GenCon Saturday

Saturday morning I was once again up for a 9 AM game.  Sigh.  This was one I was looking forward to though: the Castles & Crusades Society Open.  I’m not a big C&C guy, but generally they tend to run some pretty good old school stuff.  The term “Open” also implied to me some kind of tournament format, and I found myself thinking of the Stonesky Delve tournament of two years ago.  I was kind of hoping maybe this one would be similar, and that I might find myself with a second round to go to later that would be more enticing that what I had regularly scheduled.

Instead, I was treated to half an hour of sitting around awkwardly with several other folks wondering if the GM was going to show.  Finally we gave up, at which point I ran off to meet Jenn at the auction, which sadly was once again auctioning stuff I wasn’t particularly interested in.  However, TOVA was scheduled for 4-7 that evening, and then the charity auction after that.  I had tickets to a game from 3-6 and then 7-11, which unfortunately was making it difficult to figure out how I might catch one of the other of those auctions, and in the meantime I had nothing to do all morning.  Sigh.

So I wandered back into the dealer’s room to look at a board game I had my eye on the day before: Fortune and Glory.  I remembered seeing this game last year, and the pulp setting and cool looking miniatures and maps had caught my eye then as well.  I had spent some time watching a demo on Friday, but it seemed to be going long and I didn’t have the patience to wait to try it myself.  This time, I somehow lucked into wandering by just as they were starting up a new demo.  Thus, my morning was salvaged as I got to sit down to a pretty enjoyable game.  The game fits two niches I love to see: it can hold more than 6 players (8 max), and it has a cooperative mode (meaning Jenn may actually play it with me.)  The only thing holding me back from buying it was the size of the box compared to the size of my luggage.  I decided to hold back, and once we got home I ordered it online.  I will surely post more about this game in the future.

By the late afternoon I found myself too excited to see TOVA to attend my 3-6 game. TOVA was very good, as always, but I forced myself to leave it just as it was wrapping up to go to my 7 PM game.  I just didn’t feel right leaving GenCon having not played a single scheduled game on Saturday, which this year due to an early flight out would be my last real day of the convention.  So off I went to the Exhibit hall to find a Labyrinth Lord game being run by some guys who make terrain similar (in style at least, if not quality) to Dwarven Forge.  I knew going in this would be a miniatures heavy game, and though that’s not how I’d run such games, I was ready to embrace it and have a good time.

It got off on the wrong foot due to a complete snafu regarding the table numbering printed on the ticket.  Being in one of the larger halls I had to navigate about looking for the right hall number, section color, and table number.  After several failed attempts, and one encounter with a surly and unhelpful volunteer, I finally forced myself to go to another volunteer station and ask again.  This guy actually took the time to look at my ticket and look up the game on his computer (first guy didn’t even want to see my ticket), and lo and behold the information printed on the ticket itself was wildly incorrect.

I was the last at the table, though things hadn’t really started yet.  The terrain was laid out, and in that quantity it did look kind of cool, though when I later checked out their website I was amazed to discover that their prices weren’t much less than dwarven forge.  For the quality difference, I was expecting this to be bargain stuff.  I’m including no link to their product here on purpose.

The game started off well enough.  The strongest personality was a older gentlemen who clearly had some kind of military background.  He was there with his daughter, and I suspected but never found out for sure that at least one other player was part of his group.  The discipline the guy inspired in the group was kind of refreshing, and I enjoyed playing the game for a while as part of the well oiled exploration machine we shaped up to be.  Our leader wasn’t a jerk about it, and generally did a good job delegating tasks to everyone to make sure they were all involved, and all in all it was kind of fun.

But then it got a bit boring.  We were too efficient to be honest, and the DM was not doing anything to make our lives more difficult.  I think he was probably kind of delighted at how well we were doing, and wanted to see a group ace his dungeon.  Towards the end we had uncovered some very dangerous looking things: a door covered with runes and a statue with gems for eyes that some helpful lizard men warned us early against (clearly the dungeon was written in such a way that we could have easily bungled the lizard man encounter, killed the monsters, and then walked directly into danger without their warning).  It looked like we would end at least half an hour early, and everyone seemed content to walk away.

Not me.  Come on, this is a con game, who cares if our characters survive, or make slightly immoral choices?  An unknown amount of wealth guarded by supreme evil?  Surely we can’t pass that by, right?  Well, out-voted on every opportunity I finally decided to trail the group on the way out and see if I couldn’t pop out the statue’s eyes and cause a little chaos.

Unfortunately the GM totally didn’t embrace it, and handled it kind of haphazardly, first giving everyone a d6 roll to see me (of course someone’s going to hit that, there were more than 6 of them!)  Then letting them sort of talk it away in meta-game: he was only kidding, we know he wouldn’t do that with us looking, etc.  I argued I absolutely would, and it boiled down into a “well if you do that then I do this” kind of argument, trumped at the end with a sleep spell from the magic-user with no save.  Fine, if that’s the kind of kill-joy group I was playing with, I guess I’m glad we ended early.

And due to the early end, I found myself over at Cardhalla just in time to see it come down.  Well, mostly, my view was pretty obstructed, but I did see a good chunk of it. I also met up with Jenn and Mike, and we wandered about a bit to see the dregs of the auction and finally return to the hotel.

Thus ended my GenCon, not with a bang but a whimper.  All in all it was a solidly good convention, not the best nor yet the worst I’ve seen.  And if nothing else, it did exactly what I would hope from such events: it reinvigorated my interest in my home campaign and gave me nuggets of ideas for stuff to run at the next convention. Which I guess now is TotalCon in February.  Who wants to go?

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