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 Post subject: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:19 am 
Master of the Order
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First off, I want to apologize to the community - particularly those who were in attendance at GenCon - that I didn't spend more time in the minis hall. I still love Star Wars Minis, it is one of the best games ever thought up IMO, and I wish I had had more time to hang out in that area. However, I made a decision that my volunteer/judging time aside (which was limited as I was mostly a back-up support guy whose help was never really needed) I would be spending as much time as possible in the dealer hall. That is one thing about GenCon that I have really missed out on the last few years because of my intensive commitment to helping run events with Jim Fraser. With the game discontinued, I decided that it was time to start seeing what is on the horizon - and it was the smart decision in retrospect. You never know who you might meet in a place like that.

So, let's begin our journey.

"Day Zero," as Rodney Thompson categorized it (otherwise known as Wednesday), began at 8 a.m. as the six of us in our group loaded up into the van and headed north. We arrived sometime mid-afternoon. Met up with Dean, Ray, Jim, and several others and had lunch. Then I Jedi Mind Tricked my way into the minis area and got a glimpse of the dealer area as they were setting up. Headed back to the hotel, collected my RPG materials, and went to dinner. From there, I walked all the way to Richmond IN - at least it felt that way, truthfully I only walked about 7 blocks to Bill's hotel where the RPG was being played - and sat down, exhausted but ready to jump into the game when I realized to my horror that I didn't have my RPG sheet. So I hauled ass back to the room, grabbed it, and then made the trek back. By the time I got there the second time, I could no longer be distinguished from any other traditional gamer, not if you were going by smell. :P I will chalk that up to a "God thing" though, because it was about the only meaningful exercise I got the whole time I was in Indy. I played as long as I could - until about 11 p.m. or so - and then went back to the room and showered (yes, I showered and shaved almost every day).

Day 1 - Got up about 5 a.m. and went down to the lobby with my laptop while I waited for my friends Jason Alvey and Gray Whitsett to come downstairs. Gray ended up falling back to sleep, so Jason and I went over to Steak and Shake early to meet up with nivuahc. We finished our terrible meal, paid the bill, and then went back to the room a full hour before the Hall of Fame breakfast began. When we got back, the place was packed and Rob Watkins dropped by to talk to some of the players. Jim offered to take him out to dinner, but we never could coordinate a good time to meet, unfortunately. Such is the way of GenCon. Some of the guys gave Rob a set of V-Set preview cards for him to look at before he left. After the breakfast, we headed over to the mini hall and I watched the guys set up to play before the dealer hall opened. This is the part you are going to want to pay attention to, if nothing else. I'm standing at the Strike Zone Online booth checking out their mini case when a man walks up and starts asking questions about the game. Of course, the guy behind the counter demonstrates his lack of knowledge and after 30 seconds, the man says, "Well, I am trying to learn more because I just acquired the game license from LucasFilm." Wait, what??? So that gets my attention, and I quickly go into "Choose Your Own Adventure" mode as I turn to page 74 to see what happens what I speak to him. I introduce myself and we talk about his plans. No, I will not steal their thunder by posting who it is nor will I share with these boards what he told me. For one thing, I have no way to confirm it. Secondly, everyone is going to know about the decision in 4 days anyway because an announcement is going to be made at C5. He asks for my phone number, gives me a business card, and we part company. I continue my jaunt through the dealer hall, where I discover the game I want to play next: an RPG based on Indiana Jones. This really beautiful red head starts telling me all about the game and then asks me if I want to demo it. Sure, I say. She calls over this middle-aged guy - older than me - and he runs the game. Nice trick, I think, but the game is fun regardless. I leave with a quick play demo and later on, had the chance to sit in for an actual adventure. Somewhere in here I have lunch with Jim, get some maps from Chris West, and drool on the sign outlining Felicia Day's schedule in the celebrity booth. I don't normally visit celebrity booths at conventions (most of them are jerks), but I really admire her for her devotion to a pioneer industry - even when it is little more than a hobby - and so I knew I would be making some time to stop by. I wander back into the minis hall to see how the guys are doing with the mass battle, and then head out again for dinner. After that, I play some War at Sea and spend some quality Facebook time in the hotel lobby. Bringing a laptop to the con this year really enhanced the experience, and not just for internet availability. Lastly, shower, then bed.

