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"Fall In AAR 2" Topic


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751 hits since 8 Nov 2017
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KPinder08 Nov 2017 4:21 p.m. PST

Second, the future.

The Host is slated to close for 3 months over the fall/winter and be reopened by Cold Wars 18. (Fingers crossed) When all the upgrades are complete, The Host will be reopened as a Wyndham property. In the long run, what this will mean in terms of room and venue costs remains to be seen. Some kind of increase seems inevitable. We'll have to wait and see.

A number of informational presentations were held to outline HMGS' plans for cons going forward. I didn't attend, but I got the skinny from a friend who did. I would have deferred on this, but it's 3 days on and there's been nothing in here on this, so here goes. What follows should be considered a C+ account.

All three 2018 cons will be at the Host.

Fall In 2019 and 2020 are planned for the Host.

Cold Wars 2019 may be held in Hershey. It's apparently been a venue that was always in the running, but their dates and ours never meshed before.

Historicon 2019 may be in Valley Forge. Despite the casino, there is still apparently enough space to accommodate us.

The Lancaster Convention Center is in consideration for an as yet undetermined show.

Apart from 2018, these plans all seem to be provisional.

Awaiting the corrective deluge…

More to follow…

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 5:38 p.m. PST

Thank you. That's clear and to the point.

civildisobedience08 Nov 2017 7:39 p.m. PST

By way of discussion on that, first let me say, I feel the more recent BODs have made a lot more effort than the crowd that got us stuck in the mud, and nothing I say here should be taken to back away from that.

I just wonder what the point is of having the conventions in three different locations that are all more or less right on top of each other. That does not mean I think we should go off looking for distant venues…I think these are all central PA shows. That's where they've been most of the time, and that's where they seem to do best.

It just feels like we're looking to be able to hit some technicality so we can say they're all in different places, and I'm not sure I see the point of that.

Yes, it sounds boring to have them all in one place, but there are advantages too. Attendees have regular places they like to stay, convention staff can get accustomed to a space, etc.

I suppose I could see having one elsewhere, perhaps to test out a potential new venue (that might one day host them all) or to build a relationship with one other property in case we get hosed by the Host (or whatever site is the regular venue). But beyond that, I just don't see the point of running all over the place in the same neighborhood. Maybe others on here have some different thoughts. I'd be curious to hear.

The Bibliophile08 Nov 2017 8:04 p.m. PST

Didn't HMGS have its origins in the Washington, D.C. metro area? There must be plenty of spaces in that area that could accommodate a gathering of this size.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP08 Nov 2017 9:51 p.m. PST

Could be related to the expected cost increases once the Host becomes a full fledged Wyndham Resort, or having 3 shows in the same location year after year could run into an unexpected disaster.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 3:13 a.m. PST

There are plenty of places in DC that could handle us. At a considerable price increase for the venue and $250 USD per night rooms. There has been a lot of discussion on the HMGS message forum on this topic. The current (and frankly some former) board members have done a lot of work looking at many venues.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 4:58 a.m. PST

…… or having 3 shows in the same location year after year could run into an unexpected disaster.

Or you could read the OP and see that is not happening.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 5:04 a.m. PST

Civil, as usual, hits the nail on the head.

I'm hoping for the Hershey Lodge!

historygamer09 Nov 2017 6:39 a.m. PST

Is the Host becoming a Wyndham or a Wingate hotel? Two very different things.

The DC area is not a likely option due to cost and traffic issues.

I am hearing the BoD is considering how to move one of the cons back South to appease the southerners. I think that is a mistake as the options aren't good (not that I am opposed per se to something south).

This also begs the question if there should be two or three cons. There has always been an element in HMGS that was opposed to a third con. I used to attend all three, but was not happy when they started bouncing FI around either.

The handout from the membership meeting listed four current viable options:

1. The Host
2. The Lancaster Conf center
3. The FEC (though reportedly a new manager jacked up the prices)
4. VFCC

Each has pluses and minuses. They also posted attendance trends too. It showed that Hcon lost attendance again (slight)this past summer. Did it bottom out? Did more people go because it was the last year? Some dealers said they would never go back again regardless, others said it was their best year ever there. Pick your poison. :-(

lanercost200109 Nov 2017 8:25 a.m. PST

Anyone know why the Eisenhower/Gettysburg was ruled out? I'm sure it was considered but I'm just curious as to why it didn't make the cut. I know for our group, our favorite conventions were at the Eisenhower. We come up from Florida at least once a year so a specific geographical location isn't as important.

DeRuyter Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

After the Host gets renovated into a Wyndham going back to the Eisenhower would be like revisiting the old Host! Having stayed there last summer I can tell you it is not in great shape. It is actually two different properties – the newish tall part and the rest.

KPinder09 Nov 2017 3:17 p.m. PST

I confess to having a soft spot for the Gettysburg site too. My friends and I had a ball up there that first Fall In and I've always enjoyed the drive there this time of year.

There are several problems that keep G'burg out of the running.

First, the site is actually 3 separate properties. The Aspire, The Eisenhower and The AllStar. To do a deal for the whole site, which you'd need, you have to negotiate 3 concurrent deals. WAY more complicated than trying to do just one.

While the site has almost 80000 square feet of event space, pretty good, it has only 450 rooms within 1 mile. If you attract 1700 people, some are going to have to stay miles away. The Host site has 1100 rooms within 0.3 miles.

I went up about 3 years ago and found The Eisenhower complex little changed. I had gone there on a whim and blundered into a Civil War gun show. Cue happy dance.

I went up again last year to the AllStar to hand deliver a particularly fragile eBay sale. The Fun Center had degraded some. Most important, their bathrooms, which were always a weak point, had gotten a lot worse.

