GenCon 2014 Organizational Experience


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The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

Last year there was a thread where people commented on what worked well and didn't work so well when it came to the overall organization of PFS play at GenCon. A lot of that feedback was taken in and used to make this year even better. With that in mind, I thought I would start a thread for this year's feedback:

Excellent Idea (please continue)
-GMs getting table assignments for the entire weekend with their badges. This was a great improvement and made things a lot easier for the marshals who weren't having to assign GMs and players to tables simultaneously (but see below). GMs loved being able to set up at leisure.
-Brightly colored shirts for marshals (and HQ, but especially marshals) meant the players could easily find the person they were looking for.

Worked, but could use some tweaking
-The split of information, boon pickup, and HQ helped make HQ a lot less of a madhouse. However there was a bit much crammed into the back left corner of the room. There were usually big crowds around there and the center felt pretty deserted. I think HQ and info/boons could have swapped locations. Other than the special(s), there's really no need to have a central raised platform.

Execution Improvement Possible
-The table assignments were great but there were times when the GMs' schedule didn't match the marshals' sheets, especially over in the Quests/Beginner's Box/Kid's Track area. It caused a bit of confusion.

Additional Suggestions
-Re-assignment of GMs worked as well as can be expected in such situations, where some have to run cold. There was a lot of demand for the Silverhex quests and several GMs were thrown at it with no idea what they were about. Maybe next year the quests could be given to all the GMs so they can at least have a chance to look it over before the con.

Bad Change
-I didn't really see any.

Not going to Improve
-Marshalling for the special. The hallway is going to be crowded. Nothing to be done. Paizo (or GenCon) can't afford to set aside a room just for marshalling and any space set aside inside the Sagamore is space that can't be used for tables.


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From a marshalling standpoint things were MUCH improved.

It was easier to not have to seat GMs on top of players; my only minor issue is one that will not change ... as a shorter marshal being surrounded on all sides by players all clamoring for a seat.

Something for marshals to stand on would be awesome.

I got one group to step back by letting them know they were scaring a poor bunny (wearing my ears lol) and they backed off a little

The Exchange 5/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32

Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:

It was easier to not have to seat GMs on top of players; my only minor issue is one that will not change ... as a shorter marshal being surrounded on all sides by players all clamoring for a seat.

Something for marshals to stand on would be awesome.

It might be possible to ask the players closest to you to take a knee, or bow down before the marshal, to help see the back of the crowd.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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Brian Lefebvre wrote:
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:

It was easier to not have to seat GMs on top of players; my only minor issue is one that will not change ... as a shorter marshal being surrounded on all sides by players all clamoring for a seat.

Something for marshals to stand on would be awesome.

It might be possible to ask the players closest to you to take a knee, or bow down before the marshal, to help see the back of the crowd.

Only the penitent players shall pass...

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

Last year was the first year that I GM'ed Pathfinder at a Convention. I have to say that having the GM table assignments in advance made things much easier for me this year as a GM, so please keep doing that.

The mustering for the Thursday night special (The Paths We Choose) was horrible. No one told us we should have tried to muster based on factions, so my table ended up having FIVE factions (so two of us weren't helping our faction at all.) So, we need to figure out a way, I think, to improve the large-scale mustering that specials require. Pre-printed, larger signs above the doors (instead of the iconic placards with small handwriting), would have helped a bit, I think. Short of having another room set aside just for mustering, I don't know how that can be improved. Would it be possible, in the back of Sagamore, to have control ropes and have people line up that way, so you don't have clusters of people crowding the marshall? I don't know if that would work better, but it might alleviate some of the congestion a bit by at least making it orderly.

5/5

Having some sort of sound system in the corridor or giving people making announcements there some sort of mic would help an awful lot. Several times volunteers came out to shout instructions and were effectively talking to maybe two rows of people.

The big 1-11 special martialling worked well because the areas were divided by tier. I wasn't sure why that system had not also been used for the 3-7 Paths we Choose and for Bonekeep. It might have made things easier.

Also if a special has some unusual martialling limitation like the Paths we Choose then that really needs to be properly communicated to the players. We mustered a group of six only to discover when we reached the table that we needed to have no more than 3 factions (we had 6!) meaning we broke up and largely started again much later in the process.


Brian Lefebvre wrote:
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:

It was easier to not have to seat GMs on top of players; my only minor issue is one that will not change ... as a shorter marshal being surrounded on all sides by players all clamoring for a seat.

Something for marshals to stand on would be awesome.

It might be possible to ask the players closest to you to take a knee, or bow down before the marshal, to help see the back of the crowd.

I just said they were scaring a poor bunny and grabbed a chair ... while unstable for the most part worked lol


This was my first GenCon, and I have to say I really enjoyed the experience. I will be stealing many of the techniques for mustering for my own (tiny) cons. If GenCon can seat 150 tables in 20 minutes, then surely I can seat 6.

