Category Archives: Guidebook App

Yes, there is a Guidebook for Fall-IN! 2017


Main Screen (Guidebook on Web) Fall IN! 2017

 

Apologies!

To all the good folks attending Fall-IN! 2017, I have to apologize.  I haven’t been Johnny on the Spot with Fall-IN! 2017’s Guidebook app.  There’s a good reason, but you probably don’t care.  Oh what the heck, I’ll tell you.  About a year ago at the end of October, a ten ton tree dropped on Casa O’Hara. The damage was devastating.  My family has endured a long year of rebuilding, being temporarily homeless, and living in a tiny rental as the contractors did their thing.  We are (right now, this week) hitting the end of the tunnel at last.  The contractors are finalizing the work on my house and we are moving back in starting this weekend.  I don’t claim to be the smartest guy in the world, but I’m clever enough to figure out this isn’t the time to go to Fall IN!.  I like being married!  Anyway, all that work (and the recent departure of a beloved family pet just last week) has been a distraction from Guidebook building duty.  Mea Culpa. 

HOWEVER!

I have not left you all in the lurch.  I wouldn’t do that. I have taken the
data Dan Murawski and Jeff Kimmel sent me and updated and published the
guidebook app as of last night.

It doesn’t display the usual tender loving care I usually put into these
things; Missing are the room maps, Tournaments, Hobby University, and
Speakers (if there are any), social media stuff.  Included are: the events schedule
(with room locations and table numbers), The Vendor Hall map and
vendor listing.

That is about all I have time for, sorry. I don’t consider the omissions
crippling. Unless you are a rank newbie, you can navigate the Host
blindfolded by now. If you ARE a rank newbie, ASK someone. Wargamers are a
generous group and will help you find your table.

The table number will tell you where the room is: D-35 is “Distelfink table 35”.
Usually I spell that out but I don’t have the time.

I don’t have time for a lot of screenshots.  If you have downloaded Guidebook before, the instructions are the same as last HISTORICON.  The user interface is about identical.

WHERE TO GET IT

The Fall IN! 2017 Guidebook Landing Page will provide you with the download links directly for FALL IN! 2017’s Guidebook, for both Android and IOS, plus instructions of how to implement GB on phones with web browsers. You should be able to download both kind of clients there.

Fall-IN! 2017 GUIDEBOOK on WEB will provide you with interaction with the app on a website (use this with your smartphone web browser if you don’t have a client installed)

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The new Guidebook App for HISTORICON 2017 has been published


Greetings, this is my second try. I don’t know why or how WordPress just ate my previous posts but here we go again.


new Historicon 2017 guidebook, Web page version.

It’s that time of year. Historicon is upon us. You may want to use Guidebook, the elegant little convention directory app that works pretty well on IoS devices, Ipads, Android phones and any smartphone that can display a webpage.

Changes are pretty minimal in the interface (the part that the users see). The background content delivery technology is going through some changes, but most of that will be invisible.  General Info (front page, theme, address, directions) is the same, Schedule pretty much the same (and containing just Events and Tournaments this year).   My Schedule consists of events you’ve saved to your schedule.  Twitter works as before– you can live tweet during the convention.  I think the tags are #historicon #historicon2017 #hmgs_inc and #miniatures.  You’ll have to authorize access to twitter by the app itself.  Maps are the same, To-Do List is the same, and HMGS on Facebook points to the HMGS page on FB– you can post there from this app.  War College & Hobby University are now using their own list, making them easier to find.  Con Staff & where to find them is a list of staff leads.   Photo Album hasn’t changed, though it is underutilized.  Inbox is a way for con mgt. to broadcast to users in a hurry.  FAQs is a new list that I leached from the HMGS Historicon page.  Exhibitors hasn’t changed.

I know I have belabored the guidebook people taking the “Tracks” function away, but the addition of the new Seminars list has made it easier to compartmentalize events on Guidebook.  Schedule now just has Games and Tournaments in it, but you can sort tournaments out easily enough, simply by searching on the key word Tournaments:

And that sorts out all the tournaments.

HOW TO GET GUIDEBOOK FOR HISTORICON 2017

Simple: the landing page for the IOS version, the Android version and smart phones is here. 

The version on a web page is here

That should be enough to get you started.  Specific pictures of features are on other Guidebook blog posts on this blog (I’ve been doing this for a while) if you are interested.

Late edit:

People were emailing me saying they were having problems adding events to their personal schedules (the “My Schedule” item in the menu). I had to go back and turn check in ON, and republish, but that has it fixed. For review purposes, see the graphic below.

see the plus sign in a circle to the right of the event title? Click on THAT to add the event to your personal schedule. Enjoy the event!

Guidebook App for Cold Wars 2017


Cold Wars 17: It’s a Good Day to Die

Herewith is the scoop on the 15th Guidebook I’ve made for HMGS Conventions, Cold Wars 2017.  First of all thanks to Dan Murawski (events), Heather Blush (Hobby U) and Scott Landis (Vendors) for supplying 98 % of the data needed to make this guidebook.  It is a pleasure working with these people.

Anything new with Guidebook?  Not this time.  Most of the large scale changes with the Guidebook interface happened around the time of Fall IN last year, so if you learned Guidebook with that app, it’s the same thing this time.  I’m just going to hit the high points here as MOST of the people using Guidebook should be familiar with it by now (one can only hope, right?).

