Monday, June 6, 2022

NEWGame 2022, Post #1


Well, this blog lasted all of two posts before succumbing to a typical blog fate: abandonment. No promises, but I hope to write a few more than two posts this year!

Speaking of this year:

We are gearing up for NEWGame 2022! This year we'll once again be in the Culver Family Welcome Center near the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus and we look forward to seeing you all!

My aim here is to give you all some insight into the nitty gritty of planning a function such as NEWGame. There are several people involved in making NEWGame happen and several people who helped us get to where we are now.


Friday, November 30, 2018

NEWGame 2018 Post Convention Survey

Thanks to everyone who filled out our survey! We sent a total of 109 invitations and received 43 responses, a response rate of almost 40%!

We glean tons of great information from these surveys and I'd like to share the results with you and respond to a few items. Sometimes we have to do things on the administrative side as organizers that may not always make sense to attendees. Hopefully this will help explain some of our decisions.

I also like discussing survey results as it shows that your responses ARE in fact being read and that, when appropriate, action is being taken based on feedback.

~~Warning: This post is LONG ~~

On to the survey results:

Question #1: How many years have you attended NEWGame?

This question resulted in a good mix of attendees who have come for several years and those who are new to the convention. We look forward to continued growth!

Question #2: What activities did you participate in this year (2018)?

This question gives us a good gauge on which events are popular and which events need a bit of promotion or, perhaps, could be dropped. As space is a premium we want to ensure that we are utilizing space effectively. 

As we originally conceived NEWGame as a board game convention it is no surprise to see that as the #1 activity here, along with Open Gaming. The Silent Auction has been growing in popularity every year since it was first introduced and the organization team was quite pleased at the quality and quantity of games in the Silent Auction.

A few items showed up much lower than we had hoped. For example, Artemis Starship Bridge Simulator had its lowest usage this year. RPGs show up low in the stats but this was our first year at making a push towards RPGs and honestly, they were added quite late in the process

Question #3: How many scheduled games (listed in the program) did you play?
0: 7
1-2: 13
3-4: 11
5-6: 9
6 +: 3

Question #4: How many open gaming / pick up games did you play?
0: 6
1-2: 14
3-4: 10
5-6: 6
6 +: 7

These two questions are supposed to help us determine the viability of scheduled games vs. open gaming / pick up games. That is, which is more popular or in demand. However, they are almost mirrors of one another which tells us that both scheduled and open gaming is in demand and something we should definitely continue!

Now we get to the good stuff! The opened ended / free response questions are my favorites. They always cause a bit of anxiety for me because, you know, what if everyone hated the con!

Question #5: What is your favorite thing about NEWGame? 

  • I like that it focuses on tabletop gaming.
  • Visiting with gamer friends and making new ones.
  • Scheduled games that you can sign up for ahead of time.
  • Friendly. Welcoming. Like to try new games.
  • Its proximity to my domicile, and the jerks who run the convention.
  • New location at UW Student Union 
  • Met a good group of roleplayers
  • It is great con to play the older and newer games. The staff are friendly and knowledgable about event. The fellow gamers are friendly and nice to game with. 
  • Play to win 
  • Nice combination of scheduled games and open gaming. 
  • the food court and the rpgs 
  • Very much appreciate the new location. 
  • Close to home, cheap compared to other cons. This year happy adventures league was there 
  • It's local, friendly, and well-run 
  • Play to win was awesome, but I loved having the developers of Knock Knock to play with 
  • Close location, meeting new gamers and playing new games. 
  • Scheduled Gaming 
  • Playing different games with my friends. The Escape Rooms are also fun. 
  • The game masters were extremely helpful and inviting. 
  • The Silent Auction. I like being able to sell games in the auction, and then turn around and use the money to pay for the games I win in the Silent Auction! 
  • Good game selection while not being too big. It’s location to Appleton is also a plus 
  • The people 
  • Gamemastering 
  • Playing new games n hanging out with the cool people. Really loved the new location this year. Also really enjoy the Escape Room. 
  • Location 
  • I enjoy getting together with people I've never met and old friends for a weekend of gaming not far from home. 
  • Very pleasant atmosphere. Everyone was having fun and enjoying themselves. Didn't witness any "gamer rage" or power gamers. 
  • Conveniently close to home. :) I like the silent auction. 
  • Escape room 
  • Play to wins and silent auction. 
  • Play and win 
  • local to me 
  • Heath 
  • Meeting people 
  • Location was great, game library was good 
  • There is just enough going on, and if not there's always the library to borrow from. 
  • It is very well organized for a smaller convention by a nice, friendly staff 
  • The small convention feel (i.e. not overwhelming, very friendly and helpful, and not trying to bankrupt you) that still has a ton to do and lots of memories made 
  • The people, and the fun atmosphere 
  • Auction
Lots of great stuff here! This makes us very happy to see. The words friends, friendly, people and fun show up quite often. That's exactly what we are aiming for each year! Thank you all for the kind words on this question. :-)