The marshals were amazing. I would like to thank them for always showing up with a water just when I thought my voice was going to go.

I agree with the confusion regarding Paths We Choose. I was unaware that there was only going to be time for three factions when playing it. (Got to play one without prepping it first, yay!) We as players could have probably made marshaling easier with that information.

The only (minor) complaints I had have already been addressed in the post-GenCon volunteer meeting. Mostly, I am just impressed at how smoothly things went consider the madness of the situation. Only once was I asked to run a different scenario than I had prepped for that slot, and it was something that I had previously run. (And I was ASKED, rather than ordered.) I am extremely satisfied with the way things went down.

Dark Archive 4/5

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Another vote for continuing the table assignments for GMs with badge/t-shirt pickup. Was great not needing to worry about it, just coming in and heading straight to my table with my stuff.

Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

Experiences From a First Time GenCon Pathfinder GM

I was going to send an email to Paizo on my experiences, but since I'm sure the thread will be read, having multiple views and experiences in one place seems like better reference material for Paizo...and it promotes discussion and clarification.

This was my first time GMing anything at GenCon, or any other large Con. (I've GMed pathfinder at a local con.) As a result, I can't compare to previous years. (I also haven't played Pathfinder at GenCon in the past.) I can give my view on positives and negatives from the experience.

Table Assignments
Getting my table schedule in advance was very useful as a GM. Being at the same table for two sessions in a row was also great, since I didn't have to re-set things. Since I was building a Dwarven Forge fortress, getting access to my table early, and being able to leave things set up between sessions was greatly appreciated. (I think the players appreciated it too, since it helped me give them a better experience since I wasn't rushing to get started in my normal sessions.

Advanced Prep
At the other end of the spectrum, receiving mods so close to the con was a hardship. I ran 4 mods during the course of the con, including all three specials. We had stonelords partially in advance, but Bonekeep and Paths came the weekend before the con. Fortunately, I already had my normal scenario. I can't imagine what it would be like if I had to prep a season 6. Basically, I had 2 and a half specials to prep on short time. Paths actually was pretty straightforward and easy to prep. Legacy was a monster, and I ended up running a different tier than I had prepped, which made it more difficult in my case. Bonekeep got the least advanced prep from my side, since it was being run 3rd of the 3, and I know 100% I could have given a better experience had I been given more prep time in advance on that one. One mod within a week is workable. Multiples going through in the last week can hurt the overall experience in my opinion.

Specials
Other than the prep issue covered above, my only other complaint on specials was one mentioned earlier. That is that mustering for the Paths We Choose needed to ensure players knew factions would have a huge impact, and that the sweet spot was 3 factions at a table. I actually had 2 factions at my table, and as soon as I explained how missions will be selected, one of the players decided to change characters to a member of another faction so that they could see the mission for that faction.
On the upside, I feel all three night slots had a lot of energy and anticipation. I think Paths on Thursday was the "least special" once the tables got mustered, but all three nights seemed like events. I hope that having an event each night was great and hope it continues in the future.

A happy accident
I don't know if it really was an accident, or if tables were done this way on purpose, but tables on Thursday worked out great for me. I'm just stepping into the Venture Leiutenant role in Memphis, TN. I happened to get set up in tables near Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama venture officers, letting me get to know my region a lot better. We got to talk about what cons each area runs, what is being done to expand player bases, and what kind of growth everyone has seen in the last year among other topics. That impromptu networking time before mustering will hopefully pay off later. (It also let me know who I need to get some borrowed dice back to since I didn't see them again after Thursday!)

Overall
It was a great experience. I ended up meeting a lot of great players, and hope to be in contact with a number of people I met through Pathfinder at this con. I might be less ambitious about taking 8 sessions next year, as it made for a long week, but I think with more prep time on some of the modules, it wouldn't have been as stressful. We'll have to see if I forget the painful parts and just remember the fun parts by the time the call goes out for 2015 GM's.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Regional Venture-Coordinator, Great Lakes aka TwilightKnight

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The HQ leads (myself, along with Jon Cary and Todd Morgan) very much appreciate your feedback. It is invaluable for knowing what went right and what needs to be improved. I am currently working on a summary report of things that were well-received, or not, to present to Mike Brock. Between word-of-mouth, the post-convention volunteer feedback session, and this thread, we have received a ton of great ideas to consider for next year. Please keep this thread going!

Sovereign Court 5/5 RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 aka Netopalis

As I posted on Mike's Facebook thread, I thought that this year's GenCon was much more organized and went off really well. My only complaint was the number of announcements. Every session, there was at least one "X, report to HQ" announcement. The over-announcing was especially bad during Bonekeep (I was running Trial by Machine in the same slot.) The problem here is that when an announcement is made, all 150 tables have to stop and wait for the announcement, regardless of what they're doing. If you announce during block test, it can throw the GM's rhythm off. I'm not saying don't make announcements, but I would ask that they be used more sparingly.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Wisconsin—Madison aka Totenpfuhl

This was my first time GMing at Gen Con, third year playing PFS. I agree with the GM table assignments beforehand as they were nice and I used to see GMs constantly show up and ask for their table in the past when musterers were trying to sit players. I also enjoyed just going to my table and setting up.

