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Reapercon Report

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On 9/4/2019 at 8:43 AM, SamuraiJack said:

That was Active Minds Games and his X-Case.  I'm not sure how many sales he was getting.  

 

It would be nice if Darksword was there..  

 

So my .02

 

The Good: A lot more classes this year and a lot more options.  All the MSP entries and the Bones 5 previews.  Seeing folks again after a year.  Prices in the auction seemed to return to normal.  You had a shot at something with 3000 reaperbucks, and it didnt require 8 people to pool together to get a lot of items.  Having a food truck helped.

 

The bad:  All the entries.  I'm thinking they need to limit people to 3 per category going forward.  They need to encourage diorama and ordinance more.  Now that they have Beginner, intermediate, advanced levels for classes, they need to designate classes as Tabletop or Competition level.  I learned a couple things in my classes, but two were more clearly geared towards Tabletop/arm's length quality than Competition pieces.  The auction seemed REALLY long and they stopped raffle prizes too early in the process.  the bar wasn't serving the awesome steak tacos this year and the free beer was only Bud light or coors light. :(

 

With the current growth of attendance, and the holiday weekend, they may want to consider more classes on Sunday and having the auction later with tear down on Monday.  Sure, some people are still going to leave on sunday and it might be early and not all the artists can stay, but they are going to need more programming.  It also seems like there are additional meeting rooms to use that were used by other groups down the hallway from the classrooms.  

 

 

A lot of people need to leave on Sunday in order to make connections in a timely fashion and because Monday flights are going to be more expensive and subject to delays due to the longer weekend.

As to tear-down on Monday, that's an additional day of Space Rental that has to be figured into the budget, which means higher Registration Fees.

On the classes scheduling, wife and I both had a good time in our Reaper After Dark Class [Thanks One Boot!], and I would consider more classes at this time period if offered next year.

I had a not-on-the-official-schedule game [DMed by Crowley] with a flexible start time each night to accommodate other activities.  It was such a "good time had by all" get together that it will probably happen again next year.  Played hell with getting a good nights sleep due to normal gameplay end times but hey, that's what we have the rest of the year for, i'nit?

This Convention is growing to the point where there are more moving parts involved, and certain "things" will require a bit of re-engineering in order to keep it a viable event, strictly because of the growth factor.  If the year over year growth rate continues in just a straight line this event will hit 2000+ registered attendees in the next couple of years.  That size of event requires different considerations and protocols than even last years event, even though the venue is capable of easily hosting an event of 2500 to 3000 attendees.

Just my opinions and observations, based on having been involved in the planning and presentation of a number of Conventions for our Fraternal Order.

GEM

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On 9/4/2019 at 9:25 AM, buglips*the*goblin said:

 

That was a later change they made after several complaints.  At first it was any VIPs and then non-VIPs, which meant very long waits if VIPs kept showing up. @LordDave had that experience.  

I was in line after you were processed through but after they had instituted the alternating line policy.

Seemed like a perfectly reasonable and logical way to handle the keeping the line moving process to my mind.

The bottleneck seemed to be the backlog of a boatload of entries from one painter at the photo booth.  The traffic jam was so severe there was hardly room for my medium sized diorama and two single figures.  This was causing a delay in getting entries through intake as there just wasn't any more table space available to queue up incoming entries for their picture, so the lines were stalled.  Just one of the growing pains for an ever expanding ReaperCon.

Since the event experienced a near 50% year over year growth this year I thought things overall went remarkably smooth.

Just my Two Cents.

GEM

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On 9/4/2019 at 1:47 PM, buglips*the*goblin said:

 

There are also special categories (big monster, etc)

 

Let's bear in mind also that 1000 entries for 1500 attendees is still well below the threshold of one figure per person anyway.  

Also, before people get too caught up in projective math let's keep in mind that there were at least three unusual events bulking the numbers some this year over prior years:  the Wiebe Pug, Paint it Pink, and Ed skeletons.  

Paint It Pink should be back Next Year.

The Manufacturer Awards will also be at the same, or possibly even a higher number going forward.

No doubt somebody will come up with something like Ed Skellies at some point going forward, for example, the Painted Gummy Bears that started out as an after hours silliness and caused a near stampede in the gaming halls when the rumor got out, and have already been announced by @grandsonofOdin as an unofficial thing for next year.

GEM

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On 9/4/2019 at 5:56 PM, Jubilee said:

 

There were four of us :). Intake, explanation/swag/organization, photos, and processing.  It was probably the least relaxing vacation I've had in a long time...

 

The VIP line was definitely a problem but I think the unexpected uptick in entries (almost double) and entrants (200 to 340) made it even worse as an experiment than it otherwise would have been.  We were not expecting to have basically non-stop entries on Thursday (with a brief slow down around 3) and no break on Friday.  By the time we both realized how much of a problem it was, many people had been waiting far too long, but we changed it to keep everyone moving more reasonably after that.  We were so overwhelmed with the crush that it took a while for us to realize that was going on!

 

We've come up with several ideas for improvements next year, but we're not sure what's going to be reasonable to implement.

