RinCon Ramblings   1 comment

On Friday, October 8, Rick Loomis and I left Phoenix behind and rolled on down to Tucson for RinCon 10. Even though we got a late start, we were there before two p.m. and half set up by the time the Con people opened the doors to the great basement hall of the Tucson Convention Center.  I had my little digital camera with me, and I took a lot of pictures. I don’t intend to torture you readers with all of them, but I will post a bunch of them, and put some comments beneath each picture.  I had fun at the convention doing what I always do, wandering around, seeing my friends and talking to strangers.  I got to do a little bit of gaming, too.  That’s always a good thing at a gaming convention.


Free breakfast in the Green Cafe of the Hotel Arizona on Saturday.

I didn’t get any pictures at all on Friday afternoon.  The most notable thing that happened was that Rick and I had supper with Liz Danforth, Steve Ellis, and Brian Gross at the El Charro Restaurant in downtown Tucson.  El Charro is the oldest continuously open Mexican restaurant in the United States–it has been open in the same location since 1922.  That being said, I wasn’t very impressed with it–mediocre food served in a cramped little space by the front window–the food being neither better nor worse than that served by Taco Bell, for example.  At least I got a glass of my favorite beer, Dos Equis (Two Xs). 

The Father of Play-by-mail Gaming eats breakfast.

I think the eggs were artificial, they tasted like plastic, but the bacon and orange juice was really good.

Wicked John Wick (in the white shirt), his ladies Rowe and Jessica, and a good view of Jesse Foster's bald spot.

Virtually everybody who didn’t live in Tucson stayed at the Hotel Arizona and availed themselves of the free breakfast that came with convention membership. Here are John Wick, his ladies, and MIB Jesse Foster, getting ready, fueling up for a strenuous Saturday.


This is the Flying Buffalo dealer table. My T & T stuff is down in the lower left corner.

Rick and I had a wide variety of things to sell.  My  T & T stuff is in the lower left corner of the table. If you look closely you can find OgreOcre, Monsters! Monsters!, T & T 5.5  along with T & T 7.5 and just above that a big stack of solo adventures.  We didn’t actually sell very much of it.  RinCon was great for networking, lousy for sales.

Twin brothers with different mothers.

The tall guy talking to Rick is named Seth–I didn’t get his last name.  He has a gaming store in Los Angeles and brought a ton of stuff over to sell.  He had a lot of really fine games on his table.  In the end, he was the only one I bought anything from–an Order of the Stick graphic novel.  Seth was a pleasant companiion, a family man, and an all-around good guy.  I wish him well in his gaming career.


Knitted Cthulhu babies–more popular than games.

Not everything was games.  There were also a few dolls and toys.

The computer gaming area was guarded by a piratical teddy bear of considerable size.

For the first time that I can remember, there were more available computers than computer gamers to play on them.  I got into this area on Sunday for a few minutes and got my video butt kicked by a 12 year old kid in some streetfighting action.  Fun enough, but nothing I’d care to spend more than 5 minutes on. 

Rich Shaffstall, Felicia Peters, James "Bear" Peters--Bear was my best friend back in the 70s when T & T started.

A lot of people that I hardly ever see made it to RinCon this year.  I was lucky enough to get in about an hour of T & T gaming with the legendary Bear Peters.  My character fought a flock of pigeon-sized wyverns atop a humongous dirigible while flying across the bronzed sands of the great desert south of Khosht (meaningless gabble to most of you readers, but the inner circle of T & T players will have some idea of what I’m talking about.) Bear is very pleased to actually be running a continuing T & T campaign, altho the playing episodes are about 3 months apart, and the gamers are separated by over 100 miles.

John Wick offered his books for sale at a table inside the main gaming area.

There wasn’t anything to keep me busy at the Buffalo table, so I spent a lot of time wandering around the gaming area.  I was jealous of John’s primo location within the gaming area–of course, it cost him $100 more for his table than it cost Rick out on the periphery.

Jesse Foster examines the Laughing Moon FRP gamebook.

Todd Van Hooser spent the whole weekend playing his own Laughing Moon frpg. He likes miniatures and scantily clad women. (Heh! Who doesn't?)

I first saw Todd running his Laughing Moon game at RinCon a year ago in 2009.  Since then we’ve been at about 6 conventions at the same time.  But, we’ve never spoken.  He’s a miniatures guy, and I’m not.  I always take a few pictures of his scantily-clad companions however.  Todd has finally published the sourcebook and rules for his game. I wish him well, but I’ll never be one of his followers.

The creators of Infrno.net were demonstrating their product.

Infrno.net is an upcoming social network for fantasy role-playing gamers.  It is a pretty slick product, and offera a lot of useful services.  I signed up for it, and have actually established a profile.  If Iwere ever to succeed in transferring my gaming life into the computer, this is the service I’d use to do it.

Who you gonna call?

These guys get a lot of mileage out of some great Ghostbuster costumes.  However, no phantoms made appearances during the show.

Outside the Convention Hall, the City of Tucson held a 3-day food festival with booths of exotic goodies from all over the world.

A long view of part of the festival. There were crowds of happy people all around. 

Mike Stackpole and I wandered around the festival to get lunch on Saturday.  I found a kebab from Persia that filled up the inner Ken.  He ate paella.  How handy is that!  RinCon is the only con I know that has dozens of food vendors right outside the Con with prices that are very affordable.

The creators of Time Renegades were showing off their new game.