Features (these pictures were taken on a Lenovo laptop and an Ipad Air– screen geometry will be more condensed with a smartphone)

Main page isn’t any different.. you’ll note the spiffy visual tie in with the convention theme in the headline there.

Main page is where you’ll find the hotel street address and phone number, the theme information and a brief overview of the guide.

Schedule Page is roughly the same as always. Use the date links above to switch days. Select your event by double clicking, then it will bring up details on the event, including table number and room, duration, scale, GM, historical period, rules and the narrative of the game.

One note– you can ADD games to your personal schedule on the APP ITSELF.. this is NOT the same thing as actually registering for events. So don’t confuse them.

Map Pages:
show individual room maps and table layouts. Look at the table designation and then the corresponding table map. If you can’t figure out the acronyms in the schedule I added a graphic to use as a key.

Exhibitors Listing is the same as always. Take a moment to read the descriptions along with the Table Location. This list tracks the following data: Name of the Vendor, Table Number, a short description of the vendor’s products and the website for the vendor (if they have one).

I added some social media hooks (the free ones anyway). The Facebook link allows you to post directly to the Facebook page for HMGS directly from the guidebook app:


I think the Twitter app will post to twitter (you’ll have to log in the first time) with a hashtag of #ColdWars17 (if memory serves).

So there are the highlights for this convention. You can get the guidebook at the same locations as usual.

The Landing Page is here:

Just click the picture to go there. Scroll down from the spiffy visual reference to the COLD WARS 17 theme, and you’ll see links to the Guidebook Downloads for IOS, Android, and on the Web via a windows or smartphone.

And here’s the direct QR code:

So there you have it, Guidebook for COLD WARS 2017.  The only thing not included is Tournaments, which I will add in the next few days.  I may do a few happy to glad fixes right up to the convention itself.. If I do, Guidebook will tell you to update it when you open the app up.  Just open the app connected to the internet and it will download the changes I made itself.

Enjoy the convention and I will see you there.

Walt

EDIT 3/2: Fixed the problem with adding events to your personal schedule.  Had to turn CHECK IN back on as an option.

GUIDEBOOK App for FALL-IN 2016, published


I have just received notification that the Guidebook app I’ve been working on for HMGS’s Fall convention, FALL-IN! has passed publication review and now can be downloaded.

I don’t intend to write up how to actually use Guidebook in one of these posts for every convention; the interface doesn’t change that quickly. I wrote a decent overview for COLD WARS 2016, check that post for an overview of features.


Quick Snap of the Events Schedule

I have (as of today) got the schedule and room layouts done, that’s the big job. I’ll be entering Hobby University, Speakers and Tournaments as soon as I get that information. It is downloadable right NOW, I advise you to run and get it as soon as possible.

Here’s the download page:

http://guidebook.com/g/fallin2016

and here’s the guide online for viewing:

http://guidebook.com/guide/77787

Please help yourself!

Notes: I got the events kind of in two discrete chunks that weren’t formatted for export the same and it took a little while to get that sorted out.. I apologize for the delay.

The one big new feature is the checking in function, which is (sigh) a paid function, so you won’t see it, because we’re kind of cheap and use the free, dumbed down version. It does have potential, though.. it appears you can now set a limit of gamers to your event (say, 8) and keep track of the people as they show up, AND maintain a waiting list of players. Cool stuff! Of course, I had to back that all out when they asked me to pay to upgrade.. sigh.

Update: as of 10/15, I have everything but the Hobby University and Seminars stuff done.  It will automatically update for you when you open it in the app.

Other than that, the basic “trade show” template that I use for miniature conventions is working just fine and doesn’t have other new features.

A sample Floor Layout page.

And here’s the QR code!

Guidebook for Cold Wars 2016 is released


app for that

In a real crash program of data entry, I have managed to put together a Guidebook guide for Cold Wars 2016.  Thanks to Paul Trani, Theresa Presizosi, Scott Holder, and Scott Landis for their assorted (timely) inputs.

Guidebook has changed a bit over the years we have been using it for HMGS conventions.  I’m going to go over the basic screens now and show some of the new(ish) features.

A couple caveats up front.

First of all, we don’t have TRACKS any more.  That’s a pay feature and HMGS is too cheap to buy it.. so no more color coded dots and collections of categories of events.  I liked the color coding but even I am not sure if it’s worth the extra $$ Guidebook is asking to activate tracks, and I’m fairly bullish about Guidebook.  Secondly, I got a lot of the data for this guidebook pretty late (VERY late), so I didn’t have time to add little banners for “Event” “Tournament” “Hobby U” etc.. you’ll just have to figure it out yourselves this time, sorry.

Screenshots were taken on an Ipad Air, the smart phone menu will look different.

And now, the grand tour– if you don’t want to bother, scroll to the bottom of this post and all the download links will be there.

CW16 Guidebook Main Screen

This is the main screen (above).  The layout is a little nicer than before, and they have streamlined a lot of the “basic convention information” into a single screen.  The menu items are on the left in this shot because of the tablet I’m using (an Ipad Air).

Going from the top of the menu, down, here is Exhibitors– aka Vendors.  In the main listing I

CW16 guidebook individual exhibitor listing

This is an individual exhibitor (see above).  In this case Eureka.  The listing will mention location (table number on the vendor hall map, posted in maps), as well as some description and a website.  If the vendor has any sales or promotions for the show, this is the place to put it.  Note the “Add to T0-Do” link on the bottom. This places the listing on your to-do list (menu item) so it can be a note to yourself to visit this vendor in the exhibitors hall.

