Gencon – Part 2 (Wednesday, 8/12/2009)

Wake up!

The morning went fine. Dropped off the kids at school/day care and told them I’d be gone for a week (they already knew but it’s good to remind them) and that they’d get to see their grandparents while I was gone.

I did a little last minute packing before Travis showed up to give me a ride. My departing travel plans were rather sane (look for the upcoming Monday post for some that aren’t) so flying out wasn’t a problem. Normal airport TSA business and I was on a plane to Denver. The first leg was unremarkable. I finished Storm of Swords and pulled out Feast of Crows but really couldn’t get into it.

Chance meeting on the Flight

The flight from Denver however was when I could feel the excitement around me. Just like when you are driving to Burning Man and you see all these cars around you with camping gear and crazy equipment hanging out all over the place, I started getting exited. We’re all on a plane going to GenCon. What I didn’t know was that Zach, my roommate was also on the same plane.

About half way into the flight the woman sitting next to me saw the George R.R. Martin Book and asked if I was going to GenCon. We had a really cool chat about gaming, the industry and how to break in. Turns out she was the CEO of a little company called Paizo. Damn straight skippy, I was sitting right next to Lisa Stevens. Lisa has some cool ideas about invigorating retail RPG stores and was interested in the events I’ve put together and my retail experience. I’m not sure that it will ever turn into anything but I handed her off my first business card.

First Impression at the Con

Zach and I met up in the airport and caught the airport shuttle to the Omni hotel. Zach was crazy prepared. He had every event planned, along with backups. I was feeling a little intimidated by all his prep at first but very happy we were going to the con together.

Picking up badges at the desk was actually way easier than I thought it would be. I’m really glad I arrived Wednesday night as U think after that the lines would have been crazy. I saw Zach off to the Hyatt where the “Gaming Wenches” event was being held (though from what I could tell that title just made the place a sausage fest, dudes everywhere). He hopped in a game and I spent some time just breathing in the con. I walked through hallways watching people game, listening to snippets of conversation and generally basking in the glory of all things gaming. I love seeing people game. The joy they have acting out tragic dwarves or lying werewolves or figuring out some cool strategy is something beautiful.

Meeting the BGs

After a bit of walking, I got to texting and found out that Meg from Brilliant Gameologists was having a little get together at her room. I meandered my way over to the Embassy Suites (which are definitely the place to be btw) and got to meet the crew. From Left to right I’m going to try and get this correct: Meg, Chris, Mary, Mike?, ?, Chris, Kerry??? Okay, I still fail. But that is better than I’ll be able to do with any other group I met. It was great getting to meet Meg and talk with her friends. Mary seemed so unassuming and quiet. Why is it always the quiet ones that surprise the hell out of you?

Picking up Justin

I got a text from Justin ( ) that he had arrived just as Josh (also from BG) returned. Apparently they Josh and crew had knocked over a K-Mart because the guys brought back like 30 bags of food. Josh’s diet is no-gluten, no-dairy, which makes going out a royal pain. Still, I was pretty sure the 44th brigade had a new mess hall.

I went to the Omni to get J-dog checked into the room. We dropped off bags, donned badges and were ready to roll. I was however, crazy hungry (this seemed to be a theme all con, Zach was living off Cliff Bars and I wanted to eat all the time). We decided to have dinner at the Ram, a sports bar next to the convention center. The entire menu had been redone for GenCon. Apparently Privateer Press was their sponsor because the menu was full of things like the “Arcanist Club”. I had that along with a Privateer Porter and a gorgeous waitress named Sam. Though Justin accurately dubbed me “man-whore” for flirting with her (I continued to sell myself the entire weekend whenever I had the chance), Sam was very cool and took a picture with me.

Never wear a red shirt to “Are you a Werewolf”

Notice anything about my undershirt in that picture above? Red looks good on me but it also paints me an ugly target for are you a Werewolf. After dinner we caught back up with Zach at the Hyatt and played a few rounds of “Are you a Werewolf”. That was great and all, except that I got killed every time. And damn it…. I was the Werewolf too! Also met up with Amrit, who was apparently there alone this year. We did our “Fists to the Heavens” pharaoh greeting but then got split up due to lynching.

In the first night GenCon becomes a zombie story.

I’m not sure why exactly but around 2-3 in the morning we rolled back to our hotel by way of the Mall. A sprawling mass that covered several blocks and connected hotels together by way of skywalks. We got lost or at least it felt like we got lost, but it was AWESOME inside. The shops were all closed, the chairs put up on tables and the entire place was eerily quiet, like some kind of ghost town. It seemed like we accidentally slipped into a space that we shouldn’t have. We kept asking “are we supposed be here?” From inside the city seemed to stop, everything was quiet and serene. That is until we saw the janitor. A gaunt man probably in his late 40s. His sallow cheeks and dead look wasn’t terrifying at first. As we watched though, it was clear he was having serious difficulty closing a door. The kind of exterior door that closes by itself. When we greeted him he did not reply, only continued to fuss with the door. I’m fairly certain he just didn’t realize we were fresh meet yet. A slow zombie that one. This encounter colored the whole con for us, it was awesome.

A little Dominion before bed

Back at the hotel we broke out Dominion and played a random round. It wasn’t very busy in the hotel but that seemed reasonably give that it was a) past 3AM and b) the first night of the con, before many had arrived.

And that… was a slow day.