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"Fall in and the Host" Topic


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EJNashIII07 Oct 2018 4:05 a.m. PST

I was just at Lancaster Host for Travellercon. Great fun playing my favorite sci-fi game. However, what I saw scares me for Fall-in. 1 month out and we have a choice of a life-size zombie apocalypse or Stalingrad scenario to play in. The conditions were horrible, to say the least. The building looked to be a code failing death trap. Unless they work really fast I can't see a convention the size of Fall-in even being possible. This shall be interesting.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 4:31 a.m. PST

Wow, has another year gone around already? Nice to see old friends popping up again wink

TRUgamer07 Oct 2018 4:56 a.m. PST

"The conditions were horrible, to say the least. The building looked to be a code failing death trap."

Here we go again…

TRU

peterx Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 5:39 a.m. PST

We wargamers are a hardy lot. Just don't eat the food there.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 5:58 a.m. PST

What, exactly, were the deficiencies, in your opinion?

Given we were there in July for Historicon (usually THE largest of the three HMGS conventions).

And the Host was still undergoing renovation.

I question whether new elevator would be operational, but I suspect ALL the rooms would be upgraded.

So, what's the story?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 6:57 a.m. PST

EJ, can you give us some perspective? Were you there for Historicon? And if so, what's wrong now that wasn't wrong then?

It is interesting that 20+ years of neglect and merely cosmetic repairs didn't cause as much disruption--or give rise to as many complaints--as giving the place a serious overhaul.

Actually, Peterx, I have some hope for the food. I saw the kitchen at Historicon, which was nothing but four bare walls, and the kitchen staff swore blind they'd be up and running by November--which it needs to be from their point of view: not serving meals means leaving money on the table from the Host's point of view.

But if not, there's an Applebee's, an IHOP, a steakhouse and a cafeteria all in easy walking distance, and somebody's even working to fix the Arby's. If I go to next year's Historicon, I'll pay more for food and fare worse.

Rooms, though. I've made every convention since the renovation started, and not the least hint of an upgraded room. It could happen this time, I suppose. But I bet the dice as they roll.

Dynaman878907 Oct 2018 7:02 a.m. PST

I haven't died there yet.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 11:11 a.m. PST

"I haven't died there yet."

Key word being yet.

TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 11:18 a.m. PST

I dunno…. we've been waiting all these years but as of yet…. no deaths.

TheKing30 Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

But if not, there's an Applebee's, an IHOP, a steakhouse and a cafeteria all in easy walking distance, and somebody's even working to fix the Arby's. If I go to next year's Historicon, I'll pay more for food and fare worse

Theres also a Longhorn Steakhouse that just opened up next to the new Tru hotel. I can't wait to try that place!

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 12:44 p.m. PST

"Theres also a Longhorn Steakhouse that just opened up next to the new Tru hotel. I can't wait to try that place!"


Right there with you, they cook a pretty tasty ribeye, plus their baked potato soup is nothing to sneeze at either.

I don't go to the conventions for the money, I go for the food……………..

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 2:11 p.m. PST

I knew about the Longhorn, and as a chain I think well of them, but I worry about the line on a convention weekend.

That's another reason I'm seriously miffed over the Host's problems with renovating the restaurant. When I've put in a hard day at the flea market, the vendor's hall, Hobby U and maybe even a game, I don't want to go anywhere, and I certainly don't want to stand in line. I want to sit somewhere very near my room and have people bring me food.

SYWA Convention in South Bend does very well at this, by the way.

EJ, we're still on generalities. Was the restaurant open for your visit?

EJNashIII07 Oct 2018 3:20 p.m. PST

"Here we go again…" Actually, no. That wasn't me and I have not been there since last winter. If you know me, you would know I have had serious medical issues and have been away quite a while. I'm an architect, so my interest is a bit beyond whines about dingy carpet or overpriced food. The lowdown 1) The restaurant was not open at all. Possibly not even presently possible to even operate at any capacity. No food service other than a cooler by the front desk where you could buy cans of soda was visible. I did see one operational candy machine near a bathroom. 2) Maybe 1/2 the parking lot was usable. Lots of construction debris everywhere. 3) Intermitted water, sewer and telephone service in the rooms. You couldn't actually call down to complain. 4) Many rooms were visibly open to the elements. I.e., no windows, no furniture, no drywall. 5) Most conference rooms were without flooring, counters, etc. We were in the paradise room. The hallway out was a narrow rough drywall construction corridor. The rooms near it were bare shells down to the metal studs. 6) The exterior stairs/ walkways were rough concrete and definitely not code compliant safe. 7) The front entry was blocked off. Lots of areas were roughed drywalled off. Think of building fully under construction and only operational at the most basic level. Maybe, they will get a lot done in a month. Frankly, as an architect, I was surprised the jurisdiction didn't shut them down until they were further along in the renovations. What I meant by death trap was narrowed corridors, active construction areas open to access to children. bare wiring and open stud work, the dangerously eroded steps to the vendor building.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 4:36 p.m. PST

