On No-Shows in RPGs
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Posted by glory belltowerben

benpee wrote:
Just a thought that I have seen used elsewhere. How about twitter.  If people know an event is full you can send out a tweet right at start time saying you have x openings and will start in 5 minutes.
I know this means people need to follow you on twitter but if they know about these possibilites then I think they would.
You might be 15 minutes behind schedule but if people know who you are and are willing to follow you on twitter they could get there and get in. Its a win for everyone.

I found a game through the Facebook - Gen Con Indy group. Bunch of people no-showed, the GM posted on there, and I was able to get in. 

That was pretty sweet. 

Posted by watchdog

When I saw that tickets had been returned for our events, I posted on our Facebook page, the Gen Con Indy Facebook page, these forums, and Twitter.

Posted by nascragman

Yeah, I shouldn't have posted so heavily about our "Sell Out".  It probably kept Generics people away.  We could have easily run another 2-3 teams each slot on Thursday, and 1-2 on Friday and Saturday.

Thats another 50-60 folks that could have played Nascrag.
 

Posted by adcjones watchdog

I would think rather than outright cancelling a game, how about just go into the hallway and scream for anyone who wants to play it free?  That's got to be better than outright cancelling...

Posted by watchdog adcjones

adcjones wrote:
I would think rather than outright cancelling a game, how about just go into the hallway and scream for anyone who wants to play it free?  That's got to be better than outright cancelling...
This kind of thing had a much better chance of working about 10 years or so ago when most of the action and attendees were in the ICC. Now it's a lot more spread out. Most people aren't just wandering into JW to see what's up. They're there to play specific events they already signed up for.

Also, the game that we had to cancel only had two players. How long would you ask them to wait on a Friday night while you look for other people to play a six hour event? How long would you wait if you were one of those two players?

Posted by skilletaudio

Players are incentivized by the demand to buy tickets to things they are passingly interested in, and disincentivized to refund their tickets since many tickets are cheap and you have to wait in line to get the refund. Since tickets are paper and cant be 'cancelled' remotely (theres no QR code or serial # the gm scans), the path forward to make 'remote ticket refund' is unlikely to show up, so players have every reason to simply bounce, especially because the primary negative (you harm somebody else's experience) is totally disconnected (you're not even showing up to see them be disappointed).

A perfect solution would be to make tickets remotely refundable, if they are 'digital tickets' that you display on a phone and redeem in front of the GM. You'd get more people abdicating instead of no showing.

Alternatively, if something can be done to improve the chances of filling last minute slots, that would improve the experience the other way. If an app could approximately locate you to the GM, GMs could send out pings to interested players that a game is beginning <100 ft from you that is accepting generics RIGHT NOW, and you could, if you're just killing time, scoot in, sit down and play.

All pretty high-concept stuff, but unless the ticket system changes I dont see much chance of fixing it.

Posted by garhkal belltowerben

benpee wrote:
Just a thought that I have seen used elsewhere. How about twitter.  If people know an event is full you can send out a tweet right at start time saying you have x openings and will start in 5 minutes.
I know this means people need to follow you on twitter but if they know about these possibilites then I think they would.
You might be 15 minutes behind schedule but if people know who you are and are willing to follow you on twitter they could get there and get in. Its a win for everyone.

Since not everyone uses twitter (or farcebook etc) its not a good method imo to get word out..

 

Posted by leswhittaker

Hey, I'll cop to no showing one event.  I am almost sorry, but I got an IM from an old friend that I hadn't seen in over 20 years.  We had dinner and played some stuff in the Catalyst area.  

Posted by ladyimm

I only no-showed one event - and that was because I didn't have my clock set right on my phone... it wasn't an RPG though... and I felt bad (and mad too, because I totally wanted to play that game!)

Posted by garhkal leswhittaker

leswhittaker wrote:
Hey, I'll cop to no showing one event.  I am almost sorry, but I got an IM from an old friend that I hadn't seen in over 20 years.  We had dinner and played some stuff in the Catalyst area.  

Report to booth 999 for flagulation with a wet carp...

