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Subject: Possible BGG.CON first timer! Some questions :-) rss

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Justin Gortner
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Hi!

I go to Origins and GENCON each year but I understand BGG.CON is different. I am a careful and calculated planner so I wanted to throw some questions out there to get some help and words of encouragement!

d10-1 Is the hotel that is booked through the link provided able to be cancelled should I need? Any fees?

d10-2 How do people handle food? Do you take a cab out of the area? Rent a car (I'm flying in)? How is the food on site price and quality wise?

d10-3 How hard is it to find games? Find people for games? I am very used to a scheduled convention like GENCON where I sign up for time slots. So this would be very new to me.

d10-4 How hard is it to get in on popular games, or take them out of the library?

d10-5 Anything unique and/or special about the convention worth knowing about? Currently my knowledge is that there is a large library of games. You teach yourself. Put up a sign for gamers. Or look for signs. And there is a demo room the first couple of days for games from Essen (which I would love to hear more about). But please tell me more!

Thanks so much!
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Edward Uhler
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1 - Super easy to transfer the hotel. Tons of people will be left w/o a room, so transfers are the normal way to unload a room. No fees.

2 - Food is decent. Tons of delivery places and you can always find folks or organize a dinner ahead of time.

3 - Super easy to get games going and most everyone is super friendly. Zero issues there. Tons of 'Looking for players' signs too.

4 - There is a HOT GAMES ROOM where many of the hot games are permanently kept out for open play. The room was terrible (way too loud imo), but it was popular.

5 - Awesome organized games set up from the myriad of geeklists for game organization. If you want it, it can be played. The gaming is awesome but the friends you'll make is an even better highlight.

Imo, it is THE Con to attend.
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Justin Gortner
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eapeas wrote:
5 - Awesome organized games set up from the myriad of geeklists for game organization. If you want it, it can be played. The gaming is awesome but the friends you'll make is an even better highlight.


So people do unofficially schedule some games to play?

Does anyone have a list to the lists from 2014?
 
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Dan Cristelli
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Hi there!

d10-1I am not sure about the hotel as far as cancellation fees and whatnot, but most hotels give you until 48 hours to cancel without a fee. That being said, there are always folks looking for rooms if you have to back out for some reason. You could transfer it that way.

d10-2The food on site isn't bad. There's a cash and carry which has quick sandwich/pizza/salad stuff. Nothing special, but it's fine for a quick nosh. There are a couple restaurants which are on site that have some fairly good food as well. The restaurants can run a little pricy, depending on what you get. There's also a shuttle that can get you out into the DFW area to go get food elsewhere. And if all else fails, there are plenty of people making food runs all the time. Most everyone is quite friendly and the chances of hitching a ride are pretty good!

d10-3Finding games is SO easy. In the hall you'll find two flags - one for players wanted and one for teacher needed. Either of those flags can be your key to finding a game. More importantly, people are there to PLAY...so if you see someone setting up a game, just ask if they are full. I have yet to encounter a game where someone turned away another gamer when there was space available.

d10-4The hot games can get a little tricky. There's a whole room dedicated to a lot of them, and that's there every day the Con is going on. You can play them there, and then there's some in the library. There's a four-hour time limit on the new games that get checked out of the library to encourage high turnover of these games. So the hot stuff can be found, sometimes you just need persistence!

d10-5The special thing about this Con is the focus on gaming...and the people. There's a huge library. People put up Geeklists weeks in advance to plan out games with people they haven't met yet. There's the exhibitor hall where you can try and buy games. The hot games room is awesome. Like puzzles? There's a puzzle hunt on Saturday. You don't even need to worry that much about teaching yourself a game - there are so many people there to help!
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Justin Gortner
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Note to all: Confirmed via phone call and website. Normal 24-hour hotel cancellation.
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David Debien
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jgortner wrote:

Does anyone have a list to the lists from 2014?


There were a number of signup geeklists last year.

Here is one I started up:

Learn/Teach "the classics" at BGG.CON Sign Up List


Most of the games on that list did happen.

To be honest, getting in on a pickup game was not as easy this last year as in previous years. Most tables were full when I cruised the large ballroom. I would say the best way to find a pickup game is to hang out in the library and when you see someone checkout a game you like, express interest and see where that goes.