Frankly, as an architect, I was surprised the jurisdiction didn't shut them down until they were further along in the renovations. What I meant by death trap was narrowed corridors, active construction areas open to access to children. bare wiring and open stud work, the dangerously eroded steps to the vendor building.

oh, heck, EJ, that kind of describes the same condition three months ago for Historicon!

Although I do not recall ANY sleeping rooms open to the elements. My impression was almost all rooms were upgraded back in July, but I could easily be mistaken. Our room was not, but we were in the 600 wing, by the only working tiny elevator. Ahh…the stained filthy carpets were complemented by the eroding fixtures in the tiny crappy [no pun intended] bathroom.

Nor do I recall much construction in the gaming area, but I did not get around to much of that area.

But the rest of your description sounds familiar.

Which is why I am not attending Fall In [Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me].

Like you, I have mobility issues still healing. When you can not walk, well, lets just say the Host is at its most pernicious.

Sad to say our leadership is pretty much over a barrel, though I hope going forward, they seriously don't easily reward the Host's behaviors with a lucrative contract [you KNOW they are going to seek increases in all costs].

And EJ, you apparently did not have to visit the Showroom during your event. That's a peach of a location for events! Especially accessing it!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 5:31 p.m. PST

Yep. Sounds like Historicon to me. And I told them then that if it wasn't up and running by Fall In, I doubted that having everything fixed by Cold Wars would be sufficient to get them another contract.

They've spent the entire renovation starting something before they were done with the previous project. In fact, so nearly as I can tell, they haven't finished anything yet. (People tell me there are renovated rooms, but I've never actually seen one. This puts "renovated Host room" in the same category as aliens and trustworthy politicians.)

Sad thing is, I can't work up any enthusiasm for the new locations. Downtown Lancaster looks like an expensive mess, and I remember Valley Forge, and not in a good way.

Well, I expect I'll adapt. The urge to return to Pennsylvania two or three times a year is strong. I just wish that when I get there, I'd find more horse & musket games than zombie ones.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Oct 2018 6:56 p.m. PST

" I just wish that when I get there, I'd find more horse & musket games than zombie ones."

How about zombie horse and musket games, two birds, one stone…………..

" And I told them then that if it wasn't up and running by Fall In, I doubted that having everything fixed by Cold Wars would be sufficient to get them another contract."

Yeah, Fall in is being held at the Host, Cold Wars 2019 as well, then Historicon moves to downtown Lancaster (sounds swell, let me know how that works out everyone, I'm sitting that one out) and Fall In 2019 moves to Valley Forge, so I think it's safe to say Cold Wars 2019 will be the last HMGS convention there……………could be wrong, but all signs are pointing to it.

They had their chance and they failed.

Miserably.

historygamer07 Oct 2018 7:52 p.m. PST

Might help to have someone from HMGS come on here with an update.

masm611007 Oct 2018 9:57 p.m. PST

Double G wrote
>How about zombie horse and musket games, two birds, one stone…………..

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ……
Early 19th century England is beset by zombies…..

Have note seen it but I'm sure it has some Napoleonic types

-Mike

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2018 6:12 a.m. PST

Am I the last person in North America who remembers what the "H" in HMGS stands for?

But as for facilities, be nice to the Board and the con directors. They were hard up for 2018, the Host filled a gap, and I don't think anyone could have anticipated what a hash the Host would make of the renovation. (I expected ongoing disruption, but I thought they'd eventually finish parts of the program. The more fool I.) You bet right now, some of them are looking at alternatives for Cold Wars 2020, and I don't envy them the job.

It's difficult to find a facility which meets the needs of the HMGS-east conventions, and impossible to find one they won't get sniped at for.

TRUgamer08 Oct 2018 9:14 a.m. PST

GG said:
"… then Historicon moves to downtown Lancaster (sounds swell, let me know how that works out everyone, I'm sitting that one out)"

Come on GG… where's your sense of adventure? I've visited the space myself and my assessment is it will be top notch venue once we get through the necessary "getting to know you phase".

