This year’s Gencon was my second year attending. My first year, the decision to go was last minute and a few factors kept me from having a very good time. This year, I decided that i was going to make sure and enjoy myself. One of the ways I did that was by participating in Gencon’s VIG (Very Important Gamer) program. A few of the Gnomes had done the VIG before, and I’d heard good things about it from friends.
What Is The VIG?
The VIG program, which began in 2007, is a special tier of badge that gets you your Gencon badge, plus a few sweet extras. To read Gencon’s page about the VIG, go here. So, what all does the VIG get you?
I can’t really say enough good about the VIG program. It greased a lot of the sticky gears that I encountered last year and it opened up a lot of new avenues for me this year. Providing the continued benefits to VIG companions, I know that at least one person in my group will be a VIG every year we go to Gencon.
But wait, there’s more! Thanks to hanging out at the VIG mixer, I was able to talk the Director of the VIG program into giving me a quick email interview about the VIG. So here is a bonus Johnny’s Five.
Johnny’s Five – Five Questions and Answers from Rachel Araucto – Director Of the VIG Program
John: I personally loved being part of the Vig program this year. What were your thoughts on the success of the VIG program this year?
Rachel: I and the rest of the Gen Con Team are very pleased with how well the VIG Program was received this year. We had more Exhibitors involved this year, more swag for the VIG Packs, a larger, more comfortable Lounge, and more VIG-only events available than in previous years.
John: What is the best benefit of the VIG program, in your mind?
Rachel: It seems to me the biggest benefit is the separate housing block, since Gen Con housing goes so quickly during the first day of badge registration. The downtown hotels are often “sold out” within the first hour of registration, so having a separate block of rooms already set aside for people interested in the VIG Program is, in my opinion, the biggest benefit.
John: I know you mentioned some changes from previous years to this years VIG program. What changes, if you can talk about them, are in store for next years VIG program?
Rachel: We’re currently plugging away at our post-con work for Indy 2009, so it will be a few weeks before we begin discussing changes for 2010. To be honest, I strove so hard to improve upon the program this year that I suspect we won’t have much room for changes over the next year, but I hope to make a few refinements so things run more smoothly. All feedback from the VIG Survey (which will be posted sometime in the next month or so) will be reviewed as it was last year, and we will smooth out as many rough edges as we can for next year.
John: What was the reason the VIG program was started?
Rachel: The VIG Program was started as a customer loyalty rewards program designed specifically to attract and retain Gen Con customers by offering special perks and an increased level of customer service – all of which ideally contribute to an enhanced Gen Con experience.
John: Finally, every article we write here at Gnome Stew has something to help out Game Masters. What benefits does the VIG program hold for Game Masters to improve their games?
Rachel: To be honest, I don’t know how the VIG Program can help GMs improve their games, but being involved in the program can certainly give any GM a fun, new experience.
John: I agree on the fun, new experience. In my mind, meeting with the designers at things like the VIG mixer and being able to get into more games while at the convention can help expose GMs to different ideas and ways of play. Meeting other gamers in an atmosphere like the VIG lounge also helps a GM initiate conversations and make contacts.
So, that is the VIG in a nutshell. What do you think? Is the VIG something you are likely to do at next year’s Gencon? Were you a VIG this year or last year? VIG or not, tell us about your Gencon experience.