MACE 2012 Report (Part 1)
MACE 2012 Report
A lot of anticipation built up to the 2012 move to Charlotte. Quite of few detractors from the Raleigh area voiced their displeasure with the move. “It’s like a whole state away…” when it was just an extra hour drive. We sympathized with those displeased but a business decision had to be made. With the success of other cons at this location (of which Jeff had a major hand in), MACE saw it’s future in the major metropolitan area that is Charlotte. The High Point location was in a decline and it had little to no expansion space. MACE needed room to grow if we were going to sustain this business model.
The year between 2011 and 2012 was a tumultuous one for me. Without going into too much detail, I had to deal with a lot. Probably not as much as some, but still this was a rough year for me. There was a concern that some of that would reflect onto MACE, perhaps in a negative light. I received a lot of encouragement and support after much of it hit the fan and I appreciate it. My wife was a rock for me and I want to thank her for that. I could not have done this without her.
The month before MACE was crazy. This year being so close to Halloween really made it hard for a father of three. Work did not help. But we made it work.
Many considerations had to go into the layout with the new location as well and I spent a lot of time designing, redesigning and reconfiguring some of planning tools and reports I use to organize things. The new place had a lot of space but there was also many different things clambering for space in our new location. Between Warmachine tournaments and Kids programs, Savage Saturday Night and Midgard Madness, I had a lot to consider. I only had about 25% to 30% increase in space for each area of gaming. We have other space we can get from the hotel, however it will cost us, so registration is going to have to justify that expansion. It’s a lot to consider.
Scheduling games was a flurry of allocation, re-allocation, layout redesign, and cancellations. Not all that different than previous years, though. However, cancellations seemed to have more of an impact with more space. If two games cancelled in one room, I go from a room half full to a room a third full. Although I wanted to make sure each room had a good spread of games, I also did not want to fill them this year. I wanted to spread them out enough that noise was less an issue.
Then there was AEG. We were so happy to have them. They had big plans and I had to shoehorn them into what I already laid out. That caused some complexities but I was able to wrestle with them. They definitely brought new value to the con and I was happy to have them. Thanks to Ed Bolme for his commitment to us and support in making MACE 2012 what it was.
The weeks before MACE, I had a few difficult cancellations. The worst time to cancel is after preregistration has opened and people are signed up for your table, but I still had a few of those. I scrambled to find people to fill in and had to only cancel a few outright. I ended up running for two GMs myself, including the pre-release game for Call of Cthulhu 7.0.
Thursday came quicker than I had planned, with so much still to do. I spent a lot of late nights that week finishing up the final touches on a few things. Thursday was transport day, filling both cars with the first loads of stuff and unloading them at the hotel. Thank God some of that stuff was not coming back with me as they were donations to Handy Capable Networks, sponsor of our Artemis event. I had a garage full of left-over computer parts from John Reavis’s estate that I was glad to donate.
That evening was spent talking with David Galloway and Jeff Smith about a new project for Justus Productions, as well as general MACE stuff. Getting a feel for the new layout, I also survey work the hotel was doing to set up the rooms. I caught a few small problems before they became big and glad I did.
Friday was definitely a lot easier than past years as I had a lot of help. We had things ready and set up by 1 pm and GMs were rolling in wanting their badge. At the same time, I had people wanting to sign up for games. Thanks to the volunteers, I was able to have the Friday rush go very smoothly. The ticket system went fairly smoothly and I was glad people were finally getting it, especially the difference between games that need tickets and the games that don’t.
Highlight for me on Saturday was finding out about Aegis Lad – the pulp adventure comic book/RPG character that Jeff had purchased at another con’s auction and secretly arranged with Davey Beauchamp and T. Glenn Bane to be a part of the new Bare Bones Multiverse RPG setting. I am a sidekick! A gay looking one, but all the same. It was pretty cool. Thanks Jeff.
As far as I could tell, most games made Friday. I was surprised by Friday afternoon that all rooms were at least third full. I had a few no-shows which annoyed me, but most folks rolled with that. I definitely need to come up with a system to deal with the no-shows early on so that people are not sitting at these no-show tables with no GM. I am sorry for those that did. I have a sign-in sheet for GMs but I usually reference that after the fact. I need to be more proactive on that but that’s hard to do when you have GMs coming in at different times and their first games vary as well. I’ll figure something out.
I know the Deadlands LARP had some issues getting started and the other one-shot LARP had to be called off due to lack of participation. Perhaps MACE is not big enough yet for two LARPs on Friday, perhaps it is timing. Everything else seemed to make in some way or another but I would like to hear from the GMs and how things went for them.
Friday night was my first of 4 games scheduled. I ran the Supernatural RPG – Of Wolf and Man adventure. Although not my favorite system, it is a fairly easy system to run. It attunes itself more for one-shots then long term campaigns and runs like a watered down Savage Worlds. The five people that played had a blast as far as I could tell.
It was a steady flow of gamers and GMs all day. By Friday night, the bulk of the “all-weekenders” had arrived and the halls were busy. We looked a lot busier than I thought we would. I was rather pleased. The energy was building up with a lot of gaming, good times, laughing and goofing around. It was a good synergy between all the types of games and I was feeling the con-high pretty strongly by Friday night. The people around me kept me from getting too upset at the small mistakes I made or the last minute cancellations and no-shows.
I went to bed around 2 AM after finishing up my game and closing down gaming registration. Warmachine was still going and I head they kept it going until 5 AM. Crazy!
Stay tuned for part 2 of my report.