Personally, I think the VIP Line adds value to the VIP Package.

Doing an alternating line for intake seems perfectly reasonable from my perspective.  This helps to keep both lines moving so people don't get antsy from a stalled out line because only one line is being serviced.

You guys did a terrific job, even with the crush of additional entries this year.  This was my first experience with actually entering anything for judging and from my perspective as an absolute noob to the MSP Open [except as a spectator] you did an exemplary job, with the only bottleneck being when the photo booth was overwhelmed by a crush of entries without any place to queue any more so intake stopped for a few minutes.

GEM

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On 9/5/2019 at 6:05 AM, Heisler said:

Jubilee has addressed some items in regards to the competition so I will leave those alone. On the judging front we are constantly expanding the number of people qualified to judge which does require at least one con as an apprentice. There were five judging teams in action on Friday night, so that's 15 people, there were at least two apprentices working their way through the process so there may be enough for six teams next year. While lots of people volunteer to be judges we do not take people right off the street and into the line up, first because not everyone has the mind set it takes to be a judge and second because there is a system to the madness and it takes time to wrap your head around what we are trying to accomplish and third because, as a judge, you need to drop your own ego off at the door, you cannot sit there and say "that piece is not as good as mine therefore it only deserves x". And the judges do some of the manufacturer judging as well on Saturday and I'm going to try and change that for next year. With the number of entries involved its difficult to even find all the entries for a given manufacturer when we are moving at Mach 5 on Saturday. We realize there are problems and we are doing our best to correct them. One thing to keep in mind is that all the people working the competition are volunteers.

 

On the Auction/Raffle front, I was incredibly embarrassed that I was not able to finish the auction. Hopefully Izzy did a reasonable stand in after I had to leave (and we barely made our flight as it was). I'm looking at the suggestions and at least considering everything. One thing that is probably not going to happen though is timing. We cannot tear down on Monday, it all has to go out on Sunday night. The extra expense of staying an extra day on site is prohibitive.

 

Vendors, I do what I can. I have a regular list of vendors that I work from that have attended Reaper Con in the past and they are notified first. I have added vendors that were mentioned in the thread and added them to the list and I'll see what their interest is next year.

Tomb Guardian Miniatures - on my list, contacted me and indicated interest but didn't follow through with a booth.

Fat Dragon - added to the list

Effin Cool Miniatures - added to the list

Impact Miniatures - have been trying to attend for the last couple of years but things seem to keep getting in the way.

RMJ Game Company - added to the list

First Legion - added to the list

Stonehaven Miniatures - added to the list

3D Printcraft

Secret Weapon - Labor Day weekend is a no go for them

Warsenal - added to the list

Things from the Basement - added to the list

Litko - added to the list, but I'm not sure he actually attends conventions, but certainly worth an email to find out.

 

I'm happy to answer questions and take suggestions. Just realize that sometimes a suggestion sounds really good but the implementation is not feasible.

Couple of suggestions:

I've attended many auctions over the decades and one thing I've noticed is the ones with at least two spotters working assigned sections of the floor help the auctioneer move the auction along faster. by calling out the bid raises as they occur in their section, which also allows the Auctioneer to focus more quickly on the active bidders.  That and starting the auctions on a higher floor [for example 500 $RB instead of 100$RB when the auction quickly blows through that number] when a similar item has run up in price quickly during the same auction.

-

Suggest to any of the 3d vendors [Fat Dragon Games would be perfect for this] that they demo their 3d products by actually having a printer working during vendor hours.  There are a lot of people out there who don't know about 3d printing, or if they have heard of it they have never actually seen it in action so a printer in operation is going to draw attendees to the busy little machine, which will give them a perfect opportunity to extol the virtues of their 3d printable files.

GEM

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On 9/5/2019 at 1:04 PM, Shadowphaze said:

Okay, who gave me this nasty bug/virus/alien thing in my chest?  I wish to file a complaint.

All complaints must be submitted through the Gro-Tix online complaint submission system.

>Irony/off<

GEM

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On 9/6/2019 at 4:39 PM, Chaoswolf said:

 

I like both of those ideas.

 

Also, what about starting classes at 9am instead of 10? By doing that and dropping the 1 hour lunch break from the schedule, you've just gained a whole new class slot for every day of the 'con. That works out to 44 extra classes slots over the course of 4 days, so 11/day.

If Reapercon keeps getting bigger, those extra class slots are gonna be needed sooner or later.

 

Before it starts up again, NO, I don't hate food. I don't hate the idea of people eating food. I'm fat, obviously I like food. I like other people to eat food, too. I just know how to schedule, plan, and make contingencies so that I can attend the class/event that I want to and still be sure to work meals in, as well. I don't need Reaper to do that for me.

For those who have attended College, Class Scheduling needs to be approached with the same mindset as that used during College Class Scheduling/planning.

For those who have not attended college, you need to balance your class schedule with personal needs such as food, if you need it - rest time, and any other personal needs.

Fortunately Reaper U is in a compact enough space that you don't need to figure time getting "across campus" when trying to close schedule back to back classes.