Question #6: What would you like to see done differently?

  • No opinion at this time.
  • nothing at the moment
  • Larger area for Friday.
  • ?
  • Larger space on Friday, apparently!
  • N/A 
  • Nothing 
  • Not have it scheduled Halloween weekend. I'm also not sure the new location was an improvement over last years. 
  • NA 
  • Don't have any thoughts on this. 
  • Nothing really, happy with the change of venue 
  • It would be awesome if the game library had more of the Milcog library in it. 
  • More open gaming tables 
  • More publisher vendors 
  • The Artemis didn't look as engaging as the one at Fire and Ice. Most of the tables were reserved for events. Wish there were more tables for open gaming. Friday felt like the before con party. It felt like the con didn't start until Sat. 
  • The sign up took online 
  • The open gaming. Most open games were played by groups that already knew each other. If you are there by yourself, it is difficult to get into a game. 
  • More game options and more tables for Friday night. 
  • Tables need a better labeling system. 
  • Signing up for games was kind of good n bad. I think it’s important to have some type of book or place to sign in. 
  • I was satisfied 
  • I would like to see more tables for open gaming on Friday and Saturday. 
  • The online games catalog I wish would state if character sheets would be provided or if the DMs would have characters to use for RPGs. 
  • IDK. Nothing at this time. 
  • Friday night, more options 
  • Only having Chimura as the vendor was a bit off putting. I'm not usually a big fan of what they have to offer. 
  • Better sized tables 
  • I did not enjoy playing in the Friday evening space. Too cramped. 
  • ... 
  • Central place to see which games are full and which are still looking for players 
  • Friday night was a bit of a disaster - I would have skipped that had I known. The rest of the weekend was fantastic. 
  • Signup sheets at tables where games are being demoed. Several of the games I ran were not full with preregs, but I had numerous people stop by during demos asking if they could get in. A signup sheet would have been very helpful for those not preregistered 
  • I liked the idea of the larger physical game out in the hall (the moose crossing?) with that and the escape room I'd like to see more of that kind of game. 
  • Before the con starts, have a forum of games people want to play. Then people will have a better idea of what to host or game master 

Thank you all for the constructive feedback! These are areas that we will be targeting for next year and there are clearly some areas which we need to address to make the NEWGame experience even better. I will not be able to address all of them, but I should be able to respond to quite a few here:

