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"Lancaster Host- Initial Impressions" Topic

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1,370 hits since 14 Mar 2018
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rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2018 2:20 p.m. PST

Ok, the WiFi is cutting in and out (why not? The rest of the place is too)…so you got the unedited version, typos and all.

One other word of advice…bring an extension cord, or a multi-tap with you. The only electricity between the heads of the beds is a single outlet built into the lamp (there is no alarm clock, nor phone…just a lamp. But it does have a built-in USB port too! NOTE..there is no other outlet in our room along that wall! So if you use CPAP etc… better be the only device you need to plug in! Also, our beds have no blankets or bedspreads.

Here is what the edited version of above turned out…..

They say you can never go home again.

When it comes to this Old Lady, that may never be more true than Cold Wars 2018 you would not recognize home.

Long story short a LOT of the common areas we are all used to are under construction. Long gone is the lower entry to the Lampeter Room (tourneys and the (no longer home) flea market. Yes, the FM is in the Show Room! Rejoice! You know, up those 13 or so stairs. Bad backs and carts with stuff to sell? Oh no!

But don't despair. The Show Room is supported by a freight elevator (comes in at the back/top of the show room. Of course, to get onto the elevator, you have to access it in?/rear? of the KITCHEN. How you get THERE, and where you stage your car etc is not clear to me…..yet. My understanding is the hotel staff will man the elevator. I am looking forward to observing the first test run….the late Friday night FM. I'm on deck for Saturday AM.

Gone are the days of parking by the east doors and rolling in, (relatively same elevation)…..I can't wait to see how the bottleneck of 50-70? FM sellers with all their product and moving gear, queuing up and vying to cram into an elevator….be taken up, offloading….and rinse, repeat.

Honestly, this should have been explained to convention goers/FM sellers before getting here. To be honest, I would NOT have reserved a table (due to physical restrictions). Now I m here……ugh. With stuff from a friend to sell. Double ugh.

On the plus side,the room, as promised, is complete…well mostly. Carpet, wall treatment, furnishings are indeed new. So is the off-gassing of (probably) adhesives. Seriously, if you have an issue of tolerating these hydro-carbons, beware…other sit back and get? high?. Note, though the rooms are markedly improved, the effect is marred by sloppy fit and finish. But given what we are coming FROM, I'll say no more.

The registration area is no more. It's actually down by a new entrance on the north side of the Lampeter room, really at the bottom of the steps of the tournament area….
I honestly feel for the staff. I doubt they were totally nor accurately apprised of this moving, morphing facility situation. They will be "Improvising, Adapting and hopefully, overcoming this weekend" say a prayer for the staff.

Really, we should have a British army band play "The World Turned Upside Down" to greet attendees.

Also, Yes, the shlep to our room included stairs, bad back and all with luggage, carts, gaming gear etc. Really wish they had bellhops. I do tip well.

Indoor pool looked like it was being covered up.

If TMP had an actually easy way to load pictures, I'd include. But they don't, so I won't. Get spoiled by social media uploading ease.

Also, the internet is not working in our room. So I don't know when I'll be able to post it.

Room has mini-fridge. It wasn't plugged in, but that was easily rectified. New lamps, desk, etc furniture look spiffy.

Haven't hit the game rooms yet….just an early walk-in impression.

TSD10115 Mar 2018 3:55 p.m. PST

Disheartening, glad I decided not to run a game or get a flea market table this convention.

Ember52 Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2018 4:15 p.m. PST

Think I'll schlep up the stairs for the FM rather than wandering about for the freight elevator. Agree with TSD's thoughts, though I already booked a table…and I'm bringing somebody else's stuff to sell, too….double ugh. If this set-up is in play for further cons, time to take a break from Wally's.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2018 5:33 p.m. PST

More inputs…..

So our blanketless and bedspreadless beds were indeed supposed to be so adorned. I requested same in person. 4 hours later. Nada. Second trip…they are on the way. So is Godot.

PRO Convention Registration was a breeze with four walk-up terminals (for pre-registrants only)….type in your last name…enter first initial…..voila, a look up table presents your name(s)? Pick one…and voila in less time to type this description, your name tag,along with a tag for every event your registered for, flea market if applicable…print out. Get a badge holder, along with some convention swag.

