Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Gen Con 2016 - Narrative


I’m like a kid at Christmas and woke up at 4 am, then 5 then 6 then finally got out of bed and hit the road by 7 - arriving 9am ish to the hotel.  Parking / traffic were crazy as always but plenty of time to park at the hotel, leave my bags and get in line for the opening of the exhibition hall.  Somehow among thousands of people I bumped into both Jessica from the show, Brandon from Analog Gamer (the shirts) and the Draft Mechanic Gang.

During my wandering the hall Allen showed up and we had our trip to Harry and Izzy's for Shrimp Cocktail and meat.  We checked out the side rooms for once.  Dice Hate Me booth was very well run and we learned Bottom of the 9th.  Fun to see Richard on a card and the table next to us teaching games.  I later saw my team members Adam, Kerry, TC and Matt.   We also saw Paul at CGE room which was a great place to hang out too.

I caught up with Brandon and all of the WDYPTW pod-casters were there for the day.  Got to know Brad over the weekend also.  Both great guys -  thanks again to their wive’s for taking care of things at home and sending them to play with us.

I got notification that the room was finally ready so I got us checked in, purchases dropped off and Allen took a nap since he lives vampire hours these days.
Later that night we made our way to the Nerd nighters which was fun.  We got a free game when we arrived.  Adam who I casually know from Dayton was alone at a table so we joined him.  We played some Wurfle and Brandon’s purchase TaDa. Corey Young wandered by just as we were setting up to play Nuclear War and he and TabletopOwlBear? Joined in.  I love this game - horrible theme, but stupid fun if you can get past it.  Funny that the same card programming mechanic is reused in one of the new hot games - Dragon and Flagon this year.
I’m usually pretty zonked out with sensory overload so sitting down and reading the rules of a heavy new game just isn’t going to happen. I suppose I could read the rules in advance but I’m not great with rule books w.o the game in front of me.  So to keep it simple I set up Ice Cool in the room.  

I don’t sleep much so I was up and gone long before the others.  I saw David Sommerville - ala Vast fame - in the breakfast area and we chatted having been tweeting the week prior in my excitement to get my own copy of their game.  We somehow got on the subject of Cribbage - how hard is that for me? And ended up playing a game since I always carry a copy.
I went back to the exhibit hall to do some interviews and that was just too hard to coordinate with the three of us from the show and the vendors so I just decided to hang out with Allen and let Brandon take care of the interviews.  I completed my pre-purchase pickups.  
Allen and I were out for Sushi when I the text conversation from Mike started up about getting some tea for Paul who had tweeted earlier about having a bad day on Thursday.  I had already reached out to Paul to  help out but didn’t think of something as simple as getting him a proper cup of tea.  Just next to the convention center is Bee Coffee who was wisely open 24hrs during the weekend days of the con.  I got tea, condiments and some nuts and a poor imitation of a scone.  We crossed the entire convention center to the CGE room to find Paul to find out “I don’t drink tea....” but I he did take the snacks. We’ll damn I thought…. Who do I know that would like tea…. I know!  Ignacy.  He is always joking about it with Buonocore on their podcast.  We then made it across the exhibition hall to the booth to find him gone and his wife and Chevee Dodd - who reluctantly admitted to Mary that I’m not a crazy person and she should accept the tea for Ignacy.  I later saw Ignacey and he seemed to appreciate it.
Allen, Jessica and I played some of my old school games like Ginkopolis and Glory to Rome.
That evening we had Adrenaline with Grogan - a shooter / euro.  The four roommates plus Thomas Chidster from twitter.  We had a good time - a bit of chaos but not too long that it doesn’t wear out it’s welcome.  Paul of course does a great job teaching and entertaining while doing so.
We met up with some crew of “I Slay the Dragon” and “Cardboard Republic” to play the new hotness - Captain Sonar.  It was a 4 on 4 game of a sub hunt.  Think of it as battleship on steroids.  I was the radio operator and bad at that - and had a hard time tracking the enemy sub.  They found us and torpedoed us into Davey Jone’s locker.
We decided to head back to the room play Vast.  A bit big for the small table in the room but the hotel dining area was packed.  We made do with me as the cave, Brad was the knight, Brandon the dragon and Allen the goblins.  We muddled thru learning our roles and how to interact with each other over time and thru the fog of exhaustion - starting at 11ish wasn’t the best idea.  None the less with the Dragon approaching his win of waking and the Knight nearly killed off by the Goblins I was able to crush them all as the Cave and win.
I entered the hall with no plans and saw the designer of Lanterns alone looking lonely and actually this was a game I’ve always wanted to play.  We played a demo and it was as great as I heard so I picked up a signed copy.  I also felt awkward because he seemed to know me but I didn’t really know him.  One of the added benefits of using your name and picture on twitter all year round.
Allen met up with a friend so he was off on his own most of the day.
Jessica and I eventually met up went to dinner at the Sushi place.  We finished up in time for me to get to the Dragon & Flagon event.  I originally signed up to play but when I heard Envoy was running it  - I volunteered to help out. Fun game - good chance to hang out with the Engelstein family.  Programming actions like Nuke War in advance then when your turn comes up you complete the action if you can.
After I made a trek to see who was left at the Cabal meetup - showed up late but saw some good friends that were busy working most of the time I saw them earlier.  Burky and Brandon.
I joined Jessica and some of her friends for Code Names Pictures, Castle Knights and Potion Explosion.
We packed up the WDYPTW party suite and moved our luggage to our cars and headed back in the exhibit hall with Brandon and Brad.  This time I was able to attend some interviews for the show and suggest some Brandon had not done yet.  We played some Giant Junk Art - saw  Jay and Sin.  On my way back to the car I decided to stop by CGE to say goodbye to Paul and ended up sitting in on a Space Alert demo by with Vlaada watching.
None the less I was pretty tired and decided to head home.

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