Paizocon Blues (Pathfinder Society Not Helping with Next Gen)


PaizoCon General Discussion

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

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I’m seriously bummed about my pathfinder society experience here at Paizcon. I take some of the blame for not signing up for events in advance, but given that tickets are sold at the door, I didn’t realize it was 100% mandatory. I came with 2 boys, ages 14 and 12, just getting into the game and excited to play. Did they get to play? I’m glad you asked...

Day 1, I show up in the morning and there’s only 1 table with 2 seats open. That’s fine, the boys play, I sit and watch.

In the evening, my daughter decides she wants to play. So I go down and explain. I have three kids, very excited to play, plus myself, which makes 4 - basically a table ready to go can they please make sure that we have a GM for us in the morning. I’m told I can’t sign up in advance, but not a big deal. They will find us a game in the morning.

We arrive in the morning. Nope, no game for us. Can they ask a GM to come help (maybe one of you lovely scheduling people can help)? Nope. Can you maybe see if some of he other players will switch tables so that we have 4 seats? Nope, this other group has 4 people who want to be together.

Okay, fine, we will take 2 seats at 2 tables. After we’ve begun, I learn that the boys are replaying the same scenario they played in yesterday.

Fine. Day 3, we show up again (back down to 3). No seats available unless we want to play the same game the boys played the past 2 times.

I guess we play our own game. Im not sure what I was expecting, but some support would have been nice. Especially when I’m showing up every single morning and getting the same dog and pony show about how there are no seats.


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Four last minute sign ups is pretty rough for anyone to organize around. You are asking for an additional GM and an additional table to become immediately available.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

RealAlchemy wrote:
Four last minute sign ups is pretty rough for anyone to organize around. You are asking for an additional GM and an additional table to become immediately available.

Fair enough, except it wasn’t last minute. I came by the night before and told them what I needed and then they sat a group of four over us.

Grand Lodge

That still theoritically falls under the last minute thing considering he size of the convention. It is not like the weekly event at the shop when it might be possible to organize Singles or couples would easily be prioritized over a group of 4, or the group might be asked to play separately off each other.

To get a GM available in that late notice is a low probability the same way. Some of the staff was probably a little optimistic about finding a table, but even when showing every day, expecting not to is more accurate than hoping to be able to play together. I would myself expecter the latter I warn, the latter I'm attended to in all cases.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sebastian wrote:
Im not sure what I was expecting, but some support would have been nice. Especially when I’m showing up every single morning and getting the same dog and pony show about how there are no seats.

If I recall correctly, there was some difficulty in getting enough volunteer GMs just to cover the people who had reserved a seat. (I may be thinking about GenCon).

GMs are in short supply at conventions. Paizo doesn't let inexperienced people GM, so they have to find trained, validated volunteers who they can count on to show up and deliver a fun experience.

There's only so many of those people who want to skip stuff at a con in order to GM for other people. For some GMs in regions where they are the only regular GM, Paizo con is their main chance to get to play with a GM who is at least as skilled as they are.

If they're having trouble finding enough people to cover all the slots for people who registered ahead of time, I'm not at all surprised that they weren't able to create a special table just for your team, no matter how often you showed up asking for one.


CrystalSeas wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
Im not sure what I was expecting, but some support would have been nice. Especially when I’m showing up every single morning and getting the same dog and pony show about how there are no seats.

If I recall correctly, there was some difficulty in getting enough volunteer GMs just to cover the people who had reserved a seat. (I may be thinking about GenCon).

GMs are in short supply at conventions. Paizo doesn't let inexperienced people GM, so they have to find trained, validated volunteers who they can count on to show up and deliver a fun experience.

There's only so many of those people who want to skip stuff at a con in order to GM for other people. For some GMs in regions where they are the only regular GM, Paizo con is their main chance to get to play with a GM who is at least as skilled as they are.

If they're having trouble finding enough people to cover all the slots for people who registered ahead of time, I'm not at all surprised that they weren't able to create a special table just for your team, no matter how often you showed up asking for one.

