Official(?) Gen Con 2016 Feedback


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Silver Crusade 3/5

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Some of the ACG complaints have been noted here already and I spent all of my time over at the ACG tables - that being said, I would 100% volunteer for ACG again because I do love the ACG game and I feel that it's been one of Paizo's most under-represented products.

Some good notes -
1. SO much better responses to the ACG in general and an amazing response to ACG at the convention.
2. Actually being peripherally part of a special.

Some improvements:
1. Better overlap between the Demo's and the ACG. I got a lot of people that though the ACG would play like the demo.
2. Give the GM's time to 'build' pregen decks, since the ones up there are loaner decks and spending 30-45 minutes teaching deck building in a 2 hour slot is just not great for players.
3. Let GM's GM? Cause I also felt really bad that I would basically seat players and say, "Now are you good to go?" because that's really something they can do at home, on their own. It's not a good experience or to draw people BACK to the event for more play. Why pay for something you can do for free?
4. The GM's were way harried. Most of us in purple shirts needed a tie-dye purple and orange shirt because we were 1/2 HQ and 1/2 GM - this made for an interesting experience.
5. Better expectations for what being an ACG card game person entails.

I know that Kevin Hanley, the single sole orange shirt we had and our coordinator took back a bunch of feedback as well so I can basically leave it at that.

TL:DR - I think that there was an under-anticipation for card gaming and it was understaffed this year, but lets not basically make people pay to run their own games at a convention that is entirely pay to play.

Re Boons: When I handed my tokens out to players, I made sure to tell them to ask for the ACG boons since nobody at the prize table was asking (something they DID do the year before).

3/5

I read as of a week ago, there were only 150 or so tables not reported yet, and we should wait. I see that one of my tables hasn't been reported yet. Still in progress or is it time to poke the bear?

Note: As others have mentioned, this is way better than in years past when it took months to get far fewer GenCon tables reported.

Grand Lodge 2/5

With regards to the ACG, as an RPG player and someone who hasn't participated in the ACG organized play, when I was walking through the ball room I saw the ACG booth with a bunch of boxes on it and I tried to ask what they were. The only response I could get out of the people was "just go sit at your table and we'll have your pregens to you shortly." I get being busy, but with four people sitting at the table it would've been nice if one of them could take a second to listen to my actual question and explain to me what it was. Or at least acknowledge that they heard what I was asking instead of assuming they knew what I was asking.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

claudekennilol wrote:
With regards to the ACG, as an RPG player and someone who hasn't participated in the ACG organized play, when I was walking through the ball room I saw the ACG booth with a bunch of boxes on it and I tried to ask what they were. The only response I could get out of the people was "just go sit at your table and we'll have your pregens to you shortly." I get being busy, but with four people sitting at the table it would've been nice if one of them could take a second to listen to my actual question and explain to me what it was. Or at least acknowledge that they heard what I was asking instead of assuming they knew what I was asking.

The initial response to pretty much every question I asked the volunteers at the ACG area was "go stand over there and we'll call you." Note that I saw the exact same volunteers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so I imagine they could have been getting pretty burned out.

ACG might need to look into an improved marshaling process. By next year there will be 4.5 entire campaigns and over 100 possible scenarios for the card game.

Grand Lodge 5/5 Venture-Captain, Arizona—Phoenix aka TriOmegaZero

Swiftbrook wrote:
I read as of a week ago, there were only 150 or so tables not reported yet, and we should wait. I see that one of my tables hasn't been reported yet. Still in progress or is it time to poke the bear?

I'd recommend giving Todd a few more days considering all the flight problems. Hopefully he can give us an update and then we can report problems.

Silver Crusade

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Swiftbrook wrote:
I read as of a week ago, there were only 150 or so tables not reported yet, and we should wait. I see that one of my tables hasn't been reported yet. Still in progress or is it time to poke the bear?
I'd recommend giving Todd a few more days considering all the flight problems. Hopefully he can give us an update and then we can report problems.

It's only my Sunday morning session that's missing, so I think they just didn't get to the sessions from the end of the convention yet. I know we all needed time to recover, so it wouldn't surprise me if it takes another week or more to get around to this, after all the other post-GenCon stuff that needs to get done (laundry, catching up on sleep, etc :P ).

