Gaming Convention Review

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MACE West 2017 Gaming Coordinator Report

The 7th annual MACE West has come and gone.  When we started it, I would have never imagined it lasting this long.  But we definitely found a great home and we have had a lot of fun with it.  While much of MACE West has remained the same, it also has evolved and changed with the community. Every year, we try to adjust based on what happened the previous year, and sometimes it works while other times, it doesn’t.  This year was no different.

In terms of number and types of events, the schedule was right around the same as last year.  I was quite pleased by the end of February, early March when I felt the schedule was complete.  We had a full boat of RPGs, board games, miniature games and everything else in between.  Warmachine/Hordes and X-Wing were back.  Both did well last year but we were up against another event hosting a Warmachine tournament this year, so I was concerned.  New on the schedule was something we tried at MACE – HeroClix ROC tournament qualifier.  I had to move that to Sunday because of both the other minis events, so that seemed like a risk.  We also paid for a Settlers of Catan national qualifier, which again was a risk but worth it.

Disappointing from the schedule’s perspective was there was only 4 games of Savage Worlds for Savage Saturday Night, when we usually have 8.  We still had a full weekend of Savage Worlds with at least 3 per slot but I like to have a full room of Savage Worlds on Saturday night.  Other games filled those tables, which was fine but it would have been nice to have all Savage Worlds.

Both Pathfinder Society and D&D Adventurers League (collectively called Organized Play) seemed to do very well.  Every time I want back there, more than 2/3s of their tables were full.

The weekend was a blur to me.  All my games made and were really fun.  Most of the games on the schedule made and there were also many pick-up games where they could find room.  There were not many disappointments as I walked through the game rooms each day.  The Friday night X-Wing had a great turnout thanks to Casey Waters.

Despite the competing event being cancelled (the day of MACE West Registration closing), the Warmachine/Hordes was one of those disappointments.  I was just a difficult situation for the organizer and it did not turn out the way we wanted it.  The Settlers of Catan tournament was reasonably successful but it was disappointing in that we did not get at least 12 players.  In the end, the winner will have a chance to go to Origins to play in the Nationals, partially on JustUs’s dime.  Good luck to the winner.

The Heroclix tournament was the big surprise.  Sunday was quite busy and the organizer told me that if we moved it to Saturday, we would have a larger turnout.  So that’s something to consider for next year.  Thanks Jesse for running that event.  New also to MACE West was the Tesseractive  who hosted live action demos of their combat system and sold boffer weapons in the Atrium.  They were a highlight of many on Saturday as they seemed to stay quite busy.  Thanks to Ryan for coming out and showing us their stuff.

From a numbers perspective, this year very much felt like last year.  I don’t know the true numbers yet but it felt close to what it was last year.  We finally found a way to manage the pick up games and balance that with the scheduled games.  I was very pleased with the board game room, no small thanks to James Doster and No Ordinary Gamers.  Many thanks to the Asheville Historical Wargamers for all their hard work and very cool events.  Thanks to Double Exposure Envoys for the play to win games and all the great demos by Kevin Berent.  Highlight of the weekend was Jeff meeting DM Scotty’s daughter and making a connection there.

There were only a few glitches and those all can be written up to data entry mistakes made by me.  I am getting more and more comfortable with my system but at the same time, people have to start taking ownership of their own schedule. When you are done with it, print it out.  Or at least have the PDF on your phone or tablet.  Onsite registration will not go away and neither will the posters, but we can only do so much.  At the same time, the wireless at the hotel was not the best and I know that made it difficult for people.

Thanks to Jeff, his family and friends for all the work they do.  Thanks to all the GMs for their hard work and dedication to our event.  Thanks to James Becker, Michael Tracey, Bill Boivin and Tim McCrary for their hard work in organized play.  Thanks to industry pros Clint Black, Robert Hudson and John Watts for attending and gaming with us. MACE West is one of my favorite events to do every year, if not THE favorite.  It is just the right size that I have a lot of fun with little to no stress.  The community is very welcoming and it doesn’t hurt that the mountain views are astounding.

Thanks again for everyone and I hope to see everyone back for MACE West 2018 as well as MACE in November!

 

 

 

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