up the person, but that didn't really end up happening. And then because of last minute cancellations, the person ended up getting thrown into both Specials at 9-11 Tier.

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
We even had someone last year volunteer, pick up their badge on Wednesday, and then never show up for their assigned GM sessions.

This is despicable. It only takes one "person" to force the OP team to take actions to protect the campaign and players from bad apples.

While not ideal, being limited to 5 slots if you are new is a good idea. Two years ago, I signed up to do 1 table. But as GenCon approached, I expanded my commitment to 5 tables. I had been playing PFS for about a year and GMing less than 4 months when GenCon arrived. Running 5 tables of the same scenario was challenging and gave me a chance to enjoy other areas of the Con.

So if you are new, take Bob's advice and put in an app and plan to do other things besides running a table the whole con. 7 or 8 slots are exhausting. But a lot of fun meeting a lot of great players and worth it!

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

Davor Firetusk wrote:
Even though I'm not going this I'm pleased about adding the very modest organized play experience requirement to GM. Having had a very poor experience with a new GM last year it is an appreciated move.

I was kind of horrified at how bad some of the GM volunteers were last year. I had to use my precious time between slots to prep an entirely unprepared PSA GM. There was no way I was going to let the kids suffer for his complete lack of prep.

I am glad that you have minimum requirements on this, Bob. Alas, after doing eight slots this year I had decided that if I came back, it would be as tier two for sanity’s sake. Forcing the extra slot for hotel means that I am unlikely to come back to GenCon, because I really did not want to do three slots in a row like last year.

I wish everyone else at GenCon well!

Hmm

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Every year is different. Increasing the hotel requirement to 8 is an experiment like anything else. If we find that we have an abundance of volunteers without running out of hotel spaces, maybe we can reconsider the reward distribution next year. GC 2019 & 2020 are the first weekend in August again so we shouldn't experience conflict with school schedules which adds a good chunk of additional resources to our volunteer pool.

For scheduling, 7 slots is the sweet spot since I can limit most GMs to two slots per day plus Sunday and everyone averages a sleep slot plus an off slot each day (plus/minus). There is no way to assign 8 blocks without having at least one day with three blocks. Unfortunately, after last year, we just could not remain status quo. I'm certain we will evaluate the success of this year's parameters after the event and decide if we can make improvements.

While taking care of the players is the primary function of the GMs, IMO the primary function of HQ is to take care of the volunteers and that continues to be our focus.

Liberty's Edge ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Indiana—Martinsville aka thaX

Hilary,

I don't believe we met last year, but I am glad we straightened out the the crossed Emails about our rooms.

My experience last year was getting to GM School of Spirits from memory for the first half hour in a slot as the scenario printed. The Players had a great time as we interacted with character introductions and talking to Venture Captain Drendle Drange. "Come on, come on, we have to meet up with a very important patron..."

Ended up running it four times (I think) with me doing my old man voice for Drendle.

Glad it was quite for my table on Sunday...

Grand Lodge ** Venture-Agent, Florida—Jacksonville aka Gykrossin

1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's hard to believe that GenCon gets better each year. But with the hard work that Paizo puts into there Cons, and the great people that volunteer just keeps this Con better. I look forward to GMing once again. Let's make GenCon even better then the last.

Grand Lodge ***** ⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Online—PbP aka Hmm

Hillis Mallory III wrote:

Hilary,

I don't believe we met last year, but I am glad we straightened out the the crossed Emails about our rooms.

Thank you so much for getting my room emails straightened out, Hillis!

Bob Jonquet wrote:
Every year is different. Increasing the hotel requirement to 8 is an experiment like anything else. If we find that we have an abundance of volunteers without running out of hotel spaces, maybe we can reconsider the reward distribution next year. GC 2019 & 2020 are the first weekend in August again so we shouldn't experience conflict with school schedules which adds a good chunk of additional resources to our volunteer pool.

Fair enough! If it shifts in 2019, I might be back. Because of the Starfinder Launch, I did six weeks of prep for GenCon last year, and was really proud of how all my tables went off. I loved being part of the big show and meeting all of the other lovely Organized Play volunteers. My tables were full of awesome people. It was also fun to see staff. One of my favorite GenCon memories was having John Compton and Mark Seifter coming by my table to cheer a group of brand new players who decided to charge the minotaur instead of taking Janira’s advice. It was great fun.

