Saturday, August 14, 2010

My First Gaming Convention!

This week has been a rough one. I was out sick three days. The printer has been having problems getting my order done (latest SNAFU: the broken part won't be in till Monday and the print run won't be finished till Thursday...assuming no other problems). And I have frigging raccoons dancing on my roof at night. Seriously. Peering in through the f'ing skylight. Running around like friggin' Santa and his reindeer.

Really, just a headache.

On top of which, today was the first day of Dragonflight XXXI, the Northwest gaming convention I've never been to, but which I was determined to attend.

And I did. And I'll be back tomorrow.

Sorry for the late night post, but I've spent the last several hours comforting my beloved, beleaguered wife who has, unfortunately, succumbed to the same sickness I've had all week. Sorry, babe.

Anyway, there is so much I could write about in just this one day. I mean, literally, I have stuff for nearly half a dozen blog posts. Most of it (I am literally chuckling as I type this) actually pretty negative. But lovingly so! I loved it...oh, it was so...refreshing! Despite all the negative critical things I can (and probably will) say, I still had a good time!


Let's see if I can sum up the day real quick...the elaborations will come (oh, trust me, the elaborations will come).

I had a lot of shit to get through this morning just to make it to the thing in time for the game I had committed to run at 2pm. And I didn't even make that. Even in the middle of the day, traffic to and from Bellevue is a bitch. Honestly, how folks can stand to live/work on the Eastside...I just don't understand. Plus they're the only part of King County that's majority Republican. Maybe the traffic is some sort of Divine smiting... to the Bellevue Hilton no problem...thank God the Con folks chose a place with such no nonsense directions from the highway! The concierge didn't even look at me funny when I asked for the Dragonflight convention. Nice!

Found that it was cash or check only, so I was even later getting in as I had to find an ATM (and take it up the ass with the damn fee). However, even standing in line wasn't so boring as I could hear they were playing a movie (!) in the room next door with a familiar soundtrack...a track I at first mis-identified as Dune, when in fact it was Big Trouble in Little China.

My kind of people.

The pres (I think) actually registered me and showed me where to go to find my table and sign-in sheet. Low and behold NO ONE SIGNED UP FOR MY GAME. Again. Noob that I am, the pres informed me (apologetically) that the 2pm Friday time-slot is generally one of the slowest of the con...something I probably should have guessed.

So I changed the time to 3pm and gleefully set about wandering to check out the rest of the sights.

Wow. Again...much to discuss. Most people were playing board games or war games and not a few were playing pick-up card games of various types (MtG, Gloom). There were also plenty of dealer tables (and shelves! 8' tall and stacked with stuff!) set up in the ballrooms, most selling shit I would never, ever purchase.

Except for American Eagle Games and their blessed-basement-inventory-of-shit-they've-never-sold. These are the same guys from whom I bought a mint copy of The Compleat Adventurer, and they once again came through by bringing a crap-load of stuff I'd never seen on their shelves, almost everything circa 1980s. I bought a single non-game item that I am immensely happy with and deserves its own blog post.

So having something to read, I happily went back to my empty table which remained empty.

In fact the table became emptier because a guy who was also in need of players invited me to join his game (he had three of his hoped for six). And I did.

I've written before that I think the new Mongoose Traveller is the perfect platform to run a Firefly/Serenity game. Apparently, I'm not the only person to think so. Freaking fantastic. That in itself is worth three posts.

Tomorrow I run Death Frost Doom. We'll see how that goes...I am excited to go back (hmmm...should probably print out the pdf huh? Yeah, better go do that). More on this later. I just want to end this post on one last note:

Every person I encountered and talked to? Every single one? Very nice. Very happy. Even the guys playing Gloom. Not a single Grumpy Gus or arrogant jackass in the house.

: )


  1. Chello!

    Really? Your first con? Have fun!

    I got stuck this year with a Friday 8PM slot at Owl Con this year. I had 1 person pre-signed for my game (and that was my DM!) However, my table did fill up by start time. I hate the early slots...usually. :)

  2. @ Anthony: Yep, my first con. While I am a fine and extroverted person, I don't do as well with large groups of people (I'm just not that gregarious) I haven't really been plugged into the gaming "scene" in Seattle the last few years.

    And I can easily admit I am a total noob making silly mistakes (regarding slots etc.)...I forget things like "not everybody has Fridays off like you JB."

    But I AM learning...and I'm having fun while doing so!
    : )

  3. I am glad to here Dragonflight is still going strong. I used to shop at American Eagles back when I was helping organize Dragonflight I

  4. Sorry to hear about your first slot being empty, but congrats on the first con, and have fun!

    As a teenager I attended Dragonflight back in '91 & '92, when it was on the campus of UW (IIRC), and you actually could stay in empty dorms as part of your ticket. I tried staying up all night but couldn't manage it. I still have some great gaming memories from back then- playing the (usually play by mail) computer gladiator game, hearing (though I never got to play in it) the TWERPS Vikings & Beekeepers players singing from all the way down the hall. Meeting Raven McCracken and playing Synnibarr with him. Good times!

  5. @ Shimrod...I met Raven (briefly) on a Metro bus when he was first peddling Synnibar in a huge blue binder to local game shops...this would have been circa 1990 or '91. I can't imagine actually playing with the man himself!

    @ imredave: Dude, I would have 5 years old at the time.
    : )

  6. That's almost the same timeframe! I bought that big blue binder edition first, when my brother and I met Raven at Dragonflight. We played in a few of his con games after that (at DF & Norwescon) before finally joining his home game, which we played in for about a year before moving back to the Easy coast in '93. Gaming is a small but fun world. ;)

    Digging these posts about the con and your experiences a lot! It's reminding me of what Gygax wrote in Roleplaying Mastery about the importance of getting out to cons and playing there. It really exposes you to new stuff and people and gets the creative juices going.

  7. @ Shimrod:

    If you'd like my thoughts on Synnibar, you can check out my post from July of last year:

    I certainly found Raven an inspiration in my youth.
    : )