Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What's New in 2014

We’ve added and adjusted a number of things this year based on feedback we received last year. A few of the changes we’ve made include:

  • Expanded hours! Last year’s event was 7:30 to 2:00 am because the space was unavailable before 7:30. This year, the event will run from 5:00 pm to 2:00 am. 9 hours of gaming!

  • More space! Last year, a private group reserved one of the conference rooms (the nicest of them, in fact) for a dinner before we asked for it, and that space was unavailable for use for much of the night. This year, we’ve taken over the entire 76th floor.  More space, more people, more game!

  • The pacing of the dinner for the VIP’s. The Columbia Tower Club didn’t quite understand that our VIP’s just wanted to eat their meal, have it cleared, and then put games back on the table and, as a result, the VIP dinner took almost 90 minutes last year.  We’re working with the host manager of the tower club as well as the executive chef to ensure the pacing of the meal is greatly improved so there aren’t 30 minute wait periods between courses and the food offerings are conducive to a still-elegant meal, but by which the courses can be served without long down-times.

  • Streamlined prize Drawing! Due to overwhelming support from the game companies, local restaurants and entertainment venues and the sheer volume of prizes, the prize drawing took over 90 minutes last year, which took away from gaming time. This year, we are streamlining the drawing process to include a system by which you can check your tickets on screens to see what you’ve won, and approach dedicated volunteers working the prize booth to redeem your prize at your leisure once the drawing has been conducted. This will eliminate the need to announce each individual game, then a ticket number, then wait for everyone to check and see who won, snake their way through the crowd to claim their prize, etc. Gaming will not be interrupted for the drawing this year.

  • Looking for game/group system:  Something we heard last year was it was difficult for people looking for a game to join to find a group looking for players amongst all the tables - and that it was hard for tables looking for players to identify people who were looking for a game to join amongst everybody walking around.  Tabletop is about building friendships, and we’re here to facilitate.  This year we’re implementing a balloon Looking for group/game system at all tables.  Are you a player short and want to see if someone new will ever possibly trade you wood for sheep?  Raise your balloon up high and see who comes by to play.  Feeling aggressive and wanting to stomp some zombies, but forgot to bring 3 friends?  Look for a balloon up in the air - those people are looking for someone just like you.

  • Improved meals! Feedback for the dinner offering last year was quite positive, but let’s be honest: It was a bit of a starch and carb bomb fest. This time, we’re working directly with the club’s executive chef to ensure the meal will be more balanced this year, as well as to ensure there are options for our vegetarian and gluten-free attendees. Our VIP menus will also be changed up this year, still including creative and daring options for foodies that chef Tyler is known for, but also including more traditional choices for our meat and potatoes guests.

  • New pop-up store! Some feedback we got last year was our vendor for the pop-up store was not price-competitive and the selection was thin. We’ve brought in The Dreaming Comics and Games this year. Aron’s prices are highly competitive, and he has a massive selection of games for sale, as well as a much-expanded lending library vs. last year. Aron has also generously included purchase vouchers to be used at the pop-up or his physical store with certain tiers of event tickets for sale. More on the vouchers is below.

  • Ticket pricing: So last year we were actually selling each ticket at a not-insignificant loss vs. what the actual cost was per person, shouldering the price difference expense personally out of pocket, and then relied entirely upon donations at the door and prize drawing proceeds to create the final donation to Food Lifeline. And this year we’ve added a number of improvements, which come with additional expense. We’ve feathered up the price of admission slightly this year to reflect a more cost-neutral cost of admission for tier 1 purchasers. We’ve also implemented a graduating ticket price schedule. Early bird and Tier 1 tickets will be available until July 31st or until the respective tiers sell out. Tier 2 tickets will be available until August 15th, and tier 3 pricing will be in effect from that point until the event completely sells out. Quite simply: Buy early and before others, pay less. We’ve also got 2 price points within each tier – one with The Dreaming’s sales voucher, and one without.

There you have it – an event where the hosts ACTUALLY listen to you and enact your wishes! Last year’s event was a huge hit, this year’s will be even better! We will see you on August 28th!

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