Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Making It More Fun than What It Is

Over the last weekend I drove to Fort Wayne, IN to attend the region's (Northeast Indiana, I guess) gaming groups premier event PentaCon. I heard about this convention from JerryTel, as it is a tradition for him, which is why he hasn't been able to do any other events this time of year. This was mostly because I've been trying to get to different small conventions in an effort to advertise PeryPub. Monk from AZ flew in as well, we haven't spent anytime together in over a year, and he could spare four days making it basically a long weekend in his work schedule. I did not go in expecting much; small cons are notoriously cliquey, with crowds that just aren't into trying new things. Still Monk and JerryTel had not ever gamed together, so what's a few hundred bucks for that opportunity itself?

PentaCon is even a bit notorious. For a few years now, closer to the last decade, according to mentions on-line, there has been a lack of timely preparation and really any sort opportunity for those who'd like to use the event as promotion. JerryTel himself told me that he wouldn't be showing up until Saturday AM. Still there is always the exception to rules like that. There is the a guy who runs it, and there are scores of people that attend it.

I left Cleveland on Thursday night. Monk was flying into town early Friday, I wanted to there early and have an idea of the city and its layout. I expected to stay at a motel by the airport. Well, there are no motels by the airport I discovered at 2am, and the airport isn't that near the city or main travel routes. Downtown itself has signs directing the visitor towards it from the airport. Despite the distance, it's not hard to navigate the mildly populated metro area. I had forgotten my credit card at home and had to rely on my checking card, which  would only become affluent later in the morning, meaning I could not check in early at my fancy hotel. I found the southwest block store and hotel area another eight miles away.

The next day I got the inside view of the Fort Wayne International Airport. It's so cute. I counted eleven people heading through the check-point in the 90 minutes as I was waiting. The bar area is just beyond it's lobby-sized "secure area" with about nine security personnel and three cops. I ordered a beer from an attached coffee shop, and it had to be delivered to through a bullet-proof, blast-resistant round-about requiring no less than three people in the process. Most entertaining $3 I ever spent. When Monk arrived, I think there were less staff throwing the luggage onto the conveyor belt than that which handled me my beverage earlier.  
Secura-Beer System 20 KLX 4000
Checking into the Hilton was pretty simple, and the parking not difficult at all. The convention center is like a 1/20 scale replica of the Indianapolis convention center, complete with a Champions restaurant just across the street along the north exit. The convention itself was in the closest ballroom. We met the guy running PentaCon as we signed up and paid our registration. About two dozen people were clumped together at about four tables full of miniature battle-maps, while single GMs sprinkled another handful of tables hoping to attract players. By the evening, the situation had not improved. Monk had a single player show up, twenty minutes late, to ask "What is this supposed to be again?" Monk and I spent the rest of the evening hanging out at the bar with the young and comely staff who were genuinely friendly. Later, we were watching the Sci-Fi Channel in our luxurious "king Suite." We were speaking of plans for the TACK version of Zombie Zigzag, which Paul 2.o has become a moving force behind over the last couple of months. 
Friday Rush Hour

Anna Mae, Jody, and Grant
Monk A Bunk

Saturday came around, the two of us didn't rush out of bed or off the couch. I wanted to nap through a hangover, though my body wanted to wake up at 4am. We showed up at the convention a little before 1pm and found JerryTel and the Boy, and went over to Champions for lunch. Also met one of Jerry's friends, Harper, and his daughter over the meal. 
The Malthouse Gang

Afterwards, we all jumped into Scott Malthouse's (Werdna) Apocalypse in Your Hometown submission for the T&T: Stay Alive rules variation. The session was awesome, JerryTel wove the author's narrative into the tabletop antics, the Boy was playing with a French accent. Monk was taking in the new gaming gang's dynamics and adding a lot of humor to the table talk. I had a character with an awesome Dex so was pretty bad-ass. When we broke for dinner, JerryTel and the Boy suddenly became worried about where the closest Wendy's could be found, so Monk and I headed out to spend time with our friends at the Hilton again.

The evening slots for Saturday had about twenty people more than Friday. The two people at my table were there to eat Chinese food and try to explain to me on how I could make a "butt-load" of money on Kickstarter. He was the designer of a horror-meets-gangster RPG. She seemed interested in the Crawlspace booklet in front of them, so I gave them a free copy, I brought four to give out as awards anyway. Finally noticing the item, He asked if I was a "real" game designer or some such. When I replied "I made that." things got a little dicey for them. I gave them a business card and was rewarded with made-up names thought of not too smoothly on the quick. I asked if there were copies of their product available, I was given a business card with a web address and no names or email. Monk, who had wandered over since no one was at his table, must've gotten a kick out of them, he threw in his session's award as well. I pointed out that the game that they wanted to play was filling up, two people were now sitting at that table, and we headed back to the Hilton.


"Totally legit." Monk said as we walked, listening to some awesome live jazz coming from the event next to the gaming convention.
"I need a 'Con Name.' " I replied. "How's 'Bone' sound?"
"Only if you're French. " He laughed.

Back at the Hilton, we talked with our buds about the Fort Wayne jazz scene for about an hour or two. Back in the suite, we talked about Monk's upcoming steam-punk "WORLD." He does the scenario, I wrap a world around them based off of the year that he decides upon. I also made up a zombie map game using a deck of cards, might or might not be part of the Zigzag. There was absolutely nothing on TV. 


Monk didn't fly out until Monday AM, so we spent Sunday exploring the northern parts of Fort Wayne and the whole of New Haven, its suburb. Before leaving the con, I spent some money at a couple of the vendors' booths. It was snowing by the evening, so we found a hotel back at the shopping mall area I had discovered Friday AM. I drank too much beer, though I behaved myself. Wracked up my ankle without noticing it upon making my way back to the night's lodging. Monk kept himself busy starting a plan for a Hoot. He misses traveling, I think. 


Jerrytel said...

Kickstarter fraudsters, eh?

Ben Lathrop said...

I'm also intrigued by these Chinese food characters -- Did they think they were pulling something over on you?

Jerrytel said...

what does their business card say? I am now intrigued

Tom K. said...

"Game Junkie Studios
Games, Miniatures, and Fantasy Terrain

Check us out at gamejunkiestudios.com"