For all that Colorado has six or seven gaming conventions annually, I don’t know a lot of the people there. Unfortunately, the people I do know might have a History with me or mine… so I am more inspired to go farther abroad for my gaming. BigBadCon in 2016, and now NewMexiCon in 2017. (And it looks like I’ll be doing BBC for 2017 as well…) (I try not to make enemies everywhere I go. Really!) I had wanted to do NMC last year, if only because there were a number of people who I wanted to meet in “real life” as opposed to “over the tech” and, well, we loved visiting Albuquerque last year.
One of the first things you ask in a reference is, “Would you hire this person again?” or “Would you rent to this resident again?” or similar items. I think your question on a review of a convention is, “Would you go again?” and my answer is more mixed than I wanted it to be. I had a great time. Not everyone in my group did.
I don’t blame the hotel on the convention, as it was very obvious there were changes being made, and your contract is generally made months in advance, whereupon you never know if they’re going to be bought out, or if there’s going to be a fire or a flood, or… anyway, while there were definitely Issues, and while you expect convention staff to Handle them as best as possible, I don’t really have any complaints. Yes, the air conditioners found a wide variety of temperatures, yes, there were leaks in the hallway ceiling of the main building, yes, there was maintenance going on… and yes, it seemed weird to me that the rooms closed at midnight – generally on contracts I’ve been involved with, if you are paying for the room, you get effectively 24 hour access to it, so if a game wanted to last longer, it wouldn’t be a problem.
I have a ton of experience in doing this professionally as well as on a hobby level, and I don’t expect people without it to have the same kind of systems… so I only add that I would have labelled the stickers (“Am I a pirate or a birthday boy?”) and I would have had bulk preparations for a faster workflow. No big. They found me and my crew in plenty of time. For such a small con I would have moved to buttons or something instead of name badges – no one seemed to be watching for the badges, and their use as name tags might be somewhat compromised if they’re not always available. (Honestly, business card-sized pin-ons are much more practical for gaming conventions, because you can swap them out for your character names super-easy.) Again, while I remember noting that the individual behind the desk had to repeat herself for each person (maybe a sign would have made it easier?) and that was frustrating, it was more in sympathy than in need.
They asked us for our feedback in a survey, so I think I said all that I am going to say under there. Success has its price.
Games Played (5 slots) in order:
I had heard so much about Jason Corley‘s PTA magic that I didn’t want to be left out and was super excited to get in… and then super-intimidated by the people who I was playing with (although Mr. Corley was exactly how I pictured him, and that was awesome.) Hopefully I didn’t embarrass myself too terribly. I am never quite sure with games like this where to stop when it comes to being in charge of a narrative. Part of this, I understand, might be one of those vague way women gamers may differ; a lifetime of being conditioned to not step on toes, and be overly polite. It’s a place where I feel like I have to be ultra-aware of everyone’s buy in, and watch all the little nuances for cues. It’s a lot of stress, but I have to say that a good facilitator really makes a difference (and helps rein things in for a better narrative).
Star Wars game via …wait, not Divine… Mythicd6.
I am not anti-Star Wars, I just don’t have the kind of depth of knowledge about it a lot of my friends and associates do… but I loved this. I had so much fun being a Prince! I just held on to my mental mantras, “Horrible gaping wounds do not go with this outfit!” and “I’m going to get away with this because I’m Royalty,” and blazoned my way through. A few lucky (and unlucky) die rolls helped, but I can’t help but smile remembering what happened.
Atlantis: The Second Age.
I had so much fun playing the Star Wars game, that I wanted to jump right back with the facilitator. Glad I did – while I’m not really into the game itself (I’m not really into race & class games anymore) it was still really interesting, and instead of playing a Prince, I ended up playing an old man priest… And I resisted pinching the buttocks of young men and women remarkably well if I do say so myself.
I still feel I kind of have to apologise for this one – my daughter had been interested in the Kickstarter and I hadn’t been able to get it, so I thought she’d like to play. Unfortunately, she wasn’t feeling very well, and in the ways of children, hadn’t actually been able to properly express this, so I ended up in the game with her, unexpectedly. … and making a major PvP plot point that I played out the way I thought my character would – which kind of broke the system a little. I personally kind of felt like I was a bit like a spider, even if I wasn’t playing one – like I was on the table and people were staring at me to see which way I would run, but I might have been feeling like I’d broken that ‘polite’ thing again.
…and, on Sunday I ran a “Gravity Falls” adventure with some dice mechanics I wouldn’t call a system.
This was fun. My daughter wanted me to run something in post-show Gravity Falls, with weirdness and Bill Cipher. I’d pre-generated some Gravity Falls characters with call-ins to the show, and basically four attributes you rolled dice for based on the thing you wished to accomplish (against a challenge number I averaged.) We had lots of fun and weirdness. The only concern I had was that one of the players seemed to want to go further into something I had to quash because of lack of time… which never feels great.
So, I had lots of fun.
…but because of how the games were managed, the other three of my group ended up out of games, or in games that just didn’t catch their interest. Could this have been prevented by knowing what games would be available ahead of time? Possibly. I think every con has games that jazz you up, and some that don’t quite meet what you’re hoping. And sometimes you don’t feel great, or like you’re firing on all cylinders yourself… so it’s always a bit of a gamble. I hadn’t expected to play an Atlantis game, or any of the others. We also didn’t have the chance to game together as any part of a group (minus The Watch fiasco) because of the way things worked, which might have been different if it had been explained at the registration (or if I understood it without the real-time example…) But while I had fun, the fact they didn’t, well, it makes me think a lot more about whether I’d go again… I didn’t actually get to meet the people I had wanted to meet. Part of that is just logistics of my group being a group… and, well, it’s a game convention – you meet new people, and you’re busy gaming so unless you set something up specifically to meet someone, you’re probably not going to get a chance.
So, all things considered, if there’s another one I’ll consider it, but if I’m the only one who wants to go, unless I’m actually set up to meet some people, I won’t be going. That’s just me – it was otherwise a great little convention with some great games and a good attitude.