Next thing down is the speaker’s list (below) and an individual speaker (below that).

CW16 guidebook speaker's list

and detailed speaker listing.. There’s that handsome devil.

CW16 guidebook individual speaker

This is basically what GB used to refer to as “an extra custom list” and it used to cost big money, so I’m glad it’s free.  We can break out speakers into their own category this way.   Note that you can add a SEMINAR to your “to-do” list, as well.

Going down the list “Contacts” is just a small list for listing people on the convention staff. I haven’t populated it beyond Frank P, I might get to it before the show but I doubt it.

Inbox (next item down) is back from previous years.  This is simply a way for me (or convention management) to send an email to all Guidebook users at once.  I haven’t sent out a test message yet so there’s nothing to look at, I didn’t bother with a screen shot.

Photos:

Photo album is kind of new, and blessedly FREE.  Here’s how it works.. you take a picture(s) or two of a game you are in, or of something interesting.  You can upload it in Guidebook so that it appears in the universal show album.  Not sure what the capacity of this thing is as I haven’t tested it.  Here’s me uploading a picture in three easy steps:

one

selecting a picture or taking a new one

two

writing a caption

three

image in guidebook image catalogue

Images can be a really fun way of sharing not just YOUR game but all the games you played with your mates out to everyone going to the convention.

Schedule:

This looks pretty much like it has looked and works more or less the same way as in past guidebooks. Here’s a few screenshots breaking it down to a couple of individual events.

schedule page for a day

individual schedule item, Hobby U
A Hobby University event– note that Hobby U, Games and Tournaments will all look pretty much the same in the current schedule. I use a T- in front of Tournament event titles and the mortar board to represent Hobby U events.

individual schedule item, Game
A regular game event in the schedule.

MAPS are about the same as always with one nice feature. See the little blue arrows bottom right? That’s a zoom out arrow. Watch what it does:

before:

Map, not zoomed out

after:

 

Map, blue button removes menu for easier viewing

TO DO LIST basically is a reminder list you build by clicking on “Add to my to-do list” for various vendors, speakers etc.   You can also add items to it as “Add item”. I didn’t bother with a screenshot. No, WAIT, it turns out I did:

to do list

MY SCHEDULE is the schedule that YOU build by checking off schedule items in SCHEDULE. You can also set reminders to your self for Guidebook to nag you before an event occurs. This works as it has before, no major changes.

ATTENDEES works as it has before, this is NOT A REGISTRATION SYSTEM. It’s a checking in system, to tell OTHER GUIDEBOOK USERS “Hey, I’m here at the convention”.

GENERAL INFORMATION is all that stuff on the main page.. Google Maps, convention prices, schedule, directions etc.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS are back for this guidebook, in the form of Twitter and Facebook.

Twitter:
Twitter connection screen

I’ve plugged in these hashtags: #ColdWars16, #HMGS, #CW2016, and this account: @HMGS_Inc, since Cold Wars doesn’t seem to have a Twitter account.

Facebook:
Facebook Connection screen

This connects to the HMGS page on Facebook, like last year.

With all that said, here is where you go to get your GUIDEBOOK
https://guidebook.com/g/CW2016/

Here is the link to view it online. The screen layout is very similar to my Ipad Screenshots
https://guidebook.com/guide/53323/

First Draft (PEL v.) Guidebook for HISTORICON 2015 is ready for downloads.


Greetings, HISTORICON 2015 convention attendees!

As I do for all the HMGS Inc shows (and other conventions), I have created a Guidebook App for you to download and use as a sort of electronic program booklet for the duration of your stay at the convention.

If you are not familiar with HISTORICON and HMGS historical miniature goodness, I recommend visiting the HMGS Site to get up to speed about our biggest event of the year, HISTORICON.    H’con will be held at the Fredericksburg Convention Center, Carl. D. Silver parkway, just to the left of Interstate I-95 facing North.   The app will actually pop up Google Maps to give you an idea of where to go.

[Cautionary note.  You register,sign-up for events, and pay on the Historicon 2o15 site above, which looks like this.  You don’t register for Hcon with this guidebook app, even if it has some features described as “checking in”– that is mostly for attendees communicating with each other and has nothing to do with paying/registering for a show]

Each Guidebook App uses the guidebook app engine created by Guidebook, Inc.  The information is customized for every show.   Usually by me, as it happens.

So to make the Guidebook App work, you’ll need the core “engine app” from Guidebook, and the specialized convention module that I create for each show.  You download the guidebook app, FIRST, then using the search mechanism, search for the app for a specific show.  In this case, HISTORICON 2015.

You will find the pertinent links to how to download the core app and show app on Guidebook’s LANDING PAGE for Historicon 2015.

After you download the guidebook app first and convention app second, you can browse around and look at the schedule.

Front Splash Page, Featuring maps and address, show hours and policies

The menu as it stands currently (PEL release)

Note— these are Android Phone version screens– I usually post Ipad shots.  I changed it up because not everyone uses a tablet.

