For the first time since 1999, I went to GenCon as a plain old gamer. No press pass, no looking for freelance work, no manning a booth for me. I played a bunch of games and just did what I wanted to do.
Of course, I picked up a sinus infection before the con, so I had to take it easy on myself. I'm not sure I made it to more than one of the events I originally signed up for, but it was easy enough to cash in my tickets for generics and system credit. I guess that means I have to go again next year, since I have $8 worth of event ticket credit!
Thursday: I ended up cruising the dealer's hall in the morning and ate lunch with the indomitable Rob Schwalb. That afternoon I played a game of Chainmail, the pre-D&D miniatures game. The game was a blast, and it's pretty nifty that I can now say I've played it.
That night, I ran a D&D game for a bunch of friends. They tracked down a necromancer who had stolen a sacred relic, battled orcs and bandits, and managed to survive despite at one point having 7 hit points between 4 characters. Good times!
Friday: More gaming, starting with a miniatures game. Song of Drums and Shakos is a Napoleonics skirmish game. In 2 hours, I learned the rules from scratch and got in two games. Highly recommended, along with the fantasy version Song of Blades and Heroes.
Once the game wrapped up, I launched an ultimately fruitless quest to find 15mm Napoleonic and fantasy minis in the exhibitor's hall. After lunch with Paul Tevis, I got in a session of the BattleTech grinder. I had an UrbanMech shot out from under me and lost a Hunchback to a back shot from a Cicada that nailed the 'back's ammo bin. After that, I took to the field in one of my all-time favorite 'mechs, the Axman (not the lame LRM-15 variant, but the original AC/20 configuration) and made up for lost ground. I cored a Warhammer, ripped a Raven in half, and killed an Enforcer with a single AC shot to its ammo bin.
That evening was dinner at Buca with friends and wandering the con and chatting for the rest of the night.
Saturday: This was my D&D day, with an RPGA game from 8 AM to 4 PM. We had an all-changeling party, which was fun, and my barbarian was perfect for a city inexplicable built around a giant pillar of fire. His basic hook is that's he's dumb but overly thoughtful and rages when stuff doesn't make sense to him. With an 8 Int, that's fairly often.
After the game was a late lunch, another circuit of the dealer's hall, and dinner and drinks with a number of game industry folks. We swapped stories about pets and weird fans. Good times!
Sunday: The final day of GenCon always has a bit of a melancholy tinge to it, at least for me. I played some more BattleTech with a friend, took care of a little last minute shopping and trades, and then headed to the airport. Between ice cream at the terminal and a nifty, final conversation about gaming with a few folks, it was a good end to the con.
Loot: Of course, half of the fun of GenCon is browsing what's essentially a giant, gamer's mall.
I bought/traded for:
1. A few of the Pathfinder metal minis and one of the few flip-mats I don't already own from Paizo. Can't wait to see the Reaper Pathfinder line!
2. A bunch of Reaper minis. I love browsing their booth at the show.
3. A pile of Shadowrun and BattleTech books. The SR Seattle book is pretty nifty.
4. Eclipse Phase! I can't wait to dig into this game. It looks really interesting, and what I've read so far has me wanting to play it.
5. A Dragon Dice starter set. I've wanted to check out this game since it first came out, and the starter was less than $20, so why not?
6. Who Would Win? from Gorilla Games. I picked this up based on a recommendation from Monte Cook. It looks like a great party game.
7. Action Castle! My major failure at the con was my inability to convince anyone to play this.
Honorable Mention: Gaming Paper. I didn't actually buy a roll, since I didn't think it would fit in my luggage, but I was really impressed by it. It's more than just simple paper. It has a parchment/scroll-like texture to it, giving it a pretty nifty feel. I'm going to order some once my gaming budget regenerates.
MIA Award: 15 mm Napoleonics and fantasy figures. I didn't find any at the show! Of course, I didn't exactly spend hours searching (I had games to play!) but I figured there had to be some somewhere.
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