Archive for the ‘Rick Loomis’ Category

GenCon 2013   2 comments

I really didn’t have a plan this year.  i took my camera. I took some pictures.  Here they are.

After seeking out a CVS drugstore on the streets of Indianapolis, I spotted this awesome monument in downtown Indie that I had never seen before. More on this later.

After seeking out a CVS drugstore on the streets of Indianapolis, I spotted this awesome monument in downtown Indie that I had never seen before. More on this later.

Another shot. I went and stood in the middle of the street for this one.

Another shot. I went and stood in the middle of the street for this one.

Wednesday evening, i wind up demoing my new Dwarves and Dragon game. This guy is looking at the components.

Wednesday evening, i wind up demoing my new Dwarves and Dragon game. This guy is looking at the components.

That's me on the left, pushing the dragon around.

That’s me on the left, pushing the dragon around.

A slightly better picture. You can see the cover insert now.

A slightly better picture. You can see the cover insert now.

Thursday morning, walking around early, went to that monument I started the tour with and found this old church with its tall skinny steeple.

Thursday morning, walking around early, went to that monument I started the tour with and found this old church with its tall skinny steeple.

Doing my best to look awesome from above in front of Indianapolis's most impressive concrete.

Doing my best to look awesome from above in front of Indianapolis’s most impressive concrete.

Close-up.  Steve Crompton is acting cameraman for me.

Close-up. Steve Crompton is acting cameraman for me.

There's Steve, doing the Trollgod salute.

There’s Steve, doing the Trollgod salute.

Closeup of Steve. Doesn't he look kinda like a Guido to you?

Closeup of Steve. Doesn’t he look kinda like a Guido to you?

If there's something wrong in the neighborhood . . . who ya gonna call?

If there’s something wrong in the neighborhood . . . who ya gonna call?

I loved that monument. It had all this erotic, exotic statuary attached to it. Lady Liberty here looks like the figurehead of a ship.

I loved that monument. It had all this erotic, exotic statuary attached to it. Lady Liberty here looks like the figurehead of a ship.

Splash!

Splash!

Inside the convention center at last.  This is the entrance to the open roleplay area--dominated, of course, by That Other Game.

Inside the convention center at last. This is the entrance to the open roleplay area–dominated, of course, by That Other Game.

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-Out in the general hall, there were plenty of minis, including this fine castle.

I finally spent some time in the Flying Buffalo booth on the exhibition floor.  Several of my favorite comic superheroes stopped to chat with me.  Here's the Rocketeer.

I finally spent some time in the Flying Buffalo booth on the exhibition floor. Several of my favorite comic superheroes stopped to chat with me. Here’s the Rocketeer.

I met a beautiful barbarian. She told me 3 times what anime she was from, but it was Japanese to me.

I met a beautiful barbarian. She told me 3 times what anime she was from, but it was Japanese to me.

This booth babe looked so good I just had to take her picture.

This booth babe looked so good I just had to take her picture. She was guiding people into a room to try a new online game.

Men in blue robot suits--I don't get it, but these were fine examples of some of the hall costumes on display.

Men in blue robot suits–I don’t get it, but these were fine examples of some of the hall costumes on display.

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Rick Loomis, Steve Crompton, and I participated in a gigantic Settlers of Catan game sponsored by Mayfair Games on Friday night.  It was an attempt to set a world record for greatest number of gamers playing a board game simultaneously–the same game.  We did set a new record. 922 contestants in the same game, and someone won it on turn 48.  I had fun, but didn’t come even remotely close to the prize money.  What you see here is a couple of people sitting between me and the screens where they projected the dice roll for each turn.

Saturday in the Exhibitor's Hall, Sir Lancelot stopped by to see me.  It was a truly impressive set of armor.

Saturday in the Exhibitor’s Hall, Sir Lancelot stopped by to see me. It was a truly impressive set of armor.

Last picture in my camera: Steve and Rick are sitting in the food court of the Indianapolis airport posing with the Catan map I got 3 nights earlier. While waiting for our plane back to Phoenix, the three of us played 3 Catan variants on it.  Kinda fun.  It's a pretty well-designed board for a small Catan game.

Last picture in my camera: Steve and Rick are sitting in the food court of the Indianapolis airport posing with the Catan map I got 3 nights earlier. While waiting for our plane back to Phoenix, the three of us played 3 Catan variants on it. Kinda fun. It’s a pretty well-designed board for a small Catan game.