The only way to improve the mustering to help the musterers would be for people to organize beforehand and have only one person go up to them. As PFCBG said, it can get a bit intimidating having a group of people hovering over some of the less tall musterers.

P.S. Sorry Thea that I couldn't run Scars cold that one time, but I knew it was an investigation and I would definitely mess it up if I ran it cold.

5/5 ⦵⦵

I personally was amazed at how well things worked at this size of a convention. And really enjoyed my PFS experience there.

My only complaint would be to have hours posted for the prize table. I didn’t appreciate walking up there < 8AM and getting my head chewed off by the short dude standing behind the table, I had no idea it was closed, to me there was no line and someone was at the table.

5/5

Overall, the organization and presentation for GenCon was excellent IMO.

Pros:
Having a list of tables I'm going to be running at handed to me at the start was fantastic.

Players bringing sheets and being seated as full tables was great, as you didn't have stragglers coming in and could get organized and set up right away.

Calling out hour and half-hour marks before end of slot was extremely helpful.

Sound system during the Friday night special was MUCH better than I remember them being before. I could understand Mark Garringer easily as his role as Kreighton Shane.

The use of music to signal important changes or imminent announcements was a great way to get attention before the announcement was made. Normally, if you go straight to an announcement, the first few words are missed over the general din of the floor and distraction.

Clearing the hall between big slots made setting up and mustering GM's seem to flow much smoother than if you had to work around standing groups of idle chatters.

Cons:
Clear communication on some points were missing. When I was handed my list of tables, I was told to find the musterer after I went to my table, but when I went to my table I found out from other GM's that that had been changed to stay seated and the musterer will find you. This actually worked out well in the end, but this should be something decided before the Con and stuck with IMO.

On that same note, 5-99 and reporting successes to HQ. There is mention in the scenario that large table events MAY use an optional tracking method of recording successes as they happen. I heard NO mention of whether this was going to happen at all during setup, and went up after my table finished their first section on my own to inquire. Another hour or so into the slot, HQ made an announcement that tables should be doing this, so I'm assuming I was not the only one guessing if we were or weren't.

Timeliness of scenarios to GM's was bad. I'm sorry, but having 2 big specials drop at 5PM the Saturday before GenCon is nuts. From various posts, some folks didn't even get some of their scenarios till Sunday. This led me to running the Friday and Saturday specials with very little prep time, and to decide I probably will request to not run any new scenarios or specials in the future if I go for 4th year in a row.

End times for scenarios should be consistent. The evening finales for Thursday and Friday night were both rushed to finish by 11:30, so the doors could be closed by midnight. Then on Saturday, time wasn't even called till a little after midnight. I was using a shuttle for transportation, and their original pickup time for last call was going to be 12:10. Thankfully, sort of, it was changed prior to GenCon till 1:10, so even with clean up I made it in plenty of time, but this could have led to some serious issues in getting back to my hotel. If a slot is going to be run long, and since it was Bonekeep the decision was probably made awhile ago, a notice to GM's that times for that slot are different would be appreciated.

I didn't mind announcements going out, though they were jarring sometimes as Netopalis mentioned. They at least gave out important information for the most part. The playing of the music during Bonekeep, however, should be canned. It wasn't really mood setting, and was just one more thing adding to the din that had to be heard over towards the tail end of a long convention when voices are already going to be showing signs of wear.

Overall was a great con, and loved what was done to organize and speed things up for table mustering. There are just a few more tweeks could be used to make it perfect.

Sincerely,
Snigg


Totenpfuhl wrote:


P.S. Sorry Thea that I couldn't run Scars cold that one time, but I knew it was an investigation and I would definitely mess it up if I ran it cold.

Not a biggie :) I asked and worked with your answer :)

Grand Lodge 4/5

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hey, guys.

Overall, I'm very happy with the way things went this year. There were some tweaks we made that definitely helped and there are some that we kind of a wash, and there are some that could be made better.

Before I get into that, though, I'd like to thank all the GMs and volunteers who helped to make this the best year for PFS at Gen Con ever.

Some random thoughts:

  • Prize & Info desk more prominent (although we had feedback that having the prize desk against the side wall was nice for lining up). I'm starting to feel that HQ itself doesn't need a huge prominent location, and might be better hidden in a corner while the more "customer-facing" sections are made more prominent. We have some time to think on it, but it could definitely improve. Having a raised platform for HQ does let us look out over the room and see what's going on, especially during mustering.

