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GenCon - Wednesday
I thought I'd break up my GenCon posts to one for each day. Not so much as because I have lots of pictures (too busy playing games for lots of picture taking), but because I think it will help me not leave anything out.

So, Wednesday was our travel day. We all gathered at Ms. K's house, where we got a nice mini-van cab ride to the airport. The plane was tiny -- it had a row of one seat on one side and two seats on the other. At leat it had jet engines, I don't think I could deal with a prop plane ever again. The guy diagonally in front of me had a copy of USA Today whose headline read 'Plane Crash in Venezuela Leaves 160 Dead.' I had to try to keep Roly distracted so she wouldn't see it. I couldn't believe the guy was actually reading that artical.

We arrive and check in just fine. We booked two suites, each of which consisted of a standard room with two queen beds, plus an adjoining room with a sofa (folds out to another queen sized bed), desk, and several chairs. It was awesome for playing games in during the day, and having three beds per room really cut our costs down. Plus, whoever took the sofa-bed had the added benefit of being able to close the double doors and have a little privacy (they even got their own TV).

We wandered by the convention center to point out the universal meeting spot where we would meet up if/when any of us had some free time. Also, Mr. J had failed to receive his badge in the mail and had to go to the 'Will Call' booth to pick it up. Fortunatley he did not have to wait in the new registration line which was enormous! I can't imagine not pre-registering for this convention. It seems like madness.

Walking back towards the hotel, we discovered a group of war protesters had gathered in a large square. The square is actually around a traffic circle, and the protesters had filled the sidewalk making a huge a ring of people holding lit candles. It was pretty impressive, and Fair Oriana and Skarps decided to join them. I considered it, but honestly, I was on vacation and it looked like they had more than enough people to make thier point.

We ended the day with a little dip in the hotel pool and some game playing in one of the suites. Roly and I went to bed early as I had an 8:00 am game the next day, as did Skarps and Oriana.
August 22nd, 2005 - 09:54 am | Comments (0) | PERMALINK

GenCon - Thursday
I didn't sleep very much Wednesday night. Part of this was due to excitement, and part due to it turning out that Mr. J snores with the might of ten ordinary men. We arranged with Mr. H to give Mr. J the sofa bed the following night so we could have doors between us and him and hopefully be less disturbed during our precious few hours of sleeping time.

So Thursday morning it's off to the convention center for my first game - Robbing Hood. It's a minatures game played with legos. Four players start with a band of lego thieves in the corners of the board. A road leads down the middle through which progresses a slow and poorly guarded wagon filled with loot. First person to steal the treasure and return it to their camp wins (or last man standing, if it comes to that -- which it does.)

It was a fun game, only lasting about an hour and a half. I made an early rush for the treasure, and was cut down pretty hard by the black team. I managed to take him out of the game but then was left with only as single man left (and you need two to carry the loot). So I perched in a tree with a bow shooting anyone who came near the treasure. That didn't last -- I was the second one removed from the game. As happens all too often with this style of game, one guy held back while the rest of us killed each other, winning by having enough men left at the end to mop up the survivors. Still, plenty of fun.

I got out of there early enough to head down to the dealers' room before it opened (it was open from 10-6 each day). I mapped out where Rich Burlew's booth (Order of the Stick) would be, and went to the nearest doors. I read that he would have just 1000 copies of his new book there, and I wanted to be sure to get one. Turns out though, they only opened a few doors to better control traffic, and the one I was standing at wasn't one of them. I met up with Roly, Mr. J and Mr. H and we all had to shuffle around to join the giant mob waiting to get into the main doors. Once in we all rushed to Burlew's booth, where a giant line had formed. After sitting in it for half an hour and only moving a couple feet, I abandoned it so I could see what I could of the rest of the hall before having to get to my next game (at noon).