But man it was exhausting. Three slots on Thursday followed the two more of Friday morning and afternoon meant that I was dead on my feet by Friday night... I spent most of the night recovering before slogging in again on Saturday morning. I want to give all tables my best... With eight slots, I was probably giving them my B+ game rather than my A game. A little more recovery time would have made all the difference.

Hmm

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Forcing the extra slot for hotel means that I am unlikely to come back to GenCon, because I really did not want to do three slots in a row like last year.

Hmm

Oh no! My son is coming this year and he and I are going to enjoy the Con experience. Was looking forward to introducing him to you and maybe sit at a table with you, either as GM or player.

Grand Lodge ** Venture-Lieutenant, Colorado—Northern Colorado aka treidenb

*Fixed*
A Call to Vol II--Electric Boogaloo!

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

Just a bump to try and keep this in the active view.

If you haven't completed the questionnaire yet, I encourage you to do so early. Many of our decisions are based on first-come/first-serve and the data is timestamped. The HQ team is rapidly filling up and hotel room rewards are in high demand as the price of rooms through the hotel lottery continue to increase every year.

Also, don't forget, convention badges sold out last year for the first time in Gen Con's history. As attendance continues to rise year after year, it is likely that will happen again and maybe even earlier. If you wait too long, you may miss your opportunity to attend the event.

*** ⦵⦵ Venture-Agent, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East

I am keeping my fingers crossed to run exhibit hall demos again! I really enjoyed that assignment last year.

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

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Its not a highly sought-after role, so you're probably okay ;-)

The Concordance ***

Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Bob, can we adjust our availability as we know more about our schedules? I put in a survey but it's somewhat restrictive (which I know isn't as helpful). Once I know my other commitments I can expand my availability. Can we 'edit' our survey post-submission or do we need to email GenConLeads@gmail.com?

Sovereign Court ****

Finally filled out the form, i'll see you all in August :)

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

Damn goblins ate my original post...

The questionnaire does not permit editing after submission. Even if it did, we clear the cache when processing the raw data so it probably wouldn't be there to edit anyway.

All changes, updates, questions, etc should be directed to the genconleads@gmail.com address. This insures it will be seen by the appropriate member of our team and processed accordingly. Please do not send Gen Con related traffic to Tonya's paizo.com email address or to any of our personal emails. We maintain an archive of all Gen Con correspondence and we'll just forward your email to that address anyway before replying. Save us that extra step.

Generally speaking, let me give you an over-view of the work flow so you can understand at what point change requests begin to be problematic.

    (1) You complete the questionnaire
    (2) we process the requests
    (3) beginning some time in the next week (February 1st?), we will begin sending emails to candidates indicating to which program/department you have been assigned and for how many blocks
    (4) you must reply and confirm receipt of the volunteer opportunity
    (5) some time in April we will send another wave of emails indicating to which slots you are assigned. This will allow you to sign up for games in the open slots when registration opens in early May
    (6) again you must reply with confirmation
    (7) ticket sales will drive our schedule this year with more tables being allocated for the highest demand
    (8) some time in June/July scenario schedules will be emailed to each GM
    (9) again you will be required to reply with confirmation

So it would be problematic if volunteers want to change say their availability after Block schedules have been distributed. Remember, asking to change you schedule will impact at least one other volunteer and could be numerous ones. No one likes to have their plans change after the fact, so please if you need to make changes to your availability or other parts of your questionnaire, do so ASAP.

At some point during this long process, convention badges will be assigned to the accounts of those who qualify. This may begin as soon as early February so it may be that those who are earning a badge and want in on the hotel lottery may not have to buy one and go through the refund process later. We will post an update on this when possible.

Hotel assignments are usually distributed in early July. We do not yet know if the hotel will be sending individual confirmations or if they will just be going off of the approved list we provide to them.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Agent, Rhode Island—Lincoln aka Upaynao

Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:


Fair enough! If it shifts in 2019, I might be back. Because of the Starfinder Launch, I did six weeks of prep for GenCon last year, and was really proud of how all my tables went off. I loved being part of the big show and meeting all of the other lovely Organized Play volunteers. My tables were full of awesome people. It was also fun to see staff. One of my favorite GenCon memories was having John Compton and Mark Seifter coming by my table to cheer a group of brand new players who decided to charge the minotaur instead of taking Janira’s advice. It was great fun.

