Official PaizoCon 2013 Feedback Thread!


PaizoCon General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

As Vic and I mentioned before, this thread needs to stick to feedback we can use for PaizoCon 2014 which has already been contracted for the Seattle Airport Marriott for the July 4th weeekend. Thanks!


As a nod towards what Kyle was saying about specific on foods...

There is a con in Michigan that I've gone to that worked with the hotel (also a Marriott) to create a menu for lunch, dinner and a snack for the con-goers. There were 3 salad options, 3 burgers and several sides. A con-goer could get a burger, side and drink for under 10$.

While I didn't have a problem with the food service at Paizocon this year, I know that I was able to get there right when the bar started serving food and was able to get my food fairly quickly; though pricey I thought the service was good and the food good.

However, seeing if the hotel would work on a con-menu might be a good -option for those that don't want to eat 7-11 all weekend or have to leave the hotel if they don't have a car.


I also think Kyle's idea has merit. If the Seattle Marriott hasn't done this type of food service, then maybe Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome (what a name!) can put the Michigan Marriott in touch with the Seattle Marriott to give them suggestions?


I think the gaming was fun, overall. I had less fun than in previous years. I gave Paizo less money.

My suggestion for Pathfinder Society scenario play would be a bit less talking and a bit more action. It seems to me that a group meeting at a convention should be able to jump right into play. This is especially important for situations with so much background noise.
Rolling 20+ times on my diplomacy skill is neither action nor role-playing. It is just rolling dice: "Oh! A one! They hate you!" "Oh! A 20! Whatever you said must have been pretty cool!" What I actually said means nothing - and no one could hear it anyway.

I did not have trouble finding a PFS game to join. I thought the setup worked pretty well - for an aggressive person. I showed up at the proper station, at the proper time, raised my hand and joined up. The real trouble with this seemed to be people with event tickets who did not turn up on time. Perhaps, instructions for these events should stipulate a time frame (and a very narrow time frame) after which your reservation is void. You cannot show up at 1:15 for a 1:00 game and look surprised when things have moved on.

On the other hand, my good friend brought his son to PaizoCon this year. He wanted to get involved in the games, but the character creation area was blocked by some other group and not available. (What was with that? It was only the start of the convention, so not an important time at all, right?) He wanted to find out about PFS, but he was puzzled by the chaos, lack of instructions and the lack of interest PaizoCon staff seemed to display about giving information to newbies. I think he did finally get into a game, but I don't think he's coming back next year. Customer service actually does count.

I was puzzled by the placement of the bulletin board where people could pin up reservation cards they were not using. 150 feet away from the gaming area, around a corner and down a narrow corridor seemed odd to me.

I was annoyed by the constant announcements about how people needed to turn in their game tokens. Start with more of them next time. ("If you don't turn them in we're not going to give out any more!" Wow, that is really fair to everyone!) It took two tokens to roll the dice. At one token per game and three games per day, it was painfully slow to earn a roll. In the jam of the hallway, it was hard to even get at the table to turn in my tokens.

Game masters who do not show up for scheduled events? Really a large problem. You say you stayed up late on Saturday? You want to see Seattle on Sunday? Show up for your game no matter what. Game celebrities who are at the convention but cannot be bothered to keep a commitment? What's with that?

It seems a simple matter for a company that produces miniatures to have scenario miniatures on hand for PFS game masters. Did you do that and I just got the wrong impression?

I was VERY gratified by the absence of larpers putting on a play that few can hear and even fewer care about.

The Reaper Paint and Take area was fun and they had it staffed all the time. It was like a calm oasis at the convention. I just wish they had brought more miniatures for their vendor area. I wanted to buy some - and at special, convention pricing.

The vendor area was empty - by which I mean "empty of convention specials." I know you cannot control it, but there need to be more vendors, more RPG items on display and more effort at really generating sales. An author with a few graphic novels on the table (only $39.99!) is taking up space that could display RPG products. Paizo themselves should have convention specials on many more items. There is a reason for convention specials: They generate sales and they provide motive to buy now, rather than looking on Ebay. Do your vendors know the internet exists?

