The 8th annual MACE West has come and gone. I keep telling people that they need to stop having so much fun at these things because we have to quit at some point. I am not doing this until I am 60 (I turn 50 next year). MACE West turned 8 this year which means we are 2 years from 10. That even closer to 25 for MACE. This is mind boggling because I had no idea we would last this long. MACE West this year was much like last year. Some remained the same while some 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.
The biggest difference was the time change. And I am not just talking about Daylight savings time. We moved MACE West 2 weeks earlier in March, mostly because it kept landing on my anniversary. While some folks may not celebrate that after 15 years of marriage, if you knew my wife and the struggles we went through, you would understand why we do. We just about had to move Heaven and Earth for this to happen however. Other conventions – namely ShushCon and CafCon – agreed to move their dates around so that MACE West could happen on the weekend we chose. Thanks to them and the overall community for their willingness to work with us.
In terms the games and events on the schedule, it was right around the same as last year, maybe a little down. Fewer miniature game events, more scheduled board games and demos. I was struggling to get enough RPGs but some new and old friends stepped up to fill some slots. I was reasonably pleased by the week before the convention. Although we did not have any major tournaments aside from the X-Wing event, I was happy where things were. One of the best things about the schedule was that we went from 4 Savage Worlds games on SSN to 7. I was very happy with that.
In terms of turn out, I was also happy with most everything. Organized play seem to struggle. The X-Wing events were a slight disappointment. But outside of that, every thing else was pretty busy. Once again, the weekend was a blur to me. 2 out of three games of mine made and I had a blast with both of them. Most of the games on the schedule made and there were also many pick-up games where they could find room. The few disappointments were mostly tables that did not make because players did not show. Either they could not make the convention last minute or they were doing something else. There were not a lot of those but some.
We did not have many big events, however. One X-Wing tournament that had 6 people. So we can safely label it the KISS weekend. We kept it simple. Just games. Scheduled, pick-up and anything in between. I allocated certain tables as open games as well as open demos, and those stayed busy all weekend. I gave more scheduled board games round tables and those stayed busy. Burghley A, where I used to have Warmachine and other miniatures, was redesigned to have more board games on rounds. That room was loud which to me means it was busy.
The two major complaints I got were (1) all the games are full and (2) the rooms are too loud. My answer for #1 is either get your registration in earlier or run games yourself. Those are the only two ways to guarantee you will have a game. My answer to #2 is not as simple. It’s the GMs and the players that are making the noise. Jeff and I talked about ways we can help with that but in the end, the GM and the players have to police themselves.
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 took even further steps to manage the pick up games and balance that with the scheduled games. I think it was even more successful than last year. 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 Jessica Paxton.
A little story that started at the end of MACE West and has continued on this week…
While I was packing up, a guy comes up to me and says “Are you Ron or Jeff?” Apparently someone told him to look for us. I told him who I was and he identified himself as a Firefighter and a Make a Wish volunteer. He just so happened to be staying in the hotel for another reason and saw us packing up. He thought we could help with a dilemma. He represents a child who has placed a Wish to make something in HermitCraft which is apparently a Minecraft server.
I know Minecraft only through my son, who plays it like a mad-man. But I know a millennial at work that might know more. He gave me his card. Adam Howard is the guy I know and he was kind enough to contact this volunteer. Apparently the Hermitcraft server is a big Youtuber server for Minecraft and all this kid wants is to build something on that server.
Adam has contacted those Youtuber on that server and I am hoping that this will go viral from there. I am going to update this group as things develop but this could only happen because of MACE West and the kindness of both tabletop and computer gamers!
Other highlights for me included the folks from Smart Iguana Games demoing Gravity Warfare, gaming with DM Scotty and his family, a damn good game of Star Trek Ascendancy, and the laid back weekend of good gaming for everyone. Thanks to all the GMs that made it special, and those that stepped out to fill various slots that needed to be filled. I only have 3 GMs cancel and those were easily managed because of good 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 Mike Yow for attending and gaming with us. MACE West is one of my favorite events to do every year. 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 2019 as well as MACE 2018 in November!