If there was a shortage of GMs, I am surprised that some very experienced and skilled GMs in my area were not taken. If they were out of table space though, there is very little organizers can do about it.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
RealAlchemy wrote:
[ If there was a shortage of GMs, I am surprised that some very experienced and skilled GMs in my area were not taken. If they were out of table space though, there is very little organizers can do about it.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Good news. New volunteers being added to the GM pool will allow us to add some tickets to the catalog an increase some availability for a few PFS events including some of the specials. Overall, we are still short GMs especially for Starfinder where we need some significant increase in number or risk having to cancel some events.

It was GenCon that I was thinking of. Apparently the problem with Paizo Con was the number of tables they could fit into the rooms being used for official games. There are safety limits on how many tables can be in various spaces.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

These sessions are planned weeks in advance.

The night before is certainly last minute.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

I see the society’s quality of experience and commitment to bringing new players into the game continues electronically. I apologize for being a beginner and not realizing how far in advance I needed to plan and provide notice. I would’ve thought reaching out to beginners would be something important for the society, but I will take my bad experience and self inflicted injuries elsewhere.


Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Sebastian wrote:
I would’ve thought reaching out to beginners would be something important for the society

It's so important that they run specific beginner tables at the conventions just for kids.

But lots and lots of older gamers want to introduce a new generation to the game. You aren't alone in that desire. Those tables fill up quickly too.


Sebastian wrote:
I see the society’s quality of experience and commitment to bringing new players into the game continues electronically. I apologize for being a beginner and not realizing how far in advance I needed to plan and provide notice. I would’ve thought reaching out to beginners would be something important for the society, but I will take my bad experience and self inflicted injuries elsewhere.

Being upset with them does not change the number of tables one can fit into a room or the number of available GMs. Telling people who did sign up weeks in advance that they have to move to accomodate someone else is not going to be fair to them. What do you suggest as an alternative? The best I can think of (which would have to be a future arrangement rather than for this year) is a to have a certain number of slots and/or tables unavailable for online sign up and reserved for people to sign up on site. The problem with doing that is you will have a certain number of volunteer GMs who will then not know if they are needed until very short notice.

While I am not attending PaizoCon, I have been involved in volunteering for PFS at other conventions, and from what I have seen it is a lot easier to find a free slot for one or two players than it is for four who want to be together.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Sebastian wrote:
I would’ve thought reaching out to beginners would be something important for the society

Honestly, I disagree. We're going into the final Season of Pathfinder Society as we know it. Prioritizing beginners for a soon-to-be-discontinued game doesn't make much sense from any point of view. You'd want to cater to your existing fanbase so they return for the sequel.

But I bet there will be an overabundance of game play and accommodations for the 2nd Edition Playtest at GenCon this year. Everybody will be a beginner there.

Dark Archive

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Nefreet wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
I would’ve thought reaching out to beginners would be something important for the society

Honestly, I disagree. We're going into the final Season of Pathfinder Society as we know it. Prioritizing beginners for a soon-to-be-discontinued game doesn't make much sense from any point of view. You'd want to cater to your existing fanbase so they return for the sequel.

But I bet there will be an overabundance of game play and accommodations for the 2nd Edition Playtest at GenCon this year. Everybody will be a beginner there.

No disrespect, but I find this comment biased and not correct. Seeing as 1E will be continued, this is a good time for new people to test the waters for now and then jump in full force when 2E playtest is done + release.

I do hope you will continue to try and play, and possibly pick up GM'ing Sebastian.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

As a beginner, he may not understand that GMs for conventions are volunteers rather than paid staff. He may not realize that table specific tickets fill before and at priority above generic tickets. He may not realize that marshals have a different task than GMs and one that continues past seating tables.

I can understand his confusion, but what he's experienced is a function of conventions rather than Paizo not supporting beginners.

Grand Lodge Premier Event Coordinator

Nefreet wrote:
But I bet there will be an overabundance of game play and accommodations for the 2nd Edition Playtest at GenCon this year. Everybody will be a beginner there.

