Comparing Gen Con's 50th anniversary to the previous year, I'd have to say it was much better than Gen Con 2016. Even though it SOLD OUT for the first time in its history, somehow it didn't feel as crowded. I did some miniature painting, but no speed painting. And I felt like I got to spend more time with friends, old and new.
The first thing we did after dropping our gear off at the hotel was to hit the Will Call line to pick up our badges. Despite the convention selling out, the Will Call line moved amazingly quickly. We discovered the reason: if you don't have badges to sell, you convert those booths into Will Call! Boom!
A quick visit to Thai Paradise for dinner, then back to the hotel.
Once we got settled into our chosen conference room, DJ Douglass presented me with a copy of Titansgrave! Apparently, I was the winner of the contest he was running on Twitter. Yay!
Then we got to playing some lightweight fun games. Specifically:
I decided to ride the wave into the exhibit hall as soon as it opened. First stop was the Indie Press Revolution booth to pick up the just released Fate Adversary Toolkit. While I was there, I was drawn to the Blades in the Dark Special Edition, so I snagged one while there were still copies on the shelf.
At 11:00, I attended the Monte Cook Games Seminar, at which they announced Numenera 2: Destiny & Destiny (Since over a year has passed, you can order it now!). The important thing to note is that it expands on the existing Numenera universe—it does not change the basic rules and is backwards compatible with the original Numenera.
Next up was Painting with Angel Giraldez: Nomads in Red, at noon. Red is a tricky color to highlight without it turning pinkish, so I thought I'd get some tips from Angel.
|Angel's on left, mine on right|
Then, back to the exhibit hall, where I stumbled into Exploding Kittens' Vending Machine. Their setup is clever and hilarious! It's like a bizarre interactive puppet show. A customer places their order by punching in the big buttons on the front, the vendor crew communicates via signage, and payment and product is a exchanged through the slots.
I was able to meet up with Brad and we walked the hall together. Brad was a good sport, as, once we discovered the Weta booth, I spent a half hour chatting with Leri Greer on everything from movie props to living in New Zealand. Thanks, Leri! Totally cool of you to spend so much time chatting!
While I was at the Weta booth, I picked up the Ghost in the Shell and District 9 art books (Leri was also cool enough to sign them), and Neck Port Cyber Enhancement Tattoos!
At 5:00 I had a class on Blending & Glazing Basics for Miniatures & Models. I wish I could remember what I got out of it...
Then dinner with the gang at High Velocity at the JW, where I ordered the Salmon BLT—yummy!
At 8:00 PM, I attended the RPG session: C-Squad. It's Not Just a Job, It's a Death Sentence! Apparently, Cyberpunk 2020 is popular again, as not only was it full, but the GM kept adding folks who showed up to fill empty slots. I think we had eight or nine bodies around the table.
I started Friday at 10:00 AM with another Painting with Angel Giraldez class: Dog Warrior Skin. Angel showed us how to add texture by painting in the muscle strands across the warrior's chest. He made it look easy, but I need to seriously up my game in order to pull it off.
It was getting pretty crowded and I wanted to hit the exhibit hall again quickly, so, for lunch, I hit one of the convention center counters for pizza.
I made a beeline for the Corvus Belli/Warsenal booth so I could pick up the Limited Edition Gen Con bundle of Infinity miniatures as well as a Xǐguǎn Tower from Warsenal.
At 1:00, I had a Technoir game where we played Mega-Tokyo book. I had fun, but the GM scheduled 5 hours, 'cuz he likes to take his time...
I then met up with Brad, Scott, Kristen, & Marty at Mikado for our obligatory annual sushi dinner. Again, those Seafood Puffs are amazing!
Back in the hotel conference rooms, we gathered at 10:00 to play Titansgrave with DJ. He ran a fun game and I'd like to see where the plot could have kept going.
I was excited to try out some old school RPGs this year, so I signed up for the 10:00 AM session of Star Frontiers - The Return to Digsite Delta-3. If I remember correctly, I was a Dralasite demolitions expert and we ended up packing a mine cart full of explosives and shuttling it directly into the middle of the Sathar operations. Old school explosive damage is amazing!
Once out of Star Frontiers, I left the rest of the day open for a full "Hall Crawl", only stopping for lunch at Der Pretzel Wagon for the obligatory Greedo sandwich.
After the hall closed, I met up with Brad, Scott, and Scott's crew briefly before heading back to the room for a quick nap.
After a few winks, I met up with the gang in our regular conference room to get our last night gaming in. I started with a round of Kaiju Incorporated which I enjoyed, but the regular Magic and 7 Wonders players felt was too simple. That was followed by Mysterium, a fun cooperative murder mystery game. Surprisingly, we rounded the evening out with some late night chatting. It's something we don't do much of anymore (because schedules) and I'm glad we had the chance at Gen Con.
Time to wind things down for this gathering of the geeks. After packing the car, I popped into the hall for some last minute shopping on the way to the stadium.
My ride was gracious enough to give me some time to check out the Gen Con 50 Museum, particularly since I had pushed it out of my mind until the last day.
The entrance to the 'museum' was a recreation of the entrance to Horticultural Hall which was Gen Con's home from 1968 to 1970. Once inside, the convention's history was laid out as a timeline across several posters along the periphery. Clustered within, were several cases full of artifacts, for example:
- A copy of Little Wars, by H. G. Wells
- Gary Gygax's copy of Chainmail
- The prototype Dungeon! board game
- The original painting for the cover of the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide
- Jonathan Tweet's personal D&D binder from high school with his original sketches
- The draft of Merle Rasmussen's Top Secret RPG
- A giant troll statue!
Sadly, it wasn't enough time to fully immerse myself in it, as my watch said it was time to go home.
Next time, Gen Con... Next time...