TRU

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP08 Oct 2018 10:34 a.m. PST

"Come on GG… where's your sense of adventure? I've visited the space myself and my assessment is it will be top notch venue once we get through the necessary "getting to know you phase".

Understood TRU; my problem as a one man operation is I really can't afford to be away from here for 5 days as my website is cooking with gas the past couple of years, not to mention I have to put my Ebay store on vacation while I am away as I have a 3 day window to ship my orders, not to mention I can't sell something I have one of at a show and then have it sell on Ebay at the same time, Ebay frowns on that.

The real issue for me is I sell mainly 54mm/60mm prepainted metal toy soldiers and that well at the HMGS shows has pretty much run dry the past couple of years, I do extremely well with the Monday Knight Productions former Scenic Effects buildings, rivers and roads, but that alone does not make it worthwhile for me.

I've looked into a couple of other wargaming related items; unless I can grab another one over the next 9 months or so, I'll be siting this one out I'm afraid, not to mention I was shut out of the main hotel and I'm not up for schlepping back and forth from my hotel in Lancaster into downtown, I'm just not up for it…………..

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2018 11:13 a.m. PST

People tell me there are renovated rooms, but I've never actually seen one. This puts "renovated Host room" in the same category as aliens and trustworthy politicians.)

Funny but not exactly accurate, Bob. There were a few pictures of the new rooms right here on TMP at the time of Historicon.

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2018 1:29 p.m. PST

Re: renovated rooms, I have stayed in renovated rooms at Fall In 2017 and Cold Wars 2018. FI '17, the bathroom and HVAC were renovated, but the beds and fixtures/furniture were not.

CW'18 room was renovated, but no hangers, no phone, and other items [including signal cable hanging down from ceiling, lights not working etc].

Hcon '18 we stayed in unrenovated room because we needed access to the elevator. Apparently that floor was not renovated, but was to be immediately after Hcon was complete.

I don't think they will be as user friendly as a 21st C designed room ought to be. There were TWO 2-gang plugs in the entire room. One was filled with the light fixture on the table [where you might think to plug in chargers for your electronic devices] and the refrigerator. The other was between the beds….with a light fixture on one socket. The other had the clock..and I don't know if their phone would require separate power.

So if you need a plug for your cpap, etc, chargers….bring an extension cord!

The fixtures ought to have USB outlets for power.

Still, everyone have a great time!

EJNashIII08 Oct 2018 3:02 p.m. PST

It is sad. Whatever alternative is found will likely be a pain in the rear for me coming from the Baltimore Washington area. I heard they spent something around 6 million for the building and have dumped a good 30 million into it. The intentions are good, but the result is not, so far. I didn't see what it looked like during the summer, so I have no comments on that.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP08 Oct 2018 6:40 p.m. PST

Bowman, my statement was precisely accurate. Seeing a photo of something is not the same as seeing the thing. I can find you pictures of flying saucers right here on TMP too.

Yeah, I'll miss the place--badly!--if they fumble this one. But I can't expect the other historical miniatures players to put up with crumbling concrete and a year of drywall barriers so I can do my own remake of "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar."

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Oct 2018 3:45 a.m. PST

Historicon seemed okay to me. Stayed in a renovated room and it was pretty nice. Some of the public areas had obvious construction going on, but nothing that interfered with activities.

I'll grant that it's not a good location if you have mobility issues. But that would have been the case when the place was brand new. Pre-ADA buildings can be a real problem.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2018 3:52 a.m. PST

Bowman, my statement was precisely accurate. Seeing a photo of something is not the same as seeing the thing.

You were insinuating that they didn't exist. They do. The rooms, not the flying saucers.

Some people had new rooms that were incomplete. Some had rooms that were fine. The proof is in the comments above.

I can find you pictures of flying saucers right here on TMP too.

Seriously, this is your argument? Ya, people are faking shots of the Host rooms.

Robert, if you don't like the Host don't stay there. I don't.

Personal logo edmuel2000 Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2018 5:41 a.m. PST

So, Travellercon at the Host is okay, but an HMGS convention at the host would be a disaster?

47Ronin09 Oct 2018 8:02 a.m. PST

EJ,

Thanks for the information, especially about Travellercon. I checked the con's web site. It looked like fun.

I have all the books from my younger days. I didn't know they had their own convention, let alone one at the Host. Since there are several other gaming conventions hosted by HMGS at the Host and 10 to 30 percent of the non-tournament games at those cons are SciFi/Fantasy, you should invite your fellow Travellers to show up and run games based in the Traveller universe.