With a significant shortage of GMs, I doubt we will have the flexibility to accommodate much


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I agree with most of the posts here, but I will say that when I attended PaizoCon last year, I was surprised by how many of the sessions were the same two scenarios being run over and over again (The Confirmation and House of Harmonious Wisdom). It worked okay for me because I hadn't played much PFS, but there was a lot less variation in the offerings than I would have expected.

Liberty's Edge

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Communication was pretty poor from the organization about when and how to set up/purchase event tickets. Another friend new to Paizocon was pretty ticked off that she wasn't sent notice when events went live and many of the games she wanted were already sold out when she finally went looking for answers.

Paizocon is Paizo's Con. Really, this (these forums) is the proper place to express dissatisfaction.

I'm sorry your experience was muddled by poor organization, insufficient scheduling of GMs for the number of (door) tickets sold, and lack of communication, Sebastian. Moreso for your kids' experience and any negativity it generates towards our community.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
Edwin Wessels wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
Sebastian wrote:
I would’ve thought reaching out to beginners would be something important for the society

Honestly, I disagree. We're going into the final Season of Pathfinder Society as we know it. Prioritizing beginners for a soon-to-be-discontinued game doesn't make much sense from any point of view. You'd want to cater to your existing fanbase so they return for the sequel.

But I bet there will be an overabundance of game play and accommodations for the 2nd Edition Playtest at GenCon this year. Everybody will be a beginner there.

No disrespect, but I find this comment biased and not correct. Seeing as 1E will be continued, this is a good time for new people to test the waters for now and then jump in full force when 2E playtest is done + release.

It's always a good time, but it's not a priority.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Reckless wrote:
I'm sorry your experience was muddled by poor organization, insufficient scheduling of GMs for the number of (door) tickets sold

To be fair, he was seated for each ticket purchased, he just wasn't able to get 3+ seats together with door tickets. It's a bummer to go as a family and not get to play as a family, but that is a situation that requites table specific tickets and early muster. Granted, that's not something I knew before attending my first convention.

Grand Lodge Premier Event Coordinator

Reckless wrote:
insufficient scheduling of GMs for the number of (door) tickets sold

I can agree with some of the commentary — there are some things that could be done better, but ^^this^^ is not really how GMs are determined. Usually, the venue determines the maximum table count and we schedule up to that. When we're sold out, we're sold out. Generally, only two things limit tickets/seating, maximum table capacity and the availability of GM resources. I'm just speculating, but if all the tables were full, its not as simple as just adding GMs. And if all the tables were not being utilized, it was likely because they ran out of GMs. Course there is always the chance some tables were cancelled due to lack of ticket pre-sales, but that would be pretty rare for a Paizo sponsored event. We usually don't cancel those tables in hopes of getting walkup players. We can always release GMs to form tables to play if we don't.


Bob Jonquet wrote:
. Generally, only two things limit tickets/seating, maximum table capacity and the availability of GM resources.

Yeah having talked to people who organize and run PFS for infinitely larger conventions than Paizocon maximum table capacity is a major sticking point. Even if you have GMs ready to play its not like you can't just set up a table because you might be violating a building code.


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Sebastian wrote:

I’m seriously bummed about my pathfinder society experience here at Paizcon. I take some of the blame for not signing up for events in advance, but given that tickets are sold at the door, I didn’t realize it was 100% mandatory. I came with 2 boys, ages 14 and 12, just getting into the game and excited to play. Did they get to play? I’m glad you asked...

Day 1, I show up in the morning and there’s only 1 table with 2 seats open. That’s fine, the boys play, I sit and watch.

In the evening, my daughter decides she wants to play. So I go down and explain. I have three kids, very excited to play, plus myself, which makes 4 - basically a table ready to go can they please make sure that we have a GM for us in the morning. I’m told I can’t sign up in advance, but not a big deal. They will find us a game in the morning.

