Rocking at RinCon   1 comment

I have a good weekend every once in a while.  I had one on the 10th and 11th of October, when I left the trollcave in Phoenix behind, and traveled with my son Corencio to the remote southern city of Tucson to attend the second annual RinCon game convention.

S.A.G.A., the Southern Arizona Gamers Association, hosted RinCon.  I didn’t attend the first one last year, but I thought this might be a good opportunity to go down, meet some gamers, and have some fun.  I packed a bag full of T & T stuff that would allow me to run several games if I got the chance, gassed up the car, and was on the road by 7:30 Saturday morning.

My plan was to meet up with Head Buffalo, Rick Loomis, who would be flying the flag as a vendor down there.  We could share a hotel room, at the Arizona Hotel, and I’d be there to help him with the Flying Buffalo booth if it got busy, or he needed a break.  In fact, I did help with the booth, once on Saturday when I guarded it for about 15 minutes while he went out to the lobby to buy some lunch, and again on Sunday afternoon when he had to go get his car to pack up his goods and go back to his Buffalo Castle in Scottsdale.  Let me go on record now as saying that if you ever want to attend a gaming convention as a game company minion, Rick is a fine patron.  He has often paid my air fare and hotel bills and has supported my efforts to promote Tunnels and Trolls in all parts of the country.  He sometimes needs help–there’s a lot of work involved in running a booth at a game convention–and I can’t always be there for him, but it’s always a good deal to be his minion.

RinCon had 6 large rooms available for the convention, and took up the first floor of the Tucson Convention Center.  It was close to the freeway, and only about a block from the Con Hotel.  I parked in the hotel garage and walked back and forth between the two locations many times over the two days.  The rooms available were: an open gaming lobby, a panel/seminar room, a meeting place for Larpers, a computer gaming room, and two programmed gaming rooms, one for board games, and the other for role-playing and miniatures.  Rick’s table was in the board games room.

Rick had dealer badges for himself and me, but I had to buy an attendee’s badge for Corencio.  That was $20, and that’s a very good price for full membership in a convention these days.  SAGA was so organized that they had the ticket seller who worked for the convention center selling admissions and badges–thus no hassle with a registration table and volunteers.  Slick.  But it wouldn’t have worked for a larger gathering.

Our room at the Arizona Hotel was 1118–a nice enough room, but very small.  The two queen-sized beds were really about princess-sized.  Rick did ok with a whole bed to himself, but son and I shared the other bed and there was barely room to turn over.  Still, you don’t want to spend that much time at a convention sleeping, and if you’re tired enough, you could sleep on the floor.  (Thank God I’m well past the stage of sleeping on floors!)  There was parking in the hotel garage, and the car stayed in one place for the two days I was there.

The gaming action started with a demo game of Castle Panic–a fun little board game where goblins, orcs, and trolls try to rush out of the forest and destroy the castle with its human defenders.  It’s a cooperative game where all the players work together to beat the monsters.  It’s a well-balanced game with elements of luck, strategy, and diplomacy all intermingled.  A good fun party game!  It got played a lot at the Con, and I played it again Sunday afternoon.

At 2 p.m. it was time for a Mutants and Masterminds session of Adventures into Darkness.  What if H.P. Lovecraft had lived and become a comic book writer?  Then he might have created stories like the one Corencio and I played Saturday afternoon.  For 4 hours Berin Kinsman put 6 of us through our paces as we faced ghouls, deep ones, night gaunts and ungodly wizards.  Still, the forces of good triumphed, as the brainpower of Dream Master Randolph Carter, and the superhuman might of Captain Future were more than enough to defeat the forces of Darkness.  Let me just throw in a word of praise–Berin is an uncommonly good-natured and flexible G.M., and he made the adventure fun and memorable for all of us.

From 6 to 10 p.m. it was my turn to run a Tunnels and Trolls adventure for about 5 players.  I did my favorite for quick con adventuresg.  I sent a Hunting Party into the wilderness to find and slay monsters.  I randomly chose monsters from the Monstrum Codex volume 1 to send against them.  First, they found a colony of bapomoz, small dog-headed, rat-tailed, goblin-like creatures who lived underground in sizeable colonies–like nests of rats.  The Bapomoz, however, have level one magic users, and that proved to be enough to take Berin’s character to the edge of death, and to drive away all the others.  The hunt guide healed Berin once they dragged him back out of the caves.  That evening they were attacked by a giant 3-headed ettin, but Corencio, playing a wizard, was able to stop it cold with Hold that pose spells while the fighters cut it down to nothing.  Took them 4 combat turns to dispatch a monster that couldn’t fight back.  Lastly, they ran into some peaceful but hideous farmers, and one of them fought when she should have run.  ugh. Dwarf puree.  However, four of them did survive and get back to town, with enough reward money to pay their debts and throw a good party in honor of their deceased comrade.

By the time the game ended it was late.  No way was I gonna start another game at 10 p.m.  Corencio and I made our way back to the hotel.  I phoned out for pizza, and got a good one for $12.  We watched the end of Men in Black with Rick and finally went to bed around midnight.

Sunday wasn’t quite as interesting.  I played another game of Castle Panic.  Corencio won it.  He won a lot, including a dozen games of Magic against me.  I listened to Mike Stackpole explain his favorite subject, how to make it in the internet world–and he’s right.  There are things that can be done.  Podcasting, books on Kindle, internet store on your web page, plenty of things one can do to make money on the internet.  I just can’t do them.  Corencio spent a lot of time Sunday in the video room, bouncing around to
Dance Dance Revolution, and playing in a Rock Band.  I drifted around aimlessly watching 5 minutes of game here, and 5 minutes there.  I never did find Will Wheaton’s Dwarf Delve for D & D 4.0.  He was the big star at the convention, and I don’t think I even saw him.

In the afternoon I ducked into John Wick’s seminar on how to be a good game master.  He gives good advice, including the advice to “train your players.”  The idea, according to John, is to work with the players to produce a fascinating story where the characters look good.  He talked about using style points in larps.  He talked about not letting the dice control all the action.  I got in a few comments of my own.  It was a good talk, and the game masters in the room seemed to enjoy it.

After that it was time to go.  I came within a foot of Jess Hartley at one time, but I was playing a game, and I didn’t know it was her until she walked away.  So, I never met her.  I saw James Ernest, and the Steve Jackson crew, but didn’t game with them.  I chatted with quite a few people, and signed a few autographs (5).  And I was back home in Phoenix by 6:30 p.m.

Verdict: it was a fun weekend, but the highpoint was the 8 hours I spent gaming with Berin Kinsman.  I’m not sure I’d make the effort to go back down to Tucson again.


Posted October 15, 2009 by atroll in Uncategorized

One response to “Rocking at RinCon

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  1. I’m so glad you came down, Ken! It was wonderful to meet you and play games with you!

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