Posted by locrpg

I think our plan next year is to over sell tickets.
Right now there is no incentive for a player to show up. They pay for the ticket and then they can just use it to get into some other unfilled event. I ended up running two sessions designed for 5 players and both times only 2 people showed up to each despite both events being sold out.
Plus, if I understand correctly, my group will only get back money for the tickets that were turned in? So we prepped for 25 person workshops and 13-15 people showed up... So I'm down the cost of the extra 20+ workshop bits? I hope I'm misunderstanding what I'm reading.
Meanwhile those people who bought the tickets can just take them elsewhere and give them over for some other event - or return them - or toss them out. >.<

So next year we're just going to over ticket everything. 20 person workshop? We'll sell 30 tickets and hope 20 show. 5 person game? We'll sell 8 tickets and hope 5 show. 9 person LARP? Let's go for 12 and see what happens.
But what to do if all show up? Now I'm preparing an extra third of material just in case....

I love running at Gen Con, but the con doesn't provide great support/incentives for GMs or groups, and then players don't show up, and I just feel like I've wasted my time. I'm not sure we'll be running any games at all next year. I'm sick of prepping and working for something people don't even show up to. At least with workshops even if half the people show up I don't feel like I wasted my time. 

Posted by braewe

A couple options...not solutions...since overselling an rpg is awful if everyone shows up...

1) try to offer events as a group in an area...and have an hq. Put in the descriptions of the events that there will be a wait list to get players in. Just sign the clip board. Also keep an eye on ticket returns and let people on the wait list know ahead of time that seats were cancelled.

2) I agree with the poster above that ticketless tickets are going to have to be a thing. There is going to have to be a way to transfer them to a friend...cancel them remotely...and even use as generics. It wouldn't require a gm to have the app just the gm hq. If he or she DID then they can use it otherwise just have players check in at the hq.

For players who don't have the app...I suppose you could have an 'opt out' but there would then also have to be a disincentive to doing that. Or maybe a 'change over year' where both were in use and then a strictly paperless year.

Might be something to put on a survey. 

But guilting players won't work. Never has. 

Posted by jerrytel

Agreed - overselling is not a solution since as was mentioned, what do you do if all the ticket-holders show up? Tell 10 of the 30 they cannot be accepted afterall? I ran 3 sold out rpg events and only had 1 no-show. All my games started a bit late since many people had said they were not expecting such long walks between events. 

Posted by tdb

Yeah, overselling an RPG is awful if everyone shows up.  Or might be, depending on the RPG.  But running with half the team can be just as bad.  And not running at all is worse. They're all suboptimal choices, but there seem to be more no-shows in recent years than there were in the past, and unless there's some systematic change to address it I can't blame GM's for taking the overbook route.

Option 1 works great if you're part of a big group running a lot of tables.  But for smaller groups it doesn't work out.  Really small groups don't get their own room.  And even if you get a room, are you willing to forfeit a table to administration instead of running another game?  Even if you are, you need someone to run the HQ table.  That person will need to be compensated just like any other volunteer, and to earn the badge and room for them you'll need to generate more player-hours.  That means the people who do GM will need to run more games, or have more players for the games they run.  I guess overbooking might help generate enough player hours to cover the HQ too...  Hmmm....

I agree that we're not likely to solve the problem of people not going to games they've signed up for.  Guilting hasn't worked.  Economic disincentives aren't likely to work either - if you're already paying a thousand bucks or more to attend what's another $6 for a ticket you don't use?

What we really need to solve is how to get people to take their places, and sometimes do it on very short notice, so the game can proceed.    

Posted by nascragman locrpg

unglitteringold wrote:
I think our plan next year is to over sell tickets.
Right now there is no incentive for a player to show up. They pay for the ticket and then they can just use it to get into some other unfilled event. I ended up running two sessions designed for 5 players and both times only 2 people showed up to each despite both events being sold out.
Plus, if I understand correctly, my group will only get back money for the tickets that were turned in? So we prepped for 25 person workshops and 13-15 people showed up... So I'm down the cost of the extra 20+ workshop bits? I hope I'm misunderstanding what I'm reading.
Meanwhile those people who bought the tickets can just take them elsewhere and give them over for some other event - or return them - or toss them out. >.<
So next year we're just going to over ticket everything. 20 person workshop? We'll sell 30 tickets and hope 20 show. 5 person game? We'll sell 8 tickets and hope 5 show. 9 person LARP? Let's go for 12 and see what happens.
But what to do if all show up? Now I'm preparing an extra third of material just in case....
I love running at Gen Con, but the con doesn't provide great support/incentives for GMs or groups, and then players don't show up, and I just feel like I've wasted my time. I'm not sure we'll be running any games at all next year. I'm sick of prepping and working for something people don't even show up to. At least with workshops even if half the people show up I don't feel like I wasted my time. 

