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Suggestion Box: TABSCon
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Kozure
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:35 am Post subject: Suggestion Box: TABSCon Reply with quote

Hello fellow TABbies (? - TABSites? TABSters?),

My wife and I were sitting at the fantastically attended March TABSCon waiting for more players for Down in Flames, when she turned to me and said,

"You guys should have some sort of flag or something that you can put up when you're looking for additional players."

I thought this was a fantastic idea and ran it by Dave B. later in the day. Dave B. and the steering committee have apparently already thought of this (always one step ahead, those guys) and have been thinking about options.

He had mentioned easels, which are a great idea (though they can be expensive if you don't get them on sale somewhere), but I thought I'd propose a home-brew solution, which I believe you could probably build a dozen or so for less than $60 in components.

I did up a quick sketch earlier this morning over my morning tea.



You'd need about 150 linear feet of 2" x 2" square strapping wood (or you can substitute thinner members for cost savings at expense of durability), 12 wingnut/bolt combinations, a gross or so of 2-1/2" #6 wood screws, cardstock paper, inkjet ink and lamination for the actual signs.

Now, I'm a big believer in not re-inventing the wheel, so if people have seen cheap, workable versions of this idea at other cons, you can post here and I can chat about it with the organizers.

One minor issue I have with easels is that they're not easily visible across a large room - with 6' (or taller) posts, you could spot them at a glance.

You keep dry erase markers and the game sheets with one of the organizers (the dry erase markers aren't allowed to leave the organizer table) and hand them out with the posts as needed.

I think this would help a lot in attracting new players to underpopulated games without the need for shouted announcements.

I'm willing to purchase and construct these (or something like them, after TABS feedback) for the next con, if I can get full or partial funding from the steering committee. Assembly wouldn't take more than a few hours, less if I could get a volunteer to assist me.

If there's interest, I can go over to Rona sometime in the next week or two and get a proper materials estimate.
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Tim
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:42 am Post subject: Reply with quote

I would skip the sign and go with a plain flag for two reasons:

1) A letter-sized sheet isn't going to be legible across the whole gym, which means you've got to go over and get closer, so you might as well just ask (or look at the table) to find out what's playing

2) You could then use those pre-made flags that are supposed to go on cars to identify them in parking lots. This is probably a cheaper way to go. You could stick them into a wooden/styrofoam base if necessary, and have a whole bunch of them up at the front for people to use temporarily when setting up a game.
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asm_zero
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:10 am Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the sign idea but agree that to be visible it would need to be too big. A simple flag that stood up above the table to indicate that the game needs players and is starting soon would be ideal assuming that people actually approach a table and ask to join it.

This Con I found myself wandering around quite a bit trying to figure out what to play so I suspect it would be something that I'd find useful.

A
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Tailz
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:19 am Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just sounding off as the TABS motorpool (and the only guy with a pickup truck)

Who is going to store/transport these (unless I'm mistaken) 6' markers? Tables, chairs and the assorted logistical tail of the TABScon is not insignificant and currently fills three or four vehicles at the end of the night. Assuming they must be disassembled for transport/storage, it seems a recipe for lost components and pieces.

Less is better. Something with a smaller footprint that sits on a table seems handier and less obstructive (given how often tables and chairs get moved for different games during the day)

my .02

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Kozure
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:58 am Post subject: Reply with quote

OK - anyone have a source on cheap, collapsible, sturdy poles that can be seen at a distance? Tent pole replacements come to mind - the kind with a bungee in the middle that keep them from getting lost. Stick a flag on them... done.

Still need some sort of base, or you'll be knocking them over all of the time.

(those architects... always over-designing things)

Quote:
Less is better. Something with a smaller footprint that sits on a table seems handier and less obstructive (given how often tables and chairs get moved for different games during the day)


In my design's defence, the footprint would be 18" x 18", 8" of which could sit underneath the table it's hawking. The poles would be 6' long, which is less than the tables, there would be 12 of them, and the bases would be small and stackable - with a minor redesign, you could fit them all in a single milk crate.

