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Subject: Suggestions to shorten the registration line rss

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Brian B.
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This has come up a couple of times, so I thought I'd start a thread dedicated to the long registration line. Normally, I like to wait until noon to get in line, but this year, that still meant an hour of waiting. (At least I got 10 geekgold from a Team Geek member for being the last person who had to wait outside. ) How do we shorten it? Should it be shortened? I've seen a couple of suggestions so far:

1. Mail badges in advance, possibly charging more to do so.
2. Split people by last name.

I'm completely against the first one. If badges are mailed in advance, then there's no way to enforce the fact that you can't sell a badge to someone else for whatever price you want, unless Team Geek roams around randomly asking people for IDs. Ever deal with a PAX convention? They pre-mail badges, and it's one reason that PAX East sold out in 7 minutes this past week. Many of those PAX tickets are in the hands of scalpers who will get much more money for them than what they paid, and I don't want to see that happen at BGG CON.

Someone mentioned in another thread that the second one was tried and it didn't work well, as one line ended up being much longer than the other. I don't recall that; I personally like the idea of splitting registration lines by name.

Or is this not a problem? I met a couple of people standing in line that I wouldn't have met otherwise and my first game was against them, so I don't think the line is a 100% bad thing.

Other thoughts or suggestions?
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Lance Peterson
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It was suggested in another thread to have temporary Wednesday only passes you could print out. People that want to get first pick for the freebies will still queue up for registration but everyone else could start gaming and go through registration when the line dies down.
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Nathan Clegg
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Ideas from other people in other threads that I like:

* Tuesday registration (no freebies, badge/wristband only)
* Moving ribbons past the freebie table
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I think the solutions that might getting held up are putting too much emphasis on the freebie table.

I know for myself, I didn't even take anything off the freebie table, so I don't really care about it.

I would even forego getting a freebie at all if I had the option of getting my badge in the the mail and not having to deal with the registration line at all.
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Edward Uhler
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Adding 2 hours of registration on Tuesday seems a no-brainer to alleviate some of the crush on Wednesday. Also, having different lines based on last name would help...and possibly another line of badge-only/no-freebies would not be a terrible idea.
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Brian B.
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I just remembered that by using queueing theory, you can prove that one line that leads to four cashiers is more efficient than four separate cashiers with individual lines or two cashiers with one line each. (I knew that networking theory class would come in handy someday!) So if we double the manpower at the registration table, we still shouldn't have multiple lines; it should be one long line to minimize average wait time per person.
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David Etherton
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I don't remember anybody ever checking my ID. So what was going to prevent me from sending my registration letter to some other person that I've sold my badge to?

I'd love to be able to have my badge mailed to me ahead of time.

Then I show up in a different line, pick up my holder and lanyard, they scan my badge to make sure nobody's already tried to use it, and hand me a wrist band. If I get a freebie ticket for later, great. If not, great.

-Dave
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Asher D.
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eapeas wrote:
Adding 2 hours of registration on Tuesday seems a no-brainer to alleviate some of the crush on Wednesday. Also, having different lines based on last name would help...and possibly another line of badge-only/no-freebies would not be a terrible idea.


Only a no-brainer as much as it actually can be arranged. Con organizers/volunteers seem to be working pretty hard at it as it is, and I'm not sure it's feasible to all the materials in and organized for pickup and still have it all ready for Tuesday evening. I'm pretty sure some folks kept long hours on Tuesday so we can register on Wednesday, so I just don't know if that would be possible (though would be all for it if it is)
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Matt Freitas
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Honestly i don't think this will be a big issue guys.

The reason this year was bad was because 75% of the con showed up around 6-8am compared to prior years if you got there at 8:30 you'd be in the first row of people in line instead of out the door.

We had the burgandy coat ladies doing the registration for us in the morning and the easiest solution would be to have an equal number of team geekers to double the amount of people sitting and looking at registration emails (still having tg behind to fetch badges of course.

All that would have to happen is the registration in the main hall space get bigger. The freebie tables weren't really causing a bottleneck this year i saw they moved pretty well since we had staff helping move people along and explain games quickly. Perhaps adding another table of what you can get at the top of the stairs by the couches would be cool and give people another look at the games while in line.



