John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane

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GenCon 2015, Day 1 Report

Here is the report of the third day of the trip to GenCon 2015, and the actual first day of the convention proper. The report on the second day of my trip to GenCon 2015 can be found in this journal entry.

July 30th, 2015

The Wednesday night of GenCon, I slept like a log and didn't wake up until very late, both spross and I sleeping through the alarm for another half-hour at least. We rose for the morning quite late, which was to cost us later when trying to park in downtown Indy, and after doing my morning blood test, showering, and the morning ablutions, I was ready to face the day though I had a headache from the fact that my sugar was somewhat low. We made it down to the Indianapolis Marriott North restaurant, Bistro 33, around a quarter to nine, and that's when I got a big surprise.

They began the morning service with water, but then brought out a small tray with diabetic friendly, sugar free products - jam, margarine-like substitute, yogurt, and a healthy, wheat-based bread! - and told me they had an adequate supply for the rest of my stay at the hotel! Rather than getting food from the buffet, I ordered the American breakfast and had two eggs scrambled, Canadian bacon, and some spinach in the eggs (all cooked in a bit of cooking spray), with some decaf coffee and 2% milk; I felt much better after eating breakfast, and felt ready to face the day. spross and I went back to the room and gathered up what we needed for the first full day of GenCon and then headed down to the hotel parking lot and got the Honda Accord, the weather already hot and promising a nasty day of heat and humidity.

We then headed for downtown Indy with "Amy"'s assistance. The trip downtown to the ICC went relatively smoothly, taking about 30 minutes, but because we'd woken up late and left later than we wanted, we didn't arrive downtown until around 10 to 10 or so. And that's when the nightmare started. We couldn't find any parking lots in which to park, all of them being full, and so we circled and circled the area, a full 45 minutes passing, getting more frustrated and annoyed all the time. I tweeted out a call for help with finding somewhere to park, and got a few suggestions back, but there was no luck at all. I was so frustrated and fed up that I suggested to spross that we call it a (convention-less) day, and just hang out back at the hotel. Then someone tweeted me about possibly parking out near the Lucas Stadium area, which had some outdoor lots around it that were pretty cheap. And that is what we did. It was a 10-minute walk to the nearest entrance to the ICC, and by the time I got there in the terrible morning heat and humidity I felt like I was panting like a dog, and a bit...wet. Once we got to the ICC, I managed to sit down for a while and cool down somewhat, and drank a good helping of water. That helped more than the sitting did, and then spross (who seemed as poorly off as I was) and I set off for the convention proper.

It was a little after 11 o'clock by the time we got to the Exhibit Hall area, and access was much easier then it would have been an hour ago, though it was still crowded with folks. This is what GenCon is about, and this is what the Exhibit Hall is all about. The crowds, and unfortunately, the noise. I started out going to the booths in the Exhibit Hall that I really wanted to get to, where "I want!" product was to be mine, and that worked out pretty well. I started off at the Ulisses Spiele booth, near the area of the Paizo booth (which was pretty busy and crowded), and managed to pick up a Torg: Eternity t-shirt, learned a lot about the game and some of the future plans for it as well as some of the background for the current version of the game, and chatted with the folks there for a bit. I took a couple of photos, too. Ross Watson and Shane Hensley were especially kind to me, and the game looks to be in good hands.

The Ulisses Spiele booth, with SteveR photobombing :)

Shane Hensley and myself at the Ulisses Spiele booth

Immediately after that, I headed over to the Koplow Games booth and bought a whole bunch of six-sided dinosaur dice that I was going to use when running the Primeval RPG games on the Friday and Saturday afternoon. (And the players were in for a neat surprise, but more on that with Friday's and Saturday's reports from the convention.) From there, it was over to the Indie Game Developer Network (IGDN) booth, as I was hoping to catch Matthew McFarland and/or his wife, Michelle, and chat about Chill 3rd Edition. Truth be told, I was also there to buy me a(n extra) copy of the Chill 3rd Edition Boxed Set, since I wanted an extra copy to have (as I had ordered one of those through the Kickstarter). While Matt and Michelle weren't there, several other folks from the IGDN Social the night before were, and I picked up the boxed set that I wanted, while spross picked up with Call of Catthulhu RPG set with some encouragement from Joel Sparks ("Mr. Joel"), the game designer, and then we wandered on.

