MACE 2007 Report

I am still recovering from it, but man, what a weekend! This exhaustion and emotional drain has a new name… I’ve been officially MACEd. Part of it was that I experimented with Diet Pepsi Max to keep me energized and I am still coming down from that but the con itself was so amazing awesome that it not even 3 of those a day could keep me going.

MACE was a resounding success in my eyes. I know some games did not make and that happens
every year. I’d like to get individual GM reports from everyone as well as any player reports you might want to submit. But from what I can see, most games fired off, most GMs had at least 2/3s of their games run, and the major events we had planned were successful.

Friday started from me with set up and getting things ready. A little rearranging of the con space delayed the GM badges, however. I am sorry about that. My wife and I were able to finally get the GM badges ready and the con was off and running. We had more tables make on both the RPGA and non-RPGA side then ever before on Friday which means more people took the Friday off to come game with us. Having the RPGA BI on Friday probably influenced those numbers.

My first game made, and my second did not. I actually had a player for my Tide of Iron game but because I needed at least two, I could not run (because I had planned on running my Stargate RPG at the same time). Perhaps I won’t do that again.

Numbers were looking good from the start on Friday but not the HUGE numbers I was afraid of. The registration table had lines off and on, but for the most part, the con stayed busy but manageable Friday. The LARP on Friday had a good number of people playing – something like 75 to 80 – which is insane in my eyes. I could never run a LARP that size. The guillotine was a nice touch.

Highlights of Friday – meeting all the new GMs and seeing many old friends as well. It is always good to see all of you, even if it is only for a fleeting moment. My Stargate RPG was really fun, and I am kind of glad my EABA game did not make, because I still was not comfortable with the overall plot. Other events Friday included Matt’s D&D Survivor (… Matt has a girlfriend! And she seems really NICE! That’s awesome!…), the start of the Iron Man board game tournament, and most of the GM Improv sessions made Friday night. I was quite busy all night putting out fires, running games and making sure everyone was happy.

Saturday was my big day because the Stargate LARP was planned for that day. Part of me was dreading that day because I did not feel good about the ending of the LARP and I was worried that I would be disappointed by the turn out. I had put SO much work into it, and I thank Jessica and Tony for their help. Tony helped with making an excellent Flash program that was going to act as the ship’s main computer and did it in two weeks!

My mistake was I had no help with gaming registration in the beginning. Steph helped where she could. She covered the main desk up until Keegan had to be fed. But there were just too much planned for Saturday for me to be upstairs running a LARP. The plan to start the LARP upstairs was not a good decision either. And all that was me. I made those decisions. There were several games that did not have tables that made and needed to be assigned. The L5R event needed to be dealt with because their tables were not big enough. Of course, the other half of my GMs came in on Saturday too and I should have been there to meet up with them. Next time, we won’t start the LARP until 11 giving me enough time to wrestle with much of that.

That said, the Stargate LARP was a resounding success and had plenty (maybe too many) players. I think we had 12 to 15 players and the plot seem to develop really fast. As far as I was concerned, the LARP story was done by lunch, but after a break, they wanted to keep going. I was so tired by then. And we hit a stalemate at one point. Neither Jess nor I knew what to do, but we role-played around it. My props were a success and everyone seemed pleased. They want me to do it again, maybe at CC and definitely at MACE.

Now, because I was involved in the LARP all day, I did not get much of a chance to see what else was going on Sat morning and afternoon. I hate that because I really like to see the results of all my planning. I did get a glance at the L5R room was packed full. Although they had a lot of people, it was not an overwhelming number. They had almost 40 in the room, which was more than enough for it. That event, if it returns, will not have much room to grow. We’ll have to put a cap on the number that can sign up.

The L5R was our big worry because Jeff invested some money, and historically, we have not had much success with CCGs and L5R specifically. Terry really put a lot of work into the tournament and I thank him for that. We had a lot of compliments about it.

I also saw games that I knew had no-prereg (thus I did not assign a table) out in the lobby, which means games I did not expect to make, made. I tried hard to make sure most everyone knew where to go but those particular games (one Saturday only) really did not have anywhere to go because I had no more tables. I did have a few no-shows and last minutes cancels (both of which I truly hate) so those tables could have been used but I needed to be there to manage that, and I wasn’t. That frustrated me.

Once the SG LARP was over and I was able to get my bearings, things looked real good. Many of the games did real well and the board games did better than I expected. The main room was always full with activity, from my scheduled games to several pick up games. I saw several pick-up games – Battletech, several board games I did not recognize as well as many I did including Starcraft.

The Twilight Imperium tournament really developed well over the weekend as each session turned into a round and the final round was Sunday. I think we’re going to go with a format like that in the future. I am not sure the Settlers tourney made, but the NC State Table Top Gaming Assoc. people always seemed to have a game going on at the table.

The auction was really fun. I really love it. It is a way for me to feel the energy of the attendees and how things are going for them. I love its timing. It fits right into the peak of everything. We did really well this year at the auction, mostly because of the great donations we had. We did way more than last year and everyone seemed to have a good time. I like the set up this year with the stage in the corner. I lose a table but it all worked out.

Sunday was different for MACE this year in that we still had a major event planned. The RPGA always goes on all day and they were no different this year, but we also had a Warhammer 40K event planned. That did REALLY well. Four short of the max showed up but we had 4 that signed up and not show. That in my book is a resounding success. Other games scheduled games sporadically had players and the RPG rooms stayed reasonably busy for the rest of the day. I left just after the start of the last session.

Things that were a success: both LARPs, the L5R tournament, the Magic tournament, the WH40K tournament, the Iron Man tournament, the D&D Dungeon Survival Event, GM Improv, the RPGA BI, the Twilight Imperium tournament, the auction, and the overall con. Things that did not work were minor – the Golden Mace simply did not work. We won’t do that again. The Iron MACE Game Chef had 4 people register but only 1 person submit. We’ll have to rework this somehow.

It was a pleasure to meet some of the new folks coming to MACE – Larry W, Rowdy S, and Matt J, among others. Thanks to all the GMs, but in particular Matt J, Terry C, Art M, Matt H, and John K. Thanks for all the hard work and dedication. This con would not have been such a success without all the hard work of the GMs. The numbers were higher than ever before and Jeff was pleased. Thanks to Jeff to for paying the bills and being the man behind MACE that his is and his wife Karen for putting up with all this.

But the one person that deserves the most thanks is my wife, Stephanie, who had just had a baby 2 weeks before and took care of both our children while I did my thing at the con. She was amazing and she is an amazing woman.

One of the most gratifying things we get at MACE is the compliment on how we run things. In particular from the people that attend other gaming cons up and down the east coast. I like to know how we compare to other events like ours. And from what I can tell, we are doing things right. That is a credit to us as well as the GMs run our events.

Next – minimace on Jan 26.

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