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Subject: Origins Board Room Sells Out at ~1500 rss

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Nick Damato
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Looks like the Origins 2010 Board Room ribbons sold out midday Friday. I had heard that only 1300 were available. Players can still use generic tokens for play but will not have access to the ribbon perks.

(Update #2: Looks like the final number sold was actually closer to 1500)
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Chris Funk
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Re: Origins Board Room Sold Out
Yeah, I have been running demos with Mayfair this year and went out Friday after my shift to get one at 7:00 so I could meet up with a couple friends who were in there (it was also where I planned on spending a bit of my Saturday and I really liked the game selection and was looking forward to getting one of those...)

I'm a little cheesed, but I understand why. What I don't understand is that they could have guessed attendance would grow and made the hall seat more than 900 (from what the CABS guys told me, that was the real issue as they couldn't hold even 1,300 if they all showed up at once).

I even asked if I could just give them 8 generics and just get the game and was told no...

Ah well, maybe next year.
 
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Nick Damato
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Re: Origins Board Room Sold Out
It looked like they did expand the seating in the hall at some point. I thought they added some tables and moved the barriers out in the back half of the room.

I think part of the problem in, addition to the space, was also that people were guaranteed a free game with the ribbon, as well as free food for lunch and dinner and they only had so many games and could only serve so much food.
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George Sauer III
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Re: Origins Board Room Sold Out
Coming into the con - we were given some numbers ... We were told about 350 Board Room Ribbons and 100 War Room Ribbons were sold in pre registration. Origins had placed about 200 tables and 800 chairs in the area.

On Wednesday when the con opened ... The madness began. Boardgame headquarters was right next to us and we continually got a count of the ribbons being sold. From Noon to 6pm - 6 hours on Wednesday they sold 200 more ribbons. Over 30 an hour or one every two minutes. These numbers did not include what was being sold thru registration ... Which we had to assume was about the same ...

Then at 6pm the doors to the food service area were opened and we were told that for the length of the con, from noon to two and 8 to 6 - there was to be free food.

Thursday began the way Wednesday had ended ... The numbers held up througout the day. At some point towards the end of day we had a short meeting with the Origins staff and it was determined that The they has sold 400 at the Headquarters, 350 thru registration in the two days. So we were at 1200 for the two rooms and it was Thursday evening.

At this time we all panicked ... The area we were in could not hold up to another day of 500 ribbons being sold. We did add about 50 tables and 200 chairs Thursday night to help out. So as it went forwarded we released about 150 ribbons for sale for each of Friday and Saturday. To bring the final total of ribbons sold to around 1500 (we guess) ...

As for the generics ... That was just some mis-communications. The headquarters in our area was selling them and we were taking them as we could see we had space. However, the front registration area was telling people that they could not use generics as a substitute as they like us was concerned about space from our earlier meetings. Once we determined that they were not being sold up at registration we got word they could sell them.


We expected growth ... However, as it turned out ... It was close to 50% over last year. And this was AFTER we capped the sales, otherwise, we could probably have hit 2000. We were just not prepared with the CABS volunteers to handle a crowd of gamers of this size (doubled the prior year) ...

Origins and the Board Room will be back next year ... We will probably look to have staff in place for 2000 and limit the number of ribbons to that. I would REALLY look to pre reg next year and get those ribbons ...

We want to thank everyone that attended and apologize to those that we could not serve.

---------------------------------------------------------------

As an aside - We really need to start the discussion - Is the ticketed event driven model outdated and doomed to die ... If you look at the BGG, WBC, and Origins and look to the fastest growing parts of the cons and look to what areas are fading we see the open gaming model beginning to take over and become the largest segment of these cons.

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Nick Damato
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Laserdog wrote:

As an aside - We really need to start the discussion - Is the ticketed event driven model outdated and doomed to die ... If you look at the BGG, WBC, and Origins and look to the fastest growing parts of the cons and look to what areas are fading we see the open gaming model beginning to take over and become the largest segment of these cons.


That's an interesting question and I've heard it argued both ways. I've also heard some people say that we may see lower general admission prices (or at least general admissions prices rising more slowly) with more ala carte event pricing.

(and thanks for the update on the ribbon situation)
 
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Charles Phillips
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Not surprising. The Board Game room (and the dealers room) is really the only place to be at Origins. The rest is dead.

