A New Hope

anewhope

Cheesy and dorky I know but that’s where I’m at so deal. Two weeks ago I entered into a resignation agreement with my University so any day now I will officially be unemployed and a former university professor. That is a bizarre thing for me to write. Teaching is awesome and I will sorely miss hanging out in the wood shop and metalworking studio showing students how to make cool things. Unfortunately, that was only ever a small and sadly undervalued part of the whole being a professor thing and I will not miss those other parts whatsoever. Disillusioned maybe. So time for a big change–new career, new home, new lifestyle. We will see what that brings. Also new blog. 

While all this was going on instead of staying home freaking out, my wife Susan and I figured we might as well go to GenCon 2014 in Indy. Good call. Queue obligatory queue photo:

genconthurs10am

Yep Thursday morning before the doors open is a thing. Record attendance of 56,000 gamers.

Star Wars: Armada Demo

Right inside the gate was the huge Fantasy Flight lines which we skipped past to check out a demo of the newly announced Star Wars: Armada. I was skeptical but it looks really cool and the movement and strategic planning that goes into the game is intense. Like Star Wars: X-Wing for big boys and girls. See dear reader, you knew there would be a Star Wars thing happening in this post. Also caught a demo of Robotech RPG Tactics which I am pretty excited about.

Robotech RPG Tactics

The core box has a ton of plastic models in it. Also, it appeases my inner child that used to watch the Macross Saga after school. Also also awesome terrain and demo tables. Somewhere in here we played a few rounds of Run Fight or Die by Grey Fox Games which is a good zombie dice game–the perfect thing to play after a few beers on Halloween. Also caught a demo of Five Tribes by Days of Wonder which I will have to pickup when I can. Privateer Press was also represented at GenCon, as always, and managed to suck more money out of my wallet.

Privateer Press Manowar

Privateer’s all-volunteer Press Gangers were in force demoing both Warmachine and Hordes… I talked Andrew, aka mod_faultie, into giving Susan a demo before the dealer hall closed Thursday night:

Privater Press PressGanger

Great tables and good fun–thanks Andrew! Later that night, I was off to a Warmachine Speedmachine tournament in the game hall while Susan headed over to spend a few hours playing Wyrd’s Puppet Wars and Say Bye to the Villains by AEG. A little background first: I have collected and been involved with the Warmachine hobby for nearly five years but until two weeks prior to GenCon had never actually, you know, played a game. So signing up for my first Warmachine tournament sounded like good motivation. Thanks to the gamer community at the FLGS, Enchanted Grounds, over a couple of Sundays they gave me a crash course in ass-handery. Anyway, game hall:

ironarena

So. Many. Gamers. The actual tournament was small with only 8 players and not the very best run event either. Supposed to kick off at 7pm but registration didn’t happen until after 8 and matchups were not announced until nearly 9. It had also been advertised as a 16 minute clock, 25pt battlegroup only event and turned out to be a 20 minute clock, open list format so I wasn’t the best prepared for Warspears and Bloodtrackers but whatever I should learn to not care about these things. First game against Legion:

game1

Blurry photos are blurry. In the first game I decided not to worry about the scenario and ended up, you know, loosing on scenario. Too much stuff to kill and he just sat on the flags–which I idiotically did not contest–so that was that. Second game was over so fast I didn’t even get a photo. Assassinated by Bloodtrackers top of round 2 by completely underestimating their movement and range. By this point I had very quickly fallen to 0-2. Third game was a little different:

game2

Typical Menoth list with Choir, Redeemer, Avatar, etc. I have a list with a lot of ranged firepower and fast warjack missiles and he has clouds to negate my entire list. At the same time he couldn’t kill enough of my stuff and had way too much stuff of his own to slog through on a 20 minute clock that I just had to outlast him. With 8 minutes left on my clock he ran out of time and I won on clock for a 1-2 record. Overall, I had a great time and met some awesome people like Chris, aka agamemnon, who brought his glowy Stormwall:

agememnon

Oh and I won a Gator voodoo priestess that I put together the first thing when I got home…

jagajaga

By this point after the tournament it was near enough to midnight so off to the RAM for obligatory cheese fries, beer, and more Warmachine ambience.

theram

With that it was a hell of a way to wrap up our first GenCon experience. We will definitely make it back when we can and try to make it two or three days instead of just the one. On Friday we wandered around Indy…

monument

Saw a crazy pointy thing, played Carcassone in the hotel lobby waiting for the taxi… (We played a game of Camel Up at the Z-Man Games booth on Thursday that was a surprisingly fun game betting on camels but we didn’t see ourselves playing the game more than a few times so we bought Carcassone instead…)

Carcassone

And Takenoko happened when we finally got home. Susan would not be appeased without pandas.

Takenoko

I know, panda, gardener, bamboo, whatever it is still an awesome and freakishly fun game.

So GenCon 2014 recap:

  • will call lines: avoid at all costs and no its not any better at 11pm on Wednesday night
  • O’Reilly‘s for a quieter place for beer and pub food but horribly slow
  • Bee Coffee Roasters – best coffee ever
  • the RAM is a classic GenCon experience but ridiculously busy unless you head in on some really off hours
  • Scotty’s makes some damn good grilled cheese sandwiches
  • no you definitely can not see all that GenCon has to offer in one day
  • rather than waiting until the last minute like we did, register as early as you can for GenCon tickets (January?) to get a closer hotel and get in a few more events (opens in May?)
  • Chatham Tap was a fantastic English pub up Mass Ave… sure it was a walk but much calmer place to eat away from the crowds
  • Thursday morning… not sure its worth it unless you want an exclusive that you would stand in line for 2-3 hours to get. Better to get coffee instead and stroll through the doors at 10:30.

Anyway, let’s see where this whole life/work thing goes from here…

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2 Comments

  1. Arvin May 20, 2015

    Oh, wow! I see why you’re so into gaming. Long way from Final Fantasy III….was that the start for you?


    • Brian May 20, 2015

      That would have been Final Fantasy I but yeah from about then was when I started playing D&D.


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