Saturday, June 25, 2016

Double Trouble Feedback Discussion - THE VENUE!

Finally, the big question. Do we stick with the NWGC or move to another venue. Here's the argument as I see it.

I'm not going to pretend I wasn't annoyed about the double booking. You all know I was. Equally lunch was a total fuckup for various reasons that had very little to do with me! Thing is, the double booking wasn't Element Games fault as it was the previous owner who did that and they simply inherited it. Could they have handled it better? Definitely. Does it necessarily mean I shouldn't got back? Difficult one.

We've suffered through the venue in it's previous state for several years with Blog Wars. It looked MUCH better this time. I never used the toilets upstairs but by all accounts they were much improved. I know Element wants to make further improvements in future too. By not going back would we be cutting our nose off to spite our face? The lunch situation will most likely be different next time as I think they're planning on having a proper kitchen. The caterers were mainly there for Lock & Load so I think it'd be a different story next year. Personally I wish we'd stuck with Subway and I'm sorry I didn't insist on using them again.

I'm not hugely fond of Tim King their events manager. I've dealt with him at other venues with mixed results. Darran may not have been perfect but he at least responded to my queries and did his best to ensure both my players and I were happy during the day. It was obviously difficult for Tim as he was running things upstairs and had been up all night with them. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The other massive plus for Element is that they sponsor the event each time. It depends on how many people I bring along but this time all of the vouchers for the tournament and painting competition were full funded by them. That meant I could put more into the raffle and take the £100 they provide as compensation for my efforts. If that sounds a lot then I can promise you it's probably not even £1 an hour when all is said and done. If it wasn't there I'd probably just not take anything from the pot but it's nice to get at least something from the day. I'm loathe to reduce the raffle prizes but they were perhaps a little OTT this time. I gave away £300 worth of stuff (including the trophy costs with discounts on the boxes) which was the same as I did for BW9 & BWX which were 50-man events.

So, if we're not going back to the NWGC and Element then what are the options. Well, I don't want to travel to far so it'd basically be Sanctuary or my FLGS, the Outpost. Sanctuary is a nice venue but their shop is a little limited (from my memory at least) and it's not much difference in commute compared to the NWGC.

The Outpost has pros and cons. They've been running events for a while but they've never had enough space for me. They'll be hopefully moving into their big new event space soon though so I could start going there. That'd mean a 10 minute commute for me rather than 60+ minutes. Obviously that suits me better and would mean I could make an appearance on Friday night to get set up and play some games with you guys who come down the day before. Problem is, their venue is an unknown at the moment. They tell me it's awesome but of course they do. There'll obviously be some teething problems but it will have been open for nearly a year by then so hopefully things will have been ironed out. Matt is currently planning on hosting Fluffageddon there so we'd get to see what it was like before I needed to commit. 

The bigger issue for me though is the way they'd host it. They'd want it to be more of an Outpost branded event with me acting as a TO for them. That'd mean they'd sell tickets through their site (less hassle for me) but they'd take a much bigger cut meaning a smaller prize pot. It's still early days and I've not had chance to talk to Chris (the owner) about it. We have a pretty good rapport so hopefully he'll be open to a bit of cajoling but I'll have to have a good chat to him about it and explain my position.

Ultimately, the question is, NWGC or not. If you'd asked me on the day I'd have been saying not but I've calmed down and become more rational since then! I really want to know what you guys think. I know a big part of your opinion will be based on how easy it is for you to get there versus an alternate venue but please try to put that aside for now.

I've moved venue before when Maelstrom collapsed. At the time I was gutted and thought it would be the death of Blog Wars. It turned out to be the opposite. 


  1. I've just been at sanctuary today actually! I love it there, the tables are massive so it's easy to put your rule books and tape measures down. Rich is a real gent as well, really good st communicating in my experience. They've got thier own kitchen, but I don't know how they'd cope with big food orders (bough it does have ice cream!)

    As for element, I was wound up a lot about where we were. No Light source to speak of, no real access to upstairs. Very much felt like 2nd rate wargamers! I'm happy to give it a go again, but I'd want to be treated better! Upstairs was nicer, but we weren't there! There is an part of me that's wants to be rewarded and get to use the nice bit. They seem to be pretty good at screwing the food up! Could we not just bring a packed lunch? Would mean people can eat whenever they want?

    I've never been to outpost, so I couldn't offer an opinion on that! Broadly speaking thou, the size of the space (important for doubles!), aircon/window situation and free parking are the things I'd be most interested in. Hope that helps!

  2. Well any of the locations mentioned above invlove me travelling up the day before and getting hotel rooms etc., so I'm relatively unbiased on that front :P

    Difficult one. It does seem that a larger proportion of the issues we faced were due to the double booking, and it does sound like Element did quite a bit to try to rectify the situation (financial recompensation aside). It would have been very easy for them, inheriting the bookings, to say "sorry, we've only got so much gaming space and PP don't want other minis in the gaming space at one of their premier UK events" and just turfed us out. That would have sucked a lot more than the event as it happened.

    Foodwise; I'd be hoping Element would want to not use the same caterers again. Ever! They sounded so apethetic about everything. I don't know how well the food went down with the group upstairs, but still... Should we stay with NWGC, I would deffinitely insist that we have a different food solution. If it is the case that they have their own kitchen, it might be worth going to someone else's event to see how they cope with feeding a large numbers of people.