  • GM Table Assignments: Bob Jonquet worked for about 18 hours straight the weekend before Gen Con to get the table assignments done so we could have them set before the con started. To give you an idea of the scope of the problem: 10 slots (not counting 1/2 slots for BB/KT), 244 GMs and 160 tables in the room. Mike posted the final numbers on Facebook, but we sat over 1,400 tables and over 8,700 players over the four days. Bob did the table assignments for pretty much all of that, not including the Quests.

  • Scenario lead time: The fact is that Paizo has a production schedule and Gen Con is the absolute busiest time of the year for them. They have to produce an extra scenario as well as the Quest/Delve content and the Specials. Two of those (Stonelords and Paths) were largely finished for Paizocon, I believe, but that still left the others. Next year will be even tighter as Gen Con will start July 31st instead of mid-August. If you're going to be running at Gen Con, the best advice is to prep any of the older scenarios you'll be running well in advance so that you don't have to worry about them, then plan to be in crunch mode for prepping the Specials and the 3 new Season X scenarios.

  • Announcements: We may have gotten a bit carried away with them, but sometimes that's the best way to get word out that we need someone (like the gentleman whose wallet was turned into lost & found). The "not listening at first" is why we try to preface every announcement with, "Attention Pathfinders!"

  • Hovering over marshals: If you read the instructions on the boards outside, they tell players to organize a table of six players and then send ONE person to get a table assignment. We've told them but they don't seem to want to wade through a crowd, then back out to find their friends, then back through as a group again. If we could put the muster stations out in the hallway for most slots it would probably help that somewhat, but we can't (Gen Con/ICCLOS rules).

  • No one should have been chewed out for walking up to the prize table early. At worst, you should have been politely informed that they weren't ready yet. If you PM me the name of the individual (if you know), then I'll look into the issue.

  • Checking in with marshals: We made a change this year in the documentation that said you didn't have to (players were to be informed that if their GM wasn't present they should send one person to notify the marshal), but apparently not everyone read that portion of the instructions. Overall, I think I prefer to have the GMs check in with their marshals ahead of time. We can easily add the muster point to the GM schedule showing your tables.

  • Speaking of the GM schedules showing your tables, I'd like to ask everyone to work extra hard to keep hold of those once they're handed out. I don't mind looking it up for you, but it should be in your GM kit with everything else you need to run your games.

  • HQ wasn't aware of the need to communicate successes back to us on 5-99 until about 30 minutes before the slot started. We did our best to provide that information to GMs.

  • All the evening slots should have been called over at 11:30 PM so we can clear out the hall by midnight. My understanding was that ICCLOS/Gen Con want us out of the room by then.

  • I was worried that the Prize Station was going to get swamped on Sunday and we would have to turn people away at the end of the slot (one of the reasons for many of the announcements that day). Fortunately one of our volunteers came up with a way to process people through much more quickly and by the time we kicked everyone out the entire line had been handled. I think that's the first time that's happened for us at Gen Con and it's a huge win.

    There's a lot more I'm not remembering -- Bob was taking notes during the after action meeting on Sunday that he hasn't had a chance to get out to the rest of the HQ team and I'm on my work computer without access to all my notes.

    I'm interested, as always, to hear feedback from GMs and players, so keep it coming!

  • 5/5

    The Sunday prize queue was exceptionally efficient and whoever came up with it should definitely win a prize. We waited until our slot was finished and it was all the way across the Hall but we were done in about 5 minutes.


    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    I thought the organization worked fine. My singular challenge would be one that the HQ would find hard to remedy - the ballroom was loud which made relatively soft-spoken GMs hard to hear.

    5/5

    I did wonder if it would be possible to screen off the room into sections to cut down on the noise a little. It was pretty difficult at times on the Friday and Saturday.


    Actually, the larger the room has gotten over the past years the better the level of noise has gotten; as the sound has further to travel and doesn't bounce off walls as much anymore.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Wisconsin—Madison aka Totenpfuhl

    andreww wrote:
    I did wonder if it would be possible to screen off the room into sections to cut down on the noise a little. It was pretty difficult at times on the Friday and Saturday.

    Sadly that would take up too much space and probably cause a fire hazard. Also, you would end up with less people to make noise per area, but proportionally the same amount of noise per area which can be an even worse problem as it would be more contained as PFCBG pointed out.

    The Exchange 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Texas—Dallas & Ft. Worth aka Belafon

    I'll add one more thing:

    I didn't know about the post-convention volunteer feedback session until I read about it on this thread. (The Tuesday after GenCon.)

    I looked back through the e-mail and the primer Mike sent, but it wasn't in there. Maybe it was announced during the rare occasions when I was out of the PFS room :)

    Grand Lodge 4/5

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

    Belafon,

    We just passed the word informally on Sunday. We usually have an after-action meeting on Sunday once we get all the players out of the room. We had about 20 or 30 GMs and VOs in attendance.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5

    Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
    Totenpfuhl wrote:


    P.S. Sorry Thea that I couldn't run Scars cold that one time, but I knew it was an investigation and I would definitely mess it up if I ran it cold.

