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BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Conventions » WBC

Subject: WBC - Home base Somerset rss

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James Kramer Jr.
United States
Wiconisco
Pennsylvania
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First let's get the site evaluation out of the way. WBC 2016 at Seven Springs was held at a spacious, well lit convention center with ample parking. It was definantly a vast improvement over the Host Inn in Lancaster. No rickety split tables, no dimly lit rooms. Open gaming and vendor room space seemed sufficient for the event. Climate control seemed good in all gaming spaces though some hallways were a bit warm. The spread of the site led to more walking and stair climbing than before but that is a good thing after setting at a game table most of the day, and a centrally located elevator eased stair climbing requirements. Food was pricey but adequate for a meat and potatoes small town guy. Pizza, side salads, burgers and fries, chicken and mashed potatoes and the ice cream/confectionery shop met my on-site dining needs. I found the serving staff to be most courteous. Family oriented activities are many but I had no need for them. Granted there were some glitches, most notably the AC failure in the ski lodge on the hottest week of the year. This forced the first weekend wargamers to be moved to the lodge's upper floors. To the resort's credit, they installed some 30 portable AC units to bring the space back into use by Tuesday evening. As NAVAL WAR GM I personally suffered an event scheduling oversight as the final was scheduled to take place in the ballroom Saturday night. However, SLAPSHOT was also scheduled for the ballroom that evening so I moved the final to one of the smaller meeting rooms, sharing it with an ENEMY IN SIGHT heat. Our convention organizers were very pleased with Seven Springs support.

Now, as to my primary focus here, the convention location. Living in Central PA about 1 and 1/2 hours from Lancaster the convention move added about 3 hours, by PA turnpike, to my travels. Also, as the on-site accommodations were much more than I prefer to pay and sold out quickly, I chose to stay at the EconoLodge in Somerset. This was a great choice for me. I got a great room, 1st Saturday thru final Sunday, for $70 a night. Clean and comfortable with a microwave and refrigerator and a simple but filling free breakfast (waffle maker YES!). As I stated before the food at Seven Springs was pricey, but with the free breakfast and packing lunches most days, from my base at the EconoLodge, I spent much less for food than I expected. The commute in and back each day on PA Route 31 and resort access roads was relaxed and uneventful, lasting 25 to 30 minutes on average. I had no problem making the morning events I wanted to. Hazards? Well I was slowed once by a farm tractor and as any PA resident will tell you, in the evening be alert for deer. I saw a couple of nice specimens two nights in a row. Somerset has many other choices for lodging. Both local establishments and major hotel chains can be found. Though I did not use any, restaurant choices also were many and varied. For 2017 I have had an offer to join a group that stayed in a condo near site. I will have to think long and hard about that as things went so well for me this year. To any of my gaming comrades, if you skipped WBC 2016 because of uncertainty about the new site facilities, I believe you can drop those concerns. If you skipped because of the cost or the inability to find on-site lodging, look to Somerset for the many opportunities there (NOT the EconoLodge though. I claim that for myself!). Here's hoping to see many more attending next year.

Jim Kramer Jr.
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Kevin C.
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I stayed in Somerset also with my two kids. We did this because of price, as you did.

We plan to stay in Somerset next year, but if I could get a group up for a condo, I would do that instead.

There was a lot of downtime between games or when we didn't feel like open gaming. It would have been nice to just retire to the room for an hour or so to recharge in the middle of the day.

Most of the week, we left Somerset around 10 am and returned around 11 pm. We were gaming most of that time, but there were empty hours just sitting around. Driving back and forth didn't make sense, so I would stay on-site if the price were right.

(We did go back and forth for dinner on Saturday because the gap until Slapshot was hours long.)

And, I hated that road. I'm a city guy and that up and down winding nonsense 16x during the week had me going crazy. It was ridiculous at night. (They had construction going on Cross Rd. during the day, which was annoying.)

Having said that, I agree Somerset was a great value. I plan to stay there again next year unless a group for a condo appears, which is highly unlikely.

Kevin
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john ford
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JFKJr wrote:
If you skipped because of the cost or the inability to find on-site lodging, look to Somerset for the many opportunities there (NOT the EconoLodge though. I claim that for myself!).
Jim Kramer Jr.


