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ReaperCon 2018 Review


TigerMoJo
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23 minutes ago, PandorasGhost said:

But, I think the numbers on the chairs managed to do an admirable job of helping point out what was what.

Honestly - I loved that.  Not just for identifying tables, but for making sure that there wasn't a lot of chair "theft" happening.  I've been to other cons where the chairs seem to disappear from certain tables, and you spend the first 10-15 minutes of the game trying to gather chairs. 

If I can make it work to go next year, I'm going to try and put my money where my mouth is and run a miniatures game. 

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7 hours ago, kristof65 said:


If I can make it work to go next year, I'm going to try and put my money where my mouth is and run a miniatures game. 

 

What game would you run?

 

I woke up this morning thinking about how best to package and transport a copy of Shadows of Brimstone.  The trouble is that my particular "copy" has been merged with oodles and oodles of expansions and bringing the whole thing would be a mess.  I'd almost need to buy (and paint) a duplicate copy of one of the core sets.

 

(Not that I don't have other mini games I could bring, but... I've been itching to play SoB in a 'con environment).

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1 hour ago, Zoxe said:

 

I woke up this morning thinking about how best to package and transport a copy of Shadows of Brimstone.  

 

There's a thread in Painting Tips on travel with miniatures:

 

http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/79845-travelling-with-minis/

 

Also, my brother recently picked up his first Battle Foam case; you might see if they have one specialized for your game...

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RE: names on entries---I see where everyone is coming from, but here's the flip side---how do I (as just a regular attendee) find my friends pieces if they're not walking around with me pointing them out? How about if I see something really cool and I want to find the artist and talk to them about it? It's easier to to try and find 'John Smith' or 'Jane Doe' than it is #547.

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4 hours ago, Chaoswolf said:

RE: names on entries---I see where everyone is coming from, but here's the flip side---how do I (as just a regular attendee) find my friends pieces if they're not walking around with me pointing them out? How about if I see something really cool and I want to find the artist and talk to them about it? It's easier to to try and find 'John Smith' or 'Jane Doe' than it is #547.

Which is why I suggested having an index list of what artist entered which entry number available somewhere in the display room.

GEM

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To the OP, I appreciate the effort and thoroughness of the comments.  I don't agree with them all, but think that most ranged from perceptive to benign.  In general, suggestions for Reaper to add more resources to speed/enhance/clarify/correct aspects of the Con are, of course, dependent upon the resources Reaper decides it can profitably reallocate or expand.  I also wonder if, something ain't broke, does it need fixing?  There were some blips, but none was serious enough to discomfit me.

 

Having said that, there are two areas that I will comment upon:

 

1.  GrowTix was, at best, difficult and troublesome and, at worst, a disaster.  I had a blip where a class I had registered for and thought I had paid for ... wasn't on my schedule. Because I hadn't paid for it, although I had paid for other classes in that particular purchase -- and had received no feedback that my purchase was only partial.  No meltdown on my part, but just another frustration in dealing with a user hostile product.  And, from what I overheard, I was one of the lucky ones.

 

I am the registrar for a large national convention upcoming.  I have to create or suggest acquisition of a registration system -- simpler than ReaperCon.  I already know one system that will not be considered.

 

I would suggest that, even though we have had only one year's experience with GrowTix, hoping that things will smooth out next year will probably be futile.

 

2.  I watched registration with some interest (as it will be my role in two years).  Thursday morning seemed significantly slower and a notch more confused than in prior years.  The GrowTix factor may have had an impact; I don't know.

 

So, having said that and having read and considered all of the posts on this topic up to now, I am ready to sign up for 2019 the instant registration opens.

 

Oh, 3.  The venue was spectacular.  The best ever for Reapercon, and the best for any Con I've attended.

Edited by Highlander
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On 9/7/2018 at 3:14 PM, 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.

 

Peace be with you,

 

Part of Competition is exposure. When entering any Competition, reknown is one of the rewards - and that comes with the good and bad. 

