Which is stranger? The fact that this is a Klingon quartet singing in Klingon? Or the fact that hundreds of people are walking by them like it is nothing unusual?
It’s Day After GenCon but I’m still in the gaming mindset. I have so many GenCon stories to tell! So many. I’m going to be writing about this for days. But I thought I’d better get the overview written down while it’s still fresh:
My Gamer Girl and I arrive early in the evening. Baggage claim, taxi, hotel check in. Tedious administration. But then it’s a short walk to the Indiana Convention Center to get our swag bags and take the initial pulse of the place.
This year’s big innovation is that the registration booths are open 24/7. Or at least so I am told, all I know for sure is that the will-call line at GenCon is legendary but this year it was entirely non-existent. My Gamer Girl and I were able to walk right up to the swag bag distributor with no line at all.
Leading to the first and only real disappointment of the event: no swag bag. Just a coupon book and even then it was full of not very interesting coupons.
But it is only a minor disappointment; gamer buzz is everywhere and more than makes up for any lack of swag. Already there are pickup games going on every table in every venue. In the hotel, in the convention center, in every restaurant. Wherever you see a flat surface, gamers are gaming.
My incredibly competitive brother joins us for our first event and gaming is on in earnest (the game was Small World. I’ll have a full review in a few days).
True Dungeon is as fun and amazing as ever. Really expensive at $40 each but totally worth it. And this year, we won! Finally! After three years of being defeated by that stupid dragon Smoke, this year we got her. In fact, I personally dealt the deathblow in the form of a 12-point Lightning Strike that penetrated her spell resistance. In the face Smoke, in the FACE!
|Producer Glin shows off Update 15|
We make our first venture into the vendor area and there is DDO! Actual honest-to-goodness official Turbine presence at GenCon. Cordovan and Producer Glin are manning three DDO stations in the Dungeons & Dragons area. There is a timed challenge based on gem collection in the quest Spinner of Shadows. I do okay the first time I try it but not as well the second time.
I can master this challenge and try for one of the daily prizes (an MotU expansion pack) but it is going to take a few repetitions. Probably several. And I have things to do. Many things.
There is a brief internal struggle: Competitor Geoff wants to win! At any cost! But Realistic Geoff has a full event schedule and already owns MotU. In the end my two feeble attempts will have to be sufficient as I take my leave of the DDO booth and wander back into GenCon mainstream.
Where we find it necessary to buy two games. But only two.
Today is hard-core gamer day. No fluffy boardgames, today is miniature battles. Axis & Allies War At Sea followed by Axis & Allies Miniatures. Back-to-back battle badness. Look for a more detailed write-up in the next couple of weeks but for now it will suffice to say that War at Sea was my favorite game of the Con.
My Gamer Girl and I assault the Mayfair Games section. They have a side-event going where you collect one of a set of ribbons for playing their games and a full set earns 50% off of one game of your choice. We fall prey to their clever marketing and demo several games in a row working for our discount. How devious, forcing us to play games at GenCon! By the end of the day we have sampled Streetcar, Automobile, Lords of Vegas, Seafarers of Catan, and a game who’s name escapes me but is Catan for Kids. We emerge victorious, clutching our multi-colored swath of ribbons and precious discounts.
And four more games. But we got really good deals on all of them.
Friday night is the DDO get-together, but first we have to bridge this strange and unexpected gamut of bikers. Apparently Indy booked GenCon and a big motorcycle race at the same time. Most of downtown has been turned over to us gamers but one street is blocked off through the length of downtown and is reserved for the bikers. It is hard to imagine two groups with less in common. The bikers stare at the gamers. The gamers generally avoid eye contact with the bikers. We pick our way across the exhaust-fume-filled territory and continue to the DDO get-together.
The get-together itself is lots of fun, as always. Erik (producer Glin) and Jerry (Cordovan) join us and there was even a little swag. I won a beautiful hoodie. I also won an Epic Destiny-level stupor but that is another story altogether.
All of the best things that we want to do the most are either Saturday afternoon or Saturday evening; more than we can attend. We had hoped to finish up the vendor area in the morning but I awoke with an Epic Destiny-level hangover. Yes, I earned it, entirely my bad. But still, ouch, and it meant that the schedule became even more cramped.
But this is a good problem to have (the schedule, not the hangover), so many fun things to do that you can’t get to them all. We simply have to prioritize.
Schedule adjusted, I am off to the Dragon Dice Worlds Championship. I’ve been practicing for this one, bought and traded for specific dice, I am ready and excited. And also hungover and shaky. I manage a tie in my first round but should have had a win. It is not good, I am playing poorly, more than one blunder. I feel like dooky.
Then my Gamer Girl stops by to see how I am doing, and I learn something wonderful about bringing your girlfriend to GenCon: support! She brings me water and rubs my shoulders and it works: I feel much better.
But I don’t play much better. I am simply overmatched. My army is not up to the level of the other contestants and my play is not as polished. It is annihilation. I have fun, learn a lot, but fail to win a single round. Next year Dragon Dice, just wait till next year!
Meanwhile, my Gamer Girl has found some great deals on games. Two of them.
We went to the live podcast of the DDO Cocktail Hour more out of general support for DDO and the community than anything else. But it was unexpectedly fun, Samius and Lessah are as funny in person as they are post-edit and the audience was there for a good time. Lots of laughter; a very worthwhile way to spend an hour. My Gamer Girl and I are both glad we came.
Lessah, Samius and Jerry
I think I need to send these guys a pronunciation guide for my name. They didn’t butcher it quite as badly as the DDOCast folks do but seriously, it is a simple name, easy to say. Here, follow along with me: Geoff Hanna. Geoff (Jeff!) Hanna (rhymes with banana). Samius said it differently every time he used it, all equally incorrect, but my favorite went kind of like this “gee-Oh-fuh-nuh” all run together as a single word.
|Dancing and Smiling|
Lots more people in costume at the grand Costume Ball this year, lots more people in general, it is thickly crowded. But there is plenty of room for me and my Gamer Girl, enough even for the flying elbow monster that my brother becomes while dancing. Fun. Really fun.
Seeing my Gamer Girl light up while we dance is the highlight of the Con. So pretty. She dimples when she smiles.
There is a wistful urgency to Sunday at GenCon. You know you are almost done and want to have as much fun as you can, in a hurry. The vendors are willing to deal on Sundays and there are discounts galore. Not on the most popular games, no, those are sold out. But bargains are everywhere if you are willing to look and maybe take a chance or two.
We manage to find another large bag-full of games that we just have to have, four of them, plus four Axis & Allies War At Sea boosters and two Dragon Dice boosters.
We had a game event too, all three of us joining forces again to play The Hobbit. Like the others, I’ll have a full review available … soon … or at least soonish.
I know what you were thinking. You thought that the title of this post “A complete lack of self-discipline” referred to my incredible feats of drunkenness Friday night. But no, or at least, not entirely. Let’s examine the final tally:
- Games purchased: 7
- Game expansions purchased: 4
- Game booster packs purchased: 6
Now that, right there, that represents a complete and total lack of self-discipline. We couldn’t even carry it all back and had to ship some of it to ourselves.
But it also represents several months of fun. Seven new games! Ten new expansions! I can hardly wait!