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Tristram

Auction Action for "Low Rollers"

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Well said, Grayfax. I agree that no system is perfect. And I'm with you in hoping that there may be improvements in future.

 

As an example, if the average attendee maxes out at $1300-1500 (or whatever the number is), as indicated by Mnemonic, that's leaving a lot of people out of the Auction.

 

So, there seem to be some opportunities to improve the Auction: better regulation of the use of the proper year's Reaperbucks, and, possibly, offering Auction items for those who have little. Whether that's a separate "Low Rollers" Auction, as I initially proposed, or offering smaller lots of brushes, for example, there is probably room for improvement. Using brushes as an example, a possible improvement might be offering groups of 8-10 brushes that will attract the high-spenders, alongside some small sets (1-3 brushes), for those who have only a few hundred Reaperbucks.

 

Of course, the high spenders will probably be able to outbid everyone on the big AND small lots, but there's no solving that, short of offering two separate Auctions - "high" and "low."

 

-Darren

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I noticed that a lot of people with leftover bux were very profligately throwing them at people near the end; my table ended up with a decent pile because of that, which let some of us who didn't start with much get some things they couldn't have gotten else.

 

For a first Reaper Auction experience, I find myself more concerned with the comparative ease with which a bid can be missed; especially near the end. The next time I do this, I may bring some kind of paddle along to wave frantically. The envelope wasn't bright enough... ^^;

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One possibility for auctioning off a whole bunch of similar items it to break it down into 'lots' of a specific size and then hold the auction based on the size of a single 'lot'.  Whoever wins gets first pick of the lots and then anyone else willing to meet that price picks.  When everyone willing to pay that price is done it drops to the second highest bid and the process repeats.  Should there be any lots left [doubtful for something like Reaper Con] it goes to third highest bid and so on.

As for the use of previous years 'ReaperBucks' perhaps they could be allowed but on an exchange basis, with previous years scrip being exchanged for current years at a discount to discourage holdovers.  Only current year scrip to be allowed for payments.

If there is a shortage of scrip there could be a validation process where the scrip that has been exchanged is marked in some fashion to validate it and then re-issued the same as the new current year scrip.

Lots of possibilities, and most of a year to debate potential solutions to be presented to the good folk who run the Con.

GEM

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3 hours ago, Tristram said:

Yeah, we had poker chips, as well, but weren't sure if those were invalid forms of "payment" this year, or still legal tender.

 

I think, in addition to the Keynote/Powerpoint presentation on the screen near the main stage, maybe this sort of information, along with the following, would be useful to communicate on that display:

  • What the Faction War is, and how/when/where to use those Faction stickers.
  • How to get involved in the Raffle, and the ability to purchase more tickets, as mentioned by Mr. Melons.
  • Some "beginner tips," such as where to get Reaperbucks, ribbons for one's badge, etc.

I know much of this is, likely, communicated through the convention booklet and/or elsewhere, but having it front and center, and updated regularly, would be a nice resource for first-timers and repeat attendees alike.

 

-Darren

All of this was communicated through announcements over the PA multiple times. The faction war is announced at least once a day and Ron explains them each time. Every time there was a raffle it was explained too. My experience on the last point is that every year it's explained to you at the Registration desk. Not sure if they didn't with you, but every year that I've attended (and I'm sure others can vouch for it) they do a pretty decent job of drilling what goes where. The good news is that you will now know significantly more than "last year's". 

 

2 hours ago, Grayfax said:

This caused a shortage of ReaperBucks initially.  Which led to buying back ReaperBucks with raffle tickets.  Some people got some good deals on the exchange ratio before supply and demand evened out. 

 

They started doing the raffle tickets for reaperbucks last year. It helped the odds for people getting stuff and lowered the bucks in the auctions quite a bit. Four years ago, there was a full on war for a paint set (the only classroom set that year) between one side of the auction and the other. It went for like $80,000RB as sides were pooling, it was nuts.

 

2 hours ago, Sylverthorne said:

For a first Reaper Auction experience, I find myself more concerned with the comparative ease with which a bid can be missed; especially near the end. The next time I do this, I may bring some kind of paddle along to wave frantically. The envelope wasn't bright enough... ^^;

I would say that easily 300 people+ at peak time were sitting, walking, cheering, yelling, waving, etc. Heisler does his best to get everyone's bid. There were also a handful of people helping him see bids across the room. If he doesn't see you, get your table to wave and yell so he can see you. We had to do that.

