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ReaperCon 2018 Review


TigerMoJo
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This was my first year at ReaperCon and from speaking with others, this was the event's first year at this venue and the largest one yet. I wanted to give a general review and my feedback as a newbie attendee and as someone with experience managing tabletop events and being on concomms. I will not be reviewing things that I did not participate in (metal trade, board games and RPGs). 

 

I thought this could also kick off other people's feedback and reviews.

 

Overall
I loved it! I loved how casual this convention was and how focused it was on miniatures and painting. I think too many cons these days are trying to be too many things. Keeping it focused was fantastic. I loved the layout of the convention being very open and navigable. I never got lost or crowded out. I enjoyed having access to the professional painters and artists and being able to talk with them. We plan on attending again next year.

 

Registration and Swag Bag
Registration Thursday morning definitely was rough. Considering we all signed up online, I figured we'd just get our badge and bag and be done. We got in line at 9:15, had a 10 am class and had only made it half way through the line at 5 til 10. They finally called out for anyone with a 10 am class to come up front and then they didn't have our faction on file (I definitely filled this out online) and I had trouble remembering which one I picked. So a little rocky but I'm sure you all know this and kinks will be worked out. 

The swag bag is incredible. No complaints. Great stuff. 

 

Reaper U
I took four classes and was fairly satisfied with the format, layout of the rooms and the topics offered. I especially enjoyed the two where the instructor prepared the minis ahead of time. My biggest feedback here is to ask the instructors to prepare the minis beforehand so we don't spend an entire class trying to base coat minis that don't dry because of Texas humidity, and then barely get to try the technique we took the class for. Please, instructors, clean, prime and maybe even base coat (TaleSpin did this!) the minis beforehand so we can dive right into the techniques in the limited amount of time we have. I also appreciated instructors who provided take-home instructions. I wish the website was more detailed on what to bring for each class (I over packed but I attended some classes where attendees didn't even bring brushes because they thought everything would be provided). 

 

Vendors

I thought there was a really good variety of vendors. The only thing I wished for was more variety of brushes and carrying cases. I appreciated the local arts and crafts vendors as well. I always appreciate the punch card although I'm the type of person to actually talk to every vendor and not just ask for a punch and walk away. 

 

Dreadmere
I feel like there's been a lot of heart and soul put into this lore and world but overall I don't think people get it. Most people I asked about it just picked a faction based on the mini they liked best and couldn't really care less about the story. I think this is sad and more could be done to incorporate the story / factions into the convention beyond the stickers. Also I saw a thing about faction points in the booklet but I could not figure out how you acquire them. I didn't receive any points for entering the Open, attending a painting event, taking a class or sharing on social, all of which it said you'd receive points for.

Some ideas to better incorporate Dreadmere in the future: hold scheduled games that pit teams against each other, have a scavenger hunt with the first team to complete getting points and/or put on semi-regular skits and announcements on stage updating the story. Perhaps have the main characters wandering around the con recruiting their members to do certain tasks (e.g. make a social media post saying "Blood Wolves rule, Maggotcrown drools," ring this bell three times and chant "River Widows!", etc.) I know it's more work but I think it would be really fun.

 

MSP Open
I enjoyed the format of this competition and that everyone gets feedback in a sense. I unfortunately did not have time to talk with each of my judges (as we had car trouble on Sunday) but I did talk with one of the gold Sophie winners and got some feedback. I do wish the criteria were a little more cut and dry. I received bronze medals for the two minis I submitted (painter and diorama) but not sure which areas I was better or worse in. It's nice that nearly everyone gets medals and can get feedback from their judges. I thought the presentation was good and LOVED that everyone gets a professional photo and the miniatures are displayed on the TVs throughout the event. I feel like I learned so much by osmosis over this weekend by seeing all the amazing paint jobs. One final thing, I think people's names shouldn't be included on the card to eliminate bias in judging. 

 

Factory Tour

LOVED IT! Jon is a fantastic tour guide who you can tell really loves his job and the company. He patiently answered all of our questions. It also makes me feel good to continue investing money with a company that's doing so many good things for its people and its products. 

 

Hobby Hijinks
I know I keep saying it, but I loved it! Sophie Says, Speed Paints and Paint and Take were so much fun. Next time I will definitely try the other events too. Ludo was fantastic and kept the positivity flowing all weekend. I think you'll need a second Paint and Take table next year.

