First of all, THANK YOU! The con was AWESOME! I had a great time. The event was wonderful. The people were wonderful. The games were wonderful. etc. etc. I don't have enough kind words to say. I was particularly amazed at the level of organization and 'infrastructure' to keep the event going (for example the airport transportation was a great help for me).
Keeping in mind how great I think the event was, I do have a few comments/suggestions, some good, some not quite so good.
-The facility. I think this was fantastic. I wouldn't have thought of it before going, but the perfect place for a gaming con is an unoccupied office building (a 'cube farm' with no cubes). Normal reception hall lighting isn't the best for gaming. Office lighting is perfect, and the open space works out great for social gaming. The floor even had some conference rooms for games that wanted a little more quiet. I think it would be very hard to come up with a better type of space.
-Does a downtown location make sense for this? I don't particularly care for 'downtowns', but that isn't really the point. Downtown can be nice because it is centrally located to social things to do. The social thing to do at BGGcon IS the con. There really isn't much need for other culture, so why pay for downtown facilities and hassle with parking fees, etc.?
-There's sort of an upper limit to how big one room of office space will be. If the con gets broken up into multiple sections, some sort of 'theming' to help similar people end up in similar places might be helpful. For example (following threads about younger attendees), there could be a “no cussing” room, and a “cussing” room. I'm not suggesting you should have to curse like a stable-boy to play games, but if people who wanted a more adult environment like a bar generally went to one room, and people who wanted a less adult environment (say, like a shopping center) went to another, it would help people self-select where they wanted to be. My impression is that our hobby has two pretty large subgroups, one is fairly religious, family oriented, etc., the other ...isn't. Personally, I'm not likely to be offended in either place, but I seems like a possible idea.
-If there was one thing that wasn't 'wonderful' in my BGG weekend, I'm afraid this was it. It isn't that you guys did anything wrong, it's just that there weren't as many good answers as one would like. The perfect situation would be an office area that was next to a mall with a food court(that stayed open on weekends and evenings), but I'm guessing that will be pretty hard to find.
-Could BGG just get with a pizza delivery place and order “10 pizzas an hour from 5 to midnight”, and then sell pizza for $2 a slice and drinks for $1 a bottle? Netted out, it wouldn't make or cost a great deal of money to do this. There are some people who wouldn't be well served by this, but making an answer for everyone would be a whole lot of expense and work. Maybe this solution that is fairly easy and solves the problem for 75% of the attendees is the best that can reasonably be done.
-Another possibility might be supermarket delis that sell 'boxed lunches/dinners' to take to sporting events and such. (At least these exist in Indianapolis for things like the auto races, Colts games, etc.)
Well those are my thoughts. Once again, as I said in the beginning. You guys put on an awesome event. I loved it, and hope to go again next time.