    Not a biggie :) I asked and worked with your answer :)

    Heeeyy, I ended up running that. Or at least one table of it. Glad I could help out. Also glad I'd run it several times in the previous couple weeks so I had a good handle on it, or else I would have turned it down too. The players all seemed to have a good time though!

    Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    This being my first Gen Con, I have to say I was very impressed by how well everything ran! Kudos to all the amazing people running around in the bright orange shirts! We couldn't have done it without you. Also, the constant stream of water (pun intended) was also greatly appreciated!

    That being said, I might have a few ideas to make things run even more smoothly.

    1) I noticed that a lot of the mustering had people crossing the entire Sagamore ballroom... I wonder if there would be a way to not assign which section mustered at which iconic until after HQ can see which order the banners were put up?

    2) After having to run Trail by Machine cold when my Bonekeep table did not make (sniff!), I would suggest making sure that all GMs have access to prep the new season's 1-5 scenario. That way, at least everyone has a fall back to run if their table doesn't make. For me, I would have rather taken the time to prep one more scenario than run one shakily. I know my table didn't mind (was even told by one of the players that it was for sure harder on me than on them), but...

    3) I agree that table assignments were FANTASTIC! I might suggest that, if possible, a print out be available (maybe near HQ) for the GMs to reference at each slot. Or email the assignments to the GMs. Or both? I only say this due to my own failings... having misplaced my schedule twice this weekend!

    While the Sagamore Ballroom was loud, I can say that it for its size, it was not that bad. In fact, it was less loud in there than it often is with one of the venues we play at locally (the FFG Event Center). Even with a voice that was faltering at times, I did not seem to have a problem being heard, nor did I have much problem hearing my players. This is a definite plus.


    Silbeg wrote:

    This being my first Gen Con, I have to say I was very impressed by how well everything ran! Kudos to all the amazing people running around in the bright orange shirts! We couldn't have done it without you. Also, the constant stream of water (pun intended) was also greatly appreciated!

    That being said, I might have a few ideas to make things run even more smoothly.

    1) I noticed that a lot of the mustering had people crossing the entire Sagamore ballroom... I wonder if there would be a way to not assign which section mustered at which iconic until after HQ can see which order the banners were put up?

    my understanding is that when the table assignments were made, there was an assumption that the iconics would be hung in alpha order .. they were not ..

    leaving them til the last minute would be horribly hectic and chaotic and condense 18+ hours of organizational work into just a couple of hours

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Wisconsin—Madison aka Totenpfuhl

    Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
    Silbeg wrote:


    1) I noticed that a lot of the mustering had people crossing the entire Sagamore ballroom... I wonder if there would be a way to not assign which section mustered at which iconic until after HQ can see which order the banners were put up?

    my understanding is that when the table assignments were made, there was an assumption that the iconics would be hung in alpha order .. they were not ..

    leaving them til the last minute would be horribly hectic and chaotic and condense 18+ hours of organizational work into just a couple of hours

    Maybe we should go by entrance for mustering instead of banner then since the doors aren't going to change places. Then, if banners are needed, we can adjust which doorway is which banner after the fact when most of the organization is done.

    Edited to clarify

    Dark Archive

    Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber

    Sorting banners was on last years gripe list. This year's too. Its a place we can improve but it will require a bigger Tuesday working party or borrowing warehouse's time to unroll reroll and repack with ordering tags on the banner containers.

    Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area North & East aka thistledown

    I noticed as a player for Paths We Choose, that most people I talked to didn't know about the 3 factions criteria before-hand. So when players were milling around pre-mustering, it would have been good to inform them they needed to get into groups of 3 or less factions.

    Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
    Silbeg wrote:

    This being my first Gen Con, I have to say I was very impressed by how well everything ran! Kudos to all the amazing people running around in the bright orange shirts! We couldn't have done it without you. Also, the constant stream of water (pun intended) was also greatly appreciated!

    That being said, I might have a few ideas to make things run even more smoothly.

    1) I noticed that a lot of the mustering had people crossing the entire Sagamore ballroom... I wonder if there would be a way to not assign which section mustered at which iconic until after HQ can see which order the banners were put up?

    my understanding is that when the table assignments were made, there was an assumption that the iconics would be hung in alpha order .. they were not ..

    leaving them til the last minute would be horribly hectic and chaotic and condense 18+ hours of organizational work into just a couple of hours

    I've got a couple of ideas for that, which would not cause that problem. If you are interested, I can take this offline.


    Silbeg wrote:
    Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
    Silbeg wrote:

    This being my first Gen Con, I have to say I was very impressed by how well everything ran! Kudos to all the amazing people running around in the bright orange shirts! We couldn't have done it without you. Also, the constant stream of water (pun intended) was also greatly appreciated!