 

Listen, and please take this to heart: nothing a person says about you or your work is Truth. What you hear is their perspective - and unfortunately some perspectives are tainted by the experiences an individual has sustained. 

 

If you ever hear your work torn down, it is because somewhere, sometime that person was torn down exactly as they seek to do to you. It is not Truth. That is Pain and it is not a reflection of you. It is that individual's projection. 

 

When you encounter this in your life - and you will - remember this and see that person or persons for who they are: someone hurting. Be patient with them, and do not put any weight on their counsel. They are not speaking Truth.

 

You are kind. These are often the hardest lessons to kind people. I do not doubt you will use this knowledge to bring reform and healing to the world.

 

Question: if you knew you could never win a trophy again, would you still enter? ;)

 

On topic: great thread and great insight from the OP. 

 

May both of your efforts be rewarded and blessed.

Edited by KingMob
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On 9/9/2018 at 2:01 AM, KingMob said:

Part of Competition is exposure. When entering any Competition, reknown is one of the rewards - and that comes with the good and bad. 

In a way, previous exposure is one of the reasons why anonymity will not work.

 

Many of the pros/semi-pros in Artist Alley that entered a piece had them on display before the contest. Most of us that arrived before Saturday already knew who painted what, and some of the painter/sculptors have well recognized styles.

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On ‎9‎/‎9‎/‎2018 at 1:01 AM, KingMob said:

 

Peace be with you,

 

Part of Competition is exposure. When entering any Competition, reknown is one of the rewards - and that comes with the good and bad. 

 

Listen, and please take this to heart: nothing a person says about you or your work is Truth. What you hear is their perspective - and unfortunately some perspectives are tainted by the experiences an individual has sustained. 

 

If you ever hear your work torn down, it is because somewhere, sometime that person was torn down exactly as they seek to do to you. It is not Truth. That is Pain and it is not a reflection of you. It is that individual's projection. 

 

When you encounter this in your life - and you will - remember this and see that person or persons for who they are: someone hurting. Be patient with them, and do not put any weight on their counsel. They are not speaking Truth.

 

You are kind. These are often the hardest lessons to kind people. I do not doubt you will use this knowledge to bring reform and healing to the world.

 

Question: if you knew you could never win a trophy again, would you still enter? ;)

 

On topic: great thread and great insight from the OP. 

 

May both of your efforts be rewarded and blessed.

Being a total newb here I hope you guys will forgive me for jumping into this conversation, but it really hit something with me. KingMob I agree with what you say, but I think there is another way to look at how people act toward each other some times. it is possible that people who are saying nothing but nice things aren't really helping you and people who say things that seem mean may be doing it to help, but it seems hurtful because they use no tact.

Let me use American Idol as an example of what I mean. During the auditions some of the entrants were, to put it mildly, terrible singers. But their circle of friends and family had always told them that they were great and wonderful and the judges should love them because that was what they thought they should say to show encouragement and support. Then when the person appeared before the judges, who had no vested interest in their feelings, sometimes they were absolutely crushed by the judges' responses. Sometimes those were heart crushing moments, but the judges were just being (sometimes brutally) honest with the person, maybe for the first time in their lives. So sometimes they took it as being mean and hurtful, and projected anger toward the judges. But if they were honest with themselves, which is very hard to do sometimes, they sometimes had to admit that the judges had a point, and maybe they should take singing lessons. Or maybe pursue a different path completely.

What I am saying here is that sometimes people who are nice aren't always helpful, and sometimes people who seem mean aren't always trying to be hurtful. It's up to you how to take what they say and use it to your advantage

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2 hours ago, rawlkeer said:

Let me use American Idol as an example of what I mean. During the auditions some of the entrants were, to put it mildly, terrible singers. But their circle of friends and family had always told them that they were great and wonderful and the judges should love them because that was what they thought they should say to show encouragement and support. Then when the person appeared before the judges, who had no vested interest in their feelings, sometimes they were absolutely crushed by the judges' responses.

