Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gen Con Indy 2007 Sunday

For the last few years, I've been running a bunch of events: Paranoia, Car Wars tournament, and some board games. Unfortunately, the Car Wars tournament was never very well attended. I planned on replacing the tournament with a single, smaller event and running more board games to compensate, thus still getting enough player-hours to earn back my badge money.

This year, Gen Con LLC changed the rules for how GMs earn their badge and hotel rewards. Rather than using straight player-hours (# of players in an event times the number of hours that event runs), they went to a points system where some events are worth more than others. With the changes, there was no way for me to earn back a badge using the plan I had, so I decided to just scale back and play more games this year. The only thing I kept was my all "board game" Sunday.

Following in the long-time Con of the North tradition, my Sunday started off at 8 AM with Wake Up With Cosmic Encounter. Sadly I didn't finish my custom set, but I had three sets available and another person brought his Eon set. We wound up with 13 players, and it looked like everyone had a good time. I always have mixed feelings about running CE in this way: I have access to multiple sets so I want to open it up to let lots of people play, but then I'm not able to put my full attention as a GM to the various tables. This year I didn't have a second GM (I try to arrange it so that my roommate can help out) and I spent most of my time at one board teaching people who hadn't played before. Hopefully my other players didn't feel put out; the last thing that I want is to be compared to the worst of the Game Base 7 events/GMs.

My 10 AM Dungeonquest players were sent to another table; either I misunderstood where the people at BGHQ wanted me to go or they forgot where they told me to go so I didn't have to move between events. Eventually we met up and a full four players entered the castle. Sir Rohan once again died by falling into the Bottomless Pit, the castle claimed 75% of the people who entered it, and no treasure was taken from the Dragon. Even so, it was a lot of fun.

The same wrong-tables thing happened at Noon: I had two people who found me to play some M.U.L.E., then a group of six (!) came over from where they'd been sent by the HQ to where I'd made a M.U.L.E. sign. This left me in a difficult position, as I had 8 people (2 real tickets) for 4 slots. To the others who came to play, my apologies. (Drop me an email or post here so we can play some next year!)

Once the elimination happened, we got everything hooked up and started to play. In order to allow for 4 players on my emulated Commodore 64, I built "The Hydra". It's an interface between 4 Atari/Commodore joysticks and my computer that I built from an I-PAC VE, some wires, and some 9-pin male sockets. The Hydra worked well, the emulation ran mostly smoothly with only a couple of input hiccups, and they managed to make a colony that survived...barely. (Tents for everyone!)

From there we headed out and now I'm in the Sleep Inn in Rockford, IL, resting up for the final leg of our trip home.

I'm starting to throw around ideas for next year, ideas centering on classic multiplayer games and the same kind of board games I usually run. If I did run a block of classic video games I'd want to work something out with the GenCon folks so I'm in a fixed location and have power. At the very least, I want to make a sign and bring it so that people can find me even if I'm in the "wrong" spot.

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