    That being said, I might have a few ideas to make things run even more smoothly.

    1) I noticed that a lot of the mustering had people crossing the entire Sagamore ballroom... I wonder if there would be a way to not assign which section mustered at which iconic until after HQ can see which order the banners were put up?

    my understanding is that when the table assignments were made, there was an assumption that the iconics would be hung in alpha order .. they were not ..

    leaving them til the last minute would be horribly hectic and chaotic and condense 18+ hours of organizational work into just a couple of hours

    I've got a couple of ideas for that, which would not cause that problem. If you are interested, I can take this offline.

    Heh .. I'm the wrong person as I have no control over that and won't be at GenCon next year. I would email Jon or Bob or Todd about it.. or put it in here

    Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Missouri—Cape Girardeau

    I loved the preassigned tables for Gmail. Made it much easier all around. The only hiccup I had with it was Sunday morning when I somehow read Bk08 as Gn08.

    The only suggestion I have is to preprint state blocks for gms who have to run cold. I preprint what I need to run my assigned scenarios, so I don't have to lug around a bunch of books. When asked to run cold I balk since I have no access to any of the bestiarys.

    5/5

    On the issue of table assignments how practical would it be for the numbers to be printed on the tablecloths? The signs were helpful but were often removed to make space.

    Grand Lodge 5/5 Global Organized Play Coordinator

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    andreww wrote:
    On the issue of table assignments how practical would it be for the numbers to be printed on the tablecloths? The signs were helpful but were often removed to make space.

    The table cloths belong to the convention center so we can't print on them. It's why I had stand up, double sidedtable tents, as well as single sided table tents with the highest level of sticky side printed for every table. I'm not sure what you mean by removed because on Sunday, every table still had its sticky table tent still attached.


    andreww wrote:
    On the issue of table assignments how practical would it be for the numbers to be printed on the tablecloths? The signs were helpful but were often removed to make space.

    The tableclothes belong to the convention center so we cannot print on them, however, there were stickers that matched the signs on the tables.

    unfortunately when maps are laid out it's hard to see those .. as long as GMs keep the signs somewhere on the table and don't cover them up until after players are seated and the marshals have come around for tickets and tokens things should go smoothly

    5/5

    Michael Brock wrote:
    andreww wrote:
    On the issue of table assignments how practical would it be for the numbers to be printed on the tablecloths? The signs were helpful but were often removed to make space.
    The table cloths belong to the convention center so we can't print on them. It's why I had stand up, double sidedtable tents, as well as single sided table tents with the highest level of sticky side printed for every table. I'm not sure what you mean by removed because on Sunday, every table still had its sticky table tent still attached.

    The table tents were quite often moved onto the floor to make extra room on the table during the game. It sometimes made it tricky to find the tables. It wasn't a huge deal but I did manage to get completely turned around after a mid game break and wander about a bit looking for my table. As I was attending on my own I didn't actually know any of the other players or GM which made spotting them in the crowd a bit more difficult.

    Would a small flyer with a table plan be viable or even just something posted on the website?

    Dark Archive 5/5 ⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Minnesota—Minneapolis aka Silbeg

    Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:


    Heh .. I'm the wrong person as I have no control over that and won't be at GenCon next year. I would email Jon or Bob or Todd about it.. or put it in here

    Sure... that's cool.

    So, I will admit I don't know how this immense task was done, but what I would do would be to label the mustering location relatively generically (iconic1, iconic2, etc) and then, once you have the actual order, change iconic1, iconic2, etc., to be the actual iconics in the proper order.

    Of course, this would probably only work if you were able to print out the mustering sheets after the iconic banners were put up. However, I would think that it would be a relatively easy thing to do (even doing a global search and replace on a word doc would be relatively painless). Of course, that also assume that there are people who can sort the printouts, and all, so may not be as feasible as I would hope (I'd volunteer to help do this next year, for sure!)

    Another thing is that I would probably try and randomize the order of the GMs on the sheets, so that it isn't always the person whose name starts with an A that always gets his table mustered. I'd also try and organize them to have the author's name ALWAYS be on top (I really felt bad for Sam Polak on Thursday afternoon when his table didn't make).

    Please note, however, that I thought that the mustering went amazingly well throughout the convention. If things went as well as they did this year for future Gen Cons, I cannot see any complaints. I am just making suggestions that might help things work even more smoothly!

    Again, all Kudos to the organizers and volunteers that made this an AMAZING Gen Con!!!

    Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

    thistledown wrote:

    I noticed as a player for Paths We Choose, that most people I talked to didn't know about the 3 factions criteria before-hand. So when players were milling around pre-mustering, it would have been good to inform them they needed to get into groups of 3 or less factions.

