Ubercon XIII - The Good, The Bad . . .

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Ubercon XIII - The Good, The Bad . . .

Postby Mike C » Sun Nov 07, 2010 5:39 pm

Okay, here's the annual good and bad thread for Ubercon. What did you like and not like about Ubercon XIII? Let's try to avoid "the blame game" and keep it civil and constructive. I'll put in my two cents later on.
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Re: Ubercon XIII - The Good, The Bad . . .

Postby Mike C » Sun Nov 07, 2010 11:19 pm

Okay I guess I'll start it off. This is from a board games GM perspective:

THE HOTEL - Most of us are familiar with it by now. Looks like they spruced up the rooms a little.
That might explain the increase in the rates. Upon my arrival on Friday at 5 pm, I was told the microwaves and fridges were all gone, and I brought food from home. No one else I asked got one either. I put my room number on a waiting list but I never got them. Also, on Saturday, I couldn't get most of the basic channels on the TV in my room. I called the front desk. They told me they called it in, so apparently it was a hotel-wide problem. Outside of that, everything else was okay. The room was clean and the bed was nice and comfy.

THE FOOD - Most of us know Harold's serves HUGE portions and charges appropriately. Great if you have people to share and split the costs with, bad if you're on your own like myself. Since I got screwed out of the mini-fridge and microwave, I went next door to the Hilton Garden Inn. They had a buffet breakfast for $11.99 and their burgers were reasonably priced and you didn't need five people to eat it.

THE SETUP - The board game and RPG rooms seemed to accomodate all who wanted to play. I got my own memorial table - Table 2 - the Mike C. Memorial Table - All Mike C. all the time. I was happy with that. It didn't seem too crowded and the video gamers didn't clash with the board gamers. Everyone played nice in the sandbox.

SNACKS & REFRESHMENTS - The Con Suite was on the second floor this year. There were signs indicating this but if you signed up for or were running a lot of games, it was hard to get there. There were complimentary drinks by the games library, but if you wanted diet soda like me, you had to go to the Con Suite or settle for water. But it was good they had a Con Suite somewhere.

SPECIAL EVENTS - I put in 15 games on the schedule to run. Most of my "down time" was spent eating, sleeping or showering. So I didn't really have time to partake in the special events this year. I had seen Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, I'm a diabetic so I purposely avoided the Ice Cream Social, but I think it's a good event to have. The Pyramid and 1 vs. The Mob events appeared on the schedule AFTER I had submitted my games and times. I was busy and could not attend them.
I know Bruce and Brendan bust their chops to pull those off. I'm sorry I couldn't partake this year.

VENDORS - there were quite a few this year. I hope they made money. I purposely avoided them because I didn't want to be tempted to spend money. The spare money I had I needed for food.

To be continued . . .
Last edited by Mike C on Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ubercon XIII - The Good, The Bad . . .

Postby Mike C » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:11 am

Picking up where I left off

MY GAMES - all of them went off. It looked like Wits & Wagers wouldn't but it eventually got four people. Most of my games had a full or close to full table. Apples, Bubble Talk, Man Bites Dog, The T-shirt Game, Moods, The New Yorker Caption Game, The Joke Game, Boggle Deluxe and Scattergories Categories all had six or more gamers playing. So my "memorial table" was quite active. But it wasn't all smooth sailing. I "forgot" the Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know It game. When I unpacked in my room, I realized I left it at home, and that had filled up before the con started.
Fortunately, the library had a TP game and I had the betting chips from Wits & Wagers, so we had the event with a full table. But wait, there's more. I had just one set of cards for Smart Ass. The game has four sets. I explained to the group that we could play with the one set of cards or play another trivia game called ASAP. The group opted for the latter. We did play Smart Ass with the one set of cards to fill out the hour (about 15 minutes).

It doesn't end there. At the end of my last scheduled game, Loaded Questions, it was pointed out to me that I had explained the rules wrong. I had run it only one other time. Oh well, you live and learn. Overall, I had a good time and several people played more than one of my games. It was good as always to see all the familiar faces of my fellow gamers and GMs A few people were missing, namely Dave Simpson and his girlfriend Maddie (who got married recently), Matt Lee and Tiffanny Walsh. I was glad to see all the familiar faces that I did.

Overall, Ubercon XIII was a good experience for me. This was my sixth Ubercon. I always look forward to it and it always goes by so darn fast. Thanks to the Ubercon family for putting it together. The security and coordinators did another fine job. Thanks to Eileen Duffy for coordinating the board game schedule and giving me my own "memorial table." Thanks to Randy Paterno for making the Ironman forms easier to fill out (just the badge numbers). Thanks to Gil Hova for being my roommate and a special thanks to all those who took part in my games, especially Earl, Josh, Rick and Vinnie. Those four guys made my games fun, they made me laugh and made me glad I made the trip out from NYC.

