|I still have no idea what just happened.|
Here be Ranting
As a person who's worked on, with, at, near, and all other adverbs describing actions involving gaming tournaments (notably Magic: The Gathering) for as long as I have, I tend to see what works and what doesn't. For example, our team works hard to run seasonal prereleases that draw in at least a hundred people, some times two hundred people over a weekend. The following:
- Having a link to an excel sheet schedule instead of integrating the schedule onto the website.
- Putting the events in a room different from the room described in the program and on the map.
- Not having a correction in your program about said room venue change.
- Having the room venue not be anywhere near the rest of the rooms of the Con.
- Provide basic power (yeah, half the power outlets were dead) and internet to the given room without needing to ask the custodial staff. (I didn't realize this was a thing at a supposed 4+ star hotel. I've seen better from 3 star hotels.)
- Doing all of the above one week before the Con weekend. (to my understanding)
"Oh, you guys run the gaming room! Great, I was looking forward to playing some games. So, where is that, by the way?"
Cue righteous fury. We expect some sort of proper advertising (or if you guys won't do it in a timely manner; let us know. We'll do it.)
So, we spent our weekend in a mostly empty room on Friday until the Hotel staff finally got around to putting up some sort of signage, as we weren't able to. I'm sure if the vendor's were dicked over in a similar manner, they'd probably pack up and leave at this point. We even considered it multiple times over the course of the con. You must understand our irritation -- we throw in a ton of money in order to prepare product for tournaments and other things regularly seen at conventions. We take time out of our schedules to share our love for our respective games with the greater public, and provide a service to those gamers coming in from other areas. When the potential gamers/customers have no idea where they can go to play games/buy gaming supplies, we get stuck with a ton of useless product and a nice fat pile of expenses that we now have to eat, and the players were unable to have the fun they could have had if they had just known where to go. I'm sure the vendors would be furious if they were relegated to some deserted corridor of the hotel with zero signage and incorrect directions to their room instead of the primo spot next to the Main Events hall and the Registration table. Oh yeah, and we had to leave the room by 8PM in order to accommodate a dance party.
Why wasn't the dance party over at the main ballroom? A big event like that should be in the big room, or over in the central Con area.
Whatever. Mindless rant over.
Saturday and Sunday were a little better, a group of my usual players from the local FLGS dropped by and I was able to run a Conspiracy Draft queue. We were even able to get a constructed event off the ground, and was happy to meet and make new friends (once they were able to find the bloody room) all throughout the weekend. I'd like to think my actions got a few groups of friends to go out and purchase copies of Coup, so as to lie, cheat, and steal even after HawaiiCon got out.
Just kidding, I have some more stuff to rant about.Some other things that
- Con Security was all but nonexistent. I'm almost certain that with a minimal application of charisma, I could have gone to Hapuna Prince, parked, and participated in all of the desired convention events without so much as a single person checking for a badge. I prefer KawaiiKon's method of having a member of security checking badges at each door of each of the rooms used at the convention.
- In relation to the above, I feel like the volunteers should be relegated to a department with respective jobs and those jobs be noted on their staff badge. This makes sure I won't waste a tech's time when I'm looking for this room or that room. This also allows me to file a complaint with whoever's in charge of the idiot who couldn't answer any questions yet was able to sit at the main registration desk blithely. There were multiple people who did that over the course of the weekend (rumored), and had they been at my events, they'd have been chewed out/shamed into not working under me again.
- You have to be kidding me that you're going to charge $25+ for a single autograph. I only want to get my staff badge signed, not fund your next god damn trip. :getout:
- Much like Beats by Dre, the badge lanyards were very nice to look at (big old HawaiiCon logos and other fancy stuff on it), but were so flimsy that the slightest accidental hang up and SNAP -- your badge is on the ground and the lanyard is now worthless. The response from a passerby? "Well, if you had bought a ticket..." >implying implications As if buying a 3day pass was going to magically improve the state of these flimsy lanyards. Perhaps if the money didn't go into a metric ton of high costing guests, you'd have some money on some decent lanyards.
- For the amount of money people are shelling out for this Con, you'd think the Hapuna Prince would throw in complimentary internet service. Hint, hint. (
- Randomly turning off the AC and re-purposing rooms during scheduled events is a surefire way to give me a headache and lower my impression of the hotel. I'm looking at you, Hapuna Prince. (rumored, I can't say I personally experienced it)
Further Thoughts on Stuff
I feel like the organizers thought that "Con" meant "Conference" rather than "Convention", and here's some reasons mixed in with other stuff that came to mind as I'm writing this stuff all down:
- The few panels I went to (when they weren't being reprogrammed, moved, or otherwise fucked with) were fantastic, the content matter was interesting and interactive.
- The guests were top notch (and I think most of their budget went there, honestly). Special thanks go out to Esme Bianco, she found a new fan in me due to her bro-like nature.
- The venue is gorgeous. Seriously, just go out there and see the sights. Just don't deal with the hotel, the upper management is probably braindead.
- In relation to the previous point, the service personnel were great people and I have to thank them for doing everything in their power to allow us to salvage the weekend. From getting power to the room to adjusting the lights and air conditioning, I have them to thank in our attempt to create a positive gaming ambiance within the Con.
Granted, these points weigh very highly against the multiple pages of drivel I just vomited on things that irritate me this past weekend. That's why I can't say I hated my personal experience there. Professionally, I won't be doing any sort of work for HawaiiCon until they shape up and actually cater to the people they want to have hosting events for them. Believe me, I have no confidence in the alternative.
Personally, the con was about as enjoyable as any other weekend getaway, and I had more fun in the off time away from the con. I think my friend R1nzler put it best in his own review, poasted on faecbook, and repoasted here in picture form. Context -- he was a Kickstarter backer and got to do way more stuff that lowly me did not get to:
|Go view it using your browser, I'm saving space.|
As always, I'm welcome to clearing up misunderstandings or addressing issues that are wrong, or need clarification. I think myself reasonable, a simple explanation or actions moving in the right direction for next year go a long way with me. Oh, did you hear? They're doing 4 days next year. Four days. And apparently they're going to try to get the cast of Dr. Who in for next year, if the giant Tardis with "2015" painted on it is any indication of what's going on. Talk about ambitious...
Until next time, may your fury be righteous, your rants relevant, and your organization top-notch.