We arrive in the morning. Nope, no game for us. Can they ask a GM to come help (maybe one of you lovely scheduling people can help)? Nope. Can you maybe see if some of he other players will switch tables so that we have 4 seats? Nope, this other group has 4 people who want to be together.

Okay, fine, we will take 2 seats at 2 tables. After we’ve begun, I learn that the boys are replaying the same scenario they played in yesterday.

Fine. Day 3, we show up again (back down to 3). No seats available unless we want to play the same game the boys played the past 2 times.

I guess we play our own game. Im not sure what I was expecting, but some support would have been nice. Especially when I’m showing up every single morning and getting the same dog and pony show about how there are no seats.

Really sorry to hear about your issues. It was my first Paizo con too and I share many of your frustrations.

This is an awful first experience and I hope you and the kids try again next year and at other shows between now and then. If you do try again next year ask around on the forums ahead of time. they were very helpful getting me set up when I asked for help (making some of the responses here very surprising)


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I am sorry that you and your children had this bad experience.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

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PaizoCon is seated the same way every year. Players with tickets for an event in the ballroom are seated from 15 minutes before the start of the event until the events start time. So if you have an 8 AM ticket, ticketed seating will take place from 7:45 to 8:00 AM to get seated. At that point, the musterers will open the seating to anyone who is interested on a first come, first serve basis. So, as said by others, arriving a while after the start time is a good way to be unable to seat 3-4 people in a group.

Regarding scenario variety. This year, there was 1 table of PSA scheduled, 1 table of a low level repeatable scheduled (confirmation, wounded wisp, etc), and 2 tables of PFS quests each slot. These were the games that the OP was trying to get seated at. Given that that PSA was full each time, as was the 1 table of a random repeatable, he was only able to find seating at one of the two quest tables, which was House of Harmonious Wisdom.

Something else to know is that there were MANY seats available at each slot, but for Starfinder. There was between 1 and up to 7 GMs released each major slot that was running Starfinder. So if the OP was keen on playing a game with his kids, there were definitely available, just not of those limited Pathfinder ones. And, for anyone wondering, HQ volunteers do check with free SFS GMs and ask if they can run a game of Pathfinder. Some of those GMs aren't capable or comfortable doing that, which is fine--they are expecting to run what they signed up for, not having to accommodate late entries.

Why so much SFS you might wonder? It was the first year and the waters were being tested to see how popular SFS was. It did sell out every slot at GenCon. So this years PaizoCon schedule was 50-50 PFS to SFS ratio. Obviously those numbers were a bit off the mark. I'd say that next year you could expect to see more PFS tables each slot, but with PFv2 coming out who knows.

Lastly, I'd like to remind everyone here that every single volunteer and GM that helps put on and make PaizoCon function is a player just like you. The volunteer signups are open to the public and are filled by people passionate about making PFS and SFS games happen. They work exceptionally hard to accommodate everyone that comes to play, and feel terrible when instances like this occur. I know of the OPs specific incident because I was present, and the volunteers that attempted to get the OPs group seated did everything in their power to find a solution. These people aren't employees, they are citizens of our community and deserve the benefit of the doubt when situations like this occur.

Their commitment to the community is honestly staggering. On Thursday before the con began, they unpacked three pallets of material and sorted through it all. They made up the table tents, the prize table, the HQ station, and all of the muster sheets. They bundled your chronicles, got your reporting sheets, passed out prize tokens, and handed out pregens. Most spent over 10 hours a day at this convention setting up the hall at 7 AM and being there until midnight. They organized over 300 people each major slot into roughly 50 tables, and had 95% of tables filled 10 minutes after the start time. They all sacrificed the ability to play at this convention to allow everyone else to enjoy it. And when the con was over, they were in the ballroom till 2 PM repacking those pallets and breaking things down. They do this because they are driven to make PaizoCon the best convention they can.

