Tag Archives: Indianapolis

Gen Con II: The Wrath of Con

In which we avoid crying cat girl, meet John’s GenCon crush and defeat the scourge of metropolitan parking.

Day One of Gen Con is always a chaos. You always forget something. Sometimes something really important. And you always struggle with Indianapolis traffic, regardless of day or time.

However, yesterday was delightful as me and TJ, and newcomers Tyler and Miranda, got our bearings at Gen Con 2013.
Per the usual, parking was a 40 minute affair. Not one, but two garages put “full” signs up only minutes after we entered. Still, we did find something for only ten dollars. Having defeated parking, we strode into Gen Con like the kings and queens of promise.

We started the Con in a line. The line, however, was much shorter than last year. I was able to pick my badge and tickets very quickly, and by the time I was done there, the others were finished in their queue.

So, we hit the exhibition hall. So much stuff to buy. And I couldn’t believe the lines. Paizo, the makers of Pathfinder, had a line around the booth, and Fantasy Flight Games and Privateer Press had some of the longest lines I had seen outside of Space Mountain and Disney World. (Hyperbole!)

After wandering about and buying things we didn’t really need, we tried our hand at learning Mage Wars. It’s an awesome combination of a board game and a card game. I really wish I could have spent more than an hour with it.

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I was also haunted by a living meme. We saw a crying girl in cat cosplay and immediately became fixated. Why are you crying, crying cat girl? From where does your suffering come and is it part of your costume? Will you still take photos with my friend or is it weird now?

And then she vanished into the throng of people.

I would also like to take this moment to begrudging compliment Indianapolis. The core of the city is a beautiful, bustling metropolis that does a great job masking the horror that is rural Indiana.

Except for the homeless girls sleeping in the church doors across the street from The Con. That hurt my soul.

 

We also got a photo of TJ with my GenCon crush, Marie-Claude Bourbonnaise. We saw her last year in full anime garb and failed to get a photo with her. NEVER FORGET.

I thought it was gonna be a whole thing where we search and search and keep missing each other and just at the end, when we are both leaving, I see her and walk up. She would look at me and I would look at her…

And I would come up with a really good lie about liking whatever cartoon she was dressed as and then she would take a photo with TJ.

But I spotted her in the first 2 hours and we got it done.

So I guess I need to ratchet up my bucket list.

We also played Magic: The Gathering and I actually won all three of my matches. My winning strategy was to take all the green cards and black cards I booster drafted and add land. And now I’m the champion (one of several) of the 5pm Beginner’s Level 2 No Elimination Tournament. No doubt I’m blowing up on Twitter (@jcal101) right now.

Today’s recommendations:

Skull Kickers by Jim Zub (@jimzub). Though freely available on the Internet in web comic format, a hard copy is worth a look with beautiful art and extras in the Image Comics hardcover version I think it’s worth the investment.

Star Trek: Attack Wing by WizKid Games. I have to qualify this by saying I haven’t actually tried this game yet, but it looks great. For fans of Star Trek that want to do miniature battle without actually having to paint them this is worth a look.

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Gen Con: The Best Laid Plans of Gamers and Geeks

 

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Super Creep Face. I don’t normally look like this, I promise.

 

I’m super-mega excited for Gen Con this year. Not only are John and I both attending again, but we’ll be bringing a couple of friends along with us. Twice the people means twice the fun, right? Probably.

I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to approach the Con this year. It’s my third year, and I feel like I’m only scratching the surface of what Gen Con has to offer. There’s so much to do! Even if I went the entirety of the four days without sleeping, there’s no way I’d get to do a tenth of what’s available.

So, here’s the plan.

1.) Meet people — I’m a naturally shy person. I don’t generally like to “put myself out there” when it comes to meeting people, but I think it’s time to put on a friendly convention persona. I bought some business cards and stickers to hand out, and I volunteered to run a game for the good folks at Kobold Press. I really envy people that have friends they meet up with at Gen Con every year. So, I guess my goal is to make friends and influence people.

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HIRE ME TO EDIT YOUR STUFF.

