Thank you to everybody who gave feedback for HandyCon 6. 96% of everyone who responded to the feedback survey rated their overall experience of HandyCon 6 as good or very good. This makes us extremely proud and is in no small part also down to our incredible HandyCrew and you as attendees. You are a huge part of what makes HandyCon the relaxed, friendly and inclusive event that it is and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
In the context of this overwhelmingly positive feedback, we also endeavour to keep improving to make HandyCon the best event it can be. Here is a summary of the main areas that received the greatest positive feedback, those that showed potential for improvement, and how we have used your feedback to improve your experience for HandyCon 7:
The friendly, relaxed, inclusive environment.
This is the thing which we are most proud of. We want to continue to create the most friendly and inclusive environment we can. This is in no small part down to the friendliness of the HandyCrew and you as attendees. A huge thank you from us once again!
Focus on gaming.
This was reported as one of the main reasons people enjoy attending and we consider open gaming to be the main focus of HandyCon. We plan on having a few more exhibitors for HandyCon 7 but our focus remains the same.
Good overall organisation of the event.
As the organisers of the event, this is always nice to hear! Many of you commented on the organisation of the event and the helpfulness of the HandyCon team. We try our best to make the event as organised as we can and provide information in a clear manner, but recognise that there are still areas for improvement (for example, apologies to all those in Cedar 1 for lack of advance warning about the Welcome To… event!). Thank you to everyone who provided suggestions for improvements in this area.
Food and Drink
The food quality was not up to the standard of the previous event.
Food and drink was the area with the most suggestions for improvement. We have fed back your comments to the hotel and are working with them to make sure the food quality is improved for HandyCon 7.
Event bar closing times and drinks tokens.
Some attendees felt that the bar closed too early for non-residents of the hotel. The HandyCon bar outside the Berkshire suites will be now open until 1am (last orders 12.30am) for non-residents at HandyCon 7. The main hotel bar is open for 24hrs to residents, provided they have left card details upon checking in and only charge to their room past 11pm.
We will continue to offer drinks tokens but will provide clearer instructions about the times these can be used to avoid confusion.
Some found the menu variety somewhat lacking. Especially those of you who have been to every HandyCon!
Although we are somewhat restricted in terms of what can be included on the menu, we are speaking to the hotel about improvements.
There were some mixed messages about where to fill water bottles and using your own bottles and mugs.
Attendees were encouraged to bring their own water bottles and mugs to use at the refreshment stations, but there was some confusion and varying instructions from the bar staff depending who was on shift. We have spoken to the hotel about this and they will ensure staff are more consistent with regards to the policies we have in place. Signage regarding where to fill water bottles and the types of containers you can use will also be more prevalent at the next event and we will also make this clearer beforehand online.
Free tea and coffee.
This was mentioned quite a few times as a huge plus. We will continue to provide this. Gamers need their fuel!
Recycling bins and plastic waste.
We have spoken to the venue about our concerns regarding the amount of waste we create during the convention. Recycling bins will now be provided and the hotel have agreed to eliminate single-use plastics where they can.
We had issues with attendees bringing in food and drink from outside the venue, particularly alcohol. Our contract with the hotel states that with some exceptions, only food and drink purchased at the hotel can be consumed on the premises and while this has been applied in a fairly flexible manner (we appreciate some people have specific medical needs, or need to feed babies) we would like to remind attendees to be mindful that overt contravention of this puts a strain on our relationship with the hotel and makes negotiating the contract more difficult. We will have further conversations with the hotel to clarify policy and will make these guidelines even clearer before and during HandyCon 7.
Accessibility, Friendliness and Inclusivity
Overwhelmingly positive feedback – thank you to you all.
Many of you reported that HandyCon is the/one of the friendliest and most inclusive conventions you attend. This makes us extremely happy. You as attendees are a huge part of this, and so are the amazing HandyCrew. However, we know that we still have work to do on this and will continue to make sure we improve.
Pronouns on passes.
We mostly received overwhelmingly positive feedback about this. There were lots of conversations happening over the weekend and overall the positivity vastly outweighed the negativity. We understand that this may be new to some people or they may not deem it necessary, but it is something we consider of the utmost importance and will continue to highlight. We may refine the way in which we implement this, but asking attendees to display their preferred pronouns will be something we continue to do. Displaying and using preferred pronouns suggests we, as a community, consider it an important courtesy which is part of general gaming etiquette.
Gender neutral toilets.
Again, most of the feedback we received was positive, with many attendees responding positively to the continued use of gender-neutral signs on the toilets on the basement level, which will be continuing.
Improving the space for those with mobility issues.
As there is no lift to the event spaces on the first floor, all HandyCon run events and tournaments will now be on the ground floor. Due to the limitations of the venue, regrettably the quiet gaming area will still be located on the first floor and the gender neutral toilets on the basement level. We will also better consider the layout of the main gaming halls to ensure those with mobility issues can better access these areas.
We remain dedicated to providing an inclusive, welcoming space for tabletop gaming. We will continue to improve and implement policies that help to foster this kind of environment.
Finding table space was sometimes difficult during the busiest periods.