Day 2, also known as Friday, kicked off with the Clone Wars mass battle. Special thanks to Chris West for special design of two maps to be used just for this event, and for his prize contribution of said maps to players in the tournament. I was a little disappointed with how this game played out. The players made some unexpected moves right off the bat that slowed the game down to the point that we ended up having a pow-wow with the team captains to shake things up so it would be more enjoyable. I take full blame for the failure of the event in that regard, as I should have anticipated their possible moves. Still, I did my best to make sure everyone was having as much fun with it as possible while still trying to keep it fair. We ended about an hour earlier than expected due to the untimely defeat of Obi-Wan Kenobi. So I packed up, went to lunch, and then hit the dealer hall before playing in a schedule run of Hollow Earth Expedition. What a great RPG! I really recommend it. I started to get in line for the celebrity signings, but given how long the line was I figured Felicia's time would be up before I got close enough. So I put it off for a day. After dinner, I played in a War at Sea tournament with Jim, Engineer, and a guy who traveled with the KY group, and then went to bed.

Day 3 - you guessed it - Saturday, I showered and shaved first thing, tossed on my "Gamers for Personal Hygiene" t-shirt, then went down to see how many people played in the Championship before getting in line to meet Felicia. The line stretched nearly 1/3 the length of the dealer area (which is FREAKING HUGE) from where I got in line, and more people lined up behind me. I waited in line a little more than an hour and met a guy named Mike, who joked with me about Magic and the poor sportsmanship attitude many of its players have. If you have seen The Guild, you will know what I am talking about in this part. Only Vork, Codex, Clara, and Saboo attended. Wil Wheaton had his own booth. I was a huge ST: TNG fan as a kid, but I was always turned off by the whole "boy wonder" thing, so I was never really much of a fan. I did like his website he set up, though I don't know if he still has that going. Anyway, I got up to the booth to get photos and decided I would get the whole cast, since it was discounted slightly. Joel (Vork) was very cool and very friendly. Most of the time, fans will come up and say, "I'm a fan, you are awesome yadda yadda" and celebrities get bored with that. But not Joel. We started talking about his character on the show and how he is actually helping write future material about his character. He was really down to earth, such a refreshing change. Clara (I'm sorry, I don't know her real name) and Sandikh (Saboo) were just as friendly. Clara did something really sweet, but I can't talk about it yet because it could ruin a great surprise I have for a local friend.

It's still Saturday but Felicia gets her own paragraph. See, I had this idea in my head that I had built up the excitement of meeting her too much and that it would be a total letdown when I got to the booth. So, I tried to lower my expectations while waiting in line. I figured whatever happens, happens. if you've ever seen Christmas Story where little Ralphie goes to meet Santa at the store, it was a lot like that. I handed her the photos, she commented on my shirt, and then she signed them. A friend with me took pictures as each cast member signed the autographs. She handed them back and asked me how I found out about The Guild. I started to talk to her when the people behind me set their baby on the counter. That immediately caught her attention and I figured, okay we're done. She leaned in for a picture with the baby, and then immediately said, Dennis hang on. Sorry, I had to get the baby. She was so polite. My friend got our picture together and she put her hand on my shoulder, so now I'm all nervous and the photo has me kind of staring off into space. LOL! Then I got a picture of her with my phone, and that was the end of that. If you're still reading this, I'm surprised. :P

I spent the rest of the day walking around the dealer hall, checking for updates at the mini hall, and playing some demo games. 3 p.m. rolls around and I go with Ray to get my Hoth maps for him to use for the AT-AT event. I help with set-up and then wander back over to the tournament, where I learn that Brandon Pyle is on his way to top 8. More on that in a minute. Back to the dealer hall first. I run through the art show, look at some amazing artwork, and fail my resistance check against the purchase of a painting of Mario flying as a raccoon. Mario looks like a 40-year old man. I talk to the artist for about 30 minutes (so long that Alvey and my other friend with us leave me there and tease me about it later). She has some incredible talent and I end up buying a second painting. After the dealer hall closes, I head out to get ready for dinner at Hooter's (tradition), then head over to watch the live panel discussion with The Guild. Another smart decision on my part, they are all just so friendly. I really never felt the usual "OMG we are at a nerd con" vibe that is so prevalent from other visiting celebrities. When I get back to the hotel, I learn that Brandon did indeed go top 8. I was surprised Gray did not, given his record with his squad, but that's okay - he still had a great run with it. I'm very proud of Brandon. He has been playing at the store ever since I moved here. I can remember kicking his butt at the game on a regular basis for a very long, and I was proud of him as I watched him reach a level of play where he not only challenged me but began to routinely beat me. These days, he is the player I dread playing against the most. So to see him come to GenCon for the first time and climb to the top of the mountain, well, I felt like a proud uncle. I'm sure Alvey did, too.

