Editor's Note: So this is late, huh? There are a couple reasons for this: I was tired on the last day, and thought "oh, I'll just post it tomorrow morning." Then, I realized that I probably wouldn't have the Internet on my last day, after all why would I pay for an Internet connection that I'll only use for an hour. Turns out they extended my Internet to the last day. Anyway, work and re-acclimatization to life on the West Coast got in the way of this long-awaited update.
On my last day here at the con I got up early to wait in line at the D&D area in the hopes of getting in on one last RPG. What luck! The line-up was a grand total of twelve people ahead of me. Unfortunately, they want my DCI/WPN/RPGA number. It's been years (pre-4th edition) since I've taken part in an RPGA event and I've, understandably, forgotten my RPGA number. The organizer tells me not to worry, they have a computer on which to look this stuff up. The problem is that the only Carotenuto in the system is some dude from Florida, or something. The lady looked down at me from the podium and shrugged. "You'll just have to sign up for a new number."
A new number? With a new card without the Red Wizard of Thay on it? A new number with a million digits instead of the handsome seven? Oh no, this won't do. Back to the line I went. I sat in that line wracking my brain as to what my number could be. I used to use it twice a month for years when I ran Living Greyhawk events for Strategies. Right before I was called in to go sit at my table (A1), I remembered!
Incorrectly, it turns out.
I was off by 2 digits. My last number should've been 2 not 0. Oh well... I didn't need any points, or perks, or whatever from the event anyway. It was fun without rewards.
So, D&D Next. It's good. Lately I've been drifting further and further towards simpler systems for RPGs. It began with the drift to Pathfinder from D&D4 (which I heartily enjoyed), and continues with my desire to simplify my game more and more.
I played a halfling rogue (Zanzibar), and it was our task to defend Candlekeep (in the Forgotten Realms) from cultists and a dragon. Rad! It was very well run. Each table had six players, and there were four tables that were grouped near each other. The actions of one table would have effects on the other tables as well.
What I liked about D&D Next (I really hope they change that name) was the lack of feats, and the overall power-level of the game. PCs in D&D4 were very survivable. Something I enjoy from Dungeon Crawl Classics is the overhanging mortality that permeates the game. It keeps things interesting and risky, and does get mitigated somewhat in the higher levels.
After D&D, I strolled over to my next event which was a Bolt Action game, which began early and without me. I shook my head and began to leave to find some other game to occupy my last four hours of the con with. I was okay with this, however. The game didn't look that interesting and I've hardly indulged the board game side of the hobby yet.
I meandered over to the Fantasy Flight Games gaming area and managed to get a game in of Legends of Andor. The game was awesome, the demo person not so much. The guy literally (and yes, I'm using that right) fell asleep at the table. My natural shop clerk instincts took over and I finished us through the demo, which was a smooth and exciting co-operative game (it won the Kennerspiel des Jahres for this year). Man! I should volunteer to run demos for FFG next year, I've been demoing games for almost a decade on no sleep.
So with my last two hours I walked through the dealer's hall looking to see if I'd missed anything previously. I talked with some mid-west retailers about out-of-print gaming supplies, and now I have more lines floating out there in the never-ending quest to build my expansive gaming library.
So that's it! That's my Gen Con experience. I loved it. I couldn't believe how much fun it was to just be around people energized about the same things I was. I'd been to PAX Prime, and smaller conventions, but my passions had always lay in tabletop gaming, rather than video gaming, comics, or fan culture, and for me this was it. I'm definitely going next year (I already put some money aside), and I'm sure I'll manage to get even more games in, now that I understand the whole flow of the convention better. Who knows, I may even decide to run something...
P.S. Here's a link to the gaming-related photos.
P.P.S. Here's a link to the non-gaming-related photos.