It's not a primo facility. It's hard to work out a deal, and it's just barely adequate for our needs. If it were a little better, or a little bigger, or a little easier it might still be in the running, but…

TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 3:36 p.m. PST

I just wonder what the point is of having the conventions in three different locations that are all more or less right on top of each other. That does not mean I think we should go off looking for distant venues…I think these are all central PA shows. That's where they've been most of the time, and that's where they seem to do best.

It just feels like we're looking to be able to hit some technicality so we can say they're all in different places, and I'm not sure I see the point of that.

Yes, it sounds boring to have them all in one place, but there are advantages too. Attendees have regular places they like to stay, convention staff can get accustomed to a space, etc.

I suppose I could see having one elsewhere, perhaps to test out a potential new venue (that might one day host them all) or to build a relationship with one other property in case we get hosed by the Host (or whatever site is the regular venue). But beyond that, I just don't see the point of running all over the place in the same neighborhood. Maybe others on here have some different thoughts. I'd be curious to hear.

I think there are two reasons behind having different locations – even if they're close together.

1) All the eggs aren't in one basket. If something happens to the Host we're not scrambling to move all three conventions

2) Maybe a different location will give the conventions a different feel. Maybe I'm wrong on that – we'll just have to see.

Anyone know why the Eisenhower/Gettysburg was ruled out?

I specifically asked about the Eisenhower. All I can say – it's a hot mess. They can sell off the properties seperately and we'd be in a bad position. Since the family has been trying to sell this off, it's a real possibility.

Also, like DeRuyer said, one part is nice while the other parts are a disaster. So unfortunately, the Ike is completely out of the question.

As for Hershey, one of the big sticking points is the cost of the rooms. 189.00 is a bit steep. I know John is really trying to make this happen so let's see where this goes. Either way, I'm all over the Hershey idea!!

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP09 Nov 2017 9:37 p.m. PST

Don't forget, "Hershey", the company, gets a percentage of every hotel/motel room within the town. How that affects bargaining power for lower rates one can only guess.

civildisobedience10 Nov 2017 10:39 a.m. PST

I just feel like there are a lot of operational conveniences, not to mention the bargaining power of negotiating three conventions a year for a stretch of years (to help cushion the blow so many seem to expect when the Host decides it's the Four Seasons).

I appreciate different "feel," but does that really matter that much for one of our cons. For all its problems, FCC was in a different spot. My friends and I took advantage of hitting some civil war spots on the way down. But Hershey, Lancaster, and Valley Forge might as well be in the same spot. So, there are a couple different restaurants and the rooms are in a different layout. Is that really relevant?

It feels like they just feel like they've got to have more than one location, but I'm not sure there's much logic to that. Even the "backup relationship" is pretty much a non-starter. If we end up with an emergency, a property is either available or not. We're not talking about finding a room for a good customer, we're talking about the entire place. Having one of the other cons somewhere isn't any real insurance that we'll be able to switch on short notice for another.

ARMY Strong10 Nov 2017 8:14 p.m. PST

I just don't get it Valley Forge was terrible location, dealer hall small, flea market small and now a Casio to compete with I was hoping this time we elected officials to do the business of the members and not there own personal desires. No one I spoke to wants Valley Forge over Lancaster.

KPinder11 Nov 2017 7:17 a.m. PST

Vagamer63,

I wonder if we could do a deal with Hershey. If each of the people attending agrees to buy 20 pounds of chocolate, we get 15% off our room rate.

That could work out pretty good. Handing out free chocolate at my work could get me employee of the month.

BTCTerrainman Supporting Member of TMP11 Nov 2017 7:22 a.m. PST

I sure hope if we move a show to Valley Forge that the vendor loading/unloading process improves. The tunnel we have to use to load and unload the larger vehicles created a bottleneck and made us wait in line to gain access. The problem was that they funneled all loading/unloading through there rather than having the small cars and vans use the upper level and outside docks/elevators. I recall waiting 20-30 minutes watching a guy pack and repack his car 6-7 times to get everything back in to it. Meanwhile we are waiting to be allowed into the tunnel to pack the trailer (which would have taken us 10 minutes). This really added hours to our travel since we sat in line 1.5+ hours just to get our trailer in the tunnel to load it. So as a vendor I am not looking forward to that mess again.

historygamer11 Nov 2017 8:58 a.m. PST

Not a huge fan of vfcc. I remember judging games and wandering forever through dimly lit catacombs looking for games.

+2 for Bowman's post.

47Ronin11 Nov 2017 1:35 p.m. PST

FYI, the last time HMGS was at Valley Forge, it didn't use many of the ballrooms at the site.

Now that VF has been renovated, the ballrooms are most likely where many of the games will end up should HMGS decide to move a convention there.

The lighting has been improved throughout the facility and there are plenty of rooms for clubs.

The lower level which was used for the Vendor Hall has also seen improvements. Improvements in loading and unloading are often a function of better management of the process by convention staff.

Maybe we'll see.

PJ ONeill11 Nov 2017 2:36 p.m. PST

I very much enjoyed the 2 cons at VF, things were a little dispersed, but I liked the venue.

ViscountEric11 Nov 2017 9:49 p.m. PST

With my bias as a PA resident, Hershey is a borderline commute for me each night, Lancaster is always workable solo or with the family, and so long as I never set foot into the hotel portion of VF again, I should be able to hold back my desire for wanton destruction.

TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP12 Nov 2017 8:00 a.m. PST

Don't forget, "Hershey", the company, gets a percentage of every hotel/motel room within the town.

Figures. I really hope they can swing a convention at Hershey. I think that would be great. Miniature gaming AND chocolate all in one spot?? It's more than I can take.

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