How to host an event (for dummies)?

Discussion and announcements relating to unofficial Countdown competitions, held online or in real life. Observation, discussion, reflection, and other stuff ending in -ion.
Post Reply
User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:58 pm

I've always wanted to host a Co-event, but have no idea as to the overheads (which can vary, having looked around Brighton a little), the "best" format to use (Edinburgh? Bristol? QFs or just GF? Group and knockout?), how much organisation needs to go into the event, how many to expect (and thus how much to charge)...

So for the benefit of me, and for everyone else who has never hosted an event, could hosts and organisers please share their tips, tricks, problems, and so on?
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

User avatar
Graeme Cole
Series 65 Champion
Posts: 1759
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Graeme Cole » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:26 pm

I've never organised an event, so I'll leave the advice about event planning to someone else, but since you ask about the "best" format to use, here are my observations from events I've attended over the years.

Personally I prefer Edinburgh (or "Lincoln") style, but a recent poll on Facebook shows a pretty even split of preferences between Edinburgh and Bristol. Use whichever works for you. Edinburgh-style requires one game set for every three players. Bristol-style requires some means of displaying selections at the front.

I've never really understood why the "group" format (often used with Bristol-style, but in principle could be used with Edinburgh-style too) has endured. You play three games, and that decides what section of the table you're going to finish in. If you're 9th after three games, you go into group B and it's impossible for you to win the tournament no matter how well you play from then on. If there aren't a multiple of eight players, you get weird fudges going on that nobody understands. What does this format offer over doing the first round with a random draw and the remaining rounds with a Swiss-style draw?

QFs or just GF? I'm assuming you mean the top N players in the tournament, rather than the thing they have in group tournaments where everyone continues playing even if they lost. If so, I would strongly recommend just playing a final, and don't bother with quarter-final and semi-final stages. If you decide to make the top 8 play quarter-finals and semi-finals, you've then got to have a third-place play-off, so you've effectively added a whole new three-game phase to the day, during which everyone who isn't in the top 8 (i.e. most of the players, unless your numbers are unusually low) just has to sit around doing nothing.

User avatar
Ben Wilson
Legend
Posts: 4227
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: North Hykeham

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Ben Wilson » Sat Sep 15, 2018 10:27 pm

Most important things to consider when organising an event, in descending order-

-Venue
-Means of playing the game
-Refreshments
-Promotion of the event
-Prizes
-Other things like freebies
-Format of the day (related to means of playing the game but much less relevant)

(Technically you could also include 'date on calendar' in the FOCAL era but most FOCAL organisers are happy to compromise and help find a date that fits around other events)

All of these things cost money so you need to get your costs worked out before you start spending any money. Then you need to work out how many players your event is likely to get, then you can work out an entry price. Generally, Countdowners pay little attention to entry fee when entering an event though anything over £20 and people will start getting a bit reluctant. Then and only then can you start organising.

Zarte Siempre
Series 78 Champion
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Dadford, Buckinghamshire

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Mon Sep 17, 2018 6:00 am

Ben's absolutely right about the starting point being to work out what you think is likely to be cost, and balance it up with what is likely to be spent by attendees.

Also that the venue is the top of the list. That said, the format of the day can often be dictated by the venue. No projector screen? Probably needs to be Edinburgh style unless you happen to be a dab hand with wood (no smut please, Rhys). Long thin room? Probably better off with Bristol style as you'll need to leave a gangway for safety purposes. So I wouldn't have it as low down the list as that.

If using Facebook for an event, do not take the numbers as an assurance of entry. My policy is: Until the end stages, roughly two-thirds of those who say they're "going" will go. Roughly one-fifth who click the "maybe" will go. Maybe 5% of those who say nothing will go. Give it 2 weeks and see what happens.

As many people like free tat as dislike it according to polls. You will either see your hard effort ignored/irk people who'd rather have spent less, or you'll miff people by not providing a trinket. This is a loss-loss situation - so do what you'd rather.

Expect to hate every second of it on the day. I don't know many organisers who get a warm fuzzy feeling on the actual day. It's just a stress sandwich. The build-up can be enjoyable, but on the day, avoid human contact as much as possible as you will want to kill everyone.

Think about the weekend as a whole - suggest places where people might wish to say, look into how they might get there from major cities (and indeed from the recommended hotels to the venue itself) and consider things like restaurant bookings for an aftermeal if the desire is there. This isn't necessarily just about the day. You could do something on the Friday night if there's enough people around and your organisation is done. Maybe even Sunday lunch if enough people stick around.

Be the best version of yourself as a host - Make it your own by injecting elements of your personality that people seem to like into the day. But avoid contentious stuff. Not everyone who goes to your event will be your favourite person, but you have to treat them equally within reason.

Have someone with a car in the vicinity - You will have forgotten something no matter how many times you think you've checked your entire checklist.

I'll likely add some more, these were just the scattergun witterings that came immediately to mind first thing in the morning.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

User avatar
Matt Morrison
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 7649
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:27 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Matt Morrison » Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:21 pm

Great tips. Great idea for a thread too. I think there's a small part of all of us that is tempted to host an event, though I imagine that is almost exclusively due to either "I know this cool venue/place to go afterwards that everyone would love" or "I would love to proudly show Countdown people how great my home city/town/village in the middle of nowhere is" rather than the warm fuzzy feeling of hosting Zarte refers to (or rather refers to not existing).

James Laverty
Enthusiast
Posts: 412
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2013 2:45 pm
Location: West Bridgford

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by James Laverty » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:58 pm

Again, I've never hosted a Co-Event, but just from what I've observed over the years...