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Paul Mason
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Why can't we print out our own tags? I already have to print out the confirmation letter. Seems like I should only have to wait in line to get a wristband.

But what was the real reason for the hold up? was it the retrieval of the badges or the free games queue.
 
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Martin
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There's an epidemic of selective memory in this forum.

Last year the wait to get a badge at noon was more than 30 minutes. I know, because I had a noon library shift and I stood in line from 11:30 to 11:45 without covering half the distance. I did my library shift without a badge.

The line denial was already in force, because when Aldie saw I had no badge he said I should get one because the wait was only five minutes.

 
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John McGeehan
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One of the things about getting the badge/wristband on Tuesday are that the badges aren't generally ready until Tuesday. We were stuffing them and alphabetizing them on Tuesday evening, as due to a delay they didn't arrive until nearly 6 PM. Even most years it's early Tuesday afternoon that we're putting them together.

The possibility of a temporary badge that could be printed out (or perhaps just one's printout of the registration email works as a temporary badge until like, 2 PM Wednesday, but only for open gaming) is interesting.

Absolutely agreed with the poster that mentioned the scalping of badges - yes, it's absolutely possible to just forward your registration email to someone else, since ID isn't checked. But the admins do try to minimize it - multiple threads on this site looking to sell badges for above face value were deleted. Badge sharing is minimized via the wristbands, and scalping as much as possible, so that the people that register are the people that want to go. If they really wanted to crack down on it, they could even check ID, but I hope they don't need to go that far. Given the convention does sell out, it'd be sad to have a large secondary market for the badges, a la PAX (although I did manage to pick up a PAX East badge about 20 minutes into them going on sale, but why oh why did it have to be during my TG shift on Registration Wednesday of all days).
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twesterm
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Were lines really that bad for people? I showed up Wednesday around noon and had to wait for about an hour and a half where the previous years I had to wait at most 30 minutes, but really wasn't that big of a deal.

I had five whole days of gaming planned, losing 1-2 hours wasn't that bad.

The process this year was actually pretty nice with seeing the freebies beforehand and filling your bag yourself, not really sure a better way to improve it without having to send the badge in the mail.
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David desJardins
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twesterm wrote:
I had five whole days of gaming planned, losing 1-2 hours wasn't that bad.


Maybe they should have a concierge service where for $200 you can buy a registration that lets you stand in the short line. You could use that money to lower the price a bit for the people who are fine with standing in line for 90 minutes.
 
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Digren K
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Someone who worked registration Wednesday morning told me that the volunteers were there and generally just goofing around from 8 AM to 10 AM when registration started. How about just start registration earlier that morning? People are already lining up at like 4 AM, and right now, 2.5 hours after registration opens is 12:30 PM and half the day is gone. Maybe open registration at 8 AM with the goal that, by 10:30 or so, there's no line for regular people who show up, as all the early birds are through.
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Greig
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Digren wrote:
Someone who worked registration Wednesday morning told me that the volunteers were there and generally just goofing around from 8 AM to 10 AM when registration started. How about just start registration earlier that morning? People are already lining up at like 4 AM, and right now, 2.5 hours after registration opens is 12:30 PM and half the day is gone. Maybe open registration at 8 AM with the goal that, by 10:30 or so, there's no line for regular people who show up, as all the early birds are through.


I was near the front of the line, getting there at 6am, so I was maybe 30th in line.

Team Geek seemed to be working very hard to get things ready up until about 9:30am.
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Digren wrote:
Someone who worked registration Wednesday morning told me that the volunteers were there and generally just goofing around from 8 AM to 10 AM when registration started. How about just start registration earlier that morning? People are already lining up at like 4 AM, and right now, 2.5 hours after registration opens is 12:30 PM and half the day is gone. Maybe open registration at 8 AM with the goal that, by 10:30 or so, there's no line for regular people who show up, as all the early birds are through.

In addition to the Team Geek volunteers, registration has always been handled by the Burgundy Brigade, the nice ladies who greet you and put badges on your wrist. I don't know if there are restrictions about how early in the morning they will show up (or how many of them will show up at a time) but having them around earlier would definitely help the line move faster.

Didn't the line start earlier this year anyway, though? I seem to remember in previous years that it started moving at 11:00 instead of 10:00, but I could be wrong.
 
