Coming up on the last day of GenCon, TJ and I decided to sleep in. We skipped our first scheduled event, Zombie Dice, and arrived a little too late for Munchkin. While I’ve never heard about Munchkin before, Zombie Dice is something TJ tells me is kind of a big deal. Wil Wheaton covered it on one of his shows for Geek & Sundry, so I’ll let the video speak my peace.
While the game does look pretty cool, I’ve come to terms with sleeping in until 8:30am on a Sunday.
We did, however, find some time to play the the Song of Ice And Fire Roleplaying Game, and I have to say that Green Ronin really has its shit together. While Artemis was the single most fun I’ve had at GenCon… ever, both DC Adventures and SoIaF are produced by Green Ronin Publishing. Hands down DC Adventures is my favorite genre/system, and this game was just as much fun.
We started the demo by selecting characters. I chose to be the bastard son of a minor noble beholden to a lord that was, himself, beholden to the Tullys. Seeing my decision, TJ chose to be the young heir of the house. Upon selecting our characters, we decided to christen ourselves members of House Johnston. Our banner was a great ape, arms outstretched, falling from the sky. Our family oath: “Ours is the banana.”
Our first assignment, my half-brother and I were sent to Lord Wisend to appear on behalf of our lord father and discuss some issue. As it turns out, Lord Wisend was seeking our father to explain why a large cart of grain and gold hadn’t arrived at his hold. Upon seeing our father’s decision to send us in his stead, Lord Wisend decided to… entertain my brother as a guest while I went back to our father to explain the situation.
Engaging the intrigue system, we argued with the lord until his Maester got nervous and sided with us. At that point we asked for a handful of men so that we could seek out the cart and get to the bottom of the situation. From there we had at it with some bandits in the name of the great ape of our house.
Truly this was a fun game. Combat was pretty standard, but the intrigue system is far more than rolling a bluff check or doing an opposed insight contest. It was very engaging, and I suspect our DM was dumbing it down for us. Actually, I haven’t played a single game based on George R. R. Martin’s book series that I haven’t enjoyed. I proceeded to buy all the books. Our DM for the encounter, who happened to work on the game, Joe Carriker, was kind enough to sign my books.
We also played a little Castle Panic and Bears! Both games were pretty fun, although I preferred Castle Panic. They had the kind of artwork and game mechanic that would be pretty friendly to children learning to game, and both enjoyed a cooperative element that I really like in multiplayer challenges.
After that we wandered The Con and made our way back to the car. The convention ran until 7pm or later, but we decided we had enough. Most of the events were winding down and that feeling you get the day after Christmas was settling in.
Observing The Madness
I had a pretty great time at the convention. There were some ups and downs, but overall it was another great year. Observed a few interesting trends during our weekend.
1. Are You Hot Or Am I A Pedophile?
I’m of an age where the difference between 15, 20, and all the numbers in between is getting harder to distinguish. Luckily, I don’t date 15 or 20 year-olds so it’s not much of a factor in my day-to-day life. However, throw hundreds of cosplayers into a gaming convention and it quickly becomes a Where’s Waldo of appropriate dress.
2. Sweat Pants Cancel Corsets
Pretty much any convention is an excuse for ladies to whip out corsets for their costumes. That makes sense, given the popularity of steam punk and Victorian-age settings. What doesn’t make as much sense is seeing someone wearing a corset with sweat pants and sneakers. Or a corset with shorts and a t-shirt. I could take a couple stabs at why this happens, but I’ll leave it to the readers to decide.
3. Disproportionate Hotness
For whatever reason, normal, plain, or fugly looking guys can and do end up with beautiful women… if they are gamers. We saw dozens of instances where a beautiful girl was hanging on the arm of someone we’re pretty sure hadn’t bathed for the entire weekend. Maybe it’s personality, true love or that gender equality is especially lagging in the gaming community, but, however you slice it, it’s proof anything is possible.
This was a great weekend, but we have to make it better next year. TJ and I realize that just two of us isn’t cutting it anymore. We need to engage The Con with a sizable force. With that in mind, we will be inviting all of our friends while excommunicating everyone that turns us down. You’ve been warned.
We will also be looking for housing closer to the event. Expensive – yes. Worth it – hell yes.
Finally, we’ll be arriving earlier. Some events begin as early as the Wednesday before and we’re ready to make almost a week of it.
Are these goals realistic? Given the hours I work and the number of children TJ has, probably not, but GenCon is a magical place where dreams come true; if you’re smart enough, brave enough, and lucky enough anything is possible (see: Disproportionate Hotness). While we’re sad to go, we’re already scheming for next year.