Make sure you aren't doing it entirely by yourself. I've found the best run events have been when there is a mainhost, backed up by the assistant(s) host. Even if it's just people helping you set up before, it will be a lot less stressful.

Be strict with time keeping. I've found a few events have had to be cut short by slow progress on the day, or the final + prize giving has had to be rather rushed. This has happened a few ways, such as people arriving back late from lunch breaks, games being played slowly, or (Bristol style problem only), people taking too long to check words- Zarte's system of reading out the maxes is probably the best solution of this (and then check anything lower).
A way to fix this might be having is having people checking on apterous inbetween rounds, that shouldn't take too long, but I do know most CoEvent venues have pretty poor internet connection points.
Definitely not Jamie McNeill or Schrodinger's Cat....

Gavin Chipper
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 10138
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:37 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm

Yes, good thread. As a player and someone who has never hosted, from my point of view I think it's a mistake for an organiser to think "OK, we've got the venue for x hours, so how many games can we cram into this period?" Basically, no-one wants to play more than six games, unless they make the final where they might be prepared to make an exception. People want to have a relaxed fun time as much as they want to play Countdown. Likewise, 15-rounders is a bit much, and 14-round finals is lunacy. And it's win-win because the players are more relaxed and if anything goes wrong, the organiser has more leeway.

Zarte Siempre
Series 78 Champion
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Dadford, Buckinghamshire

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:47 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
Basically, no-one wants to play more than six games
I do. Irritates me how long people give for lunch breaks. Less wandering around, more Countdown. Or make the whole event shorter. The pub's for chilling, the Countdown tournament is for playing Countdown.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

Gavin Chipper
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 10138
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:37 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:13 pm

Zarte Siempre wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:47 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
Basically, no-one wants to play more than six games
I do. Irritates me how long people give for lunch breaks. Less wandering around, more Countdown. Or make the whole event shorter. The pub's for chilling, the Countdown tournament is for playing Countdown.
I'm up for making events shorter. I don't mind them finishing earlier or starting later.

Zarte Siempre
Series 78 Champion
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Dadford, Buckinghamshire

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:03 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:13 pm
Zarte Siempre wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:47 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
Basically, no-one wants to play more than six games
I do. Irritates me how long people give for lunch breaks. Less wandering around, more Countdown. Or make the whole event shorter. The pub's for chilling, the Countdown tournament is for playing Countdown.
I'm up for making events shorter. I don't mind them finishing earlier or starting later.
Feel free to host one that fits your view of how one should be. I'm sure many of us would be intrigued :)
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:07 am

I will probably give it some more detailed thought over the next few months, but a date I wanted to work towards was late 2019 or maybe early 2020. I know that the Amex stadium hire rooms out (since it's where I took my exams in my first year at University) but I haven't been able to find anything indicating what sort of price they charge.

I have thought of a quite bizarre format, which doesn't need explaining now, but I can't see how anything featuring a knockout element would work Edinburgh-style (such as the Co:Lei summer special in 2010).
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

User avatar
Matt Morrison
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 7649
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:27 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Matt Morrison » Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:03 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 5:13 pm
Zarte Siempre wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:47 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
Basically, no-one wants to play more than six games
I do. Irritates me how long people give for lunch breaks. Less wandering around, more Countdown. Or make the whole event shorter. The pub's for chilling, the Countdown tournament is for playing Countdown.
I'm up for making events shorter. I don't mind them finishing earlier or starting later.
I'm somewhere in between the two, I don't really know until I get to an event whether I want it to end immediately or go on longer, I don't think it's one-size-fits-all and is dependent on many factors such as mood, crowd, opponents.

One issue is that your costs are unlikely to be reduced in the least by a shorter event - so it becomes a harder sell when you're asking contestants to stump up the same amount of money for less Countdown.

Tim Down
Acolyte
Posts: 109
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:45 am

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Tim Down » Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:45 pm

Graeme Cole wrote:
Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:26 pm
I've never really understood why the "group" format (often used with Bristol-style, but in principle could be used with Edinburgh-style too) has endured. You play three games, and that decides what section of the table you're going to finish in. If you're 9th after three games, you go into group B and it's impossible for you to win the tournament no matter how well you play from then on. If there aren't a multiple of eight players, you get weird fudges going on that nobody understands. What does this format offer over doing the first round with a random draw and the remaining rounds with a Swiss-style draw?
It gives everyone something to play for later on in the day, which I think is a major positive. I don't like groups for exactly the reasons you mention but I think it's possible groups are better for players finishing lower down the field than those finishing near the top (which you usually do).
Zarte Siempre wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:47 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
Basically, no-one wants to play more than six games
I do. Irritates me how long people give for lunch breaks. Less wandering around, more Countdown. Or make the whole event shorter. The pub's for chilling, the Countdown tournament is for playing Countdown.
Me too. I quite like one reasonably long break for clearing the mind and having some chat (after all, not everyone can come to the pub afterwards) but I'm all for getting on with it the rest of the time.

I'm having some vague thoughts about hosting an event in Leamington in the distant future. What makes a good venue? I would almost certainly go for Lincoln/Edinburgh/wevs style.

Zarte Siempre
Series 78 Champion
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Dadford, Buckinghamshire

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Sun Sep 23, 2018 3:53 pm

Tim Down wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 4:45 pm
I'm having some vague thoughts about hosting an event in Leamington in the distant future. What makes a good venue? I would almost certainly go for Lincoln/Edinburgh/wevs style.
For an Edinburgh-style event, space will ultimately be the most important thing. Personally I prefer it when you have a table for your group and not for 2 groups, as it gets distracting being on a different round-pattern to other people. You want to ideally either be near a station, or near to where people are likely to be staying. If this isn't possible, then factor in a slightly later start so people aren't having to make a 30 minute trek first thing in the morning. Obviously accessibility is ideal, but not always possible, and a bar is to be lauded, providing it's within a private hired area - generally I'm not too in favour of venues where the general public still impact on the experience. I would also say a venue where all points can be seen from all points is advantageous - horseshoe bars can lead to confusion.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

User avatar
Matt Morrison
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 7649
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:27 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:50 pm

Totally agree you cannot have more than one group per table. I'm far from the most ADD around, but I found that really distracting/annoying/frustrating at Colon.