As for the condition of the Host, please be advised that HMGS has been constantly monitoring the status of the repairs and renovations. My understanding is that they ask for and receive regular updates from the hotel and conduct their own site visits to check on the status of the construction.

Fall In is a month away. Hope to see you there.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

So if you need a plug for your cpap, etc, chargers….bring an extension cord!

The fixtures ought to have USB outlets for power.

This is good advice regardless of the hotel.

EJNashIII09 Oct 2018 4:50 p.m. PST

"So, Travellercon at the Host is okay, but an HMGS convention at the host would be a disaster?" Travellercon is far smaller than Fall-in and things were difficult, hence the comments. Think a smaller one of our cons like Barrage. Marc Miller and others have spoken before, but a 2nd room for that was completely unavailable. A lot of people were not happy with the conditions and the group decided to move their venue, too. 47Ronin. It was fun doing old school roleplay and they had skirmish miniatures games as well. From what I got many of the people do belong to HMGS too. The Sad thing about the whole Host mess is they are likely going under from everyone abandoning the place. They should have shut the place down for 6 months and got the work done. Instead, they have this piecemeal mess by trying to keep the place running. Forget us. How bad a reputation have they gotten from the wedding planners, corporate functions, etc.?

Tumbleweed Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2018 7:29 p.m. PST

Could it be that the level of construction activity has increased since Historicon 2018 and that is why the parking was poor and some of the rooms were selectively demolished in preparation for rebuilds?

They've got at least four months to finish various stages of work before Cold Wars. I am still hopeful.

historygamer10 Oct 2018 4:11 a.m. PST

It would be a good idea if someone from HMGS gave an update, if for nothing else than to prepare people for what they are going to see in four weeks.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Oct 2018 12:00 p.m. PST

"It would be a good idea if someone from HMGS gave an update, if for nothing else than to prepare people for what they are going to see in four weeks."

Based on what I'm reading, sounds like a cross between Stalingrad in the Spring of 1943 and Berlin in the Summer of 1945.

Poniatowski Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member11 Oct 2018 6:09 a.m. PST

Currently, the site is going to be reviewed to my knowledge pre-show, to let us know what to expect. That is all I know, sorry.

HMGS Inc11 Oct 2018 6:40 a.m. PST

We get periodic updates from the Host on the progress of the construction and what will be finished by the next convention. We've learned not to take their promises at face value.

Which is why we have a scheduled site visit by two board members this Sunday – any earlier would have been too early to make a good assessment of what we can expect in November.

Once we have assessed what we see – and discussed the implications with the Convention Director (Poniatowski) and his team – we will update our members and guests.

Depending on what we see, we will probably have one or two more site visits between now and Fall In! If you are an HMGS member who lives locally to the Host, and are willing to participate in site visits, please contact us – communications@hmgs.org.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 7:12 a.m. PST

As long as the gaming halls are in good shape and the Vendor Hall hasn't caved in I'm OK.

I don't stay there so the "code failing death trap" comments don't make me wring my hands. I'm focused on my games instead.

historygamer11 Oct 2018 8:02 a.m. PST

Thanks for posting here HMGS. Sounds like a reasonable plan. :-)

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP11 Oct 2018 8:29 a.m. PST

"As long as the gaming halls are in good shape and the Vendor Hall hasn't caved in I'm OK."

Sounds like two more than reasonable requests.

With the side parking lot next to the dealer hall now gone, loading in at Historicon was a bit of a challenge, loading out not so much.

Fall In is not an issue as far as snow (hopefully; didn't we get snow one year?), but Cold Wars………….snow on the ground limiting parking on the grass along the access road would be a real nightmare.

Valley Forge does not present such challenges.

Just sayin.

47Ronin11 Oct 2018 1:30 p.m. PST

Thanks for the update, HMGS.

Like the t-shirt says, "Keep Calm and Carry On."

See you at Fall In.

historygamer17 Oct 2018 4:42 a.m. PST

HMGS said on Oct 11th: "We get periodic updates from the Host on the progress of the construction and what will be finished by the next convention. We've learned not to take their promises at face value. Which is why we have a scheduled site visit by two board members this Sunday…."

So what is the word, as I assume the visit took place this past Sunday, the 14th? I'm going either way – have a room there too, but just curious. I realize that there are still four weeks where things can continue change.

HMGS Inc17 Oct 2018 11:38 a.m. PST

Historygamer,
For various reasons the visit got pushed a week to this coming Sunday, October 21st.

Don't expect an immediate update on Monday, as there may be things that the Board and the Convention Director need to discuss first.

historygamer17 Oct 2018 2:50 p.m. PST

Understood. Thanks for the update. :-)

historygamer24 Oct 2018 5:03 a.m. PST

"For various reasons the visit got pushed a week to this coming Sunday, October 21st."