    When my table didn't make for the 8am session on Thursday, I took the opportunity to go find out how mustering would be done for Paths that evening. Since the scenario had specific instructions on how to muster, I'd assumed we would be following those guidelines, but wanted to know how things were being communicated to the marshalls and players. I was very surprised to hear nothing special would be done for mustering, and it was up to the players (who didn't know how factions played into things) to muster themselves.

    The result was the start of a joke among DM's throughout that day. "What do you do if you get four factions at your table? Play the other three so everyone will be equally disappointed."

    Not communicating to the players how factions played into things was probably the biggest flaw for PFS all weekend.

    Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Tennessee—Memphis aka Thrawn007

    Michael Brock wrote:
    andreww wrote:
    On the issue of table assignments how practical would it be for the numbers to be printed on the tablecloths? The signs were helpful but were often removed to make space.
    The table cloths belong to the convention center so we can't print on them. It's why I had stand up, double sidedtable tents, as well as single sided table tents with the highest level of sticky side printed for every table. I'm not sure what you mean by removed because on Sunday, every table still had its sticky table tent still attached.

    This was our fault as GM's actually. Although I did end up at a table Saturday that no longer had the double sided standup, all tables had the number on the center of the table on the tablecloth. However, since a lot of us set up our maps and dungeons ahead of time, it meant we buried our tablecloth numbers. (I know I did.) At tables where the sign was still there, I tried to put it up on top of stuff so it would show better. The table that didn't have one required me to confirm to the players they were in the right place.

    Liberty's Edge 4/5 Venture-Captain, Indiana—Northern

    After my tables were seated, I put the standing table tent on the floor, or on the extra chair next to me. After I packed my things up when the game was done, I put it back on the table for the next game.

    4/5

    The only (very minor!) comment I have to make is that on the GM schedule, blue was listed as "BL", which was ambiguous with black. While this was sorted out pretty quickly, the ambiguity did mean that I accidentally set up my first table and had to move after realizing my mistake. Otherwise, everything went really for me!

    Shadow Lodge 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵ Venture-Captain, Indiana—Southern aka CanisDirus

    I *loved* the changes from last year to this year (and I loved the changes last year from the year before) tons! It almost pains me to even mention two things that I'd like to see improved, because 99% of everything was top-notch and amazing.

    1 - The music during specials...for big dramatic things like the battle horns during Siege of the Diamond City or the "attention pathfinders" notes during Legacy of the Stonelords, it was okay...but there were times during Legacy and Bonekeep when some of my players had even more trouble hearing me (or couldn't at all) over a crescendo in the music (some of my players even clapped during Bonekeep when the music got turned way down at one point). I still like it, but maybe doing volume checks during an earlier slot before the special might help?

    2 - I'm not sure if this got mentioned above, but I had two tables in a row not fire on Thursday. Fortunately one of my backup scenarios was in need, so I got players, but some GMs for the same scenario as I had ran both slots while myself and at least one other had no players for either one. I know nothing about how the mustering sheets are done, but is there a way in the future to mark which GMs were present but had no players from the previous slot? I'm sure some didn't mind having multiple slots off in a row, but I came to run games and suck players into PFS :)

    Again, these are tiny minor things - all in all I loved how everything was organized this year!

    The Exchange

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Thrawn007 wrote:
    Michael Brock wrote:
    andreww wrote:
    On the issue of table assignments how practical would it be for the numbers to be printed on the tablecloths? The signs were helpful but were often removed to make space.
    The table cloths belong to the convention center so we can't print on them. It's why I had stand up, double sidedtable tents, as well as single sided table tents with the highest level of sticky side printed for every table. I'm not sure what you mean by removed because on Sunday, every table still had its sticky table tent still attached.
    This was our fault as GM's actually. Although I did end up at a table Saturday that no longer had the double sided standup, all tables had the number on the center of the table on the tablecloth. However, since a lot of us set up our maps and dungeons ahead of time, it meant we buried our tablecloth numbers. (I know I did.) At tables where the sign was still there, I tried to put it up on top of stuff so it would show better. The table that didn't have one required me to confirm to the players they were in the right place.

    Balloon with the table number written on in marker tied to one of the chairs? I wasn't there, so I don't know the numbering scheme, but you could also use different colours for groups of ten (1-9 red, 10-19 blue, etc.)

    Here ends my random thought of the day.

    Sovereign Court 5/5 Venture-Captain, Canada—Ontario—Ottawa aka The ShadowShackleton

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I like a lot of the suggestions in this thread to improve but let me take a moment to say, as a GM who has been involved every year since Season Zero in nearly every role, that I was ASTOUNDED by how much better run things were this year than in the past. Bravo to Bob, Jon, Todd and the entire HQ team.

    It felt better organized than when we were only a tiny room of tables so many years ago, and the number of tables involved was staggering.