That said, once you find a group of gamers via a pickup game, it's fairly natural to just stick with the group and keep gaming with them. I have made some pretty enduring freindships this way.
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Linda Baldwin
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Best way to know about pre-scheduled games is to subscribe to the BGG.CON forum. Try to resist the temptation to pre-plan too much, though. (Advice I never seem to take.) You want to spend the majority of time playing it by ear, unless you're interested in a small subset of games. (Wargamers often preschedule most of their con.)
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Justin Gortner
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casualgod wrote:
To be honest, getting in on a pickup game was not as easy this last year as in previous years. Most tables were full when I cruised the large ballroom. I would say the best way to find a pickup game is to hang out in the library and when you see someone checkout a game you like, express interest and see where that goes.


Any reason you think it was harder to find game spots this year?
 
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David Debien
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jgortner wrote:
casualgod wrote:
To be honest, getting in on a pickup game was not as easy this last year as in previous years. Most tables were full when I cruised the large ballroom. I would say the best way to find a pickup game is to hang out in the library and when you see someone checkout a game you like, express interest and see where that goes.


Any reason you think it was harder to find game spots this year?


For one, it was a lot more crowded this past year. However, this time around it looks like there will be 100 fewer attendees. That may help some. Outside of that, I really don't know, but BGG.CON 2014 was definitely more clique-ish than in previous years. I was not the only one to notice this.
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Jimmy Okolica
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Do people generally arrive Tuesday night or Wednesday?
 
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Dan Cristelli
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Do people generally arrive Tuesday night or Wednesday?


We get in Tuesday.
 
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Clyde W
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jgortner wrote:
eapeas wrote:
5 - Awesome organized games set up from the myriad of geeklists for game organization. If you want it, it can be played. The gaming is awesome but the friends you'll make is an even better highlight.


So people do unofficially schedule some games to play?

Does anyone have a list to the lists from 2014?
I wouldn't worry about this. BGGCON is so much better than Origins and GenCon for playing games. I organized games ahead of time in my first year to the con but haven't since. You can just show up, ready to play, and play tons of games (for zero tickets--there are no tickets).
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Lance Peterson
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jgortner wrote:
eapeas wrote:
5 - Awesome organized games set up from the myriad of geeklists for game organization. If you want it, it can be played. The gaming is awesome but the friends you'll make is an even better highlight.


So people do unofficially schedule some games to play?

Does anyone have a list to the lists from 2014?


Here are last year's lists:

BGG Con 2014: Wargames, Meetups, and Mules
BGGCon 2014 Epic Games Meetup List
18xx at BGG.con 2014 (Plans)
Learn/Teach "the classics" at BGG.CON Sign Up List

If you subscribe to the BBG.Con forum, you should see the 2015 lists announced as they are created.
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Justin Gortner
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casualgod wrote:
BGG.CON 2014 was definitely more clique-ish than in previous years. I was not the only one to notice this.


This makes me nervous!
 
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Michael Giron
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jgortner wrote:
Hi!

I go to Origins and GENCON each year but I understand BGG.CON is different. I am a careful and calculated planner so I wanted to throw some questions out there to get some help and words of encouragement!


Hello Justin! I am a 6 time attendee of BGG.con and will try to answer some of these questions for you.

jgortner wrote:

d10-1 Is the hotel that is booked through the link provided able to be cancelled should I need? Any fees?

Like most hotels, you can always cancel without penalty until a certain amount of days before check-in. I'm not sure on the exact amount, but I think its something like 7 days before. If you think you might come I would book now as the hotel will most likely sell out before the con will.

jgortner wrote:

d10-2 How do people handle food? Do you take a cab out of the area? Rent a car (I'm flying in)? How is the food on site price and quality wise?

There is a shuttle available that will take people to a few predetermined stops where there is a variety of places to eat. I'm sure someone will post more info about that. I've actually never taken the shuttle myself, because that is always someone in my group with a car. The food on site I think is decent enough that usually eat most of my meals at the hotel. There is a cash and carry station there every day that offer things like hot dogs/mini pizza/chicken sandwich/salad etc that I think is reasonably priced when you also consider the convenience of it. Last year I used it for at least one meal a day and it allowed me more gaming time.

jgortner wrote:

d10-3 How hard is it to find games? Find people for games? I am very used to a scheduled convention like GENCON where I sign up for time slots. So this would be very new to me.

Not hard at all! There are a bunch of flags for indicating players are wanted that you can use to hook up with other players. Granted, now that I have established a group of friends to play with over the years, I don't tend to use those anymore. The first year I attended I didn't know a single person and had no problems getting in games or finding people to play with, and that was before they had flags available.

