Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gary Con Day 3: Rebounding Grenades And Bailing Out The Warden

Today is my last full day of Gary Con as I plan to hit the road home nice and early Sunday morning. So I'm spending my last few hours hammering together this update and review while things are fresh in my mind. However, I have a rather lengthy "My encounter with James Ward" story that will go live while I'm on the road. So let's consider this post as "Part 1." Let's get to the wrap-up:

  • I was STARVING last night before I went to bed, so I called room service and had them drop off a pizza from the special "Gary Con Gamer Special" menu they had. It arrived in short order and I pounded it, then went to bed. The next morning, I was thankful my wife didn't come along on the trip. talk about "Save versus Poisonous Cloud!" Which bring me to...
  • This is a public apology to Jeff Sparks who played in my Mutant Future game yesterday. Jeff, you were totally right. I've been rolling my Mutant Future saving throws backwards (rolling low vs. rolling high). Thanks for taking the high road and dropping the issue during the game even though you were apparently looking right at the correct rule in the book at the time.
  • One nice Gary Con detail I forgot to mention: All gaming tables have a stand with a sign on it that identifies the table number from a distance (so you can find your game easily) as well as a "PLAYERS WANTED" or "GAME FULL" sign. You can tell as you walk in whether a table is accepting walk ins. helps to sign up for events, but you can also find a table willing to bring you in at anytime.
  • Classic bit of "Holy crap, did I screw up": In an 8 a.m. Star Frontiers game, I was in the rear of a group exploring a planet we had crash-landed on. As we cautiously made our way through a forest, our first combat encounter began with a ravenous pack of razor-toothed lizards (two dozen of 'em). I got initiative, so I threw a frag grenade into their midst. I botched the roll, then rolled again to see where the grenade ended up. It bounced BACK into our front line and went off. I took one player to -5 and another to +5 hit points. We were able to stop the bleeding and get both of them back on their feet, but I was ordered to not throw any more grenades for the remainder of the game. (We had a great time and succeeded in our mission, but that initial combat round will live in infamy amongst the group, I feel.)
  • Note to myself -- Next time, pay attention to the bottle of aspirin you purchase. I grabbed BABY aspirin by mistake. I'm popping these things like they were Skittles. It takes 6 of them to slightly affect a headache.
  • I later played in Jim Ward's Metamorphosis Alpha game. That whole epic encounter and event merits a separate post, so stay tuned for it in a following post!
  • I visited Dan's Goblinoid Games booth again just to say "Hey." A new item was now for sale: prints of the cover art from Rotworld and Mutant Future -- signed and numbered by artist Mark Allen! I bought the top Mutant Future one, which was 2/200. Turns out I missed getting the first one (1/200) by minutes! ARRRGGGHHH.
  • Spoke with Luke Gygax about the attendance figures. He knows they surpassed 550 attendees this year, and that number may go even higher. And according to a survey attendees were asked to complete, it seems they're already considering how to grow the event for next year, as it seems ready to outgrow the Lodge.
  • I attended the Gary Con raffle and auction this evening. All proceeds were being donated to the Bail Out The Warden Fund to help Jim Ward with his sky-high medical bills. The raffle was run by Luke Gygax, and Tim Kask and Frank Mentzer were the co-auctioneers. there was some crazy-rare items up for bids, including the original banner for Gary Con 1, original artwork from some of TSR's classic games, and other items donated by the original movers and shakers. By the time the evening ended, $10,000 was raised for this incredibly worthy cause. (In fact, if you've read this far, please make a donation by clicking the link above or over there in the right-hand column. Thank you.)
  • As I made one last passthrough of the gaming area, I ran into Bill who was one of the players in my Mutant Future game yesterday. "I heard you missed out on getting that 1/200 Mutant Future cover print," he said. I asked how he knew about that, and he admitted that he had bought it. When he stopped by Dan's booth again later, Dan mentioned my angst at having been beaten. Bill then very graciously offered to trade my 2/200 for his 1/200, stating that he knew it'd mean more to me having the first one. Bill, thanks for the trade. It made my day.
I think that's just about it. I need to get up early, pack, and hit the road for the long trip back so I'm in my room at the end of the day now. Remember to stop by for my Jim Ward encounter tomorrow (it will go live while I'm on the road). I want to thank the organizers for a great time. I WILL be back next year for this awesome better-than-Gen-Con-by-a-long-shot event. And you should plan to attend too.

Addendum: Just returned from the registration desk -- again. To revisit my sole complaint about the event: After yet another day of regularly stopping by the reg. desk, checking on delivery status of the 2011 cap I ordered in February, being told to come back later, double-checking, come back later, etc., all the way up until 10 p.m., that frigging cap never did turn up. Although I was presented with a replacement souvenir of a much, much higher value -- and I do appreciate the effort -- it wasn't really something I particularly wanted. A refund or the new 2012 cap would have been fine. But I accepted what was offered just to settle the issue. The entire ordeal was a series of souring frustrations over four days...all over a $10 hat. Note to self: Never pre-order anything again. It's just easier to purchase items on-site.

And here is my last set of photos from the Con:

This gargantuan lending library of games was available in the restaurant/lounge, available for any and all pick-up games you could possibly want to play.

This game of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Part the Second" was run by Brother Maynard's Brother (aka Michael Browne of the Dead Games Society). Every time the PCs would ride their horses, they had coconuts to clap together.

A game of Fuzzy Heroes being run for children. A miniatures game that uses toys and stuffed animals? **I** wanted to play!

The Kenzer and Company booth was always busy with fans of Hackmasters and KODT.

On display in the lobby was the original prototype for TSR's Dungeon! boardgame.

The Circvs Maximvs trophy to be awarded to this year's winner.

This print of the Gary Con III wizard logo is surrounded by cards autographed by many of the original TSR writers, founders, artists, and "old guard." This was for sale for $500.


  1. Dude, that guy traded you the 1/200 for the 2/200, that is awesome. Gamers rock.

  2. Heh. Not to salt your wounds, but you ran the Saving Throws backwards at GenCon, too. I just figgered you were using your own houserules, or being especially generous to the players!

    And I've really enjoyed this series of posts. Your gaming travelogues are always a delight.

    Can't wait to read the Ward post. We apocalyptic guys owe him a debt of gratitude.

  3. No more grenades for you! They hurt too much. Love one of your unintentional victims (45 down to 5;)