I tried to just circle around and make note of the things I was interested in so I could decide what was worth buying later. I saw that Wizards had some HeroScape expansions that I definitely wanted. Also, Fantasy Flight Publishing (who I've never heard of) had a booth with a ton of interesting looking games. They had one called Decent that was your standard dungeon crawl style game where each player controls an adventurer and one controls the monsters. The adventurer players are working as a team to try and beat the monster player. I really like this kind of game and it had a lot of really nice figs, but I already have Warhammer Quest which doesn't require a monster player and I found that kind of purely cooperative game more interesting.

So I continued on, met with others for lunch, then played in a Warhammer Fantasy RPG game with Roly and Mr. H. That was lots of fun, though my character was kind of useless. Mr. H provided a lot of entertainment running around blasting things with his blunderbuss. After that we broke for dinner (I don't even recall where we went or with who, but my schedule shows a three hour gap so I assume something happened). Finally, Roly and I played a 7th Sea game which turned out to be a living campaign (meaning our characters could be used in subsequent games run by this group). It was pretty disorganized, but once we managed to cut through the confusion it was pretty fun. It would've been better if we hadn't needed to waste an hour plus generating characters, or waiting for the GM to get his act together.

Finally, ending at 11:00, we get back to the hotel and pretty much pass right out.

EDIT:

Roly points out that the 7th Sea game happened first, and the Warhammer Fantasy game second. Also, at some point in the afternoon I did managet some more time in the dealer's room (perhaps between 7th Sea and Warhammer). I walked over to Rich Burlew's booth which was now totally empty (Rich sat there staring off into space) and still had books left. I easily purchased a book and got Rich to sketch in it. I later find out that Roly also noticed his booth was empty and purchased a copy of the book for me (also sketched in). Now we have two copies.
August 22nd, 2005 - 10:16 am | Comments (0) | PERMALINK

GenCon - Friday
Sorry folks, I have no pictures from Friday. Too busy having fun I suppose.

Thursday night we discovered that the doors did indeed keep Mr. J's snoring at bay, allowing us to hear Mr. H's snoring much better. He's got nothing on Mr. J, but still loud enough to disturb sleeping on occaison. Tomorrow night, we will go use the extra bed in the other suite in hopes of having more restful sleep.

I contemplated skipping my first game Friday as it was Warhammer Fantasy again but this time without Roly or Mr. H, and with the same GM (who was pretty good, but unfortunately had the tendency to always listen to whoever was loudest, causing me to miss turns regularly). But I decided to go to it, as it would keep me occupied for the early hours when the exhibit hall was closed or first opened and like to be the most crowded.

Turns out this game used the same characters of the other game, though the plot and tone was wildly different. First off, the group was much less punchy which I attribute to the early hour (9:00 AM). Secondly, there was much less combat (in fact, only one real battle at the end) and the plot was more centered around mystery solving. Unfortunately, based on the previous experience I took the character most geared towards combat and once again found myself nigh-useless! Oh well, it was still reasonably fun. I like the system, and the GM was fairly good. Last year there was at least one game that I wished I hadn't signed up for at all, and this was certainly better than that.

Next I returned to the exhibit hall. I knew the group in general didn't have many games on Friday night (except Skarps, who always books his days full from 8 to midnight), so I wanted to pick up a game that we could play. While I was sort of interested in Descent (the dungeon crawl game from Fantasy Flight), I also noticed a game by them called RuneBound that looked kind of interesting. I wanted to play a demo before making a decision though. I'm glad I did, as I ended up liking RuneBound quite a bit, and decided it was a much better purchase than Descent. I went to the counter but low and behold, they were sold out! Completely too, not just for the day (some places would only release a quarter of their stock to the floor each day to give more people a shot at getting what they really wanted).

I then went to the Wizards booth to get some HeroScape expansions -- also sold out! Though they would release more the next morning, I was starting to feel kind of frustrated. I recalled Mr. K last night mentioning another game called Shadows Over Camelot which was supposed to be entirely cooperative (he brought it up when I told him about Descent), so I decided to go look at that. It looked pretty interesting, so I just bought it right away. I wasn't going to make the same mistake I did with RuneBound and wait to play a demo!

