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Early registration?
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IdiotSavant



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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Location: Palmerston North (bugger)

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

itowlson wrote:
You're right that early registration would not help with prediction the first time it was used. But the payoff is three or four years down the track when you *do* have that baseline, and *can* use it to make predictions. (Assuming of course that early registrations do turn out to correlate reliably to final numbers, which might not to be the case.)


At the moment, my main prediction tool is to compare the number of pre-registrations by (date) to the previous year. More probably means a bigger con; less a smaller one. No matter what, I can't get solid numbers until January. But when we get a massive early flood like this year, its a strong signal that the con will be bigger.
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IdiotSavant



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

icehawk wrote:
I agree that there is something a bit odd about saying that you've pre-registered for the Kapcon LARP but not for Kapcon.


Odd. But it doesn't actually matter from an admin perspective. We cross-check the lists, and send reminders if necessary. But people know they can just pay on the day, and some do.

(Hmmm. Sometime I should runa check to see if being in the larp correlates with earlier signup and/or payment)
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itowlson



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, yes. Predictions are never more than indicative. But in the context of the LARP (which I what I thought icehawk was talking about), a historic baseline might allow authors to look at early registrations and make a reasonable guess between "we have enough characters" and "we need to write 20-odd more" earlier in the writing process.
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IdiotSavant



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

itowlson wrote:
Well, yes. Predictions are never more than indicative. But in the context of the LARP (which I what I thought icehawk was talking about), a historic baseline might allow authors to look at early registrations and make a reasonable guess between "we have enough characters" and "we need to write 20-odd more" earlier in the writing process.


Since we have a new larp team every year, with no central record-keeping, they don't have the historic data to work from.
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itowlson



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's why I used the conditional future tense.
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Stephanie



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdiotSavant wrote:
Since we have a new larp team every year, with no central record-keeping, they don't have the historic data to work from.
It might be possible to extract that data, though, for someone with access to the Kapcon database. The signups that we got for Sanctuary were effectively emails autogenerated by the webform - would the website have kept archived (and timestamped) copies?

(Yep, I'm way good at inventing work for other people. Wink)
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IdiotSavant



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stephanie wrote:
IdiotSavant wrote:
Since we have a new larp team every year, with no central record-keeping, they don't have the historic data to work from.
It might be possible to extract that data, though, for someone with access to the Kapcon database. The signups that we got for Sanctuary were effectively emails autogenerated by the webform - would the website have kept archived (and timestamped) copies?


I'm not sure; it depends on whether the website overwrites the old database every year, or sets up a new one. I'll see what Frank can do.
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Dale



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the basis of this discussion it seems that there is enough evidence to trial an earlier registration.

In the LARP organisers thread I said:
Quote:
My preference would have been to have the Kapcon Registration and LARP reg open simultaneously. However, If you're talking about casting 100 characters, and you're going to offer each player the chance to fill in a questionnaire, specify people they want to play with, or don't want to play with, and then go back and offer them at least two character options, it's hard to see how that's not going to take several months of meetings, lists and a ton of e-mailing.


This (past) year I would have preferred Kapcon to open sooner, at the same time as the LARP to allow more time for casting, and to ensure that the LARP team doesn't get burnt out over the holidays.

I also suggested that the reason for a dozen or so players pulling out of the LARP in advance this year was tied to a difference in perception about signing up for the LARP as opposed to Kapcon.

Quote:
...people are just reserving a spot in one game when they do the questionnaire, they often aren't booking flights, arranging for a place to stay, offering to run a game etc. They haven't actually committed to coming to Kapcon by signing up for the LARP


On the basis of Idiot's summary of the statistics;
Quote:
Idiot: there's a strong corrleation between preregistration and actual attendance


I'd suggest that it's possible that opening registration, and simultaneously with the LARP, not only provides breathing space for casting but also make LARP withdrawals less likely.

However, obviously I'm only hypothesising. This might not actually turn out to be the case at all if the circumstances were changed, but it seems that it would be worth trying.

I'd also note that a lot depends on how this years LARP team approaches writing characters and casting. I'd strongly suggest revisiting the casting questionnaire and obviously the suggestions about creating additional character blocks are good if the LARP team has this capability and sufficient motivation to see it through.

Next, the (potential) problem with earlier registration for the rest of Kapcon is perceived as:
Quote:
Idiot:Because we need games in order to open registration. And most of our GM pool doesn't want to think about it until December.


On the basis of past 'cons this seems a fair point - so the only way to change this behaviour is likely to be to change, or add to, the way Kapcon solicits games. Now, I can only speak for myself, but an e-mail prod out of the blue only does so much for me. What I find much more motivating is discussion about what other people are planning for Kapcon, why it's cool, and how they're planning to deliver it, both here and on blogs and other spaces. I'd suggest that rather than (or perhaps in addition to) tapping the traditional backbone of Kapcon to offer a blurb, a broader effort is made to encourage thinking about games, both online and perhaps even at a Kapcon GM's drinks.
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Last edited by Dale on Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:11 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Stephanie



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, it turns out that I can give you preregistration figures for Sanctuary (Kapcon 2008 for people who weren't there.)

