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 Post subject: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:26 pm 
Black Sun Thug
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I want to start by thanking Jim, the Godfather, for inviting me and helping me to attend. My attendance would not have been possible without his generous support. Jim was super accommodating and welcoming. Jim, it was great talking to you and hearing your opinions on how things are going with the game and community. I think we see eye to eye on a lot of issues and it helps to know that we have such a strong manager as yourself working with Wizards in so many ways.

I attended Friday night through Sunday because I really can't miss the first few days of school. Although my time was short, I physically felt like I spent the entire four days there by the end of the Con.

I arrived Friday night at Indianapolis airport. Jim was kind enough to pick me up as all buses were done for the evening and cabs are costly. I had a great conversation with him in the car on the way there and I learned how lucky I am to have the Godfather running support for us through Wizards and Pastimes. The car ride was my first "adventure" of Gen Con. The Colts were playing pre-season that night. Jim and I drove around downtime for about 25 minutes trying to figure out how to get back to the hotel. Everything was blocked off. The (unhelpful) Fuzz informed us that there was no way to get back in until barricades were lifted. Lame. Jim was kind enough to drop me off near the convention center and took my bags to the room so I could meet some people before going to sleep. Of course, this isn't my first Gen Con so I knew that 10 PM meant the night was very young.

I went to the exhibit hall and met up with people that I knew and started meeting new people. That was the best part of the Con, of course. If I don't mention your name below, please don't take it personally. This was my first time meeting nearly anyone from the community. I know board names, and some real names. Feel free to post real or board names that I leave out. Now, I didn't meet everyone this first night but I'm just going to do it all now.

Deri - Deri, you've got brains and style. A great combo. I'm glad to have met you. Good luck deciding between Chicago and Wales. ;)
Darth Jim - Darth Jim created the podcasts with his friend Mark and I met both of these guys. Stand up guys. We had a great conversation in the dealer hall.
Lou - Lou has a great sense of humor and reminds me a lot of Matt Hanson, who I also fiercely enjoy hanging around with. He's a great sport and knows how to keep games light. Great job on the commentary Lou! You have my vote for permanent MC.
Leshippy - I didn't get to talk to you much, but I watched your games and you're a great player.
Chuck - You know how periodically you meet someone who is clearly very dedicated to the happiness of others? Chuck is that guy. Great fun to talk to and joke around with and always wants to be sure everything is going well. The Atlanta group is lucky to have you.
Shinja-A quiet guy hides some fierce play ability within that brain! Congrats on placing well.
Ray-Ray, you are a super nice guy and your presence made me feel SO much more relaxed about judging.
JamesWys - love your sense of humor, man. You made me laugh on quite a few occasions. You also have great ideas for the improvement of the game. Kudos to anyone who runs WFFs at a national championship.
Boba 52 - We didn't get to talk much but you had great ideas and it was nice of you to act as liaison for jedicartographer!
Dean - Well, Dean's the master of the game and he did a great job judging. No surprises here. Dean knows what's best for the community and I feel good about the game knowing that you are continually pushing for Wizards taking it seriously.
Aaron/Lobo - congrats on your top finish for the first day of the championship and your third place finish in customs! You're a great player and a confident, well mannered person. I heard you kindly offering advice and discussing games with players and I was really impressed. Too bad we didn't get a chance to talk more. maybe next year.
Wedge - Wedge is a great player and came with a great group of guys. Wedge oozes confidence, but not arrogance. A fine line, but an important distinction. It was great talking to you and I hope to see more of you when I'm down in TX.
Jason Tanner - Nickname, it was great talking to you and hearing your opinions on not only rules, but on strategy as well. Your voice for strategy often gets drowned out by your huge responsibility for rules and thats too bad. You are the ultimate mediator of disputes. I watched a few of your games and you're a great player and sport.
Trevor - TINT and I didn't get to talk much but he is a super nice guy. I was glad to have met you! :)
jonnyb- It was great to see you so aware of fair play issues and even better to see you having so much fun by the end of the nationals.
Chris West (Mapmaker) - good to meet you. I understand that you have working restrictions that take certain decisions out of your hands. I'd love to help you balance art with functionality sometime in the future.

If I missed you let me know. I probably remember our conversations, just not right this instant!

