Gen Con 2015 All Access Program

This year at Gen Con we made some changes to the wildly popular All-Access program that we debuted at the show in 2013. Our goal was to bring it back to a more sustainable long term level while still providing a great value and experience to our players. From the feedback received by myself onsite, and on the message boards over the past few days, we missed that mark with some of you and for that I apologize.

Our goal was to provide a premium gaming experience and while I firmly believe we hit that on some marks, we obviously missed on others. We tried some new things that went over well for some and were viewed as worthless by others. Some valued their great DM’s highly and did not care about additional items while others rated them lower and wanted more ‘stuff’. Others ranked a separated play space with a barrier as the things they valued most and for many the noise of the hall was just too much for any amount of additional perks to overcome. At no point did we intend to deceive, trick, or pull a switch-a-roo. Every year the program has provided different things and the attendees have each valued them in their own fashion. Things change each year on what we can and cannot provide. Many want to know why we could not do this or that, or why something changed. At the end of the day those details do not matter. BMG thought we had a pretty good line-up this year within the framework we had to work in but once again we obviously need to relook at the program from the ground up.

Part of the program has always been the mystery of what you are getting. So players are putting their blind trust that the program is going to be worth it to them. Each year the items were better and better and that is just not a sustainable program. With that in mind I’ve spent most of the past two days brainstorming ways to make it better across the board for all those who choose to put their trust in the program. The one thing that is happened for sure right out of the gate is the mystery part is gone (for any type of event I run going forward). It is not worth it. Each person values their time and resources in their own fashion and should be able to make a 100% informed decision about what they spend their convention time and dollars on. The program will have its own website linked from the event description with all the details on it. Due to the fact I cannot contact those that buy tickets, the website will also contain a mailing list, to allow updates to go to all members if anything were to change. I want to be transparent and communicate as well as we can about exactly what the program is and the player it is aimed at.

Some other ideas we have been kicking around and want your feedback on are:

  • A completely separate room away from our play area for the program (players would move back into main hall for Epic event). Could be in the ICC or attached hotel.
  • More of a concierge type service when checking in (small goodie bag, checking name off list, badge ribbon, name plate to claim your spot at a table, etc.)
  • A custom adventure track for the show (written especially for the program by a handpicked elite author for participants of the program only).
  • Snacks (maybe Pizza Day Saturday even) and water station.
  • Special Guests (maybe have Mearls or Crawford visit and hangout at each table for a while).
  • ?????

We have a lot of other cool ideas from our post show meetings but we also want to hear from you. I have received a lot of feedback already but I want to create a central place for those who want to provide it to do so. The form below drops directly into my inbox. I will be reading all the responses and going over them with my team over the next few weeks to formulate a plan that will hopefully bring this program back to where we want it to be.

David Christ

Baldman Games