Monday, September 06, 2004


Well, it's Labor Day here in the States. Three day weekends are always precious, but some of them are better than others, because some of them play host to gaming conventions. That's right, just in case it wasn't clear just how much of a geek I really am, I attend local gaming conventions. I'd visit the bigger ones back east too, if I could afford it. For those of you who have never seen one, a gaming convention is pretty much what you'd expect it to be. For four days a veritable swarm of nerds descend on a hapless hotel. Four days of hit points and armor class, where the fate of entire worlds hangs on the slender sides of dodecahedrons.

For those of us who have been going for a while, conventions are as much social occasions as gaming opportunities, if not more so. The intense atmosphere of the convention, and the fact that you are likely to be stuck with a particular group of people for several hours at a time prove efficient bonding situations. The "con buddy" is a peculiar sort of relationship. Such associations do not really rise to the dignity of a true friendship, but they are unusually strong given the brevity of interaction.

When you sign up for a con game, you can usually count on a good time. If you're lucky, you get a neat story from it. And if you're really lucky, you meet someone worth playing something else with. That's a con buddy. These people I see but two or three times a year, and it is only for the better part of four days at that, but shared experiences and common interests work swiftly to create a familiarity out of all expectations.

This year at Conquest I managed to play several games, including a few I usually miss for one reason or another. Listed below was my weekend itinerary, as well as my record:

Friday: Game Mastered a Dungeons and Dragons game. If you run a game at a convention, you get in for free. As a weekend pass will run about thirty bucks, it makes sense to run an event.

Saturday: I played Attack!, a board game made by Eagle Games. It's a pre-WWII game with many simularities to Risk, but you play a government type rather than a faceless empire. All in all it wasn't bad, but I didn't find the system particularly impressive. It was my first time playing, but I managed to spread the enlightened influence of Communism across the globe.

I also got to play jumbo sized Battletech. The people at Armorcast make giant sized mechs. They run this event at just about every local con every year, but somehow something always gets in my way. This time I got to play, and it was a blast. I had to play the Inner Sphere, which is made up of primitive warlords, and I had to resist the Clans, technologically sophisticated invaders. Still, thanks to my dazzling tactical genius, and awesome dice rolls (but mostly genius), I managed to win. Props to my erstwhile partner and my worthy opponent.

Sunday: Played Man O' War, an old Games Workshop product detailing age-of-sail naval combat with fantasy races. I played Chaos and the Chaos Dwarves (I know, but the fleets were pre-made) against Empire and Dwarves. Dominate is an insufficient verb to describe my victory.

I also played Paths of Glory twice. PoG is a GMT wargame simulating WWI. Unlike many wargames, PoG is fast and simple, using cards rather a library of rules to dictate the flow of play. I lost once as the Allies, and I won once as the Central Powers.

Monday: Didn't show at all. If I'm not staying at the hotel, I usually skip Monday. There aren't hardly an events, and most everyone has already gone home anyway, looking to recover in time for work on Tuesday. This year I had a cold most of the weekend, so I got some much needed rest. Missed a kublacon staff meeting though.

Well, that was my three day weekend, spent in the midst of geekdom. A good time had by all.

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