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Gen Con. 2:14:10 PM 8/8/2011
Gen Con took place this past weekend in Indianapolis. Mike W. finally convinced me to go, so we set out super early Friday morning. The trip was very short and we listened to the Bombcast the entire way. It ended just as we reached our destination.

Upon arriving, we drove around for a while, trying to find a place to park. Basically everywhere was full except for the convention parking. We followed the constant stream of costumed people and made it to the convention. We picked up our badges and entered the main exhibition hall. I was immediately overwhelmed at the number of booths and people. Mike W. and I walked around for a while, checking the place out. The place was a gamer's paradise with all kinds of board games, card games, dice, miniatures, and apparel. I tried to keep mental notes of all the junk I wanted to get.

Mike W. and I ended up stumbling into the Mayfair Games section and discovered the quest to gather the five supplies: wood, bricks, sheep, wheat, and shale. We began playing some board games to try to get all the stuff. We played a moose game, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Wacky Wacky West, some kind of forest fire game, a moving truck packing game, and, of course, Settlers of Catan. The Center of the Earth game and Settlers were played with a guy named Satan. It was pretty tite. By the time the exhibition hall closed, we had wood, sheep, wheat, and bricks.

We walked around the convention center and checked out all the junk that was still going on. Unfortunately, most places appeared to have some kind of fee associated with them, so we ended up at the video game room and entered the Smash Bros. tournament. The video game room was unbelievable. It had so many different games set up, with Dance Central, DJ Hero, and Rock Band 3 set up on projectors. The Dance Central area was horking ridiculous, with at least 20 people dancing at once. While we waited for the tournament, I played Rock Band with a bunch of people while Mike W. played Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. There was a crazy guy named Jay that was more obsessed with Rock Band than me. Mike W. and I also met Alicia, who was working at one of the booths in the exhibition hall.

The Smash Bros. Tournament took for-horking-ever to get started and and was best two out of three, so it went slowly. Mike W. and I won our first matches, but then the organizer's iPad crashed and messed up the bracket. You hear that? AN APPLE PRODUCT CRASHED. How do you like that? Anyway, the organizer basically just winged it after that. Mike W. had to play "Joey" next and lost. Joey basically abused Princess Peach's cheapest move the entire time, which I found despicable. My opponent did not show, so I continued to the elite 8. Unfortunately, the next opponent was pretty deadly with Snake and threw a bunch of projectiles everywhere. I put up a good fight, getting him down to one life each time, but still was beaten handily. After that, Mike W. and I hung out with Alicia, another guy, and a quiet Asian guy with a cool hat. Eventually, we went back to the hotel and slept for too long.

The next day, the cleaning staff knocked on our door and woke us up even though the "Do Not Disturb/No Moleste" thing was on it. That got both of us pissed. We went back to sleep and missed the free continental breakfast. When we finally got ready, we went to Indy's Family Restaurant across the parking lot and breakfast. It was pretty good. We didn't make it back to the convention center until some time after 1:00 PM. It was a waste of Gen Con time, but we were so tired from getting up super early and staying up late the night before. We went back to the Mayfair Games area and traded for the shale to complete our quest. There was basically only one game that awarded shale and it was constantly in use, so trading was our only option. We got our award of "Knight of Catan" and swag and made it over to the Resident Evil Deck Building Game tournament just in time.

The Resident Evil card game is basically Dominion with a different victory point system. We lost in the first round to a minorly annoying guy. I annoyed him back by using my hero's power to dump bad cards into his discard pile. After the tournament, we met up with Andy and Amy Grant and went to the costume contest. The contest had some decent costumes, but it also had some poor ones and many of the contestants were pretty awkward. Near the beginning one guy had designed a Batman suit, which was horking impressive. Also good were a complete party of Warhammer characters, one of them with a giant horking marine suit. I still don't see how the guy could walk in it. There was also a pretty good Commander Shepherd from Mass Effect and an entire cast from Dragon Age 2. Unfortunately, there was a kids' division, which consisted of mostly babies in outfits and people going "aaaawwwwww". It was revolting. There was also a steam punk division (I was surprised at the level of steam punk presence at the convention), which was interesting.

