In part one of my TC25 review I wrote a general overview of the convention and what it has to offer. There was a lot going on at the convention that I didn't see or get to. Check out TC's website, join the message board and email list if you want to learn more about the parts I don't mention. It is a good convention all around for anyone who likes table top social gaming. www.totalcon.com
The event was very well organized. The games themselves were great and the venue facility itself is very nice but I think the hotel management really missed some opportunities in the food department.
Steve Parenteau and his staff have done a fantastic job at managing this event. Some of them have been at it for 25 years and have developed into real pros. I had an easy time getting my events I wanted to GM submitted, signing up for games I wanted to play and getting my tickets and badge at the convention. The staff kept things moving and never let the logistics of the con conflict with the game play.
I dungeon mastered a game, so for me, the process started back in the fall. In order to create a schedule, catalog and allow attendees to pre-register for games; the TC staff takes event submissions in September before the con. GM's and event organizers have about two months to submit games for consideration. The process is fairly simple and easy to follow. They have good documentation available on the TC web site.
There was a bit of a delay on getting the online registration going so I opted to send in my registration via mail. The only downside there was that my registration didn't arrive before the online registration was up and running. It wasn't there in time to get a spot in Andre Krupka's legendary Call of Cthulu games so I missed that one. No big deal though because I was able to fill the spot with something cool anyway. On game day, I showed up, gave my name, received an envelop with event tickets, event badge and lanyard and a swag bag and was on my way to my first game in moments. It was very streamlined and well organized.
My only big black mark for the whole event was the hotel's management of their food services. I'm particular about my food but not unreasonable. The food available on site made me sad. I don't eat fast food but McDonald's would have seriously been a step up in quality and service from the schlock being slung at the hotel. Breakfast was passable. It was a buffet with cereal, pastries, fruit, scramble eggs and various meat products masquerading as pork. The hotel had a bit of a lunch counter set up with some overpriced deli-meat sandwiches and sodas. Dinner time in the hotel restaurant was a disaster. There is one real break in the gaming schedule for TC. That is between 5 PM and 7PM. I waited for more than an hour to get a grilled chicken sandwich that finally showed up as I was telling the bar tender that I had to go get ready for my game. I paid my bill choked it down and ran off to my game. The sandwich was lousy. It had been sitting under the heat lamp for a while. Never mind the fact that I had ordered a chef salad. The bartender was sure I ordered a sandwich. I didn't. I'm allergic to gluten so why would I order something with bread on it? None of that the con staff's fault and I lay that on the feet of the hotel management.
The facility was very nice. The hotel rooms were clean and well appointed. I didn't have any problems getting my room reservation, the price was reasonable, check in and check out was no problem at all. The hotel has a heated indoor pool and hot tub with a patio space. There was plenty of space for games. There were plenty of tables, plenty of seating and the gaming spaces were
well lit. The convention staff made good use of the spaces available. Several small meeting rooms were rented and the RPG's were in those spaces. The board games, children's games and miniature games were in a large convention space that hold hold three or four hundred people. There was a small theater with a screen and stage. Some film screenings and panel discussions were held there. The card games, registration and venders all had their own separate rooms. There was plenty of parking and the hotel was easy to access off the highway.
Next time I'll go into more detail about the games I played in.