A pic of the Chill 3rd Edition display, with Call of Catthulhu nearby. Sorry for the blurriness

It was over to Pelgrane Press, and the kindly and lovely Simon Rogers, Robin D. Laws, and Gareth-Ryder Hanrahan. These folks are a great bunch of folks, and I'm quite fond of them. Gar posed for a photo with some of the stuff that he's written for Pelgrane, and I picked up two of the Ashen Stars products that he's written, Dead Rock Seven and the newly released Accretion Disk supplement. We chatted for a bit, but I didn't want to impose on them as the booth was quite busy once more after a bit of a lull, and so we moved onward.

Gar Hanrahan at the Pelgrane booth, with some of his written works

Next up, it was over to the Cubicle 7 booth, where business was booming it seemed (no doubt due to the release of the Lone Wolf RPG and some new stuff for The One Ring), and I bought copies of the relatively new Keltia RPG, a gritty Arthurian game based more on the Welsh tales, and the most recent Yggdrasill supplement, Kings of the Sea. I chatted with the three folks at the booth area about things Keltia and Yggdrasill as well as GM Screens... I also picked up several t-shirts at Off-World Designs, and overall it was a good load of games for the picking up, and I was pleased with my purchases.

spross and I headed out into the ICC again in search of the United Parcel Service (UPS) booth, only to learn that they weren't at the convention this year. Instead, we hustled over to the Westin hotel with the load of stuff to the folks at FedEx. I learned why I am not a fan of FedEx while dealing the folks there, as they told me that I couldn't ship anything by ground and that it had to go by air for an exorbitant sum given the relatively low weight of the books I was shipping home. I'm not going into details about cost here, but suffice to say that it wasn't cheap, though the FedEx guy guaranteed that the books would arrive in Ottawa in three business days (and he was good to his word, as they arrived at my place in Ottawa on Tuesday, since Monday was a civic holiday). By this time, it was getting late, around 12:50 pm, and I wanted to try and get into "Cold Dark Night", the Chill 3rd Edition game that was set to go at 2:00 pm in the IGDN game room over in the Marriott Downtown. spross and I headed over there, and he left his stuff there with me while he went back to the Circle Center Mall food court to grab us a couple of subs from Subway.

spross came back to the Marriott Downtown with the sub sandwiches, and we had a quiet period of just eating and talking about the morning's passage through the Exhibit Hall. I commented that it was *much* bigger and noisier than it had been in 2012, and he just laughed. I was quite annoyed by some of the folks lack of Exhibit Hall etiquette, but maybe that's just me. I don't like being trod on and jostled, let alone having backpacks striking me in the body as someone isn't paying attention to their body space. We finished eating lunch, and then I went into the IGDN gaming room to try and get into the game of Chill 3rd Edition. No such luck. There was another fellow waiting with me with generic tickets (though I'd beaten him to the table by mere moments, according to the GM for the game). Jonathan Lavallee, the Chill Master (CM) for the game, and I had a nice chat while he waited for the players to show up, and unfortunately for me and the other fellow, all of them did so. I sat back and relaxed near the table, and watched the game of Chill 3rd Edition unfold, and rather enjoyed what I saw of it for the next half hour. (Sorry folks, I didn't take any photos of the game or the table.) spross and I wandered off, and headed back to the Exhibit Hall for a bit. I headed over to the folks at Exile Games booth, as I hadn't seen Jeff Combos, Sechin and Katie Tower, and some of the other folks associated with the Ubiquity system in several years. I got the shock of my life, as Melissa (formerly McNally) was there, jazzed up as a Martian robo-person to coincide with the release of the Revelations of Mars product for Hollow Earth Expedition. Lovely to see her again, and I snapped a couple of pics of the robo-person. I also picked up a copy of Revelations of Mars as well.

Robot of Mars

Robot of Mars, unmasked!

