This weekend I was at Kublacon, a gaming convention in Burlingame, near the San Francisco Airport. It's four days of RPGs, CCGs, LARPs, miniatures, board games, and sleep deprivation. To these activities must be added drinking, socializing, and more than one or two hook-ups, as despite the general stereotype assigned to nerds, cons tend to have something of a party atmosphere, and gaming is at its heart a social hobby.
As usual I had a good time, managing to play a wide variety of games and meet up with a number of people I only encounter at these events. Such "con friends" occupy an unusual strata among the layers of social relationships. You see each other infrequently, but that in large blocks over a short timespan, and amongst a sea of like-minded strangers. Even someone ill-disposed to quick attachment would find that con events can help forge instant, though shallow, bonds.
Aside, or simultaneous to hanging out with con buddies, I managed to fit in a lot of gaming. On Friday I helped run my brother's Napoleonic War board game. We had a good mix of new and veteran players, and the game developed an interesting dynamic and ended, appropriately, with an unlikely resolution.
On Saturday I filled a seat in the Game of Thrones tournament, but was solidly defeat by almost all my opponents, including my brother. After that I gave Vampire: Prince of the City a try but didn't really care for it, and watched as a friend playtested his homebrew CCG. The highpoint of the day, and in some ways the con itself, came later that evening when I ran my Serenity game Love in the Time of Compression Coils (apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the title). Upon finishing that game, I spent all night battling a master strategist for control of the ancient Mediterranean in Pax Romana.
Sunday was a little less busy than Saturday, but I still managed to play several games. I beat my brother in Zombies, almost destroyed the Galactica as a Cylon in the BSG board game, lost to friend and stranger alike in Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, gave Carcassone another try (won, but still don't care for the game), and played Race for the Galaxy and La Havre until Monday morning.
Now exiled once again to the real world, I'm already looking forward to the Labor Day weekend con. If only September weren't so far away.