Final Lap

Things are a bit busy, we missed our chance to mention the Trogdor kickstarter on Friday, but here’s some insight into the workings of this week:

Originally, to encourage the pre-sales we need to run the event, we had advertised to close online ticket sales two weeks before each event. Getting closer to that deadline, we hadn’t seen the usual spike in bookings, so we extended it by one week. Numbers are good by the usual measurements, we’re still a little bit ahead of our normal curve, but we’re twice as far behind it if you consider that new deadline.

The week’s breathing space between online tickets and door sales allows us to do a few things:

  • Download the list of bookings, including how many wristbands each family needs
  • Download the details & images of library games
  • Upload both of these lists to the library system and link them
  • Transfer last-minute ticket money in time to pay for things like printing, and maybe have change for cash sales
  • Print barcoded library cards for each booking, and sort them for collection at the door (with wristbands)

Selling tickets all the way up to the night before worked alright when we were smaller and had a sponsor acting as guarantor (and a certain volunteer providing the float), but we were quickly able to pay our own way ahead of each event as things proved more popular. Now, it’s mostly about the sheer organisation complexity of an accountable public games library, and a little about keeping personal funds away from the risks associated with running any event.

We’ll still be printing spare library cards but the event runs so much smoother without needing to create memberships on the day. It’s simpler for attendees and organisers, so we need to keep working on making early bookings an attractive proposition beyond the 20% earlybird discount.

Basically, we want the dark blue line to jump up before it crashes like a Tron light cycle, and it only has until the “1 Week” marker to do so…

In other news, the various stations of the event have increasing needs for internet access (registration, last-minute seats for certain games, digital announcements, library system) so we spent a few minutes on Saturday hacking together an internal network from various pieces of donated, borrowed or purchased gear. Thanks to Helpful Greg, everything was up and running in no time and should work well for us on the day. For those interested in tech details, we have a prepaid mobile internet stick plugged into a Raspberry Pi which then uses a router to serve secure wifi to our machines across the venue. We’re only spending $10 on data, so we can’t share it further (and had to pause all Windows/Steam updates to survive), but it looks promising after 15mins of typing SUDO EVERYTHING very hard into the command line.

T-Shirts are in transit to our headquarters, should arrive by Wednesday, and all paper printing for cards, lanyards, badges, signage & game collateral can be done next week (once tickets close). We now have an automated process which provides last-minute seats to be printed and posted on the noticeboard when registrations close for each session. If we’re very lucky, we can get a small donated printer running and not need to take a heavy laser with us.

Other than that, we just need to chase up all the little things, table hire, insurance certificates, electrical safety testing and tagging, etc. Volunteer levels are probably tolerable for something just above skeleton levels, so if you or a friend (or both) want to lend us some of your time, we’ll try to make it worth your while. Let us know!

-Matt Horam, Con Org for Ettin Con.

Get your tickets while there’s still time —