Note, as well — this release was concurrent with the official HMGS Historicon PEL.  It is ONLY that at the moment.. just the event listings that the events team has a record of at the current moment (5/12/2015).  The guidebook will change a great deal before game time– we will be adding Seminars, Maps, Tournaments, Hobby University events, Exhibitor Listings, Restaurants, and a Vendor Hall Layout.  The good news is that if you download it now, you will automatically update every time I publish an update.  Just open it connected to the Internet (somehow) and Guidebook will tell you that Historicon 2015 has been updated and do you want to update it?  Say yes.

Right now, this is just the first step/bare bones initial release.  Stand by and I will be posting major updates as I get them.  You can also view the preview web copy here.

Enjoy, and I’ll see you at HISTORICON 2015.  I’ll be the guy running the big post-apocalyptic Mad Max game.

Guidebook QR Codes:

For the guidebook app, the “engine”

For the Guide itself (if you already have Guidebook installed). The actual show bits.

Guidebook for FALL IN! 2014.. available


This is just a quick note to inform everyone that the GUIDEBOOK app for FALL-IN! 2014 is up and running (and has been). The events are accurate as of the published PEL listing. I will add more before the convention.

Welcome to FALL IN!  There's an app for that.

Welcome to FALL IN! There’s an app for that.

I’m also waiting for (patiently) TOURNAMENT LISTINGS from Scott Holder, the DEALER ROOM MAP and VENDOR LIST from the vendor coordinator, and the ROOM LAYOUT MAPS from Dan Murawski. These will be there for the convention. Don’t stress it quite yet. New Things: Well, you probably know about Guidebook Messages which were of limited utility at the last con (though it’s a good way of broadcasting a message to every attendee who has guidebook). I’ve added a new track called “Demo Games” which is yellow, and it will display along with a red “Games” track. So, red=Games (as usual), red/yellow=demo games, blue=tournaments, green for hobby university events. I’ve also added a track for Kid-Friendly games to make them easier to find.

the red marks indicate a purple SEMINAR event and a red/yellow DEMO event.

Get the guide the same way you get it every year.. visit the FALL IN 2014 guidebook landing page. If you have guidebook, just search for guides, and select FALL IN 2014. If you need the app itself, go to Google Play, Itunes App Store or run it in your browser. THEN search for FALL IN and install this year’s app.

Front Page (on an Ipad AIr) for the Guidebook for Fall IN 2014

If you have questions or problems, get in touch with me via email. See you at FALL IN!

Games with a KID-FRIENDLY banner have some mention in their description that children are allowed or encouraged. This usually means WITH A SUPERVISING ADULT.  A game is not a babysitting service.

Games with a KID-FRIENDLY banner have some mention in their description that children are allowed or encouraged. This usually means WITH A SUPERVISING ADULT. A game is not a babysitting service.

This banner means the game is a DEMONSTRATION GAME of a commercial game or ruleset.

This banner means the game is a DEMONSTRATION GAME of a commercial game or ruleset.

Note that the schedule will have some of these events in multiple tracks.. an event could certainly be a demo, kid-friendly and a game.

QR CODES

Guidebook App QR Code
This code will direct your users to the Guidebook app listing in the App Store (for iOS devices) or the Play Store (for Androids). If your user has a Blackberry or Windows phone, it will take them directly to our mobile web version of guidebook app at http://guidebook.com/browse/. Once users have downloaded Guidebook App or are within the mobile website, they can search for your guide to download or view it.

This code is specific for THE FALL-IN! Guide. Users who scan this code using the scanner *in the Guidebook App* will begin downloading your guide. Once the guide has been successfully downloaded the guide will be opened. If you use this option, searching for the guide isn’t required.

HISTORICON 2014: Another big Guidebook App Update


What’s this? Another Guidebook Update?  Of course!  

Here’s what’s been done: Bill Rutherford, events guy extraordinaire, took the time to review my last update.   He found some unintentional duplicates, which have been fixed, and added another 12 or so events.  I also added all 60-ish Hobby University events (thank you, Heather).

The only things that are left are a Vendor Listing, a Vendor Map (from Dudley) and any additional new events (from Bill)

Updating instructions: Just open up Guidebook on your phone, Ipad, Android device etc. and click “Okay” for the download notice.

Getting a new Guidebook and Downloading the Historicon 2014 guidebook: Go to the Historicon 2014 Landing Page.  Follow instructions.

To preview online, visit this page.

That’s all for now.  See you at HISTORICON!

HISTORICON 2014 Guidebook Update: Tournaments, Seminars


UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Bill Rutherford (last night) sent me a solid set of Room Layouts which I uploaded. The only thing I’m missing map-wise is the Vendor’s Hall map, which I have to bug Dudley Garidel for. Same URL as above.

This is a quick note to inform everyone who is a fan of the Convention GUIDEBOOK APPS that I have just sent an update to publish status for the HMGS Historicon 2014 convention.  Included therein are all tournaments for Historicon 2014 and all Seminars.

What needs to be done:

  • Bill Rutherford sent me updated table numbers. I’m incorporating this, it will be tedious.
  • Still need room layout maps for every room in the convention from Bill Rutherford.
  • Still need Exhibitor Room layout from Dudley Garidel.
  • Still need Hobby University events from Heather Blush.

A huge thank you to the hard working Historicon staff that probably don’t need me bugging them with more work.

How to get the update.

IF YOU HAVE DOWNLOADED THE FIRST DRAFT ALREADY: All you have to do is open your Guidebook App connected to the Internet somehow.  Guidebook will say “Hey! Updates are available for Historicon 14.  Want to Download them?”  Say “Yes, Guidebook, that will be swell.”  It will do the rest.  Perhaps I’m paraphrasing a little.