After the contest, Andy and Amy Grant went to the tamale place they had planned on going to, but Mike W. was too pissed. That was the last we saw of them. At this point, the exhibition hall had closed, so went hung around for a bit and then got dinner at Penn Staysh because horking every restaurant was packed. We returned and got to the Wizards of the Coast room and played in the D&D Adventures Board Game competition. We played with some other people, but none of us knew how to play the game. So we basically wasted some time reading the rules and got started. The game was like Descent combined with D&D 4th edition, and then dumbed down into oblivion. Major differences were that each monster on the board is controlled by a player, rather than a DM of some sort. Also, the maps appear as the heroes explore like Descent, but they are also randomly generated using tiles, similarly to Betrayal at House on Haunted Hill/"Maniac Mansion". The players choose preset heroes like in Descent, but there is no equipment. The heroes each get at-will, daily, and utility powers. All of them except for the at-wills can only be used once and then are gone for the rest of the game. Each tile reveals exactly one random monster and sometimes event cards, which are always bad. Just about all attacks do 1 damage, but some dailies allow for a bit more. Movement is drastically simplified with most monsters moving on a tile-to-tile basis instead of squares. We ended up winning the adventure and the other players were friendly, so it was decent. However, the game was too simple for my tastes. It felt like a dumbed down Descent adventure, and you only get the one adventure for buying it. As the readers know, I prefer my gaming to be highly complex and rather lengthy. Anyway, after that, the other people in our group left to go LARP at a hotel (really).

Mike W. and I returned to the video game room and I played a ton of Rock Band. This time, Jay (the crazy guy) had brought his Ion Drum Rocker (the same drumset I use) and it was much more enjoyable. I talked to Jay and asked if he worked there. It turns out he had no affiliation with Gen Con or anything and just brought all of his Rock Band stuff just in case. Like I said, his dedication is commendable. While in the video game room, Alicia came back and was chained up with glow tubes. She had apparently been at a rave where people chained her up. That sounded kind of iffy to me. Mike W. and I stayed in the video game room until 2:00 and then went to Steak and Shake for shakes. Then, back to the hotel.

We resolved not to waste the next and final day, so we got up in time for the continental breakfast at the hotel and got the convention center fairly early. Mike W. returned for more punishment at another Resident Evil tournament, while I cruised the exhibition hall for all the things I planned on buying. I bought some shirts and scored some super old First Edition D&D books. I ran into Alicia "working" at her booth and demoed a squad-based alien game. It was in alpha, so it was definitely not fully developed, but it had some potential. By then Mike W., was out of his tournament and I went to locate him. We missed each other and I ended up looking at miniatures. The was a huge guy in front of me, taking for-horking-ever and blocking the bargain bins. I got pissed, but he eventually moved out of the way and I got some decent minis for a reasonable price. I made it back to Alicia and Mike W. and we walked around some more and I got a poster of Pyramid Head.

We got gourmet sandwiches for lunch and then headed over to the Catan drawing, which we entered by completing our resource quest the day before. It started really late, and we didn't win anything. Oh well. By then, the final day of Gen Con was just about over. I hurried over to a dice booth and got some weird dice just in time. On the way out, a guy hawked his stuff at a 50% discount - $20 for Dominion. That was a really good deal, so Mike W. got it. Unfortunately, it turns out it was only an expansion to the game - hustled. Or as we put it, "Gen Conned". We sat around for a while, lamenting the fact that Gen Con was over and then departed.

Gen Con was amazing. The combination of board gaming by day and video gaming by night was basically the ideal lifestyle. Next year I need to go for all four days and not sleep through half of one of them.





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