My clan of loyal tabletop gamers takes Gencon event registration very seriously because we collectively feel that you really only have one shot to get the events you really want to play. Sure, you can show up and still have a good time, but that is a crap shoot at best and often precludes attending premiere or release events that are in high demand.
While the current system works, there are some issues that annoy. My primary gripe is the incredibly brief time between the event listing release and registration day. This year it was less than one week! During this time you must trudge through thousands of spreadsheet lines, get your wishlist setup and then arrange to be sitting at a computer to click “submit wishlist” the moment the button goes live. Gencon needs to do a better job about releasing the event list much earlier.
Given the low seat counts on some of the events, my team of gamers plan entirely too much to get in the high demand events. We create elaborate contingency plans for the Gencon slots in case our primary choice is full and then sit around on a Skype session while the gods of fate determine what queue number we get and work through any issues we (the group, that is) has with games we are trying to play together. Do we dump game A in slot 2 because only 3 of us got seats? Do we go ahead? All of this requires real time communication and burns an entire Sunday morning.
Or worse, you pull a Trask and make vacation plans in January and fail to take into account the mid-May time frame for Gencon event registration (registration date not announced until months after vacation booked). So, I had to create my wishlist using terrible hotel WiFi, while reading a massive spreadsheet on a small Kindle Fire pad and to top things off here is a shot of me communicating with my gamer crew as registration went live on May 17th.
No, it is not Photoshopped. That is me standing near the Sun Gate above Machu Picchu discussing Gencon 2015 event registration with the team back home (thank you Delorme satellite communicator).
Then there is the issue of Gencon adding last minute events the day before event registration and then literally thousands of new events after registration day. This results in refunds, tweaked schedules and general scheduling annoyances up to the convention itself. Particularly galling is things like the massive Catan tournament added after registration was completed. I find it hard to believe that such a large event was not already well known to Gencon months ago. Is there simply a manpower shortage on the part of Gencon for getting events entered into the system?
Gencon is a massive undertaking and I usually have nothing but praise for Gencon’s event planning and efforts, but there is some really low hanging fruit in terms of improvements that need to be resolved.
1. Get event list out sooner
2. Get a complete list of event out sooner ( I know that there will be additional events added, but I get the feeling that the list we use to plan for event registration day is just a partial list to get through registration day and they are taking a “we’ll fix it later” approach)
3. Announce registration day for the next year well in advance.
4. Add some more features to the wishlist system to give us more options besides all or nothing on ticket purchases.
My thoughts, but feel free to throw in your own ideas.
Trask, The Last Tyromancer