That presents the next problem however. If the Board Game Room is really all Origins is now, then why not go to the WBC instead? And so avoid all of the nonsense of ticketed events, ribbons and such.
 
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Nick Damato
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ClineCon wrote:

That presents the next problem however. If the Board Game Room is really all Origins is now, then why not go to the WBC instead? And so avoid all of the nonsense of ticketed events, ribbons and such.


Because you can go to both?
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George Sauer III
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Quote:
If the Board Game Room is really all Origins is now, then why not go to the WBC instead? And so avoid all of the nonsense of ticketed events, ribbons and such.


Dealer room bigger at Origins ... More open gaming than WBC ... Tournaments are the thing of the past ... One price at Origins to get in - plus one ribbon ... Cost is nearly the same as WBC ... No nonsense at all.

But it is NOT WBC versus Origins or Gencon versus Origins versus BBG ...

All are great cons ...

More people are going to the WBC just for the open gaming - largest and fastest growing part of the con...

It is NOT a coincidence that the WBC has added open gaming. They see the wave of the future and GENCON is trying to do the same ... I have talked to many at Origins THIS YEAR that go to the WBC ... They are giving up tournaments and will be doing much more open gaming after their stay at Origins this year - the WBC will be losing GM's as GM's sons and daughters are coming into the hobby and want to play with Mom and Dad at cons ... If you have a critical mass in the open gaming area - which we strive to do at Origins and at our CABS meetings - you can create your own schedule and play whatever your hearts desire and be around your family and friends and not worring about your son/daughter making some sub-optimal move and getting people upset at the table as the person to his/her left wins.

What you are seeing is that as more and more people come into the hobby you are seeing less and less that are really interested in becoming experts at "one" game ... or playing in a tournament where a couple people take the game much more serious than the rest.

I can hear the cries now ... The first rounds of a tournament are just like open gaming ... Sorry .. no this is not true.

Gamers, the newbies coming into hobby, and family units ... want to be able and sit in a realxing atmosphere with their familes and friends and play games. At the WBC your family walks into a room to say play PUERTO RICO, your family gets split up in the room ... Older Son gets on a table where if he does not make the right play gets snickered at, Younger daughter and mom do not play as they can't play together so they sit around and wait ...Dad wins first game - son loses and then the family unit has another 2 hours they are not together ...

Open gaming relieves all this stress ... Dad and Son can get a game of Puerto Rico going together with a couple others ... Mom and Sis on the next table break out Carcassonne and find another two to play ... All four as a unit playing next to each other. Both games end. Family heads out to lunch or the dealer area as unit. This is a FAMILY vacation. Not dad gaming 24/7 and the rest of the family tagging along doing other things seeing dad maybe for lunch and sometimes a dinner here or there ...

THE WBC is a great con ... I have gone many many times ... My life schedule has changed and I cannot attend like I used to ...

I just think that as many think ...

The ticketed event model for a con is a thing of the past as well as dad can hook up one the table in front for that game of COMBAT COMMANDER and set up next to this is the rest of the family playing TICKET to RIDE with a couple others, with dad leaning over and helping the daughter with her play - A true family vacation.

The competitive tournament model as the hook for a general con is a thing of the past and as more and more cons, local and national, increase their open gaming concepts, the WBC tournaments will begin to suffer more. You will see the WBC increasing the space allocated to open gaming more and more and taking away from the tournaments.

------------------------

Thanks to all that attended the Board Room at Origins ... Hope everyone will attend the WBC / GENCON and many other cons ... (like the BUCKEYE GAME FEST run by CABS in September ... )

--------------------------

Of course ... this is all my opinion ... And many have told me that that is really not worth much ..







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Paul Nowak
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Headaches aside, this is a very good thing.

I did not go on my usual non-gaming conference circuit as vendor because attendance was DOWN everywhere due to money being tight. Gaming conventions booming despite the economics - that's a wonderful sign for our industry as a whole.
 
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jeff mullet
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Bud, you really have no clue what you're talkng about in terms of tournaments at WBC. You haven't gone in many years. Last years tournaments had their biggest numbers in the history of the con.

