Tuesday, August 19, 2014

GenCon Overview: Favorite Things

Before launching into a travelogue of my time in Indianapolis, I want to cover GenCon with a broad brush.  So, I'm going to give 4 things that were my favorite things that happened at GenCon.  These are some of the overarching themes from my trip that I feel like help frame the trip.

4 Favorite Things
  1. Meeting New People: I met so many new people at the Con.  At the very beginning, I was standing in line to register all by my lonesome.  There was another single in line right in front of me, though he had a friend that was flitting in and out.  We started talking and after he got over his surprise that I'd come alone, we really got to talking about gaming.  His name was Rob (all names changed) and like me his main game is Pathfinder.  We spent time talking as we wound our way to registration and eventually his friend, James, came back.

    They were both incredibly nice guys with incredibly full lives that included wives, children, and fulfilling jobs.  We caught a beer after Matt and I made it through registration and I was so happy.  I had a great time just easing into the con with them and the three of us spent a lot of time laughing, joking, talking about the games we played and our philosophy on them.  Although I met lots of people during the con, Matt and Noah were the only ones that I corresponded with regularly over the course of GenCon.  We didn't get an opportunity to meet back up, but I've since emailed with Rob about getting in on an online game.  I'm excited!

    But it was getting late and all three of us had an early game the following day, so I bid Rob and James goodnight.  As I went to catch a taxi to my hotel (see things that I'll do differently next year, below), someone called me out for being from Arkansas--because of my hat.  Arkansans abroad are always friendly with each other.  I think it's being from such a small state.  We have to get excited when we see someone else from the homeland.  Forgive me, I've forgotten their names, but they shared a pre-printed sheet with me--it had a supply list and recommendations for a good GenCon.  The most important one: get two real meals a day and at least five hours of sleep a night.  This is a lot harder than it sounds.
  2. Playing Lots of Different Games:  A lot of people, like Rob and James, go to GenCon just to play one game the entire time.  In their case, it's Pathfinder.  Pathfinder's also my game, but I didn't want it to be the sum total of my GenCon.  There are some people that hit all three game slots on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday as well as the Sunday slot playing the same game.  But, I wanted variety.  In addition to Pathfinder Society games, I got a chance to play Monte Cook's new game, the Strange and to play some 13th Age, a fantastic new system.  The Strange involves taking on the personality of someone tied into the dark matter that lets people move between universes, called the strange in the game.  13th Age is a more traditional fantasy game, but very rules lights.  I'll talk more about those games later, but suffice to say that variety was the spice of my GenCon.
  3. PFS Scenarios: Despite hitting a lot of different games, I did spend four slots at the Pathfinder Society tables and had a great time at all of them.  I got to meet some great GMs from Norfolk and from Chattanooga and got to play with some fantastic groups.  A father, uncle, son group played dog-riding gnome triplets that spoke in Swedish accents were just the beginning of the ridiculous fun that was Society games.  I normally get to play a PFS game once or twice a month.  It was fantastic to have an opportunity to play my character several scenarios in a row and to have an opportunity to better flesh out who my two PFS characters, Khygar and Averrit, really are.
  4. Doing Some Investigation of Me: This was the real reason that I went to Indy and I'm glad that I did it.  Gaming is a social activity, but I had a lot of alone time in my room, on my walks to and from my apartment, and between games.  I got a chance to talk to a lot of people but I really needed to talk to myself.  And I'm glad that I did because I found out that I really like hanging out with me when I let myself go.  I thought about me as a gaymer and found that I really liked the idea.
So those are my three big themes from GenCon.  They'll play into all of my future posts about what went down while I was there.  Up next, the 4 things that I'm glad I did.