Saturday, August 16, 2014

My First Time At GenCon - Day 2 Recap

I had a bit of a late start today due to sleeping in, but still had a lot of fun. A bit more cramped for time as myself and my friend who I am here with tried to stick together. Also had 3 hours out of the middle of my time at GenCon day cut up by some seminars I attended. Tomorrow I'm hoping to focus on gaming more than anything, and we'll see how that goes. For today though...

General Information

  • Don't lose or destroy your tickets; they can be refunded for other things
  • The actual physical ticket is a must
  • Most event runners don't care whose name is on a Generic Ticket so keep track of them
  • If you have generics, show up early but expect to wait until 5 minutes or so after start time
  • The con is huge, so if you want to do something specific plan it out before you arrive
  • If you want to play a specific game/event with a friend, get tickets for the events. Generics are hard because often it is just 1 seat available
  • The bigger the event, the more likely there will be open seats
Food & Drink
  • Johnny Rockets is amazing 
  • Seriously best shake I've ever had was at Johnny Rockets
  • I forgot to eat after lunch at JR (can't stress how easy this is to do...)
  • People are still super nice
  • Some don't understand personal space
  • Please mute your cellphone/devices in seminars. No one wants to hear your phone beep and chirp while trying to listen to the panel
  • Younger gamers don't always understand to ask before taking. Try to be patient. (I've yet to have this problem with gamers over 30, but then we used to flog people for even thinking of grabbing stuff without asking.)
  • D&D 5th edition is nice enough
  • Character differences from Pathfinder are significant, mechanical feel in play is...not
  • Will be interesting to see where D&D/Pathfinder are this time next year
  • Hoping to find more variance in games tomorrow, but also interested in trying more D&D 5th...
  • Don't be afraid to say yes! (I.e. "do you want to try this game? YES!)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

My First TIme At GenCon - Day 1 Recap

I know I said I'd be gone until next Monday, but my friend/hotel mate brought his laptop and since I'm back in the room after my first day at GenCon I figured I'd make an update. I intend to do a much more in depth update (complete with some pictures) when I get back, but for now here you go.

So after my first day on my first trip to GenCon what do I think?

General Information

  • Will Call lines are huge, do whatever you have to to get your badge mailed to you before hand (so glad I did this)
  • The Day 1 Vendor Room rush is real. Huge crowds at every door started gathering at 8:05am and hit critical mass before the Vendor Room opened. Initial lines were huge.
  • Good shoes are a must
  • If you're fat and/or sedentary, you should walk at least a few weeks before GenCon to build up some stamina
Food and Drink
  • There are Vending Machines around the convention center but haven't used one. They're fairly few and far between all things considered
  • I've only see one in Center food place so far.
  • The food trucks sell out fairly fast
  • It is super easy to lose track of time and miss eating
  • GiGi's Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes are AMAZING (also, unsure if guy who served me was being flirty or just super nice/joking. He was pleasant enough anyhow :) )
  • The Con staff is super nice but also good at their jobs. I've been stopped before going into the Exhibit and Vendor rooms several times because my tag had flipped to hide the part that shows it is for this year's GenCon
  • CosPlayers are not as plentiful as in some SDCC or PAX picture events, but they are here and the costumes have all be high quality so far.
  • Favorite Cosplay so far was a girl as Carmen Sandiego, this is biased though because I found it funny that she was made she couldn't find a friend who had something of hers. The irony was amusing.
  • The Vendor staff are also super nice.
  • I met a couple nice folks from the True Dungeon at a bar after the con, they seem nice too.
  • Basically, everyone is nice so far.
  • Oh, and Michael Stackpole is awesome.
Things To Do
Anyhow, I'm retiring to the hotel pool for my legs and then sleeping to get started early tomorrow. I originally had no plans for tomorrow, now there's 5 hours worth of stuff I want to go to at the very least. I'm also hoping to finally get some gaming in!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gone To GenCon

I haven't made a secret of it, but just a heads up that there will be no updates on this blog for this week or next Monday as I'll be going to GenCon. Wednesday is driving day, Friday is there, and Monday is driving home day so I'm going to be more or less completely wiped.

I am not bringing a laptop, though I do intend to bring a camera. Hopefully I'll have pictures and a lot to post about my thoughts after (so we'll make up the missed days.) But, ultimately, for the next 4 updates (including today) there is nothing.

I may post a quick fix tomorrow if something comes up. Otherwise, hope you guys have a great week and I'll see you all after GenCon.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

NPC Death When There Are Still Plans

One thing I think my L5R game has been very successful with is making NPCs that resonate with the players, and who have stories that the players want to see how they play out. Sometimes an NPC hits better than others, sure, but in general the NPCs that have showed up in the game have left a mark. This has been most true lately where NPCs have been dying around the PCs as part of the war effort against the Shadowlands. Part of this is because I have good players, but it is also partially because of how I handle the NPCs that these deaths have been felt.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Discussion: What Not To Miss At GenCon?

I've never been to GenCon, but lots of folks have. There are also, presumably, countless others who are going for the first time.

So what is the one thing that you would say can't be missed at GenCon?

(There will be another post over the weekend, but it's been a busy week.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GenCon Preparations

A week from today I'll be leaving home and heading for GenCon. The Convention itself is even kind of starting. It feels weird having it so close, especially when planning for this began in January. Still though, I've been doing some research and figured I'd make a list of my GenCon preparations for others to compare to.

My intention is to travel light. This is for two purposes. First, the less I bring the less I can lose and the less I have to carry around with me. Two, the more room it will make for bringing swag back.

To this end I'm not planning on bringing a bunch of gaming books or even dice.

What I am planning on bringing is the following:

  • A bag to carry things
  • A bottle of water (at least one)
  • Some light snacks (granola bars most likely)
  • A small tablet w/ PDFs of some game books (FATE, some L5R pdfs, etc)
  • Phone/Camera
  • A notebook
  • Pens/Pencils
  • A change of shirt
  • Deodorant
And that is about it. Obviously I'm bringing clothes, toiletries, and soap to the hotel but that is my plan for going around the convention. Water I imagine will be the big thing to keep on hand, while the tablet is something I'm going to have to keep a hand on (just in case) but also should optimize space vs. desired books/information. I'm also going to try to make it a point (depending on shuttle schedules) to head back to the hotel to drop off any purchases because, well, RPG books get heavy fast and ain't no one wants to carry that around.

Did I miss something you'd consider essential?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Aftermath of the Mass Battle

I talked on here a lot about the upcoming Mass Battle in my L5R game. It happened on Friday and, well, it was a very sordid bloody affair. 5/6 of the party ended up in at least the Out condition, the Utaku's horse was ripped out from under her and eaten by goblins, and the youngest PC (character, not player) died pushing herself to Heavily Engaged to try and save/recover said Utaku. To be blunt it was a rough session, especially on myself as the GM (my players seemed to be more ok with it), and today I want to talk about that.