But man it was exhausting. Three slots on Thursday followed the two more of Friday morning and afternoon meant that I was dead on my feet by Friday night... I spent most of the night recovering before slogging in again on Saturday morning. I want to give all tables my best... With eight slots, I was probably giving them my B+ game rather than my A game. A little more recovery time would have made all the difference.

Hmm

I won't be there this year for other reasons, but I find myself echoing that sentiment.

I realize that as it was my first time, I probably made a lot of mistakes in prepping what I would do, even with Jen McTeague's coaching beforehand and Mark Stratton's help getting some groceries. And I know that it was supposed to be intense.

But man, let me tell you, after all that, I barely remember some of the things I did with how tired I was. After the con, I felt like I could have used a vacation. And also, while I understand the constraints of hotel room availability, it did feel a little tight in those rooms.

I know others were in the same situation as myself, and since, having no reasonable solution of my own, I cannot be part of the solution I do not expect any changes; to be honest, I feel a little pedantic bringing this up; rooms that close to the convention are a generous gift. But I do believe that it deserves to be mentioned.

I too will likely return for 2019, and I hope you rock the house in 2018!

Also, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank Patrick Sterns for helping me make it to Gen Con 50 and putting up with my ass after I was almost an hour late getting down to the car on Monday. You made it happen you filthy animal.

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

We have received over 150 volunteer applications so far. While that is a great start, we are far from having enough GM for all events. However, due to the number of requests, we have already allocated our HQ staff. So, at this time, we have removed HQ as an option on the questionnaire. Moving forward applicants should select from the remaining options and if they are interested in being considered as a back-up/standby should an HQ volunteer have to cancel, please enter that in the comments field at the end of the form.

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

Bob Jonquet wrote:

Just a bump to try and keep this in the active view.

If you haven't completed the questionnaire yet, I encourage you to do so early. Many of our decisions are based on first-come/first-serve and the data is timestamped. The HQ team is rapidly filling up and hotel room rewards are in high demand as the price of rooms through the hotel lottery continue to increase every year.

Also, don't forget, convention badges sold out last year for the first time in Gen Con's history. As attendance continues to rise year after year, it is likely that will happen again and maybe even earlier. If you wait too long, you may miss your opportunity to attend the event.

Are you doing anything to ensure that this year we get our badges BEFORE event sign-ups go live? That was a disaster last year.

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

The organizing team has no access or power over that topic and I cannot speak to the cause of it last year as I don’t know. I can only say that our intention is for badges to issue as early as they are available and we’ll before registration.

***

Note: The system ate this post 2+ times last night. Just trying again this morning ....

Bob, here's where we are caught in a Catch 22. We (the volunteers) are asked to give a commitment to blocks we can work, but we don't know what is being offered in those blocks. Specifically, which nights will be running specials for which systems. Many traditions have changed over the past few years, this year, more have changed. Is there a Starfinder Special? Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night? Will it be rerun in another block? What will the level range be? PFS, still Thursday and Friday nights? Pregens?

This year the call has given us the least information about what is happening at Gen Con then we've ever gotten. We've been told there will be SFS, PFS, ACG and HQ at GenCon. That's it. Volunteers have been asked to give more, with no information. That's just hard.

I'm not harping on you Bob. If history is repeating itself, you're the lead-lead and for all of June and July you will be working two full time jobs. One is 50+ hour a week, unpaid, just to keep Gen Con organized and flowing well. And as partial thanks, you get someone who signs up to GM, picks up a badge and is never seen from again.

I do appreciate all the updates that you give to disseminate what information you can.

As for me, I GM to play. So for now, I'm holding off volunteering for GenCon. I may miss it this year. But I'm an old fart too. I can't fight the sandman and win as often as I could before. Running 8 to play 2 for 1/2 a bed ... hard.

/steps off soap box.