User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:15 pm

Do you even need to have a third person for Edinburgh-style? I don't see why that's a necessity and why it can't be done between two?
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

User avatar
Ben Wilson
Legend
Posts: 4227
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: North Hykeham

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Ben Wilson » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:30 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:15 pm
Do you even need to have a third person for Edinburgh-style? I don't see why that's a necessity and why it can't be done between two?
Technically you don't but you'd need to draw each round separately, and the event would only be as fast as your slowest table. This has been known to be a hassle at Scrabble tournaments (which draw each round one by one for the most part) when you get chronically slow players against each other, and Scrabble has a (supposed) time limit to each game.

And yes, Edinburgh style has this problem too, yes, but scheduling breaks after each round (as is done at COLIN) effectively eliminates this problem- if you play too slowly, tough, you get a shorter break.

User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:26 pm

Ben Wilson wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:30 pm
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:15 pm
Do you even need to have a third person for Edinburgh-style? I don't see why that's a necessity and why it can't be done between two?
Technically you don't but you'd need to draw each round separately, and the event would only be as fast as your slowest table. This has been known to be a hassle at Scrabble tournaments (which draw each round one by one for the most part) when you get chronically slow players against each other, and Scrabble has a (supposed) time limit to each game.

And yes, Edinburgh style has this problem too, yes, but scheduling breaks after each round (as is done at COLIN) effectively eliminates this problem- if you play too slowly, tough, you get a shorter break.
Unless you were still drawing 3-in-a-row or something?
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
14-round finals is lunacy
Don't really get your thinking here.
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

Gavin Chipper
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 10138
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:37 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:47 am

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:26 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
14-round finals is lunacy
Don't really get your thinking here.
It's just an old-fashioned format. If you're going for a long final, pick 15 rounds. Conundrums at these events are pretty random, often decided by 0.1 seconds, and a two-conundrum final offers a potential 40-point swing based on this essentially random event. Conundrums work as an exciting final round to finish a game, but really should be nothing more.

Zarte Siempre
Series 78 Champion
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Dadford, Buckinghamshire

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:14 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:47 am
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:26 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:04 pm
14-round finals is lunacy
Don't really get your thinking here.
It's just an old-fashioned format. If you're going for a long final, pick 15 rounds. Conundrums at these events are pretty random, often decided by 0.1 seconds, and a two-conundrum final offers a potential 40-point swing based on this essentially random event. Conundrums work as an exciting final round to finish a game, but really should be nothing more.
14 round finals make vastly more sense than 15 round ones do (unless the whole tournament has been 15 rounders). They don't suit me as my conundrums suck at co-events, but objectively they're better.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

Gavin Chipper
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 10138
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:37 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:28 pm

Zarte Siempre wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:14 pm
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:47 am
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:26 pm



Don't really get your thinking here.
It's just an old-fashioned format. If you're going for a long final, pick 15 rounds. Conundrums at these events are pretty random, often decided by 0.1 seconds, and a two-conundrum final offers a potential 40-point swing based on this essentially random event. Conundrums work as an exciting final round to finish a game, but really should be nothing more.
14 round finals make vastly more sense than 15 round ones do (unless the whole tournament has been 15 rounders). They don't suit me as my conundrums suck at co-events, but objectively they're better.
In what way?

Zarte Siempre
Series 78 Champion
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Dadford, Buckinghamshire

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:49 pm

Gives more attention to all 3 disciplines of the game (which unlike you I view as a selling point), speaks more to tradition to honour the occasion, likely takes fractionally less time, which I think is good for a game that only 2 people are playing (and which considering your other daft opinions, I'd have thought you'd want to save every second!), and has a better flow to it generally.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

Gavin Chipper
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 10138
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:37 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Sep 24, 2018 8:56 pm

Zarte Siempre wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:49 pm
your other daft opinions
:evil:

User avatar
Jon O'Neill
Ginger Ninja
Posts: 4355
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:45 am
Location: London, UK

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:50 am

Zarte Siempre wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 6:49 pm
1. Gives more attention to all 3 disciplines of the game (which unlike you I view as a selling point),
2. speaks more to tradition to honour the occasion,
3. likely takes fractionally less time, which I think is good for a game that only 2 people are playing (and which considering your other daft opinions, I'd have thought you'd want to save every second!),
4. and has a better flow to it generally.
1. Why not use the Masters format then?
2. Why not use the Masters format then?
3. Why not use the Masters format then?
4. Why not use the Masters format then?

Answer to all of the above - cos that'd be absolutely mental. Conundrums in the middle is a bad idea that only a fool would endorse.

