Monday, August 27, 2012

Game Room Facelift

My old cover on the 4x8 game table plywood has seen better days. A friend at work actually gave me new covering fabric a few years ago, I just never got around to dealing with it. The old cover was ripping and pealing, and a certain now 7 year-old had taken many liberties writing on the cover. She liked to use the table to organize her Squinkie Toys...some of the spellings of these things are quite humorous.

I finally made up my mind yesterday to make the change. I am trying Velcro instead of glue to see how that will work.

The table was ready within an hour for the Traveler T20 game we played with my friend Garry and the boy.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

That gaming con in Indy, Part 4 - Sunday Tired Sunday

The checkout at the Marriott was not until 12pm, but I wanted to get up early and get things situated and out to the car. Russ (who I don't think I had talked to since Friday) was already up and out of the room attending to his morning workout in the fitness center. I showered up, packed up, and got everything but my backpack to the car. We were ready to get Russ's stuff to the car and check out before 9AM. The Marriott said we had until about 4-5pm with our car in the garage without having to incur another day of parking fees. This was nice - so we parked there for 5 days and in total was only charged for 4 days...$92 I would have liked to spend on something else, but based on what I have heard regarding other parking lots, not as bad as it could have been.

I went across the street to the Hyatt Regency where I knew were some restaurants and got some breakfast there. With all the hamster tubes between the hotel and the convention center, that was only the third time I ventured outside for the entire weekend. I went upstairs to get a few pictures - the following one of the mass of people surging towards the entrance of the dealer hall at 10am when it opened. When I walked in a few minutes later, a woman was getting medical treatment from the paramedics...I wonder what she got trampled for? Hopefully Jackass #1 and Jerky #2 got that special edition limited print of something they had to push or accost another human being for.

I checked in one last time at the auction and picked up my volunteer shirt. Since I had plenty of hours in already, I did not stick around to deal with payouts and returning items to the sellers. I don't feel too bad because I am normally there all morning doing that stuff. I did not get my badge or a hotel room from the auction, so no worries.

I stopped in at the Peryton Booth where Robin still seemed to be recovering from a long a tiring weekend. I tried to give her some grief for missing her game, but as I mentioned before, she pulled out her Jedi mind trick and I quickly lost interest in that game. She talked to some dude who showed some interest in her Qalidar book. He walked away and she slyly told me he was a writer for D&D 4th edition I think 3rd Edition and Everway.

Sligo showed up at the booth and I talked to him briefly. Since I have only met him once and he has only met me once, it was a brief conversation which mostly revolved around, 'we have met before, right?' Tom K showed up as well and I walked with him while he went looking for some dude that may be involved with what we are planning for BASH Con 2013. The dude was not at his booth, so Tom made dinner arrangements with the dude's wife (I think) and we walked back to the Peryton Booth.

I needed to pick up some stuff for the kids. Irelynn is still painting minis, so the Iron Wind Miniatures 'buckets of pewter' were perfect to get her some low cost miniatures. The 2 female miniatures that are bit more sparsely dressed than the others are for me...I am not that bad of a step father. A pervert, yes, but not that bad to give a half naked 28mm miniature to a 7 year old. I also picked her up a dice bag in her favorite color.

I ran into Lori and Peter and mentioned to them that I showed up to the room they told me to the previous night, but I did not see them. They said they were moved at the last minute, which sucked because they did not get the size of crowd they would have normally gathered because of the confusion. They did sell me a survivor t-shirt for $10 since they had plenty left over. I got their card so we can trade information on the different zombie books we have been reading. I will be playing in their game next year for sure.

My last purchase of the day was back with Tom K at the Peryton booth where I needed to pick up another print copy of the Elder Tunnels with my Baru-Kesh adventure in it. Tom refused to take my money, so I bought Robin's Qalidar module. We also talked about how he had heard good things about my Stay Alive! adventures and is interested in my working on a rules supplement that would include some GM adventures and such. Woot! Thanks Tom for always seemingly having some confidence in my abilities. Makes me feel pretty good.