I am very sorry that you arrived late to a game with a table of four people and were unable to get seated together. I sincerely hope that in the future you arrive on time, so that you can experience the amazing community of volunteers that we have, and enjoy this game that has brought us all together.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, PF Special Edition Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

I don’t recall what information is sent out to Paizocon attendees in advance. If it doesn’t already happen, perhaps it would be useful when people buy their tickets if they were to receive an email spelling out the signup process/timeline, the importance of prebooking games and the difficulty of accomodating variations to the planned seating arrangements.

I don’t think Sebastian was unreasonable in his expectations, merely uninformed (or misinformed, even) about how things are organised. It should be as easy as possible for beginners to get involved.


Information was sent out on how to sign up, but I believe there was a mixup this year and it wasn't sent to those who opt out of general/marketing emails from Paizo (as opposed to transactional emails). This wasn't Sebastian's first PaizoCon of course.

Since no one has mentioned it, I wanted to point out the Buddy System, which I'm not sure existed the last time Sebastian made it to the Con. It requires pre-signup, so would not have fixed the situation this year, but helps make sure groups/families are seated together at events during the lottery process. I'm not sure if it works for the open event signups, but that's somewhat easier to arrange.

Unimportant to the issue in general, but I (and I think others) certainly would have given up a seat for the legendary Bella Sara Superscriber & family.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

WalterGM wrote:
I am very sorry that you arrived late to a game with a table of four people and were unable to get seated together. I sincerely hope that in the future you arrive on time, so that you can experience the amazing community of volunteers that we have, and enjoy this game that has brought us all together.

To be clear, I showed up, on time (I was told be there at 8 am after everyone else was seated), after having come by the night before to tell the event organizers that I would be showing up, the next morning, with 3 kids really interested in playing Pathfinder (not Starfinder - they'd just had a lot of fun building characters for Pathfinder). So, not only was I on time, but I also gave as much advance notice as I possibly good because I knew that seating 4 people together would be difficult.

The message I received was not "show up at 7:45 if you want a table" it was "show up at 8 am after everyone else has seated, and maybe we'll fit you in." Which is why it came as such a shock (and made me angry enough to post here) that I showed up at 8:00 am, as discussed the night before, and was told there were no games for us.

But thanks.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

When I have a table locally that does not have a GM by 9pm the night before, I cancel the table. That's a local policy from seeing unprepared GMs showing up and running terrible games.

If you tell me you'd like a game the next day, it is possible to make that happen. There are a number of things that have to go into that, however. The first of which is access to the adventure to be run.

Here at PaizoCon, access isn't so big of a problem depending on what you have. I have run from my laptop plenty of times, but the power situation in the ballroom can make that dicey. Printing the scenario at the business center can work, but I don't believe the hotel wants us printing more than just a few pages, like character sheets. Handouts are the biggest pressing need, as those are very specific to each scenario and not all of them can be read aloud. Organized play also has chronicles and tracking sheets to be concerned about, which means more printing if the adventure isn't one scheduled and there are no other resources from other tables.

Second, is map and minis. Theater of the mind is doable, but most players want some concrete representations to aid them. At home, that's not a problem. The night before at a convention, especially around 6-7pm when the Paizo store is already closed makes it very difficult. I carry glass beads and other pawn bases to use as generic tokens, and sometimes blank flipmats, but sketching out the general maps needed eats time and detracts from the experience. Not all adventures require specific features, but some have encounters built around map features that contribute to the challenge of the game.

Third is GM availability. I came this year to play, and I signed up for one slot of GMing to help the volunteers that organized extra games in the afternoon slot for those who wanted to play all day. Having three slots nearly made me back out of my other games over the weekend. I think I actually overheard you talking to the volunteers at one point about getting a scenario that you could run for the kids. I wish I had thought to ask about helping. But I'm pretty sure it would have conflicted with some of the panels I was looking to attend or having to back out of other games I was already signed up for. I had to back out of Cosmo's Friday game because of the aforementioned GM slot I volunteered for. There is a simple fact that the GMs that are available are generally only available for the tables they signed up to run. Very few are going to want to grab a scenario and GM on the fly when they were not expecting it. I myself organized a Monday night game on the forums, specifically so I had time before we even arrived to have everything prepared. People wanted to organize something on Saturday night during the banquet, and I was interested. But without specific plans, I did not extend myself there.