User avatar
Mark Deeks
Kiloposter
Posts: 1986
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:15 am

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Mark Deeks » Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:22 pm

I think a key thing for a Co:Event is keeping the costs down. Event costs keep creeping up to the participant, and while a cost to offset the facility hire is inevitable, a decent proportion of it seems to be spent on the nick-nacks and individuality that I don't really want anyway. By the time transport, accommodation (if necessary), food and beverage costs are accounted for, Co:Events can get expensive, and while cutting a fiver out of the admission costs doesn't make a huge amount of inroads into that, it does help as incentive to go.
Eoin Monaghan wrote:
He may not be liked on here, but you have to give some credit to Mark

Zarte Siempre
Series 78 Champion
Posts: 1344
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:56 pm
Location: Dadford, Buckinghamshire

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:26 am

Jon O'Neill wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:50 am
1. Why not use the Masters format then?
Excellent idea. We'll rework Edinburgh style immediately.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

User avatar
Graeme Cole
Series 65 Champion
Posts: 1759
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2010 9:59 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Graeme Cole » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:10 pm

My thoughts on conundrums, and setting them. Some of you may have heard these from me in person, perhaps several times, but this seems a suitable thread in which to write it all down so I can stop going on about it at events.

tl;dr: Don't choose obscure words for conundrums as a lazy way of making them difficult!

When setting a pile of conundrums for a co-event, there is a temptation to pick obscure words for the "difficult" conundrums, the ones intended to be given out on crucials between high-rated players, or in the final. Choosing conundrums whose difficulty arises from the low probability of either player even knowing the word is seen as an easy way of manufacturing lists of difficult conundrums.

There are two fundamental problems with this approach. First, it misunderstands the point of puzzle setting. Second, it doesn't even work.

Puzzle setter and former Only Connect question editor Alan Connor describes the setter's role in The Joy of Quiz: "Novice setters sometimes fancy that their job is to beat the contestant; it is not. Their job is to lose following a struggle."

Alan Connor was talking about quiz questions, but the same applies to conundrums or any other kind of puzzle. No conundrum setter should be patting themselves on the back because their super-hard final conundrum "defeated" the finalists.

Of course, it's not at all easy to judge whether the players will get it, and sometimes they won't. But if when you reveal the answer, it's a virtually unknown word, the players and most of the spectators will utter a collective "...?", with the sense that it was a bit of a wasted 30 seconds. On the other hand, if they recognise the word, the collectively-uttered punctuation will be more like "!", a much better ending to the tournament.

Consider the spectacle for the audience, as well, especially for the final conundrum. "I'd have got that" or "I could have got that" is always better than "I'd never have got that". Setters are - rightly - concerned about making it too easy in order to avoid the crapshoot of an instant buzzer race, but so often they tend to overcompensate the other way and it goes unsolved. Conundrum solves around the 15-25 second region are rarest, but when they happen, it's because the setter pulled off their job perfectly - to lose, after a struggle.

In the COLON 2018 final, the conundrum, WETHARDON, lasted over 20 seconds being stared at by the two finalists before one of them got it. And even if they hadn't got it, when the answer was revealed there would have been no anticlimactic "...?" Great conundrum.

It's worth noting that for all the conundrums at COLON - not just the final - Jen specifically set out to make a range of conundrum difficulties without resorting to obscure words for difficulty. There were probably more conundrums written for that event (well over 200) than for any other co-event in history, so if you're thinking of hosting an event there's no reason you can't do that too.

Another approach, if you don't mind deviating from Countdown tradition, is to do what Milton Keynes did this year, and make the conundrums ten letters long. In the past, MK's grand final conundrums were known for being so hard that the answers didn't even look like words (ACHOLURIC, anyone?), but with ten-letter conundrums it was much easier to find words that the finalists hadn't practised to death on apterous but which were still normal, everyday words.

Let's have a look at the second fundamental problem - the misconception that ramping up the obscurity provides more of a challenge to the higher-ranked players. It doesn't. The best players have played all the conundrums on apterous, and what makes a conundrum difficult to them doesn't have a great deal to do with how often the word is used. As an example, consider the following two conundrum scrambles.

ISAWKHAZI

INERTSTAR

The answer to the top one is an obscure word which most people outside of word games don't know. The answer to the bottom one is a very common word which you'll all know. However, I guarantee you that most expert players will spot the top one instantly (maybe you have already?), and take some time over the bottom one (still haven't got it?). The difficulty is nothing to do with the obscurity of the words, it's about the distribution of the letters.

For the top conundrum, a seasoned player will instantly spot the W, the Z, the K, the As and Is, and buzz in immediately with the answer. Most of the top players have seen this word before, and it's so easy to spot that they'll get it straight away. Furthermore, in terms of catering for a range of skill levels, this one is the worst of all worlds; a top player will get it instantly with no effort, but a novice player has almost no chance of getting it no matter how much they try.

Now let's look at the bottom conundrum. It's got lots of common letters. It's also got lots of building blocks of words, which conundrum solvers often use as short-cuts, and which in this case are nearly all red herrings. There's -IEST, there's -ATE, there's INTER-, -ISE, -ISER, -ITE... none of them are correct. Even if you didn't get the answer* in 30 seconds, the reaction upon seeing it is "ah!" rather than "what's that?" Even better, although this is a difficult conundrum, there's no reason a novice player couldn't solve it, and it certainly wouldn't be unfair for this conundrum to crop up in their game. They might even get it before a significantly higher-rated opponent, which would have been an impossibility with the other conundrum.

* This conundrum was used for a game at Co:Leam in 2013, and is what I usually use as an example of a "good" conundrum. While it was a valid conundrum at the time, nowadays it has an alternative, more obscure, solution.

Here's all of the above, distilled down into a graph. Imagine every conundrum is somewhere on this graph. The x-axis represents word obscurity, and the y-axis represents the difficulty of unscrambling the word assuming it's in your vocabulary. I'm not saying don't ever set obscure words (players shouldn't be entitled to assume the word won't be obscure), but I'd recommend using them only rarely. Most co-event conundrums ought to be on the left-hand half of the graph. To control conundrum difficulty, vary the position on the y-axis rather than the x-axis!