You might consider whether the Paizo Banquet is really the best use of time and space. Perhaps, a shorter event where you hawk new product at a faster pace? As PaizoCon grows, the banquet is going to become a bigger and bigger albatross. Is it really worth the hassle? Is it worth the opportunity cost?

There cannot be enough clear signs to identify where each event is supposed to take place. There were some. More are needed.

If PaizoCon is really locked into the SeaTac desert for another year, I would suggest a frank conversation with the Marriott management about their event staffing. Four guys waiting to park cars. No guys cleaning the bathrooms. That seems a wrong priority. There were other examples.


Sara Marie wrote:
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
The balloon idea is actually a pretty cool one
The only problem I foresee other than having to carry 40 some odd balloons around would be making sure all balloon scraps would be picked up... I can't imagine bits of rubber doing anything good to the hotel's vacuum cleaners.

Put a laminated piece of white paper on each table along with a dry erase marker. Have someone at the table hold up the paper with the number of seats left. Since it's dry erase it's easy to change the number as the seats fill up.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

FormCritic wrote:
Game masters who do not show up for scheduled events? Really a large problem. You say you stayed up late on Saturday? You want to see Seattle on Sunday? Show up for your game no matter what. Game celebrities who are at the convention but cannot be bothered to keep a commitment? What's with that?

I was only aware of one GM that missed a game due to some scheduling confusion/miscommunication. If you know of specific incidents where this occurred, could you let me know via email (sara.marie@paizo.com) the event/GM?


Pathfinder Card Game, Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I'm late to the thread, but wanted to leave some positive feedback about the banquet food. I usually spend a chunk of my summer at various technology conferences where the venue's catering has to produce bulk meals for thousands of attendees, with varying results. Often it's dry, bland, and generally unappetizing. Given my experience, I was *very* impressed by the quality of food at the banquet. Granted it was only for a few hundred people, but I thought it was wonderful and ended up going back for another plate!

Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Yes, the food was surprisingly good. Like HashTurtle, I'd figured it was going to be the typical sort of "fine, whatever" food you get at a conference $50 banquet, but this was a cut above that.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

RyanH and rknop:
RyanH wrote:
rknop wrote:


If your 10-year-old is the one I think he is, he was a great 10-year-old. I was at a table with a 10yo. It was a Tier 1-5 scenario that came in at APL 3.something... and we played up, but the 10yo had a 2nd (or maybe even 1st?) level druid character. He indicated he was cool playing up, but then he died partway through on a nasty encounter. However, he seemed to be fairly unfazed by it. It helped that he had a rare and awesome boon that allowed him to insta-resurrect... but, still, he was cool about the dice falling where they may.

I'm happy to have 10yos at the gaming table if they're like him!

Yes that was him. Thanks for the comment. I passed it along to him and he was pleased. See, I think the Pathfinder community is pretty awesome!

I'd like to thank you for being a great table and overall positive attitudes in a rough battle. I will have fond memories of that session for years to come. :)

On topic, I found that the food situation was the biggest detraction. While my wife and I saved for this vacation, the hotel restaurant certainly ballooned our bill quite a bit. Hopefully we will have as much savings or more for next year.

I think the hotel is reasonably laid out, and having our room on the lower level did not give us too much trouble getting to and from events. Some more obvious signage for PFS mustering and event locations might help.


Yes more signage is needed and a accompanying map with our materials.


A few comments, comparing with previous years:

1) I really missed third party games and game space. The pinboard was nice but not a good substitute.

2) I stayed at a crappy hotel down the road which was much cheaper and had free internet access; the upside to that was that it was closer to other restaurants. While the place I stayed was a bit of a fleabag, it was a better choice overall. Don't overlook access to food and drink outside of the hotel.

3) The presentations were especially interesting this year. Everyone was on their game, and the third party stuff - presentation by Gary McBride was very interesting.

4) The demo by Sasquatch Studio was fun. Id like to see more third parties demoing their settings like that.

