Hosting Procedures

Hosts should arrive one hour before the boarding starts. Your schedule reflects this.

The most critical time for hosting is the 30 minute window surrounding the start of a time slot (e.g. 1:30pm to 2:30pm for the 2pm time slot).


60 minutes before the time slot
  • Make sure you know your fellow hosts.
  • Some people like the book keeping and sorting.
  • Others like the customer interactions.
  • Figure out who will be filling the various roles.
  • Speak up about any limitations or concerns.
  • Determine who has the canonical time piece. People will ask. People want to know.
  • Set a timer for 10 minutes prior to the time slot. This will help to remember to offer and provide additional assistance.
10 minutes before the time slot.
  • Allow people to continue to read menus, but keep an eye out for "loitering" and ask them to step back.
  • Begin boarding anyone that needs additional assistance.
  • For the next five minutes hold the line!
  • Make sure to keep asking if everyone has a boarding pass.
  • Handle any pre-boarding passes. Please limit each game to one pre-boarding pass.

Make sure to not start boarding until it is the time slot start time. Be precise. And it is better to be a minute late than a minute early.

At the start of the time slot.
  • Make sure everyone has stepped back from the menus.
  • Call up the first boarding pass group.
  • As that group wraps up selection of games, call up the next group for boarding pass.
  • Repeat the previous step.
As the boarding process is winding down. 10 minutes or so?
  • Make sure that the seated tables have a GM.
  • Make sure the GMs have what they need.
  • Make sure to address anyone milling around.
  • You may need to scramble to find space for other players.
20 minutes after the time slot starts
  • Put on a smile.
  • Things should have calmed down.
  • Do your chores, see below.
  • Support the customers.
  • Get a drink of water.

Seating Procedure

Before the Slot

Hosts organize boarding passes in groups, using only as many as we have capacity to cover for that shift (twelve GMs? 60 passes)

We can easily hand out more boarding passes if we still have space, but it’s harder to squeeze in pass-holders when there are no seats left.

Hosts hand out boarding passes in groups (give out all As, then Bs, etc.) so that friends can play together; random sequencing of letter groups matters less than handing them out in groups, because people will want to be able to play together.

Slot Start Time

At slot start time, give the remaining boarding passes to the Greeter who will be out among the attendees answering questions and helping people.

Slot Start Time

The other hosts will randomly sort the stack of lettered signs (Z, D, L, etc.) that correspond to the boarding passes. Any letter groups that weren’t included in the original passes should be removed.

Host Caller will begin calling up people by groups, holding the sign up high. As groups make their selections, the lettered sign is attached to the easel so players know what’s been called already.

Groups could potentially be called up together (“seating B and E”) if having 12 at a time is more efficient.

The Handler hosts will work with the players to make their choices, taking boarding passes and directing them to the appropriate table.

Late arriving Pass holders with a letter that’s already been called can come up and choose a game (instead of having missed their chance).

Hosting Roles

Responsible for the "first impression" of Games on Demand. This involves:
  • Being in front of the hosting tables.
  • Handing out boarding passes.
  • Being attentive to the overall flow and appearances at Games on Demand (e.g. are things inviting?)
  • Dispersing lines and swarms. (The seating procedure is there to minimize the need for these.)
  • Ensuring that people boarding are given personal space; No pushing, shoving, and crowding out.
  • Inviting those on the fringes. (Some people will be anxious.)
  • Having a good ear.
Responsible for communicating what boarding passes are now boarding. This involves:
  • Selecting, at random, the boarding pass order.
  • Calling out what boarding pass group is now boarding.
  • Making sure the "Now Boarding" sign is updated.
  • Being attentive to the overall flow at the host tables.
  • Having a big voice.
Responsible for helping patrons choose their game. This involves:
  • Being behind the hosting table.
  • Collect boarding passes from patrons.
  • Marking down player selections on menus.
  • Setting aside games that are full.
  • Handling multiple people talking at you at once.
  • Inform the players which table they will be at.
  • Having a patient soul.
Host Boss
A bonus role, you should have another one as well. Responsible for handling the tricky situations. If someone were to ask "Who's in charge here?" that would be the Host Boss. This involves:
  • Dealing with upset players.
  • Asking a player to leave.
  • Providing backup to conflict .
  • Capable of Acting Under Fire.

Getting Ready for the Next Slot

  1. Get somebody to start sorting the just handed in boarding passes.
  2. Gather up the just-used game menus.
  3. From the ticks at the top of the menus, write the expected number of players on the record sheet. Have somebody take the record sheet and go collect tickets.
  4. Look at the schedule to see if there are any GMs slotted for the next shift who are already at a table. If so, put that menu aside, to keep them at the same table they were just at.
  5. Erase the player ticks, “X” over any games, and table numbers from all the used menus. (Except for the set-aside ones just mentioned, leave those table numbers, but erase player ticks and “X”s.)
  6. Put away all the menus that won’t be used in the next shift, alphabetize by first name.
  7. Gather the new menus for the next slot, based on the GM schedule. Some GMs will have both 2-hour and 4-hour games, so make sure you grab the correct one, based on what they are scheduled for.
  8. Assign each GM to a table.