Lantern Lodge

If I'm ever scheduled at Black 20 and it's in the same exact spot. I'll remember to bring a jacket as it was the only time I was ever cold outside of my room.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Speaking as a player, and one returning to Gen Con and Pathfinder after two years away, I found this year to run smoother than I remember from my last attendances. The timing of the slots worked out well for me, giving me time to eat and hit the Dealers Hall for an bit before the next game. The temperature was cold, but better to cold than to hot, as I will just have to remember to bring a warmer shirt or coat next year.

Quibbles? The banners are a well-beaten horse by this point, though as I was there for every slot save Friday's special I had little issue by the second day. One thing is that the last Gen Con I attended there were water jugs inside the ballroom, though I only really felt their lack on Saturday night after all the concessions had closed.

I will say that I wasn't entirely crazy about the boons give away at the dice rolling table. A lot of them weren't all that useful to any of my characters and most are going to end up forgotten in the back of my character binder - for most I'd have sooner had the tokens back as a souvenir. Possibly drop the number of boons and give dice or some other tchotchke for low numbers?

1/5

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Son of the Veterinarian wrote:

I will say that I wasn't entirely crazy about the boons give away at the dice rolling table. A lot of them weren't all that useful to any of my characters and most are going to end up forgotten in the back of my character binder - for most I'd have sooner had the tokens back as a souvenir. Possibly drop the number of boons and give dice or some other tchotchke for low numbers?

I ended up with two Boon 1's.

Really not interested in them, wish there was some way to 'confirm a fumble' and then maybe the station person gets to *pick* which boon a player gets or something, or a special chart?

Also, different tangent, I kind of mentioned it in passing, but should bring up here.

Charity Auction: AWESOME STUFF!

Downside: By the time I made it to the auction tables, everything I even had a remote bit of interest in was *well outside* of my bidding range.

While it was cool to see that kind of bidding, it was also once again a bit disheartening to see that there was no way I could contribute via auction short of either A. Bankrupting myself OR B. Playing 'spoiler' and jacking the bids up for other people that really wanted a thing.

But both of those options are against the Community Standards, or should be.

Suggestion Because if a situation is highlighted, there should always be at least an idea of how to address it...:

Have a dozen or so 'low-cap' bids, with unique qualifiers (ie, one can only bid for one item in this category, and then the top five unique bidders get a given Boon)

OR 'elective bidding' during the auction... by 'electing' a bid, a bidder is guaranteeing if they don't win the bid they are still going to contribute their bid?

Perhaps a Boon could be allocated to something along those lines for those that are attending GenCon on a budget/GMing/Volunteering?

Alternatively, could a 'Chinese Auction' be a viable possibility, using wooden tokens with a piece of paper taped to them for the PFS # of a bidder?

5/5 ⦵⦵⦵

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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Alternatively, could a 'Chinese Auction' be a viable possibility,...

You could do a few of them as a raffle instead of an auction? Limit 10 dollars/ticket per pfs number for those of us donating blood to save up for conventions.

1/5

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Alternatively, could a 'Chinese Auction' be a viable possibility,...

You could do a few of them as a raffle instead of an auction? Limit 10 dollars/ticket per pfs number for those of us donating blood to save up for conventions.

A 'Chinese Auction' is a combination of Raffle and Auction. A given number of tickets are put in (up to designated limit) and then there's a drawing from the tickets.

Silver Crusade 3/5

ryric wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:
With regards to the ACG, as an RPG player and someone who hasn't participated in the ACG organized play, when I was walking through the ball room I saw the ACG booth with a bunch of boxes on it and I tried to ask what they were. The only response I could get out of the people was "just go sit at your table and we'll have your pregens to you shortly." I get being busy, but with four people sitting at the table it would've been nice if one of them could take a second to listen to my actual question and explain to me what it was. Or at least acknowledge that they heard what I was asking instead of assuming they knew what I was asking.

The initial response to pretty much every question I asked the volunteers at the ACG area was "go stand over there and we'll call you." Note that I saw the exact same volunteers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so I imagine they could have been getting pretty burned out.

ACG might need to look into an improved marshaling process. By next year there will be 4.5 entire campaigns and over 100 possible scenarios for the card game.

