Tuesday, August 20, 2013

GenCon 2013 (Part 1)

Another GenCon has come and gone and this was probably my best one out of the 28 years of going. This year I went with my constant GenCon travel companion Dennis Brown in addition to long time friends Neal Adamski and the Twins (As we call them and better known as Jesus and Julian Zamora.) They also felt this was a great GenCon and we had to pull teeth a bit to get the Twins to go.

This year we stayed at the Omni which is just a block away from the convention center. It is a nice hotel and I like it a lot, it is not our first time there. It was a tight fit getting 5 guys to fit comfortably in one room but it is GenCon and this kind of thing is normal.


I spent the day in the exhibit hall and walked around a lot, this is nothing new as I usually spend my entire convention just walking constantly. Now going into this year I knew that Wizards of the Coast was not going to be in the Exhibitors Hall and it was an absence that was felt all around.

I can only think that this year besides working on the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons they have plans for a big celebration for the D&D Fortieth Anniversary. If they miss the chance to have the biggest presence at GenCon next year that will be a damn shame. They should return the castle back to the Exhibitor Hall properly and have huge events all weekend.

My first days Loot was a nice haul: Star Trek Attack Wing from Wizkids; Star Wars Age of Rebellion Beta from Fantasy Flight Games; Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle from Wizards of the Coast (GF9 Booth) and a Drizzt tee-shirt.

Let me say that this year was a first for me in 28 years. I bought not just one but two tee-shirts. I actually hate tee-shirts with pictures and crap on them but something about watching The Big Bang Theory has softened me up to it and I kind of enjoyed wearing them at the convention.

My first official event was "A Night with D&D" and the Indiana Ballroom Rooftop. This was the party for D&D to kick off The Sundering, launch of the new adventure Murder in Baldur's Gate (Also on sale there). There I scored a copy of R.A. Salvatore's new book The Companions which kicks off The Sundering event. I got several art prints signed by the authors present and had my copy of The Companions signed. Also I picked up Gale Force 9's new Drizzt miniature they had for sale in the ballroom.

My friends were in the Hyatt playing games with another group of friends also here. When I got there many fine spirits had already be consumed and one group played X-Wing from Fantasy Flight Games and my friends I was there with were trying to learn how to play Gears of War from Fantasy Flight Games. It was then Bed Time.

This year there was not a lot of stress as we were not trying to load our plate with events nor trying to pack our nights with a rigorous time frame. I had my Thursday Night booked with my event and the rest was open to do whatever.

Day 2

I spent my 2nd day acquiring even more loot from the Dungeon Hall. I found some nice deals on things like Dungeon Command Tyranny of the Goblins and several D&D Mini singles from dealers like Cool Stuff Inc and Strike Zone Online.

There was a mix of Mini's from WotC and Paizo (WizKids) and I must say the quality of the minis from Paizo are really good. I am looking forward to future releases.

We got to play D&D Next in the adventure Confrontation at Candlekeep. It was fun and I enjoyed it a lot, (I played a Cleric) my friends also enjoyed themselves. We managed to do a lot of damage to the Dragon that attacked the various tables around us representing the various towers of Candlekeep we needed to defend to erect a shield to save the important location. Cudos to Baldman Games who organizes all of the volunteers, I can only imagine it is a stressful task.

At night I chose not to do the D&D Next meetup that got organized and hung out with my friends.

I want to state what GenCon means to me. It is a place I go to see the latest and greatest in this years new releases, demo games in the convention hall and play games with my friends after hours in the gaming area of the convention.

My memories of GenCon are filled with doing just that. From playing Star Wars Miniatures to Lords of Waterdeep and even doing some RPG pickup games in the past. It is about socializing with the people at the con and having people walk up to our table to see what game we are playing.

It is not sitting in a hotel playing games away from everyone, there are exceptions but for the most part I think if we are not in our room sleeping or resting we should be in the con hall. This year a few of my friends agreed with me, there was no arm twisting or appeasement to me, this second night in Indy I was going to be elsewhere and my friends knew that.

I explained my opinion about the convention to them and they chose to go to the hall and I chose to then hang with them and play some freaking games.

We played a new game I picked up on a good deal. DC Comics Deck-Building Game and my friends liked it which made me happy. This is not the typical game that you would see them playing.

We started slow, fighting a few bad guys until finally in the final game with all five of us we played through all of the villains. It was great because those bad guys mess you up when they first appear and Dennis kept saying he did not know how he was going to recover.

Guess what? He ended up winning in the end. He was playing Batman and all that damn equipment he had won him the game.

I used Green Lantern in that game and I really do not like his super power. It is pretty hard to use it early in the game if you are not able to buy cards to solidify the deck you are playing. I was constantly ready to fire off a decent set of cards only for someone else to knock out the bad guy and ruin it for me. It was frustrating but fun!

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About Me

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I am Regional Coordinator for the Great Lakes Region for D&D Adventurers League. Worked for Best Buy as a Project Team Specialist were I did store remodels, support Vendor displays and set merchandising standards for the stores in the Chicago market. He also enjoys playing games (PC, Console, Board Games, RPGs and Miniature Skirmish Games), reading, watching movies and listening to music.