CON no security on proof of ID. Anyone could walk up, and if they knew you were attending, enter your name and get your badge. I presume if one had already secured their badge, it would not allow a second. I had heard the PIN # on your pre-registration invoice/confirmation was to be used. But it wasn't necessary (possibly because I doubt few would have it readily accessible, not knowing it would be required).

Ok, the pool is covered with temporary decking to hold the materials and equipment for all new tile deck around the pool. So, probably this summer there should be an all new outdoor and indoor pool. Workers are grouting, sealing as I type.

My money is on Godot.

Also, no phone (to call the front desk like for blankets)….no alarm clock….not too big a deal, but sure would be nice to have more than a single plug-in outlet by the beds.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Mar 2018 5:37 p.m. PST

We have a phone that doesn't work :) An alarm clock that does work. We had blankets and a bedspread but no pillows. We requested them and got then in short order. So far, pretty good.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP15 Mar 2018 6:33 p.m. PST

So, still no bedding. Of course with no phone = no calling front desk.

So, found the desk # on the Internet (not the 800 reservation number).

Call, get same bs…..we are coming.

But the desk manager had handed a slip with two tasks to a house keeping person. One was to deliver clothes hangers to room 5 something. The other our bedding.

More than 1 hour later…

Yes, we have no hangers either.

The person at the desk could not understand the room number I was saying to her. So I bet nothing shows up.

Oy vey.

As Napoleon said?…."from the sublime to the ridiculous is but one step"……I like….."fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP Inactive Member16 Mar 2018 10:50 a.m. PST

Perhaps (once again) this is their way of saying "We don't want your type and your show here anymore…"????

They seemed to give off that impression with the whole Cat Show thing a couple of years ago.

Ember52 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2018 9:39 p.m. PST

First impressions (room):

- Room is great (appearance and functionality) with a few whoops areas.
- Flat screen tv works fine.
- Room has a frig (apparently not in all rooms), so new that the owners manual was still inside.
- One outlet and USB port in lamp on nightable. Ditto on the desk across the room. For folks with multiple devices or multiple roommates, a power strip would be good.
- Wi-Fi available but spotty.
- We do have a working clock.
- We have a decorative phone, not connected to anything. (Should work a charm as an improvised HTH weapon in the Amish zombie apocalypse.)
- We have no trash cans or clothes hangers. We do have a full complement of sheets, blankets, and towels -- all clean and un-burned. We'll put that in the win column.

All in all, work still to do, but trending up.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Mar 2018 5:57 a.m. PST

I could be wrong about this, but as I understand it, the hotel opened to host CW and will shut down as soon as the last guest leaves in order to ramp up the renovations.

They are in the middle of a massive renovation, which is very tricky when you are trying to run a business around it, they are doing the best they can under the circumstances.

As far as the changes to the layout, registration being in a different spot, the flea market being upstairs, the dealer hall layout being different, the parking arrangement being a bit up in the air; when you renovate, changes will be made or else what is the point of renovating?

From my perspective, so far so good, Friday was VERY good in the dealer hall, today an hour in is as well………………embrace the change, don't fight it, you cannot worry about things you cannot control.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2018 12:03 p.m. PST

GG, not worrying about anything just giving those not here a situation report as WE (our group) is experiencing things. By the way, the biggest impact I see is the reduced parking spaces all around the hotel due to staging of construction materials and equipment.

Quite a reduction. May not affect you if you don't require handicap parking. There isn't any (marked) around the dealer hall. The north wall used to be the site for Handicap parking in the past. At FI! 2017, they had a couple marked spots at the west end of the building…those are gone for now.

Be interesting to see how they design parking and access to the old tennis barn when they start hosting wedding banquets et al, with guest parking.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 2:52 p.m. PST

Just home myself. Good convention thanks to the flea market and the game masters. Dealers were a disappointment, but the Board has limited influence there.