What I am saying here is that sometimes people who are nice aren't always helpful, and sometimes people who seem mean aren't always trying to be hurtful. It's up to you how to take what they say and use it to your advantage

 

Peace and blessings, brother.

 

You raise very good points and I agree with you on the Judges. (I personally think some are abrasive for ratings and drama, but that is me). These instances involve individuals who have gotten the training, done the work, and are placed into a position of authority where people come to them to have their talents appraised. 

 

Unfortunately, our focus is not on Judges, but on people outside that realm of authority:

 

"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."

 

I know the Judges of ReaperCon - for example - would never speak to a person like that about their work. And as a new comer, feel good knowing you and your work WILL be treated with respect! A professional who respects their Craft knows the effort, the heart and soul, that goes into the work. Criticism is there to push you to next level.

 

The "you suck, you really really suck" Crowd that spits venom instead of critique. Not Judges, and their words intend to bring ruin - they repeat the words they were told by another. These individuals who tear down another are not providing constructive criticism, they are venting their pain. They do not speak Truth. 

 

The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel it's warmth.

 

There is constructive criticism and there is being a jerk. The wisdom lies in knowing difference. And as a competitor, sometimes that distinction is a trial in and of itself.

 

Never apologize for sharing your insight. Every Master started as a Beginner. You stand among your peers. Feel welcome and wanted. 

 

You are among your Tribe. :)

 

May your blends be smooth. 

 

Edited by KingMob
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a few added thoughts

 

FANTASTIC Staff and volunteers.  Reaper Miniatures and Reapercon are both labors of love and it shows.  Everyone was great to interact with (and I know us attendees could get very trying and old after a while) and even the folks at the registration desk (who I know were having a rough weekend) still managed to keep smiles on their faces.  Thank you for what you do.

 

On the subject of registration, I really hate to jump on the Growtix dogpile, I found it clunky and awkward and in need of improvement, but eventually usable.  However I didn't get left out in the cold not actually registered for a class I thought I was like some people so I don't have much to add there.  I know that Reaper is aware of the problem and is working with GT to improve the experience.

 

Classes - one of the highlights of Reapercon to me.  Great instructors, very patient and understanding. I signed up for one a day, I might do more next year. I also brought a ton of extra stuff with me, most of the classes I took that needed brushes specified to bring them, (at least I thought so) though there were people still without, so not sure how to address that.  I'm going to pack extras next year so I can share.

 

 

The vendor hall was great, I love that there was room between the booths and the vendors there were great to interact with.  I second the sentiment of not just walking up to a vendor and asking for a punch, the whole point of the cards was to give them an opportunity to show off their product.  I even like that the vendor area was 'part of' the main event space, just off from the open painting area, making it easy to hop over and grab something you think of that you wanted (Maybe my wallet thinks that was a bad thing, but he and I aren't talking right now...)

 

On the subject of the open painting area - any chance it might be possible to set up 'public' lighting?  Maybe at least on the take and paint table?  The lighting in the ballroom isn't great for painting. I know lots of people brought their own lighting rigs, but there are also a lot of people very new to the hobby, it might be a good opportunity for them to see what an advantage good lighting is. I know I met a ton of people who said this was their first time painting....

 

I would have loved to see more events up on the main stage.  Maybe things like a few painting or sculpting demos from some of the pros (Like what they were doing at their workstations but up on the big screens as a general showcase type of thing).  maybe some of the video interviews could be done over loudspeaker or something so everyone could enjoy.  Celebrity Hobby Hijinks could be fun. Since bones 4 is coming out in February, maybe a presentation with the first look at what would be in store for Bones 5?

 

 

 

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On 9/5/2018 at 7:07 PM, TigerMoJo said:

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.

 

...Cut...

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. 

 

...Cut...

 

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.


...Cut...
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. 

 

I realize that a fair number of people have already jumped in on this but let me make a few comments as one of the people directly involved with these two areas.

