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Organisation Review and Suggestions
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Dan



Joined: 11 Mar 2006
Posts: 222
Location: Wellington (now)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:58 am    Post subject: Organisation Review and Suggestions Reply with quote

Overall, Congrats to the team on the organisation of Kapcon. Still an amazing effort and great results as we all bath in the post-con bliss.

Positives - I knew where to go, who was in my games, which games I was playing. I think as a GM with a first pick thing trialled this may not have been the experience of all - but it made my con real stress free in finding out where I was meant to me. I like the GM first pick thing (my schedule was fixed long before D-Day).

It looked as if Nick, Scott, Idiot and the team had it all under control. However I do have a few suggestions and critcisims as we move forward.

Announcements, speeches, etc
Dragged a little in my opinion. Some of the speeches went a bit too long and dragged in what they were trying to say.

Also, as always the common room was well packed - and difficult to find a place to sit down (making the speeches drag even further). I would suggest a place where the Annoucements like ("dude" please come to the desk to pay for the con, or this game is now running or that game is not running) to be up on a projected screen in which the organisers can post and each individual can go look out for without being embarrassed by an overall annoucement.

Nice that I got a prize though.

Scott seemed a little stressed

This is not a criticism of Scott, (hes a fantastic organiser), rather it seemed that he was on that laptop organising for alot of time that Kapcon was running. But I might suggest that others are trained in doing all this organisational stuff as part of my next suggestion.

Also, I think the registration desk (or the welcome desk) should move. Ie the registration desk could easily be upstairs (level 5) as people come in and *then* the players can move down to level 4 to pick the games they are playing. This would also help in finding a way into the venue...

too short?

KapCon has long being a con of 6 games run over two days, and its expansion has been "flat". By this I mean that to cater for additional players to the 'con more games are added to the selection of six. This is cool but we are now running a HUGE flat schedule (somewhere near 17 games per round or something??).

Kapcon's biggest strength is the variety of games on offer, but if you don't have enough time to play the variety - the selections are rather hard to select from.

I am suggesting adding another day to KapCon - the Monday. For these reasons
a) Might lower (eventually) the number of games on offer at each session - spreading the load around a bit (as the players have the choice again of another 3 games)
b) Might allow others to join the 'con and still get "value for money" by playing two days (when they have to work one of the days, or have other committments).
c) Wellingtonians particularly, might like the extra day (monday) which would be initially less well attended (others have to go home right?). As the monday is a public holiday for Wellingtonians.
d) As a negative, there will be less bodies at the 'con at each time (diffused during the three days rather than 2). This might be a good thing, but also would make making announcements difficult to get to everyone, and will need to slick up the organisational structure to ensure that the organisational teams know what to do at each time...

However, - to make this sort of thing happen I would suggest -
a) Have TWO organisational teams. With a changeover maybe Sunday afternoon. These organisational teams would probably have to have all the skills and abilities necessary to run the 'con on their own (so that the other organisational team can go play games!!!). This again would spread the load and give everyone more time to play.
b) A change in the pricing structure of Kapcon. - An additional day = additional costs for the venue + additional costs in other areas.
Also - if you are only coming to play 1 day, should you pay for all three? There are considerations of cost / benefit that would have to be attended to.

Further thoughts I am sure will come....
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itowlson



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some suggestions regarding the "who's in what this round" poster:

- Print it in a bigger font. (Yes, this will mean using two sheets.)

- Post it higher up on the wall (so that people can see it over other people's heads).

- Don't post it right next to a doorway.

Worked really well all the same -- I thought at first I was going to miss the duckling walk but I soon changed my mind!
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itowlson



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 276

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if this should be a separate thread, but I'd encourage the organisers and Frank to think about how the Web site could be made more reliable. It went down on Friday and is still down as I write. This caused problems getting there for some attendees who couldn't check the venue or get a map; for myself, I wasn't sure of the start time on Sunday and couldn't check that.

I believe that Frank hosts this on a personal server as a favour, and I really appreciate his generosity in giving Kapcon a free Web presence, but I'd suggest that this is becoming a false economy. What would be the pricing and organisational impact of moving to a host with more reliable connectivity? (I appreciate that there are admin and data migration issues in addition to pure monetary cost.)
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MattCowens



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 654

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some great suggestions and I like the big picture thinking, Dan.

I think Kapcon is nearing the tipping point when people will be able to book games in advance of the con for most or all sessions. We might not be there yet but it looked like we were approaching that level of GM good will and organisation this year. It does require 30 or 40 people to commit to running games well in advance of the con. Most of the regular GMs now do this, as do some new-to-Kapcon-GMing GMs. It's a big shift in the culture of the con. THIS IS FANTASTIC!

