Why not allow individuals to run events?
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Posted by zaphod

There has been a lot of discussion lately on social media about how sparse and underwhelming the event list is. Yet, there are tons of people that seem to want to run events. Events ran by individuals add personality and creativity to the event options. What we have now is just a much less inspiring list.

I don't understand this decision, as it doesn't help protect anyone from Covid, especially now that the majority of the population is vaccinated, and cases are much lower. The only thing this does (like closing the convention at midnight) is make the convention worse for the attendees.

Posted by elvinlord

My guess is that groups are less likely to completely pull out at the last minute and are easier to communicate with then large numbers of singleton dms

Posted by kevinrg

My assumption is that there will be hopefully a lot of open gaming and events that aren't in the catalog, but that will be run.

I thought there was going to be a forum opened for that in the future.

Posted by eldrad12000

Yeah, the decision to do that is one of my least favorite choices that GenCon has made this year. I don't know how much of a difference it makes, but I am sure a notable difference.

Posted by toxic_rat

So, here's my understanding of why this was done.  I'm going off of limited knowledge here, as I don't work for/speak for GenCon.  So take it with a grain of salt if you need to.  :)

A few definitions first:  
  Event Organizer (EO):  This person is the one that enters the event data into the GenCon system, but is also responsible for making sure that formatting matches GenCon standards, creates a master schedule, determines the number of tables needed, and is essentially a single point of contact between GenCon and the GM's.  
  Game Master (GM):  This is the person that is actually sitting down at the table, running the event.  They would be the one to setup/take down, enforce game rules, etc.  

When an individual runs an event (outside of an organized group), they are acting as both EO and GM.  It's not normally a problem, except in this year where there was limited time between event submission, catalog going live, and tickets being purchased.  GenCon still reviews all of the events before they go Active in the system.  By moving individual GM's into groups with a formal EO, they (hopefully) reduce the number of people that they have to work with to get events set up.

Myself, I formed a group of independent GM's so that we could run events this year.  We have 24 GM's running nearly 100 events.  As the EO, I made sure that events weren't scheduled on top of each other, determined the number of tables needed, worked up the list for GM badges, etc.  In our specific case, GenCon only has to deal with one EO, and not 24 EO/GM individuals.  BTW, our group is Conspiracy of Gamers...check us out on the catalog, we have quite a variety of events happening. :)

 At least, that's how I understand it.

Posted by alans

Who knows? Maybe they will change it.  But probably not...

Posted by derekguder

There are a few reasons, actually, and it's mostly about feasibility from a few different directions.


  1. We don't have enough space to accommodate all the events we usually do - moving the dates had a big impact on that.
  2. We don't have the time this year to review all the events that are normally submitted. Everything takes more time this year as everything is slightly different. We can't rely on anything being "just like last year."
  3. We don't have the time to coordinate with every event organizer we normally have, bringing them up to speed on how layouts are changing, what spaces are or are not available, what the policies are, or even just taking the time to make sure they're comfortable with the year and just generally understand everything changing this year.
  4. We don't want to increase anyone's stress by having to worry about whether anyone else was in their event space earlier in the day and did those people properly manage or sanitize the area?

It all boils down to significant pressures on the availability of space to accommodate and time to do the planning to get everything done, and that meant we had to focus on maximizing the number of events we can handle with each event organizer we spend time bringing up to speed and confirming a floor plan with.

Honestly, it breaks our hearts in the Events Department that we can't accommodate every one-off, funky games any given individual wants to run. We take a lot of pride in the idea that Gen Con is a place where just about anyone can run a game and that the show runs 24 hours, but this isn't a normal year and we've had to make some pretty fundamental adjustments to the bedrock of the show to make things work for the amount of space and size of the team we have.

To try to mitigate that loss somewhat, we are significantly expanding open gaming and - as we've said before - if individual GMs can band together to form a group that can run a dedicated space all weekend, we are more than happy to get them set up. We've already done that with a couple groups and I hope there are more.

I hope that addresses some of your concerns, or at least lets you know where we are coming from. It's not a decision we made lightly, or one that we actually like, to be honest, but it's the best decision we could make to balance things out and actually manage everything involved in planning for the convention.

-
Derek Guder
Director of Events
Gen Con LLC

Posted by zaphod

Hi Derek,

Thanks so much for the informative response. I hope you guys are able to cope with the changes, and (hopefully!) get more events in the system, even given the time and space crunch. I do appreciate the tricky situation the event staff must be in.
 

Posted by zaphod

Unfortunately, taking a look at the event list has confirmed my suspicions: there is not enough events in the system to meet demand. So many events were sold out after the first 1,000 wish lists, and there is going to be a huge number of people that literally don't get to participate in any events at all this year.
 

Posted by kevinrg zaphod

zaphod wrote:
Unfortunately, taking a look at the event list has confirmed my suspicions: there is not enough events in the system to meet demand. So many events were sold out after the first 1,000 wish lists, and there is going to be a huge number of people that literally don't get to participate in any events at all this year.

This year, people that really don't care what they are doing and have a lot of flexibility, can find events.

If you attend Gencon for a very narrow focus of event type, then definitely out of luck this year.

 

Posted by bwd72 derekguder

derekguder wrote:
There are a few reasons, actually, and it's mostly about feasibility from a few different directions.

  1. We don't have enough space to accommodate all the events we usually do - moving the dates had a big impact on that.
  2. We don't have the time this year to review all the events that are normally submitted. Everything takes more time this year as everything is slightly different. We can't rely on anything being "just like last year."
  3. We don't have the time to coordinate with every event organizer we normally have, bringing them up to speed on how layouts are changing, what spaces are or are not available, what the policies are, or even just taking the time to make sure they're comfortable with the year and just generally understand everything changing this year.
  4. We don't want to increase anyone's stress by having to worry about whether anyone else was in their event space earlier in the day and did those people properly manage or sanitize the area?

