The Stars Were Right–LepreCon 36 Report   Leave a comment



From left to right, Corencio St. Andre, Ken St. Andre, Harley Klutz playing THE STARS ARE RIGHT in the LepreCon 36 game room

I spent most of last weekend at LepreCon 36. Here’s the link for their web page. I spent most of the time while I was there in the game room playing various games including: Magic, Shadow Fist, Apples to Apples, Munchkin Cthulhu, and The Stars Are Right.

The game of the weekend was a Steve Jackson game called The Stars Are Right. Steve Jackson Games released it in September of 2009, which made it a new game to us. (Corencio and me). Jessie, our local Steve Jackson GM brought it to the Con and taught us how to play it the first afternoon we were there. This game proved to be a perfect match for the twisted genius that is my son, but instead of spending a lot of time here describing it, let me just say that in-depth reviews and descriptions are available on the web, and you can hunt them down if you wish. (That means that the hyperlink I tried to include here was so long that it didn’t work.) We wound up playing this tile-shifting card game of combinational madness three times, and Corencio won all three of them. My own play was fairly solid, but not inspired enough to actually win any of them. The second time he won at THE STARS ARE RIGHT, he also WON THE GAME. Jessie gave it to him as a prize.  I know that made Corencio’s weekend worth while.

BoardgameGeek does an excellent review of THE STARS ARE RIGHT and many other games. Track him down for the details.

As a participant, I was supposed to do two panels for the Con, and run a Tunnels and Trolls game.  No one signed up for the T & T game. I missed the tarot panel I was supposed to do on Friday, but only one person showed up for that, and she came late. But the interactive media panel with Mike Stackpole, Jack Mangan, and Rick Novy was a big success. We had about ten attendees, and they now know the proper way to use Twitter and Facebook to generate more than noise and babble. However, imho, what really made the panel good was the interchange of ideas among the four of us panelists. We are all working science fiction or fantasy authors in our ways, and being on that panel strengthened our local network.

It’s an unknown fact that I helped found LepreCon way back in the day. The Con was the brain child of a friend of mine named Terry Ballard. Back in the day 40  years ago, Terry was something of a rebel organizer. He was the genius behind the first Phoenix science fiction fan group, LepreCon, and a couple years later the Phoenix Fantasy Film Society. He grew up to become an academic librarian in New York. However, what I’m saying is that I was there at the beginning for LepreCon number 1, and I was Con Chairman for number 9 in 1979. I have only missed a couple of cons along the way.  There are perhaps half a dozen of us left from those earliest days.

Terry Ballard, founding father of Phoenix Fandom

Conventions are usually a source of fannish swag of some sort. Corencio got the game. I got a mixed bag of 12 old comics at the Charity Auction. I tried to buy various games that were for sale there, but was outbid on every one of them. When the auction price outruns the retail price of an object, it is time to stop bidding. Oh well, it will take me two or three weeks to read all those comics, and there is no place in my house for any of the bulkier things that I lusted after.

I go to local Cons mostly to reconnect with old friends that I have no reason to see during the rest of the year. There weren’t very many this year. I did enjoy my talks with Meredith Julian, Mike Stackpole, Jessie the Game Master whose last name I can never remember, Gary Swaty (the Filk Master of Phoenix), Lee Whiteside (my amiable host and Con Chairman this year) and Paul Tanton (Tmuwo of Trollhalla).  Notables viewed from afar included George R. R. Martin, Melinda Snodgrass, James Vess, Emma Bull, and Will Shetterly. Rick “Ironsides” Cook has perhaps lived past his period of being a notable, as have I.

It is worth mentioning that the Con Suite had the best munchies ever this year. Ever! In 36 years of LepreCons, the attendees have never had a better support room than this year. The treats included solid food every once in a while, and I made about 3 complete meals there.

Mournful thought: the attendees were an old bunch. I would put the average age at 60, and that’s including the few teens and younger people that I saw there. And there weren’t very many of us–probably less than 300.  These old style sci-fi cons are being replaced in the 21st century with newer, more focussed cons. ComicCon will be here in Phoenix in two weeks–it will be huge, but I won’t be there.  There are new conventions and celebrations happening, but they are for younger people, and they’re passing me by so that I don’t even know what and when they are any more. And, being old and tired, I don’t much care.

Summary: I had fun at this year’s LepreCon, although I wasn’t very successful at any of the things I wanted to do, but I think we’re getting pretty close to the end of my Con attending days. Except for the gaming (and the food) there really wasn’t much for me at LepreCon. I could have had just as good a time with a few friends at home, some pizza, and some DVDs on the tv. That’s a sad analysis, but true. My prediction is LepreCon, as an entity, is almost done. I’ll be surprised if it makes it to number 40.



Posted May 18, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

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