Code: Select all

Difficulty in unscrambling
   ^
   |  The "rewarded effort" corner,    The "WTF is that" corner,
   |  e.g. RESTRAINT.                  e.g. ACHOLURIC,
   |       HANDWROTE                        MRIDANGAM
   |
   |
   |  The "buzzer race" corner,        The "worst of all worlds" corner,
   |  e.g. EXPLODING                   e.g. WAKIZASHI
   |
   +---------------------------------------------------------->   Obscurity of word

Gavin Chipper
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 10138
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:37 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:41 am

Nice post.

User avatar
Matt Morrison
Post-apocalypse
Posts: 7649
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2008 2:27 pm
Location: London
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Matt Morrison » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:51 am

Yeah Graeme at his best.

User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sat May 16, 2020 2:11 am

Thanks to Jack Worsley for a few notes and thoughts - seeing as I haven't been to a co-event since 2015 (is it really that long??) I think I need to go to a few more first, hopefully that will be later this year. Strange how I haven't been to one since going to University - I guess it's because Brighton is at least 50 miles away from any co-event, and I'm usually quite busy on Saturdays. (Currently considering the name "CoLosSus" - "Countdown in (lots of) Sussex"...)

I had a brainwave yesterday about booking out a seminar room at University: we do this for societies on weeknights so it can't be too difficult, and there are at least 3 fully-accessible rooms large enough that I can think of. It surely wouldn't be too pricey either. My only issues are I have no sort of sense of demand for weekend bookings for rooms... and the fact I'm graduating. That latter point could well be done by a student/lecturer stooge next year willing to book a room on my behalf, but anyway that's an issue for another time.

Hopefully I'll have something for mid-2021 to announce on this, but we shall see. I'm determined to host a co-event (natural born leader and all that), so it'll always be on my mind to do at some point.

____

I also wondered about formats, and as a statto this is what intrigues me the most. Dissertation procrastination has led to filling in Wiki gaps for co-events (which have been less crucial thanks to Graeme's excellent website!) but this also means F1-style tables for FOCAL events and so on. But in all of the events I've done, there hasn't been a truly "fair" format for me. No question, I prefer Lincoln style over Bristol and any event I hold would almost certainly be in that style, but I'm talking more about the qualifying and permutations rather than the gameplay itself:

- Lincoln (the event, not the system) has an issue where the top players play each other all day and take points off each other, so a player could, in theory, fudge one of the games in their first group and then win the rest against weaker opponents and make the final.
- Randomly-drawn heats (Leics eg) don't work as they leave you at the mercy of your opponent: in my very first co-event I faced Conor and Amie in two of my heats (I scored less than 20 in both of them (old 15s)). Heats of death prevent you from doing any better than 9th: indeed, if even a good player (eg Robbo) gets (say) Conor, Zarte, and Jack W as 3 heats, they will probably end up in the spanner final.

So this is a system I'm proposing that I have hosted a few times online, but I still see a few drawbacks:

1: Seed all the players somehow (not a clue how to achieve this yet - Daily Duel kinda thing played at the very start?)
2: Place them into groups according to seeding lines.
3: Single round-robin.
4: Top 1 / top 2 (depending on turnout) progress to main finals.
5: Spanner finals for the rest.

If you have 16 (which is quite low for a co-event these days), 1st in qualifying goes into Group 1, 2nd into Group 2, 3rd into Group 3, 4th into Group 4, 5th into Group 4, and so on. This allows for those who fluff the qualifier to still win, but gives them a harder path.

Other than "how do you do a qualifier", there is one other major problem, which is how on earth you're going to do a Lincoln event with a single round robin since you require 3 to a game, unless you end up with exactly 24 or 48 entrants.
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:58 pm

When organisers book halls / rooms, what kind of hire fee does a co-eventer usually go for? I can’t imagine Molineux would have been cheap. Had a look at The Oval’s corporate events site today and the best I could find was still prohibitively expensive. Obviously not booking anything until the Rona is over, but obviously you have to book a venue first before you can get entries and so on, which means financially speaking, you’re playing catch-up, aren’t you?
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

User avatar
Callum Todd
Series 69 Champion
Posts: 553
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:38 pm
Location: Leeds

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Callum Todd » Fri Nov 27, 2020 4:03 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:58 pm
When organisers book halls / rooms, what kind of hire fee does a co-eventer usually go for? I can’t imagine Molineux would have been cheap. Had a look at The Oval’s corporate events site today and the best I could find was still prohibitively expensive. Obviously not booking anything until the Rona is over, but obviously you have to book a venue first before you can get entries and so on, which means financially speaking, you’re playing catch-up, aren’t you?
I think most venues charge a rate per hour. I would expect that rate to be upwards of £20. Quite a lot more than that if it's a big venue in a central location in a big city.

Most of them will be okay with a small deposit up front though, with the bulk of the payment coming closer to the event, so playing catch-up shouldn't be too much of a problem.

I would strongly recommend keeping regular contact with your venue to make sure they a) remember you are coming and b) are prepared for it and fulfil their end of the bargain. Lots of venues seem keen to accept your booking then once they've got your money and ticked a day off in their diary they seem to not give you any further thought. If you need anything from them (tables/seating, refreshments/kitchen facilities, a certain arrival time, location of plug points, accessibility information, etc.) get that upfront and remind them at least once within a month of the event of what they have agreed to do.
Mark Deeks wrote:Callum Todd looks like a young Ted Bundy.