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Matt Freitas
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Belash wrote:


I was near the front of the line, getting there at 6am, so I was maybe 30th in line.

Team Geek seemed to be working very hard to get things ready up until about 9:30am.


This.

We were getting boxes ready for bag stuffing, getting our own wristbands, getting the games on the tables to make restocking the game shelves easier, etc.

Most of us there weren't even on shift and yet we came in early to help out to make the line go as smooth as possible for everyone else. To say we were goofing off is just a little rude.

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etherton wrote:
I don't remember anybody ever checking my ID. So what was going to prevent me from sending my registration letter to some other person that I've sold my badge to?


That was, in fact, the officially endorsed way to handle registration transfers after the cutoff date for badge printing.
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Brian B.
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ElAdoranSureshot wrote:
Didn't the line start earlier this year anyway, though? I seem to remember in previous years that it started moving at 11:00 instead of 10:00, but I could be wrong.


The registration opened at 10 AM all three years I've been to BGG.CON (2012, 2013, and 2015.)
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Asher D.
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LiteBulb88 wrote:
ElAdoranSureshot wrote:
Didn't the line start earlier this year anyway, though? I seem to remember in previous years that it started moving at 11:00 instead of 10:00, but I could be wrong.


The registration opened at 10 AM all three years I've been to BGG.CON (2012, 2013, and 2015.)


Time zone issues
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twesterm wrote:
Were lines really that bad for people? I showed up Wednesday around noon and had to wait for about an hour and a half where the previous years I had to wait at most 30 minutes, but really wasn't that big of a deal.


My wait in line was ~30 minutes. I got in line at 1:40 pm. The line was largely gone when I exited the main hall after picking my badge up. I was surprised to see a line still, but it moved along well.

I really liked the DIY aspect of choosing materials of interest while waiting to enter the main hall. A lot of the freebie stuff, including the games, are not of great interest to me so I'd rather leave them behind for those who do have interest in them.
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mcsittel wrote:
twesterm wrote:
Were lines really that bad for people? I showed up Wednesday around noon and had to wait for about an hour and a half where the previous years I had to wait at most 30 minutes, but really wasn't that big of a deal.


My wait in line was ~30 minutes. I got in line at 1:40 pm. The line was largely gone when I exited the main hall after picking my badge up. I was surprised to see a line still, but it moved along well.

I really liked the DIY aspect of choosing materials of interest while waiting to enter the main hall. A lot of the freebie stuff, including the games, are not of great interest to me so I'd rather leave them behind for those who do have interest in them.


I really liked the build-your-own bag thing. A lot of what goes into the bags people end up tossing before they even leave the ballroom after registration. At least this way what people didn't want or need they didn't have to take.
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Bryan Cooper
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MWChapel wrote:
I think the solutions that might getting held up are putting too much emphasis on the freebie table.

I know for myself, I didn't even take anything off the freebie table, so I don't really care about it.

I would even forego getting a freebie at all if I had the option of getting my badge in the the mail and not having to deal with the registration line at all.


I ran the front of the queue for about an hour and a half, the freebies weren't slowing anything down as it was non-linear and we could pump as many people to the registration desk as we wanted given all the space around the freebies.

I know I only stopped the line once for about four minutes when the crowd at the freebies got too large.

The chokepoints were:
d10-1Through the door into Enterprise, directing to the first Burgandy Brigade available.
d10-2The wristband
d10-3The badge
d10-4The ribbons

Everything else was non-linear and didn't add any relevant time to the overall flow.


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Bryan Cooper
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Digren wrote:
Someone who worked registration Wednesday morning told me that the volunteers were there and generally just goofing around from 8 AM to 10 AM when registration started. How about just start registration earlier that morning? People are already lining up at like 4 AM, and right now, 2.5 hours after registration opens is 12:30 PM and half the day is gone. Maybe open registration at 8 AM with the goal that, by 10:30 or so, there's no line for regular people who show up, as all the early birds are through.


My shift officially started at 10. I was there at 9 because I saw how much was left when we called it around 10:00pm the night before. I don't think we were goofing around.

Perhaps your friend confused people enjoying the hard work of getting the doors open with grab-assery.
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