      Details on using the table map:

    • The table map should indicate the end time that the table is in use until.
    • For example, for games starting at 2pm, 2-hour games will last until 4pm, and 4- hour games will last until 6pm. Tables assigned to 2-hour games should have a “4” written next to them, and 4-hour games should have a “6” next to them.
    • For any GMs that you are keeping at the same table, update the end time on the table map for their table number.
    • Erase any times next to tables that will be done at the start of the next shift, so it’s easy to see what tables will be available for the next slot.
    • For example, you are getting ready for the 4pm shift. You’ll erase any “4”s.
    • For GMs that don’t have a table number assigned yet, look at the map and find them an empty table. (If possible, tables for games with declared mature content should be further away from tables for all ages.)
      • Write the new end time on the table map.
      • Write that table number on the GM’s menu page.
  9. all of the GMs have been assigned a table, record the table numbers and GMs on the record sheet for the next slot. It’s easiest for the ticket collector if you do this in numerical order.
  10. Put out the menus on the front of the table, for players to see, separated by 2-hour and 4-hour games.
  11. Determine how many boarding passes to hand out for the next slot, and set aside that many boarding passes.

      Details on boarding pass counts:

    • This is based on the minimum maximum number of players for each GM.
    • Basically, the boarding pass is a promise there will be room for you to get into a game in the next slot. To make sure this is the case, you look at how many players we could accommodate if every single game that was chosen happened to be each GMs smallest game, but filled to its capacity. So, if a GM has one game that fits 2-4 players, and another game that fits 2-6 players, the minimum maximum for that GM is 4. (If the smallest game is chosen, the one that can fit only up to 4 players, then the maximum players that GM can handle will be 4.)
    • So, for all the GMs starting in the next slot, add up each GMs minimum maximum, and that is the number of boarding passes to hand out. To nail this home, here’s an example:
        GM X is offering a 2-4 player game and a 2-6 player game [GM X’s min max is 4]
        GM Y is offering a 1-8 player game and a 4-6 player game [GM Y’s min max is 6]
        GM Z is offering a 3-5 player game and a 4-5 player game [GM Z’s min max is 5]
        So, for this slot, you can hand out 15 (4+6+5) boarding passes.
    • Note that this means that most likely there will be more available spots in games than boarding passes we handed out (it would be a big coincidence if every single game chosen was the smallest one). So, even when you run out of boarding passes, encourage interested players to come back at the start of the slot because chances are very good that there will be room for extra players. (Plus some folks won’t return, or will decide they don’t want to play one of the available games after all, etc.)
  12. Now is the time to do the final bookkeeping. Add up the total number of expected ticket dollar amounts for 4-hour games and for 2-hour games. Count up these totals in the tickets. Record the amounts on our record sheet, and the Gen Con envelopes. Put tickets in the envelopes and turn them in.

Other General “Chores”

  • Find out about available overflow space. Record that information in the Host Bible.
  • Walk through the gaming area. Keep it tidy.
  • Keep the signage visible and legible.
  • Ensure that table numbers are visible.

Host FAQ

What should I do if a GM isn’t there?
Before you seat anyone at the table, let them know their GM is not yet there. It is key to set expectations. Perhaps they would want to choose another game?
Someone had a great suggestion for how to improve the whole hosting process. Should I do it?

As a matter of policy and procedure we will not be changing any patron facing interaction of Games on Demand. That means:

  • No changes to how boarding passes are handed out.
  • When we begin boarding people.

This is important because once our patron engages with Games on Demand, we don't want to change things on them. It leads to confusion and customer support distraction.

It is key to set expectations. Perhaps they would want to choose another game?
Where do I find out about overflow space?
  • The GM HQ staff will help you find an overflow location.
It looks like everyone is here. Can I start boarding early?
No. Expectations have been set. Don't start boarding early.
Are there any perks for volunteering?
Aside from the warm fuzzy of altruism there are a few perks:
  • For every 8 hours (rounded up) of volunteering, you get one pre-boarding pass.
  • If you volunteer 16 hours or more, you can get your badge fees reimbursed.
A group of volunteers wants to grab a free table and play. Two questions:
  1. Is it okay to grab a table?
  2. Do we have to pay tickets?
  1. Yes, but pull aside a host and clear it with them.
  2. No. But you must each share with each other a Games on Demand war story. And be ready to bail if space is needed.
I'm an off-schedule volunteer. Me and my three non-volunteer friends want to grab a free table and play. Two questions:
  1. Is it okay to grab a table?
  2. Do we have to pay tickets?
  1. Yes, but pull aside a host and clear it with them.
  2. Everyone, except for the facilitator, must pay tickets.
Do we have access to a printer?
Maybe. The hotel business suite may be able to help.