Conor
Series 54 Champion
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:29 am
Location: Luton - UK

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Conor » Sat Nov 28, 2020 5:48 pm

Mark Deeks wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 4:22 pm
I think a key thing for a Co:Event is keeping the costs down. Event costs keep creeping up to the participant, and while a cost to offset the facility hire is inevitable, a decent proportion of it seems to be spent on the nick-nacks and individuality that I don't really want anyway. By the time transport, accommodation (if necessary), food and beverage costs are accounted for, Co:Events can get expensive, and while cutting a fiver out of the admission costs doesn't make a huge amount of inroads into that, it does help as incentive to go.
I'd use the already-high costs of Co-Events to draw a different conclusion: don't skimp on the venue. For me it's the biggest factor in how enjoyable a Co-Event is (that the organizer can control), and if many people are already spending £100+ on the event then it's illogical not to want to pay, say, £5 extra for a better venue.

User avatar
Ben Wilson
Legend
Posts: 4227
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: North Hykeham

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Ben Wilson » Sun Nov 29, 2020 12:17 am

Venue location can be as important as the actual quality of the venue itself. The Ark ain't going to win any awards, but it's well-connected for buses and trains, has a decent car park and, most crucially, is a stone's throw away from shops and takeaways. For about 10 years, the biggest Scrabble tournament in the country was held at a venue called Yarnfield Park, a great complex of buildings with a restaurant and bar in Staffordshire that was about 15 miles away from the nearest evidence of civilization and had horrendous wi-fi or 3G connection (ironically, it's owned by BT) and if you fancied any food other than the set meals, your options were biscuits or starve.

User avatar
Mark Deeks
Kiloposter
Posts: 1986
Joined: Tue Jul 12, 2011 3:15 am

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Mark Deeks » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:47 am

The Ark is also nice and spacious. Too many events are cramped and that's just not fun, especially given the tendency of event-goers to reek heavily of body odour.
Eoin Monaghan wrote:
He may not be liked on here, but you have to give some credit to Mark

User avatar
Jennifer Steadman
Kiloposter
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: Kent
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:32 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 1:58 pm
When organisers book halls / rooms, what kind of hire fee does a co-eventer usually go for? I can’t imagine Molineux would have been cheap. Had a look at The Oval’s corporate events site today and the best I could find was still prohibitively expensive. Obviously not booking anything until the Rona is over, but obviously you have to book a venue first before you can get entries and so on, which means financially speaking, you’re playing catch-up, aren’t you?
When I was researching venues, I found that £1000+ was often the going rate for a Saturday in central London at an accessible venue that fit 50+ people (sometimes this was a minimum spend thing, but I'd always be wary of signing up to that as you're liable for any cost that isn't reached. A local games cafe quoted £7000 :? ). The COLON 2019 venue was £250 hire fee + £100 refundable damage deposit, which is crazy cheap for London and I would be surprised if it wasn't cheaper than a couple of less expensive cities' Co-event venue hire. And the venue was pretty great - relatively central, pretty easy to get to, step-free access, modern, relatively spacious and easy to get outdoors - and the turnout meant that it was like less than £4 per person. Assuming you are talking about the Brighton Oval (I originally did not realise there was a Brighton one and thought you were absolutely mad for looking at the London one): Brighton should be a *bit* cheaper than London, but closer to London prices than Wolverhampton ones, and more importantly for far fewer people than you'll get at a London event. Probably look at Bournemouth's numbers as a reasonable benchmark for what you can expect.

If you don't have cash in the bank that makes a deposit tricky. Probably worth working with a Co-event sugar daddy who can fund that upfront and also help with event prep. Make sure you pick someone reliable who will actually do the stuff you ask them to do, and do it reliably (checking scrambles have the correct letters, only 1 answer, valid words, not wandering off on the day).

I agree with Ben that location is important and if you're going to put it more than like 15 minutes walk away from a mainline station, provide clear travel instructions across the city - directions from the station/coach station, relevant buses, airports. Even if it's 15 mins away, link a Google map from the station to the venue and link it on the FB event/C4C post. Anthony Endsor will still get lost, but most people should be ok.

To bolster attendance, you should do as much of the work as possible for prospective attendees. Brighton is expensive *and* far away for most Apterites (apart from the London ones) and most people travelling from north of London will have to travel cross-London to get there, which might be a hassle too far for some [plays tiny Kent violin] - so you need to go above and beyond to convince people to go. For COLON, I researched the cost of return flights, train and coach tickets from major UK cities and Dublin both going out on the Friday night/Saturday morning and back on the Saturday evening/Sunday, and shared this info; I also listed links to Hostelworld alongside a range of affordable hotel options. It means people can make an informed decision about whether it's too expensive to bother with rather than dismissing it out of hand.
"There's leaders, and there's followers, but I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" - Aristotle

User avatar
Jennifer Steadman
Kiloposter
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: Kent
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:45 pm

Other stuff... As Bundy said, do keep in touch/check every detail with the venue. One of the rooms was double booked at COLON last year, leading to a confrontation with a very aggressive karate instructor, as well as the mothers of kids in the class who nicked some of the tables and chairs we'd booked and refused to relinquish them. We had to cram 70 people into one room for the first round - it worked out OK in the end as from lunch onwards the second room was free, but it was very embarrassing and felt like a particular dereliction of duty to the wheelchair users in the room.

Check that the venue is *actually* accessible if you're going to say it is (although this is just good practice anyway) - there have been at least 2 events advertised as accessible where there was a staircase up to the room but no elevator. Step-free access is just one measure of accessibility anyway, but it is the most important - also important to check there is room for wheelchair users to navigate between tables. This is really hard to work out at a glance admittedly, but basically lower whatever number you think you can comfortably fit in there.

When promoting the event, *do not* hassle people who have said no to try and get them to change their mind. I wish this were obvious to all. Brexit means Brexit, leave means leave, no means no.

