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Feedback about ReaperCon '16


GuyWithCoolBackpack
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So in no official fashion, for everyone disappointed in the paint rack. It's always been for the artists and I was informed by an instructor that it was primarily there to ensure instructors had enough paints for their classes. Many of them flew and it was there for those that were unable to bring enough. Allowing us to use "free paints" was just that....an allowance.

 

I was disappointed that it wasn't told to us earlier BUT after finding this out I was less frustrated. I had to scrounge from fellow forumites, but I was able to fix up much needed touchups thanks to them. Just have to remember to bring at least a pistol case of paints next time.

It wasn't always for the artists. Way back in the beginning the con was at the factory where they also have their paint club. Therefore paints were available for everyone.

 

Things change.

 

 

This one may actually be more of a things don't change situation. ;-> The paint rack used for paint club is the same one that gets used at ReaperCon. Now that the con is off-site, it gets taken to the con venue for the duration. It fits 3-4 of each colour. (And may not actually have room for the newest HD and Bones paint colours.) 

 

Back in the early days of RC, there were maybe 6-10 artist painters. So making the rack available to everyone was easy enough. Plus we were at the factory, so if an artist needed an extra paint for a class, to answer a question, or because the rack was bare of a colour, we could go to the bins in the paint department and grab one. Now we're 20-30 painters, and off-site. If we need a paint for a class or demo, we need it to be on the rack and easily available. The number of artists has increased because the number of con-goers has increased, so that is a lot more demand on a communal paint supply. (Most of us fly, too. :-<)

 

There was at least one thread about preparing for RC16 where I tried to spread the word that paint was probably NOT going to be as easily accessible as in past years, simply on the basis of there being so many more people with no change to supply, but that was a reply in a general thread, so not surprising it got missed. 

 

I don't think the answer of just add another rack or two will likely work. Reaper would have to store that stuff, which takes up space, and that is something at a premium. Unlike the paints on the paint club rack, the paints wouldn't get shaken and used regularly, so it wouldn't take too many years for the paint to get goopy and less pleasant to use. I am not sure that all the storage areas Reaper uses for the convention stuff are climate controlled, so that's another issue.

 

I suspect Reaper peeps are reading this thread, but I will also try to remember to share this issue with them.

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So in no official fashion, for everyone disappointed in the paint rack. It's always been for the artists and I was informed by an instructor that it was primarily there to ensure instructors had enough paints for their classes. Many of them flew and it was there for those that were unable to bring enough. Allowing us to use "free paints" was just that....an allowance.

 

I was disappointed that it wasn't told to us earlier BUT after finding this out I was less frustrated. I had to scrounge from fellow forumites, but I was able to fix up much needed touchups thanks to them. Just have to remember to bring at least a pistol case of paints next time.

It wasn't always for the artists. Way back in the beginning the con was at the factory where they also have their paint club. Therefore paints were available for everyone.

 

Things change.

 

 

This one may actually be more of a things don't change situation. ;-> The paint rack used for paint club is the same one that gets used at ReaperCon. Now that the con is off-site, it gets taken to the con venue for the duration. It fits 3-4 of each colour. (And may not actually have room for the newest HD and Bones paint colours.) 

 

Back in the early days of RC, there were maybe 6-10 artist painters. So making the rack available to everyone was easy enough. Plus we were at the factory, so if an artist needed an extra paint for a class, to answer a question, or because the rack was bare of a colour, we could go to the bins in the paint department and grab one. Now we're 20-30 painters, and off-site. If we need a paint for a class or demo, we need it to be on the rack and easily available. The number of artists has increased because the number of con-goers has increased, so that is a lot more demand on a communal paint supply. (Most of us fly, too. :-<)

 

There was at least one thread about preparing for RC16 where I tried to spread the word that paint was probably NOT going to be as easily accessible as in past years, simply on the basis of there being so many more people with no change to supply, but that was a reply in a general thread, so not surprising it got missed. 

 

I don't think the answer of just add another rack or two will likely work. Reaper would have to store that stuff, which takes up space, and that is something at a premium. Unlike the paints on the paint club rack, the paints wouldn't get shaken and used regularly, so it wouldn't take too many years for the paint to get goopy and less pleasant to use. I am not sure that all the storage areas Reaper uses for the convention stuff are climate controlled, so that's another issue.

 

I suspect Reaper peeps are reading this thread, but I will also try to remember to share this issue with them.

 

 

 

Thanks.  Not knowing that ahead was quite annoying.

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I had another thought! This one is about registration though, rather than the con itself.

 

A few of the classes ("Painting hot chicks", for example :down: ) sold out almost instantly. Folks who were at work and not in a position to obsessively hit refresh :blush: didn't have much of a chance to get the classes they really wanted. Now that it's happened that way once, it's likely to keep happening every year. My suspicion is that there are a few classes that were exceptionally popular and a lot of others that were popular but not overwhelmingly so, but all the classes went pretty quickly because people were desperately trying to register for the one or two classes they really wanted and just filled up their other spots at the same time. If we could separate the "must-have" registrations from the "nice-to-have" registrations, the class sign-up might be a lot less of a mad, frustrating scramble for everyone.

