Monday, November 1, 2010

Thoughts on Fall-In, 2010

Well Fall-In, 2010 has come and gone and I thought I would ramble on a bit about my experience.  Overall, I enjoyed the experience but not nearly as much as I enjoyed Historicon, 2010.

Each con has four aspects that impact my experience, the gaming, the crowd, the vendor hall and the venue.  On the first three out of the four, I would give the con high marks.

I had a good gaming experience, playing one long naval game (see my last post) and watching several others.  Given the crowd appeared very light, there was plenty of open spaces and gaming opportunities.

The Vendor Hall had fewer vendors than usual given the timing of the con but most of the main vendors I wanted to peruse were there.  I picked more than I should and enjoyed the shopping "experience".  I was also pleased to see that my friend Ernie's Architects of War booth was doing a very brisk business.  On the social front, I met some great people and had a fun time for the one and half days I was there.

The only real downer for me (and it's a big one) was the venue - the Lancaster Host.  Hmmmm, how can I put this politely.... there are likely better accommodations in a Mexican prison.  I got a room at the Host for Friday night and, honestly, would have checked out early if I was planning on staying a second night.  It's just an awful facility - from the quality of the meeting rooms to the unspeakable food.  Will the venue stop me from going to further events in Lancaster?  I'm not sure.  I will give Cold Wars a shot, but will stay at a different place and see how that goes.

I realize that the HMGS gets a lot flack on TMP and I certainly don't want to pile onto that gibberish.  I appreciate all those guys/gals do in planning and running large meetings.  I think they did a great job for Fall-In from a gaming and event management perspective and I appreciate their efforts.  More importantly, since my only contribution is the pittance I pay in annual fees and admittance charge my complaints should be moderated a bit - it must be a thankless task to run these things.  That said, please mark me down as a vote for a new venue for 2012 and on!  How about the VCC (where Historicon was this year) or any other place in the MD/PA/DE I-95 corridor?  Hey, I here there's a nice facility in Baltimore.

OK, that was a cheap shot, but I couldn't resist.



VolleyFireWargames said...

Actually when I was at Cold Wars in March I thought the food was fine - The only thing I don't like is "the rain" you have to go through to get to the dealers room.
And of course the flea market tables are a bit pricey. Not sure I like the idea of going all the way to VFCC for all three days - course I am not sure about the rooms at Lancaster as I have only been their three times and never have gotten to stay on the hotel.

Kelly Armstrong said...

Food is marginal quality and expensively priced IMO. But I now pack a cooler of deli meats and other stuff and don't have to spend any money on food at the Host.

the CON was good, dealer area ok. The perception problem I had was thinking the CON was lightly attended when actually I was making that observation compared to Historicon at the Host, which is an unfair comparison. Though maybe Fall-In can grow if the CON stops competing with Halloween.

MrNizz said...

You get what you pay for, but you ALSO get what you can afford. If HMGS takes a huge financial hit from the Panzeri/Baltimore fiasco then it will be a few years before we can move our other two conventions to any other venue at all. Considering the amazing amount of free table space in all gaming rooms, the very THIN far end of the dealer hall (they were selling expansion flea market tables for the vendor room this year), then there's really not a huge impetus to move to a larger venue until we can max the current one out.. and we're a LONG way from doing that.

If you think the food is bad now ,you should have seen it in the early 2000s.. grey stale hamburger hockey pucks kept in a warmer until after midnight. I know the Host team listened to our concerns, hired a new catering manager and quality improved quite a bit in that time.

The takeaway from this is the Host may not be the perfect venue, this is true, but it might be the most perfect one we can have until we have more $$ in the bank.

jmilesr said...

Excellent points about either providing ones own food during a trip and that our groups financial resources may constrain the set of options one can choose from. Rather than beat on the poor old host anymore - I'll look for alternative lodging and see how Cold Wars goes this Spring.


Scullmeister said...

Least you guys have something to go to. Try living in the most isolated capital city in the world! I'd like to go to a Con, but the only one worth going to in Australia is CanCON which is on the other side of the country!

Andy Cowell said...

I'm not going for the amenities. All I need is a bed and a lock on the door to protect my dealer's room loot!

I do the cooler trick, though. Food has gotten better, but it's expensive and inconsistent. I prefer just to grab a bunch of sandwich stuff and keep it in a cooler in my room.