I had an old room, still quite functional and probably a grade up from what I'd rent for myself on a road trip. Nothing but help and courtesy from the Host staff, but that's a given. I enjoyed the flea market as buyer and seller. Location was less than optimum, but it you worked it right, there were ramps all the way to and from the elevator.

All things considered, I'd like to rescind any carping at Heather and the rest of the CW staff for this convention. Given the amount of disruption, they did a great job just to hold it, let alone hold it without any doubling-up of locations or unscheduled moves.

[Heather, this is good ONLY for CW 2018. It does NOT give you a free pass to dump the flea market in a dark corner after the dealers close next year.]

As for the Host--well, rmcaras, you can either complain that they never replace worn-out carpet, or you can complain about the smell of mastic every so many years, but those really are the choices. And I've done some commercial remodeling. You really don't know what you're getting into.

Those things said, things like the restaurant which were already shut down for Fall In, ought to have been up and running for Cold Wars, and they weren't. Lots of things started and not much finished. And when I talked to the Host people about Historicon, I heard "hopefully" far too often.

I hope they get a contract for next Cold Wars. I'm a little miffed at the Board that we're a year out and don't have a contract with SOMEONE for March 2019, but if we don't see completed work at Historicon and Fall In, it really will be time to look for a new home down the road. Patience is only a virtue if it pays off in the long run.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2018 4:51 p.m. PST

Got back home Sunday afternoon from the war. We got one of the older, not yet finished rooms which was quite satisfactory--it had hot water, working heat _and_ airconditioning--all of which had been issues with rooms we had gotten previous years.
A problem I and a few others encountered was errors of omission in the program book--Games were described with locations like "S1" and "HG5"; luckily we guessed right and showed up at Strasburg and Heritage Rooms.

An ongoing issue Mrs. Carp and I have been encountering as her mobility issues with stairs has worsened, has been a paucity of signs and indicators where the Accessibility ramps, chair lifts, and other aids to the disabled are available or located. The event staff would do much good work to work with the Hotel Management to post signs and print up directions to to the wheelchair lifts and freight elevators that would enable chairbound and less-mobile attendees to share in the enjoyment the rest of us able-legged gamers are there for. In a similar vein, gamemasters who were assigned to the Heritage Rooms and the flea-market customers and vendors at Wally's Basement (or this year, "Wally's Over-the-Garage") would have been greatly helped by a flyer or info/map sheet directing them to any ways easier than dragging or hand-carrying numerous boxes of materiel up and down several flights of stairs.
Again, this seems to be not a monumental roadblock to a better convention, but a mere lack of helpful roadmaps and shared info.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 5:53 a.m. PST

I'm a little miffed at the Board that we're a year out and don't have a contract with SOMEONE for March 2019, but if we don't see completed work at Historicon and Fall In, it really will be time to look for a new home down the road. Patience is only a virtue if it pays off in the long run.

I think you answered your concern with your last sentence. Let the BOD do some negotiating. Patience.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member19 Mar 2018 6:17 a.m. PST

Thank you all so far for your interpretations. I know this is a cop out, but I'll post my blog link when I get my AAR done.

What I have seen so far is that everyone saw the same thing but from a little different perspective based upon their own expectations. Thank you for the kind words where the were and also for the harsh ones… without knowledge of what goes wrong or how folks feel… how could we ever improve things?

There were a lot of changes that's for sure and a lot of inconveniences to be sure, but pretty much all of the inconveniences were beyond HMGS's control.

The CD did a great job for the first run out I thought, better than me at least on my first.

I'll add in.. as for numbers, we don't know anything really yet, there were decent for sure, but I know they didn't pull anything out yet.

Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Mar 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

rmcaras -

"CON no security on proof of ID. Anyone could walk up, and if they knew you were attending, enter your name and get your badge. I presume if one had already secured their badge, it would not allow a second. I had heard the PIN # on your pre-registration invoice/confirmation was to be used. But it wasn't necessary (possibly because I doubt few would have it readily accessible, not knowing it would be required)."

As I understand it, the CD and BOD decided that the new registration process first time out had to be as easy as possible so the security check was not implemented as no one knew of the change. I was told that they have a protocol in place for Historicon and on to check IDs for the badges.

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