 

42 minutes ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

One possibility for auctioning off a whole bunch of similar items it to break it down into 'lots' of a specific size and then hold the auction based on the size of a single 'lot'.  Whoever wins gets first pick of the lots and then anyone else willing to meet that price picks.  When everyone willing to pay that price is done it drops to the second highest bid and the process repeats.  Should there be any lots left [doubtful for something like Reaper Con] it goes to third highest bid and so on.

As for the use of previous years 'ReaperBucks' perhaps they could be allowed but on an exchange basis, with previous years scrip being exchanged for current years at a discount to discourage holdovers.  Only current year scrip to be allowed for payments.

If there is a shortage of scrip there could be a validation process where the scrip that has been exchanged is marked in some fashion to validate it and then re-issued the same as the new current year scrip.

Lots of possibilities, and most of a year to debate potential solutions to be presented to the good folk who run the Con.

GEM

Ummm....all of the calculation and everything you mentioned would be done by like two people who are already over flooded with people, bucks, items, and other things they have to track.....they can only do so much after 5 days of Con.....

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13 minutes ago, Mr Melons said:

All of this was communicated through announcements over the PA multiple times. The faction war is announced at least once a day and Ron explains them each time. Every time there was a raffle it was explained too. My experience on the last point is that every year it's explained to you at the Registration desk. Not sure if they didn't with you, but every year that I've attended (and I'm sure others can vouch for it) they do a pretty decent job of drilling what goes where. The good news is that you will now know significantly more than "last year's". 

 

 

They started doing the raffle tickets for reaperbucks last year. It helped the odds for people getting stuff and lowered the bucks in the auctions quite a bit. Four years ago, there was a full on war for a paint set (the only classroom set that year) between one side of the auction and the other. It went for like $80,000RB as sides were pooling, it was nuts.

 

I would say that easily 300 people+ at peak time were sitting, walking, cheering, yelling, waving, etc. Heisler does his best to get everyone's bid. There were also a handful of people helping him see bids across the room. If he doesn't see you, get your table to wave and yell so he can see you. We had to do that.

 

Ummm....all of the calculation and everything you mentioned would be done by like two people who are already over flooded with people, bucks, items, and other things they have to track.....they can only do so much after 5 days of Con.....

Actually, the calculations for the Dutch Auction are minimal.  One person with a clipboard to write down the bids and the auctioneer and the floor spotters know who the bidders are.

When the auction is knocked down everybody who wants an auction at that price just gives their bid number to whoever has the clipboard.  Payment and checkout is handled the same way as for any other auction.

Are they using any volunters for the Con?  If so, a reliable volunteer can handle any of the tasks I've mentioned.

BTW, A Big Thank You for all the info about how the Con actually functions.

GEM

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4 hours ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

Actually, the calculations for the Dutch Auction are minimal.  One person with a clipboard to write down the bids and the auctioneer and the floor spotters know who the bidders are.

When the auction is knocked down everybody who wants an auction at that price just gives their bid number to whoever has the clipboard.  Payment and checkout is handled the same way as for any other auction.

Are they using any volunters for the Con?  If so, a reliable volunteer can handle any of the tasks I've mentioned.

BTW, A Big Thank You for all the info about how the Con actually functions.

GEM

Naw, it's just Heisler, and 2 reaper peeps (one handling the money, the other handling the items). Heisler calls bids, writes on a sticky note the final bid, and passes it to item person. Then he starts the next item. Item person takes it, the final bidder takes the bucks, verifies the amount, and the item gets handed off. If they have trouble with that, I'm not sure they could do what u are suggesting lol.

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I don't think a Low Roller auction would work, but maybe a limited entry raffle would. Every swag bag gets a single Low Roller ticket. It plus a Reaper Buck entry fee (250-500 RB) gets you a single entry into one of the item raffles. Maybe the items are a single set of the more popular auction items.

 

 So, for example, have an entry deadline of just before the auction starts. You walk up with your single Low Roller ticket and a meager 500 RB. Hand over your ticket and RB, get a green ticket (no meaning, just different from the red, orange, and yellow from this year). That green ticket can go into either the airbrush, paint set, or Sophie wall banner jars. Not all three, just one. When the auction starts, the jars are closed and set aside. During the auction, the jars get opened and a ticket pulled, which wins the item.

