RandomCon 2010   6 comments

July 8 through 11 was RandomCon in Mesa, Arizona. The Con organizers got a great deal on room rates and function space out at 5750 E. Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. That’s more than half way to Apache Junction and the Superstition Mountains–about a 25 mile drive from my house. But it was a nice hotel, and the function space of their convention center was excellent for a small convention.

I got to be Guest of Honor, a distinction without duties. I didn’t have to give a speech, or judge a contest, or anything.  I just went to the Con, played games and talked to people. That’s as good as it gets for a gaming con.

I’m not going to try for a consecutive narrative. That would be kind of dull. I did take my digital camera, and I got a bunch of blurry pictures of people at the Con. I’m just going to post some of the pictures and talk a little bit about them.

The very first game I got to play was Tunnels and Trolls. I had seven players and I took them into the Old Dwarf Mine near the pitiful village of Sheep Lick.  The game started with a  total party kill–who would have thought that ten puny goblins would be enough to kill seven stalwart delvers. Well, actually, they were very puny delvers–some of them could match the goblins one on one, and others would get their tails kicked. I had to retcon the goblins into creatures only half as strong as I thought they were. One player said he had the strangest dream–You were there, and you, and you, and we were all killed by goblins. Bwa ha ha ha ha!

Playing Carcassonne with Scott.

 Back in the days when Tunnels and Trolls was a young game, Scott used to work at Flying Buffalo. he was a lanky kid in those days. He brought a box of old games with him, and when I saw Carcassonne, I insisted on playing it.  I didn’t win.  Scott won. But I had a good time laying out those tiles and watching the countryside take form. It’s a form of world creation, and if there’s anything I love, it’s world creation. I bet I would get better at it if I got to play the game more often.

John Wick expounds

 The Phoenix area actually supports quite a few well-known game designers. Rick Loomis (Star Web), Michael Stackpole (Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes), John Wick (Play Dirty) and me.  John and Rick were at the Con. Rick spent all his time in the dealers’ room, trying to sell games. This was not a good convention for selling things–too few gamers–less than 200 at the whole Con.  John spent most of his time teaching people how to play his games, and actually playing them. I spent a good chunk of my time hanging with John. He did an impromptu interview with me which I hope to see appear on YouTube some time. John has his own channel there, and he talks about a lot of different fascinating subjects. He taught me how to play his Samurai role-playing game, and on Saturday night, I worked my way into his Houses of the Blooded larp. I got my son Corencio and his friend Harley in on it too. It was much more fun and active than the last larp I attended. Kenarthio is now a (distant) member of the Falcon Clan and the Thorne family. I’m considering attending more of these larps, although they happen in very inconvenient times and places for me.

 This is John’s lovely wife Rowe. She seems like the perfect gamer’s wife–enthusiastic and supportive, and fun to be around.  I’m jealous.  I introduced Corencio and Harley to John as my minions. He introduced Rowe and another woman to me as his attendants.  If he weren’t so darn likeable, I’d have to hate him.  You can see John lurking darkly in the background.  I wear my battered brown fedora. John is a black hat man.

 I don’t know these guys.  They sat at their table with a pirate flag and played cards all weekend. Several of them were in the House of the Blooded larp on Saturday night.

Ogreocre, my fantasy-themed card game for Trollworld.

 Speaking of cards . . . I was able to get people to play my new Ogreocre card game several times.  I used the Flying Buffalo poker deck as the game deck. It has 5 Kings in it, and the 5th King is the most powerful card in the game.  That’s my brown leather dice bag at the bottom end of the table.

I've known Jeff for years, and I kept calling him Tony. Sorry, Jeff!

 Jeff (standing up) and Daniel (sitting down and looking up at him) were two of my Ogreocre victims. Daniel is a clever Shadowfist player, and he played several games of Shadowfist with Corencio, Harley, and myself during the Con. He even went out to lunch with us on Saturday. Jeff is a writer,  and a book reviewer,  and a game collector, a pleasant fellow, and good to game with.                                       

Corencio and Harley playing Shadowfist.

 Here’s a shot of my son, Corencio and his best friend Harley playing Shadowfist. The three of us also frequently play Magic against each other.  They beat me 90% of the time.

Bob is Con Chairman and my very good friend.

 I’m really bad with last names. Bob is one of the main driving forces behind Convention fandom in the Phoenix area. He is both intelligent and friendly, and I enjoyed chatting with him at length.  He’s the one who got me to attend RandomCon this year.  Thanks, Bob!  If the Con had a program book, I’d be able to look him up and see what his last name is.

Jesse Foster, Leader of Steve Jackson's Men in Black in Phoenix.

 Jesse Foster, chief Game Master for Steve Jackson Games in Phoenix, has the most impressive name badge and ribbon collection I’ve ever seen.  Not since the days of the Lakota Sioux has there been such a chest protector. Jesse is always friendly, knowledgeable, and informative–the best game teacher I know, and that includes John Wick, who is very good and I’m no slouch. This time I even got him to play a round of Ogreocre with me.

Lessa, the loveliest woman at RandomCon, IMHO.

 I’ve seen Lessa at several gaming conventions now. She runs around with some tall dude who is a Dungeons and Dragons game master. He is always running the most elaborate game in the room. She was very friendly, and let me take this picture of her. Perhaps I should have stuck with the two-handed horizontal camera position. Turning it vertical introduced a little wobble, and she came out all blurry.  Sorry, Lessa. I’ll do better next time.  What I want to know now, is does she just wear the costume, or can she really belly dance?

Gamers in their natural habitat.

 Nothing really spectacular happened at this convention. People got together and had fun. (Imho, that’s the best kind of game convention.)  On the final day I finally managed to connect with the Men In Black and play a Steve Jackson game–Lord of the Fries. It’s a zombie-based food preparation game using a deck of grotesque food items. Very fun.

The front cover of Ogreocre.

 Here’s a better shot of the front cover of my Ogreocre game. It’s a fairly simple little party game–you wouldn’t want to play it more than a half hour or so, but it’s complex enough to be fun, and it makes a strange kind of introduction to the world of Tunnels and Trolls.  This is the game that the Ogres of Trollworld play–a game within a game. I got to run it on 4 different occasions at RandomCon, and that made the Con a success for me.  I’m hoping to run it again at TrollCon 3 and at GenCon next month.  If you’re at either Con, I’d love to teach you the game.

RandomCon finally ended on Sunday afternoon. When there wasn’t much else to do, Corencio, Harley, and I slipped away.  The plan was to finish the weekend by going to see the new animated film, DESPICABLE ME. And we did go see it that evening, but that’s the topic for my next blog.


Posted July 15, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

6 responses to “RandomCon 2010

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  1. Sounds like fun was had by all! T&T at a Con is always a party! 😀

    And you gotta love babes dressed as Princess Leia!

  2. I love con reports. Thanks for posting yours. 🙂

  3. Nice write-up, Ken. One thing to note, Lessa is actually one of the laughing moon girls. They’re not running d&d that’s Todd Van Hooser’s game he’s working on based off of the books.

    Thanks again for sitting in on Lord of the Fries, it was fun!

  4. Sounds like it was fabulous. Wish they had things like that going on around here. I am just not in the position to travel for such event or I would.

    I hope one day to play a game of OgreOcre with you and have you kill me off in a game of T & T! 🙂

  5. How does T&T differ from D&D? What makes the system unique?

  6. I’m glad you had a good time. 😀

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