24 Mar 2016

Road to GENCON 2016

This year I'm off to the paradise of gaming: GEN CON.

Ontos and I will be traveling from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to Indianapolis, Indiana, United States of America... by car.

For those of you not in the know. GENCON was started by Gary Gygax one of the two gents, the other being Dave Arneson, who created Dungeons and Dragons. The Big Daddy of Role-Playing Games (RPGs).

The first Gen Con called Gen Con 0 (zero) was in Gygax's basement. The first official Gen Con, where it was located at a public venue and folks paid a ticket fee was at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin... and the event was called the Geneva Convention. Folks called it Gen Con for short.

So here's the plan...

Ontos and I have been looking at Gen Con for the last couple of years. Wanting a cheep flight we originally had an idea to take Papa Bear since board games and classic board games have a place of prestige at Gen Con. He'd be able to look and play his classic board games by Avalon Hill - Starship Troopers, Panzerkrieg, and Kriegspiel. While meeting the community of gamers that we now take for granted.

He has other plans and he's a busy guy.

So fuck the free flight, lets move on plan B. Drive the fuck down for 11+ hours and chillax.

We will leave at noon. Gun it to Cambridge (past Toronto and on the way to the boarder) to grab a bite with Charging Pun and Lady plus the wee children. We jump back on the road, gas up, brave the crossing at Sarnia. We drive through Detroit, make Michigan a quick memory, and push it to Indiana.

We'll get in around midnight at the hotel, settle in, wash off the road and grab some rack. Ontos and I have taught a BMQ (Basic Military Qualification) and SQ (Land Environment Training - Army) together when he was still in the CAF (Canadian Armed Forces) - so we know the drill pretty well.

Now since we're not sure on the event lists the following plan is pretty basic.

Thurday our plan is to drive in and park - 9.00 to reserve parking for the day. We'll sleep a few hours, get dressed and arrive in town for 5-6 am. RECCE the location, do an estimate, fuel up (maybe at a early hours greasy spoon) and get in at the front of the line. This will lead to a day of shopping and some minor events.

Based on last years exhibitor list I'm planning on hitting Corvus Beli first. My list also includes, Warsenal, Battlefoam, AEG, GCT Studios (Bushido), Fantasy Flight Games, Green Ronin, and Kingdom Death. Ontos and I will be hitting up, Modiphious as well as Dream Pod 9, FASA, Catalyst Games, and  Privateer Press - plus everything else in between.

Corvus Beli will be my first stop and I want to snag their Gen Con exclusive surprise. Last year it was the USAridana Box and the year before that it was the Operation: Ice Storm. I think this year we may be looking at another Operation starter set. I'm guessing Yu-Jing v Haqqislam. Both factions have been getting lots of love in new releases, both are due for an upgrade in starter boxes. I'm really hoping they have a Ninja SWC box like the Domaru box that was released last Dec-Jan.

Domaru Butai
by Corvus Beli
I'm hoping to snag my Infinity RPG backer rewards from Modiphius while I'm there as well. Battlefoam should have plenty for me to pick up as well. Otherwise I'm hoping to pick up a few odds and ends while I'm in the USA avoid tariffs and shipping fees. Archenemy Decks will also be on my short list. Of course we've made ourselves free to pick up goodies on behalf of our mates while we're there.

Unless there is an event I expect me and Ontos to be simply shopping and meeting folks through most of the day. I'll have the car set up to hide our spoils as we pick them and use it as a supply point. By the time we're ready to leave we'll have done most of the shopping and the rest of Gen Con we'll bus or cab into the convention from the Hotel.

Game events wise I'm hoping to jump on a Magic the Gathering Modern Tournament with my Dream Eater deck, maybe a couple of casual games of EDH/Commander, Archenemy, and maybe a Draft or two. I want to play in some Infinity, Batman miniatures, and Warmachine/Hordes events and get my minis some Gen Con table experience which tends to have a great showing of table top events. I'm also hoping to jump in some random gaming at the pubs and restaurants that tend to pop up after convention hours. I'd love to play some Secret Hitler one night at a pub or maybe some Cards Against Humanity. If Ontos and I can link up with a good group of non-jerks I can see us getting together and playing some more social games.

I'd like to meet some folks as well. Speaking with Somer and Lars from Least I Could Do would be nice since we are all Canadians. Tom Schadle and Kip from Maya Cast would be a nice meeting. Plus I'd love to chat with some of the folks from those channels I watch. Captain Spud would also be someone I'd want to meet. Meg Maples and all the other artists I've mentioned who show up will be a auto visit. I'd even like to snag some prints from the various artists.

I'd also like to try out a few new games that will hopefully have some discount starters. Bushido by GCT is on my short list along with Firestorm Armada or Dystopian Wars by Spartan Games. I'd love to jump in on a painting demo/class as well as the presentations by Wizards of the Coast, Corvus Beli, Privateer Press, and anyone else who's showing off something new or talking about game design.

Food wise I think Ontos and I have a good idea - grab lunch early, 11am-ish. I also hope to visit a few Triple D (Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives) spots while we're in the area. 3 Sisters is a classic breakfast joint and come Friday or Saturday I can see Ontos and I if we have a late event to drop in and fuel up before the big day.  The Tamal Palace sounds like a good spot for a super if we're close by.

We'll leave early on Sunday, noon at the latest - we're going to have a long drive ahead of us. We'll fuel up, feed, and tinkle before reaching Detroit and crossing over back into our 'home and native land'. Once we're on the 401 we'll be gunning it back home ASAP. I'll be happy if we can make it back around midnight.

During both of the drives, I expect one person to be resting/passed out early on in the drive. I expect pod casts and some CCR pumping through my Honda Fit. The 90's grunge and the world of Dubstep will rule while a driver is running solo. As the drive goes on, Ontos and I have been trained to be active as the passenger and help keep the driver awake and alert. Reading out loud some new books or going over some character ideas will be the expected normal. If the laptops are able to handle it maybe a video or some blog posting from me.

We're looking at bringing a simple air-compressor so we can base some of our new toys if our evenings end up being slow and we're just kicking out at the hotel.

We have the option and space to add another. If we get another passenger they could crash in the hotel room - we can bring a cot/sleeping bag. It would split the costs in three rather than half and the drives would be simpler.

Lastly this will be the test run for next year - the 50th annual GENCON. Ontos and I are the Vanguard for the rest of the crew and our results may lead to a max migration for Gen Con 2017. Only time and how much fun we have will tell.

- Cheers