August 21, 2008

GenCon Snapshot

Carolyn and I went to GenCon last week. Now that Con season is over I should have time to post a bit more than I have been. I was helping out with both conventions in the HackMaster department and it was taking up a lot of my free time.

Anyway, here's a snapshot of GenCon:
Wednesday Night- Flew a later flight on United from BOI-IND. Ticked off at lame United people that would not let me upgrade our tickets to First Class using my already purchased upgrades. They'd rather fly two empty 1st class seats than take my $400. Got to Indy pretty late, got moderately shafted by taxi cab gouging us, but got a laugh out of it since I already knew what I was gonna give the guy, so he just screwed himself out of a nice fat tip.

No bellboy service at Marriott so we had to lug our gear up to the elevator room they assigned us. Not greeted properly at the desk either. Nice to know they treat medallion members who paid extra for a concierge-level room this way....

Thursday- Got up and grabbed our mess of stuff and headed over to find Geekbert. Started having some sort of panic attack in the mass of flesh blocking the hallways of the convention center. Short of sleep and entering a level 1 freak-out thinking it's not to late to say "eff it" and grab the first cab and plane home. Luckily Topher and Zari were there and decided to help calm me down and escort us through the sea of unwashed idiots (seriously, can't people at least shower on the first day of the con?). Got over to the Omni hotel where Geebert and fiance (don't recall forum handle, but she's got the bestest first name possible) were deep in an Aces & Eights roll-n-run. Sest up the laptop and printer and ran off a bunch of Aces & Eights pre-gens for the afternoon.

We had a rather poor showing for the Tournament of Champions: 2 tables. PrincessNoin and Larry Anthony ran the tables and I ran interference. The players all partook of a read & sign of the tournament rules and they seemed to have fun. Between the two tables we had one death, one paralyzation, and one missing arm. One group was heavy on Role Play and the other was heavy on Roll Play.

After the tournament we had the unofficial HMA night out: Dinner at Boca di Beppo. The restaurant crowded us all at one big table and maybe 20 minutes into dinner the whole room was ours to play with....we stayed at the table. Not too late of a night since some of us needed our sleep and are far, far too crabby if they don't get it (Ok, I'm talking about me....I'm not any less of an a-hole than normal, I just don't give other people the opportunity to discover the fact on their own.)

Friday- Realized the curtains in the hotel room were the best made hotel curtains ever. Slept way too late not even feeling that the sun had come up. Got our gear together, sans printer, and headed off for round 2 of the ToC. PrincessNoin not up for the second round (It had some difficult parts to run) so JTolman stepped in. Tables were swapped and PrincessNoin stayed at JTolman's table to score the Roleplaying and critical thinking apsects of the game (she did this to provide parity between the two tables). We had a good GM review and most of the questions that came up were (IMO) table GM issues and not tournament issues. Only one death that I recall. Everybody forgot to vote for MVP, so I am reluctant to announce the tournament winner.

There were some serious issues with the third tournament round and we decided to only score the first two rounds. I discussed the matter with the players and gave them several options: No game, run with what we had (not recommended), run a new round written that night by the Tournament Corrdinator (TC), or play a fun game in the time spot. The players were initially promised three four-hour time slots, so any change to that would be their decision, not the TC's. They chose to play a fun game because they came to have fun first and formost.

After the tournament Imp, Neight, Shabby, Topher, PrincessNoin, Kevin Cook, Geekbert, and future-Mrs. Geekbert (Chris)....oh, and Zari (of course) stopped by for a bite to eat at Steak and Shake. Then we headed off to the Live Reading at the Embassy Suites. Some good questions, some dumb ones, and some vandalism to a table cloth occoured. Afterwards everyone headed to the Rock Bottom Brewery for an all-too loud HMA night out. Many napkins and a thankfully-empty diaper were tossed about. We got to see Micheal Phelp's 1/100th second win on the big screen and then Mark Plemmons came in to show us the loser Enie awards that Aces & Eights "won".'s hard to take an award seriously when it's printed on a crappy B&W printer and tucked into a $2 frame. I wouldn't put a picture of an ex-girlfriend in a crappy frame like that.

Saturday- PrincessNoin and my 6th anniversary (and for the record it was Joe & Bethany Tolman's 12th anniversary too) started out a bit better than Friday because we remembered to keep the heavy drape open. Geekbert needed help with a Great Space Race "tournament" so we spent 3 hours on that before heading out to the Omni for the "fun" Hackmaster game. Only 2 players showed up so we called it a no-go and after they left for greener pastures another three arrived. D'oh! We spent some quality time in the dealer's room and then headed back to the room for a nap. Seriously Jolly, we went for a nap. I think PrincessNoin read, but I caught up on Z's since I figured we'd be up late. Our "usual" group had dinner at Champions at the Marriott and I texted in a seating request for the Live Reading to Mark P. It was a joke, but I guess he actually saved us the seats for almost an hour. We all staggered in about an hour late to the live reading. Dave called the anniversary couple up to the stage for a "special" reading (aren't they all special?) and we all had fun until the door nazi showed up. I think the hero dropped the ball and forgot to check people at the door like what would make sense. GenCon gets the idiot award of the day for scheduling two big events back-to-back in the same room. A 1/2 hour buffer would've solved many problems.

After the bum rush out the door some of us met in the hall and thought about tracking down Dave & Jolly for some drinks, but we remembered that Micheal Phelps' last medal attempt was on soon. That took precedence. We watched him win again and then retired to our own room.

Sunday- PrincessNoin and I had been given unused Exhibitor badges and we hadn't abused that yet, so we entered the dealer room early because we could. Mark needed some help taking a box of product to the Embassy Suites for a 10 AM seminar Dave was supossed to be giving. When we arrived, Dave was nowhere to be found so we got ready to improvise. Just as we were about to start Dave arrived and promptly closed the seminar taking the audience out for some free coffee. We got to sit and hang out until the conversation ran it's course and then we all walked back to the dealer's room. We finally managed to get some art we liked and said our goodbyes to Kevin and TopherCo over an overpriced convcention luncheon. We went back to the dealer's room and hung out until things ended where we helped with the tear-down.

Actually we are still in Indy until Tuesday afternoon.

I got to play a few hands of a card game with Topher & Shabby, and a couple hours of Great Space Race. I'm a little dissappointed, but I'm always that way unless I get to play HM. Overall it was a pretty fun con....much better than I expected based on "stuff" I've heard before.

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