The one thing I'd have changed at 2017/18 COLONs would be to offer one stupid bit of memorabilia (the publications I made for each event) and one useful one (nice pen) per event rather than loads of useless crap. Sustainability, yo. And the one thing I would encourage other event organisers to do if there are first-time players registered is to make a little booklet that explains how the event works in terms of format and day schedule, some of the terminology, and some words of encouragement. It can just be a bit of paper folded in half, but I think it's a nice reference point to make the whole experience a bit more accessible to newcomers and less daunting.

And last but not least - if you're going to take over an event that's shaping up to be to Co-events as The Tay Bridge Disaster is to poetry, make sure that your football league isn't having its first and last super play-off on the date of the proposed event, and that if it is, that your team is nowhere near the play-offs. :x
"There's leaders, and there's followers, but I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" - Aristotle

User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:07 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:32 pm
When I was researching venues, I found that £1000+ was often the going rate for a Saturday in central London at an accessible venue that fit 50+ people [...] Assuming you are talking about the Brighton Oval (I originally did not realise there was a Brighton one and thought you were absolutely mad for looking at the London one)
I was actually referring to The Kia Oval in South London, as I'm a member there and I know they do a lot of room hires and so on. I'm back in London now and have been since March (managed to escape before lockdown) and I graduated this summer in any case. I was trying not to give any numbers specifically, but yes, that figure was actually about right. I would have labelled it as "Surrey" in any case to avoid confusion with Co:Lon. The Pakistan Suite in the 1845 Stand quotes "from £1,950" for a Saturday so maybe that's not *too* high after all.

I haven't looked at Brighton pricing too much although like I said back in 2018 the Amex may be a prospective venue, but they don't advertise their pricing so that's still a bit pipe-dreamy.
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

User avatar
Jennifer Steadman
Kiloposter
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: Kent
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:30 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:07 pm
Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:32 pm
When I was researching venues, I found that £1000+ was often the going rate for a Saturday in central London at an accessible venue that fit 50+ people [...] Assuming you are talking about the Brighton Oval (I originally did not realise there was a Brighton one and thought you were absolutely mad for looking at the London one)
I was actually referring to The Kia Oval in South London, as I'm a member there and I know they do a lot of room hires and so on. I'm back in London now and have been since March (managed to escape before lockdown) and I graduated this summer in any case. I was trying not to give any numbers specifically, but yes, that figure was actually about right. I would have labelled it as "Surrey" in any case to avoid confusion with Co:Lon. The Pakistan Suite in the 1845 Stand quotes "from £1,950" for a Saturday so maybe that's not *too* high after all.

I haven't looked at Brighton pricing too much although like I said back in 2018 the Amex may be a prospective venue, but they don't advertise their pricing so that's still a bit pipe-dreamy.
Ok. First off I think the Surrey name is a terrible idea: it's not Surrey, it's London! There must be a better way to solve the name issue than that - it's just confusing. Secondly, if you haven't already I would definitely speak to the current COLON organisers (Fiona and George?) about your plans and see if they are comfortable with you running a 'rival' event, and whoever's in FOCAL if you're planning to run it as one of their events.

Not suggesting anything malicious in either your intention or the suggestion of a second event in the same city, but I just think it's good etiquette, and you can space them out by 5-6 months (which would probably help both events to do as well as possible). Might also be worth checking out on FB how much demand there is for 2 London events a year including what factors would make people more/less likely to attend both, and have a think about whether you would offer a similar event to the existing one or one with a different format and set-up.

[I know MSO is a thing, but it's a fringe event with very limited publicity and doesn't really feel like a Co:mmunity event.]
"There's leaders, and there's followers, but I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" - Aristotle

User avatar
Ben Wilson
Legend
Posts: 4227
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2008 5:05 pm
Location: North Hykeham

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Ben Wilson » Sun Nov 29, 2020 11:35 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 10:30 pm
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:07 pm
Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:32 pm
When I was researching venues, I found that £1000+ was often the going rate for a Saturday in central London at an accessible venue that fit 50+ people [...] Assuming you are talking about the Brighton Oval (I originally did not realise there was a Brighton one and thought you were absolutely mad for looking at the London one)
I was actually referring to The Kia Oval in South London, as I'm a member there and I know they do a lot of room hires and so on. I'm back in London now and have been since March (managed to escape before lockdown) and I graduated this summer in any case. I was trying not to give any numbers specifically, but yes, that figure was actually about right. I would have labelled it as "Surrey" in any case to avoid confusion with Co:Lon. The Pakistan Suite in the 1845 Stand quotes "from £1,950" for a Saturday so maybe that's not *too* high after all.

I haven't looked at Brighton pricing too much although like I said back in 2018 the Amex may be a prospective venue, but they don't advertise their pricing so that's still a bit pipe-dreamy.
Ok. First off I think the Surrey name is a terrible idea: it's not Surrey, it's London! There must be a better way to solve the name issue than that - it's just confusing. Secondly, if you haven't already I would definitely speak to the current COLON organisers (Fiona and George?) about your plans and see if they are comfortable with you running a 'rival' event, and whoever's in FOCAL if you're planning to run it as one of their events.

Not suggesting anything malicious in either your intention or the suggestion of a second event in the same city, but I just think it's good etiquette, and you can space them out by 5-6 months (which would probably help both events to do as well as possible). Might also be worth checking out on FB how much demand there is for 2 London events a year including what factors would make people more/less likely to attend both, and have a think about whether you would offer a similar event to the existing one or one with a different format and set-up.