First, the MSP Open:

The MSP Open is based on the Open judging rules developed by the MMSI Group in Chicago. The basic idea is that you are not competing against anyone else in the competition, you are being judged on the skills that you are showing off. The primary difference is, that as a judge, we are looking at all the good things you have done and making decisions based on those good things. We aren't focused on the flaws, although there are things that will immediately drop you down a medal level, like mold lines. Most painting competitions, in the US, are trophy oriented so that only the top three painters are given an award and judges are very focused on flaws and rarely give a painter any type of feedback on their entry. Trophy competitions are, almost, always anonymous to avoid favoritism. At Reaper Con we don't care who you are, famous miniature painter or not, we just care about how well you execute. That's usually why I recommend that you don't try out a new technique on a competition piece unless you are absolutely sure that you can pull it off. The names on the entries are also important so that judges know when they need to recuse themselves from judging a particular piece, usually because they have had a lot of input during the painting process.

 

The Auction

I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with the auction. The auction has evolved a bit over the years but the one thing I cannot control is the creation of the various groups that pool together their reaper bucks. Just doing a raffle at the end, besides being very low energy, won't change the situation though. It just means those same groups that have a lot of Reaper Bucks for the auction will now have a lot of Reaper Bucks to buy raffle tickets with. Like most of the operations at Reaper Con, the auction team is all volunteer a most of us are doing multiple things over the course of the event. By Sunday afternoon we are tired as well and we just want to end the convention on a high energy note. A raffle is about as low energy as you can get, a auction, regardless of your level of participation, is a much higher energy event and I try and make it as entertaining as possible. However, we have very little time to actually organize the material that is going up for bid, often I don't know what's there until after Ron has finished off doing the raffle. That means that things tend to come up very randomly, I don't really have  solution to that other than if you are not part of a table group and there are things you are specifically interested in come on up to the auction table either before the auction or even during the auction and we will do our best to accommodate you. The only hard and fast rule I have is that the last one or two items will be small, nothing that would cause people to hoard their Reaper Bucks till the end and then be really disappointed. On a side note I did think that the number of Reaper Bucks out on the floor was more manageable, from my standpoint, than it has been in years past.

I apologize that you had a bad auction experience but I would encourage you to give it another shot the next time you attend.

 

A Reaper Buck store or even a silent auction are just not possible within the limits of space and the available staff. While we aren't terribly concerned with people actually stealing anything, both of those options will require someone to be available for the entire time that the items are on display and eat up a lot of space that we just don't have. A silent auction in particular would likely mean that we would not be able to include things like the class paint sets nor would it keep the table groups from winning as many of the silent auction bids as they wanted. Especially since they would actually have more people available to keep the bids going up on the various items.

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12 minutes ago, Heisler said:

However, we have very little time to actually organize the material that is going up for bid, often I don't know what's there until after Ron has finished off doing the raffle. That means that things tend to come up very randomly, I don't really have  solution to that other than if you are not part of a table group and there are things you are specifically interested in come on up to the auction table either before the auction or even during the auction and we will do our best to accommodate you.

 

I am one that did not help with this any.  Had a few items I wanted to give away to the community and handed them to Ron saying to put them in raffle or auction.  Once you got to those items my daughter had gotten her blanket and was ready to go so I was already gone and only saw them come up when I watched over the video.  If I had thought about it I could have tracked down a bit of info I collected on them when I won them last year but just didn't think about it at the time.  You did pretty good with coming up with a description for each. :)

 

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12 minutes ago, hungerfan said:

 

I am one that did not help with this any.  Had a few items I wanted to give away to the community and handed them to Ron saying to put them in raffle or auction.  Once you got to those items my daughter had gotten her blanket and was ready to go so I was already gone and only saw them come up when I watched over the video.  If I had thought about it I could have tracked down a bit of info I collected on them when I won them last year but just didn't think about it at the time.  You did pretty good with coming up with a description for each. :)

 

And just out of sure curiosity which items were those?

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