Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to have an excellent Gen Con without really trying.

Behold! Let's take a look at BigFella's trip to GenCon 2010, shall we?

Okay, so I suppose I should shake off the daze a little bit and start talkin' about the big trip.

This is a general overview of my experience. I'll get into the specifics of the few events I was in in due time.

I've been going to these things for several years now, with only a gap in attendance last year when the group I tend to go with kinda caught a case of the mehs about going to the con, myself included, round about the time when we should have been scheduling our flight and hotel, so we just let it slide and didn't go.

Actually, it did turn out for the best, 'cos I got laid off from my job in late July, and that would have given me two options if I'd scheduled the trip to Indy.

A: Don't go, and eat the cost of plane and hotel reservations or

B: Go, but do it on the cheap, which was also sub-optimal. Part of the charm in going is to spend like a drunken, nerdy sailor.

Of course, when August rolled around last year, we all pretty much looked at each other and said "Why the hell aren't we going to Gen Con?"

So, this year was something of a welcome return.

Dioramas and dragons!

Overall, it was a pretty mellow trip for me. I didn't end up scheduling a lot of events. In fact, I didn't really schedule ANY events, so much as sponge tickets off of my amigo and current GM Paul. Partly this was from the bad timing of GenCon's scheduling opening up at the same time as we were all down at Helgacon. I think both the extra tickets that Paul scored were serendipity. I had Reaper Speed Painting on Thursday and a Labyrinth Lord game hosted by KiltedYaksMan. Both were awesome.

I found out about the third official event I was fated to attend when I swung by Pinnacle Press' booth. In prior years, they'd had a notice board where one could post any pickup games of Savage Worlds and get some players.

Well, they weren't doing that this year, but there was apparently some kind of big extravaganza they were throwing called Savage Saturday Night, and they needed GM's to run. So I readied my wacky tribute to Japanese Sci-Fi, Science Patrol! Go!, and ran it for a full table.
More on this later. Please look forward to it!

So aside from those, all I did was pretty much wandered the dealer's hall or took in the sights and shenanigans of a vast horde of dedicated nerds. The crowds seemed just as thick, and as populated with the myriad varieties of those who are "of the tribe".

Try to understand! He's a magic man!

Excelsior! It is indeed a jolly good time to let one's freak flag fly!

Kitty guy is not impressed by your wizardry or Jedi skills.

Stormtroopers and Ghostbusters, pound for pound some of the highest levels of dignity you can achieve as a cosplayer.

As Paul noted on his blog, the hall did seem a bit more subdued than prior years. No big exhibit-paloozas, just stake out space with your product and sell it. Fantasy Flight seemed to be the 500 lb. gorilla out on the floor this year. I'd been sent on a mission by a co-worker to get their new Warhammer 40K Space Hulk themed cardgame, but I couldn't lay my hands on it 'til Saturday 'cos the lines were over an hour on Thursday.

Trendwise, I seemed to get the impression that there wasn't as much CCG type stuff this year. Lots of booths selling board/card games, a decent number of RPG's, the usual glorious freak show of game accessories and niche products. A whole lot of LARP and costume stuff, with some especially cool fake foam weapons on sale this year. (If I wasn't on the cheap(well, cheap for me at GenCon), I would totally have bought this foam sledgehammer I saw at a couple places. (Sorry, no picture of that. Alas...)

On to the bonus level!

The hum and hustle of the nerd's bazaar.

Lego's inflatable ziggurat of doom!

Apparently this is the year White Wolf got their liquor license...

Even mighty luchadors need to make a buck.

I checked out the artist's alley on Saturday and was favorably impressed by the technical skills of most of the artists in attendance, although the numbing sameness of a lot of fantasy art does make it hard to wanna crack open the ol' wallet for much of anything. (Seriously, how many goth fairies and frikkin' zombies to we need to see? Whatever...)

I also had plenty of time to retire to the hotel room to chill out, which was welcome as well. I do a lot of writing and I was on a creative uptick, so a chance to just take time and work on my laptop in an air conditioned room was nice. I was never pressured or hurried, and really just had a good time.
Our suite at the Indianapolis Hilton. I was sequestered here behind the doors by the rest of the group because apparently I snore with the strength of ten strong men. Fine with me, there was a desk I could use and the couch bed was perfectly comfy.

The view out the hotel window. Always neat. I think we stayed at the Sheraton the first time we came here, but this has been our sanctum sanctorum of choice ever since then.

And that's how I spent Gen Con. More later.


  1. Sounds like a good time.

    As a card carrying kaiju-fanatic I can't wait to see what ever Science Patrol! Go! is.

  2. There's a little hint here in the second picture.