And saving the best for last:

Boris - Its no secret that Boris and I really haven't gotten along well in the past. This wasn't always the case. When he and I first started posting, I was his biggest supporter. We're both really passionate about the game and somewhere along the way stuff happened and our relationship fell apart. While it was happening, I was always limited in my ability to read the situation because you can never really know if someone translates very well over the internet. I honestly didn't know if my impressions for Boris were ruined by the Intrawebs. I'm happy to say that the positive real life persona I imagined is the real one. I'm so glad to have met you. You're a passionate person with an interesting personality and great sense of humor. I'm grateful for the few conversations that we had and I understand your posts so much better now. Thanks for helping me feel welcome at Indy.

The people I met were the best part of the Con. I learned so much about so many people.

After the Team Tourney finished, the Nebraska Crew went out for food and revelry at the Ram. Jim Blakely and I had a long conversation about something that happened the first day. Jim is a nice guy who can play a little slow sometimes just because he is trying to be careful. He knows that it isn't right, and has been working on it. Of course, that doesn't excuse mistreatment of him. Jim was treated really badly by a player the first day and this affected his entire weekend. To my knowledge, there has been no apology from this other player, nor do I expect there to ever be one. I won't comment on my feelings on that. We helped Jim work through it and I'm really proud of his rebound later in the weekend. He had a lot of fun at the national tournament both when he was winning and losing and he had some great conversations with his opponents. He was, IMO, a model sportsman and represents what SWM players should aspire to be when treating other players. I really admire his courage in the face of ridiculous adversity.

It was an awesome time at the Ram, except for the whole glass shard in Ruth's cup thing. That sucked.

We had one of the biggest groups for SWM at the Con and it was fun just to see the same friends in a new environment and have so much to talk about games happening around us and our life stuff back home. 2 AM bedtime.

Saturday:

As a teacher I find it difficult to sleep past 7 so I was up and off to breakfast. ILS and his wife Ruth were going to meet me at Steak and Shake before I needed to report to judge the National Tournament. Dean and his son and Boris showed up and joined me before Jack and Ruth arrived.

The Championship went pretty smoothly and the toughest calls were at the beginning. I think the reason was that the greatest diversity of squads were at that time so there was greater potential for weird interactions between rules. After the third round pretty much every question was LOS or Cover. I forgot to mention bevelled corners at the beginning, like I intended to do, and there were two questions about them. Both players who asked were disappointed with the official ruling, which I don't blame them for feeling that way. Both graciously moved on and accepted it. I was careful not to inadvertently "help" one player or the other with a reply, and there were several instances in which I had to answer questions with things like: "it depends upon what corner your opponent picks to check for cover." I had to make three guesses at weird interactions, and all were right upon checking the FAQ or rulebook, or Dean, so I felt like my "gut" was accurate as well.

I regret that the tournament took so long. Even with the large numbers of people I felt that it could have been done faster. No offense to Dean or Ray. I'm just as "guilty". Regardless, everyone seemed to be having a good time and the only real "complaints" I heard were players whose opponents left without dropping officially, giving them an auto-win but a much lower SOS.

Slow play happened in several cases and we did the best we could to stop it. The primary tactic was judge presence and I even went so far as to hold the stop watch near players that were playing slow. Several players got warnings, but no game losses. There probably could have been some, but there are two ways to look at the issue and there is something to be said for not acting like total dictators about it. Dean and others helped me to see the well known slower players and we just watched them like hawks. I think it is also important to consider that a lot of people get nervous in national championships and especially playing certain players that they know to be good. They want to do their best, and their best means not being able to think or decide as fast as others. From a pure sportsmanship perspective, that doesn't justify slow play, but I also think a little understanding goes a long way. Enforcing good sportsmanship is pointless if you compromise the social atmosphere in doing so. In addition, we're all hyper-sensitive to slow play this year.

I got about an hour in the dealer hall during our break, and ILS highlighted some booths for me. t was fun walking the floor with my good friend and his wife.

The last part went well, save for the fire drill, but they let us back in pretty quickly. I took some crap from the guys for leaving during the fire drill, being staff and all. I'm not a fire fighter and Dean has experience with that, but as a science teacher my default mode is also: "People don't get how fast fire can move." so I was cautious. No product was stolen. No harm, no foul. ;) I'm no stranger to idiots pulling alarms. :D

After the long tournament we all went back to Steak and Shake for dinner and shakes. I went to bed much earlier and slept well. Yay! :)

I was lucky enough to have Sunday all to myself. I decided to just experience the dealer hall rather than play SWM. I would have played sealed I guess, but since this may very well be my last Gen Con, I decided to focus on what makes Gen Con really unique from a retail perspective. I started the day by going to the SWM area to pick up my judging goodie bag and saying goodbye to some people. I hit the floor for the next five hours, and it was a lot of fun. I scoured every booth. Some highlights for me:

1) My wife is not a gamer and I needed an appeasement gift for her. I picked up Settlers of Cataan Dice game and a Yahtzee/Monopoly hybrid. She likes to roll dice while still having a little strategy so these were confident choices for me.