  1.  Friday night. Yes, Friday night ended up being quite chaotic. Thank god Reeve didn't make us pay for the extra rooms that we took over and used. We did not expect attendance to be so high on Friday. We were unable to secure the room until 3pm as the entire facility had other groups during the day. Looking back at previous years and counting how many attended on Friday we thought the room would be okay.  Additionally, we thought the later start time would result in less attendance.
  2. Friday night, part 2: At one point we debated dropping Friday entirely because we were not able to begin until 3pm and because, we wondered if, IF, attendance went up because of the new online registration system, would the room be large enough? In the end we decided to risk it and worry about over attendance instead of only having a handful of people and being on the hook for a room reservation that didn't pay for itself.
  3. Friday, part 3: One piece that doesn't get talked about a lot is the cost of running a convention. Renting a facility can be quite expensive. Because Friday night was originally added during the Gruenhagen years (more to come on that in a separate post - probably a history post), we wanted to keep Friday night as an option for this year and have it serve as an opportunity for people to casually relax and catch up with friends. Moving to Reeve was quite pricey for us. So, in order to keep costs down we only wanted to risk a single room for Friday night.  BUT - We've learned a LOT from the Friday night experience! Thank you all for being so understanding!
  4. Open Gaming Tables: Yes, we agree that open gaming tables suffered. I chalk this up to the new online registration system and my (Jim's) reluctance to reject any game that was submitted via the online system. I didn't want to be the sole arbiter and tell people "no." After all, the online system is meant to encourage game submissions. Apparently it worked a bit too well. We've already agreed as a group that there will be tables set aside for Open Gaming next year and game submissions will need to be limited to a set number of tables. This means that some submissions will have to be changed if times do not work or, unfortunately, possibly turned down.
  5. Table labeling system. The tried and true stick a piece of paper on the table could be revised. If you have any ideas please contact us!
  6. More Vendors / Publishers: We would LOVE to have additional vendors. We reach out to many, many vendors and ask them to participate. If they are busy or unable to find staff then they can't make it. We will continue to pursue more options here! When you are in a store or talking to someone who may make a good vendor, feel free to mention NEWGame and that you'd like to see them at the convention.
  7. On-site sign up sheet: This is a great suggestion. We debated many options prior to the convention and had agreed a sign up book would be a good idea. However, we weren't sure how to communicate this with game masters or players as this was discussed just prior to the convention. Also, we didn't want to introduce yet another change and wanted to see how the worked out, since you could sign up on there if you had pre-registered. An on site book would need to be synced with the online registration system, somehow, to show who already signed up. We will figure out a solution to this and have a sign up system in place for next year.
  8.  Pre-Con forum: This is another great suggestion and one we've wrestled with in the past. As gamemasters ourselves, we wonder when we list a game, "will anyone want to play this?" We did post on Facebook a "what games do you want to play?" question, though that may not be the best avenue for this topic. A dedicated forum may also be difficult to do as people may not want to register for yet another website and, looking at other local conventions, there isn't a lot of traffic on those forums. Perhaps an open Google sheet would be handy - something posted on with a link to the sign up / request sheet would work. We will try to figure this one out!
  9. Halloween weekend: Yup, we agree with this one too! We were limited in our choices on which weekend would work. Two things occur in October that we do not want to overlap. 1) UW Oshkosh Homecoming and 2) fall pub-crawl. Homecoming makes the campus very busy and some venues are not available to us. The pub-crawl is a no-go as the parking lots on campus are closed to non-UWO students and employees, so that's a non starter. Halloween weekend was not our first choice, believe me! 
I know I didn't respond to everything listed, but I hope this helps! We really appreciate the feedback and we will be making tweaks for the next NEWGame!

Question #7: How would you rate Reeve Memorial Union as a facility for game conventions?
Very High Quality: 20
High Quality: 23
Neither: 0
Low Quality: 0
Very Low Quality: 0

Question #8: Why did you rate Reeve the way you did?

  • clean, well lit, reasonable space
  • thats how I feel
  • Felt much nicer compared to the old location, with the food court nearby as well. Much larger gaming area and all on one floor.
  • Plenty of room. Plenty of tables.
  • Food downstairs, nice big space, easy to section off, really felt great overall.
  • Large open space for convention, access to food/drinks 
  • The food court was nice 
  • Larger space with everything in one area. Food available on site. 
  • Nice to have most everything in one room. Would have been nice to have that setup in place for Friday. 
  • It was a nice facility - at least the parts of it I saw. 
  • you did not have to leave to get food and things were close together 
  • More room, better food options. 
  • Nice cafeteria and lay out 
  • It's a comfortable facility. It would be great if there were more tables available on Friday night. 
  • It’s a great space for all the activities 
  • Good food in union is helpful 
  • Space, facilities, parking, proximity to Gruenhagen 
  • Open, clean areas. Food options were good. Wish parking was available on Friday. 
  • Area was accessible, food was near by, and area was clean. Could use a bit more parking 
  • Lots of room for all of the events, nearby bathrooms, nearby parking, and an actual cafeteria just one floor below. You never had to leave the building except at closing time. 
  • Convenient distance to food, clean, and file like we have room to expand 
  • Large space, easy access to food. 
  • Ballroom was nice. Having the food court was very convenient. Parking was not too difficult. 
  • Food available close by n a lot more room. Plus almost everything was together. 
  • Food and easy access 
  • The larger space was needed. If I had to nitpick, I would say that carrying heavy bags of games upstairs wasn't ideal. 
  • Clean facility. Seemed like plenty of space for the amount of people attending. Dining options available on site. 
  • Clean, excellent access, plenty of room. 
  • Reeve was quite nice especially witthe cafeteria having decent food options so I didn't have to go far. Only thing that felt a little different was since most things were in 1 room it felt a little off (did not do rpg). 
  • It was large and had everything we needed and having the food court near by was great 
  • The Saturday/Sunday main space (ballroom?) was great for this event and I thought it was a modern and appealing facility. 
  • Convention in one room good. Lack of parking not the best, but doable. 
  • Very good space, most of the tables were too small 
  • New facility, enough room at tables, nice to have food in the building 
  • It's really nice having food available w/o leaving the building. There was plenty of space in the ballroom. 
  • Nice, clean, open space for the convention. Food choices were not optimal, and a hard shut down time of 10pm is a bit early for gaming. 
  • Everything about it was easy and well laid out. Highly recommended. 
  • Great facility, very accommodating, nice (and a little dangerous) to have food that close 
  • I liked that everything was in one place and food was connected to the building we were in. 

