Friday, August 28, 2009

Gen Con in My Back Yard 2: 17 Years of Memories

In a previous blog, I related a small bit of my life with Gen Con being based in my hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1985 to 2002. This was the first part of my entry into the RPG Blog Carnival for August 2009, hosted by Chgowiz. Below in no particular order is a Baker’s Dozen of reminisces of my 17 years going to Gen Con.

  • Having my 1988 Gen Con/Origins program signed by Gary Gygax. That complete story is here.
  • Getting in my first auction battle over a Chill RPG boxed set with some extra goodies. It ended up costing me $30, but it was an exhilarating victory.
  • When I was Entertainment Arts Editor for the MATC Times (a college paper), some of my fellow editors and I went down to Mecca the Wednesday before the Con. Long story short, I got a Press Pass good for the entire Con as long as I wrote an article. My friend Phil said my eyes were glazing over. TSR did have a nice pressroom, and the press liaisons were swell. That was a great Con.
  • Going to Gen Con for the entire weekend on an Exhibitors Pass. I was friends with the owners of one of Milwaukee’s FLGS and they were getting a table at Gen Con. As long as everybody ponied up the price of the pass, it seemed TSR didn’t care how many “employees” the store had. My friends had almost 30 "employees" that year.
  • That same year I got one of Pagan Publishing T-shirts along with the latest issue of The Unspeakable Oath. I wore it on Saturday. Several people asked me if I worked for Pagan Publishing due to the Exhibitors Pass. When I told the guys at Pagan what had happened, they laughed. One of them piped up that I should say I worked for Pagan Publishing and make up new products coming out.
  • Meeting up with friends that I made while writing for All of the Above, the GURPS APA. People from across the nation (and several foreign countries) had a little get together on several Saturday afternoons. I still have the APA issues with the pictures.
  • Sitting at my friends’ booth, and helping keep an eye on the table. (It also was a nice place to crash for a few minutes.) My favorite year was when my friends’ booth was across from a booth that played The Story of Ricky almost non-stop. Next to us was a booth for Billy Bob Teeth and some new company hawking their new game. The company was Pinnacle and their game was a Horror/Western/Steampunk RPG was called Deadlands. Nice fellows, I talked to them a couple of times. I wonder whatever happened to those guys?
  • Walking around the convention, I saw June Lockhart signing autographs. I wasn’t going to get one, but a sloppily dressed gamer stood right in front of her. I won’t go into details, but there was asscrack. I felt so sorry for Mrs. Lockhart, that I spent $15 for an autographed picture from Troll.
  • Talking with Claudia Christian for a minute about The Hidden. If I’m getting autographs, I have found that sometimes you’ll get a minute or two more if you pick something a little more obscure. Everybody was going for the Babylon 5 picture, but I really like her scene in The Hidden. Some brought her Playboy appearance. I didn't have that issue...
  • Pointing out some resin pieces to Adrian Paul. He seemed like a nice guy.
  • Pimping my friends’ miniature game Wehrmacht, a diceless giant robot miniatures game by Tyrant Games. And having Mira Furlan ask me why I was wearing something that promoting Wehrmacht because she knew what that meant. She still gave me an autograph.
  • People like Paul and Cheryl Lidberg from Crunchy Frog Enterprises and Phil and Kaja Foglio who remembered me from year to year. I made it a point of buying something from them every year.
  • Eating at the local Hooters at the Grand Avenue and having the waitresses come a sit with me. One of my best friends worked there at the time, and I had gotten to know several of the waitresses. They started to go through my bag and rifle through my purchases. Good thing that I put my issues of XXXenophile in my car…

This list could be endless. I could talk about going to the Safehouse, and having Lou Zocchi explain to me why his dice are the best in the world for the umpteenth time. The hidden treasures hidden in the boxes at Crazy Egor’s and having person after person tell me why their game in the NEXT REVOLUTION IN GAMING!


Maybe I should go to Gen Con next year.

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