Monday, September 3, 2012

Gen Con 2012: Overall Impressions

I was running a lot of games. So many that I didn't necessarily have enough time to take in the rest of the con to provide anything other than a brief look at some things.

For example, I wasn't hip to any new product announcements or any of the various panels. Heck, I didn't even go see any of the movies the Con usually has playing.

Last year I would've swore that laptops were on the way out and tablets in. Maybe next year. Most of the people I saw were still using their phones for a lot of things and no one at any of the games I ran actually used a tablet outside of myself. For me though, it did replace my laptop. See, my laptop actually died right before Gen Con. I thought about getting a new one but with the convention itself being a place where I spend a lot of money and with the new Windows coming out supposedly at the end of October... yeah, I was going to wait on that one.

And that worked out fine. I was still able to read my PDFs and everything so that worked out well.

In terms of free wifi though? Man, last year it seemed to be everywhere. This year every hotel I was at had some premium membership you had to be a member of to have it or pay some outrageous fee to buy it. Suffice it to say that did not happen for me at least.

My purchases this year center around a few spots. As I was working for Cubicle 7, I did receive some credit for every game I ran. They make some great and beautiful games but alas, those games are not inexpensive so I went well over my credit limit. Many of these I bought because I wanted either a hardcopy reference, like the new Doctor Who boxed set or Yggdrasill, or they were new and might be handy to show players of the sesson like the Loremaster Screen for the One Ring and the new adventure. Some of it was just stuff I was interested in for a while like the new Runequest and one of the setting sourcebooks as well as some Legends of Anglerre, which some of my friends swear by, although we never play it. Oh, and dice for the One Ring. While its not a HUGE deal to use regular dice, having the special d12 does give it a bit more visual appeal.

I also stopped by the auction hall this year. Twice even. Apparently the material starts at one price Thursday and often is marked to go down Friday and Saturday. Mind you, this is in the 'store' part of the auction. I didn't stay in the auction proper or do any bidding. I still managed to spend quite a few dollars in the hall on miniatures I don't need but at the price was thinking... why not? Some of these were from lines I've bought before because they're a little off the beaten path and are nice simple casts while others were for good old Warmachine.

One of the biggest booths I stopped in had to be Cooliminornot. They were promoting the hell out of various games and had some fantastic set up all around them. Being a huge miniature game fan, I spent not as much money there as I would have liked, but more than enough. I picked up a Kingdom Death Flower Knight, which I haven't even meseed with yet as I'm still cleaning up my apartment, as well as a Dark Young.That sucker is huge. I bought it almost entirely on the strength of the paint job and its size. Looks like it could easily be a prime monster for any type of campaign.

At the Paizo booth, I saw a ton of third party Pathfinder material including one I helped Kickstart, Rappan Athuk. That pissed me a little. Some other Kickstart projects allowed you to pick up the book. I could be smoking dope here, but I don't recall that being an actual thing here. It's not the first time a Kickstarter I've backed has allowed the product to be put on sale before the people who you know, made it possible to actual exist got their copies first and it probably won't be the last but it is annoying as hell.

I also stopped by the Warstore, another miniature specialty place. Here I just picked up a ton of bases from Microart that were on sale. Maybe a few other things that weren't standard either but nothing out of touch with things.

Another place I spent money on was the Something Positive store based on the webcomic. I wanted to pick up the Super Stupor comics for a while and finally managed to do so. I'd still have prefered to pick these up in digital format from say Comixology but hey, if the guy isn't going to do it, have to get 'em any way I can right?

Games Workshop had a presence this year and were selling Forgeworld stuff. Everything that I wanted was out of stock and the guy was practically grabbing my leg and begging me to buy it now and they'd ship it free to my house later on. Uh... no thanks.

I was going to pick up Dungeon Crawler and the miniatures and the maps but they weren't set up to take credit cards. In the year 2012, when people are pulling out tablets and letting me sign for my toys on these tablets, or phones in some cases, to not have that ability well... it cost him a sale of over one hundred bones. I know someone is going to say that I should carry excessive amounts of cash on me for the chance that yeah, someone is not going to take credit but... here's the thing. That company takes credit online so if I really want to buy it, I'll just order it online. I don't. It was a "hey, this looks neat thing' and now sanity has returned so no sale for him. Maybe next year.

I also spent a lot of money on shirts and goofy hats for my girlfriend. She likes some of the stuff they have and its not quite so 'corporate' funny like a Simpson's tee-shirt so I wound up picking her some odd five shirts and two different hats. She likes them so that's great.

There were a few bits in the hall that I didn't get to check out as much as I wanted. For example, Gale Force 9. Apparently they had some new miniatures that they weren't selling for WoTC but did have on display. I went there to pick up a bunch of pressed wood bases that you get to shop out in a Chineese take out container. I was hoping to pick up some terrain as well but too busy.

The art gallery is another spot I didn't get to check out. It was huge and had a ton of people there but I had limited time so, like the author's alley bit, maybe next year.

In terms of my own patterns, I'm an early riser thanks to working first shift where that means getting up at five AM every day so I was always up even without the alarm clock. Meant I also always went to bed early too. Or at least as early as I could.

I find it interesting that the hall is dominated not by publishers, but by stores these days. The two miniature stores I was at had huge presences. Mind you, that could be because, at least for Coolminiornot, that they were demoing Relic Knights, Super Dungeon Explorer, Dark Ages, Wrath of Kings, Confrontation, and other games and needed that space. Still, there were multiple shirt sellers and video sellers as well. I guess its a consequence of the convention having a name for itself where you can make some money if you have the right mix of products. I expect that aspect of the convention to grow.

The convention also seemed very crowded and apparently broke more attendance records. Most of the people seemed pretty well behaved but man, there needs to be a course on learning how to walk. I know that sound stupid but there were numerous times when people walking in front of me would just stop and start to look around at a booth or pick up their phone or engage in conversation. Don't like, you know, move to the side and do any of those things. Just stand there like a slack jawed dumb ass and do it. Ugh. Ah well, crowds have that effect one me regardless and I'm sure I'm exaggerating a bit but not much.

Another pisser for me, is in the past, my mom would take the car and go visit her relatives also in Indiana. She hasn't been doing too well these last few years so in the garage the car goes. So almost one hundred bones to you know, park the car. And gas. I remember back in the day Indiana used to be far cheaper for gas than Chicago. Mind you, it's still cheaper, but the comparative price is nowhere like it used to be.

Foodwise I didn't do bad. We have a 'biggest loser' contest going on at work and since I am a fat ass, I've joined just to see what I can do. We get free breakfast at the hotel so it was a few eggs, always bad, some fruit, some juice, and some coffee and then for lunch and dinner, most of the time it was power bars. Ugh. Not the most tasty convention I've gone to but that did save me a LOT of money compared to how much I've spent in previous years on food.

Don't know if I'll be going next year, but one of these years I figure I'll have to go just as a jack ass who isn't running any games or manning any booths and just roam about. I have a hard time justifying that 'sell' though because I get to game on a fairly regular basis and don't really need to leave the state for that. However, I would like to go to some of the various painting sessons or enjoy the paint and take itself again some time. I'd like to check out some of the other games I never get to play thanks to my group's love of Pathfinder. Still, the whole hotel and pass fees can be daunting. Something to think about next year.