20 person workshop, sell 30 tickets, 25 show up.  you send 5 away?  Your last year running events at GenCon.

Posted by nascragman tdb

tdb wrote:
Yeah, overselling an RPG is awful if everyone shows up.  Or might be, depending on the RPG.  But running with half the team can be just as bad.  And not running at all is worse. They're all suboptimal choices, but there seem to be more no-shows in recent years than there were in the past, and unless there's some systematic change to address it I can't blame GM's for taking the overbook route.
Option 1 works great if you're part of a big group running a lot of tables.  But for smaller groups it doesn't work out.  Really small groups don't get their own room.  And even if you get a room, are you willing to forfeit a table to administration instead of running another game?  Even if you are, you need someone to run the HQ table.  That person will need to be compensated just like any other volunteer, and to earn the badge and room for them you'll need to generate more player-hours.  That means the people who do GM will need to run more games, or have more players for the games they run.  I guess overbooking might help generate enough player hours to cover the HQ too...  Hmmm....
I agree that we're not likely to solve the problem of people not going to games they've signed up for.  Guilting hasn't worked.  Economic disincentives aren't likely to work either - if you're already paying a thousand bucks or more to attend what's another $6 for a ticket you don't use?
What we really need to solve is how to get people to take their places, and sometimes do it on very short notice, so the game can proceed.    

Getting your own room is overrated.  Nascrag used to get two connected ballrooms in the Hyatt (one big room after the dividers were removed).  And the noise level from concentrated Nascrag was unbearable.  I know people started staying away after those.  

Lucas Oil is amazing.  Wide open spaces!  288 foot ceiling.  We only got one noise complaint the entire convention!  OK, it's a bit of a hike.  I'm hoping there's more stuff in Lucas next year, maybe some of the back halls that went unused this year.

Posted by matthias9

Tried an Escape Room this year.  Short 2 people to work on it really impacted our chances of success.  At least 1 person blew off a $28 ticket.  Though, I guess it is possible they returned it at the last minute.

No easy answer here.  It is a pain, but people are going to meet old friends or find something to do.  As was said above, the incentives really encourage this.  Buy a bunch of stuff and go if you feel like it, blow it off if you don't.  Most events aren't $28.  I guess the Con could do a better job of reminding gamers the consequence of this.  Most gamers would be more conscientious about this if they knew the impact, but I don't think they are even considering it.

Even if people could return digitally, I'm not sure that the spots would get filled.  By the time I get to the Con, I have a pretty full schedule. 

Posted by garhkal tdb

tdb wrote:
Yeah, overselling an RPG is awful if everyone shows up.  Or might be, depending on the RPG.  But running with half the team can be just as bad.  And not running at all is worse. They're all suboptimal choices, but there seem to be more no-shows in recent years than there were in the past, and unless there's some systematic change to address it I can't blame GM's for taking the overbook route.

I agree that we're not likely to solve the problem of people not going to games they've signed up for.  Guilting hasn't worked.  Economic disincentives aren't likely to work either - if you're already paying a thousand bucks or more to attend what's another $6 for a ticket you don't use?
What we really need to solve is how to get people to take their places, and sometimes do it on very short notice, so the game can proceed.    


I agree..  It seems the past 3 years i've seen more no shows than in the prior 8..  And i don't really see a way around it.

Posted by matthias9

The greater distance people have to walk between events probably increases the number of no-shows. 

On the other hand, I noticed this year that you couldn't buy tickets to conflicting events (I was trying to buy a ticket for one of my teens on my account so I only had to pay/checkout once).  I'm pretty sure you used to be able to do that.  You'd think that could help a little.

Posted by watchdog

How does allowing people to buy tickets to conflicting events in the same time slot "help a little"? Doesn't that guarantee that at least one of those seats will have a no-show?

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