[I know MSO is a thing, but it's a fringe event with very limited publicity and doesn't really feel like a Co:mmunity event.]
Tbf I'd be highly surprised if there isn't demand for a second London event each year, given how popular the main London event always is. I do agree it will need a different name (and fifteen years on I'm still baffled why people follow the Co-[place name] naming format considering I only used that as a cheap pun so I could call my event 'Colin' as at the time Countdown still had 'CECIL' and this bracket's probably run on long enough now). Two grand is far too high for venue hire though, even not taking any other costs into account and assuming you get 50 entries, you'd need to charge everyone £40 a head just to make their money back, and you're never going to get those numbers for that price.

Conor
Series 54 Champion
Posts: 521
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 7:29 am
Location: Luton - UK

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Conor » Mon Nov 30, 2020 10:38 am

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:07 pm
Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Sun Nov 29, 2020 6:32 pm
When I was researching venues, I found that £1000+ was often the going rate for a Saturday in central London at an accessible venue that fit 50+ people [...] Assuming you are talking about the Brighton Oval (I originally did not realise there was a Brighton one and thought you were absolutely mad for looking at the London one)
I was actually referring to The Kia Oval in South London, as I'm a member there and I know they do a lot of room hires and so on. I'm back in London now and have been since March (managed to escape before lockdown) and I graduated this summer in any case. I was trying not to give any numbers specifically, but yes, that figure was actually about right. I would have labelled it as "Surrey" in any case to avoid confusion with Co:Lon. The Pakistan Suite in the 1845 Stand quotes "from £1,950" for a Saturday so maybe that's not *too* high after all.

I haven't looked at Brighton pricing too much although like I said back in 2018 the Amex may be a prospective venue, but they don't advertise their pricing so that's still a bit pipe-dreamy.
I would try and think about what a Co-Event attendee actually wants. As a Surrey fan I imagine you'd feel a lot of pride hosting it at the Oval, but nobody else is really going to care much and be prepared to pay such a premium price (as Ben said, upwards of £40 per person, and one memory I have of the Oval is paying about £20 for some fish and chips, so food and drink isn't going to be cheap either). They will be more swayed by functional benefits.

User avatar
Rhys Benjamin
Fanatic
Posts: 2354
Joined: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:28 pm
Location: Down in the tube station at midnight

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:03 pm

You could potentially run it at a small loss, though, couldn't you? I'm playing devil's advocate here, but it's not as though you have to charge something extravagant. This event could well be a long time in coming, not least because of the pandemic, but also just thinking about potential venues is difficult in itself. The Oval was something that came into my mind because we've had co-events in recent years at Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers football stadia, which I would have thought would charge an arm and a leg, even compared to a cricket venue. That's not to say I've got my heart set on it (although it would be nice, admittedly), but given the comments Jen made about getting to Brighton (easier than you think from North London since you can get direct trains to Brighton from Bedford, Victoria, King's Cross, London Bridge, and Farringdon) I thought looking a bit further north was a better idea.
The forum's resident JAILBAKER, who has SPONDERED several times...

User avatar
Jennifer Steadman
Kiloposter
Posts: 1234
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:34 pm
Location: Kent
Contact:

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:47 pm

Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:03 pm
You could potentially run it at a small loss, though, couldn't you?
You could, but I don't understand why you would consider doing that :)
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:03 pm
This event could well be a long time in coming, not least because of the pandemic, but also just thinking about potential venues is difficult in itself. The Oval was something that came into my mind because we've had co-events in recent years at Huddersfield Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers football stadia, which I would have thought would charge an arm and a leg, even compared to a cricket venue.
I think the difference here is that London is £££ compared to Huddersfield (which got moved to the training ground venue instead of the stadium because it was too pricey, if I remember right?) and Wolverhampton (which had the benefit of FOCAL levies funding the venue as well as entry fees I assume). There's really no need to spend well over the odds on showy prestige arena in central London, or indeed to spend 4 figures if you do your research well and book 6+ months in advance. I found the COLON venue through Tag Venue, but there are other venue finding sites as well.
Rhys Benjamin wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 3:03 pm
That's not to say I've got my heart set on it (although it would be nice, admittedly), but given the comments Jen made about getting to Brighton (easier than you think from North London since you can get direct trains to Brighton from Bedford, Victoria, King's Cross, London Bridge, and Farringdon) I thought looking a bit further north was a better idea.
Ahh, yeah, I forgot about Thameslink. (Crazy that it's significantly quicker to get to Brighton from North London than it is from Tunbridge Wells if you don't have a car.) I think Brighton is a great location for an event tbh, especially if it's early autumn 2021 and the bars/clubs/karaoke are open again - it's just a harder sell than it should be because it's so far south for the Yorkshire/Lancashire contingent, Londoners are a bit fickle, and there's weirdly few Apterites south of London.
"There's leaders, and there's followers, but I'd rather be a dick than a swallower" - Aristotle

JackHurst
Series 63 Champion
Posts: 1498
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 8:40 pm
Location: Leics

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by JackHurst » Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:38 pm

Jennifer Steadman wrote:
Mon Nov 30, 2020 8:47 pm
Ahh, yeah, I forgot about Thameslink. (Crazy that it's significantly quicker to get to Brighton from North London than it is from Tunbridge Wells if you don't have a car.) I think Brighton is a great location for an event tbh, especially if it's early autumn 2021 and the bars/clubs/karaoke are open again - it's just a harder sell than it should be because it's so far south for the Yorkshire/Lancashire contingent, Londoners are a bit fickle, and there's weirdly few Apterites south of London.
FWIW I'd go to a Brighton event :)

Fiona T
Enthusiast
Posts: 472
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: How to host an event (for dummies)?

Post by Fiona T » Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:24 pm

Jonathan Wynn was talking about organising one (Brighton) - definitely keen once this stuff is over.
8-) <-2m-> 8-)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests