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Patrick Cossel

Grand Prix: Los Angeles wrap up

There is always a somewhat hungover feeling that comes at the end of a Grand Prix. All the overwhelming emotions of the many thousands of people I had been suppressing all weekend finally stop pounding on my sensory shield – I am exhausted.

 We wrapped up Grand Prix: Los Angeles in true Channel Fireball style – a party with a nice meal and lots of product for us to draft. Because it comes on the tail end of the GP the party doesn’t start until nine. Although I was off shift at 6 pm, I was completely worn out. Still, I went down to mingle. I played a draft, ate some food, chatted and finally called it a night.

Now, Monday morning, with most of my roommates gone (our room facilitator and all-around awesome guy Joe Sapp is the last of us still sleeping) I have a little time to reflect and recharge.

 This GP was large. Thousands of people turned out to play Magic either in the main event or on side events. I worked registration so I got to see a lot of them.

What was exceptionally pleasing was that I never once ran into a grumpy person. Customers were pleasant, happy, and not at all bothered by waiting in line.

 To our credit, we got the players through the line quickly and efficiently. I was especially proud of the registration team this weekend. From the top down, they were all excellent – hats off to Niko, our team lead. Niko is a Belgian judge who speaks some various number of languages. No really, I am pretty sure I heard at least three different languages from him. Niko took command of this team and made everyone feel incredibly important. I hope to work with him again.

My hat is off to Channel Fireball and the entire staff at this event, too. I can’t count how many people came up to the registration table just to pay compliments to how well the event was organized.

This was the fifth GP that I have worked. All five have been affiliated with Channel Fireball – the previous four were part of the Channel Fireball/Cascade Games era. While I am sure there are excellent organizers out there, these two, in my opinion, are tops. And as if to make my point, they were again this weekend.

Being able to accept credit cards on site, having a buzzer system set up to page players when their On Demand Event was ready to start (an event that starts as soon as 8 people have signed up), and being willing to listen to player feedback and respond accordingly helped to make this event excellent.

That isn’t to say nothing bad happened, don’t get me wrong – I know of one player that had his backpack full of cards stolen. Which seems to be the norm these days.

Things outside of CFB’s control include the ridiculous cost of food at the LA Convention center. A hot dog was $6.50, a fruit cup was $8.00 (not your typical Del Monte-esque fruit cup rather a larger more enjoyable one without all the sticky syrup) and a bottle of water was $4.00. I mean, I know California is in a drought, but damn!

Parking at the event center wasn’t cheap either – $15/day.

I get these centers have high overhead, but it seems silly to me to price gouge the hell out of convention goers. These prices were higher than those I have seen at sporting events! Just insane! But enough negativity.

Grand Prix:LA was a lot of fun. I was able to meet some new people, say hello to others I’ve met before, and establish new connections. Plus, I was able to talk about Magic to a whole lot of people that like Magic. How can you go wrong? And the cosplayers! Wow!

Stitcher Geralf looking for a new creation at GPLA

Stitcher Geralf looking for a new creation at GPLA

I love going to Grand Prix. I wish I could work them more. But, for now, my two a year will have to suffice. Next up, applying for GP: Denver.

© 2016, Patrick Cossel. All rights reserved.

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About Patrick Cossel,

I am a journalist and gaming enthusiast.

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