Hascon Day 1
Hascon has exceeded my expectations. Having said that, my expectations were pretty low. Still, I was pleasantly surprised. They really seemed to go all out. I have not been through any of the “Brand Experiences”, but was impressed by what I did see in the Transformers area as I was rushing by.
Of course, as expected, there was nothing resembling a dealer room. However, there was one dealer in the back room on the fifth floor that actually was selling toys including Transformers. Nothing I was looking for, but at least there was one booth with promise.
For the most part the event was well planned. There was plenty of staff around to answer questions. They managed the insanity of the exclusives line pretty well, though that is one area they really need to do better next year. They initially had two registers and the line moved crazy slow. They added a third, which didn’t seem to help. The line got so long that the Fire Marshall refused to let anyone else get in line at one point. I was in early as a VIP, and got right in line. It was still over an hour to get my exclusives and it made me miss the TF Panel I wanted to go to. They really needed to have at least five or six registers for exclusives and a better method of moving the line along. They could have handed out order forms in line so you could just fill it out and hand it in at the register. This is there first con, so if that’s the worst of their logistical issues, then they are in pretty great shape. Also annoying was that they announced two per person on the SDCC exclusives and four per person on the Hascon exclusives and then abruptly changed the Hascon exclusives limit to two per person when I was five people from the front of the line. It didn’t matter for me, but I was trying to pick up exclusives for friends, and couldn’t. Again, that’s probably inexperience, but they will need to address it for next year.
Other than the exclusives line, I was a little disappointed with the Hasbro store (I refuse to call it a boutique). They didn’t have a ton of toys, really just a small representation of recent releases from across all brands. I was kind of expecting a lot of new product that is just hitting stores or hasn’t reached stores, like The Last Knight Deluxe wave 3, Leader Dragonstorm, or Titans Returns Wave 5. They had none of that. They did have a couple new things. They had one of the Rescue Bots Flip Racers 3-packs I haven’t been able to find and the RID Combiner Galvatronus, which I don’t think has been seen anywhere, so that was cool. They did have The Last Knight Deluxe wave 2, which has been hard to find, but I already have them. I think for next year they need to make an effort to have the new stuff that people are actually searching for.
I was able to get a SDCC Skateboard Optimus Prime, so that really made my weekend as I missed it on Hascon. They sold out of a lot of the SDCC exclusives today.
There are some other minor planning issues. For example, giving out autograph session vouchers an hour before the session is really problematic if you have a scheduled event an hour before. Saturday I will be on the Hasbro tour when I need to pick up a voucher for the David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley, Jr. autograph panel. I know you can’t make it so everyone can do everything, but there needs to be a better method for doing that.
One of the complaints I’ve heard is that there aren’t enough panels and activities for Transformers (or any one brand). One thing Hasbro could do next year, is allow for fan run panels. Not sure where they would put them. They are using every bit of space, but I’m sure they could find a place. That might satisfy some of those complaining. Still, I really don’t get it. A lot of Transformers fans are fans of other Hasbro lines. I collect a lot of Marvel, and will certainly look at the Star Wars toys, though I won’t buy them. Two of the panels I was looking forward to were today’s Stan Lee panel, and tomorrow’s James Gunn panel.
Of course the biggest problem is the lack of a dealer room. I’ve been very critical of that, and with good reason. They must address this if they want all fans to accept this as a real replacement for Botcon. Maybe next year they can get a function room in the hotel (I assume they have one). They could do the dealer room as part of the con, but not “inside” the main con. Then they can justify lower prices for those tables to get real dealers in. To me this is the big thing holding the con back. I really hope hey realize that.
Having said that, after one day, I would be shocked if Hascon isn’t here to stay.
Thanks for reading!