So, well done GM-herder Idiot, and well done GMs. A couple more years and we might all have the hassle free experience of a pre-booked con Smile
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TazzyD



Joined: 10 Jan 2010
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only suggest a nice big sign (or 3) to point people to the right building at the start. I only remembered having to goto gate #1 and then follow the signs, although the only sign I saw was an A4 piece of paper against an outside door. Lucky I found someone roaming around that looked like a LARP'er :p
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Scott



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 172

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a quick response at this stage. Thanks Dan and others all good and fair comments, Just a couple of things from me.

I am actually not the only one trained in the organisation of the con, we have actually spread that around a lot now. Would you believe that I actually only did desk duty 2 sessions the rest of the time I was playing Smile. I just also tend to jump behind the desk between sessions to get stuff processed. I'm actually pretty relaxed behind there usually except for probably 5th round and just before prize giving.

Spreading to 3 days. I'm seriously going back and forth on this one, I know what you are suggesting but personally at this stage I love having the Monday off to recover from the Con and after party before going back to work.
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Conan



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 472
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some great ideas there.

I'm going to have to step in on the stay at two days camp. I think, based on how previous cons have gone, that three days will just be too much. Kapcon is a great social event, loads of fun, but I really value the day after being a holiday and a chance to wind down from the convention.

I also feel that one of the strengths of Kapcon has been how it has drawn contingents from across the country - it was awesome seeing so many Auckland gamers there this year, and if I could, I'd be on the plane to Battlecry next month - and I think that stretching to three days is going to make Kapcon less accessible to them. Taking the Monday off to return home is fine - I think asking them to stretch further is a venture that might cause a drop in attendance. Not to mention that it would be likely registration fees may go up which might also have a detrimental effect on attendance.

I get the whole desire for more gaming, but I'm not convinced that Kapcon really needs to be run more than two days. It's a pretty full on event as it is.

My own feelings about Kapcon this year was that it was well organised - I liked the fact that we didn't have people come up and pitch their games and call out players - it gave people more time to mingle during break time. (All good)

I do think, however, that seating in the main area was a problem. We need to have a bag room or something for attendees - It was frustrating to see seating space taken up by people's luggage, and lots of folk having to stand around.

I'm also inclined to suggest maybe having a separate boardgame room kind of like the Games on Demand room - just to free up space in the main area.

I guess my feeling is that the main area should be a place for people to socialise, sit and eat, look over the next round games and be able to pay attention to announcements. Weirdly, I felt some of the boardgaming tables became an obstacle course for others to move around.

On the other hand, I do think that any gaming stores - like WGS - need ot be in that main room for them to get any value from attending the convention. Smile

Overall - I think it was another excellent Kapcon. Great job Nick, Nasia, Paul, Scott, Malcolm et al!

Conan
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IdiotSavant



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott wrote:
Spreading to 3 days. I'm seriously going back and forth on this one, I know what you are suggesting but personally at this stage I love having the Monday off to recover from the Con and after party before going back to work.


Ditto. I also don't think it'd result in the desired effect of a smaller, more manageable con due to load-spreading. Instead, I think it'd be the same, but for another day. There are great games on offer, and people are going to want the chance to play them. Number of games run is the dependent, not the independent, variable.

I think there'd also be problems herding the GMs to put out 50% more games to meet another day's demand. Some I think are at their limit already, and having once run six rounds, I was totally shattered by the experience (this year, having run three and played 3 intense sessions, I am merely fragged). Without a significant expansion of the GM pool, that situation would become the norm for our GMs rather than the exception, and I don't think we can really ask our GMs to do that. As a con, we run on GM goodwill; we'd need total buy-in from the GM community for that sort of change.
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Playing: ArM5 - Fons Albae; Pendragon: Defenders of Sarum
Running: ArM5 - Fons Albae (rotating); The Laundry
Planning: KapCon XXI; The Devil's Brood (Chimera); Hydra (April 2012)
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NickPitt



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conan managed to sum up exactly how I feel in his thoughts about the main room and the 3 day suggestion. Smile

I also agree with Scott, I need the Monday to wind down so that the transition back to mundane things like work is easier.
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IdiotSavant



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MattCowens wrote:
I think Kapcon is nearing the tipping point when people will be able to book games in advance of the con for most or all sessions. We might not be there yet but it looked like we were approaching that level of GM good will and organisation this year. It does require 30 or 40 people to commit to running games well in advance of the con. Most of the regular GMs now do this, as do some new-to-Kapcon-GMing GMs. It's a big shift in the culture of the con. THIS IS FANTASTIC!


I think we'll be looking at that in our post-con review. There's no question we could do it - there'd be some chaos from the inevitable timetable changes and so forth, but it could be handled.

The downside is that it could potentially undermine our GM incentive, but I guess that's just a question of when we do final game assignments. And given that the timetable isn't really sorted until January, that leaves plenty of time for GMs to say what they want to play.
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Playing: ArM5 - Fons Albae; Pendragon: Defenders of Sarum
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Planning: KapCon XXI; The Devil's Brood (Chimera); Hydra (April 2012)
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itowlson



Joined: 20 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdiotSavant wrote:
The downside is that it could potentially undermine our GM incentive.