{ooo, the blog monster almost ate this post. Good-ol ctrl-C before submitting}

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

The initial schedule should be published long before registration so for that part, nothing has really changed from previous years. We just won’t have every single table planned out so we can more quickly react to trending demand. Volunteers have always needed to commit long before they know their schedule or what will be offered. While I cannot say specifics about what the schedule will be (it is still being drafted), the same general template will appear this year as previous years minus the uniqueness of last years Starfinder launch. Friday PM is still the new season multi-table interactive special that will launch season 10 of PFS. We expect that to fill the SAG using at least 185 tables. The plan is to have an ACG component for it as well continuing that trend. Thursday and Saturday PM are plotted to have special material as well probably the newest release of Solstice Scar and some form of Starfinder event. As those components are still in development, it’ll probably be a little bit of time before we know the details.

We will have PSA and ACG running during day and the Demos in the exhibit hall and quests in the SAG will return as well. Because of the addition of Starfinder, which will be running alongside PFS, we have to allocate space for those events which will restrict the volume and perhaps variety of PFS events. What exactly that looks like we cannot say. Starfinder is still new, but we are still not sure how it’s demand will compare to PFS. That’s another reason why we are doing ticket sales the way we are. The interest in Starfinder last year was great, but it’s hard to predict if how that translates to this year.

Scarab Sages *****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Volunteers have always needed to commit long before they know their schedule or what will be offered.

Just a quick note:

1) I get things have changed drastically with the size of it all and how you are offering events (keeping things fluid... kudos on that by the way.)

2) But the above is not a correct statement. And maybe I've been spoiled, because everytime I volunteered I did so as a VO, which meant until recently (2017/2016?), I got to not only pick which time slots I wanted, but which scenarios I wanted to run. Regardless, Gen Con 2012 through 2015, the Gen Con schedule was known as soon as the volunteer request went out.

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

That does not jive with what I remember of my two GenCon experiences.

Sovereign Court *****

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I agree with TOZ - I definitely did not get to pick the scenarios I wanted to do last year.

**

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Iammars wrote:
I agree with TOZ - I definitely did not get to pick the scenarios I wanted to do last year.

Third-ed. I got to pick the Subtiers (just like I did this Call) but not the scenarios. I never got to pick the scenarios, those were dictated to me by the team.

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

It sounds safe to assume that Thursday night will be the SFS special (like it was last year), Friday night will be new PFS interactive (as always), and Saturday night will be 8-99C.

That was my assumption going into this, based on what has been told to us.

If doing three scenarios in a day is too much for you (you really only have to do this once), you could volunteer for 2 a day, plus Sunday AM and cleanup duty. You don't even have to do 2 in a row, if you do:


  • Thurs AM
  • Thurs Evening
  • Fri AM
  • Fri Evening
  • Sat AM
  • Sat Evening
  • Sun Am
  • Sun cleanup

Or, swap an evening for an afternoon slot, if you want to play in one or more of the specials.

Understand, folks, that they were struggling in August to get the large chunk of GM seats filled. That causes a lot of headaches to the crew that is managing this (primarily Bob), and it is not an easy task.

But, still, I understand that running 8 slots is not for everyone. I've done it every year I've gone to Gen Con (this is my 5th year, I believe!), and I have had a blast doing it. I even get the chance to play my two morning sessions! We've got a core group that does it every year! We even try to recruit more of our locals to do it, but not many are takers.

So, just asking, before you complain about it, look at the big picture. If they can get 50 rooms to share, that's 200 GMs, right? These GMs, at 8 slots each, fill 1600 of the about 2000 GM/HQ/Demo slots needed. That leaves 400 slots still to fill, which is A LOT (almost three times the largest convention I've ever organized!). If each of those GMs only ran 7 tables, then they'd only cover 1400 tables, which is an additional 200 GM slots that would need to be filled.

Really, it all makes sense.

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

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
That does not jive with what I remember of my two GenCon experiences.

I was able to pick only once, my 2nd GenCon (2015), and Mike Brock's last. He allowed VOs to pick their slots.

The rest have been up the lottery, so to speak.

Scarab Sages *****

Tallow wrote:
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Volunteers have always needed to commit long before they know their schedule or what will be offered.

Just a quick note:

1) I get things have changed drastically with the size of it all and how you are offering events (keeping things fluid... kudos on that by the way.)

2) But the above is not a correct statement. And maybe I've been spoiled, because everytime I volunteered I did so as a VO, which meant until recently (2017/2016?), I got to not only pick which time slots I wanted, but which scenarios I wanted to run. Regardless, Gen Con 2012 through 2015, the Gen Con schedule was known as soon as the volunteer request went out.