I also discovered a little booth selling various collectibles that had a few of the HeroScape expansions. They were $2/piece more, but I bought two anyway. I'm glad I did, as each day I checked back in at Wizards they would never have any. I generally cruised around the exhibit hall quite a lot on Friday (some of the pictures from Thursday may have been from Friday, I don't recall). I decided to skip Evil Stevie's Pirate Game in favor of heading back to the hotel to play some games with the folks we came with.

We tried to sneak into a conference room on the second floor while Mr. H and Mr.K went out to buy some beer, but were kicked out by security. We ended up dragging one coffee table from one suite into the other (along with most of the chairs) to make one larger table to play around. We played Camelot, and then the new Paranoia card game, and general had an awesome time and stayed up way too late. Mr. S came and joined us (he was attending the convention but staying at his folks place nearby) bringing our total up to 9 people. We stayed up entirely too late, and crashed around 1 or 2 in the morning.
August 22nd, 2005 - 10:39 am | Comments (0) | PERMALINK

GenCon - Saturday
At last, a good night's sleep is had. Having been up so late, we sleep through my first game (BrickQuest), but manage to drag ourselves up at 9:00. We assemble at the Steak & Shake for breakfast -- lousy service and worse food. Mr. J bails to try and get some time at the exhibition hall before our Living Greyhawk game at 1:00.

I spent some time in the hall myself, picking up a copy of the Paranoia card game to bring into the office (we play board games during Thursday lunch). I found someone selling random Games Workshop sprues cheap, and had an idea to pick up some dwarf bits to use for models in the Living Greyhawk game. I first bought some clippers so I could cut out the bits from a nearby booth, then started sifting through the dwarf sprue bin. Turns out, near the bottom there were a bunch of already assembled and some even painted figures! Granted, the paint jobs weren't great, and several of the models had suffered damage being shoved into a big bin like this, but I managed to buy about 8 models plus a couple extra sprues of bits for $12. Not bad. My attempts later to find crazy glue to glue on the bits were foiled, so the assembled models were very much appreciated.

We went to our Living Greyhawk game with four MacGoohens in attendance. We burned a little time getting our two sub-contractors characters generated. An interesting pair, they had zero pen and paper experience though were well versed in NWN. They had an unusual perspective on the game. I was asked 'What kind of gold drops should we expect?' He seemed a little surprised when I told him we weren't like to see more than three or four total combats though the game.

I had schuduled a SpyCraft 2.0 Intro game to start at 6:00 that evening, the exact same time our Living Greyhawk game wrapped up. That would leave, umm, 0 minutes to travel from one game to the other. That was poor planning. Luckily, I had discovered that SpyCraft is actually based on d20, so I didn't mind just giving it a miss to go out to dinner and chill in the hotel room. Actually, we tried to get to bed early, as we had our second Living Greyhawk game the next morning at 8:00.
August 22nd, 2005 - 11:14 am | Comments (0) | PERMALINK

GenCon - Sunday
Sunday was a short day. Sad to see it end, but kind of happy too as exhaustion was starting to set in. We had one last MacGoohens game, during which Roly took the camera to get some shots of the mini painting contest results. Sadly, the entries were in glass cases which cause a lot of glare, and not being there myself I wasn't sure what to put for captions. But I think you'll enjoy the shots anyway.

The MacGoohens game was fun as usual, though we were down to three MacGoohens. We grouped with some 3rd levels though, so lost no time waiting for character creation. Sadly, Mr. H's character died with an hour or two still to go. We did get him rezzed at the end, but it was a bummer at the time. Plus, he loses XP. We had the usual talk about trying to get someone to GM more Living Greyhawk for us before next year's convention, but we'll see if that ever happens.

After that game, I took a final spin through the wargames room in hopes of getting some good pictures to share with you all. The exhibit hall was open until 4:00 and I hear some good deals were cropping up last minute, but I decided it was best not to go in there. My wallet was starting to cry.

All in all, I had an awesome time. I can't wait for next year. Today is going to be very strange not getting to play any games. I've taken the day off to recoup. Anyone want to swing by for a game or two?
August 22nd, 2005 - 11:35 am | Comments (0) | PERMALINK

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