And that’s it.  I told you I didn’t do a very good job of taking pictures this year, and I’m not saying anything about the 4 Tunnels and Trolls games that I ran, or the people that I talked to, or the delicious suppers I had at restaurants on the far edges of town. Yes, we ate once in Steak & Shake, and it was deliicous.  Other places, including a Denny’s not far from our hotel, were even better.  I brought home a few purchases, and samples that I picked up at the con–nothing very impressive.  Maybe I’ll show those off in my next blog.

Hope you enjoyed the incoherent pictures.  Please forgive me for inflicting this on you. And if you weren’t there this year, don’t you wish you had been?

If you have done a better GenCon blog than this, please leave a comment, and a link so others can see the Con from your point of view.

–end

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GenCon 2012, Part 3 (Friday, Saturday)   1 comment

I began Saturday with the resolve to take more pictures and do a better job of documenting GenCon.  It had rained during the night, and we overdressed in the morning because I thought it would be chilly.  I also put on my minimal steampunk costume–shiny vest, demonic badge, trollgod’s hat with goggles.  I looked like this.

Ya think the big convention badge kinda ruins the look?
But first let’s go back to late Friday afternoon.  After walking around the hall for a while, I got back to the Flying Buffalo booth to find this going on.

Stephen Conway is talking to Rick Loomis about games. I came in too late to hear much of what they said, but it made me jealous, so I talked Stephen into interviewing me also. His podcasts can be found here: http://thespiel.net/

I’m attracted to warrior women. I met this dangerous dame and got her picture.  She’s my idea of a living t & t adventuress.

I just love the look of this old Catholic church across the street from the Convention Center. I got this shot as we headed for the car Friday night after the Dealers Room closed.

Rick goes to Indiana and GenCon to sell games.  Sometimes I think I go with him just to indulge myself at Steak and Shake restaurants.  We don’t have them in Arizona.

There was a Steak and Shake restaurant right next to the Red Roof Inn where we stayed about ten miles south of downtown Indy. The food is mostly hamburgers, but the variety of shakes is exceptional and they are really good. I took this shot Saturday morning on our way into the Convention after breakfast.

The Wookies get really tall at GenCon. Half a day has gone by and another T & T adventure is behind me.

This dragon witch was one of my T & T players. When I saw her again in the convention hallway near the balloon dragon, I got her picture. She was the last survivor of my Seven Challenges adventure on Saturday morning.

On Saturday afternoon Rick Loomis did his Nuclear War tournament, in which he had some 48 competitors.  I stayed and watched the Flying Buffalo booth, and sold a ton of stuff.  Much to my delight, my most talented niece, Angela St. Andre stopped by to visit me and show me her latest work.  She is a sculptress, but she works with welding and cutting tools in metal instead of a hammer and chisel in stone.  Look at this beautiful notebook.

This awesome gaming notebook with its secret compartment for dice was created by my artistic niece, Angela St. Andre. It weighs about 20 pounds and is made of steel. It is lying in the midst of the Tunnels & Trolls material we were selling, including my largest recent solo: the Dewdrop Inn.

Angela St. Andre and her shoulder dragon. Lots of people were taking her picture. This young woman is seriously talented, and she loves gaming.

Here’s Angela with notebook and shoulder dragon. She didn’t buy these artifacts, folks. She made them.

After Angela left, Harley Quinn stopped by to see me. What a babe! Totally wasted on that Joker doofus, imho. Hey Mist-Tikk Foo-all, here’s a troll hammer for you.

Actually, Han Solo was walking around with Harley Quinn. GenCon is a very strange galaxy.

I only have about ten pictures left to go, so let’s stop the tour here.  I’m still at the Buffalo booth selling things, but Saturday was a great day for hall costumes.  In general, big gaming and sci-fi conventions are great places for cosplay.  The regular costume for such meetings is jeans and t-shirt, but the really cool people come in costume.  I’m not one of the really cool people, but even I have put together a costume for such occasions–you can see it back at the top of this picture essay.  I also bought an elven forester’s costume that I haven’t worn yet, just to have something special for the next masquerade I get to attend.

–to be continued

GenCon 2012, Part 1 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)   3 comments

I spent most of the last week at GenCon in Indianapolis. I flew in on Tuesday August 14 and went home late Monday afternoon on August 20. There were three in our party–Richard Loomis, CEO and Chief Factotum of Flying Buffalo, Inc., me–Ken St. Andre, writer and game designer, and my son James, gamer and actor. We were there to promote Flying Buffalo products and sell some games. If we should happen to enjoy ourselves and play some other games on the journey, that was all just a bonus. Personally, I had a great time, and so, I thought I would make my customary report here on Atroll’s Entertainment, which will have the usual form of photographs that I, or people near me, took, and brief comments on each one. I counted 55 photos, which is a bit much to cram into one blog–my plan is to do the blog in 4 sections.