So what's the word? Again, I'll be there either way, but an update would be nice. :-)

historygamer25 Oct 2018 6:30 a.m. PST

Just three weekends out. Any updates?

This is the quietest Dan has been prior to a con, since I can remember. Is Dan okay?

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Oct 2018 1:19 p.m. PST

Got this email from HMGS a short time ago, it's in three parts………….

The Good
Guest Rooms: While a small number of guest rooms are still being worked on, they are all (except for the Presidential Suite and a few other special rooms) expected to be complete before Fall In! And, no, before someone asks, we didn't check each one of the almost 300 rooms!!
Parking: There is still a significant amount of construction equipment and material in the parking spaces around the hotel, but less than previously. The area around the front entrance is still fenced off. So, the parking situation should be the same as at Historicon or, maybe, slightly better. "Overflow parking" will again be available across the street.
Main Entry: As at Historicon, due to the construction of the new main entry, access into the front of the hotel will be through Lampeter's new entrance (where Registration will be again), or up the handicap ramp.
Refurbished Event Rooms: Wheatland, Marietta, Strasburg, Limerock, New Holland, Kinderhook, Cornwall and Hopewell have all been refurbished new wall coverings, ceilings, carpets, etc. and will all be complete by Fall In! As of 10/21, most of the rooms just needed trim work and clean-up, a few needed carpet and furniture installed.
Expo Hall: The old parking area that is being turned into a patio garden is fenced off, so access to the Expo Hall will be down the right-side of the building (looking from the hotel). The door on that side that opens on to the balcony area will be in use, so if you don't mind using the stairs down from the balcony you will not have to walk down to the bottom of the hill.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Oct 2018 1:20 p.m. PST

The Bad
Untouched Event Rooms: Lampeter, Heritage, Paradise, Distelfink and Showroom will be in the same state as they were at Historicon. Access to the Showroom for Wally's Basement sellers with carts will again be through the freight elevator accessible through the Wheatland room (where Hobby U. will be). The lighting in the Showroom will still be a challenge, so bring your miner's helmets!! Some of these areas do have construction-related issues.
Ballroom Lobby areas: The old "business center" area is still dry-walled off, and the corridor to the lower-level rooms (The Host rooms) is inaccessible due to ongoing work on "the spa". Refurbishment hasn't started in these areas, but they do show signs of having construction in adjoining areas.
Hotel Lobby areas: The area for the new Starbucks is stilled walled off. The bar area (and therefore the restaurant) are also walled off (bar, kitchen and restaurant were "shells" during our visit). A temporary bar/lounge area will be set up in Vistas (where renovations haven't started yet), along with food & drink concessions.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Oct 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

The Ugly
Main elevator: The elevator (ballroom lobby/hotel lobby/600 level rooms) is being refurbished and will NOT be operational for Fall In! Hotel guests with mobility issues (i.e., can't navigate stairs) should ask to be put in a 300 level room (where there is a chair lift from the back of the lobby). To get between the hotel lobby level and the ballroom level while avoiding stairs, it will be necessary to use the front handicapped ramp and Distelfink's loading dock entrance. There will be a "tour cart" driving around to assist guests with mobility issues.
Food: With the main kitchen still under construction, the Host will be preparing food in the Expo kitchen and bringing it up to the main building. Expect the choice and quality of the offerings to be the same as at Historicon.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Oct 2018 1:24 p.m. PST

So there you have it……….let the discussion begin………

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2018 1:59 p.m. PST

the Good = the Ugly = the Bad.

without even the small, decrepit, BUT functional little elevator connecting the lobby with 600 wing rooms [with crappy, old not updated nor handicap accessible rooms at H'con] AND the game rooms…its a regression from "we expect a "Host experience" similar to what we had at Historicon" for people with mobility issues.

Access to the gaming rooms, if I understand it then, go out the ramp of the facility; hook up with some type of golf cart? conveyance…to be taken around the side to the Distlefink via the loading dock doors. Hope the weather cooperates and the waits won't be too long.

I feel bad for the HMGS staff who have to deal with this crappy facility. And I hope HMGS brass keeps this in mind when they negotiate any new relationships with this facility.

IMO, the Host has hurt the HMGS brand for putting on enjoyable events.

"Fool me once, shame on me; Fool me twice, shame on you"

Will Cold Wars 2019 represent another assault by the Host, or will that one be relocated to Valley Forge?

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