Asking for help getting a game is reasonable, and being upset when it doesn't happen is valid. But pulling together a game in an environment where everyone is already scheduled out is not a simple task and highly prone to failure, just as trying to find a seat at a sold out theater performance is.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

Sebastian wrote:
WalterGM wrote:
I am very sorry that you arrived late to a game with a table of four people and were unable to get seated together. I sincerely hope that in the future you arrive on time, so that you can experience the amazing community of volunteers that we have, and enjoy this game that has brought us all together.

To be clear, I showed up, on time (I was told be there at 8 am after everyone else was seated), after having come by the night before to tell the event organizers that I would be showing up, the next morning, with 3 kids really interested in playing Pathfinder (not Starfinder - they'd just had a lot of fun building characters for Pathfinder). So, not only was I on time, but I also gave as much advance notice as I possibly good because I knew that seating 4 people together would be difficult.

The message I received was not "show up at 7:45 if you want a table" it was "show up at 8 am after everyone else has seated, and maybe we'll fit you in." Which is why it came as such a shock (and made me angry enough to post here) that I showed up at 8:00 am, as discussed the night before, and was told there were no games for us.

But thanks.

Telling the organizers that you were going be arriving tomorrow with people that wanted to play Pathfinder doesn’t change the fact that when you arrived the next day, you arrived late enough that the specific games you wanted to sit at were already full. Other people that also wanted to play arrived before you and got seated first. Perhaps you were misinformed the night before or you arrived later than you thought. When I became involved in the situation at the PSA / low level door it was 8:10.

Additionally, the seating policies have not changed in the last five years, and I understand this is not your first time attending. Did you run into similar problems previously, or was this the first year you attempted PFS play?

Lastly, there are tons of opportunities to have fun at PaizoCon. Pathfinder play test delves, open gaming, and even free paint-and-take. We also had numerous open Starfinder tables. In the future you can explore those options if you are unable to be seated. Next year I highly recommend signing up for events online and arriving by the start time.

Shadow Lodge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8

Steve Geddes wrote:

I don’t recall what information is sent out to Paizocon attendees in advance. If it doesn’t already happen, perhaps it would be useful when people buy their tickets if they were to receive an email spelling out the signup process/timeline, the importance of prebooking games and the difficulty of accomodating variations to the planned seating arrangements.

I don’t think Sebastian was unreasonable in his expectations, merely uninformed (or misinformed, even) about how things are organised. It should be as easy as possible for beginners to get involved.

I directed numerous late attendes to other events, like the playtest delves, to fill their time before later slots began. We were able to accommodate almost everyone that came to play Pathfinder or Starfinder Society and arrrived by the start time. The only slot we weren’t was one where tickets had been oversold. I believe five individuals were turned away, and each was give a boon for their patience waiting in line.

For anyone attending in the future - if you don’t have a ticket, seating occurs first come first serve. We will accommodate as much as possible, but when tables are seated they are seated. Arrive before the start time for the best chance of being seated if you do not have a ticket.


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WalterGM wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

I don’t recall what information is sent out to Paizocon attendees in advance. If it doesn’t already happen, perhaps it would be useful when people buy their tickets if they were to receive an email spelling out the signup process/timeline, the importance of prebooking games and the difficulty of accomodating variations to the planned seating arrangements.

I don’t think Sebastian was unreasonable in his expectations, merely uninformed (or misinformed, even) about how things are organised. It should be as easy as possible for beginners to get involved.

I directed numerous late attendes to other events, like the playtest delves, to fill their time before later slots began. We were able to accommodate almost everyone that came to play Pathfinder or Starfinder Society and arrrived by the start time. The only slot we weren’t was one where tickets had been oversold. I believe five individuals were turned away, and each was give a boon for their patience waiting in line.

