As I mentioned, I went to GenCon this year. It was my first, and at the last moment I would have refunded everything if I could have as I *really* didn't think I'd enjoy it. However, I think I ended up having fun, and for me being the grumpy old man I am, was a pleasant surprise.
First, some things I learned at GenCon:
#1. If you fly in that day, put your crap somewhere and do NOT try to walk around with it all day. It'll deplete your energy faster.
#2. Get one hell of a great pair of shoes, just for this event. Your feet and back will thank you (I'm a disabled veteran, this convention hurt!)
#3. Take various snacks and drinks in a backpack. The gouge you with prices, and often you'll be in the middle of a game and not be able to step away.
#4. Get a hotel as close as you can, even if it sucks (you won't be in it much anyway), and use a cab to get to/from. Buses are annoying and unreliable, and I've hard parking is a nightmare.
#5. Make a plan, and stick to it. Its a freaking HUGE convention, and I missed all sorts of things because I didn't even know they existed or where they were.
#6. Take some Ricola for your throat, it will thank you. You scream the whole time, and your throat is killing you even on day 2.
Now, all the stuff I did:
- I walked around to every exhibit in the, umm... sales part. Some impressed me like Hawk wargames and Dropzone Command, Star Trek Armada, and the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter (which blew me away it looked so good, glad I ordered like 10 painted sets!). This took a day basically, minus stops. Lots to see.
- I spoke with the DP9 folks about my unhappiness as to the direction their game is turning. I don't think they really cared, nor should they. I was however told to post stuff on their forums and that DP9 would put their "canon" sorta official stamp on it if it was a good product. That was cool, though I still don't like any Heavy Gear since 2nd edition :(
- I bought 2 of the new Ad Hoc Alpha Strike Card sets, which are great. I presume folks have done a review out there, if not let me know and I'll do one. I also got a mousepad for battletech, which like most mousepads, is too small for me to use (but its still cool!). I also bought the Scapa 9 tank box, a couple Leviathan 2 miniatures (which suck for quality btw), and an old school Charger I used for scale pictures.
- I took some Robotech RPG Tactics 1/285 miniatures with me and gave them to the Palladium booth. I ended up speaking with them for a long time, got permission to take scale pictures of everything, and had some unprecedented access to them. In the end, I ended up getting one of the 3 boxed sets that exist in the US for *FREE*. I did an unboxing video as quick as I could, and have been struggling through the miniatures for the last few days. There is a lot more on it out there if your interested, but this is a Battletech blog.
And finally, to Battletech!
I signed up for all sorts of things. I ended up playing 1 alpha strike game (that was fun, I still don't care for the all-or-nothing damage system, but the game is great as an *alternative* to battletech) but most of my time was spent on the Grinder. The grinder let me pop in, take horrible designs, die gloriously teaching somebody new the game, and it was quite fun. I got lots of pins, which I gave away to newer folks. I ended up with a couple left.
I will say all the Catalyst demo folks I dealt with, as well as the other players (both new and old), were all in the greatest of moods and we all continually had a great time, even after 12+ hours of play in some cases. It was great to have a place I could show up to at any point, and start playing (having a good place to sit helped!).
It was a very positive experience overall. People were all very nice, police, and I didn't notice body oder at all (I was actually worried about that!). I was quite surprised just how positive of a place it was. Its a great experience, even if you do it only once.
I doubt I'll ever go back again, but maybe.
I did speak with Randall for 30 seconds about getting re-instated on the forums. I figure its worth a shot as I'm the only one actively producing new software for Battletech, and can save them and their volunteers many of hours of work by some of my automated processes. He told me to email him about it after some other game convention this week. I know what getting back can be like after being gone, so I'll probably wait till next week.
If I get denied, I will probably try very hard to back away from Battletech though, maybe to focus on Robotech, or more likely just go back to playing computer games to pass the time. I kinda need the community feedback to feel like I'm not wasting my time. The blog helps, and honestly is the only reason I'm still into BT at all, but I don't get a lot of views.
Till next time!