IF YOU DON’T HAVE GUIDEBOOK YET, click this poster. Follow directions.

CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC ABOVE TO GO TO THE GUIDEBOOK LANDING PAGE (IF YOU DON’T HAVE IT ALREADY)

To view the guidebook online, check out this webpage here

IF I HAVE YOUR LISTING WRONG, don’t kvetch, just email me. I’ll fix it.

Enjoy!

Guidebook for HISTORICON 2014: FIRST DRAFT published


DRAFT Guidebook App has been published

Front Page of the HISTORICON APP. This is the just the standard information– where the Fredericksburg convention center is, the URLs for registration etc. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Greetings! The Guidebook Convention attendee app has been published in draft form, thanks to some assistance from Mr. Bill Rutherford, HISTORICON Events Guy. Now I’m going to tell you up front, so NO WHINING!! This is a first look draft of the PEL schedule and it has NOTHING ELSE except some standard boilerplate about the convention location, website URLs etc. Here’s what it doesn’t have:

  • Table numbers are not finalized
  • Room Maps are not complete, so not included
  • I don’t have Vendor Information yet
  • I don’t have Tournament Information yet
  • I have nothing for Hobby University yet

Regardless of that, I like to get a first draft of the convention app out as early as I can, so I can increase awareness and downloads of Guidebook.  We had 500 plus users at Cold Wars 2014, and that’s roughly 1/4 of the people that attended.  Progress.

This is about all you can see right now, I’ve added all the events that have been submitted so far. I’ll be adding banners and pretty stuff as usual. CLICK TO ENLARGE

Now, my standing offer is still out there. If you want your event, business, or seminar to have its own special banner. Email me. I’ll make it happen, just provide me the art.

TO GET YOUR HISTORICON 2014 APP:

1) You’ll need the Guidebook app for your Android Smartphone, Ipad, Ipod Touch, Android tablet, or browser capable phone.

2) Visit the Guidebook Landing Page.

3) If you have Guidebook installed, just download the Historicon 2014 guide by using “Download new guides”.  If you have to install/reinstall Guidebook first, do so per your devices’ method of installing applications, then download the new guide.

There will be many updates between now and HISTORICON.  Don’t sweat it, just open up your app in a wireless/4G/3G zone and it will download changes as I make them.  Enjoy.

Once again, the LANDING PAGE: https://guidebook.com/g/t64n7ism/

Cold Wars 2014: There’s an APP for that!


I’m starting the “last minute” updates for COLD WARS 2014 Guidebook App.  I just added all schedule additions SINCE January 10 (the PEL update).  I also added Room Layouts and Tournaments.  I have YET to add Exhibitor Lists.   I have no idea who is a vendor at Cold Wars 2014 at the moment, so it will have to wait until the Convention leadership sends me more information.

I really don’t need to post another “This is how Guidebook works and how you use it” post, there’s about 7 on this blog already and the method doesn’t change much, just the data.  Go to the HISTORICON 2013 post on this subject if you need help.

Yessir, there’s an app for that. CLICK ON THIS POSTER to go to the Cold Wars 2014 Landing Page, to download YOUR copy.

Guidebook App for Cold Wars 2014 (first draft) uploaded


If you’re familiar with this blog at all, you’ve seen me post on the Guidebook App for mobile devices before, so I will spare you any verbiage extolling its virtues.  Suffice to say that the Guidebook App acts like a mobile version of a convention booklet, and it can ride on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.  I think it’s incredibly handy for attending hobby conventions!   For a good “This is what Guidebook is and how it works for an HMGS convention” post, please read the one I did for HISTORICON 2012.  There’s no reason to retype it at this juncture– if you have used it before, you already know about it, if you haven’t, most of your questions will be answered there.

COLD WARS 2014 (background):  For the last seven conventions or so, HMGS has been providing a free mobile app for our conventions called GUIDEBOOK. Guidebook is an event app that assists a convention attendee in making the most of their time by viewing crucial event information on a mobile device of some kind– iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android or any smartphone that can load a web browser. Guidebook contains the schedule of all gaming events at a HMGS convention– listed by date, time and with the Event Number on your ticket in the Title. The description of the event will have your event’s room and table number as well. Guidebook will supply maps of every room being used at the convention site (with table layouts) including an overview map that shows where all the rooms are in relation to each other. Every guidebook supplies a list of exhibitors with their table/booth number included and an Exhibitor Hall vendor layout diagram. Guidebook can be a very useful method of making the most of your precious time at a HMGS Con– it will even help you build your own personal schedule and alert you when your next event is coming up.

Up until Fall-In! 2013, we put the Guidebook app up for download a week or two before the convention.  For 2013, FI Convention Director Dan Murawski wanted to get Guidebook out on the street “early and often”, and I supported that.  The difference was noticable– normally we have plenty of “free downloads” left by the time of the actual convention, at Fall-IN! 2013 we had exactly 3 left.  Perhaps you’re saying “so what?” but in terms of numbers, that’s about 1/3 of the attendees using a mobile guide for the convention, and that’s a trend I like to think is transformative.  For Cold Wars 2014, I’m also putting it out as early as I can.  The version you can download today (as of: 1/14/2014) will have the following: Event schedule up to the PEL listing, Seminars, and basic convention information (location, theme, hours, etc).  It will NOT have: Maps and Room layouts (these show up late after they are finalized), Exhibitor List (usually the week before the con), Hobby University information, and Tournaments (I have the first cut (I think), but translating it to guidebook is a tedious exercise and you should see it sometime in the next couple of weeks).   As usual, don’t sweat it if your Guidebook App is missing something or has placeholder information in it.. I’ll be updating it when the information gets to me and you have to do exactly nothing beyond going online and opening it up to update it.  Guidebook will tell you when to download updates.