I talked with Dennis (the guy with the mustache), who created the game, several times during the Con.  He explained the ten stages of time to me, and his ambitious plan for a game that not only spans all of time and space, but also goes forward into future stages of the universe. He gave me free dice, and a donut, and even played a hand of OgreOcre with me.  He has a beautiful game, a sweeping vision, and a terrific web site here at http://www.timerenegades.com/ .

Bear Peters, Brian Gross

Tracey, her husband (I'd know his name if I heard it), and Felicia Peters.

Felicia and Dave (the brother of Tracy's husband) and a view out into the gaming area.

I finished Saturday afternoon playing Tunnels and Trolls with my friends.  Bear ran a continuation of a game that he started back at TrollCon 3 in July, and I wiggled my way into their adventure towards the end of it.

Live music at the food festival Saturday night.

Saturday night was the busiest part of the convention.  I had 3 things to do: participate in John Wick’s Houses of the Blooded larp, play poker in the Texas Hold-Em tournament, and attend the Dark Ones party for Dark Con 2012.  I also needed to stash my gaming bag at the hotel and get some food.  On the trip to the hotel I stopped to listen to the music for a few minutes.  The crowd was enjoying it a lot, and the musicians seemed to be grooving.  I never got any food–the waits were too long, but I muched a couple of granola bars that I brought to the con with me.  Rick went to our hotel room and watched Arizona State University beat Washington State in college football.  A.S.U. is the primary alma mater school for both of us.

Larping with John Wick and the Houses of the Blooded.

I came into the larp a few minutes late, but was able to find both a sword and a modest costume to wear to indicate my membership in House Falcon.  John always takes the part of the servant who makes the larp run.  He announces the events, distributes favor tokens to the players, answers questions, and is generally the engine that drives the whole thing.  His ladies Rowe and Jessica also help.  The three of them manage to keep things moving.  Houses of the Blooded has an interesting game mechanism that I like a lot.  Every player starts with favor (represented by raffle tickets), and you can spend favor to get concessions from other players.  For example, I might go up to a lady in the crowd, and say something like, “Is it not true that we were once lovers?” and then I”d give her a handful of raffle tickets and she would reply, “Yes, my lord, tis true, but that was long ago and far away.”  With a little effort one can start many delicious rumors in this fashion.  In a more serious note, favor is also used to influence juries who decide whether events such as duels and executions should take place.  At one point during the evening, I spent all the favor I had in a vain attempt to stop a duel and start an execution.  It gave me a chance to make a speech, and win a laugh from the assembled lords and ladies.  My new goal at these larps is to use up all my favor as rapidly and outrageously as I can.

The lord Xander has passed out on the floor. Two other lords, best friends tragically brought into combat, are busy killing each other, while a lady watches. Servant John seems well pleased.

No Houses of the Blooded larp is complete without at least 3 deaths.  Duels generally happen during the lst half of the event, and it seems to be a great honor to die nobly in the defense of honor.  I haven’t gotten myself killed in either of the two events I’ve attended–my character is a traveller, who but seldom attends these soirees, and is hardly worthy of being killed. Heh!

High tide for Ken the Gambler.

After the orgy (I mean larp) the poker game started at 10 p.m.  It was a charity event, although I did not realize that when I sat down at it, and one could buy extra chips for cash.  I have only played Texas Hold-Em once before in my life–that was when I was a Guest at the Dark Ones Dark Con in 2008.  This time I had the distinction of being a marked man with a bounty on my head.  I flatter myself that I was not as easy a mark as those poker sharks expected.  The picture shows the high point of my fortunes: black chips are worth 1000, blue are 500, white are 100, green are 50 and red are 25.  I placed 15th in a field of about 30 and lasted until the second break. 

I could do a whole rant about what I hate about Texas Hold-em, but in truth I had some fun, and learned something about the game that may help me next time I play.  I had fun with it.

The party of the Dark Ones was both dark and very noisy. I truly felt like a wallflower there.

I was knocked out of the poker game just before midnight, so I rushed off to room 907 in the Hotel Arizona for the party of the Dark Ones.  It was going strong when I got there, but I found a place to sit and talk with Jesse Foster.  I had two bowls of spicy meatballs–they proved to be my midnight supper for the evening as I was really hungry by the time I arrived, and a glass of orange juice sans booze. 

Poster for Dark Con 2012.

After about 20 minutes I slipped away from the party, got back to my roon, and slept.  I am so sensible at these Cons, insisting on at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Bwa ha ha!

Sunday was something of an anti-climax.  No one showed up for my demo game of Monsters! Monsters!  I spent time talking to Amanda Abelove, creator of a new card game called Corporate Espionage, and time in the MIB area playing Zombie Dice and Cthulhu Dice while waiting to see if I would win the great Games Basket of goodies that Steve Jackson Games was giving away.  Here’s a picture of it along with my MIB friend Joey.

The big prize of the Con can be seen over Joey's right shoulder. I didn't win it.

Goodbye!  Goodbye to all my fine friends and acquaintances.  Maybe I’ll see you again at the next Con–maybe not.  I enjoyed shmoozing with you all–you are true gamers and the salt of the earth.  Home again by 6 p.m. on Sunday afternoon–a successful convention as far as I’m concerned.


Posted October 13, 2010 by atroll in Uncategorized

One response to “RinCon Ramblings

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  1. Hey Ken…just to let you know. Dave and Tracy aren’t married–yet–but you got Dave and his brother Baird switched around.

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