5) Banquet was a big improvement over last year, both in quality and presentation.


I had a great time at this year's PaizoCon - definitely the best of the last three for me. The issues tied to growth seem to have finally been handled.

My one big beef, even after almost three months, is the trivia contest. Specifically, the effect the repeated use of the word "Optional" had on the attendance. I certainly don't want anyone shackled to their chairs to play, but it really felt like we were being urged to leave and not participate. Typically, the contest is my favorite time at PaizoCon, not my least favorite.

Suggestion: If after the banquet is not a good time to hold the trivia contest, change it to a lottery or open event at another time. Perhaps Sunday afternoon.

P.S. Also - get the hotel to provide a laundry room. I had to bluff my way into the Hilton's down the road...

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

IIRC, the reason why the trivia contest was billed as optional was because in previous years, it wasn't clear if there were to be any official announcements after the trivia contest, and people felt they had to stay through the contest just in case there was extra news afterward. This year, we made it clear that the announcements were over and if you wanted to leave before the trivia, you wouldn't miss any news for doing so.


Will I need to buy a Banquet ticket for my 2 year old?

Paizo Employee Customer Service Dire Care Bear Manager

Kynvas wrote:
Will I need to buy a Banquet ticket for my 2 year old?

The ticket is for the space at the table, so anyone, regardless of age or whether they intended to eat the included food will need a ticket. That being said, this event is very long and ‘talky’. Based on my experiences with my own two year old and his peers, I strongly recommend against bringing a two year old to this event.


I don't frequent the Paizo boards often, so this is some super late comments. PiazoCon 2013 was my wife's and I first PaizoCon. I just got the word she wants to go again so, we will be flying in again from Florida for PiazoCon 2014.

I've read through a lot of the previous comments and a lot of people were saying the banquet food was excellent. I would agree it was, but for more than the obvious reason. We did not know it until the actual day of the banquet itself, but it was catered by my wife's cousin.

~Shameless Plug~ Please use the same caterer as last year so my wife can see her cousin again.

PiazoCon
It's more than just great gaming. It brings family together.


Oh yea I had other comments too:

As I said, this was our first PiazoCon and for myself, my first gaming con at all.

SeanK went above and beyond with his mold making class. Even after the convention was over. Sean: Kudos for everything. You're my Superstar.

Gaming:
I would agree the main gaming room/banquet hall was very loud and sometimes very difficult to here your specific GM. I don't think there is really any dynamic to fix that with the number of games and tables going on.
~ possible suggestion ~ it appeared like the hall could be partitioned into four sections with the hidden folding walls and conveniently had four entrance doors. That would help contain the sound to a smaller space at the cost of the reduction of some tables (i.e) less games. That would also correlate to four levels of play to easily find your table i.e. this section of the hall deals with scenarios of levels 1-4 with a big sign above the coordinating door.

Preview Banquet itself:
The line to get into the banquet to take a seat was ridiculously long (length - not wait). We thought we were getting in line early like others here on the board suggested and we started standing almost at our room (which was on the other side of the lobby, passed the elevators, and half way down the hall.)
~ comment suggestion ~ could the seating arrangement of where you sit inside the banquet be predetermined as part of the lottery and the banquet ticket you hand off to get into the door have your assigned table number?
~ another comment suggestion ~ Since there is limited staff to sit at every table. Assign the staff a "zone" and float around to multiple tables. Heck, I wouldn't mind having multiple staff come to my table over a span of time and talk to me, even just for a couple minutes for each one. I can't say enough how awesome the staff are and what a fantastic job Paizo does and the service to the gaming community they provide.


And yet more...

Food:
Lots of people have already commented about the food situation. I'd like to add my two cents. The hotel restaurant food isn't all that good, overpriced, not quick even with very few customers, and they are unable to cater to individuals with food allergies.

