Sunday, August 28, 2005

Con Season

Well it's almost over. Dragoncon is yet to come but for the most part Con season is over. It bums me out that i didn't get to go to more conventions and it further bums me out that we don't have a more robust convention here in lexington. The scattered reports that i've been hearing have been that some of the major cons have been poorly attended. This is largely understandable.
The american economoy remains utterly flaccid and gas prices are at an all time high. Con goers are an older demographic and while we're a hardworking bunch, we can also be somewhat cheap. Hotels seem to be uninterested in gamer dollars and give us poor service (there ARE exceptions, but i can tell you stories.) and finally when you get right down to it, There are times when our brother and sister gamers can be hard to put up with.

So, I developed some guidelines. Unlike other Crank Reports, these guidelines are just for me. But you might find some value in them.

1) Underpack.
Absolutely, figure out a way to pack as few things as you can possibly get away with. Take the necessities of course, (Keys,wallet,insulin,dice,soap...) But when it come right down to it, there is always the tendency to want to overpack. Double that if you're a Larper. Naturally, if you're GMing at the con, you'll have to bring along a ton of stuff, but if you're planning to play all weekend, you'll need very little in the way of junk to carry. Because i gaurantee that you'll end up toting it all weekend.
If I had my way, I'd buy a PDA, that works off of flash memory. That are hot-swappable. I'd load my PDFs and my homebrew databases onto that sucker and I would keep from having to carry a metric fuck ton of books. This, to me,would be a pearl beyond price. I bet they even got dice roller programs for the PDA. Heck, even toting my laptop is too fricking heavy to hump around with. (Plus, more easily stealable. I could keep the PDA in my pockets. My big worry would be leaving it behind somewhere. )

2) Overplan
Get your con badge and your schedule as early as possible. Figure out what you want to do and purchase accordingly. Plan meals. Plan to sleep on occasion. If you plan to drink, plan out your drinking.
Plan to shitcan all your plans at a moments notice. It's better to do it this way rather than show up at the con with no idea what you're going to do, purchase generic tickets, and wander from place to place without a real clue as to what's going on.
The problem with damn near every single gamer i've ever met is the tendency to DITHER and not make a real decision about what to do until it's too late to really do anything. Better to make hard and fast decisions about what you plan to do (and pack accordingly.) and then find something better along the way rather than bump along with no real idea of what to do. Sure, you can still find things to do along the way, but you'll still have something you would have liked to do and didn't get a chance to attempt.

3) Comfort
I'm too old. I have no interest in driving 15 hours and sleeping in my car in order to play games. I won't go without food, soda, or sleep. I'm not intertested in sharing my hotel room with 8 other people. I'm territorial like a wolf, and cannot sleep if other people are near. Allthough, i certainly wouldn't mind having someone to share my bed with... I'm not interested in staying shitty hotels. I don't need opulence, but i'd like a place that's clean, secure, has an indoor pool and a breakfast bar that i can abuse.
I need comfy shoes. Costumes are fun and all but i'm generally not interested in wearing a costume or mask or make-up for long periods. I generaly bring along a swordcane too. Not because i need protection, but because my knees start playing up after a while.
Find the closest place you can park cheap and secure. Eat a big breakfast. (I recommend the Shoney's breakfast bar. I like a fistfull of bacon.) and take along Melatonin so you can sleep at night.

4) Finances
It's very key to figure out a way a to go to conventions without having to live hand to mouth the entire rest of the summer. It sucks to have a great time at the con and then spend the next two months struggling to get back upright. Believe me, i know.

5) A bit of etiquette
If someone give you a business card, unless you mean not to speak to that person again, shoot them an email as soon as you return home.
Take enough clothes and keep yourself clean and smelling nice. If you're hair is long, keep it neat. same goes for beards.
Boffer weapons and alcohol do not mix.
Ask before you take a picture.
If someone passes out or falls asleep, you are only allowed to draw on them with a sharpie if you know them personally.

Sono Finito


At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Everett said...


As much as I fear the backlash, I must admit that I've never been to a RPG convention. I'm sure part of that stems from the lack of con's in the Rhode Island area, but I'm sure Boston or Hartford must hold a con at some time. As long as I had enough notice, I wouldn't even mind driving as far as Florida (20+ hours) to try one out at least once.

So where do I find out about these things?

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....Any con worth going to is going to make an effort to have a web presence, and Google is how you find it. I'd put in "fantasy," "science fiction," and state of choice in the search bar, and you ought to come up with something!

.....I drive to downtown Atlanta only under extreme duress these days! They've gotten as metro as Chicago and other cities. Expect parking fees around $25 a day, and you might as well leave the doors unlocked, because your trunk will be broken into, and maybe they won't break the lock if it's unlocked!

.....Some of my gaming friends have been to Dragoncon several times, and it is said to be a great one! It's also, I'm told, a serious mob-scene.

.....I tend to avoid cons. My work schedule never works out where I can attend the whole weekend. I suppose I could schedule a vacation week for it, but I usually use two weeks for traveling vacations, another for the Alabama-Auburn football game (Civil War, in this state), and one for working around the house. Maybe when the kids are in college...



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