 

So, as one possible suggestion... What about a pre-registration step? Give people a week-long period to pick one or two classes they really want and sign up for a lottery for those spots. So, for example, I'd have pre-registered for "Painting hot chicks" and "Bones convert 'n' take". When the week is up, everyone who pre-registered in a class gets put into a draw for the available spots for that class. If there are enough spots for everyone, then great! If not - again, "Painting hot chicks" comes to mind ::): - a simple bit of code would randomly select names from pre-registrations until all the spots are full. Once all the classes are sorted out, everyone gets notified, and then the system goes quiet for a day or two before normal registration opens up. The folks who won their spots in the pre-registration lottery have one week to pay for the class, and if they haven't done it yet, they lose their place.

 

The main point here is that for most people, the frantic rush to sign up is based on one or two really exciting classes; by switching to this sort of system, there's no longer any rush for the really exciting classes. You've got a solid week to pre-register, and it doesn't matter when during that week you do it; then you've got a couple days after pre-registration to adjust your plans based on whether or not you got the class you really wanted, before signing up for the rest of the classes you're interested in. Some people will still scramble to finish registration the minute full registration opens (ie probably me - I'm excitable :blush: ) but for a lot of people it'll be a lot more relaxed and removes one of the big sources of stress people had in the lead-up to the con.

 

The downside is that it's more complicated, and likely will lead to more questions for Reaper staff... but I think the improved sign-up experience would be worth it, personally.

 

What do other folks think?

 

What you're proposing is somewhat similar to what Gencon does, though perhaps a bit more relaxed. (and, possibly, a bit more fair)

 

Their system is for everybody who pre-registered to construct their own prioritized list of choices. When things go live, you race to submit your list, and things are handed out (more or less) in the order that lists are submitted. It is a highly imperfect system, but better than a completely disorganized mad-grab.

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About the community project: We proposed something similar before the con and were told that space is very limited at the con and even more so at HQ afterwards. We might be able to wrangle some space for a community project but it would almost certainly have to be something where people knew that they'd need to pick up their contribution before the end of the con or it would be thrown in the garbage afterwards - or possibly claimed by random passersby - and not stored at Reaper. Also worth considering is that a community project would certainly see a significant amount of traffic as people came and added to it, or checked out the items already present. We'd see congestion and noise anywhere near the community project, which means it would be unwelcome near the classrooms and could cause headaches at the paint-and-take tables and gaming tables.

 

Not to say that we shouldn't try to make it work! Just sharing some possible problems that would need to be taken into account. ::):

 

Put the whole thing in the auction on Sunday, and let people bid to take it home.

 

~v

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Didn't really meet anyone, but I did learn that people throw the darndest things into the metal exchange table - including at least seven old fantasy Slann that are now part of my Oldhammer collection.

 

That was almost certainly me who turned in the Old Slann. I brought a bunch of them including the old palanquin rider and slaves. I thought someone would want them and better in a collection where they were wanted than tucked away in a box I'll never get to painting.

 

Though I kept my old Zoats. I still hope to play them one day. :)

 

J--

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I did hear an announcement on one of the nights (Mexican?) about how the Vegetarians were supposed to go first.

Yup, heard the same announcement. It was the spinach enchiladas I believe.

I went last on TexMex night. Absolutely last. There were still spinach enchiladas at that point.

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I had another thought! This one is about registration though, rather than the con itself.

 

A few of the classes ("Painting hot chicks", for example :down: ) sold out almost instantly. Folks who were at work and not in a position to obsessively hit refresh :blush: didn't have much of a chance to get the classes they really wanted. Now that it's happened that way once, it's likely to keep happening every year. My suspicion is that there are a few classes that were exceptionally popular and a lot of others that were popular but not overwhelmingly so, but all the classes went pretty quickly because people were desperately trying to register for the one or two classes they really wanted and just filled up their other spots at the same time. If we could separate the "must-have" registrations from the "nice-to-have" registrations, the class sign-up might be a lot less of a mad, frustrating scramble for everyone.

 

So, as one possible suggestion... What about a pre-registration step? Give people a week-long period to pick one or two classes they really want and sign up for a lottery for those spots. So, for example, I'd have pre-registered for "Painting hot chicks" and "Bones convert 'n' take". When the week is up, everyone who pre-registered in a class gets put into a draw for the available spots for that class. If there are enough spots for everyone, then great! If not - again, "Painting hot chicks" comes to mind ::): - a simple bit of code would randomly select names from pre-registrations until all the spots are full. Once all the classes are sorted out, everyone gets notified, and then the system goes quiet for a day or two before normal registration opens up. The folks who won their spots in the pre-registration lottery have one week to pay for the class, and if they haven't done it yet, they lose their place.

