Just returned from Gary Con IV yesterday. I had mixed feelings about attending this year, since last year, our daughter passed away the day after Gary Con. Part of me didn’t want to attend at all. But, the other part of me (the part that won :)) wanted to be surrounded by friends and gamers for comfort and fun. Sometimes fun heals.
And, what can be more fun than gaming in the festive atmosphere of a gaming convention? And, to be honest, Gary Con is probably our favorite convention in so many ways. Here are some highlights about Gary Con in general and about this year’s Gary Con specifically.
• It honors Gary Gygax, set up to pay tribute to his memory by his children.
• Industry legends not only attend, but are accessible to fans. I mean, how great is it to game with Tom Wham, have a beer with Frank Mentzer, or get lost in character stories with Ernie Gygax? It is a rarified atmosphere unlike any other gaming experience.
• convention centers around gaming. That is its focus — it’s just rooms and rooms full of tables and gaming. It’s not comics, media, sci fi, anime, etc. It is a convention for GAMERS, and that’s what I am.
Sure, there is a dealer’s room, and there is an artist’s corner, and yes, Jolly was there with KODT goodness, but, the focus was on playing games. Some of the highlights for me this year was watching a table of young boys probably 8 years old to 11, playing AD&D for almost an entire day and having a complete blast. Their enthusiasm for the game, their full engagement in the game, their interaction with each other, the creativity of the game master and his skill at making the game vibrant for those boys, was just so encouraging. It was also great to have young fans come up to our booth excited about having played Hackmaster and wanting autographs. 🙂 They are the future of our industry and hobby.
Another highlight was just hanging out with very good friends. Craig Zipse came up from Georgia and he is a very special friend that everyone likes because of his friendly disposition, kindness and love of gaming. Geekpreacher, aka, Derek White brought his brother in law Joel and his friend Redd up from Tennessee, and we enjoyed spending time with them as well. We were gratified that not only did they grace us with their presence, but they worked their tails off helping us get our booth up to Lake Geneva and setting it up for us Wednesday night.
Also, we got to see our good friends Travis and Tracy Primmer and their son Del. Even though they live close by, we don’t get to see them and talk as much as we’d like. Gary Con is a good place to relax and touch bases with people.
I got to play in a demo of Aces and Eights, a game I love not just because our company publishes it. They were playing a gunfight and I came in late. I made a bare-bones character and named her Killer Jane. Paper buildings were set up along a western street and paper minis were in use. Since I couldn’t really reach the playing area, I tossed my paper mini into the fray. The thing sailed gracefully across the roof of the bank and landed behind another player, putting my character into play perfectly.
I immediately shot at the cowpoke I had landed behind, aiming for the crotch as I imagined my crazy character being a woman who had it in for men in general. Since I was behind him, I ended up shooting him in the rear-end. It was pretty funny.
He turned his mini around, and we closed for more close in shooting. He aims for my neck, misses. I aim for his crotch and hit his chest instead. We close, until we’re face to face. In the final simultaneous shoot out, I blast his character’s crotch and he, missing my character’s neck, shoots her in the face so that we both fall over unconscious. It doesn’t get much better than that. 😉
Got to play in a Hackmaster game with our D-Team and friends, and ended up suffering a crit and nearly dying again. Seems like every Gary Con I lose a character. This time, I was lucky and got to -2 hit points before being given first aid, and so, I’m happy about that.
I watched Jolly and Craig play a cool jousting game. Craig’s skill at jousting was too much for poor Jolly. In fact, Craig ended up being one of the top jousters of Gary Con IV with that performance.
Got to play one of our favorite board games, Dice Town, in the bar Friday night with Travis, Craig, and Luke Gygax. Luke trounced us, but we didn’t mind too much. We’ll get him next year. 😉
One of the highlights of my time was sitting down with Ernie Gygax and hearing the stories of his player characters, ones he used to play test with his dad back when he was a kid. I would elaborate here, but we’re planning on running stories of gaming legends and their favorite characters in KODT, so I don’t want to spoil it.
If you ever get the chance to come to Lake Geneva (a really beautiful place) some day for Gary Con, I recommend you do it. There’s nothing better for gamers than to gather in Gary’s hometown and toss the dice.