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My GenCon Adventure! (2013)

28 August, 2013

A bit late I know but this last week and a half has been all about catching up and work and getting prepared to go visit my mother next week.

So, as noted before, this year I traveled to GenCon by car.  Leaving on Tuesday, we made it to Cave City, a little later than we had hoped hitting traffic in Atlanta (I know, what a shock), rush hour in Nashville and some construction but it worked out alright.  Watched the premier of Face/Off (during which I IMed with my dear wife, since we usually watch it together).  After a late dinner at the best Wendy’s ever, it was time for sleep.

So many boxes . . .Day 0: Wednesday saw us shoot into Indianapolis, check into our hotel and immediately get called over to help out with the AEG booth setup, which was fun but warm (as they do not turn the air conditioning on until the Con starts).   Then made it to the end of the Ogre unboxing by Steve Jackson Games and got to help put together some ogres and other things from the set.  Afterward, stopped for a nice cup of coffee at Bee Coffee Roasters, listened to a bit of music from Five Year Mission (a local Star Trek themed geek band) and went to the AEG dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  Afterward, showed H around the convention center and went back to the hotel and learned to play Trains.  Then to bed, not to late, around midnight . . .

Another GenCon Survived!

Victorious, bloody but unbowed.

Day 1: Next day, up early to catch a shower and breakfast and I was hoping to hit the writer’s track before my game but I still did not have a badge, ended up having my badge handed off to me in passing as I was heading over to my first game.  Had six players for the first game, including H who did not have any demos before 1pm, and it went well.  In the brief period before my next game, I dashed over to the exhibitor’s hall, which was packed, wall to wall people, shocking for a Thursday.  Made it through to the art show where I stopped by Drew Baker‘s booth, as I always do, we chatted, he showed me his new piece, Drew’s take on a dragon slayer, one that showed that the dragon slayer had been in a fight.  Foolishly, I asked the price.  He told me what he should be asking for it and then offered it to me for half that . . . I said I would think about it.  I wondered over to say hello to Talon Dunning, my other artist friend there, and as soon as I was done ran back to Drew’s booth and claimed the painting (but did not pick it up until Sunday, it was too nice not to let other people see it and enjoy).  Then back to the gaming, running the first of my intrigue/mystery scenarios for five players which went very well, the group was very active and sorted out the mystery with some effort but I am very proud of the work they did.  Then a break to grab pretzels from one of the food trucks, one for H that I was forced to leave in the room as I could not find him, then to catch the end of the Queer as a Three-Sided Die panel which was excellent.  Rounded out the night in the Games on Demand area playing Carolina Death Crawl, which was dark but fun.  Fairly sure I was asleep by 1am but memories are hazy.

Sam Logan at workDay 2: Standard morning routine, shower, breakfast and off to catch part of the writing track before having to dash off for game one of the day.  Started with action adventure again with a completely full table of seven players!  Game went well and I found great amusement in the fact that the Lion character who H played the day before was played almost in the completely opposite fashion.  This was my day to wander the exhibitors’ hall as my intrigue game did not start until 6pm.  The exhibitors hall is massive, there were parts that I missed until Sunday.  So many wonderful things to look at.  Managed to get demos of the Pathfinder and Shadowrun deck building games, both of which try to bridge the space between RPG and DBG with ‘campaign’ options which will be interesting to see how they develop, and Fantasy Flight Game latest Mythos-themed game, Eldritch Horror.  Met up with Sam Logan, writer/artist of the Sam and Fuzzy webcomic, and who I am a big fan of and who I did not even know was going to be at GenCon, so a nice surprise there.  Also picked up so older Shadowrun sourcebooks at a good price.  While walked into the Catalyst Labs booth, which was right next to the AEG booth, I was called over and introduced to two younger gamers who were interested in learning how to play the Legend of the Five Ring RPG, so, I told them to meet me after my murder mystery game and to bring coffee.  The murder mystery was a bit tougher this time, the players were not quite as active and we ending just before the full four hours.  Then my new player arrived, six of them, and we started at 10pm.  Two of them had played before before the others had not, so I ran them through a brief outline of the setting, of the Great Clans, let them choose character, helped them build said characters and ran them through a short adventure.  All of which worked out surprisingly well!  Everyone, including me, had a great time and I stumbled back to bed around 2am.

Day 3.  Shower, breakfast, writing panel, action adventure game.  Only five players this time around but it ran well, again, different solutions and interesting to see how the character were interpreted by different players.  That afternoon I had my only shift in the booth, demonstrating the Legend of the Five Rings CCG naturally, and that went smoothly except for the hall closing before I could finish my last demo.  Knocked about for a bit, then dropped back to my room for a shower and change of clothes, then showed up at the Games on Demand area for some more gaming.  Ended up playing Always/Never/Now which is a clever cyberpunk game built on the Lady Blackbird engine, very intriguing.  Then more wandering around the con on the last night, still so many people gaming.  All quite wonderful.

Day 4.  You know the routine, but no writer’s track today so I just drifted about a bit before my last game, the final murder mystery, began.  A bit rough, what with everyone being tired and a smallish group, but we wrapped at 1pm with the murderer revealed.  Spent the next few hours making a last pass though the exhibitor’s hall and picking up my painting from Drew, along with a few other small things along the way.  Then breakdown . . . taking apart the booth and packing all of its components away along with all of the remain product and, of course, the air conditioners are shut off.  Still, sort of fun in an odd way.  Then back to the room to pack up.  GenCon was over, over the course of it, I GMed a total of 7 L5R RPG session for 38 players (and 37 distinct individuals as one player played in two games) including several people who had played in my games last year, all very satisfactory.

The next day, it was a long drive back, H and I exchanged tales of our adventures at GenCon (as we barely saw each other during the Con) and talking gaming and life in general.  And thus ends the tale of my latest trip to GenCon.

I have a few pictures up on my G+ account for those interested.

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