    My suggestion would be to give Element and NWGC another shot, but let them know they have let you and your tournament attendees down and should it happen again, you will be taking your business elsewhere.

  3. I say the following but with full disclosure of that I am a friend of Tim King, and I list check for his events and have refereed for him in the past too.

    Give element games another chance. as you said the booking was with the previous owner and element had no reason to honour it only 1 month after taking it over.

    also under the old owner NWGC had a bad rep with the Warmachine/Hordes community and element are clearly fixing that.

    Also Tim King use to be the events manager at Malestorm before it folded, so if you liked it there, then certainly give it another chance.

  4. I didn't attend Double Trouble, may potentially do so in future, and always keen to see what events you lay on/support... I plan to attend fluffageddon, so the heads up about the venue not being NWGC is appreciated, I can plan ahead...

    Being Portsmouth based, any event is at least a two day trip for me regardless. About the only personal advantage NWGC has is that it is pretty close to my mums, so I tie a quick visit to her onto some wargaming, save on hotel costs and get some relief for my conscience ;)

    Overall, I would say that while there were mistakes, I'd always be willing to give somewhere a second chance. But do impress upon them that you were let down this time, and that there are other options available, one of which you'll be seeing at close hand for fluffageddon... that they need to get it spot on, or you're gone.

  5. The lighting was shocking but barring that I quite enjoyed the 'spirit of the blitz' vibe we had going! I want the chance to use the new shinies upstairs and do love their store so I'd be up for going back again. Bizarrely not the worst catered event I've been to either, that was paying for a ham sandwich that the shop had bought from the supermarket next door for half the price!

  6. Eh.

    I am indifferent about the Venue, Yes now it has been spruced up it is rather nice, but it isn't so nice that it makes up for the frankly awful service. It doesn't matter that it wasn't their initial mistake, they had the opportunity to show how they handle under pressure and they failed the test. They knew we were coming a month in advance and should of had better contingency plans.

    That said Sheffield & Sanctuary are both closer to me and therefore save on the pennies.

    Though I am still bitter that I didn't get any Lunch on the day due to the catering. I apparently should have queued for hours when I had the chance...

    (SERIOUSLY!?, what sort of catering company intends to provide Paninis to hundreds of people and only has one *machine* to do it with?)

    So yeah pros & cons.

    Regardless of where it is held I will be there to roll some dice.

  7. Not sure if I’m biased about the venue as I feel it’s ‘local’, although as it takes an hour to drive for me so it’s no more local than it is for Alex. Personally I would give it another chance, there are some clear benefits and although their actions were pretty disappointing and neglectful they clearly tried to fit both events in and Privateer had invested a lot in the venue – paying for wi-fi for the year. Hopefully these are benefits we can make use of next time.

    Bottom line was the event was brilliant and the only real disappointment about the venue is the fact we can’t review the event without saying they let us down, even though for me it had little bearing on my enjoyment.

  8. It was really a big let down by the venue how we got treated and the issues with lunch didn't help to improve the situation.
    Still the place looks way better now and smells a lot less. The restrooms upstairs are also way better then what we were used to.
    Furthermore they have been giving us store credit for a long time now for our prices.
    So yeah, as pissed as I was on Friday and Saturday, I say give them one more go.

    Also on a personal note I've got to say that Stockport is actually pretty good to get to, if you have to get there by plane. So that is another plus for me. :-D


  9. I was pretty pissed tbh over the venue issue. Alot of people travelled quite far, paying money for flights, hotels and petrol and to be treated like that was pretty galling.

    I echo Night Sytems sentiment about the food, and the fact that they knew we were coming and still did not plan or even really give two shits about us. The guys who arrived friday night had to find tables, boards and terrain to use, which the element guys should at least have had the forethought to set up or organise in advance to make up for the extremely shitty service they provided. It is such a damn shame that we are talking about this when the event itself was fantastic! Wherever you hold in next I will come, and they have been pretty generous in their prize support for the last few years, so it is hard to call. If you do hold events in Sheffield it means I will have to shell out for a hotel, which increases the cost somewhat, but I am willing to do that as your events are fantastic and I have made some good friends coming down to them over the last few years.

  10. Give them one more shot - call it a chance to make up for the last event. You can use it as a test - if they pass then you can attribute the bad service to clearly trying to look after too many attendees (lock and load + double trouble) if they fail then you go looking elsewhere.

    That way you can say you have been as fair as you can be

  11. Hi Alex,

    As I didn't manage to make the event this year, not too sure how much weight my opinion holds.... But anyways, with every event I have been to, that you have organised I think the most important thing has been yourself and the other guys. We make the event together, a building is a building at the end of the day, and I think the all of us will always make the best of the situation we are in. Element made mistakes, we all do, so I think another chance for them to step up is the best thing. If they mess up again then I don't think any of us will really mind.

    Alex you put an amazing amount of effort into the events and it means so much to you that we all have a good time, and it's sad for all of us to see the last event pissed you off. At the end of the day we enjoy it, but you need to as well with the confidence that you get the support you need to run the event from the building wherever it may be.

  12. One thing I would say Alex is don't necessarily relinquish control of the event to another company unless you feel they can continue it in the spirit it began. And to only relinquish it when you feel ready and it is the time.


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