By improved marshaling process, you mean there needs to be one! There was no marshaling process at all (again see that we had one orange shirt allotted for all of ACG). This was one of our chief complaints.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
cyzzane wrote:
ryric wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:
With regards to the ACG, as an RPG player and someone who hasn't participated in the ACG organized play, when I was walking through the ball room I saw the ACG booth with a bunch of boxes on it and I tried to ask what they were. The only response I could get out of the people was "just go sit at your table and we'll have your pregens to you shortly." I get being busy, but with four people sitting at the table it would've been nice if one of them could take a second to listen to my actual question and explain to me what it was. Or at least acknowledge that they heard what I was asking instead of assuming they knew what I was asking.

The initial response to pretty much every question I asked the volunteers at the ACG area was "go stand over there and we'll call you." Note that I saw the exact same volunteers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so I imagine they could have been getting pretty burned out.

ACG might need to look into an improved marshaling process. By next year there will be 4.5 entire campaigns and over 100 possible scenarios for the card game.

By improved marshaling process, you mean there needs to be one! There was no marshaling process at all (again see that we had one orange shirt allotted for all of ACG). This was one of our chief complaints.

I thought the seating process went fairly well given your limited ability to project who would show up with a group and who would show up alone, as well as the somewhat random character level distribution everyone would show up with.

I was just happy you were still making every effort to seat generics, as I'd been unable to get real tickets to two of the scenarios I wanted to play.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Of all the years I have played Pathfinder Society at Gencon, this year ran the smoothest of all and seemed to have the fewest hiccups.

I am a player who only plays PFS at Gencon, and have been playing since Year 0. There is not a solid or consistent PFS community where I am located, and I have gotten used to being there for the big season closers and big season openers each year and all of the gravitas that goes along with the experience!

I assume marshaling inside the ballroom rather than outside of the ballroom was a necessity, but it was a very good change because waiting outside in that hallway with the doors to the ballroom closed was always my least favorite part. At least now we can marshal in the ballroom and I don't feel like I am just arterial plaque in the great Gencon circulatory system. I didn't have a major issue with marshaling beneath the banners because I am familiar with the icons and it has been that way for some time now, but seeing what others have said here, yes, I can see how it would be easier for people newer to Pathfinder. Especially when the names of some of the iconics can sound very similar to one another in a loud ballroom when someone shouts which name you should be standing under and you have no idea how it might be spelled.

I had no complaints about the temperature, though I did notice it was cooler. My friend did have this complaints, however, during one of the morning games. He complained of being very cold and wished he had brought a jacket. I just advised him to be prepared next year with one and it won't be a problem!

My friend was very upset, however, when he went to the boons table and confirmed a crit and got to select his boon. Having seen the 2 #17 boons I have acquired on 2 lucky rolls, he asked for the same thing and was told that they were out and he would have to pick another. He complained vocally to the rest of us about this being unreasonable and unfair because it should be easy to reproduce another one in some way, or at the very least to have a disclaimer posted somewhere that each boon is a "while supplies last". He must be lawful alignment. Had the same happened to me, I would also have been upset. I would suggest one of those two for following years, either being prepared to reproduce if you run out or just making it clear in a disclaimer somewhere that there are a limited number of every type of boon.

The special events were great! I adored Thursday's in particular, playing as Aspis jerks. You made an excellent decision to prerecord a lot of the dialogue for Friday's event, but that said, maybe it actually lost a little of the dramatic flair when I don't have a madman laughing and shaking his fists and screaming at us all. Pipe dream: in the future, I hope to see costuming, orchestra set, and a live opera performed in the ballroom during one of the events.

Saturday's event was strange, but I am going to chalk that up to personal taste. While I see the connections of the setting and the characters to the overall story, I felt strangely disconnected from it all the same. But I am a boring player who almost always plays humans who concern themselves with the normal details of every day life just as much as adventuring. It may also be that we were at a table in the middle of a bunch of other tables who drowned out our poor GM, who didn't know how to project his voice so I could hear him, and who in his reading of the material started reading right out of the italicized text and reading the GM text to us all at the table. And also I think we all let con exhaustion get to us and the end of the event got silly and we couldn't stop laughing at the most ridiculous stuff. So...I still had fun!