However, sounds like no support for a sign, so I'll just scale back to a simple flag idea, which is better.

I wonder if you can get cheap bicycle flags like the kind kids used to put on the backs of their bikes, plus some simple clamp.

Actually - I have an idea about a table clamp - the kind that you use with older office lamps that mount on the table edge. Most of them have a 10-12mm hole in them that you could stick a pole with a flag in.

How's that for small footprint? Clamped to the edge of the table.
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Bostich
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:06 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

What would work is lighting stands (like those used for photography) .. they have legs that splay outwards and are telescoping so they have a minimal transport footprint.

They cost money though.
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Tim
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 12:51 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Ultra-simple idea: Get a bunch of balloons and just blow one up and hold it up when you're looking for more players. Multiple players needed == multiple balloons.
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Kozure
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:20 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim wrote:
Ultra-simple idea: Get a bunch of balloons and just blow one up and hold it up when you're looking for more players. Multiple players needed == multiple balloons.


Unless someone in TABS has a special helium-exhaling ability that I'm not aware of, that might get tiring for someone's arm.
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Tim
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:25 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I wonder if there's any way that they could be taped to sticks and taped to the (empty) chairs that were awaiting players.

Still that all runs the risk of getting as complicated as the other plans in the end.
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Warbringer
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:26 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Tailz wrote:
Who is going to store/transport these (unless I'm mistaken) 6' markers?


I would say that who ever wants to host a game supplies thier own Flag. Also on idea is to use a clip (much like what you have on a portable night light or something) that can be attached to the table (chair..) and then atach like a broom stick or something with a small pully and flag. Hmmm. I might see if I can find some around the house stuff that could be used to fashion such a fantastical device.
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Belash
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:13 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

We could go back to using the schedule. Smile

At bgg.con people who wanted more players just stood up with the box and showed how many players they needed with fingers. Seemed to work really well.
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Kozure
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 4:49 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

Belash wrote:
We could go back to using the schedule. Smile

At bgg.con people who wanted more players just stood up with the box and showed how many players they needed with fingers. Seemed to work really well.


Well, I find that I would want to spend time setting up the game and getting organized, rather than just stand there with the box and fingers in the air.

I prefer using the schedule, personally (I'm that kind of guy), but I know there are a lot of people who don't bother with it, and sometimes people don't show, or you've got filler time, or you just need another body to fill out the game.
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bakeliteTM
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:35 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as scheduling goes, I remember going to a con, maybe BGG.con, where they had one of those cubicle divider things that you could stick push pins in. Then players would stick a sheet of paper with the details of their game (time, number of players etc) and people would sign up. That way, arriving players could see at a glance what was happening, without committing to anything a week in advance. The board is constantly in flux as games get started, finish, taken down etc. The beauty is, you don't need anyone to really manage it. You want people, you post your own game.

Seemed like a decent system, but I don't pre-schedule, so I don't know how well it worked.

As far as a visual clue goes, has anyone ever been to that restaurant Carnavale? There's one in Richmond Hill, but it's a chain, so I'm sure there are more. Anyway, they serve a LOT of meat. They walk around with these skewers of different types of meat and come to your table and slice slabs off onto your plate. But the cool part is the system they use. Instead of asking you every time if you want more, there is a wooden circle thing with red on one side and green on the other side. When you want meat you turn it so the green side is up. When you need a break, you turn it so the red side is up. Then you flip it over and the meat comes again. It is ingenious. No speaking required.
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Bostich
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:59 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

At Origins it's the Box-Lid Holding Up method, which works well in a crowded room as you can see it at a distance, and you can see what you're signing up for.
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dcorban
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:47 pm Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing about bggcon and origins is that there are enough players wandering around so anyone who holds up a box lid will fill up pretty quickly. At tabscon you might not even get a glance.
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