If you absolutely need to have games scheduled, as the con gets closer, BGGcon related geeklists will start popping up where folks organize scheduled games ahead of time. I tend to like to keep myself open and think that over scheduling can be more of a hassle then its worth. Games tend to take longer then normal at a con like this so trying to schedule can sometimes lead to rushing through games or just plain missing the start times of other things you have scheduled.

jgortner wrote:

d10-4 How hard is it to get in on popular games, or take them out of the library?

The Hot Games room is a designated area where they have games already setup that have the most buzz going into the con. Having them already setup allows them to get played more often as you don't have to worry about setting it up or putting it away. Most of the games in the Hot Games are usually also available in the library for check out. I've never left the con not playing a game I wanted due to it not being available.


jgortner wrote:

d10-5 Anything unique and/or special about the convention worth knowing about? Currently my knowledge is that there is a large library of games. You teach yourself. Put up a sign for gamers. Or look for signs. And there is a demo room the first couple of days for games from Essen (which I would love to hear more about). But please tell me more!


There is a set of tables for demos, usually in close proximity to the Hot Games room I already mentioned earlier. Both the demo tables and Hot Games are open the entire con, not just the first few days.

As far as learning games, in the hot games room they have a handful of staffed game teachers wandering around to help out with teaching and rules questions. There are also Teachers Wanted flags available to help attract someone how might already know how to play the game. I personally love looking around for those flags and teaching games to strangers whenever possible.

There are also a handful of scheduled events if you want to take a break from the open gaming. Things like a Poker Tournament, multiple trivia/game show type events, the puzzle hunt, a flea market, sponsored tournaments, a live action room escape. There is a decent sized vendor hall which probably is small compared to GenCon/Origins is still very good considering that this is a more open gaming centric con.

Having said all that, the reason I keep coming back year after year to Dallas for BGGcon is the people. I have made life long friends at this con and not attending just doesn't feel like an option to me any more. BGGcon is really just a vehicle to allow you to make some really cool connections with other people that share the same love of gaming that you do. I hope you decide to join us! Just be prepared to keep the week before Thanksgiving blocked out on your schedule for the foreseeable future.
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David Debien
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jgortner wrote:
casualgod wrote:
BGG.CON 2014 was definitely more clique-ish than in previous years. I was not the only one to notice this.


This makes me nervous!


Don't be. Geekmail me and we can make sure you have a good time. Assuming you like spreadsheet euros. Kidding about the spreadsheets, mostly.
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Chip Crawford
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:d10-1: Is the hotel that is booked through the link provided able to be cancelled should I need? Any fees?
CHIP: Yes you can cancel your reservation; I think 24 hours out.

:d10-2: How do people handle food? Do you take a cab out of the area? Rent a car (I'm flying in)? How is the food on site price and quality wise?
CHIP: They run a van into Grapevine, TX, have Cash & Carry food (accept cards too, stuff like frito pie, sandwiches, sodas, etc.), and there are a cople restaurants in the hotel (one is a buffet...prices are hotel premium, but it is what it is)

:d10-3: How hard is it to find games? Find people for games? I am very used to a scheduled convention like GENCON where I sign up for time slots. So this would be very new to me.
CHIP: You have to work hard to NOT find a game. BGG.con is a GREAT community of gamers.

:d10-4: How hard is it to get in on popular games, or take them out of the library?
CHIP: It can be more challenging, but there is also a separate room where hot titles get more room to demo. 2014 the hotness was Alchemists. Getting a demo was tough, but by Sunday, I found it in the library and had time to check it out on my own.

:d10-5: Anything unique and/or special about the convention worth knowing about? Currently my knowledge is that there is a large library of games. You teach yourself. Put up a sign for gamers. Or look for signs. And there is a demo room the first couple of days for games from Essen (which I would love to hear more about). But please tell me more!
CHIP: There is a great hall of publishers showing and selling their games. On (Saturday, I think) there is a Flea Market. It's wheeling and dealing at it's finest. Not only are there signs to find players...there are flags to find Teachers, so you can pick up a game from the library and chances are you'll find someone willing to teach. The tickets being controlled, offers a nice environment. Not too crowded (other than in the Flea Market, but that's only a couple hours, and if you don't like crowds you can avoid it).

I had an amazing time at BGG.2014.

 
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John Hathorn
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casualgod wrote:
jgortner wrote:

Does anyone have a list to the lists from 2014?


I would say the best way to find a pickup game is to hang out in the library and when you see someone checkout a game you like, express interest and see where that goes.