 

It won't solve the issue entirely, since someone will find a way to grab another ticket and enter more than once. And the majority will still walk away empty handed. More complication is bad as well, and from the stories I've heard not just at this convention but all over the place in real life, there will always be people who misunderstood, didn't read, or otherwise be angry about something. Probably better to just stick with the status quo.

 

Another idea that hit me just now, maybe give an option to trade in RB for Reaper convention store credit. Something like 1000RB to $3 credit. Enough to get one more Bones figure. But still, now the store has to deal in multiple currencies, and as busy as they get, an unwelcome complication.

 

So, yeah. Think just have to deal with the auction as it is, and accept the warts.

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26 minutes ago, Pegazus said:

Another idea that hit me just now, maybe give an option to trade in RB for Reaper convention store credit. Something like 1000RB to $3 credit. Enough to get one more Bones figure. But still, now the store has to deal in multiple currencies, and as busy as they get, an unwelcome complication.

Won't happen sadly. They've stated that RB will never equal money. 

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All in all the Auction part works well.  It was the steps leading up to the auction that caused people to have feelings about it.  Even then, not very many that I knew of were upset.  Most people understood the difference and worked with what they had.

There is going to be pooling.  It is an accepted practice and in the end, it is still an auction and you are bidding against some other groups doing the same thing.  I liked how the forumites handled themselves in this area.  Ludo's group went after a large paint set early on and spent most of the auction dividing it up.  It was known that OneBoot was going after the Morihalda sculpt and money was pooled for that.  George wanted to get a specific item for Aryanun and was able to do so (and also the Dreadmere map).  The auction follows pack law.  If you want to be in on the hunt, sort out your prize and your pack early and often and claim the victory.  I have no problem with people making a case for what they want and going after it.  

The only Solo Victors I saw had young girls that they lifted high to do the bidding.  It's always harder to bid against a young girl that has the auction fever.

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I look at the auction as a nice freebie.  You get ReaperBucks as a bonus for doing things (attending the con, taking a class, playing a game), and then you get chance to use them in the auction.  Even if you don't have enough to bid on anything (say you were only able to go on Sunday, and only took one class and played a game or two), it's not like you wasted them as you don't actually pay for them.  Most of the people who end up with large numbers of bucks end up with them because they are a family, a group of friends that have pooled, or had people who weren't going to be at the auction give them their bucks (this was me my first RCon; I had a class during the auction so gave mine away to a group that was pooling).  Those that pool have to figure out a way to split whatever they win (easier for a paint set, set of glasses or box sets of minis, harder for a blanket or airbrush) so there are drawbacks to that.  The trading for extra raffle tickets is a pretty good solution IMO.

 

I kind of like the fact that Reaper Bucks are the currency of the auction.  That way it prevents someone with deep pockets from just taking the entire thing.  there is always someone that games the system (like the guy last year who signed up more every (overlapping) game slot to get the bucks) but Reaper tries to prevent that sort of thing.  I think that their habit of providing exemplary customer service may have bit them this year, with the itinerary calculation bug, they tried honoring the mistake before realizing that it would mess things up.  So those that benefited from the mistake had an advantage going into the auction.  I'm sure that they have a fix in place for next year.  I think that the auction has been getting better every year.  There seem to be more prizes, and while the popular prizes are going for more amounts, I don't see many people winning multiple auctions; they seem to spend all of their bucks on the one item (I was watching who was bidding and noting when the bidding got too high for them).  It used to be that people would wait, and the last few items would go for stupid amounts of bucks as people realized that there was nothing to bid on.  This year, the later in the auction, the less thing would go for.  For example the last two air brushes went for 3650 RB (to me actually) and 2600 (for a "better" quality brush).  The previous ones went for a couple of thousand more earlier in the auction.

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6 hours ago, Mr Melons said:

They started doing the raffle tickets for reaperbucks last year. It helped the odds for people getting stuff and lowered the bucks in the auctions quite a bit. Four years ago, there was a full on war for a paint set (the only classroom set that year) between one side of the auction and the other. It went for like $80,000RB as sides were pooling, it was nuts.

