Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GenCon 2010

I already put together a Geeklist of what I wound up purchasing and playing at GenCon this year, so this post is more a step-by-step what I did and saw and who I chatted with. It's gonna be a bit long until we reach Thursday, so please bear with me.  Even then, it'll be a bit scattered and probably not up to my usual standards.

We left Seattle mid-day on Tuesday. The flight to Chicago was uneventful and even a little boring (which is the ideal, to be perfectly honest).

We had a few hours of layover in Chicago, and ate at Chilis. For us, this is a rare treat, as Chilis doesn't exist in our area anymore (and it had been one of Stephanie's favorites).

The flight from Chicago to Indianapolis had a great view out our side of the plane:

We arrived safely in Indianapolis shortly after midnight and took a cab to our hotel.

For the last few years, Stephanie and I have paid for a hotel connected to the convention center. It costs a little more, but allows us to set our own schedule (and sleep in in the mornings). This year, our reservation was at the Westin in Indianapolis.

This year, my payday matched up almost exactly with our leaving for the trip, so we made a large payment that morning. It hadn't processed by the time we arrived, so we had some initial trouble checking in. Apparently, it processed at midnight Pacific, so we were only a few hours off.

The gentleman behind the counter suggested that we authorize for one night immediately, and he would adjust the authorization in a few hours when he did the night audit. He would even hold the audit for a bit to give the card more time to accept our payment. This was the first of several times when the Westin staff stepped up for us.

When we got up to the room, it was ... warm. Really warm. But we were too tired to care, and crashed pretty quickly after setting our alarm for "Way Too Early" the next morning.

For us, GenCon actually starts on Wednesday, when the dealer's room is open for setup.

Wednesday morning, we stumbled out of bed and fumbled through our morning routine. We then headed down to Steak 'n Shake for breakfast, as it's generally too busy the rest of the weekend.

While there, our good friend Wade Rockett called. "Eric," he asked us, "How crafty is Stephanie?" It turns out, the Kobold Quarterly team had a wheel of prizes in their booth, and one of the possible prizes didn't exist. In short, they needed an Albino Dire Weasel.

After breakfast, we headed to the convention center, where we obtained our badges. Upon reaching booth 1901, we noticed that no-one was there and there was no "stuff" there, either. So we headed to CVS to pick up the Dire Weasel Fixins.

We then headed back to the room to assemble the Dire Weasel - the finished product can be seen here. At that time, we let the desk staff know that our room's AC unit didn't appear to be working, as it was still well over 80 degrees in there.

We then headed back to the KQ booth, dropped the Weasel off, and headed back to our booth, 1901. Our timing was perfect - we arrived just as they were finishing up with the carpet.

Every year, Asmodee buys a roll of carpet for GenCon, you see.

Then we had lunch with the Asmodee team - this year, in addition to Stephanie and myself, we had Patrick, Chantal, Stefan, Christophe, Alex, Drew, and Jeremy. Patrick was the only member of the team that I didn't already know in person (but I'd interacted with him a bit on BoardGameGeek).

True fact: Canadian Mountain Dew contains no caffeine. This means that there's really no reason to drink it. Upon learning that Dew in the US is highly caffeinated, Alex had to try it. He was buzzing for several hours.

I had a gift for Christophe, and so Stephanie and I then headed back to the room and found the AC working - we recovered Christophe's gift, and headed down to finish setup.

Setup went remarkably smoothly, and the booth looked like this when we were done:

GenCon2010 001.

I had originally planned to meet David Miller of Purple Pawn to play some Savage Worlds. Apparently the Savage Worlds fell through, but we did meet and play a few games - Fantasy and Identik. I think Fantasy was a little too simple for my tastes, but I did like Identik.

Stephanie and I then headed to our usual Asmodee team dinner at Champps. "We missed you last night," Chantal told us, "We would have done better at trivia."

That night, we crashed.

As is our habit, Stephanie and I were at the booth before the rest of the team was. We get there before the room is opened to dealers. I had a chance to chat a bit with Wolfgang Baur and Wade a bit more before the doors opened for us. At this point, I also had a chance to chat with someone (I think it was Henry Lopez, but I'm not sure) from Paradigm Concepts. That discussion sold me on Witch Hunter: The Invisible World, which I picked up that evening.

Thursday morning, the doors opened and folks trickled through. I only played Claustrophobia a few times, but I demoed it a lot. In fact, it became clear early in the day that we'd need more tables for Claustrophobia.

The day was a blur for me. I didn't even leave the booth to take a lunch break - Stephanie went to the concession stand and bought a bratwurst for me. Generally, I subsist on Brats at GenCon - they're bad, but they're better than the hot dogs, and the're relatively cheap.

Thursday evening, I went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner. Don't tell anyone, but CFA is half the reason I enjoy GenCon. We don't have it here in Seattle, and I really love their sandwiches. Nothing here even comes close.

After dinner, Wade came by with his haul. This was his first Gencon, so he also wanted to unwind a bit. We had a good chat, before he headed back to his hotel and Stephanie and I crashed.

Demo-wise, the entire weekend blurs together. I don't remember anything specific from Friday at all. I demoed games and games and games. I think that Friday was the day Stephanie discovered how dangerous the IPR booth is. After last year, I'm not allowed to visit them unaccompanied. After this year, neither is she. Maybe we'll browse online and give money to a proxy next year.

Gil with Repos arrived, bringing with him 7 Wonders. Good game. Great game. Heartily recommend it. Then I went back to Claustrophobia and Cyclades and Ghost Stories.

Saturday Night, we played Werewolves of Miller's Hollow. We usually play 1-2 nights per con.

GenCon2010 024

Katie, who is moderating this game, is a friend from Seattle.

Again: All the demos blur together after a while. So all I remember of Sunday is cleanup and dinner with the team. The cleanup was faster than usual, because Troll and Toad bought most of our unsold inventory.

Dinner was at the Weber Grill, and then we all headed our separate ways.

So, even with nothing hugely memorable, it was still a great GenCon - we got to see old friends again, and (of course) play games and games and games.

I'm already looking forward to next year.


  1. Anonymous3:45 PM

    I own Werewolves of Millers Hollow! I bought it at a GenCon several years back. I have only gotten to play it a small handful of times because I rarely have enough people together to play. I wish I had known there were groups of people playing it at GenCon! I would have been so all over that!

  2. Jondi,

    We play every year. It actually caused some trouble two years ago.