To recap, some elements will be added as we approach the convention– when an update occurs, again, you need do nothing. The next time you open up the COLD WARS 2014 guidebook, it will prompt you with “Your Guidebook has been updated! Download Updates now?” or words to that effect. Download the changes and you will be able to see them immediately– Guidebook takes care of it for you.

Instructions:

(you may skip this first step if you already have the Guidebook App on your mobile device)

To get a copy of the Cold Wars 2014 Guidebook:

Using the QR graphic:

QR Code to download Guidebook to your mobile device.

QR Code to download Guidebook to your mobile device.

Step 1 – Download a QR reader for your device

Step 2 – Get Guidebook by opening your device’s web browser and visiting guidebook.com/getit

or scan the QR code below using your phone’s QR scanner.

If you don’t want to go the QR route, just look for “Guidebook” app on either Itunes or Google Play.

Now that you have Guidebook on your device:

Search for guidebook files.  They are listed by date.  Scroll to March 2014.  Cold Wars should be easy to find.  The Guidebook Icon for CW 2014 looks like this:

cw2014gb-icon

CW2104 “Landing Page” (repeats the above information)

That’s about all you need to know to get set up.  Scroll around, look at the schedule, and start building your personal convention schedule for Cold Wars 2014.

Have fun and I’ll see you at the con.  Got any questions?  Ask me on here or on TMP.  Ciao

Fall-IN! 2013, Post 2: the convention I went to


I apologize for this being late; I didn’t end up taking a lot of pictures and was with my son for this one, so much of the usual activities, including late night imbibing, will not be present. Sorry!

My son Garrett and I went up to Fall-IN! 2013 on Thursday evening and checked in with no difficulty. The registration lines were longish during the two hours of operation, but not impossible. Everything was the typical chaos of the first day of a convention with people running about setting up boxes of t-shirts, making sure the computers worked, using and training the staff to use them. There were problems with the new registration system; I believe that they were connected to bandwidth being pretty terrible at the Host.

Garrett and I did a little ship maintenance Thursday night as we would be running Big Danged Boats, my newish 15mm fantasy naval rules, the next day. Fortunately, the ships weren’t too smashed up from being in storage and everything looked pretty good. I even added a couple of new factions to the game– O.R.C., the Micro-Vikings, and the Empire of Stahlheim.

Unlike my usual performance at a miniatures convention, I was responsible and didn’t stay up late ANY night I was there, and only had one beer the entire con. Shocking! Odin, look away! The Men of the North are not as they once were.

Friday was pretty frenetic. Had a nice long breakfast with my my friends Steve, Art, Todd and Drew, and wasn’t looking at my watch to assiduously. I was going to hit the dealer’s area for a few items in advance of Friday night’s game but that didn’t happen. Since I had redone my ship charts to make them tinier than the one page affairs I was using, I ended up making a run to Staples to get them printed out in color (since color is important for conveying damage taken).

Setting up for Big Danged Boats was a bit of a fiasco. Somebody was using my table when I showed up at it. Turns out THREE of us were scheduled to use the same tables at the exact same time, and I had to skeeve the next table down, which displaced another guy, causing all kinds of havoc. being able to read the map in the program would have helped; I even had difficulty making out table number in Guidebook, so I’ll have to break the graphic up to Distelfink North and Distelfink South for next show. The sad truth was that there wasn’t a decent map of the Distelfink table layout, nor were the tables numbered anywhere I could see. That would have helped a lot!

Ran BDB, I won’t belabor you with a description of that game, click below if you want to read my two events that I ran.

Click me to read the Big Danged Boats Recap, Friday Night.

I ran it Friday night and was so exhausted after putting it away, I kind of fell asleep in my chair when I got back to our room.

There were some great games being run all around the con, but a lot of empty tables on Friday. I even saw that little room behind the Hopewell being totally dark on Friday. I hope this isn’t indicative of a waning interest in running games. There were plenty of empty tables in the Distelfink on Friday as well– not as a vagary of scheduling, but for long periods of time.

My son Garrett has developed into something of a Battletech fanboy, he got into three games over the weekend and loved it. He is now seriously jonesing for the Catalyst Games Battletech starter set. Nobody had one in the vendor hall; apparently it’s due for a re-release soon. That would account for the inflated prices of the current one on Ebay.

Finally had a chance to visit the dealer area briefly on Saturday, and I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. We did not fill up the Exhibitor’s Hall. I’m certain this is just a fact of economic life; shows are expensive propositions for the smaller vendors and bigger retail store operations, and there has to be a payoff they can measure or they won’t come. The economy still being in the dumper, it doesn’t surprise me that there was some empty space in the back of the hall. What did seem fairly glum was the lack of innovation in the vendor community– and I can only speak for myself here. The really off-beat stuff that I use to make games with is usually found in Vendor halls. My game “The Magi” uses 54mm Wizard figures, predominantly manufactured in the 1990s– when was the last time a company made affordable 54mm fantasy figures? I totally get that a vendor would have to be nuts to cater to every taste, but if you’re not into the flavor of the week, you’re pretty much screwed when it comes to shopping for miniatures at a show. With that said, there’s definitely some vendors out there making some great things that I am coveting. Like Alien Dungeon, for instance…

ALL QUIET ON THE MARTIAN FRONT. Hey boys, if you ever need a reviewer on this stuff, contact me!!