 

The Auction

I really didn't like how this went and hated that it put a sour note to the end of a wonderful, positive weekend. Maybe it was because of our aforementioned car trouble and being tired, but as someone new who doesn't know many people at the con, it was basically impossible to get anything because of the tables who pooled all their money together and had endless funds for whatever they wanted. A table behind us got easily 10 items. I overheard another table saying they were purposely bidding on everything just to drive up prices. Starting off with small game items was a downer too because I honestly would have bid on one of those since we only had 1,950 bucks, but I had my heart set on three items in particular and decided to wait and see if I could get them. 

Since it's a free thing anyway, I'd honestly rather just see more raffles (and maybe award people additional raffle tickets for participating in certain events). Other options are having a ReaperBucks store with set prices (think arcade style) or do it as a silent auction format. Just anything less cut throat would put a better cap to the weekend in my opinion.


Venue

Fantastic! I wish we had stayed there but by the time we committed to the con the room block was sold out. I enjoyed the open layout, the easy access to food and shopping, being right off the highway (we drove in from Oklahoma) and the staff seemed extremely attentive.

 

Ribbons
OK these are so silly but so fun! I enjoyed collecting these and was sad they ran out before I could "catch 'em all." We did have to ask for a lot of the ribbons at registration though and that could have been remedied. The badge itself with info on the back should be commended too.


Social Media
Although you advertised it a lot in your booklet, it didn't seem our posts on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook were really recognized. As a social media manager for a con, I get that this alone is a full time job. With all the emphasis in the booklet, I was hoping to see more on social. I did greatly enjoy the live Facebook video and I think it's a great idea for Reaper to use Twitch. I'm excited to take part in those streams going forward. 


Website
The website seriously need a thorough going over. There's a lot of old information (e.g. completely blank schedule page, old factions page, links for mystery dinners that don't exist, etc.). All the information I was looking for before the con (the FAQ, details about the Open and activities, etc.) were included in our booklet and the additional flyers. So basically all this info existed but was never placed on the website. As a newbie, and a planner, it was a little nerve racking coming into a con with a lot of missing information. 

The class registration was OK once I got it figured out but I didn't like that you could add it to your schedule but the actual purchase was separate. Also, going back to make changes was a huge pain. Being logged in didn't seem to matter. I had to always go back to my original email to access my classes and make purchases/changes.

I will say I am extremely impressed that all of the Open photos are on the website and categorized though. Kudos to whoever worked on that!

I think that's everything and I hope my feedback is useful in some way. I think you all have a really great event here and I'm excited to attend again. 

Edited by TigerMoJo
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Hey everybody!

 

This was an amazing review, MoJo, and I agree with you on so many points! Namely about how nice the venue is now and that there shouldn't be names on paint entries. I might even be convinced to enter a mini again if they stopped doing that.

 

I'm hoping some people who played in the RPGs would give their thoughts as well. Well. For anything other than GrowTix. I heard my fill of it at the Con, and I'm pretty well aware of all it's pitfalls. In general, if anyone's got anything good/bad/ugly to say about how the games were run, what games were run, and maybe what they'd like to see run in the future.

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This was my second year, and … I can't really add much to most of this, because I can't think of much to comment on; my experience was largely positive. Scheduling was a little weird, but .. y'know, it all worked out. I had a good time.

 

I can, however, add a piece of advice, and second a suggestion from another thread; namely for a Guide to Reapercon directed at people who've never been, or who've only been once or twice and aren't on the forums.

 

Anyway. Advice. As always, YMMV, and while I speak from experience, yours may be different, and equally valid to mine.

 

If you can, get a bingo sheet from @Pegazus, play Forumite Bingo. You'll meet a lot of awesome people that way, and maybe make some good friends.

Collect ribbons; the Reaper folks aren't the only ones giving them out (I had two, one that was exclusive to Saturday, the other I was just passing around all weekend). Some of us have requirements; to get Saved Vs. Fire from me, you had to eat something hot, for example.

 

Specific to the auction; get into one of those tables full of people. Make a list of what interests you that's being auctioned off, compare notes with the folks at your table so you're not bidding against each other. You may get showered in 'bucks, if whatever it is is something you /really want/. We've also been known to go out of our way a bit to make sure a kid bidding gets whatever they're bidding for; 'cause.. well, kids. We can't hit 'em with RL all the time.

People who won't be able to make the auction often hand off their reaperbucks to people, if you're lucky enough to be one of those, good on you. ^^

 

It doesn't help that last year's reaperbucks were horribly skewed; I still have a thousand or so I saved as souvenir.... This year /was/ better in that regard. There wasn't nearly as much inflation.