In the course of composing this blog, I am bound to leave some things out. If you were there, and would like to add your own comments, it would increase the utility of this report.

This is what the Flying Buffalo booth looks like before we get it set up. I am here on Wednesday, before the show started, waiting for Rick Loomis to arrive–he had to go park the car. I”m wearing an old Conan t-shirt that I acquired at GenCon several years ago, and the Trollgod’s hat. It goes on all my adventures with me.

Most exhibitors set up on the day before the convention actually starts. It is a big job–hard enough for a small company like Flying Buffalo, but larger companies like Paizo bring in multiple employees, lay down their own flooring, set up gigantic displays–some of which I will show you before I finish talking about GenCon, and generally go all out to promote product and sell tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of games. I can only wish that Tunnels and Trolls had that kind of size and market penetration–if it did, I would be a wealthy man, but it doesn’t, and I’m not.

Robin Loney (aka Christina Lea) had her own booth at GenCon for the first time this year. She is the brains, and much of the writing talent behind Peryton Press. She has created her own rpg system (Qalidar), and she also helps support my game–Tunnels and Trolls. Peryton Press has more emphasis on fantastic fiction than on gaming, but both aspects of the fantastic are well represented.

Peryton Press is part of a small press retro pulp fiction movement happening today among fans and gamers. Now that self-publishing is within the grasp of any determined author or artist, the people are taking back the creative arts from the large corporations that have controlled them for most of the 20th century. I heartily approve, and if you were to look through my book and gaming collection you would find that small press publications have Pride of Place over large company productions. Not always higher quality, but always more heart and soul in the amateur productions.

James pretends to board the train at the Victoria Station hotel. We are on our way Wednesday evening to a Shadowfist demonstration. Shadowfist is one of our favorite collectible card games. This train station adds a lot of color and interest to the Indianapolis convention center.

Here we are at the Shadowfist demo. The banner shows Zu-Mei, one of the Seven Masters from the latest faction to join the Shadowfist war. James and I are better than average Shadowfist players already–we didn’t need to learn the game, but attended in hopes of getting a free demo deck (going to conventons is all about acquiring new game stuff–for free if possible!). The demo was surprisingly successful with more noobs than expected, so, we didn’t get any freebies here. They needed them go give to beginners.

Daniel Griego, one of the owners of Inner Kingdom Games, is current publisher and owner of the Shadowfist game. I don’t know him well, but he seems like a great guy.

James and I did other things on Thursday night. When the Shadowfist demo was over we walked a mile and joined Rick Loomis who was demoing Nuclear War at the DW Mariott hotel. I got demos of three games: Tsuro of the Seas, Dragon Dice, and Snake Oil. Tsuro is the most elegant, Snake Oil the most fun, and Dragon Dice has some way-cool dice in it. No pictures of any of those.

On the following day, the Convention officially began.

Tom and Robin Loney are doing good business at Peryton Press Thursday morning. Because they are my friends, I went by their booth every once in a while to see how they were doing.

I should have taken more pictures on Thursday, but most of the time the camera wasn’t with me, and I just didn’t feel like it.

The Con is going. I have switched to my traditional black outfits. Christian Lindke, a member of Trollhalla, has stopped by the Flying Buffalo Booth to see me. On Saturday, Christian gamed with me in the Seven Challenges adventure I wrote especially for GenCon.

Here we are on Friday morning already. These brave souls adventured in Dwarf World with me.

This is the adventure I ran on Friday morning. Our combats were not quite this epic, but we did manage a Dwarf vs. Goblin confrontation.

Playing Tunnels and Trolls with Ken St. Andre. I’m the goofy-looking one with the battered fedora. The players are trying to survive in Dwarf World.

When the T & T was over, I wandered the hall and found the authors corner of it toward the end of the day. Jeremy Jaynes was giving away free t-shirts to promote his books. Here I made a charisma saving roll, and talked them out of a t-shirt along with getting my picture taken with his pretty wife. The shirts look like the one she’s wearing. Jeremy seems to be a bit of a cyberpunk kind of guy, but the books are well done and fascinating reading. I support authors who not only write their dreams, but get out into the big world to promote them. Best of luck, Jeremy, and thanks for the shirt!

