I've recently made a change of plans for my GenCon, and I was looking at two events to play in. However, no tickets are available, so I've got to settle for generic tickets and hoping A) there's a no-show or B) the GM is comfortable with one more player than planned.
So I'm wondering: in your experience, how often do no-shows occur? One of the events I'm looking at is a Dark Heresy game with five slots; the other is a Pathfinder Society game with 30 slots.
Depends on a number of factors. Time of day, and which day the event is held, are probably the biggest ones. No-shows are a lot more likely at 8am, for example.
From my experience, Sunday morning is the most often spot i see no shows.. The rest of the con.. Rare to happen. Take our sparks group for example...
Last year's Gencon, Thurs & Fri we had 4 slots, with an average of 4 tables each slot, Sat we had 3 slots (the 5pm-1am was 2 slots put together), with 5 tables per slot for the first 2, and 6 tables it the 3rd slot.. Sunday we dropped down to 4 tables for the first slot and 3 tables for the last slot.
For all the events we had a total # of tickets sold (if all were sold) of 548. Collected was 450, for a fill rate of 82.1%.. Not one of our bigger years, but that was also with us getting bumped to 7 tickets per event vice the usual 6..
The prior year, we had 416 tickets of 438...Only 1 table was cancelled due to only 3 players showing up for it, and that was one for the 3 for sunday afternoon at noon...
My experience has been Thursday and Fridays are usually well attended and very few no-shows occur; not enough with any consistency at least to remember a trend. Saturday, early morning games, I have seen the most and throughout the day on a lesser frequency. My Sunday games, when I have run on Sundays, have always been full with a rare no-show.
Overall, the no-show rate is 20-30%.
Trying to predict individual events is really hard, because there are many factors that go into it, like how exclusive or special the event is, whether a group of friends signed up together, etc.
Time has less of an influence on no-shows than you might expect - the biggest factors seem to be how cool an event is & whether something randomly came up to distract registered players (their friends went to get food, etc.) and those are harder to measure.
My advice is to give it a try if it doesn't significantly inconvenience you. A 30-player event has a pretty good chance of having at least one open spot, but you could easily luck out with the 5-player one, as well.
But I wouldn't recommend passing up on the opportunity to do something else fun & cool on the chance to maybe get into either event, if that makes sense.
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I have found a fair amount of no shows in Thursday AM events, when the players are still in the Will call lines.
A player with a registered ticket for your event is guaranteed a spot in your event as long as they show up on time. This is true even if your event is $0. If they have a ticket to event, they are guaranteed a spot. Wait up to 15 minutes for late players, if you can. But if your event schedule is extremely tight and must start on time to finish on time, you can count ticketed players as no-shows at your event start time and accept stand-by players at that point.
Thanks for the insights, everyone. I've got a list of possible options, so I'm not pinning all my hopes on one game, but I've still got some "first choice" games I hope I get.
Saturday Night seems to be a large no show time at least in my experience. I would imagine since quite a few people leave Saturday or are Saturday only attendees they schedule something for 9pm+ and then realize they are burned out or have a long drive ahead of them and just leave. The past two conventions I have shown up at a 4-6 player board game event late Saturday and been the only person. Once it was called off the other time the organizers were awesome and combined two games( just one person showed up for each) then joined in themselves so we could have a full game.
As a side note that game(trailer park wars) was so much fun I bought the game the next day and now its a favorite of my gaming group.
Over the years I have seen many a no show and many people getting into 'sold out' games with generics. I think the 20-30% is spot on. If I can't make a game at the last minute I do my best to swing by and see if there is someone waiting and give the ticket to them, they want to reimburse me with generics that's fine but if they don't or can't that's fine too I just don't want the ticket to go to waste.
I think that 20-30 is spot on too. I GM Shadowrun, which is a relatively popular game, and it is sheer hit or miss. I will have 100% attendance on a thursday 8 am game and only half on a thursday afternoon.
I used to try to predict which ones might have openings but it's just difficult. Which is why I just run things now. This way I am very sure that I WILL be playing. With Catalyst I have never not run a scheduled slot--even with 4 no shows once it filled with generics.
Oddly, my running Cthulhu has been much more hit or miss. Possibly because my games for that are usually late at night. Once one was canceled when only two players showed up. Once I had more generics than real tickets!
For our "Here AT The End" events...
I don't think we ever had more then 4 no-shows for time slots that were showing up as sold out.
Average ranged from 0-4
So the mean figure would be 2, but you can't bank on that.
Some people showed up with their tickets for the earlier time slot that they missed and we were luckily able to fit them in.