 

And, the one thing I /do/ think we should have... mail drop of some kind right at the hotel. Mr. Thorne and I had a heckuva time figuring out how to coordinate getting out to the factory with all the stuff we needed to ship, with the stuff we wanted to /do/. We had a car, so it worked out, but if someone's depending on the tour schedule, that might not work out so well for them.

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2 hours ago, PandorasGhost said:

Hey everybody!

 

This was an amazing review, MoJo, and I agree with you on so many points! Namely about how nice the venue is now and that there shouldn't be names on paint entries. I might even be convinced to enter a mini again if they stopped doing that.

 

I'm hoping some people who played in the RPGs would give their thoughts as well. Well. For anything other than GrowTix. I heard my fill of it at the Con, and I'm pretty well aware of all it's pitfalls. In general, if anyone's got anything good/bad/ugly to say about how the games were run, what games were run, and maybe what they'd like to see run in the future.

I would suggest one modification to the removing of the creators name from the painting judging.

That would be to put an identifier number on each entries card and make a listing available of who submitted what entries someplace in the display room.

GEM

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2 hours ago, PandorasGhost said:

I'm hoping some people who played in the RPGs would give their thoughts as well. Well. For anything other than GrowTix. I heard my fill of it at the Con, and I'm pretty well aware of all it's pitfalls. In general, if anyone's got anything good/bad/ugly to say about how the games were run, what games were run, and maybe what they'd like to see run in the future.

I was disappointed that there seemed to be only RPGs.  I would have loved to see more miniatures games beyond the CAV tournament and demos.   Given that Reaper is such a miniatures oriented company, that was a little disappointing. 

We only played in one RPG, @haldir's game on Friday.  It went great, but it seemed like half the people registered never showed up, and it only went on because a couple drop ins showed. I know that no-shows at a con are a fact of life, just wondering what can be done about that. 

(I know you don't want to hear about Growtix, but I wonder how much of the above is related?)

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1 hour ago, Sylverthorne said:

This was my second year, and … I can't really add much to most of this, because I can't think of much to comment on; my experience was largely positive. Scheduling was a little weird, but .. y'know, it all worked out. I had a good time.

 

I can, however, add a piece of advice, and second a suggestion from another thread; namely for a Guide to Reapercon directed at people who've never been, or who've only been once or twice and aren't on the forums.

 

Anyway. Advice. As always, YMMV, and while I speak from experience, yours may be different, and equally valid to mine.

 

If you can, get a bingo sheet from @Pegazus, play Forumite Bingo. You'll meet a lot of awesome people that way, and maybe make some good friends.

Collect ribbons; the Reaper folks aren't the only ones giving them out (I had two, one that was exclusive to Saturday, the other I was just passing around all weekend). Some of us have requirements; to get Saved Vs. Fire from me, you had to eat something hot, for example.

 

Specific to the auction; get into one of those tables full of people. Make a list of what interests you that's being auctioned off, compare notes with the folks at your table so you're not bidding against each other. You may get showered in 'bucks, if whatever it is is something you /really want/. We've also been known to go out of our way a bit to make sure a kid bidding gets whatever they're bidding for; 'cause.. well, kids. We can't hit 'em with RL all the time.

People who won't be able to make the auction often hand off their reaperbucks to people, if you're lucky enough to be one of those, good on you. ^^

 

It doesn't help that last year's reaperbucks were horribly skewed; I still have a thousand or so I saved as souvenir.... This year /was/ better in that regard. There wasn't nearly as much inflation.

 

And, the one thing I /do/ think we should have... mail drop of some kind right at the hotel. Mr. Thorne and I had a heckuva time figuring out how to coordinate getting out to the factory with all the stuff we needed to ship, with the stuff we wanted to /do/. We had a car, so it worked out, but if someone's depending on the tour schedule, that might not work out so well for them.

The mail drop idea stimulated the mental light bulb.

If Reaper could make arrangements for a local packing and mailing service to have a representative in the Vendor Area on Saturday and Sunday, capable of providing packing and shipping materials and accepting packages for shipment [for a fee of course] it would be a big help for those who are flying/have limited packing space for the trip home.

GEM

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1 hour ago, kristof65 said:



We only played in one RPG, @haldir's game on Friday.  It went great, but it seemed like half the people registered never showed up, and it only went on because a couple drop ins showed. I know that no-shows at a con are a fact of life, just wondering what can be done about that. 
 