Wow - just -- wow! We've been wanting to move to Reeve or the Alumni Center for years. This makes us very happy! We loved having the convention in Reeve as we felt having everyone in a single, large room would make the experience much more pleasant. The food court on the 1st floor was an added bonus. Parking was about the only negative but that was a necessary trade off. The closing time was a bit of a bummer, we agree with that.

Question #9:  Do you plan to attend in the future?
Yes: 41
No: 0
Maybe: 2

Thank you all! For the two maybes, I would be interested in knowing what would move you to Yes!

Question #10: Do you have any other comments or suggestions?

  • Nope.
  • Great job to the whole staff for another great gaming weekend. see ya next year.
  • Nope
  • Cap'n Brett is so dreamy!
  • I enjoy the dorm room option for overnight stay. The floor, however, was very hot (85+ degrees) most of the time we were there. We had 4 rooms total...2 of the rooms you couldn't even open the window. The AC units had warnings not to use if the outside temp was below a certain temp. which it was for the convention. We were told that they could not control the temp. 
  • I liked the on-line registration and ability to sign-up for games ahead of time. 
  • Not really. 
  • Really happy with tabletop events, that was the huge difference in comparing this con to fire and ice. We didn't get into any games we wanted at fire and ice. It's nice to somewhat have a schedule of what to expect versus show up and hope you can play something you might like. 
  • I'm really happy you've switched to online registration! 
  • No 
  • Love the addition of and the new location! Keep up the awesome work! 
  • The room for Friday open gaming felt very cramped. 
  • Seemed like there were very few vendors this year. Maybe have the vendors out in the hallway leading into the main hall so people walk by them instead of having to go to the back of the room. 
  • I would like to see more miniature games in the future if possible. 
  • A whiteboard for pickup games during the weekend, to announce pickup games (time-game-table) 
  • Keep up the good work. 
  • Keep doing what you're doing! 
  • Heath 
  • No 
  • All in all, NEWGame is a great convention! I like the work you all are doing and Oshkosh is lucky to have such a fine local convention! 
  • Great job, this is my favorite con! 
  • Good time, good folks 
  • As I said above, have a forum of games people want to play before people sign up to be game masters
This is a welcome set of comments! It seems that NEWGame is in a good place now. Thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond to the survey.

I hope you found this to be insightful. I know that we can't be everything to everyone all the time. We do what we can, though, to provide an excellent gaming environment and experience!

- Jim

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The NEWGame Blog!

Hi everyone!  Welcome to the NEWGameapalooza Blog!

We've got a facebook page, but not all of our attendees are on facebook. We have email addresses for most attendees, but not everyone wants to give out their email address. But I'm guessing almost everyone has Internet access. So here now, is the NEWGameapalooza Blog!

At the NEWGame blog we hope to keep you updated on all things NEWGame!

NEWGame 2022, Post #1

 Hello! Well, this blog lasted all of two posts before succumbing to a typical blog fate: abandonment. No promises, but I hope to write a fe...