Sunday, Day 5, and the show is almost over. I walk the dealer hall while I wait for Brandon to play through his rounds. I demo 2 games, both of which were hella fun. Then it's back to the minis hall to watch Brandon play his final game, accept his trophy for second place, and issue words of farewell and congratulations to the participants and the top 8 players. I return to the dealer hall and wander toward the WizKids area, where another beautiful red head is sitting in the demo area. She is actually the one doing the demos, so I play through the game - which was fun - and contemplate buying it, but then I get a phone call and it is Alvey saying they are ready to go. So I quickly head out and we make the drive home.

All in all this was one of the best GenCons I have attended, but it is not the top. For sure, meeting the cast of The Guild, Felicia and the man who claims to have the LFL game license was HUGE, but overall the con was soured by some disappointing moments, including the near-miss altercation with a guy in our hotel's lobby who was apparently either a nerd-hater or just having some personal issues that he felt the need to take out on the closest living human.

I am definitely looking forward to next year's GenCon and all the traveling opportunities between now and then as well! And if you read all the way down to here without skipping or skimming, you get a :3p0: lol.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:33 am 
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That sounds like an awesome trip, and Day 1 was certainly highlight and even though it was vague what you shared definitely got my heart rate raised abit. Looking forward to C5 news now. Sounds like you had a great trip was the diversion away from so much minis good refreshment for you?

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:45 am 
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Grand Moff Boris wrote:
This is the part you are going to want to pay attention to, if nothing else. I'm standing at the Strike Zone Online booth checking out their mini case when a man walks up and starts asking questions about the game. Of course, the guy behind the counter demonstrates his lack of knowledge and after 30 seconds, the man says, "Well, I am trying to learn more because I just acquired the game license from LucasFilm." Wait, what??? So that gets my attention, and I quickly go into "Choose Your Own Adventure" mode as I turn to page 74 to see what happens what I speak to him. I introduce myself and we talk about his plans. No, I will not steal their thunder by posting who it is nor will I share with these boards what he told me. For one thing, I have no way to confirm it. Secondly, everyone is going to know about the decision in 4 days anyway because an announcement is going to be made at C5. He asks for my phone number, gives me a business card, and we part company.


I felt this part should be re-iterated. Talk about being at the right place at the right time!


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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:57 pm 
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Azavander wrote:
was the diversion away from so much minis good refreshment for you?


I would have liked to play, but there was just too much going on. To be honest, as great of a time as it is to play minis at GC - and it is ALWAYS a blast, even on the worst days - the years I have torn myself away from the minis hall is where I have had the best, random encounters. The people that I really want to meet at shows like these never go anywhere near the gaming area. They hang out in the dealer hall on Saturday during the big events. They drift toward the larger booths. Heck, sometimes they are just in the elevator with you and you never even realize it. I met Owen Stephens that way this year.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:14 pm 
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Commence the pooping of yourself.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Mon Aug 09, 2010 4:37 pm 
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Very nice.

I'll be excited when I find out who it was you were talking to about buying the game, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:00 am 
Unnamed Wookiee
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Disturbed1 wrote:
Very nice.

I'll be excited when I find out who it was you were talking to about buying the game, etc.



Same here.


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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 8:46 am 
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I am going to guess, after looking at the C5 schedule that the Thursday Morning Lucas Collectibles Updates @ 11:30 is when we will find out.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 3:23 pm 
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Is anyone on here actually going to C5? Also, is Celebration always around the same time as Gencon? Cause Im hoping in the next couple of years to get to attend both, and with them being so close together, that can be really hard financially.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:53 pm 
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Disturbed1 wrote:
Is anyone on here actually going to C5? Also, is Celebration always around the same time as Gencon? Cause Im hoping in the next couple of years to get to attend both, and with them being so close together, that can be really hard financially.


I've got some friends going to CV. I've already sent them a text to let me know as soon as they hear anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:56 am 
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Disturbed1 wrote:
Is anyone on here actually going to C5? Also, is Celebration always around the same time as Gencon? Cause Im hoping in the next couple of years to get to attend both, and with them being so close together, that can be really hard financially.


We were initially planning to attend both, but as you pointed out, it ended up being too tough for us money wise. The dates for Celebration don't seem to be too set in stone though. CIV was on Memorial Day Weekend in LA, and CII and CIII were the last weekend in April those years. I think it mostly just has to do with when the convention centers are available.

I know a few folks headed down to C5 as well, so I'll be sure to bug them to look out for SWMs stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Boris' GenCon report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:39 am 
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Chris Torgerson(Boba52) will be there at C5. Hopefully he call me with something, or post some news when/if he gets it.

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