There was a sign in the lobby that the Holiday Inn was changing management. If we return next year, the hotel will be a Crown Plaza. I will have to watch my budget next year. But I plan on returning to Ubercon. It was the first con where I started running board games back in 2006, so it holds a special place in my heart. So until next year, enjoy the holidays, and I will see you at some other con or at Ubercon 2011. Peace.

Mike C.

Happy GM and board gamer.
Sad that another Ubercon is over.
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Re: Ubercon XIII - The Good, The Bad . . .

Postby mneme » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:30 pm

Due mostly due to not wanting to lock myself down, I didn't bother prescheduling.

Still had a pretty fun time, though lots of games were full and it was impossible to tell in advance what board games were full and what weren't (and the lots of events that were added after the schedule went to press didn't help). Played (and helped organize, since we didn't have a GM to help us start off) Dominion, Glory to Rome, Notre Dame, Ticket to Ride, Zombie Dice, Are you the Traitor, Goa, Santiago, and several other games (whether on or off the schedule), and met lots of cool people!

Particularly fun facing off in several games against my namesake, "Josh the Balloon Guy"; a hardcore strategic gamer after my own heart.
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Re: Ubercon XIII - The Good, The Bad . . .

Postby Vladimir the Dragon » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:09 am

Things I thought went well:
* Staff knew what they were doing and did it well.
* The players all seemed to be having one of the best times I've ever seen at a con!!!
* The boardgame, mini and videogaming areas all were busy until about 4:30am, and starting picking back up at 7am (I could only know this because I stayed up each night). Friday was as busy as Saturday night!
* Sluggy
* Merchants galore!
* I loved being able to see people I haven't played with again!
* Kinect
* RB3
* Parties
* Breakdown took exactly an hour.

Improvments:
* Hotel booking issues. 'nuff said, perennial problem.
* Mild confusion (perhaps my human's fault) about Pyramid location *blink*
* VERY late event submissions!!! We have a fix for next con that we think will work!
* Definitely need more volunteers.
* My human needs to use checklists to avoid leaving the router behind.
* Delayed internet for PCs, and coupled with the game selection requiring internet means that we'll have both fixed for next con!
* Breakdown shouldn't have to take an hour. :)

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Re: Ubercon XIII - The Good, The Bad . . .

Postby Kariya » Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:13 am

- This is probably the first Ubercon where seemingly everything was in order at 4pm.
Often parts of the lan or helpdesk still need to be set up, tables need to be moved, etc. But not this year.

- Signs and directions where things were being held were there at 4pm.
The only thing I was unable to find was Harold's of all places (I went right, it's left)

- While I know the hotel is always a sore point, I had no trouble as just a random attendee.
A few years ago, I spent 20+ minutes on the phone (calling from the Netherlands) trying to explain what I wanted.
Only to arrive and find out they had messed up the reservation.
This time, due to online booking, I was able to book within 5 minutes, they had my reservation and the room was good & clean.
I wasn't aware that there was supposed to be an option for fridges or microwaves so that didn't bother me.

- Cold water was provided on Friday iirc. Usually we have to beg for them and they don't get set up until Saturday night.

- While I ended up playing almost no games, there was a nice wide choice, as usual.
I expected to see Rockband 3 but it was a surprise to see the Kinect system (I just got to watch, didn't mess with it) and even a title like NHL 11.
Love me some hockey!

- Vendor room was well organized and looked good. Impossible to ignore.

- The board game/miniatures/etc rooms were heavily in use until late LATE night. Very cool to see.
I spent most of the time there and some time in the console area. Never made it to the other side of the hall.

- Saw a lot of people going for prizes. More than I usually see. Even one of the swords was snatched up!

Suggestions (aka the Bad)
- The board game/miniatures/etc rooms were heavily in use, and while it all did work out I think improvements can be made here.
Perhaps dedicate a few tables as dedicated food area (not sure if you want all kinds of food around the games)
perhaps re-arrange the set up of the tables, putting the tables where official tournaments are held in certain sections (easier to find/recognize)

Make better use of the website to promote Ubercon and the various games that will be there.
Big bold letters attracts more people! :)

Use whiteboards or similar for announcements and game/tournament information.
Again, things were well planned but can always be improved on.

- I know this is being addressed but several people asked for some recently released board games.
Investing in new games might be good.
In the same vein, some games seem to be missing pieces/parts. Either mix & match or dump those.

Also, while I understand it's good to offer a wide variety of board games,
perhaps sort through the current stock and only bring those that have a chance of being played.

I assume it's hard to get more interesting prizes,
but a bit more variation and newer things would be great and might make more people drag their friends.
Not sure how this can be addressed. Perhaps ask for vendor donations in exchange for bigger & bolder banners/mentions on the website?
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