September 18
October 6
November 12
December 8
January 15
Total 58

From memory, I think that around three of the preregistrations pulled out. We took 10 signups on the day and I think our final player count was 62. People who only signed up on the day were more likely to not show than the people who had preregistered.
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Luke
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dale wrote:
I'd suggest that rather than (or perhaps in addition to) tapping the traditional backbone of Kapcon to offer a blurb, a broader effort is made to encourage thinking about games, both online and perhaps even at a Kapcon GM's drinks.


These are cool ideas and would be keen to see them discussed. Previous attempts to create GM and SDC groups along these lines have not had a great result but I see there are already discussions of nee attempts this year, so it is a good time to look at this again.

I would also like to add that it remains important to continue the current efforts of multiple emai calls for blurbs as this has had a proven record of improvement over the years.

Along these lines, I think it's time for Kapcon to set down a timetable of it's expectations in terms of games too. Not a hard deadline, but a schedule saying we will be calling for games on 1 July and looking for blurbs on 1 August. We used to have one of a sorts but its seems to have faded away with only Idiot really knowing what that timetable is. Over a couple of years, these dates will begin to stick in people's minds allowing Kapcon GMs to assist or even drive the sort of efforts Dale is talking about here.
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Dan



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luke
Quote:
Along these lines, I think it's time for Kapcon to set down a timetable of it's expectations in terms of games too. Not a hard deadline, but a schedule saying we will be calling for games on 1 July and looking for blurbs on 1 August.


I would like this, it is something I have seen in other cons I have attended, and it would help with any scheduling of GM support (and give focal points for recruitment into GM support)..

I would also put in my support for an "unofficial" time line, rather than any hard deadlines (which I think would not work), but an unofficial time line that is communicated to the attendees.
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IdiotSavant



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luke wrote:
Along these lines, I think it's time for Kapcon to set down a timetable of it's expectations in terms of games too. Not a hard deadline, but a schedule saying we will be calling for games on 1 July and looking for blurbs on 1 August. We used to have one of a sorts but its seems to have faded away with only Idiot really knowing what that timetable is. Over a couple of years, these dates will begin to stick in people's minds allowing Kapcon GMs to assist or even drive the sort of efforts Dale is talking about here.


This year the timetable was disrupted due to a shift to a new recruitment model (which saw those who had stuck their hand up at the after-party targeted first) and by website issues. Here's what I plan to do for next year:

* January: solicit "volunteers" for first and second round at the after-party and a subsequent thread on NZRaG.
* June: Email initial first and second round GMs asking for blurbs, with followups if necessary.
* August: General call for games and SDC reminder sent to all previous KapCon GMs.
* 1 October: Target date to start signups for first-round games. Will be shifted forward or back depending on the number of blurbs received (I need at least 6 in each round to start, and likely more if there is an early flood)
* When registration opens Another call for GMs in the general spam.
* November - December Further calls for GMs in response to demand
* January: Final call for GMs and surge protection
* K - 1 week Set timetable; email to all GMs so they can shift their games and/or make GM picks. Email blurbs to all pre-registrants so they can drool over games
* K - 3 days Preregistrations close; final spreadsheet sent.
* K - 1 day Emergency recruitment of GMs at precon drinks if necessary.

The aim is to get the initial pool of first and second-round GMs early, then have a steady stream of games going up on the website over the subsequent months to encourage interest. We're not aiming to have the entire con timetable (or even the entire first and second-round timetable) up on the web and set in stone from the day registrations open, and nor do we need to.
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Luke
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IdiotSavant wrote:
Here's what I plan to do for next year:


Awesome. I think key dates in that should be identified and communicated to attendees, such as over website. Plus keep it the same date year by year or give notice if it changes.

I would also look to tie it into key dates in the gaming calendar such as Confusion (which is already done to some extent) and flyers etc
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IdiotSavant



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Luke wrote:
I would also look to tie it into key dates in the gaming calendar such as Confusion (which is already done to some extent) and flyers etc


One of the aims of contacting first-round GMs in June is to get a flyer out for ConFusion and Chimera. But for various reasons, that didn't happen this year.
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Adrexia



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

icehawk wrote:


The LARP this year had a lot of early sign-up, filled very early, and had a very large number of drop-outs. I can't see that large number of drop-outs as unrelated to the LARP filling early.


I think that the perception that the Larp had a capped number of players and a high-demand for spots probably had more to do with drop-outs than early sign-up did. We had early sign-up too, but with no perception that demand could be higher than supply we didn't have the same issue.
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