I'm afraid I'm one of those who "skipped [at least in part] because of the cost." Thanks for the info on what sounds like a good alternative.
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Kevin C.
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It's kind a shame that more people didn't know about Somerset, I think.

The threads about the move were hot, heavy and quite contentious at times. As a result, I think the viability of Donegal and Somerset as potential home bases wasn't really communicated.

I understand that Don wanted to focus on hotel guests and I agree with him that those people are the heart and soul of the convention. I think highlighting the cost benefits of staying off-site would have gone against this message. So, I get why not a lot of discussion on alternate off-site lodging was discussed.

Also, I think since this was the first year, whenever Donegal or Somerset was mentioned, it was poo-pooed as being too far away to be of much good.

My plan was always to stay in Somerset from the beginning, but I remember being in discussions with people who weren't coming because of cost that flat-out refused to even investigate the viability of staying off-site.

I think part of that was spoiled grapes, but I'm hoping now with the first year gone and positive reports of Somerset (and Donegal), people that initially wrote it off will now consider it like you.

Food/drink costs can be mitigated with a cooler and you can tailor your schedule so that you don't have so much down time. That is something I am going to tweak for next year.

It certainly isn't as convenient as Lancaster for off-site lodging, but Somerset and Donegal are certainly doable on a budget.

Kevin
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Evan Walter
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New Jersey
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The move to Seven Springs did hinder going to this years WBC. Distance and cost played a factor. Since I am unable to do the full convention there was nothing available at the hotel aside from a condo, which for three days they wanted $900. Off site availability varied, ranging from AirBnb rentals to hotels/motels in Somerset and surrounding areas.

It's a shame that there isn't a major strategy board game convention in the NYC metro area that is on par with WBC. I guess I'll need to start saving my pennies for next year.

Thanks for all the updates from those who were able to go.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Quote:
Also, I think since this was the first year, whenever Donegal or Somerset was mentioned, it was poo-pooed as being too far away to be of much good.


It's probably close enough if you have a car. If not, then renting one out of Pittsburgh for a week is likely going to counteract most of your other savings.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
It's probably close enough if you have a car. If not, then renting one out of Pittsburgh for a week is likely going to counteract most of your other savings.


I agree. I was assuming people that might take advantage of Somerset or Donegal would have their own car.

For people that are flying, staying on site is the only real way to go, I would think.

Although, I did meet a guy from Denmark playing Lords of Waterdeep who flew into DC, rented a car and stayed in Somerset.

Nice guy. This was his first WBC and he had to leave a few days early for a family vacation to South Africa. His buddy drove him back to DC, then he had to fly to Denmark on Friday, then out to South Africa on Sunday.

I hate flying so the thought makes me want to hide under the sheets.

At any rate, I guess it can be done if you rent a car, but it makes more sense if you have your own.

Kevin
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Vanilla Ice
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My friend and I stayed in Somerset as well. I found a cheap place with good reviews called the Dollar Inn. The room was clean, had a fridge, and was only $45 a night ($150 for the week for each of us). Highly recommended for broke and/or cheap folks.

It took us a couple days to find the best drive from Somerset to Seven Springs. Finally figured out that taking 281/31 to left on Trent Rd and right when it dead ends was super easy, and best of all, paved, unlike the way my GPS was sending us. It's an easy 25 minute drive.

If staying in Somerset, Eat 'N Park is a solid late night food option. Also, Aldi is a cheap supermarket in the area good for stocking up the fridge.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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$45 a night for a room with 2 beds and a fridge?
 
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Vanilla Ice
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Statalyzer wrote:
$45 a night for a room with 2 beds and a fridge?


Indeed. It's an older property and to say the least nothing spectacular to look at from the outside. But it lived up to its reviews, which promised a clean, functional room. We'll almost definitely stay there again next year.
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Daniel Blumentritt
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Ok, if next year I could get 4 people to split 2 rooms and 1 rental car, this might actually end up saving money after all. Good to know it's an option!
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Timothy Yordy
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For me the location killed it, if only because previously I was spoiled by the fact that it was close enough that I didn't need any type of lodging.
 
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