The entire con is growing. Open gaming is growing at WBC. The auction and auction store is exploding. The tournaments are growing even faster. There are now tournaments with 60+ entrants that can't even make the cut for the following year because they're too small! Just a few years ago 60 players practically guaranteed your game would return the next year.

At most cons, you'd probably be right about tournaments becoming smaller and smaller and open gaming taking over. But in this case, you're not even close.

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Pete Lane
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Seriously people... can we stop playing the "my con is bigger than your con" crap? Sometimes the only reason some of us go to certain cons is distance from our home...

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jeff mullet
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re: con vs con

Who's playing that game? George (Bud) said both cons are good. I'll go on the record and say the same thing. Bud even went out of his way to say he *wasn't* comparing the 2 cons.

I was merely commenting on Bud's mis-information.

But I'll try and play a different game if we can stop playing "let's look for an argument that's not there" crap.
 
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Nick Damato
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Boardgaming is a growth sector in games at the moment. I think collectibles has declined a bit in the last few years and the RPG sector has remained fairly flat.
 
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Joel Tamburo
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Okay, I agree this is not a "my con is better than your con" thing.

However, Jeff is absolutely right. Both Open Gaming AND Tournaments have exploded at WBC, and what we are seeing with GMs is that people who started in Juniors or as a "casual" gamer are moving up and becoming GMs.

Back to Origins.

Great news that the Board Room did so well. Interestingly news on overall attendance is all over the place.

As to model, I think the GenCon/Origins model of a fairly high admission cost followed by additional charges for Ribbons and Event tickets needs to be junked. Have a single charge for admission that entitles you to play anywhere in the con and to attend any event.

This would also make the running of the convention simpler. No need to print up all kinds of event tickets, and no need for the equipment and personnel used to handle and sell them. CABS life would be easier too, as no need to check badges to see if someone has a ribbon - a valid convention badge is a valid convention badge.

Additional question - with both free games and free food how did it work cost wise for the convention and CABS?
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jeff mullet
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Didn't cost us a thing. Jay Tummelson of Rio Grande paid for all the lunches and dinners for every Boardroom ribbon buyer that wanted it. He also donates thousands and thousands of dollars worth of games for us to give away.

Z-man also donated tons of games for the give-away.

Many other companies (Queen, GMT, Mattel just to name a few) donated lots of games for the raffle give away and game library, too.

 
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Joel Tamburo
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Good to hear. I was rather hoping that CABS was not paying the food bill.
 
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George Sauer III
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Jeff is correct ... I love the WBC ... just can't attend anymore with my schedule.

No argument - this is not con versus con ...

I know the attendance is up at the WBC to around 1500 ... WBC is a great con ...

I think that the open gaming is the fastest growing part of the con ...

I would LOVE to see the names of the people playing in the tournaments ... We all have gone to the WBC have schedules printed out with all the heats we can make for many tournament games. The schedules of the heats are arranged so that one can make as many heats as possible ... How many of those tournaments numbers of 60 each are you in ???? 10 new open gamers to one person playing in 10 tournaments give you the same head count in your example.

I will say it another way ... that the percentage of gamers who love to play "open gaming" is exploding while those coming into the hobby to play tournaments is very small and that the WBC is adapting by including open gaming and that in 5 years the open gaming areas at the WBC will be given primary space and tournaments will have to work around this space.

 
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Joel Tamburo
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Really George, both Open Gaming and Tournaments at WBC are growing at the same pace.

Now as to the question about how many people play multiple Tournaments, that is a question that Data Analysis would be able to yield good info on. If only there was a Data Analyst running for the Board this year...oh wait, there is - me.
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Joel Tamburo
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However, back to George's original question.

As I stated earlier Origins and GenCon really need to do away with the whole event ticket/ribbon model and go to the much simpler model of convention badges entitling the holder to all events and rooms in the con.
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Pete Lane
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Joelist wrote:
However, back to George's original question.

As I stated earlier Origins and GenCon really need to do away with the whole event ticket/ribbon model and go to the much simpler model of convention badges entitling the holder to all events and rooms in the con.


The thing is, the ticket model helps companies gague what draws in people and gives them a solid number to back it up. A general badge will do nothing for a company wanting to know interest levels on "hot new game A" in comparison to "hot new game B"

As frustrating it is to have to pay extra for ticket to games you don't want to nessessarily pay to play... it does help the companies know that they should do it again next year or open up another slot if demand was through the roof.
 