2) I'm always most interested in gamer "tech" like counters and similar functional items. I picked up some jewel counters that said "destroyed", "locked" and "unlocked" for doors to help be more clear with my opponents. I don't think I've had problems with that, but I also think that every little bit helps. They were cheap and functional. I could have made them myself, for sure, but I'm a busy guy. I also got a new d20 and six siders for the SWRPG. The six face says "It's a six. Suck it." :twisted:

3) I heard people got some good Ugnaught deals. By the time I got the tip (Thank you :D), they were sold out. However, I did find a tiny little booth with some SWM in a box on the floor. Really old useless stuff in there. Then, I found a tiny little plastic bin with some. I found an Ugnaught! One of the reasons why I like the dealer hall is that a savvy gamer can get really good deals from people that don't understand the game stuff they are trying to hawk. Don't panic. Be smooth. ;) The conversation went like this:

Me: "How much are your SWM in this box?"

Dealer: "2-3 dollars depending upon which ones they are. Or less, I guess it just depends."

Me (feigning ignorance :D): "How much are these little guys? I guess they're commons."

Dealer: "A buck a peice is fine."

Me (holding back scream of glee and speaking in a monotone): Ok. Thanks.

*rummage rummage rummage rummage rummage rummage rummage rummage rummage* I fish out eight. :D Hand him eight bucks.

Dealer (starting to get a clue): "All those huh? They must be worth something then."

Me: "I guess so." *bolt*

hee hee

4) I grabbed some cheap SWMs as well. Five dollar Attack on Endor pack. 50 cent Sith Apprentices and Jedi Battlemasters. I even got a few rares at a booth for 50 cents a piece! :D They all went to students back home that needed them. Felucians cost me the most at 2 bucks a piece. They were my "splurge". I picked up Mapmaker's custom map.

That was fun. I watched games, got Magic cards signed for ilikeyoda, looked at the eye candy (don't tell my wife ;) ) All around a good time.

I left for the airport early on the green line. I got there and found that my connection through O'Hare was cancelled. I know this affected a lot of people. I'm just going to tell my story here. Just know that I feel bad for people for which this didn't work out. I went to the counter and explained that I didn't need to go through Chicago and asked her if she could put me into Lincoln, Des Moines, KC, or anywhere else close. She said she would re-route me through Minneapolis, but her own people messed up the reservation. I discovered this after waiting in line for another 30 minutes at the Delta booth that she sent me to. My AA ticket agent was super nice and worked through it. After two hours, she got me a seat on a delayed Chicago flight that would allow me to take my original connection. I think what happened is that while I was trying to sort out my cancelled flight, someone on the delayed flight couldn't make their chicago connection and must have given up their seat. I got their seat. I felt like the luckiest SOB alive because it would have sucked missing school yesterday.

At the airport I saw Wedge's group and we traded some figs just as my boarding call happened. We swapped VRs, I completed my set, I chucked em in my bag, and I boarded the flight!

Thanks for the good time everyone and it was a pleasure meeting you! :D


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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:45 pm 
The Godfather
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Mike,

Thanks so much for being a key member of the judge team. I really enjoyed meeting you and having some time to talk to you privately before we got back to the madness.

The best of luck this year....!!

I would love you to check the dates of GenCon next year (early August 5-8). Maybe it could fit into your schedule.


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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:48 pm 
Black Sun Thug
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Moses2813 wrote:
I would love you to check the dates of GenCon next year (early August 5-8). Maybe it could fit into your schedule.


If it is a week earlier, it is a distinct possibility. I'll judge for you anytime. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:40 pm 
The One True Sith Lord
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Mike it was great to meet you and I could not think of a better guy to have helping in the Champs than you.

Wow I wish I had known you were looking for uggies.

I had like 8 in a box in the hotel room you could have. I have over a 150 of the buggers. If you still want them PM me your addy and I will send them to you. I just found them in the box while packing for gencon. I did not hear anyone screaming for uggs so I told no one about them.

Anyways glad you could make it and I hope you had a blast.

For me it was great to meet both you and Jack. Both of you really did a great job and are terrific people.