It was good to see On Military Matters back, I had heard they weren’t doing shows any more at HISTORICON. Guess that was BS. Other players were conspicuously absent, such The War Store, Thoroughbred Miniatures, etc.

Jeff Wasileski’s awesome “Steampunk Roman” game was being held when I was running THE BIG DIABOLICAL DUKEROO. Too bad, so sad! It looked excellent.

So 1400 loomed on the clock and we made yet another dash to the Staples and printed out yet another batch of charts, frantically. Please. No lectures about preparedness. That’s how I roll.

The Magi is a lot easier to set up than Big Danged Boats; The rules fit on an index card and the spell index is one piece of paper you don’t need constantly. We pulled it off and it played all the way through; no need to reprise that here, as I covered that in Part 1. See below.

Click me to read the Magi Recap, Saturday Night.

After wolfing down a light repast from inside the hotel…

It’s little cherry eyes follow you around the lobby… SHUDDER!

… I really wanted to (finally) get in a game where somebody ELSE was the GM and I can just have fun playing. I couldn’t find the RAMMING SPEED game (who knew what the table numbers were? not me!) but I definitely didn’t have a problem finding the “Street Riots in Ancient Rome” game, GM’d by Cy Taylor and friends. This was shockingly great. I didn’t have a ticket (duh) and had to take a Roman mob role. Roman mobs, in these rules, tend to be speed bumps for factions who are better armed. Thus, my game was a long series of “Go out in the streets. Meet a better healed and armed faction. Have them start a fight. Die. Go back to the slums. Restart” That is, until I noticed that the Forum and Temple of Jupiter was mostly untended. So I raided the temple, looted the state treasury, and my mob moved South to start an Olive Oil business. That’s a happy ending.

My Roman Mob cheerfully making off with the Roman State Treasury to start an Oyster Farm in Capri. Click to see a Slide Show of this great game

I had a great time, but only played one scenario. I did want to keep half an eye on Little G and also see how the Toys for Tots auction did.

Santa Moe came by and admonished us to give…. til it hurt.

The “Wednesday Night Painting Group” from Erie, PA (I think) ran the Toys for Tots auctions and activities. This was handled very well and the undisputed totals follow:

“Total raised for Toys for Tots: $5,562 USD (New Record)
Total number of auction items: 61 (New Record)
Percentage of vendors who said “yes” when asked to donate to the Raffle: 100% (We have never had a dealer say “no”. They are fantastic!)
Money raised by John Newman alone: $1,834 USD
Tickets sold for the Raffle: $1530
Amount raised for Toys for Tots by the Wednesday Night Painting Group (WNPG): $25 USDK+”

Not bad at all!

So I poked my nose into a few other games running Saturday, just to kibbitz. There were some fun things happening, but I didn’t want to start a new game after 9 PM.

Nothing defines haute couture more than a derby hat and a utilikilt. Gamers are just fashion sluts; let’s face it.

After packing up and hanging out with G for a bit in the room, I felt a strange lassitude. Rather than go down to the lobby bar and sip beers with my fellow blowhards and yack all night in loud voices, I guess “too much Fall-IN!” had caught up with me at last. This fellow sums it up rather nicely…

Poor soul. He’s just overwrought.

So I found myself untangling from the gentle caresses of Lethe Sunday morning with a plan. We were going to pack our crap and get out in time to really have a good look at the dealer’s hall and Flea Market. And so we did. Still couldn’t find the Battle tech starter set for Gar, but I bought a few boats from Joel G., some nifty buildings for my War against the Cthonians project, and some various other bits and bobs here and there. I only purchased things that supported EXISTING projects, and for that I deserve a commendation, thank you very much.

And with that, we were in dire need of coffee and a breakfast, which we found just a few miles down the road at Jenny’s Diner.

It was bigger than my head. No, I didn’t finish it.

Too Much Fall-IN! Until next year.

Let’s go home, dad…

\

And that was our Fall-IN!.

Observations, and this comes from the constructive part of me, I’m not just slagging. Events were pretty jacked on Friday. Tables not marked. Map not readable. NOBODY around to resolve issues. Angry GMs, puzzled gamers. I can’t really comment on the lines that many were complaining about as I didn’t see them. The food at the hotel was much the same as it ever was, I wish the menu would change up. Attendance SEEMED light, but that might be misleading; I do know I never had a problem parking, not even one time. And that hardly ever happens, even at FALL IN.

I worked the GUIDEBOOK app before the convention (and during). For the very first time, we actually used so much of the FREE package that Guidebook.com offers us that we just about ran out of downloads the weekend of FALL-IN. As in we were 5 downloads away from doing that. I’m not saying everybody’s sold on the idea quite yet, but it’s clear we’re making some headway. I attribute this to the Guidebook being ready right about the time of the first PEL, and generally updated as we got closer to the convention. Good idea (on Dan’s part) to push to make that happen early. It really made a difference.