    1/5

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    Thoughts on Mustering, Organization, and whatnot (New Player Perspective)

    1. There was some confusion Friday morning about BL(ue) and BL(ack) as table area identifiers. We were mustered to the wrong table at first, but fortunately got sorted out. One of the volunteers suggested PU(rple) as a possible color to use next year. Whatever means to prevent that confusion could go a long way.

    2. Unlike some other 'living' campaigns, despite showing up with generic tickets due to events being sold out/lines being too long to pick up tickets on-site, there was a clear and sometimes painful effort on the behalf of mustering officers to get players to a table to play.

    3. Some modules seemed a bit weighted against pregenerated characters, which feels rather counter-intuitive. If new players to the campaign are playing pregenerated characters and they cannot succeed in a module with them, this will drive them away from the campaign and lead to bad PR.

    4. Both events I made it to (Paths, Stonelords) were pretty amazing, and in the case of Stonelords the dedication of the GM helped compensate for a table that was not working well in terms of chemistry. In Paths I ended up using a Slayer pregen, and that was an eye-opener to a new class so much that I used my free 1st level rebuild to move a two-weapon warrior to that class. Huge thanks to the pregen character distributor for pointing that one out to me.

    5. The requirement of 2 coins for a prize felt a bit clunky and contrived, but understandable. After all, from an organizational standpoint folks don't want people to have piles and oodles of things that they may never use.

    6. If someone has a concern about a module that was run at the convention, what is the best way to get in touch with the author/editor/creator/overall arbiter to recommend possible ways to improve it for play while maintaining both the spirit and the challenge of it?

    Enjoyable weekend, if a bit exhausting. Volunteers, Judges, and Admin staff clearly were putting themselves on the line with this one. Great work!

    Grand Lodge 4/5

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

    Thoughts on Mustering, Organization, and whatnot (New Player Perspective)

    1. There was some confusion Friday morning about BL(ue) and BL(ack) as table area identifiers. We were mustered to the wrong table at first, but fortunately got sorted out. One of the volunteers suggested PU(rple) as a possible color to use next year. Whatever means to prevent that confusion could go a long way.

    Tablecloths are provided by Gen Con/ICCLOS. We have very little control over what colors are provided.

    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


    2. Unlike some other 'living' campaigns, despite showing up with generic tickets due to events being sold out/lines being too long to pick up tickets on-site, there was a clear and sometimes painful effort on the behalf of mustering officers to get players to a table to play.

    We try to make sure everyone that wants to play, gets to play. That's what we're there for, after all.

    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


    3. Some modules seemed a bit weighted against pregenerated characters, which feels rather counter-intuitive. If new players to the campaign are playing pregenerated characters and they cannot succeed in a module with them, this will drive them away from the campaign and lead to bad PR.

    This isn't really a Gen Con organizational thing.

    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


    5. The requirement of 2 coins for a prize felt a bit clunky and contrived, but understandable. After all, from an organizational standpoint folks don't want people to have piles and oodles of things that they may never use.

    It's always been 2 coins... the more you play, the better your chances. The way the prize table works you walk away with something (at least a boon) every time you roll at Gen Con. That means that you get at least 5 boons for playing all weekend long. That's a *lot* of boons.

    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


    6. If someone has a concern about a module that was run at the convention, what is the best way to get in touch with the author/editor/creator/overall arbiter to recommend possible ways to improve it for play while maintaining both the spirit and the challenge of it?

    There's a review section for each scenario in the Paizo store. John Compton, the developer for Pathfinder Society, reads all of those.

    Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


    Enjoyable weekend, if a bit exhausting. Volunteers, Judges, and Admin staff clearly were putting themselves on the line with this one. Great work!

    Thanks. I think I can speak for my fellow volunteers when I say that players having a great experience is our primary goal when dedicate our time at Gen Con.

    Shadow Lodge

    Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
    Jonathan Cary wrote:


    It's always been 2 coins... the more you play, the better your chances. The way the prize table works you walk away with something (at least a boon) every time you roll at Gen Con. That means that you get at least 5 boons for playing all weekend long. That's a *lot* of boons.

    You can also spam quests and get 5 or 6 tokens a slot. I know a guy who played each quest 3 times for a total of 18 tokens, that's 9 boons.

    Back in "the day" it used to be more difficult to get prizes. the two tokens=one boon method has only been in place for the last 3 years.

    4/5

    Paths We Choose mustering: I know we (marshals) were not told ahead of time about the mustering requirements (something to know for the next time a scenario like this happens). I knew there was something going on because my housemate had prepped it. Then when I asked a couple of GMs what was the best plan (and got a couple of different answers), I tried to communicate that to the other marshals, but this was only moment before the players came in.

    4/5

    Having marshaled last year & this year… this year was a lot smoother.

    The shirts (made me look like death warmed over) did a great job of distinguishing the HQ staff from the GM staff.

    The different time slots for HQ and plays slots worked in that the HQ staff wasn't switching at the same time as the GMs, which also helped make things easier for us.

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