2012 BPA Survey Results—Pre-Cons
Jan. 12, 2013

You would think that offering people the opportunity to make their convention stay as long or as short as they please would not be controversial, but we don’t get a pass on that option from everyone.

What You’d Like to See… What You Want Not to Change How I See It…
Limit Length 1: The Pre-Cons should wrap up during the Pre-Con period. One of the reasons I don’t attend them as much as I used to, is that some tend to go on for one or more days during the main convention after Pre-Cons are ostensibly over. I understand that enthusiasts of a particular game or game system want to get in as much time as possible with their favorite game, but there seems to be an over-emphasis on formats that take too long to crown a champ—and Pre-Cons are one of the worst offenders in this area. If you are a GM that can’t wrap up your Pre-con in a couple of days of dedicated play, then maybe your event shouldn’t be a Pre-Con.

See Comments on “Length” above:

Don’t change the Precons 2: The WBC is a commitment. Once you make the commitment to be there you are there for the full deal and you want to get in as much gaming as possible. I’ve come from Australia or Texas to make that commitment… time and expense. Shortening the bang for buck and creating more scheduling conflicts in the process would be a very disappointing outcome. / I like being able to concentrate on one type of game (in my case, 18xx) for a few days before things get hectic.

I’ll admit to not being in favor of events that straddle both the Pre-Con weekend and extend into the regular WBC week for the simple reason that they confuse people. I recall dealing with one disgruntled attendee who couldn’t understand why his WBC badge did not allow him to play during the Pre-Con. “Because you didn’t pay for the Pre-Con and WBC doesn’t start till Monday” didn’t seem to placate him.

The fact of the matter is that Pre-Cons incur extra expenses—and as far as the hotel is concerned—since we don’t sell out the hotel during the Pre-Con, the space we require increases our liability greater than the same space does during the week.

Rotation of Events or eliminate Pre-Cons 3: I always miss a few games I’d like to play because they are forever locked in Pre-Cons. / All games should be available during WBC week.   Eliminating Pre-Cons would increase the number of schedule conflicts which is easily the most common complaint. Rotating events in and out of Pre-Con slots is strictly a matter of GM choice. GMs are free to take their events out of Pre-Con slots. Presumably they don’t do so, because they prefer them where they are—either due to personal preference or a belief that they are more successful as Pre-Cons. The reverse is not true by the way since our Pre-Con space is limited. We would not move shorter games into Pre-Con slots.
Pre-Cons for Failing Events 1: Use the Pre-Cons for games not popular enough to qualify for the Century.   There’s a recipe for failure. Expect events which aren’t popular enough to compete during the week to draw people to a Pre-Con. Don’t think so. The object of Pre-Cons is solely to extend the week to lessen conflcits for events whose length makes them less viable during the week. Lessened competition would not do much for events which aren’t popular enough to draw people on their own.
Pre-Cons as Handicap 1: I would rethink the Pre-Con system, especially for games that can be played in a reasonable amount of time like Hannibal or War of the Ring. These could be much more popular if they were offered during the regular convention.   Actually, it is pretty much proven that the opposite is true. Hannibal for instance has never been more popular than in its Pre-Con slot. The longer games tend to fare worse during the week since their length makes them expensive in terms of other events given up to participate. Exchanging attendance for less competition is a good trade for events that can attract players willing to concentrate on just that event.
Pre-Con as Con 1: Remove the exclusive Pre-Con designation. Many popular events overlap from Mon-Sun. Move some into the Pre-Con weekend and just make the start date for the convention on that Saturday.   Your suggestion officially turns the convention into a nine-day event while many already complain a week is too long. We are already limited in space during the Pre-Con weekend because we cannot sell out the hotel for the early weekend. Weekends are prime time for convention hotels and the Host books that time to other clients. The current Pre-Con format allows us to extend the week for the limited number of people who want that option without burdening the rest of the membership with the passed on cost/liability of booking all that space for nine days IF it were available (it isn’t). This is why we tell people in advance that there is no Open Gaming space available during the Pre-Cons—because there isn’t!
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