I am man enough to say my opinion may not be the most enlightened and I can see the validity of y'all's points of view. Thanks for pointing out how no shows can screw over GMs - I was ignorant to all the variables involved.
What I should have taken the time to articulate better is that I reckon the relative levels of responsibility and culpability between players and GMs is just fine as is and I don't think there needs to be a system to penalize or admonish no show players. It would have been cool if I had had a good way to contact the GM of the session that I wound up missing to let them know I wasn't going to make it, then I would have.
I apologize to those affected . . . Long story short - a friend that I hadn't seen in person in 20 years showed up at the Con for a limited amount of time and asked if I wanted to have dinner and hang out. The window of opportunity for us to meet up was during that session. So on one hand, I feel bad about missing the session and on the other, I am very happy that I got to hang out with an old friend.
I'd be interested in seeing the statistics on how many game sessions were cancelled due to player no shows (were there particular nights or blocks of time?) and what exactly would constitute a the break point on no shows for the average GM.
cross-threaded my reply. ignore.
It could help to schedule more games on the half-hour. That would allow you, with planning, to either leave a half hour between some games (cutting down on no-shows) and give attendees enough travel time to try for other events with generics.
I would love to see some more statistics on no-shows as well, particularly what times have a lot of them. I think it's sort of general con lore that 8 AM and 9 AM time slots have quite a few, but I would hypothesize that 6 & 7 PM are bad too, due to dinners taking longer than planned.
Yeah, attendance at Sunday games is really bad. I've had a two or three GM no-shows over the years, and it seems like there's at least one player no-show every game.
Some hard data would still be interesting to see, particularly if it spanned multiple years. I suspect there's some fairly clear trends. It could be useful for groups to have when planning their events, as well as for attendees to help them find open games to join using generics.
The wildcard nature of these games is what really soured Gencon for me. I'm not getting on a high horse here. That would be hypocritical since I blew off several events. I just hate that the central idea of Gencon is supposed to be gaming, but any event you sign up for is only happening in the theoretical sense. It's why I'm probably going to skip Gencon next year. Or maybe just stop by for the shows on Saturday and Friday after work. I likely wouldn't even consider going if I didn't live 6 miles from the convention center.
I suppose that's not a possibility for the people skipping 8am events, though.
I admit, I never plan events on Sunday - that's my last hurrah through the Dealer's Hall so I can get in a couple more demos. :)
A couple notes:
Charging more is just more direct. I'll need to look at the data to see how significant of an impact it is, but if you charge more you should have fewer people signing up on a whim or bailing without significant cause. This works particularly well for high-demand events.
Finally, whenever possible, structure the events to deal with player no-shows. That doesn't mean just being able to run an RPG at 3 players just as well as you could at 6, but more to schedule multiple tables of an event together at the same time. If you submit an event for 18 players (3 tables of 6) and you lose a third of the players, you can still divide up into 2 tables of 6 or 3 tables of 4 with minimal impact to the player experience. Unfortunately, this isn't really feasible for independent GMs, but it's something gaming groups and companies should keep in mind. This is a bit of a balancing act: don't make your event so large it's hard to place but don't make it so small that it's particularly weak to no-shows.
To address a couple specific points brought up.
Broadly, do not run your event differently from how it was listed in your event submission. Everyone with a ticket gets a seat. Don't overfill unless it won't unduly affect individual player experiences. Don't run an event at a smaller scale unless you simply don't get enough players for it.
I hope that is abundantly clear, but if you have any specific questions, please feel free to contact us directly: [email protected]
We're aware of the impact player no-shows can have on events, particularly smaller ones, so we're not just going to drop the hammer on folks without actually looking at the context.
Gen Con LLC
Thanks for the heads up Derick. Look forward to seeing actual statistics on which day/times get the most no-shows..
An easy way for Gen Con to reduce player no shows is to stop allowing event tickets to be used as generics. If someone buys an event ticket they are taking away the chance for someone else to use that slot. And there is the risk that the GM does not get credit for the seat / hours..
So if you reserve a seat at a game, you are on the hook for that.. allow it to be returned , yes, but not used somewhere else..
Not only is it questionable whether it actually will reduce player no-shows, it is clear that it would result in huge headaches for many gaming groups and companies that run multiple sessions of the same event and often have players drift from one slot to another.
Being stricter with tickets will result in fewer people sitting down and playing games and is counter productive.
I wonder how many Event tickets are being used that way, though.
This is anecdotal evidence, so take it with a grain of salt. But in 19 years of running events at Gen Con, our group has had one player use an event ticket this way. It's still a pretty well kept secret as policies go. I'd wager at least half the GMs and most attendees don't even know it's an option.
I'm not sure how common it is for Catalyst but it's certainly communicated...that and checking the year for tickets and generics are presented at the demo agent meeting every year.
We also get a lot of players who dont care what ticket they get at event reg, they just get 'something' and then either trade the tickets to another group, or when a whole group is together, they just request the game they want--for the Living Missions events.
So say SRM 7-03 is the scheduled event, and a group of seven meets in advance and they all actually want CMP 7-14 then usually the gm just runs that instead. I'm not sure how that effects anything, really. The players all get a game they want. Players will often come early to trade or find the event they want with like-minded players.