Monday, 9 June 2014

Gen Con 2014 - Event Booking

Given the experience of booking accommodation that we had for Gen Con I felt I should do one on the Event Booking.

This was a multi step process -

What To Do?

The event catalogue is a monstrous spreadsheet (that could do with some data refinement but that's me being picky) with at this time almost 10,000 events in it.
This was released on the 9th May and I spent something in the region of 14 hours looking at it over the first week, if not more...  actually I think it was more but I'm going to go with 14 hours...

14 hours?!?!  What's the problem?

Well... as you'll be aware from previous Gen Con posts one of my motivations to go is to play / buy / experience Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition but from reviewing the event catalogue there are a LOT of other things I wanted to do to (unsurprisingly!).

Wednesday wise there are a whole host Trade Related events.  Some are specifically aimed at retailers but others are aimed at other aspects of the trade business.  Now normally this wouldn't be open to non-Trade people but thanks to the wizardry of the internet I have been granted Press access which is awesome!

Thursday through to Sunday there were too many options.  TOO MANY!!!  However I managed to narrow it down to around 30 events that I would be putting on my wish list.

Wish List?

Oh yeah, the system for getting into games involves the submission of a wish list at a specific time and then waiting for the website to come and tell you what you actually got.

Sounds fairly straight forward but when there are TOO MANY things to choose from it becomes very difficult to shorten that list and then assign a priority to events.

To help with this I arranged to meet up with my partners in Gen Con and we went through the event list.  This was additionally supported by the excellent fan website http://gencon.eventdb.us/ which was regularly updated every 6 hours to reflect changes in the catalogue.

Submitting Wish List!

This was the bit where I think things conspired against me...

Wish Lists were to be submitted at 5pm UK Time on Sunday 18th May.
I was co-running the 2nd East Neuk Tabletop Games meetup from 2pm to 5pm that same day.
Given the problems with the hotel system I expected the web access to be a nightmare.
I was reliant upon the pub across from the ENT venue to have a decent internet speed.

Ultimately at 4:45 I left ENT to head for the pub.
At 5:00 (and maybe 1 second) I clicked SUBMIT!
The planets must've been aligned or something as I (and +Greg Barr as I was submitting his at the same time) got pretty much the priority events that we wanted.
Given that they're expecting upwards of 50,000 attendees this year I find it amazing that the website didn't crash.  Indeed it didn't even seem to get slow.

Huge praise for the Gen Con web team on that front!

Since then there's been some tweaking of the event list by the team but everything seemed to be settled.

So that's that then?

Well no, more events have been uploaded since the initial launch and indeed tonight (8th June) had another 1,000+ events being listed and I've stayed up late (I get up for work at 5:15am) to see what new games are listed.  There were a couple of things I knew would be listed but there was only 1 sure fire event I really wanted to make sure I got in to.

Bring Me the Head of Dr. Dinosaur - An Atomic Robo RPG event run by Mike Olson (who created the RPG).

And I GOT IN!  Woohoo! For Science!