 

Actually this was the third year they did it.  Harrek turned in his bucks for extra tickets at the last con we had at HGI.  That is when he won the paint set and gave half of it to Alice because he had all those colors.  A great memory in all of our minds for years to come.

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The auction has always been like this, even at the 2nd ReaperCon. I think all we ever won was a couple of Warlord or CAV books because the good stuff went for much more than we had.

 

I look at the auction like a gameshow. You don't really lose anything. You just didn't gain a cool new shiney. You could still get many of the New Shinies (no banners or blankets, obviously) but that would cost an expenditure of Real money, not ReaperBucks.

 

I was also under the impression that ReaperBucks from previous years were not valid for current year ReaperCon. If people were using old ones, then that was unscrupulous imo. I still have ReaperBucks from 2005 and 2007.

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8 hours ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

One possibility for auctioning off a whole bunch of similar items it to break it down into 'lots' of a specific size and then hold the auction based on the size of a single 'lot'.  Whoever wins gets first pick of the lots and then anyone else willing to meet that price picks.  When everyone willing to pay that price is done it drops to the second highest bid and the process repeats.  Should there be any lots left [doubtful for something like Reaper Con] it goes to third highest bid and so on.

As for the use of previous years 'ReaperBucks' perhaps they could be allowed but on an exchange basis, with previous years scrip being exchanged for current years at a discount to discourage holdovers.  Only current year scrip to be allowed for payments.

If there is a shortage of scrip there could be a validation process where the scrip that has been exchanged is marked in some fashion to validate it and then re-issued the same as the new current year scrip.

Lots of possibilities, and most of a year to debate potential solutions to be presented to the good folk who run the Con.

GEM

 

So there are some good ideas here, thank you everyone for your input. I pulled this one quote out because the style of auction listed here won't work at ReaperCon. It takes to much time and our time is limited. It also requires at least two more people to monitor what is happening there so that the auction is not interrupted. I am certainly familiar with it and I have done it on occasion at other auctions. An example of where I could have done this is with the paints from the classes or possibly with the paintbrushes, it just would have absorbed a lot of time and becomes a distraction to the auctioneer and the audience.

 

In theory, script used from the previous year is not valid for the current years auction. That's a con management issue and the problem is known and has been stated here. There is nothing we can do about the poker chips. In theory they should be turned in at the end of the con but people are keeping them as souvenirs and we would really like to have them back, they are a little expensive and since they don't have the date on them they aren't much of a souvenir.

 

As far as lot sizes, it comes down to how much time I have. As those in attendance know I'm quite capable of going pretty fast, to fast on occasion. So I'm capable of selling everything as single lots but time is a huge factor. The auction shuts the show down and you can see how fast things are taking down when I'm done. Certainly the brushes and the glasses could have been sold as individual items but that would have added almost 30 more lots to the auction and maybe as much as 30 minutes along with 30 more separate transactions to deal with. 

 

The person that got all the Star Wars stuff? It was a great deal, everything is a great deal. When you sit down and think about it everything in the auction is free. No other convention does anything like this.

 

I had someone come up to me after the auction and volunteer to help as an auctioneer. I am of two minds about this. A single auctioneer establishes a rhythm that the crowd gets used to, plus changing in the middle (which I do at the larger game auctions I do) can be disruptive. On the other hand sometimes its nice to have a little break. Still thinking about that one.

 

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Oh and from a low rollers standpoint, there really isn't a good way to do this. I just don't have the time available and how in the world do I divide stuff up between two auctions and even remotely be fair about it?

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7 hours ago, Mr Melons said:

All of this was communicated through announcements over the PA multiple times. The faction war is announced at least once a day and Ron explains them each time. Every time there was a raffle it was explained too. My experience on the last point is that every year it's explained to you at the Registration desk. Not sure if they didn't with you, but every year that I've attended (and I'm sure others can vouch for it) they do a pretty decent job of drilling what goes where. The good news is that you will now know significantly more than "last year's". 

 

Thanks for this clarification, and I'm glad to know that there were numerous explanations offered during the weekend. As I mentioned, however, the PA was very difficult to hear across the room, by the artists, games and pinball machines. In addition, this all presumes the attendee is there when these announcements are delivered. It also puts the burden of explanation on the Reaper employees and volunteers, time and time again.

 

A board could be updated regularly and seen at the attendees' leisure. Just a thought.

 

-Darren

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