The new schedule was great for me as a player. In previous years I always felt super rushed, so I can only imagine GMs felt even more rushed than I did as a player. A few of the GMs I had at games told us that the new schedule was a lot nicer this year because they actually had time to unwind a little between sessions. Happy gamemaster, happy game.

Overall very positive review of the year, with just a couple of small areas that might be improved.

I do want to give a shout out about something I witnessed, however. A very big kudos to a particular orange shirt HQ person who was marshaling at the beginning of Friday night's event. I hope this orange shirt is on the forums and reads this thread and recognizes himself here, because what he did made me very proud to claim I am a dedicated Paizo fan.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of marshaling pathfinders, while I was standing aside and waiting for one of my friends to arrive and lead him to the table we had been assigned, a gentleman approached the orange shirt and explained to him that he had just found out about Pathfinder Society that weekend and had heard what a good family experience it was. In fact, he had only been able to acquire generic tickets for his family (six members altogether, I believe) and he had been trying to get his family involved in an event ever since Thursday morning with no success. He said he felt like they were being ignored and the frustration was clear in his voice, especially when he talked about how excited his kids were to be a part of the gaming table experience.

HQ at first told him where the generics line was, but the father protested a bit longer and then HQ said, "I understand. Wait right over there, I promise that I will get a table together for your family."

I ran into the father the next day in the dealer hall so I asked him whether we had found a table for him at the event. He told me that the HQ guy got them set up and they had a great time and the kids couldn't stop talking about all of the cool things their characters could do! I was happy to see someone make an exception for a family that wanted to game together, and especially to help younger players see how fun our hobby can be.

Sovereign Court Venture-Lieutenant, California—San Francisco Bay Area South & West aka Yasumoto

I was a Tier 5 volunteer and ran two games of the RPG (Wounded Wisp and Twisted Circle, both of which I've run before which was nice) and GMed the first slot of the ACG as well as the ACG Special. Being my first Gen Con, I wish I'd ignored the advice, and signed up for more slots to get in more Pathfinder!

The emails sent out ahead of time were quite helpful, and I knew what to expect from the RPG side of things. I did convince a friend to try out PFS Sunday morning, and we were able to get a ticket for #8-01 the night before and get seated together which was awesome. He had a great experience (I did as well!) and throughout the weekend I was impressed by how friendly and supportive everyone was.

The ACG is not yet the well-oiled machine that the RPG side is, and that showed. The first slot was a bit chaotic, as I made a few trips up to HQ with many large print requests. I would be very interested in a "Slot 0" that took place on Wednesday which allowed volunteers to sign up for various pre-convention setup tasks. Having more structure around setup beforehand as well as mailing out ACG-specific instructions would significantly reduce confusion and allow GMs to GM instead of muster or organize. Some potential checkboxes for next year:
* Ensure Pre-Gen decks are created
* Sort printouts before the convention (Pre-Gen character sheets, scenarios)
* Scenarios are laminated and bundled to be quickly handed out
* Share a formalized process for loaning pre-gen boxes with all ACG volunteers ahead of time

I'd also be interested in some pre-convention planning events. It'd be awesome to get all ACG volunteers together in a Google Hangout to walk through some of the above, help walk through expected setup requirements, answer questions, and get the group to put names to faces ahead of time. A timezone-friendly group chat might be tough to coordinate ahead of time, but facilitating the conversation as soon as possible will help the convention go more smoothly.

During the convention, it was occasionally difficult to find people, get questions answered, or hear about time changes for events. A few volunteers gave me different times to show up before the ACG Special to help setup, and having a way for head volunteers or organizers to reach people (Facebook Messenger group, Slack team for Gen Con volunteers, iMessage thread, etc.) would have facilitated conversations and better planning.

I also didn't know about the GM meeting on Sunday, but I may have missed it in the emails that were sent out. Putting that on the schedule (maybe as a "Slot -1") would help me remember that I could attend to share thoughts in person and see everyone one last time before heading out.

Lastly, I'd like to emphasize how amazing the convention was. I loved meeting Pathfinders from all over the globe and get in so much gaming- can't wait for next year!

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