Monday, August 20, 2012

Gen Con Wrap-Up: Steampunk Pirates, Useless Shoe Inserts, And Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

I'm home now after "The Best Four Days in Gaming." I'm also popping everything in the medicine cabinet as I try to shake a dreaded case of Con Crud. I'm going over some random thoughts about the event that I jotted down here and there as well as some photos I meant to post earlier. I also took pictures of what I came home with (slightly less of a haul than last year), and I'll close with a personal announcement about next year's Gen Con:

  • If I could summarize the overall theme of the costuming this year by what I saw most of, for the men it would be "Steampunk pirate." For the women, it would be "Slutty fill-in-the-blank."
  • On the way home, I passed a cargo truck that was COVERED in Radioactive/Biohazard/Poison placards. Whatever he was hauling must've been super-scary. I idly wondered: "If I run him off the road and release those toxins, would I jump-start the Mutant Future apocalypse?" But he took the next exit, so the world is safe.
  • I got some of those Dr. Scholl's "gellin'" shoe inserts to prep my feet for 4 days of walkin'. It was like slogging through Jello everyday. My feet were still tired and, as a bonus, I got a blister across the tops of my toes from where they rubbed against the insides of my shoes due to the extra "lift" under my feet.
  • I plan to post my three Con-run modules in the next few days (Gimme Shelter 1 and 2, and Weed World). I'll also post the Thundarr the Barbarian script and pre-gens for those who want to run their groups through it. Speaking of which...
  • If I can find time, I'm going to write up the Thundarr game as played by the Gen Con players as a fictionalized "lost episode" of the cartoon. They stayed in character so well and played it so straight, it was like watching an episode unfold. I gotta share it with you all, but it's going to require a bit of work on my part. I may run it as a three-part series.

And now for some remaining random pictures taken here and there:

At the Dead Games Society cocktail party, "Vincent" the mascot polishes off a bottle of gin.

That giant dragon balloon sculpture is finished. Wings, fire breath, 7+ feet tall. It was an amazing piece of work that took 3 days to complete.

Let's see, starting from the top left, I brought home Skull Mountain, James Ward's Dark Outpost, a hardback copy of Zak's Vorheim, my own copy of Are You A Werewolf?, the D&D CD from Midnight Syndicate (I have every other CD they've released), Dungeon Run, two "new-old stock" Task Force Games - Intruder and Valkenberg Castle, and Gloom and expansion deck.

My messenger bag wasn't cutting it, so I broke down and purchased a Bag of Holding backpack from Offworld Designs. How big is it? It held everything pictured above PLUS the books I brought with me PLUS my laptop and tablet WITH room to spare. It's a canvas beast. The DCC RPG rulebook was purchased through Goodman Games, but I placed it there so you'd understand why I purchased a set of  DCC-compatible polyhedrals (and skull dice bag). The only one they didn't have on-hand was a d14, but I got a matching one from eBay the second I got home.

OK, wrapping up with that personal announcement: This will probably be my last Gen Con for the foreseeable future. I did enjoy myself and it was great running games, playing games, and meeting pals. However, Gen Con is just too big of an event for my tastes. Every game I played in or ran was held in the hotel furthest from my own, requiring a hike of several blocks for each one. The crowds are overwhelming -- worse so in the Dealer's Hall. My ears are still ringing due to the din. The prices are high and the distance is great to get there. The same experience can be had much cheaper and closer, in my experience. Although I do love Gen Con, I always feel beaten and ill when I get home rather than refreshed, inspired, and rejuvenated.

Therefore, I'm taking my leave of Gen Con next year and rather refocusing on the smaller con circuit in my own backyard (Ohio). Con on the Cob is coming up this fall, and Origins is held less than an hour's drive from here. I could attend U-Con if I wanted to head up north. And, of course, I **WILL** attend Gary Con next March, as it's become my favorite convention to attend by far. If I'm gonna roadtrip next year for only one convention next year, this is the one I'll go to, no doubt about it.

So thanks for the great times and memories, Indy. I'm gonna miss you next year. But we're not breaking up! I'm just suggesting that we see other conventions for a while.


  1. Always nice to see more people getting into Gloom. As a gamer it's top notch, but as a way of getting none gamers to understand what we do and how much fun we can have, it's second-to-none.

  2. NTRPG con, man, I'm telling you! No crowds, lots of special guests from the golden age of the hobby, relaxed atmosphere with plenty of gaming going on, tons of hot teenage groupies....give it a shot.

    I lied about the groupies.

  3. I've heard a lot of great things about NTRPG. It's just one of those "too far for me to get to" cons. Gary Con (6 hours by car) is about as far as I'm willing to travel.

  4. That Thundarr game was rad to the max! I played Thundarr-1 (not to be confused with Thundarr-A), and had a great time! The interactive performance between the mirror-verse Ooklas' was really something special. And I mean that in every way you could possibly interpret it. Great game!