The hotel restaurant is more than likely not owned or operated by the hotel itself. The hotel holds a contract with the restaurant which (as most contracts of this nature does) prohibits another vendor to sell food (as direct competition) on the premises. Bringing in a food truck or a local restaurant even temporary (if anyone has been to say ReaperCon where they have Sonic bring food and you can buy it on site) just is not an option due to the existing legal contracts. The banquet dinner is not an exception to or a violation of such a contract as food is not being sold by an outside vendor. Food is being provided as part of a service for something which we are paying Piazo.

With that being said, since there is already a caterer for the banquet, (and yes another shameless plug for using last years caterer again for 2014 who turned out to be my wife's cousin) Piazo could sell a two day lunch ticket. Said lunch ticket could be punched for each day to circumvent giving away free food to those that did not pay for the ticket. Premade generic box lunches (made by the caterer) as part of a meal plan we buy from Piazo in advance would not violate a contractual agreement described above, just as the banquet ticket does not.

Schedule:
I also believe there needs to be a designated break time where nothing is scheduled or overlaps so there is an opportunity to go get some food. Low blood sugar makes mistakes while gaming and cranky gamers. Between lottery items and registered events - if my wife and I didn't bring two boxes of breakfast bars on the plane, we would have starved both days until dinner with little time to go get something of substance during the day. 7-11 did a LOT of business between what they had to sell for food too.


Hey Sara Marie,

I noticed from the "Call for Volunteers" blog post that the Saturday afternoon slot is 1-6pm. I remember that in 2013, it was scheduled like this also, but that at about 4pm, they started announcing that we had to be done by 5 so that the room could be reset for the banquet. Caused a bunch of tables to not really finish their games and/or skip chunks of scenario. Might want to double check with the hotel on required timing, etc, so that if the session does need to be short every knows going in, rather than finding out when it is more than half over.

Thanks.


I loved the convention last year. It was a blast. One thing I found that was really bad, the prices of the food at the hotel. Several conventions have a hospitality section. Several people have suggested the possibility of food trucks. To be honest, most gamers don't have a ton of money for food. My friend and I brought food from a local grocery store. Why can't items like parking discounted passes be issued to the conventioneers who don't have rooms in the hotel.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

I think it would be better to announce the new AP at the banquet and do the AP Q and A the day after. Announcing the AP first at the banquet builds excitement and would make the AP Q&A more focused and fun.

Also, the big banquet hall looks like you could use the room dividers to make smaller spaces. Smaller spaces would reduce the room noise from jet take off to loud stadium. By Sunday, more GMs would still have voices.

Dark Archive RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

MUST have a fridge in the room. We were promised one at registration weeks in advance. When we arrived: no fridge. We were then told they "ran out". This made it rather difficult to stock up on supplies which strained our food budget.

Dark Archive

I wanted to say thank you to the Paizo team for last years PaizoCon. You guys did an amazing job. I'm really looking forward to this year's con. I wanted to point out a few things that particularly delighted me and offer ideas to make it even better. Although I'd be happy with same things happening this year.

When I arrived and checked in, we were given a Pathfinder tote, printed copy of Wayfinder and a box of Shattered Star Minis. This blew my mind. It felt like a big thank you from my favorite company. The tote bag has been super tough and has lasted all year hauling a pile of books to my weekly PFS game.

I have a promo few ideas.
FACTION BUTTONS. Little tiny ones you can wear or conceal on your person.
SOCIETY COIN. At KublaCon, PFS GM's who judge 5 or more slots get a 2" pewter coin. On one side has the them of the season and the flip contains a indented square for when your character is enlarged.
PFS TALES MINIS. I think Radovan & Jeggare were promo minis in years past, right? How about Rodrick & Alaeron?

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Yeah, the swag we got last year was pretty amazing. I also got a Pathfinder Tales novel (Master of Devils), which I hadn't read yet and was a hoot. (First person narrative from three different characters... one of whom was a dog. That sort of thing can be cheesy or irritating, but it was done well in this book.)

And the tote is great. I've put all of my Bestiary Box miniatures into plastic cases, and haul them around in the tote together with dice, some map packs, and similar miscellaneous stuff.


I still use the tote bag (and my sister's, since she's forgotten about it). Best part of the con.

Not really. Best part was the gaming. :P

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