While this is a good way to find pick-up games, I've found that the best way is to check out a game you know (or have read the rules for) and are willing to teach from the library, set it up at a table and hoist a "Player's Wanted" flag. You'll have a full table in 15 minutes, if not sooner.

Quote:
That said, once you find a group of gamers via a pickup game, it's fairly natural to just stick with the group and keep gaming with them. I have made some pretty enduring freindships this way.

While I'm not in any way condemning this practice, this is what makes the con seem "cliquish."

jgortner wrote:
casualgod wrote:
BGG.CON 2014 was definitely more clique-ish than in previous years. I was not the only one to notice this.


This makes me nervous!

I wouldn't use the term "cliquish" exactly. I found lots of people willing to leave their group of friends to play games with me when I setup a table (a few wouldn't - which is a shame), but not so many open slots to jump into games with those groups - if that distinction makes sense.

Also, as Carmilla mentioned, be careful scheduling games too closely together as they do take more time at the con than normal. Personally, I schedule lots of games (18xx, wargames, other epic games, etc) and occasionally my scheduled game runs long. When that inevitably happens, please track down the group for the next game and let them know you won't be able to make it. I've never run into a group who was upset by that (they understand it's better to cancel the next game than quit a game in progress). That being said, I highly recommend allowing yourself 1-1/2 times the stated time on the box when scheduling.
 
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Edward Uhler
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Do people generally arrive Tuesday night or Wednesday?


Tuesday for our group from Denver.


And don't forget all the delivery options for food too! The concierge has a plethora of menus if you ask!
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Jimmy Okolica
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Room reserved! Arriving Tuesday, leaving Sunday!
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Do people generally arrive Tuesday night or Wednesday?

For the past few years, the Dallas Games Marathon people have had an event the weekend before BGG.con, so some people come in early for 10 days of gaming.
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Peter
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Butterfly0038 wrote:
Do people generally arrive Tuesday night or Wednesday?


Last year (my first year) I got in Tuesday night, checked into the hotel, did some prearranged game swaps, played a few games and met a few people. I ended up staying up very late (the start of a trend) and didn't get into the registration line until 8:30am or so.

This year I'm going to arrive on Monday night so I can do all of the early swaps and gaming I did last year, plus leave a little time to rent a car and go see some Dallas sites. Hopefully I'll be in bed early enough so I can get in the registration line earlier.
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Matt Clark
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jgortner wrote:
casualgod wrote:
BGG.CON 2014 was definitely more clique-ish than in previous years. I was not the only one to notice this.


This makes me nervous!


I wouldn't be. Last year was my first year and I never had an issue finding things to play. I both welcomed players and was welcomed by players that I did not know beforehand. Having said that, snagging people as they come out of the library isn't a bad idea.
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Lina B
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jgortner wrote:
casualgod wrote:
BGG.CON 2014 was definitely more clique-ish than in previous years. I was not the only one to notice this.


This makes me nervous!


I didn't notice much of a difference. I made several new friends. The great thing about the BGG.CON is that my friends I travel with can play some games together, but they have very different interests than I do. So we break up quite a bit to explore new stuff.
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jgortner wrote:
casualgod wrote:
BGG.CON 2014 was definitely more clique-ish than in previous years. I was not the only one to notice this.


This makes me nervous!


I wouldn't say clique-ish in the sense that people won't interact with you if you aren't in the group. I would describe it as more being in (or out of) the ebb and flow. Games start and finish at different times and, say, a group of 4 finish a game together, typically pick another and play the next one together. Its almost rude to play one game with a group and then decline the next, especially if one player doesnt like the next game. In this case, the general behavior is to choose another game rather than to let that one player go (or that one player just suffers through a game rather than trying to find another group).

Sometimes there could be some time before enough groups break that ebb and flow model. Throw in the fact that there are all kinds of different gamers...

I find that if I want to play a game, Ill either:

a. Walk through the main hall and look for "Players Wanted" flags (less successful)

b. Walk through the hot games room and look for games starting (more successful)

c. Wander through the library trying to see if someone wants to play something (our BGG Con game group started this way...somewhat successful)

d. Check out a game and put up a "Players Wanted" flag (success depending on how long you wait...you might even be pulled into another group wanting to play something)

e. Hit up Demo Land/Prototype Alley/Vendor Hall for a game (somewhat successful, especially if your timing is right).

I also think that if you use the First Timer badge flag, you will get a lot of attention. We like First Timers!

Good luck!
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