For anyone attending in the future - if you don’t have a ticket, seating occurs first come first serve. We will accommodate as much as possible, but when tables are seated they are seated. Arrive before the start time for the best chance of being seated if you do not have a ticket.

My suggestion was that such advice be given as part of the signup process. (Though, per Majuba’s comment above, it sounds like this is generally what happens).

The organisation of games and the seating of participants seems to me to be both reasonable and effective - the issue here was apparently one of communication. (I’ve been to Paizocon twice now and I didn’t realise registration was so important. I thought it only mattered if there was one particular game you were keen on but that if you turned up there’d be a space somewhere). More information can only help.


RealAlchemy wrote:
Being upset with them does not change the number of tables one can fit into a room or the number of available GMs. Telling people who did sign up weeks in advance that they have to move to accomodate someone else is not going to be fair to them. What do you suggest as an alternative? The best I can think of (which would have to be a future arrangement rather than for this year) is a to have a certain number of slots and/or tables unavailable for online sign up and reserved for people to sign up on site. The problem with doing that is you will have a certain number of volunteer GMs who will then not know if they are needed until very short notice.

Is this the right place for suggestions of PFS room magnitude?


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...okay, I've looked at this, I've tried to rethink it three times here, and I... just...

Summary of my PaizoCon GM and community activities:
I ran three tables at PaizoCon this year in the 'official' timeframe.

A Quest series on Friday and Monday mornings and a 1-2 table of the Special on Sunday night.

The two Quest tables were full at 6 players each.

The Special table only had 4 players at it.

Would I have been willing to take two more players during the Special?

Sure.

But there was no one else that showed up to play.

I showed up on Thursday to help with set-up.

I burnt out my voice GMing this past weekend.

Would I have taken on another table if I was capable of it?

YES.

If original poster would *please* provide some insight on how to proactively address their concern with limited resources available, it would be welcome.

Lottery Side Tangent:

I've never gotten my lottery choices when I've put in for the lottery. Do I fault the system that's put in place to make it fair for everyone? No.

Please help us build and grow and learn.


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

As a first time PaizoCon attendee who arrived with a somewhat sparse schedule, I feel the OPs pain. While I got one event from the lottery, I was a day late on noticing that advanced sign-ups had started and most of the PFS ones I wanted were already filled. I thought I knew the schedule, but either time-zones or misinterpretation, and I was late. However by checking the extra tickets table consistently throughout the weekend I got tickets to the sessions I was missing, in most cases. The table was often extremely sparse, and given the number of empty seats I saw at some sessions implies people weren't dropping off planned unused tickets.

Of course the chance of finding 2+ tickets for the same event is absurdly low, so that wouldn't have helped the OP.

I noticed that the Cascade/Evergreen rooms were typically rather empty and I suspect could have accommodated more self-organized pickup games. I thought there was some system for finding people for such things but I never saw it. (Ie not asking for it to be something the organized play HQ manages, but maybe better direction to?) There were some afternoon slots I would have been happy to GM for a random group, but didn't see a way to communicate that without just sitting in an empty room by myself for hours, so I didn't.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
NielsenE wrote:


I noticed that the Cascade/Evergreen rooms were typically rather empty and I suspect could have accommodated more self-organized pickup games. I thought there was some system for finding people for such things but I never saw it. (Ie not asking for it to be something the organized play HQ manages, but maybe better direction to?) There were some afternoon slots I would have been happy to GM for a random group, but didn't see a way to communicate that without just sitting in an empty room by myself for hours, so I didn't.

As it so happened there was an opportunity to organize afternoon games at HQ. This year there was a paper to fill out with the scenario being run ect... that would have been posted on a board next to the door to the banquet hall. There it could sit and let peeps sign up to play. That option was quite under utilized, excluding Sunday afternoon.

I can understand a comment, "we didn't know that was an option". All I can reply to that is, if you have a question please ask HQ. The worst they can say is no. If they don't know they can often point you to someone who has the answer.

