Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Gary Con Day 0: My Return Pilgrimage To "Gamer's Mecca"

With every game convention I've ever attended, I have filed a daily travelogue so folks who couldn't make it would be able to game vicariously through my thoughts, photos, and amusing anecdotes. I assume some of you may have thought this blog was dead as I rarely post here any more. Far from it! I admit I have been lax, but tradition is tradition, so I dusted off the keyboard to bring you live daily coverage from "Gamer's Mecca": Gary Con!

This year's event is Gary Con XI, which makes it six years since the last one I attended. (So, this makes me a Level 3 Attendee!) Gary Con is held yearly in Lake Geneva, WI, by Gary Gygax's kids to both honor his memory and as the best way to keep his gaming spirit alive. Four days of RPGs, board games, gamer conversations, movie viewing, and an occasional flagon of Spotted Cow.

As usual with these little travelogues, I'll share what I've seen and done to give you a feel for what's going on each day. The con starts tomorrow, but adventures have already begun! Here we go:
  • I have a handheld digital voice recorder I keep in my car for anytime inspiration strikes. I've found that my best writing ideas come during the tedious mindless drives over long distances. I had hoped to fill it with many new concepts and adventure ideas. My first entry was a reminder to mention in this blog post that I have a recorder in my car. Ok, so that's out of the way...
  • Some folks like to listen to music or podcasts as they drive. Me? I filled a flash drive with hours and hours of horror radio shows. I spent 7 hours listening to Lights Out, Inner Sanctum, The Weird Circle, and other terror tales. It's inspired me to get some new Cryptworld materials out there. Stay tuned for more news...
  • Speaking of new materials, at Gary Con, I'm running two games that I'm playtesting for near-future release. One is "Dead In The Water"-- a Mutant Future adventure I've written and run many times in the past. I've been working on getting the stats converted to Mutant Crawl Classics -- a new post-apocalyptic gaming passion of mine. The adventure is written, the artwork is nearly done, and if the game works out over this weekend, I'll submit it to Goodman Games for final approval. Here's hoping! (Also, it's my first time running a DCC/MCC game for the GG Road Trip, so wish me luck!)
  • The other game is a game system built from the ground up. I've always wanted to write a comedy RPG, but humor is hard to do in a game. Either it becomes hokey and cliche-ridden (unfunny) or a yuk-yuk-fest where there is no game, but just a lot of slapstick nonsense (unfun). But I think I finally stumbled upon a game system where the humor is built into the game system itself, so the funny stuff occurs through play rather than by pre-written jokes. I'll explain more on Friday when FORSOOTH! hits the gaming tables for the first time!
  • Ugh, it smells like someone microwaved Mexican food in my hotel room. THIS is why you pack a bottle of Febreeze when you travel, folks.
  • Got over to the Lodge to swing in and pick up my pre-registration materials. And by "swing in", I mean stand in line for an hour. Lots of folks had the same idea I did.
  • Every so often, someone at the registration desk would yell over the din: "HAVE YOUR ID NUMBER READY WHEN YOU GET TO THE DESK!" I then would watch everyone in line taking out their phones to look up their ID number.
  • Got my swag and was starving, so I left to go grab a burger -- one of the delicious butterburgers available at Culvers. I went here the last two Gary Cons I attended, so I wasn't gonna miss out this time!
  • I couldn't figure out why my clocks were off until someone pointed out I crossed a time zone by coming here. No wonder I've been an hour early all day. Better reset my clocks before I miss a game. (And, of course, daylight savings in this weekend, so one day is gonna be chaos at the con.)
  • Booted up Pandora and now am listening to my Dungeons & Dragons soundtracks while eating a chocolate malted and revising my game scripts one last time until tomorrow. Good start.
And here are a few environmental shots I took during the day:
 At this point, I was half-way through the line. The folks facing away are heading toward the reg desk. The folks facing me are behind me in line.

 All of the signage is now up throughout the convention area.

 One of the vendor's rooms currently under assembly.

For any in-room downtime, I brought a few solo-play board games.

 Not Gary Con-related, but it pays to work at a book publisher/distributor on Freebie Friday! (Discontinued stock that was scheduled for disposal.)

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