 

Really?  I tried to register for one of his games but the site told me they were unavailable.  And on the same note, my husband ran two games... or rather he sat at two empty tables because no one was able to buy tickets for them. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, kristof65 said:

Regarding bias in the judging - what sort of bias are you worried about? 

It didn't appear to me that recognized names were getting any sort of special treatment. 

 

I actually agree that names shouldn't be publicly visible, but not for the reason cited. Pictures get taken of minis and put everywhere. The vibe at RCon is cool and accepting, but the internet as a whole is a toxic place and I can see scenarios where someone's work - with their name attached - could get ripped apart by unthinking trolls.  I'm picturing a scenario where I log into a large Discord feed and stumble upon a group of goons picking apart my work against a picture that I didn't post, with a name that they can trace to FB or wherever.

 

However, I think the judges NEED to see the names (i.e. on their own reference sheet) so they can do the right thing and bow out of judging a mini if there's a conflict of interest.  It's too much to expect that they'll know every mini that every one of their friends submitted, and at the awards ceremony when that friend is walking across the stage is too late to realize you judged something you shouldn't have.

Edited by Zoxe
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3 hours ago, Zoxe said:

 

I actually agree that names shouldn't be publicly visible, but not for the reason cited. Pictures get taken of minis and put everywhere. The vibe at RCon is cool and accepting, but the internet as a whole is a toxic place and I can see scenarios where someone's work - with their name attached - could get ripped apart by unthinking trolls.  I'm picturing a scenario where I log into a large Discord feed and stumble upon a group of goons picking apart my work against a picture that I didn't post, with a name that they can trace to FB or wherever.

 

However, I think the judges NEED to see the names (i.e. on their own reference sheet) so they can do the right thing and bow out of judging a mini if there's a conflict of interest.  It's too much to expect that they'll know every mini that every one of their friends submitted, and at the awards ceremony when that friend is walking across the stage is too late to realize you judged something you shouldn't have.

 

Take a piece of card with you, put it over the name before you photograph. Maybe take several, for grouped entries.

Is this a pain in the rump? Yes. But I have a nasty suspicion that asking Reaper to do it for us would be a bigger can of worms than either of us realizes.

 

… I know just enough about computer software to be dangerous. All too frequently what looks like a small change is anything but.

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4 hours ago, Inarah said:

 

Really?  I tried to register for one of his games but the site told me they were unavailable.  And on the same note, my husband ran two games... or rather he sat at two empty tables because no one was able to buy tickets for them. 

 

 

 

The Gt site did a number on mine as well. Namely start times. I know for sure I put in a 9 am start on Saturday as it was the day I had 3 games to run with only an hour in between each. All my daily starts were at 9 am. I missed em all but the Saturday game. I will admit it, with breakfast going on at the same time, I did learn that I won't schedule that early again.

 

I've always stated & really there was no option for this on the Gt site but my games are regs first & if they don't show up within 10 mins or so, the seat is open to whoever wants it. I totally get that being at the Con there is so much to do & with ReaperCon a miniatures first over gaming, I don't blame people at all for changing their plans.

 

Overall with the morning problems, running games was a bit of downer for me. Yes, there were times after I didn't get anyone after setting up that I was like, ehhh oh well. I'll go do some shopping or get my punch card filled out. Something I didn't do in 2017 as I didn't have any time to do that so I just bought Hall' Eve that year. When you planned the adventures & do all the prep work for them, you do want to run them, mainly to see how good they are playing as they are when you read them. Especially with from my view, every game table was packed this year. I blame that on over saturation of 5e at the Con this year. Last year I had full tables throughout the Con, being I was the only 5e game going most of the times.

 

Again, it didn't leave a sour taste in my mouth, if not for work-related issues for 2019, I'd be back for my 15th year but with LVO around the corner in 157 days or so + the 17th of this month I start DMing my local 5e Adventure League games, I'm not bitter at all.

 

I was really glad thou, to meet @kristof65 for the first time or at least for the first meaningful time & was happy that @herzogbrian finally got into one of my games after all these years of both being at ReaperCon. Also to my new players & for @TaleSpinner's wife & son, Gus for anther game of We Be Goblins.

 

To all, thanks for allowing me to be your GM for a few hours. I appreciate it. It means, allot.

 

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4 hours ago, Zoxe said:

However, I think the judges NEED to see the names (i.e. on their own reference sheet) so they can do the right thing and bow out of judging a mini if there's a conflict of interest.  It's too much to expect that they'll know every mini that every one of their friends submitted, and at the awards ceremony when that friend is walking across the stage is too late to realize you judged something you shouldn't have.