All that was left was to wait for Russ to wrap up his day and get out of town before the hotel charged me another day of parking. While waiting for him, a young girl (maybe 4 years old) was dressed up as Wonder Woman and she sat down on the bench next to me while her parents were messing around with something else. Some dude came up and asked her if he could take her picture.
Dude: Hey Wonder Girl, can I take your picture?
Girl: I am not Wonder Girl, I am Wonder WOMAN!
She then proceeded to go into an awesome and well trained fighting pose for the picture.

I talked to Josh one last time as he was leaving the convention. Finally, Russ came along and we were able to escape without any additional charges from the vampiric city of Indianapolis.  I realized that I was on 65N instead of 69N and made a quick stop to get some gas and short detour later, we were back on course as we left another Gen Con behind. A quick stop a few hours later in Fort Wayne to get a well deserved meal at 'Golden Corral' was the only thing that stopped us from getting back to Toledo,

Saturday, August 25, 2012

That gaming con in Indy, Part 3 - Apocalypse Kinda Now

Saturday morning was my sleep in day...I did not have to be at my T&T Stay Alive! game until 10 AM. I made myself a cuppa tea and headed down to the room where two guys from Canada (eh!) were already waiting patiently at the table. As I started setting up, we talked about how they had met Tom K earlier during the con and had played in one of his T&T games. We were also joined by a couple who told us about the game they run at Gen Con every year called 'Midnight Zombie Game' under the gaming group 37 Zombies. It was a very enjoyable game as I ran them through the same adventure I ran at BASH Con back in February. After the game, I agreed to check in on their game at 9PM that night...Lori and Peter told me what room to look for them in the JW. She said it was a very large, loud, and fun game with 60+ players at multiple tables.

During my T&T game, Robin showed up and was running her Peryton RPG game, Walk the Spiral. I did not want to interrupt her game, so I slipped out without saying anything to her. I checked in  on the Auction and saw that the Pit was well staffed so I decided to finally go into the Exhibit Hall, after grabbing a piece of pizza from the break room within the auction...wait, the break room does not exist in the auction...disregard that.

I was wearing my 'Mouse Rat' t-shirt on Saturday. It is a reference to a fictitious band in the NBC TV Show 'Parks and Recreation'. A guy asked me if he could take a picture of it. There is a first for everything I guess. I told him and his GF they could get the shirt at the NBC store, but I felt kind of special nonetheless.

The Dealer Hall was large and full of all kinds of things I know that I did not need, or at least could wait until I got home and ordered online at a discount. I am not apt to pay MSRP for most anything, unless it is just as cost effective to get it at a location because shipping would counteract the savings. I found the Crytal Chaste booth where I picked up my free Gen Con die. Since I am always buying more miniatures than I need, of course the Wargames Factory had new zombie miniatures available. I paid the $16 to get the new set, which came with a bonus sprue with the purchase.

Right next door was the Gypsy Rain Studios booth which featured two guys from the Yukon selling their version of a Zombie RPG - Zed Zero (Z0). I listened to the sales pitch and decided this system had enough potential to warrant another purchase - $20. It also came with a coupon to register online and get a free pdf download of their first module. What intrigued in this game is the idea that the zombies have some variety and leveling up as well to keep things fresh and not so predictable, which I admit is my number one concern with my zombie game.

I also came across a small booth selling even more miniatures and what caught my eye were some barbarians that were perfect for wildlings in my AGOT game. Badger Games I believe was the name of the booth, and Bronze Age Miniatures is the line of products for the mini that I bought. I also got his card to email him after the con in order to get more information on upcoming releases in the Barbarian line of figures. So many barbarian minis have the warriors wearing little or no clothes...for AGOT, I need some winter barbarians and this line may be perfect. Now, I just need to start painting more and stop buying more miniatures...

I ran across the Flying Buffalo booth where I saw and briefly talked to the Trollgod, Ken St. Andre. I lamented to him that I could not remember the book that I was supposed to buy off of him...he had no clue either. Someone else came up to talk to him, so I told him I would talk to him later. I did ask him where the Peryton Publishing booth was, which I still could not find. I sent a text to Tom K and he told me where it was by the aisle number. I walked past a few times, but there were two of Tom and Robin's friends (Monk I think) that I have never met before, so being the anti-social and shy guy that I am, I walked on by without saying a word.