Maybe it was just something Mike did for VOs up until Gen Con 2015 then.

But I know that I got to pick what I wanted to do, and I got to see the entire schedule up through Gen Con 2015.

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

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Jack Brown wrote:
It sounds safe to assume that Thursday night will be the SFS special (like it was last year), Friday night will be new PFS interactive (as always), and Saturday night will be 8-99C

Actually it’s more likely that Solsctice Scar will be Thursday and Starfinder will be Saturday.

Also, while clean up is an optional slot, the headcount is extremely small in comparison to overall. We are somewhat selective on who does it.

Yes, there were times in the past when select volunteers were given a bit more power in selecting their schedule, but that was very restricted. My comments are almost always general in nature. I’m sure if we had complete details going back to 2009 we would find hundreds of exceptions that have been made, but we don’t build the system around that. This is my 4th GC as a Lead and during that time and while some procedural things have changed generally speaking the volunteer process hasn’t changed much. I think this year has the most significant ones since I’ve been involved. We don’t make changes just for the sake of change. We identify problem areas and try to improve on them. Is every decision universally better for everyone? Probably not, but we hope it improves the average for the majority

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

I’ve been volunteering at GenCon since 2013. And in that time volunteers have gotten increasingly more options in our requests. In rough order:

  • How many slots?
  • Timeslot preferences?
  • What tier do you prefer?
  • Multiple scenarios or as few unique scenarios as possible?
  • Game system? (PFS, ACG, SFS)

Not everyone can get exactly what they request but so far the organizers have tried really hard to fulfill those requests. Even though each new option makes it that much harder or them. If anything, the GenCon leads do more than anywhere else to make the GMs as happy as they can when it comes to scheduling.

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

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I must say I am very happy with my G experience last year and look forward to this year. I think signing up for 8 slots for Hotel while a step up from last year is not unreasonable. I signed up for 8 because I am going specifically for the Paizo content and to help out.

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

UPDATE
It appears badges will not be made available until April. That means any volunteer who is expecting a free badge and also intends to participate in the hotel lottery will need to purchase a badge to qualify for the lottery. Then, when the free badge is added to your account later, you can get a refund for the purchased badge.

We expect to start sending emails out to the approved volunteers later this week.

Dark Archive *****

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Signed up for 8 blocks again this year. Looking forward to seeing many of you again! I signed up for high tier PFS RPG again this year. Here's to hoping that Bob gives me 9-07 Salvation Of The Sages! Love that scenario!

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

To those concerned about having to purchase a badge to be part of the housing lottery I would like to share my experience the last two cons.

In each of the last two years the process to get a refund was fast and painless. Last year I had a refund without having to request from GenCon.

And the refunds are 100% so you don't lose anything.

*

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Gary, GENCON has changed the housing process a bit this year.

Any sort of commitment to a room is 'locked' to a badge, they aren't allowing the transferring of rooms to other badges.

...which is exceptionally short-sighted, but it's the mess all con attendees and volunteers get to work with.

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

I guess I need to go read what is on the GenCon forums. If that is true than it is pretty stupid.

The Exchange ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

Gary, GENCON has changed the housing process a bit this year.

Any sort of commitment to a room is 'locked' to a badge, they aren't allowing the transferring of rooms to other badges.

...which is exceptionally short-sighted, but it's the mess all con attendees and volunteers get to work with.

I can’t find the reference right now but Q-rooms has said that’s they’re actually locked to an account, not a badge. In other words, if you buy a badge and get a room, then a Paizo drops a second badge into that account, you can get a refund on the first badge and still have your room since it’s tied to the account (which still has a badge).

We’ll see if it really works that way or if there’s a hole in the process.

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

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Correct. Apparently, Q-rooms did not realize or understand that this process would be an issue and they initially had said the refund process would cause a loss of room. However, they have discussed the matter with Gen Con and have confirmed that the process we have been using for the past few years will continue to be okay. Of course, that is just what they've said and we have no proof that will be the case this year, but so far we have no reason to doubt their feedback.

Liberty's Edge *** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Great! Thank you Kevin and Bob for the clarity.

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