Another downside is a bad experience for walk-ins, who could find that in every round their options are limited to "whatever still has spaces open."

Conversely, an upside (as Fright Night has shown) is that GMs who know some or all of their players' styles and preferences have the opportunity to tailor and tweak accordingly.
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IdiotSavant



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conan wrote:
I do think, however, that seating in the main area was a problem. We need to have a bag room or something for attendees - It was frustrating to see seating space taken up by people's luggage, and lots of folk having to stand around.


Another perennial problem. Unfortunately I don't think we can make people throw their bags somewhere. But we'll look at it.

Quote:
I'm also inclined to suggest maybe having a separate boardgame room kind of like the Games on Demand room - just to free up space in the main area.


Tempting, but then we create exclusion. Again, we'll be discussing this, since use of space is something we go over every year.

(There are 5 classrooms on the main level. Currently we use one for RPGA, one for GoD, and three for other gaming. GoD needs more space, the RPGA might (not sure, need to ask), which would leave one room for boardgames or chill space (also tempting). But then we'd need to find those three other game spaces downstairs somewhere (and we already fill most of the 12 available spaces)).
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Playing: ArM5 - Fons Albae; Pendragon: Defenders of Sarum
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Dan



Joined: 11 Mar 2006
Posts: 222
Location: Wellington (now)

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott
Quote:
Spreading to 3 days. I'm seriously going back and forth on this one, I know what you are suggesting but personally at this stage I love having the Monday off to recover from the Con and after party before going back to work


Conan
Quote:
I'm going to have to step in on the stay at two days camp. I think, based on how previous cons have gone, that three days will just be too much.


Sorry, I don't think I made my point clear. I don't want 3 days so that I have 3 days of straight gaming. Those that know me are probably aware that I can't do that anyways - I'm not looking to increase my gaming experience. I'm looking at increasing everyones gaming experience through opportunity for play.

Going to three days would hopefully mean that people DON'T go to all three days. Rather stick to their own two days of gaming (just a different two days to others). I'm sure that there will be people who want to stick it out for the whole 'con - I'm not one of them - but I'm also not one of those people who think that if its KapCon, I HAVE to be there. Or that KapCon won't run without me present.

Part of this is response to Morgues post about being "slick". Kapcon is still a 'con run by mates for mates, and I am getting the feeling that those mates expect to be there for the WHOLE experience - and are not willing to let the 'con become greater that this - because they don't want to miss out on any part of KapCon. Giving people the chance to not be there should turn the mates meter down a bit (not too much hopefully), give the chance for the 'con to expand (which looking at the rooms this time round - is there any more space to add?) - NB. this is assuming that Kapcon will expand. And allow the organisers AND GMs to actually play as many games as they run or have more of choice of games to run.

It also allows people to set their own schedule - and not rush around to be there at all points (or they miss soooo many games). In the case of the out of towners - yes there is a thing that they may not be able to do the monday (unless as most of the overseas people this time round - they are here for a fair time before and after the 'con anyways), but also if the out of towners do stick around - they have time to stop and socialize with people as not everyone that they want to socialize with are running off to the next game (cos thats the only time it runs, and I've only got those sessions available to play 'cos I'm running on the other ones...)!!!

**BIG PREVISIO to all this
The other changes - like a change in the organisation team (to two different teams) and a change in the pricing of KapCon - also need to be considered with the above. We can't just change the number of days that Kapcon runs and expect the current organisational structure to just cope with it.

Basically, to you Idiot, this means you aint going to be the only GM wrangler - you'd have more help.

EDIT* - One more thing - changing to the extra day, does not mean you HAVE to be there. You can have that day to "calm down" still - nothing is stopping you. In fact you can also do things like - not go to any morning sessions and still have a full six games, or miss out on sunday (as your chill out day) and still get some of the experiences that you were told about on Sat Afternoon etc...
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Last edited by Dan on Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:30 pm; edited 1 time in total
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MattCowens



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preferential game choice is a great GM incentive, and I can totally see GMs attempting to schedule their games carefully so they get a chance to play in particular games when they're not running Smile

Which is not to say that being a player is not valued, of course, just that GMs are also a valuable asset and encouraging them to commit in advance to running games is in everyone's best interests!
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IdiotSavant



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

itowlson wrote:
IdiotSavant wrote:
The downside is that it could potentially undermine our GM incentive.


Another downside is a bad experience for walk-ins, who could find that in every round their options are limited to "whatever still has spaces open."


Yup. And that's a big problem with the first two rounds already. particularly when walk-ins are likely to be newcomers to KapCon, and therefore our long-term future. We need to be fair to them as well as to people who are organized and pre-register.

How does the community feel about this? (And on a related note, how do you feel about the GM incentive? I like it, but I'm a GM - how do non-GMs feel about it?)
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