At some point I was walking out of the Dealer Hall when they were filming a scene for the new Gamers movie. It was the actor from the Gamers 2 who played the female character in the movie (Christian Doyle)...he was dressed in a bathrobe and filming a scene where he was tripping over something. If you see a dude with a 'Mouse Rat' shirt in the background, that would be me doing my best impression of Ricky Gervais from 'The Extras'.

At some point also there was the costume parade...I had to wait for that to go by before I could get back to the auction. There was a very overly caustic Gen Con Volunteer yelling at people about taking pictures causing the parade of costumed geeks to stop here and there. Whatever dude.

Back to the auction for another check in, I noticed that for the first time in a long time, the Auction took a break from live auctioning because we had run out of items. The number of items in years past has gotten out of control for the live auction and this year Katie and Soren really tried to get that back under control. It is better to be able to take a half hour break on a Saturday than having to run items across the stage at break neck speed to be done in time for the Charity Auction, in my opinion.

I headed back again to the JW for my 6 PM T&T Stay Alive! game. I actually got back to the room about 430 and took an hour nap, which was soooo needed. I woke up and got to my 6 PM game where only 1 person was waiting for me. We waited a few minutes and started talking about joining Tom K's neighboring Spacers game, but then 4 guys showed up for my game, and we were back on. I have to say this was my second best group of the weekend. We came up with a cool mechanic for assigning stats to game versions of the player characters (in this game, I have been trying to have the players play as themselves in the zombie apocalypse). It is also during games like this one that I wish I had a recording or a video running, because it was a lot of fun with a great group of guys. The reaction of one guy to seeing a zombie in the hallway was priceless, as he ran back into the room where the PC's were screaming with arms flailing over his head.

Two people showed up for Robin's game at 9pm. However, there was no Robin. I have witnessed some of her Agua Teen games in past years and they seem to be alot of fun. I assured these two guys that Robin would not miss a game she is supposed to GM, and Tom tried calling her. I guess the rigors of running a booth and running games at the con got to her...a GM no show and she psychically knew only two players would show up and thus, did not make an appearance at the table where she was supposed to be running her game at. I would give her a hard time in the morning at the Peryton Booth. Although, I never can tell if Robin is upset or happy or remorseful...she is like a Jedi with her emotions.

Talked to Josh Berling as he was running his Jumpers mega event in the room that I thought Peter and Lori were running their 37 Zombies event (more on that in Part 4). Josh is a well known and very entertaining auctioneer with the Gen Con auction. He is also the co-creator of the RPG Jumpers, a game I really need to sit down and play at the next Origins or Gen Con. Josh reminded me that he would be auctioning the first throw of the Cardhalla destruction for charity later that night as well.

Once again - from the JW, back to the Auction for a late night shift. I did get a quick picture of Cardhalla before they would destroy it later in the night. The TSR/WOTC portion of the charity auction was just wrapping up before heading into the standard charity auction for the Gen Con charity. The previously noted items were all going towards the Gary Gygax memorial. Alot of people talk about the stories that Tim Kask and Frank Mentzer tell about their days working at TSR. I prefer Harold Johnson's stories myself (mainly because I have been around the auction long enough to have heard many of Tim and Frank's yarns...Harold does not get on the stage to auction very much).

I helped the other volunteers sort through the thousands of items in the Auction Store, then watched and bid on a few items in the Charity Auction. I won one item - a Fat Dragon Games CD - Two Towers.

Headed back once again to the hotel and ran into Tom K again. He was on his way to the JW bar area on the first floor to get a beer while taking a break from his 'Ratpack versus Cthuhu' game and offered to buy me a beer, which I graciously accepted. Tom, ever the cordial and personable guy, talked to a German guy at the bar and proceeded to talk about small villages in Germany in German...I just drank my beer. Frank was a very nice chap and we said our goodbyes as Tom had to get back to his game.