In relation to the OPs harships, I can say that your concerns have been heard and are likely to inspire some changes.

Shadow Lodge

Something that I think will help people, ticketed or otherwise, is to remember that these events are a lot like going to the movies. The time on the ticket is when the show starts. If you want the best seats and to sit with your friends, show up 15-20 minutes early so you have the most control over the situation :). After about 10-15 minutes into the game, HQ is not going to be able to move tables around for large groups who show up later. That'd be like moving folks to a different theater and is not fair to people who showed up on time.

If you're rolling to the game without a ticket, seating for that starts at the beginning of the slot, but its on a first come first serve basis and therefore its even more important to be there early for that, particularly with a large group.

Not trying to beat the OP or anyone else up, but I hope the advice is useful to others who might run into this situation next year :)


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Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber
Saashaa wrote:
NielsenE wrote:


I noticed that the Cascade/Evergreen rooms were typically rather empty and I suspect could have accommodated more self-organized pickup games. I thought there was some system for finding people for such things but I never saw it. (Ie not asking for it to be something the organized play HQ manages, but maybe better direction to?) There were some afternoon slots I would have been happy to GM for a random group, but didn't see a way to communicate that without just sitting in an empty room by myself for hours, so I didn't.

As it so happened there was an opportunity to organize afternoon games at HQ. This year there was a paper to fill out with the scenario being run ect... that would have been posted on a board next to the door to the banquet hall. There it could sit and let peeps sign up to play. That option was quite under utilized, excluding Sunday afternoon.

I can understand a comment, "we didn't know that was an option". All I can reply to that is, if you have a question please ask HQ. The worst they can say is no. If they don't know they can often point you to someone who has the answer.

In relation to the OPs harships, I can say that your concerns have been heard and are likely to inspire some changes.

This might be going off-topic for the OP, but I did ask about the self-organized pathfinder games on Friday at the HQ and was directed to the cascade rooms, not to a board next to/outside the banquet hall. Sounds like by the end of the weekend maybe communication/directions had improved.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

There was also the impromptu run of Assault on Absalom that spontaneously organized in the afternoon on Sunday I think. (Bless the poor mad souls who decided to make that happen.)

Contributor

NielsenE wrote:
This might be going off-topic for the OP, but I did ask about the self-organized pathfinder games on Friday at the HQ and was directed to the cascade rooms, not to a board next to/outside the banquet hall. Sounds like by the end of the weekend maybe communication/directions had improved.

The Cascade rooms [particularly Cascades 11, 12 and 13 iirc] have open tables available for running impromptu self-organized games. I'm not sure if the board outside the Banquet Hall was there from the beginning, but I definitely saw it on Saturday while leaving the Banquet. It was essentially a cork board people used to indicate their intention to run a game and wrote their names down if they were going to show up. When I looked at the board, it seemed to primarily be organizing PFS games.

Regardless, if the people at HQ thought you were asking *where* someone could run a self-organized game, the Cascade rooms are definitely the spot.

Shadow Lodge

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I don't want to go too far into the weeds here but the middle slot is indeed rather chaotic because its meant to be an opportunity for folks to unofficially run games in between the official slots. Because of the unofficial nature, it's not run by HQ. Because it's not run by HQ, the support HQ can give for it is limited to "the middle slot exists," "the signup sheets are over there," "I have no idea where the sign up sheets are right now," "someone's running a special in the middle slot?!" etc. :)

I -believe- (do not quote me on this please) that paizocon stopped having an official middle slot because the back to back to back games created an opportunity for high strain on volunteer GMs and attendees, so the last few years the middle slot has been free for people who would like to GM voluntarily as opposed to scheduling volunteers to do it.

I guess that's the background on it and why it is the way it is, but I agree with the general sentiment that its confusing and there's room for improvement, but I think this is a little bit out of the scope of what HQ can do by itself, this is more of an organizational problem. I can at least say that its been getting a little better every year. :)

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