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Joel Tamburo
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That same "marketing intel" can be obtained without the ticket model. All it really does is add expense and inconvienence.

And it is making Origins price uncompetitive with other cons that don't use it.

For example, Origins cost $70 at the door for Wed-Sun, with Wed not being really a total day. That's without playing anything. Add $16 for the Board Room and/or even more to play in Tourmanents or Open Game.

Meanwhile WBC for $70 gets you Mon-Sun with no additional charges at all. Buckeye Game Fest costs even less, as do CSW Expo and BGG Con.

The ticket model is an old artifact from the TSR Gen Con days, and Origins inherited it when WOTC ran it for a few years. It is a dinosaur that needs to be extinct.
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Chris Funk
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Joelist wrote:
However, back to George's original question.

As I stated earlier Origins and GenCon really need to do away with the whole event ticket/ribbon model and go to the much simpler model of convention badges entitling the holder to all events and rooms in the con.


I see the reasons for the ticketed event model and, to be honest, it's fine with me. The problem you may run into is that the ribbons and tickets 1) provide income for the convention and 2) provide a guarantee that you get to play the tournaments and games you want to or provide special priveledges i.e. Board Room. If you set everything to generic all-in-one badge, expect the badge price to skyrocket to recoup the costs and maintain the income level they require to hold the convention in the future. Personally, I think the cost is already prohibitive unless you get your badge in January and I'd hate to see it climb even more. If the cost goes above GenCon's prices, you could have even more badge buyers stop buying them altogether.

Personally, the Origins Day Pass armbands have been a major change in convention thinking IMHO. While I was working the Mayfair booth, I couldn't help but think how many people and families would never have attended the show if they would have had to pay $30-$70 a person to get in the door. When I would see a mom and dad with two kids making the rounds with the armbands, I can only say it was a great idea becuase they're probabaly shopping for games that they can play as a family and the $100 they saved on badges goes to buying a couple games. I just can't find fault with that.

I can't say it was a bad idea on the GAMA side because you've got a lot of people only paying $5 instead of $30 for one day but then a lot of those people quite frankly wouldn't have bought a badge anyway. On another side, it could help bring vendors back because of increased sales in the vendor hall and that may have been the case this year because the hall was pretty packed. Not a lot of empty space in the back like last year. Some said they need to lure back the big vendors but I've found I actually enjoy seeing the rising occurance of smaller companies coming into the show and see a lot of great new games that way. For every WizKids or WoTC that Origins has lost, I'll gladly take three of the small companies pushing games like Wok Star.
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I tend to agree with this, the pricing model can be clunky, and should be overhauled. However, the reason they still do it this way (I would guess) is to control the enrollment in events; if all events are free, then what is to stop someone from signing up for them all? In addition, the ribbon model allows there to be some control over the number of persons in each area; this is a safety issue, and not easily overcome.

Perhaps a solution is to make the main admission badge very cheap, and make the events all cost, so people only pay for what they want. Or alternately, they can make the main badge price higher, and make all the events free, with registration still required; some system would need to be in place to help control overbooking in this case.
 
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Joel Tamburo
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The pricing model is not only clunky it is overpriced. Both Origins and GenCon are becoming poor value propositions to the consumer.

Also, there is no logical need for the tickets at all. Enrollment control is easily administered by the GMs with no need for event tickets. Since the Badge lets you in anywhere "overselling" is a total non issue.

Also, registration is likewise unneeded. All you need is signin sheets for the event GMs and for places like the board room. That will yield the same data but without the priniting, personnel and equipment costs associated with tickets and ribbons.

And, frankly, if Origins and GenCon need to fleece their attendees to stay in operation they should be looking to aggressively cut their operating costs and pass the savings to the consumers - that is good business practice.
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Peter Stein
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stagger lee wrote:
Joelist wrote:
However, back to George's original question.

As I stated earlier Origins and GenCon really need to do away with the whole event ticket/ribbon model and go to the much simpler model of convention badges entitling the holder to all events and rooms in the con.


The thing is, the ticket model helps companies gague what draws in people and gives them a solid number to back it up. A general badge will do nothing for a company wanting to know interest levels on "hot new game A" in comparison to "hot new game B"


Sales?
 
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