I continued to wander the Exhibit Hall, just letting my feet take me where they wanted to go, though I did buy another t-shirt, and then spross and I went back out into the ICC proper and found a place to just sit back under one of the maps of the convention center and chill (no pun intended) out, sipping water, and having a snack of almonds and a Nature Valley snack bar. I decided that I wanted to watch a bit more of the Chill 3rd Edition game, so I headed back to the Marriott Downtown, and watched another good 45 minutes or so, and then thanked Jonathan Lavallee for letting me watch, then headed over to the Games on Demand area that was nearby. There was nothing there for the moment that caught my eye. Since it was getting time to eat some supper, spross and I headed downstairs to the Marriott Downtown restaurant, the Circle City Bar and Grille.

When we got down to the Circle City Bar and Grille, it was relatively empty for the time of day, but it did fill up as we sat back and ate our meal. The hostess asked if we were going to pay cash or credit card, since the credit system was on the fritz but might be fixed by the time we'd eaten, so spross and I decided to eat here anyway. I had a pretty good meal of it, a nicely cooked steak with red mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts that I thought were a bit undercooked again for my taste. It was a pretty good meal; we talked a bit over food, and I felt much better physically after eating that steak and fueling up somewhat. After leaving the restaurant, we went back upstairs to see what was going on gaming-wise, but nothing struck me as being all that interesting, and the two games I was interested in had no room for generic ticket users. Once we left the Marriott Downtown, we went back over to the ICC, to see what was going on there.

I was starting to feel pretty fatigued and tired, and spross said that it was all right with him if we called it a night and headed back to the Indianapolis Marriott North. He must have seen how my left ankle was hurting badly and how bedraggled I looked, and so we went to a spot in the ICC near one of the driving accessible areas, right under one of the sets of stairs (I can't remember which one it was, but maybe he will if he reads this post), and said that he'd dump his stuff here as well for now, and that he'd go get the car from the Lucas Stadium outside lot so that I wouldn't have to walk that distance. I agreed to this reluctantly, as to be honest, I was feeling guilty about stuff from earlier in the day (that I'm not going into here), and while spross was gone, I sat in one of the chairs with my foot propped on one of my bags, and chatted with a couple of gamers sitting nearby. That, to be honest, is one of the things I love about GenCon: you can just sit down somewhere, and talk to the nearest person about stuff, and you know you're among like-minded folks. Tim and his wife, Jonna, and I talked about the Exhibit Hall, and they were shocked at some folks' rudeness and lack of etiquette in the Exhibit Hall, Jonna showing me the bad bruise she'd developed on her arm from a wildly swinging backpack near the Paizo area of the hall.

spross returned with the Accord, and saying farewell to Tim and Jonna, we loaded the car with the stuff that we had with us, I checked to make sure I'd not left my water bottle behind, and then we headed back for the Indianapolis Marriott North. The trip passed uneventfully, and I apologised to spross for my slight panic attack during the morning when we were frantically searching for a place to park. He admitted to me that he'd been pretty annoyed and upset by the whole business of that mess, and that he'd been about to suggest to me that we go back to the Marriott North and call it a day when I passed on the suggestion made by tweet of where we might park. We had a good laugh over the whole business, and got back to the lovely quiet of the hotel. There were some gamers playing in the lobby of the hotel, but there were no games that interested me, and it was getting close to the time when I needed to take my insulin injection, so we unburdened ourselves for the night of the bags and belongings of the day, and just relaxed for a while in the room, although I did manage to read over some of the highlights of the Primeval RPG scenario that I'd be running the next day (Friday).

After taking my blood test, my blood sugar reading was so low that I decided to lower the insulin dose of the injection for the night (as I'd been taught to do), and then had my bowl of Cheerios and some almonds before just lying back for a bit to unwind. spross and I talked some more about some of the events of the day, and we both bemoaned the fact that we were staying some 13 miles away from the ICC, but that at least the hotel was blessedly quiet. After washing up a bit and brushing my teeth, I got to bed about 11:35 pm or so, but I couldn't fall asleep right away (too much on my mind, I suspect, and nervous about running the Primeval game the next day). The last thing I remember is the clock being around 12:20 am or so...

Whew! That felt like a bloody long entry on the Thursday at GenCon to write up! Hope you all enjoyed it. :)

Anyway, so that's the wrap-up on the third day of the trip to Indy, and the first official day of GenCon 2015. Next up will be the Friday report, when I get the chance.
Tags: convention, gaming hut, gencon, personal, photos, report, rpg hut

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