2.) Do more — I’m signed up for some panels, some games, and I’m going to the big masquerade ball. I might even don a costume. I’m trying out my first True Dungeon run, and I’ll pretend to be on the crew of a star ship with Artemis. I’m also hoping to come away with some signed swag. My favorite game developers are going to be there! Maybe they need an editor. ūüôā

3.) Eat food — I had the best steak of my life last year, so I’m (of course) going to hit that place again. Indianapolis offers a lot of great restaurants. I don’t plan on over-indulging, but I’m definitely going to enjoy my meals.

4.) Play games — Whether for a specific event or just demoing stuff on the floor, I had a blast playing games (I mean, it’s “The Best Four Days in Gaming after all), and I’m going to play a whole bunch of them! What’s a gaming convention without trying new stuff?

5.) Keep up — Last year, I kind of burned out by the last day. I don’t want that to happen this year. I’m going to take some healthy snacks to help keep energy up; I want to do this right. It’s not often that I get to be a dude without kids for a few days, and as much as I love my children, I’m going to savor being without them for a few days.

In the end, I just want me and my pals to have a good time. Gen Con is only two weeks away. John and I will keep you up-to-date on our adventures. I hope to see you there!

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We Live For The Con, We Die For The Con: GenCon Day 2

After yesterday’s complications, I woke up ready to engage GenCon like a man takes to water after any day in Phoenix. My job keeps me very, very busy, and it’s hard to get out and play any kind of game. So we got up oh so early to join the masses in all the games.

At least I thought we were early. As it turns out, when you’re in any city leaving less than 2 hours early for anything is asking to be late. We pulled it together and got my pass and like that (BOOM!) we were playing Settlers of Catan. Even though I’ve played the game a bunch–TJ owns the game–so I don’t really need to buy a $2 ticket to play it, I had a lot of fun.

Part of being at THE CON is meeting people and playing games you both enjoy. There’s room for new goodies, but just settling in with some strangers and SCHOOLING THEM in iron age resource management is fantastic.¬†Incidentally, I did win with a friend’s favored strategy – longest road!

We then made the rounds of the vendor area. I have to say that I love the vendors because they always have soooooo much cool crap. Star Trek was really pulling down the cross merchandizing. We saw a featured card game, board game, and a minis game. Actually, Nichelle Nichols and hil Wheaton were there signing autographs. No doubt Nichols was there for Star Trek, but Wheaton has a prominent gaming channel on Geek & Sundry and has become a kind of icon in the geek community.

We came out with some swag. Chief among the goodies for me was a new edition of the Game Of Thrones board game. The game, based on the series of novels by George R.R. Martin, is one of the best tabletop games I’ve played in years. I actually owned the first edition, but various expansions and changes were made to fix balancing issues and better replicate the intrigue and strategy found in the novels.

We also walked out with some World Of Warcraft trading cards, some RPG books, and some miscellaneous swag. Tomorrow, time allowing, we’ll be able to jump into some of our favorite goodies.

We did, however, take a couple hours to try the Battle of Westeros board game. This was an enjoyable, co-op field strategy game. The kit comes with different forces and scenarios based on battles from the history of the setting of George R.R. Martin’s most treasured novels. We fielded our troops (House Lannister) and set out to make the “false king” (Stannis Baratheon) pay. As it turns out, charging my own general directly into battle proved a critical folly, costing my team the game.

Oops.

After that we found word that there was a speed dating event happening at a local bar attached to the convention, so I decided to sign up. I thought it would be a good way to meet some folks to play games and, heaven forbid, maybe engage in some romance. Unfortunately I accidentally purchased a ticket gendered for ladies. Unless I wanted to interview all the guys, which could have actually been interesting in its own right, I was gonna have to sit out.

So instead we made our way to Ruth’s Chris Steak House and had what was, hands down, the best steak I’ve eaten ever. It was amazing. The sweet potato¬†casserole¬†was also amazing.

While setbacks were¬†minimized¬†today, I’m realizing that going to a convention is a lot of work. More often than not my instincts about when and how to deal with mundane issues like parking or purchasing are wrong. Still, I give the day a 7/10 and tomorrow should be stellar.

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