With all that said, a weekend at a gaming convention usually beats a weekend NOT spent at one, MOST OF THE TIME. So I’m glad I attended, and I know I’m glad I took my son with me. He had a blast with the Battletech guys. Passing the torch, you know..

Thanks to Dan and all the Convention staff, particularly Paul Trani, Heather Blush, Scott Landis, Christin Sciulli, Cliff Brunkin, J.T. Thomas and every single one of the poor saps who had to work a registration desk computer with a long line of irate gamers getting angrier and angrier with them. Sometimes we forget that these shows wouldn’t happen without these volunteers. I appreciate them quite a bit.

See you all at Cold Wars 2014.

Fall-IN! 2013 Guidebook Update (1 Week from Convention)


HMGS Convention attendees, rejoice!  Or at least give a grunt of muted amusement.

Closer to the convention I am adding the items that landed a little later and were in a state of flux.  I just added the tournaments, fixed a few events, the room layout maps and banners for selected events.

Puzzled?

Yes, yes, but what happens when I already HAVE Guidebook and already downloaded the Fall In Guide you have already published? What?  WHAAAAT????

Yes, yes, but what happens when I already HAVE Guidebook and already downloaded the Fall In Guide you have already published? What? WHAAAAT????

IF YOU ALREADY HAVE GUIDEBOOK and downloaded the Fall IN! 2013 guidebook, do NOTHING. Just open it connected to WiFi/3G/4G whatever, and it will update itself for you.

If you have NO guidebook app, and no intention of using it, close this blog post.  Thanks.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I say “Guidebook App”, there are tons of posts in this blog that explain what it is.  Here’s a good recent post I wrote for HISTORICON 2013.  Repeating the verbiage would be a waste of time.  To sum up, it’s a mobile app for multiple platforms that really makes conventions easier.

If you want the APP and the Updates, visit the FALL IN 2013 Guidebook Landing page, and download both there See the relevant buttons.

Banners?  What’s that?

The banner is a custom header that I can add to individual games.  If you are a GM for FALL IN,   I am MORE than willing to add your custom banner to your game.  It will look like this:

Banner for an Old Dominion Gameworks event.  Realy!

Banner for an Old Dominion Gameworks event. Realy!

What are the benefits to this using your own banner? Well, you’ll use something more eye catching than the generic banners I made for every event:

640w x 240h in pixels.  Got that?

a Generic banner

Fun and Games on the Middle Sea, with Custom Big Danged Boats Banner.

Here’s one I did for my own event about Big Danged Boats.

If you want to try this option, let me know by email, I’ll send you the specs, or I can make one for you based on art you send.

Enjoy Guidebook, and I will see you all at FALL IN! next week.  I will make ONE more update before the convention, adding in vendors for the Exhibitor Hall, and any additional events that have come in in the last couple weeks.

HUGE Guidebook App Update for Fall-IN! 2013, catching up with PEL.


Fall IN! 2013 director Dan Murawski got me a giant event database update last weekend, and I’ve managed to get it all typed in.  Events jumped from 94 to over 250, and the PEL is now published.  So, for the time being, WHAT YOU SEE IN GUIDEBOOK WILL MATCH THE PEL.  I will be adding more updates the closer we get to the convention and can actually edit Guidebook right up to AND DURING the convention (as I have done at previous cons).  If you have Guidebook, don’t worry about it, you do nothing.  Essentially Guidebook sees that an update has taken place the next time you open up the Fall IN! 2013 Guidebook and automatically changes the database.    It will alert you what it is doing:

Guidebook will look at the update file and say, "Hey, the DB has changed.  We're updating that now, just FYI".

Guidebook will look at the update file and say, “Hey, the DB has changed. We’re updating that now, just FYI”.

So, IF YOU HAVE GUIDEBOOK, go and open it up. RIGHT NOW. If you have a live Wireless connection, it will update itself now.

And now, my standard offer.

ONCE AGAIN, I’LL HOST YOUR BANNER FOR YOU!!!

One of the elements that ISN’T fun about updating Guidebook is there is no way to update banners automatically. So every time the schedule changes drastically, I have to nuke the old and add the new, then one by one by one, add the banner graphics back in. MOST games have the generic “Game” banner, like so:

The standard "GAME" banner.  It's white, it's standard, it's generic.

The standard “GAME” banner. It’s white, it’s standard, it’s generic.

I add a banner to every event. Most of the time, it’s the “GAME” banner you see above. It’s 640w x 240h pixels big, and it can say just about anything you like. Here’s a sample of the GAME banner.

640w x 240h in pixels.  Got that?

640w x 240h in pixels. Got that?

Just because we use a default banner, doesn’t mean YOU have to. Here’s what I did for MY own game, BIG DANGED BOATS:

Fun and Games on the Middle Sea, with Custom Big Danged Boats Banner.

Fun and Games on the Middle Sea, with Custom Big Danged Boats Banner.

Why make my own banner, you ask? Well, why not? It makes your event stand out and be recognized, if you’re selling something, it will draw attention to you. If you are trying to run demo games for a company you could add some details to the banner about how to reach the company, etc. etc. etc. You’re all bright lads and ladies, figure out why on your own. ALL YOU NEED TO DO is design your own banner with the specifications already stated, and send it to me at my email, misternizz at Gmail dot com. I like custom banners.. they are cool, like fezzes.

Keep checking your Guidebook for updates, I’ll be entering them as I get them.

And I’ll see you all at FALL IN!