Now - Ratpack versus Cthulhu - talk about some form of awesome. That was quite possibly the funniest thing I have witnessed in a long time, watching these guys so humorously portray Frank Sinatra, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, and that other guy. Good stuff, until it reached about 2AM and I needed to get to my bed or I would be one of 'those' convention people that falls asleep in the hall.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Work Training

I am taking some online courses at work for training...the current module is about meetings...I have NEVER been in a meeting that was this interesting looking. That guy surrounded by all those women should be a bit more happy.

That gaming con in Indy, Part 2 - Winter is Coming

On the schedule for Thursday was working the Auction from 9-12, my AGOT games from 12-7pm, and then back to the auction to work from 7-whenever. Every year, the auction is kicked off on Thursday with a staff meeting. This year I had an official unofficial kinda sorta promotion within the Auction hierarchy - I was put in charge of an area known as the Pit of Despair. The Pit's main function is to process sold items for those customers that paid for a tab so that they can wait until the end of the day to pay for all items won instead of paying for each item as it is bought. Most items tend to go through the Pit, so it is generally a busy job. I was fortunate to have 4 people helping me cover the section for the entire con and we were able to schedule the time with relative ease. I made the schedule for the first day and then asked each person on a daily basis what time they had the next day.

This pic is actually from Saturday...but don't tell anyone.
At 11:45 I was able to break away knowing I had a long jaunt to get back to the JW for the games I was running. You see - the Auction is in the one corner of the Convention Center, diagonally the furthest point away from where my games were in the JW. I made it right at 12pm and luckily the table was just starting to empty of the players from the previous game. My friends Steve and Stephen were there waiting. They have played in every single AGOT game that I have run at Gen Con and it is always great to see them. Both games went quite well and more information regarding my Game of Thrones games can be found here.

After my games, I went back to the room, dropped off my miniatures and books, and then headed back to the Auction after grabbing some snacks. I think I bid on one item (Bean Trader) which I did not win; otherwise, I just worked in the Pit and that was about it. On the way back to the hotel, I ran into Kopfy (Tom K) of T&T and Peryton Publishing fame as he was walking either to or from his Thursday night CoC game. I sat down in the almost empty room and listened to him get his game started. Caed (the other Robin) was there as well. I hung out for a bit, but my empty stomach was screaming for the tube of Potato Chips that I had waiting in the room.

(Now, I know that the Gamers Live event was Friday night and I know I talked to Nathan before that event actually occurred. My brain cannot decide if this actually happened on Thursday night when I was walking back to the auction or Friday morning on my way to the auction).

On my way to the convention center while walking through the Marriott walkways, I saw Nathan Rice from Dead Gentlemen and Gamers fame. I briefly talked to him about how much the boy and I enjoyed his movies and he was very pleasant, introducing himself and asking what my name was. We talked a little about the Kickstarter and the new movie they were making as well as the Gamers Live event on Friday night. I had another run in with the Gamers on Saturday, which I know for sure was on Saturday...will get to that later.

On Friday morning, I was supposed to meet Ken St. Andre (the creator of Tunnels & Trolls) and help him run his T&T game that morning. He had invited me to help him run the game a few weeks back on Trollhalla, the T&T fan site. Unfortunately, I was the only one on the schedule for the morning in the Pit of Despair, so I wanted to drop by before his game and at least let him know, if he even remembered that he had invited me to help him. I eventually found the room in the old original Marriott where his game was being run, but I was 20 minutes early and no one was around. Oh well - I would eventually talk to Ken and apologize in the dealer room.

I worked at the auction which is kind of a blur, and then I returned to the JW to run my second set of AGOT games. Did I mention more information on those sessions could be found here? The first with Steve and Stephen was challenging mainly because my fears of being unprepared came true. There was also one difficult player in the group that seemed to bring things down a bit. My suspicions on this person were justified when after she and her boyfriend left the table, Steve told me not to get upset about her actions - it was not my fault and she was quite disruptive in the game because of her attitude. I freely admit that I was not at my best in that game, but it was nice to hear that from Steve.

