JP On Gaming

Monday, April 10, 2017

Conglomeration 2017 AAR Part 2: Good, Bad, and the highlights

If you missed it, go check out Part 1

The Good

Conglomeration is a convention that feels rather laid back and relaxed. Its feel is one I would describe as "lazy southern". Do not take this as a pejorative, "it's a southern thing" for those of you not in the South... I would describe this as a laid-back, friendly, get together with your friends you haven't seen or talked to in a while.

Our Rhym setting was well-received by those who came to play with us. This was something that caused me the most worry, after all JD and I were both into Rhym, understanding all its intricacies, and we managed to pass on some of the knowledge of them. The bigger concepts did not prevent game play and added a touch of flavor.

Dove-tailing on the previous point, FOE ran something in every slot, even if we had to shuffle a few things.

There were a lot of games offered: From FOE's own Rhym and Saggakar games to PFS, to Randy's 2KG material, but also a number of interesting games: Call of Cthulhu (there were quite a few of those), and CCGs and board games. I must say that attendees had the burden of choice, with many options.

One of the things I am extremely encouraged was that the gaming room folk did solicit input and ideas to improve next year. I must say this is always good to see and forces people to sit back and think about what's good, what needs improvement, and what sucks. In a way, this second post was the result of this call for input and insight. Kuddos to the gaming team: Chuck and Derek. Already, they mention a few things to help out.

The Improvable

For me, the biggest issue (and I told the organizers many MANY times) was the lack of firm game slots. Formalizing some of that would help, if only for marshaling and using available to complete tables.

I will take an example of Saturday morning. Randy had a table scheduled to start at 8AM. He showed up, saw there was no one, and he left (for breakfast or sleep, I don't know). My own games were scheduled to start at 9AM. I had no sign ups for that first slot. I chose to sit and write some stuff for a future Saggakar product. Chad and the PFS crew were scheduled to start at 10AM, where only a few people showed. They ended up completing their table with other PFS GMs (I was offered a seat but declined to play as it was a game using PFS pregens). I reorganized things and managed to start a table of six players at 11AM. Now if all three of these had a slot start, I'll take 9AM as a middle point. This would mean that at that time, there would have been four-five GMs on-site we could've pulled and argued to run a game and use a more formal marshaling system.

Another thing to look into: games that were announced and planned before the con should be given priority over the off-the-cuff games, "I wanna run this game right now"-type events. It is annoying to plan out games only to see players head off to play with someone who just showed up and throws something haphazardly. Why did I bother to send in a schedule if my games will be promoted as much as those who did not?

I have a number of other tiny issues: the cost of entry (it's not bad, but could be better, no kids' badges), the con suite (people can bring their own food), and to formalize things a little more: have the panels and gaming run at the same time, not in competing slots. Perhaps splitting the events into RPGs/Minis/CCG/Board Games to channel people into the overall type of game they are most likely to play. Where these are located in the room is fine.

The Random Highlight

It is always fun to argue with Chad about what I dislike about PFS. I get a good talking to and he gets snarky comments back. Always fun. Oh yeah, and he flipped me and 5e off too. Gotta love 'im.

I love my former "Work Husband" Derek (long story, but a true one). Hehehe now watch that rumor mill run. He runs around like a madman to ensure that we, the gamers, get to remain spoiled! He works non-stop, round the clock during the con without rest, and does it with a reassuring and friendly smile on his face. Big shout-out to you brother for your kind answers to my dumb questions throughout the year, for your support to my events, and to my on-site requests for printing to changing tables.

I really liked to play with JD in Rhym as it was a very unique delight, similar to the time I played in a Legacies game back in Denver...

I got to meet many people I interact with regularly (Chad, Derek, JD, Randy) but also got to chat with some I see at Conglo: Derek-M, Archie, Matt M, Chuck, Jake, and I forget many more. I really enjoy Conglomeration for that. I got to chat a little with all of these guys during the con which was made possible by the "lazy southern" atmosphere of the con...


At the end of every con, I must ask myself what I really thought about the event. I enjoyed myself, the hiccups were mild annoyances that invariably led to a positive outcome, so I was happy with that.

I am very encouraged by the gaming team to do some changes and improve how the game room flows and runs and will anxiously (read: I will bother Derek about it through the year) wait for details of decisions and plans.

Therefore, I do plan to be back next year. I really have a sweet spot for the Louisville gaming scene. These guys have been very nice and welcoming to me from the moment I arrived in 2013 to this day.


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