Thursday, March 7, 2019

Gary Con Day 1: Berserk Robots, Hotel Waffles, And Crazy Yanks!

Day 1 of Gary Con has now come to a close. (For me anyway -- I'll bet there's still a LOT of gaming still going on Out There in Lake Geneva!) I love the fact that Gary Con is the Big Little Convention - it's big enough to have more than you can possibly see and do, but small enough to have that friendly everyone-knows-you attitude. I never feel "swallowed up" by Gary Con, and I was constantly approached by old friends and new ones. I'm having an awesome time -- and it's just the FIRST DAY!

As usual with these little travelogues, these are my thoughts and experiences of the day's events in somewhat chronological, yet haphazard order. Here we go:
  • God help me, but I love hotel waffles. I will never stay at any hotel chain that doesn't offer a make-'em-yourself waffle maker in the lobby for the morning breakfast folks.
  • thoom-thoom-Thoom-Thoom-THOOM-THOOM-Thoom-Thoom-thoom-thoom (This is what my room sounded like all night because I'm adjacent to the hotel stairwell.)
  • I left the hotel wearing only a short sleeve shirt. It was only 15 degrees, and I was just walking to my car, so I didn't bother pulling on my hoodie for the walk. I passed someone outside, bundled up and shivering. "Holy crap! You're only wearing a t-shirt?!?" he shouted. "I'm from Ohio; I'm used to this kind of weather. Besides, I have hoodie if I need it!" He laughed and said "You Yankees are CRAZY!" That's when he walked to his car (Alabama licence plates). He didn't have a frost scraper, so I used mine to get him cleaned up (he thanked me profusely) and we both left to drive over to the convention.
  • Nine out of ten guys here are sporting full beards (myself included). Just a trait I noticed this year.
  • I brought my DCC hardback rules and my MCC hardback rules to get them both signed. I hope I get those quickly because carrying around an additional 70 pounds of books is the PITS.
  • Raced into the Lodge for my first game of the con and one I've been looking forward to for months: a Mutant Crawl Classics game of "Return to the Museum at the End of Time" run by the game's creator Jim Wampler. This is a sequel to one of the first scenarios released for the game. The high points: We found the ancient museum again, but there had obviously been some excavation activity since the last time we visited. We were able to stop a telepathic rat from sounding the alarm (but we accidentally let it fall to its death before we could ask it anything). While exploring, four of our group found a portal that jumped into -- to find themselves 500,000 light years away in deep space. After finding a group of feral gopher-men (the replacements for the dead PCs), we found another machine that digitized another teammate into a living hologram. After fighting a berserk robot, we ran out of time and called the game. It was great fun, and Jim runs a great game. I hope my MCC RPG game tonight runs as well. We'll see...
  • Stopped by the vendor's hall which is MUCH larger than in years past. There is a ton of stuff to purchase, so I need to keep control of myself before I blow through my funds in Day One. But one item I had my eye set on since the announcement on Facebook were the custom-made pens by Jerry Savage. Fantastically beautiful! Worth every cent.
  • I also picked up a large Cthulhu statue for my game room because the Elder Gods demanded it.
  • Some friendly con advice to the GMs and Judges out there: Once your game is done, please pack up and leave the table. Don't sit and BS until your session time is up. Case in point: I got to my table 15 minutes early, and the game at that same table had already wrapped up, but the GM and players sat around and rehashed plot points and adventure scenes as I and my players began to gather. The GM at one point glanced at his watch and said, and I quote, "We still have 5 minutes." At exactly their end time/my start time, THAT'S when they began picking up their stuff to leave the table. So that took 5 minutes, then I had to take another 10 minutes to set up and get the players situated. So I started 15 minutes late. C'mon folks. Don't be Those Guys. If you finish early, please pack up and take the gab session elsewhere so the gang following you can start on time. 
  • My game of Dead in the Water for MCC was a success, even though I had to "railroad" the last 30 minutes to get to the end. My players were doing great, but somehow we were still far away from the Big Climax with 30 minutes left. I made the offer to the players: "OK, we can either stop wherever we end up at end time, or I can fast-forward you through all of the between-scenes and get you to the Big Finish." They elected for the fast-forward, so I described their journey from Point A (where they were stuck) to Point B (where the Big Bad was lurking). With a few well-placed harpoon shots, the Sea-Wraith was defeated! My players also thanked me for the fast-forward because everyone likes to see how the story ends!

And here are a few pix to round out today's report...
 Like I said, I *LOVE* hotel waffles.
 Jim Wampler signed my copy of MCC. He also presented each of us with an MCC button and a Gamma World mini!
 Speaking of Gamma World, I love that the event walls are covered with classic module covers like this one.
 The Gary Con wizard.
 This was a game of TOON in full swing!
 Vendor's Hall up and running. It's about six times the size of this one photo.
 A whiteboard for pick-up games. A great idea to have available so you can get folks to show up after hours!
 Gary Con purchases thus far...
 I adore this pen with the classic iron key for the clip. Made out of cherry and walnut I believe.
 The Table of Honor found at every Gary Con in remembrance of Gary.
 One of the many MANY gaming rooms in full swing!
My wife texted me with "What are you doing right now?" I sent her this picture of my MCC players who all said "Howdy!"


  1. Right on
    Sounds like a fun start 😁

  2. What joy! Thank you for sharing so eloquently.


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