Nuggets of Wisdom from the Senior Volunteers
This series of suggestions come mostly from our Senior Volunteers - people with decades of experience coming to DunDraCon as players.
- If you don't understand something in the Convention Program, ask a Volunteer at the Info Desk. They are there to assist and have been long-time Con participants and gamers themselves so they know a lot of stuff. Hang out with us if you want; we are always grooming "future volunteers".
- Don't be afraid to try new games or games you haven't tried before even if it says "Rules Knowledge Useful". There are plenty of people willing to help.
- Schedule your Weekend. You can use the form on the back of the program book to schedule your weekend games. That way, you can check to make sure you don't sign up for overlapping games (it happens), figure out when to watch an anime film or a demo, or plan when you can take your significant other out on Valentine's Day...
- Signing up for a game. When you sign up for a game you will either go online to enter your information or fill out a paper slip with your badge number and the number(s) of games that interest you in each session. Keep track of what you signed up for! You may get your second- or third-choice game.
- Make sure you read your badge number correctly, and enter it correctly: this number is very important!
- If there is a game you really want to get into and it's later in the con, check with the Info Table to see if there is a 4 hour Volunteer shift you could work to earn a Priority slip; this could greatly improve your chances of getting into that game!
Priority slips: A games reg. priority slip gives you a fast track into one of the "official" (numbered in the program book) games. That way you may be able to get into a very popular game, or just one that you want to play.
Priority slips can be earned by working as a GM or as a volunteer for at least 4 hours.
Priority slips are transferrable: anyone with a valid badge number can use a priority slip, so if you have one, keep it safe. They do not expire: you can earn one this year and use it later. You can also give it away if you want to be popular...
- The session results will be posted online and on the walls in a paper printout. If you do not see your name and number next to your first choice game, check to see if you got into your second or third choice.
- If you get into games that 'overlap', choose only one to go to - it's rude to tell the GM that you have to leave his/her game midway through!
Cancelled games. Sometimes real life gets in the way and games that are listed in the program book are cancelled.
A game is only cancelled at the request of the GM who was planning to run it. When the committee members know a game has been cancelled, they do as much as they can to get the word out, online and with notices at the Information Table. The volunteers who collect the paper slips try to check for these game numbers, but some people may still accidentally sign up for them.
If you use a priority slip for a game that was cancelled, please tell someone at the Information Table. It is possible to look up your records and issue a new slip, if necessary.
- If there is a game you want to get into and didn't, Show up anyway, and show up early. A lot of times, there are no-shows or seats open up; sometimes the GM has extra character sheets and would be willing to squeeze one more in. Don't be afraid to ask if there is room for one more.
- If you don't get into a game or have some free time, check out the Open Gaming Room. There might be games you could get into and some of the best games are unplanned. Look at the Sign-up sheets posted on the Open Game Room doors. A lot of great games are there for anyone to join in!! Warning: It gets rather loud in there but it's really fun and very dynamic.
- Look into the Seminars. They are about being a better player, making more creative characters or games. Check out the fighting Demos. They will sometimes involve/invite audience participation.
- "Auditing" a game: In many cases, you may sit and observe all or part of a game, as long as the room isn't already full and you are non-disruptive. It can give you a good idea of whether you'd like to play a particular game system and what that GM is like. You may even be asked to take part.
- Besides the Open Gaming Room, there is the Board Gaming Room; some games are con events but some are "walk-ins welcome". Look around for something that interests you and ask if you can play.
- Restrooms: Restrooms in the Salon areas are at the end of the salon lobby (by the exit to the parking lot) and near the restaurant (also accessible through the back of Salon 1). There are also restrooms in every hallway game room: if the room door is braced open, you may use them (just try not to disturb the game if it is in progress).
- Don't get dehydrated: drink lots of water. Soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, and beer are all liquid, but they do different things to your body chemistry. You need lots of water, especially in the dry air of a hotel.
- Free Wi-Fi is only available in the lobby areas. You can get internet in the sleeping rooms, but it costs a lot: even the DDC committee has to pay for it, and they need constant access to it. Be sure to bring the chargers for your phone, tablet, laptop, and any other online devices: the batteries can run down quickly in searching for a signal.
Label your stuff. Whether it is a game, dice bag, backpack, or phone; give it an identifying feature so you know at a glance that it is yours.
Things left unattended are usually fairly safe at DunDraCon, but don't tempt someone by leaving anything you care about lying around.
- Don't leave your badge in your hotel room or car. It can be a pain in the butt to have to go back and get it, especially if you are staying at home or one of the other hotels. You don't have to wear it out to dinner, but keep it with you even if you don't think you'll need it.
Parking, when the Marriott lot is full
Sadly, the hotel parking lot isn't big enough for all of DunDraCon. Some of you stay in other hotels or commute from home, and arrive to discover the entire lot is full. Most years we have an agreement with the city of San Ramon that it is okay to park on the street.
Don't park in the spaces around the back of the hotel. Those are for Marriott employees and the Dealers Room vendors' vehicles. A parking permit is required to park in those spaces.
The last few years we have had an off-site lot which is supposed to allow 24 hour access, but is sometimes locked at night (though it isn't supposed to be) That should be fine, if you are spending the night at the Marriott. It is a good ways away, so be aware that even if you are in great shape it can be a bit of a hike if you have things to carry or a tired child in tow.
Parking in the shopping mall lot is not recommended. Target, Whole Foods, Peets' and many of the other businesses appreciate DDC, but they don't own the parking lot. DDC and the Marriott don't have an agreement with that property manager, unfortunately, so while you may be able to get away with parking there for a number of hours, there is a risk of being towed if you leave a vehicle there overnight.
- Bell carts are few and in high demand. Please use them responsibly, loading and unloading as quickly as possible. You may use one to haul boxes and other gear from your room or car to the Buyers Bazaar or a gaming salon, as long as it is then returned to the hotel lobby ASAP (have a friend return it, if necessary).