GEN

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6 hours ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

Suggest to any of the 3d vendors [Fat Dragon Games would be perfect for this] that they demo their 3d products by actually having a printer working during vendor hours.  There are a lot of people out there who don't know about 3d printing, or if they have heard of it they have never actually seen it in action so a printer in operation is going to draw attendees to the busy little machine, which will give them a perfect opportunity to extol the virtues of their 3d printable files.

I'm one of those people, and I think this is a good idea.

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An extra table set perpendicular to the others with a serpentine queue might help.  Although it would mean one other helper to manage the queue.

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13 hours ago, Green Eyed Monster said:

I was in line after you were processed through but after they had instituted the alternating line policy.

Seemed like a perfectly reasonable and logical way to handle the keeping the line moving process to my mind.

The bottleneck seemed to be the backlog of a boatload of entries from one painter at the photo booth.  The traffic jam was so severe there was hardly room for my medium sized diorama and two single figures.  This was causing a delay in getting entries through intake as there just wasn't any more table space available to queue up incoming entries for their picture, so the lines were stalled.  Just one of the growing pains for an ever expanding ReaperCon.

Since the event experienced a near 50% year over year growth this year I thought things overall went remarkably smooth.

Just my Two Cents.

GEM

 

If you were after me by a fair bit of time, then "boatload of entries" by one person happened at least twice, because the dude before me in line had somewhere between 20 and 30  (I thought I heard 28, but can't be sure of that).  

 

That held things up so long that after I had my entries submitted and was waiting for them to come out the other end to bring them in the room I had enough time to go chat with sculptors on artist row and it still wasn't done by the time I came back.

 

Edited by buglips*the*goblin
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Three Comments:

 

1.  I, too, had the boatload o' entries person in front of me.  Who could not answer half the questions about her entries ... like, "Manufacturer?  Name of Entry?"  And she only had about eight entries.  I can't imagine standing behind someone with 20.  BTW, I advocate for as many entries as anyone would like to enter; just need to re-engineer the line to move folks faster.

 

2.  I've worked and judged and volunteered at other hobby cons.  There always seem to be dozens of specific suggestion on how to do things better ... but not necessarily with the insight to know if the suggestion is workable.  And they are often unworkable due to cost, manhours, physical space, time ... the basic resources needed to pull a Con off.

 

3.  HST, how 'bout opening the vendor room at 0900 hours, military time?  On Sunday morning, that's basically what happened ... the vendors just did it.  With the increase in attendance and the very happy vendors I spoke to because of their sales, there would be more time to buy and more time to sell.  If a vendor didn't wanna, then he wouldn't hafta.  Capitalism is great.

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Seems to me that there might be an advantage to handing out blank entry cards (three part NCR perhaps?) that the person entering a piece would fill out someplace other than when standing in line. These cards (one per entry) would be handed in with the entries to whoever is checking them in, which person would cursorily check to make sure the card was filled out and then initial to confirm receipt (and possibly assign an entry number for data/picture coordination).

 

The form would need to be three-part (either NCR or separable parts that are individually filled out). One part would be handed to the data entry person, the second would go with the miniature to the photographer, and the third would stay with the artist as a receipt.

 

This should make lines move faster, reduce the workload on the person running the computer data entry (because data could be entered continuously, not just when people are in line), and not negatively affect the photographer. 

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54 minutes ago, Doug Sundseth said:

The form would need to be three-part (either NCR or separable parts that are individually filled out). One part would be handed to the data entry person, the second would go with the miniature to the photographer, and the third would stay with the artist as a receipt.

This is a fantastic idea.  The amount of training needed for a volunteer to help the people in line to fill them out would be minimal since the volunteer doesn't actually handle either models or data entry.  If the instructions on the forms were clear, most people could fill them out before they even entered the queue.  Volunteers could even assist with filling the forms out if anyone needed help. 

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I always bring index cards for each of my entries and fill them out ahead of time.  This year I put it off until I got to the convention, but I've saved myself some stress by doing it before I leave home in the past.

 

On one I put my name and email, because they need that to enter us in the system.  On all the others I put:

 

1. Title of Entry

2. Manufaturer (ex reaper, darksword, etc)

3. Category (ex open, painters...)

4. Special award status (ex mousling, pink, chibi, etc)

 

I hand them to the Awesome Debbie.  She usually smiles at me.  This saves time and ensures my entries are spelled right (when I come up with funny titles...) 

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53 minutes ago, Corporea said:

I always bring index cards for each of my entries and fill them out ahead of time.  This year I put it off until I got to the convention, but I've saved myself some stress by doing it before I leave home in the past.

 

On one I put my name and email, because they need that to enter us in the system.  On all the others I put:

 

1. Title of Entry

2. Manufaturer (ex reaper, darksword, etc)

3. Category (ex open, painters...)

4. Special award status (ex mousling, pink, chibi, etc)

 

I hand them to the Awesome Debbie.  She usually smiles at me.  This saves time and ensures my entries are spelled right (when I come up with funny titles...) 

That's what I did too! Should be standard operating procedure for anyone entering the competition. 

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