 

I actually think this is the ideal/perfect scenario. If you judged a piece favorably without knowing who painted it, you can be sure you had no bias in judging it. 

I think bias is inherent/human nature. I'm not saying any of the judging was intentionally favorable/unfavorable as I simply am too new to the community to even know that. However, it was clear to me that many of the pro artists and old school patrons are familiar with each other, even if they're not friends. So even if bowing out of judging a friend, you may be familiar with other names even if it's just hearsay or brief interactions/seeing their work online and can subconsciously make judgment calls on a piece because of that. 

Of course, if you obviously know a piece is done by a friend because you saw them working on it or turning it in, you can still bow out.

Just my two cents.

Edited by TigerMoJo
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It seemed like the ReaperCon gaming tables were in desperate need of a little system employed by a local gaming con. Every table had a sign in the middle with the table number. They also had a sign that you could hang from it that said 'looking for players'. You just take it down when the table is full or you have gotten too far to accept more. 

Edited by Keianna
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4 minutes ago, Keianna said:

It seemed like the ReaperCon gaming tables were in desperate need of a little system employed by a local gaming con. Every table had a sign in the middle with the table number. They also had a sign that you could hang from it that said 'looking for players'. You just take it down when the table is full of you have gotten to far to accept more. 

 

Ooh! -- This is a really neat idea for next year, Keianna! I can dig it. Maybe we can try and get a little metal stand or something so it's UP on the table. I will say the only plus to the old place was being able to hang table names from the ceiling. But, I think the numbers on the chairs managed to do an admirable job of helping point out what was what.

 

Now...if we can just keep people from jacking my table numbers in the middle of the night, I'll be happy. <_< Still looking for that Table 13 thief...

 

 

6 hours ago, kristof65 said:

I was disappointed that there seemed to be only RPGs.  I would have loved to see more miniatures games beyond the CAV tournament and demos.   Given that Reaper is such a miniatures oriented company, that was a little disappointing. 

We only played in one RPG, haldir's game on Friday.  It went great, but it seemed like half the people registered never showed up, and it only went on because a couple drop ins showed. I know that no-shows at a con are a fact of life, just wondering what can be done about that. 

 

Next year we're hoping to have a room for the miniatures games - and, of course, what's being offered is up to the people willing to run - all of the games run at ReaperCon are put on by volunteers who love the games and want other people to be able to play them. The notable exception, of course, being our darling ReaperWolf, who runs all of the Dreadmere events for Reaper (being the writer, he's sort of the authority on it, don'tcha know). Speaking of - next year's events should be reaching a crescendo for our loved (and reviled) factions. <3

 

As for people not showing up even though they registered...that happens a lot. No way to make sure that someone shows up...well...not unless someone gives me a Krampus-style sack to go with these horns and I can start kidnapping wayward gamers. >_> And yeah, I think probably GT had a lot to do with it. There's some options on the table for next year that might streamline this whole process (This Scheduling Devil, personally, has some appeals into Asmodeus, don't you worry.). But that said, I always encourage people to show up to the games they want to play on the chance that people bow out or forget or get kidnapped by some crazy lady with a trashbag and paper mache horns. You know. As you do.

 

Soon as I have a firm set-up for next year, I'm going to start talking about gaming at the Con for next year. I'm realizing I'm going to have to be a lot more proactive on the forums now that our little Con is growing! This year definitely had some growing pains in that department, but lord if any of you remember way back in the day when we were all crammed on four tables in the side aisles of the factory...woof. To my knowledge, both Societies (Pathfinder & 5e) should be back next year. I've also got some rumblings of other non-Pathfinder, non-D&D games getting organized...updates to follow as I get 'em.

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23 minutes ago, Keianna said:

It seemed like the ReaperCon gaming tables were in desperate need of a little system employed by a local gaming con. Every table had a sign in the middle with the table number. They also had a sign that you could hang from it that said 'looking for players'. You just take it down when the table is full or you have gotten too far to accept more. 

I like the idea of a "looking for players" sign.

the tables were all numbered this year, with a large and readable from 20+ feet [even with my myopic eyesight] sign on every table.

A few seconds inspection would reveal that the tables were all in sequential order with the lowest numbers at the east end of the concourse and the numbers increasing the farther west one went.

Remember, this is the first year working with this venue and there are small operational details that still need to be smoothed out.

GEM

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