Finding empty tables will always be the most difficult during the busiest periods. We put a cap on tickets for HandyCon 6 to ensure the event didn’t become too overcrowded and will do so again for HandyCon 7. We will be opening the restaurant area for open gaming between 12pm – 5pm, which should help alleviate some of the pressure from the main halls.
Tables were sometimes being ‘reserved’ or taken up by large bags/crates of games.
This is something we will continue to monitor. We ask that attendees do not reserve tables or block table space. We did post about bringing ALL THE GAMES before the event, and spoke about the temptation to bring as many games as possible, just in case. We ask attendees to be mindful about the quantity of games they bring and not take enormous bags and crates of games into the gaming areas, possibly storing them in your rooms or cars instead. If you can’t find a table or want to use a space which has been taken up by games or bags, please find a member of the HandyCrew to assist.
A few of the tables in the Cedar Suite were too narrow for gaming.
Unfortunately, a few thinner tables were put in the Cedar suite upstairs by mistake. We have spoken to the hotel to ensure this will not happen again!
A few attendees reported that they found it difficult to find others to game with at times.
One of the many great things about conventions is the potential to play games with others, so this is something we will continue to refine and improve. We will be increasing the number of players wanted signs we have available. We will also run the Breakfast Club on Friday and Saturday mornings which is designed to cater for those who arrive by themselves or are looking for other people to game with.
The Game Finder will also see some improvements. Although it works reasonably well for scheduling games in advance, currently it isn’t great for trying to find pick-up games to play on the fly. We plan on implementing some changes to the Game Finder for HandyCon 7 to improve this aspect of the system as well as improve how and where this information is displayed. Watch this space!
You are always welcome to find a member of the HandyCrew and for help and we will do what we can to find you a space and/or get you into a game.
The car park was often full and it was difficult to find a space.
Unfortunately, we are limited in how we can improve this aspect of the convention. The hotel is designed for a capacity of 196 rooms and so our 500+ attendees will always put a strain on the car park. This has not been helped by a recent council decision to add double yellow lines to the road adjacent to the hotel, where attendees had previously been allowed to park.
Attendees can park in the surrounding roads for free, such as Ross Road and Harvest Hill Road. There are also various paid, secure car parks in Maidenhead town center which is a 20 minute walk or a 15 minute bus ride away. You can find more info about traveling to the event here.
Disabled Bays were blocked by inconsiderate parking.
We ask that attendees are mindful of where they are parking and not block disabled bays, other vehicles or fire exits. We will continue to work with the hotel on problem solving situations like this and ask that you continue to report them to us.
Bring and Buy
Introducing a bring and buy fee
The feedback on the changes to the bring and buy have been mixed, but mostly positive. Many people stated that charging a small fee and the addition of shelving made the space much less cluttered and easier to navigate, others reported that they found the fee too high. Some noted that the games on offer were also of a better quality and more likely to be offered for a reasonable price. Charging a fee also ensures that charity donations are collected. We will continue to charge a fee for the entry of items into the bring and buy at HandyCon 7 and will post full details of this in the run up to the event.
Changing the fee to be tiered or a percentage of the asking price
This is something that we are looking into for future events, but are unlikely to introduce in time for HandyCon 7. We recognise that charging a flat fee per item does suit some sellers more than others, but it keeps things simple.
Changes to the bring and buy opening times
The addition of a fee to enter items into the bring and buy means that it now has to be staffed and as such has opening and closing times each day. This is something we will continue to do for HandyCon 7, but we may adjust the opening/closing times to better suit the event.
Other Notable Feedback and Changes
Climate control and clean toilets
We do try and monitor the temperature in the rooms through the weekend. The ideal temperature will vary from person to person but we do our best to make it as comfortable as we can. For everyone’s comfort we usually try to err on the side of being cooler, so please bring an extra layer if you are someone who feels the cold. Please inform us if the temperatures are extreme. If you notice an issue with the cleanliness of the toilets or any other part of the venue, please notify the hotel staff or let a member of the HandyCrew know so we can inform them instead.
Rock, Paper, Scissors: Battle Royale
This con-wide game was designed to give people a reason to mix and help increase interaction between attendees. We had a lot of positive feedback about this and we plan on running another con-wide game/event at HandyCon 7!
Collecting passes on Thursday evening
We will look into making this an option to reduce the queue on the Friday morning. We’ll make an announcement if we put this into place, but can’t guarantee it just yet.
HandyCon Award ceremony
We understand that not everyone is interested in the various announcements and awards that we give out at HandyCon, but we want to take the time to thank everyone for their help and attendance over the weekend. We will endeavour to make this more concise and be clear about the time and location it is happening should you rather not attend (although it is most likely to still be in the Berkshire suites). We will also be investing in a PA system to make these better for everyone!
Unfortunately, Paul is a law unto himself and his obsession with orange shows no signs of abating.
Thank you to everyone who gave us feedback!
Once again we would like to state our thanks to all those who provided feedback and those who attend and HandyCon what it is. The feedback you give is critically important in helping us improve and refine the event to make it the best it can be.