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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:24 pm 
Black Sun Thug
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dnemiller wrote:
For me it was great to meet both you and Jack. Both of you really did a great job and are terrific people.


The feeling is mutual. :D


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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:01 pm 
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Thanks for the kind words. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to play a game, that's the one thing I had hoped to do this year but wasn't able to, was play some friendly constructed games (NOT league) with some of the people there.

I am officially retiring my AT-AT battle, though I may try a different type of mass battle next year. Possibly another Clone Wars or Endor. Hopefully what that will mean is there will be more time for friendly games next year.

Anyway, it was great to meet you in person. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I am glad you came to GenCon. :)

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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:37 pm 
The One True Sith Lord
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Grand Moff Boris wrote:
Thanks for the kind words. I'm sorry we didn't get a chance to play a game, that's the one thing I had hoped to do this year but wasn't able to, was play some friendly constructed games (NOT league) with some of the people there.

I am officially retiring my AT-AT battle, though I may try a different type of mass battle next year. Possibly another Clone Wars or Endor. Hopefully what that will mean is there will be more time for friendly games next year.

Anyway, it was great to meet you in person. I really wasn't sure what to expect, but I am glad you came to GenCon. :)


yeah I am still a little miffed Mike did not come in the dress from the halloween picture. That would have fit right in with all the folks wearing costumes

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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:41 am 
Black Sun Thug
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I knew I should have worn the dress. Dang it. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:08 am 
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thanks for the props Klecser, it was great to meet you dude!

boris wrote:
am officially retiring my AT-AT battle, though I may try a different type of mass battle next year. Possibly another Clone Wars or Endor. Hopefully what that will mean is there will be more time for friendly games next year.


Really?!?!
NooOOOooo, i never got a chance to play it!

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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:47 am 
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fingersandteeth wrote:
thanks for the props Klecser, it was great to meet you dude!

boris wrote:
am officially retiring my AT-AT battle, though I may try a different type of mass battle next year. Possibly another Clone Wars or Endor. Hopefully what that will mean is there will be more time for friendly games next year.


Really?!?!
NooOOOooo, i never got a chance to play it!


Sorry, yes it's true. 4 years is long enough. Lugging those things up to Indy is awkard and encumbersome. There were some other issues that I don't want to get into publicly but those are the main things.

I think it's time someone else had the chance to do something with the AT-ATs up there.

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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:12 pm 
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Micheal, it was a pleasure to meet you at Gencon. I had a good time this year trying to meet more and more people from the boards. Thanks for WFF props. I just wish they ended up being better. Oh well, next year I will not be bringing them (as they are all slatted for destruction by the Evil Empire known as an Alpha E bonfire).

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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:11 am 
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Mike,

We indeed had a great conversation in the Exhibition Hall on Sunday, but you must have me mixed up with someone else with regards to the podcast thing. I gave you a couple of top ten Leia suggestions for your next podcast and I was with Grand Admiral (Ruben). Meeting you was one of the pleasant and unexpected surprises over the GenCon weekend. My big thing is sportsmanship and in our conversation I felt like this is where we made a connection. I'd like to continue that conversation sometime because I think that is one area where I can give back to this game, having played in various sports at a tournament level.

Darth Jim (Not Podcast Jim, whoever that is lol.)

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 Post subject: Re: klecser Gen Con Report
PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:37 am 
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klecser wrote:
... Darth Jim - Darth Jim created the podcasts with his friend Mark and I met both of these guys. Stand up guys. We had a great conversation in the dealer hall. ...


Darth_Jim wrote:
Mike, We indeed had a great conversation in the Exhibition Hall on Sunday, but you must have me mixed up with someone else with regards to the podcast thing. I gave you a couple of top ten Leia suggestions for your next podcast and I was with Grand Admiral (Ruben). Meeting you was one of the pleasant and unexpected surprises over the GenCon weekend. ...


We're stand up guys? Good to hear. But you've got us confused with some other scoundrels.

While Mark and I would have loved attending GenCon (and thanks for the offer, Dean) and joining in the SWM fun, we were not able to do so. But it is amusing seeing the stories about meeting us. It sounds like you guys are listening to us (and we appreciate that) and each of you mistakenly thought the other was responsible for the show. Mike has indeed contributed (and thanks again for that; and we'll be asking you back for more when your schedule allows) and Jim has given us some good topic suggestions for upcoming segments (which we'll be doing). Dean, Deri, Jason, and others here have either already contributed or will be doing so. And we appreciate that also.

Good to hear you guys had a good time and we look forward to meeting everybody.

Tim

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