The second session was awesome (as detailed in the above mentioned post on my AGOT site). It was during this game that Tom K had to bring in the Gen Con staff at the neighboring table who had not yet finished their game so he could start his T&T game. This was the first year that I listed all my events as a 'Peryton Gamer'. Tom K and Robin L operate Peryton Publishing and our games were all scheduled in the same  room, which was cool. I still had not seen Robin yet, but Tom and I kept running into eachother.

After the game, we went to dinner at Hooters with Joe, Andy (Flailbear), and Ben and continued to talk about Game of Thrones and gaming in general. After almost 2 days of little or no food, those Burger sliders (which was just a burger cut in quarters and put on 4 different smallers buns) and onion rings hit the spot.

I eventually got back to the auction for my late shift. There was a a guy that was complaining about how he thought he was bidding on Blood Bowl Trolls, but what he actually got was dwarves. I looked at the minis and they were old school 2nd edition dwarves - so I was interested in them. I doubt I would have bid up to $31 if I was present, but I told the guy they were 2nd edition miniatures and they would be easy enough to strip with some Pine Sol and repaint. He initially decided that he would in fact buy them after all, but then changed his mind and offered them back to me. I paid for them and chucked them in my bag. After 2+ days at Gen Con, I finally spent some money.

Back to the hotel about 1AM. Russ was already sleeping. Slacker...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

That gaming convention in Indy, Part 1

What happened to Wedding Day Part 2? Bah, who knows? I may have forgotten all the details at this point. Will have to look at the pictures and piece that day back together.

But the summer or fun just keeps rolling with August and Gen Con in Indianapolis. I had planned on running 6 events for a total of 18 hours of GM time between T&T and AGOT. Normally, that would not sound like a lot over a 4 day period. For me however it was enough to push me clear into panic mode on Tuesday night since I still had miniatures I had wanted to finish and a few games I was hoping to get some more time into for preparation. 

Wednesday started early - I packed everything up for both my games and my clothes for the weekend. I also made copies of everything I needed - for once I did not forget something game related. I then spent a few hours working on my AGOT game - the second adventure was not where I wanted it to be, but I figured I could get by with what I had.

Russ showed up to Toledo about a half hour later than planned - I wanted to leave at 1pm, we finally got on the road around 2pm. He had a box of games for me that he scavenged from the Origins volunteer party so that was cool. We packed up and got on the road, headed to Indy via Fort Wayne and straight down. We stopped at a Wendy's at some point to get something to eat or Linner, or Lupper, or whatever it would be called...I guess just a late lunch.

...not my picture, grabbed this from the Marriott website

The new Marriott complex was easy enough to find and check-in was easy. It is nice when the valet guys just help you get your car unpacked and then let you go on your way. The Courtyard had just that - the guys were helpful, but not overbearing and earned a deserved tip from me. We parked the car ($23 a day) in the Courtyard garage, unpacked our things in the room, and headed to the convention center so Russ could get his badge. I had mine sent to me via Fed Ex after reading about the horror stories with Will Call from last year. Needless to say, there was a long line, but it seemed to be moving fast. It also was noted that Will Call was open 24 hours, which was a nice touch that will be well remembered for next year. We eventually got a copy of the on-site book (which was hard to find since no matter how quick the volunteers filled up the display cases, the things were disappearing into the greedy gamer hands waiting for them).

The walk from the Courtyard to the Convention Center was actually not too bad...
  1. Elevator from the Courtyard to the JW Marriott
  2. Take the walkway through the JW past the rooms that would end up being where I ran all my events (nice since it was only 5-10 minutes to get to my room and back).
  3. Follow the sky walks from the JW across and over to the Convention Center
Back to the room - I booted up the computer and was able to check a few things with the slow but complimentary web access. Watched some TV, obsessed over my lack of preparation, and actually went to sleep before midnight, I think...

...not my picture, grabbed this from the Marriott website

I did bring a camera with me, not that you will notice that...I finally took some pictures on Saturday - the day I actually made it to the Dealer Hall.