I want to say a personal "thanks" to each of you who take the time to write to me and express your ideas, input, and even critique. To offer an event which people will enjoy, a convention event, is no easy undertaking, but it's so much easier when you do the work for good people to have a great time!
We announced this past weekend that SCC 2013 had moved locations, and then chosen two hotels, not just one. Our main host hotel is the massive Houston Marriott Westchase. Right across the street, we added the Hilton Westchase. In fact, for a short time, the Hilton has a small room block available at $89 per night, but those are going fast...the main site, the Marriott has a discounted room rate of $99/night and I believe they are offering suites for only $20/night more. That's a steal, from a con-goer perspective, if a bunch of friends want to room together...
Why would we do this, especially knowing August is likely to be hot and we do NOT
want folks walking a lot in the heat? The first answer is "economics" and the second is "need more big spaces"!
We looked at many locations, after a few issues behind-the-scenes at the Galleria. The deep basement loading dock was very difficult for the bigger trailers and trucks, but it was the only access to the 3rd floor ballrooms. The 4th floor required parking fees on Sunday, which was never mentioned in our contract discussions, and it annoyed some vendors. We do know the 24th floor was a hit, and we're glad we got to share the view with all of
So we wanted to move...we wanted to keep parking free...we wanted a place with a lot of good restaurants and also fast food nearby. We wanted a place with a pub, tavern, or nightclub nearby for after-hours. We wanted a place with a restaurant inside and a bar. The Woodlands Marriott came in a close 2nd place, but it's booked up for a year or more.
Thus, to satisfy our vision and not (yet) grow into a convention facility like Reliant Park (where parking is not free), we found the Westchase Marriott, which matched our total meeting room space/ square footage from 2012. Of course, we'd already been planning beyond that space. We wanted to bring in more tabletop miniatures, Privateer Press, Warhammer 40K, Flames of War, historical minis, and add more card games like Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh. We wanted space to offer Dungeon Command, Star Fleet Battles, 8th Dimension Comics' "Twilight Imperium" tourney, and more.
Then, we got the approval from Wizards of the Coast to bring in Bruce Cordell and Robert Schwalb, as we were also granted an "official" status so that D&D Next could be openly discussed and demo'd, by the very designers who are building it--and you can spend more intimate time getting to know them, finding out about the game, than if you went to GenCon and tried to brave the hordes...and in Houston, you get to them two weeks before GenCon! So we needed to make sure that players of D&D of every edition and style (that means you too, Pathfinder guys!) had room to play and bring friends from out of town.
Heck, we also have a great team developing a massive video gaming event for us! We know there are some growing pains, but we are also trying to keep costs lower for you and for us. We had a good deal on these two hotels and that allows us to spend a wee bit more on other cool stuff (like bringing in TWO game designers, and having multiple genres and types of gaming). The Hilton has a shuttle service, and we have a sponsor working on golf carts. Between both hotels there are some 2000+ parking spots right next to the buildings. So while I know I could use the walk myself, the intention isn't to have people walking back and forth all day.
Maybe a time or two.
At your leisure, I'd like to hear more feedback about the way some small press Gaming dealers had sale/demo at one spot, and what you think of that idea.
We will also be looking for the Gaming coordinators for several groups like Pathfinder Society and Living Forgotten Realms. The
right of first refusal goes to those guys who did such a great job in 2012, and we do hope they will again, but if they cannot, we will entertain other candidates. Yes, we will still be looking for DMs, judges, demos, volunteers, and the rest! There is likely a spot for a volunteer to be assigned personally to the Wizards' guests.
Finally, Tracy & Laura Hickman asked to return and game with all of you. They loved Houston and want to run "Killer (not) Breakfast" again, along with their FREE (with a con membership) Writer's Workshop. We are at the top of the potential list to start the RA
Salvatore book tour for "The Companions" and The Sundering next August, but it will be a while before they decide for sure. Bob had a wonderful time in Houston as well, and he is anxious to come back...if he gets to choose, we will see him soon, again! Angus Abranson is hoping to make it to see us without getting a bad case of the flu next summer, so keep an ear to our Facebook page or website Guest pages.
Again, I welcome your discussion, feedback, and questions...just be aware I can't always instantly reply. ;)
I wish you all the joys of Christmas, and a very blessed, prosperous New Year!
-- George Comits
Space City Con: Houston 2013