 

The main point here is that for most people, the frantic rush to sign up is based on one or two really exciting classes; by switching to this sort of system, there's no longer any rush for the really exciting classes. You've got a solid week to pre-register, and it doesn't matter when during that week you do it; then you've got a couple days after pre-registration to adjust your plans based on whether or not you got the class you really wanted, before signing up for the rest of the classes you're interested in. Some people will still scramble to finish registration the minute full registration opens (ie probably me - I'm excitable :blush: ) but for a lot of people it'll be a lot more relaxed and removes one of the big sources of stress people had in the lead-up to the con.

 

The downside is that it's more complicated, and likely will lead to more questions for Reaper staff... but I think the improved sign-up experience would be worth it, personally.

 

What do other folks think?

Not going to happen.

 

I had a long explanation as to why, but the bottom line is that there is literally no "fair" method to distribute 12 seats among hundreds of con-goers. There is no method that will not be perceived as favoring somebody - including a random lottery system.

 

 

And frankly, based on the number of people who emailed me directly to complain that we had sold out and therefore they weren't going to come after all so could I refund their admission (because you have to buy an admission either simultaneous to your classes or before, and these people had bought before) I suspect a lottery wouldn't solve their chief complaint either, and eventually somebody would claim the lottery was rigged because they'd see some sort of pattern in winners.

 

Not to mention that I just flat don't want to code a system to let hundreds of people put an item into their carts and then removes it randomly.

 

We will continue to use the method we have used for 13 years, where each year we increase the total number of classes and seats offered (which was over 1,000 this year, up from something around 800 last year), we will announce a sale time/date, and they will inevitably sell out because demand is literally exponentially higher than supply, and it not possible to fix that problem. 

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<snip>

We will continue to use the method we have used for 13 years, where each year we increase the total number of classes and seats offered (which was over 1,000 this year, up from something around 800 last year), we will announce a sale time/date, and they will inevitably sell out because demand is literally exponentially higher than supply, and it not possible to fix that problem. 

Understandable, and the response I expected.  Reaper does all fans of painting and gaming a great service with the huge amount of work they put into ReaperCon.  But time is a limited resource, and they have to spend it wisely toward their business goals.

 

One good thing about the situation: it is clear that there is a strong demand for classes from reputable teachers.  It is an opportunity for those in the convention business and for teachers to create events for people who either can't get to ReaperCon or otherwise don't think it fits their needs.

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The situation is similar to that of downtown GenCon hotel rooms and popular events: demand far outstrips supply.  There is no "fair" distribution system that works for everyone all the time.    

 

The lottery system would result in people complaining about how they used to be able to get the slots by going in directly rather than being unfairly subject to an obvious random number generator.  People complain about  not getting downtown hotel rooms or any desired event slots on  the GenCon forums every year.

 

Best that Reaper (or GenCon) can do is pick a system that is least "unfair" to the most people and isn't favoring a small subset of people.

 

Ron

 

PS:  The system, of course, should totally favor anyone who has helped out at the registration desk in the last couple of years.  :;):

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<snip>

We will continue to use the method we have used for 13 years, where each year we increase the total number of classes and seats offered (which was over 1,000 this year, up from something around 800 last year), we will announce a sale time/date, and they will inevitably sell out because demand is literally exponentially higher than supply, and it not possible to fix that problem.

Okey dokey. Considering that the current system works in my favour anyway, I'm hardly going to complain. Besides, if you say my idea won't work, I believe you. ::): Also, I always underestimate the whine factor - I make the mistake of assuming people are generally reasonable and keep being surprised when I'm proven wrong (again).

 

One thing I want to make sure it's clear for Bryan and any other Reaper peeps: Going to Reapercon this year was one of the best experiences of my life and that's in large part because you all did such a fantastic job of setting it up and running it. Please don't take my suggestions as me being in any way unhappy with things!

 

To clarify my last post, here's an analogy.

 

You folks just served me the best ice cream I've ever eaten. A big, beautiful bowl of delicious, wonderful, amazing ice cream. In my case, that's black cherry & dark chocolate ice cream. (So good.) And I'm pretty much sitting there, nibbling away at the ice cream, blissed out on the sheer deliciousness, and kinda muttering out loud, "Hey, I wonder if some of that chocolate crackle syrup stuff would maybe make this even better?"

 

Make sense? ::):

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...We will continue to use the method we have used for 13 years, where each year we increase the total number of classes and seats offered (which was over 1,000 this year, up from something around 800 last year), we will announce a sale time/date, and they will inevitably sell out because demand is literally exponentially higher than supply, and it not possible to fix that problem.

 

The only thing you could perhaps do would be some type of Dutch Auction.

 

But, I am sure there are some drawbacks to that (at the very least tricksey coding).

 

I am not advocating the use of a Dutch Auction, just noting that it exists.

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