It all boils down to significant pressures on the availability of space to accommodate and time to do the planning to get everything done, and that meant we had to focus on maximizing the number of events we can handle with each event organizer we spend time bringing up to speed and confirming a floor plan with.Honestly, it breaks our hearts in the Events Department that we can't accommodate every one-off, funky games any given individual wants to run. We take a lot of pride in the idea that Gen Con is a place where just about anyone can run a game and that the show runs 24 hours, but this isn't a normal year and we've had to make some pretty fundamental adjustments to the bedrock of the show to make things work for the amount of space and size of the team we have.
To try to mitigate that loss somewhat, we are significantly expanding open gaming and - as we've said before - if individual GMs can band together to form a group that can run a dedicated space all weekend, we are more than happy to get them set up. We've already done that with a couple groups and I hope there are more.
I hope that addresses some of your concerns, or at least lets you know where we are coming from. It's not a decision we made lightly, or one that we actually like, to be honest, but it's the best decision we could make to balance things out and actually manage everything involved in planning for the convention.
-
Derek Guder
Director of Events
Gen Con LLC


Thank you Derek!  You've all worked hard under exceedingly trying circumstances, and even though there has been some griping in the forums, you need to know that the vast majority of gamers really appreciate everything GenCon has done to keep our favorite con going.  

-BWD.
 

Posted by helenbb zaphod

zaphod wrote:
Unfortunately, taking a look at the event list has confirmed my suspicions: there is not enough events in the system to meet demand. So many events were sold out after the first 1,000 wish lists, and there is going to be a huge number of people that literally don't get to participate in any events at all this year.

I don't think this is true. Looking at the events catalog, there are just over 6,000 events. When I unclick the 'show sold out events' button, over 3,800 show up. 3,800 out of 6,000 is over 50% of events still having at least 1 open space.

Posted by zaphod helenbb

helenbb wrote:
zaphod wrote:
Unfortunately, taking a look at the event list has confirmed my suspicions: there is not enough events in the system to meet demand. So many events were sold out after the first 1,000 wish lists, and there is going to be a huge number of people that literally don't get to participate in any events at all this year.

I don't think this is true. Looking at the events catalog, there are just over 6,000 events. When I unclick the 'show sold out events' button, over 3,800 show up. 3,800 out of 6,000 is over 50% of events still having at least 1 open space.

This is literally the first few hours of event registration with only a few thousand wish lists submitted. There is over two months left, with thousands of people who haven't sign up for events yet. But there are entire major categories with no slots. All events are not created equal. Most people don't want to play some niche event for a game they've never heard of. They want to play D&D, Call of Cthulhu, new board game releases, tournaments, etc. These are the events that individuals can fill slots for and provide event options for those that currently have nothing they are interested in.

Posted by quarex

It is impossible to meet demand for Call of Cthulhu.  Indeed I bet this year you had the best chance you have ever had of getting into a Cthulhu game (I got into more than one!  Though I had to then drop some thanks to my other friend going rogue!).

Obviously there are fewer events per capita than previous years, but probably not dramatically so.  Plus the informal/unofficial gaming space chatter is everywhere if you look for it; there will absolutely be gaming overflowing everywhere you look I imagine

Posted by brpost toxic_rat

toxic_rat wrote:
 BTW, our group is Conspiracy of Gamers...check us out on the catalog, we have quite a variety of events happening. :)

I had your Chapel on the Cliffs (Part1) in my top three and didn't get it- I was disappointed. Maybe next year!

Posted by chaoticneutral262 quarex

quarex wrote:It is impossible to meet demand for Call of Cthulhu. 

I've noticed that problem at other conventions as well.  CoC always seems to fill up fast.

Posted by mu skulls frank

MU Skulls are running Call of Cthulhu events in open gaming this year. Slots still available! Details at: http://www.muskulls.org/gencon2021.html

Posted by buffythecatslayer

In every year the popular games go so fast that most people that want to play them can't get in; this is not something unique to this year.  Sometimes, the EOs add more slots, other times you have to just keep refreshing the event and hope someone drops out.  There are always thousands of niche events that sometimes get no, or maybe one person that wants in.  Again, not unique to this year.  Hopefully, more events will get added (they are usually added up until the week before the Con), and you'll find something to do.

 

Posted by sweendog zaphod

zaphod wrote:
helenbb wrote:
zaphod wrote:
Unfortunately, taking a look at the event list has confirmed my suspicions: there is not enough events in the system to meet demand. So many events were sold out after the first 1,000 wish lists, and there is going to be a huge number of people that literally don't get to participate in any events at all this year.

I don't think this is true. Looking at the events catalog, there are just over 6,000 events. When I unclick the 'show sold out events' button, over 3,800 show up. 3,800 out of 6,000 is over 50% of events still having at least 1 open space.

This is literally the first few hours of event registration with only a few thousand wish lists submitted. There is over two months left, with thousands of people who haven't sign up for events yet. But there are entire major categories with no slots. All events are not created equal. Most people don't want to play some niche event for a game they've never heard of. They want to play D&D, Call of Cthulhu, new board game releases, tournaments, etc. These are the events that individuals can fill slots for and provide event options for those that currently have nothing they are interested in.
You think that's bad?  Try getting into a Paranoia game during any year, including non-pandemic-year... ;)
 

Posted by mikepmarkey sweendog

You think that's bad?  Try getting into a Paranoia game during any year, including non-pandemic-year... ;)
 

This year there's zero Paranoia.  That was probably the most surprising thing to me, but I suppose it's mostly (entirely?) run by independent GMs. 

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