Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Planes, Games and Automobiles

Warning: "Back From Gencon" post ahead.

So I just got back from Gencon, had a blast, yadda yadda.

I actually didn't do a whole lot of gaming - a game of Kobold's Ate My Baby and a game of Orks were the only scheduled games I made.  I had Hobomancer scheduled for Saturday at noon, but convinced myself over time that it was actually Sunday at noon, and spaced it completely until around 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon.

Unofficially, I had the pleasure of joining "Dougcon", Doug Kovacs' after hours gaming extravaganza.  Held every evening, an average of 20-30 people showed up to play a massive Dungeon Crawl Classics game.  They were split into groups, and 2-4 GMs were operating in concert, as events in one group would have repercussions on all of the others.  It was named, appropriately enough, Escape From Catastrophe Island.

Doug himself ran several games, Adam Muszkiewicz, several more, Marc Bruner was up in the mix, and yours truly ran a group for the last two nights.

It was chaotic, it was raucous, it was beautiful.  There were ghosts, giant lemur-apes, a Spinner of Doom, slaves, slavers, fish-wizards, weeping angels, cannibals, amazons, lamprey eels, lava flows, corruption waves, giant grasshoppers, plagues, I could go on for days.

Beyond that, I really just did a lot of wandering.  I was really impressed by how much Indianapolis embraces this con - many of the local businesses redecorate, restaurants revamp their menus, and you can sit down at a random table and strike up a conversation with someone about the merits of ascending armor class.  Walk into a bar, and you're more likely to see a geek classic playing on the television than a sportsball game.

The overall impression was that you had slipped into some strange alternate universe where tabletop gaming was the sport of the realm.

And the Dealer Hall.  Ye gods, the Dealer Hall.  Calling it massive is an understatement.  I spent most of a day just going from one booth to the next, saying hello to various creators and vendors, and staring at the spectacle.  Some of the booth designs were just outrageous, and the pageantry on design was absolutely stunning.

As someone else said, that's a whole lot of beard
I was particularly impressed by a group of guys who run a game studio by the name of Travesty Games.  They run games that I want to play.  You've missed out on Deathfear already, but Shindig Machine is still available.  Killball and Psiduel are next on my list, but if they're half as much fun as the first two, it's gonna be awesome.

The highlight of the trip, though, was getting to hang out with my online gaming group, the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad.  I've been playing with these guys for over 2 years now, and it was absolutely amazing getting to hang out with them.  Various members of the crew and I just down the bars in Indy four nights there, and we had an absolute blast.  The guy on the far right even flew in from Uruguay.  Freakin Uruguay.

Sunday morning, we got together for breakfast and said our goodbyes, and that's when the real fun began.

Apparently, Dallas had some weather while I was gone.  According to my wife, it was rain, and there was thunder, but no big deal.  To hear American Airlines tell it, on the other hand, the Hand of God Himself came down and smote their fleet with wind and rain.  My flight Sunday was cancelled, and rescheduled for 7am the next morning.  Fortunately, Doug Kovacs had mentioned he was staying behind.  I gave him a hand taking down his art, and went to dinner with the Goodman Games crew.  That's when I found out that the flight that I had been rescheduled to had been cancelled, and I was now booked on a flight at 7am Tuesday morning.

So there I was at 2am trying to figure out how the hell I was going to get home, when I came up with the great idea to rent a car and drive back to Dallas on 3 hours of sleep.  It went about as well as you'd imagine.  Fortunately, I had some great new music to listen to, courtesy of late night conversations with J├╝rgen Mayer and Julian Bernick.  Through storm and wind and ridiculously over-policed stretches of highway in Illinois, I finally made it home around 11pm last night.

Remember that guy from Uruguay?  He was having dinner with his family hours before I made it home.

Despite the drama at the end, it was badass.  I sold it enough to the wife that she's even planning on coming along next year.

Can't wait - thanks everyone whose name I didn't remember!


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