This brings me to a natural stopping spot for today’s blog. I admit that I didn’t do that good a job of capturing the full excitement of the con on camera for the first 2 days, but come back tomorrow. I get better and take more interesting photos.

If you were at GenCon, or wish you had been, go ahead and comment.

–end

Columbus, Ohio   3 comments

Part of my plan for keeping myself healthy is walking a lot. Walking is very good for you, even if it does make your feet and back hurt. On the day before we set up for the Origins game convention, I took a walk around downtown Columbus and took the following pictures. Columbus is a beutiful city, and it’s the capitol of Ohio. I’m sure there is a lot of history associated with the things I saw.

Rick Looms and I started the morning by visiting the GAMA headquarters offices in a hotel across the street from the Hyatt and the convention center. Rick had shipped the Flying Buffalo product there, and had to arrange to have it moved over to the convention floor. We got a cart and did that the frollowing day. This pic shows some of the Origins Award-winning games that were on display in the office.

More stuff on display in the GAMA (Game Manufacturers of America) office.

Rick Loomis in his “position of power” in the GAMA office. He is President of the organization this year (and next year till mid-summer anyway). The cardboard boxes to his right contain Tunnels & Trolls merchandise and lots of other stuff that he and I would spend the weekend trying to sell to gamers.

Rick went back to the hotel room at the Drury. I went for a walk in downtown Columbus. My first destination was my favorite building in the city. I call it the Ghostbusters building, although it has another name. It’s almost the tallest building in the city.

Looking downhill toward the Ohio River from High Street, one can see the base of the Leveque Tower and the marquee for the Palace Theater.

Cast your eyes upward from the same viewpoint to see the top of the Leveque Tower.

I thought this was an impressive front door. I think it’s a bank.

This is the statehouse in Columbus. William McKinley, 25th President of the United States, stands out front to welcome visitors. 19th century architecture loved the rotunda look on public buildings. The Arizona Capitol had one too. Pillars are also real popular, and lots of statues.

Looking down (south) HIgh Street I saw this other bizarre old skyscraper with its polygonal geometric design.

The Ohio Capitol Building is surrounded by a large open park-like area with extensive lawns and trees. My guess is this is the Ohio State flag.

I entered the Capitol and found this bust of Lincoln dominating the center of the building.

There was also this gigantic painting.

From the center of the Capitol one can look up about 6 stories to see this stained glass window in the top of the rotunda. Very petty and it makes colored patterns on the floor.

The Ohio State Senate Chambers. The Senate had the day off.

Leaving the Capitol behind, I walked through the rest of the downtown area and then down to the Ohio River. I’ve been to Origins in Columbus about a dozen times now–I forget, but it seems like a lot–and I had never gone as far as the river before.

Walking back north along the river, I saw this really impressive old building on the other side. I asked and someone told me it was a science museum. I would have liked to explore it, but there was a huge river in the way.

Bridge across the Ohio River. I did not walk across it. My feet were starting to get sore.

A small park bordered the river. It contained fishy fountains made of metal and spewing water as well as some big old swings where people could just kick back and watch the river go by.

“If there’s something weird in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call?” When I reached my favorite building I left the river and started climbing back up into the city.

I passed another government building. This turned out to be City Hall, pleasantly located close to the river. Chris Columbus himself stands out front, larger and blacker than life to tell you where you are.

I finally learned the name of my favorite Columbus building. You can look this up on wikipedia and learn that the building was designed to be exactly one foot taller than the Washington Monument–what kind of one-upsmanship was going on here?–but due to a construction error, it’s only 6 inches higher.

There is some very cool old Art Deco art inside the tower as well. I was only permitted to see a little bit of the lobby.

It’s not the Sistine Chapel, but somebody did paint on the ceiling. I wonder how many of these great illos are hidden inside this amazing old building.

As I headed back to the Convention Center I caught this distant glimpse of the city’s central police station. It looks like the kind of place where Commisioner Gordon (of Batman fame) might hang out.

I didn’t really want to get up close and personal with the Ohio Police, but what a bizarre building they have!

Next I moved into the Arena District and found the home ice of the Columbus Blue Jackets–a National Hockey League team. Hockey season was almost over–only the NHL finals were still going when I was there last week. Our Phoenix Coyotes were knocked out of the playoffs for the Western Conference Finals by Los Angeles. I used to be a hockey fan. I’m not any more.

Getting to the end of my walk, I entered the North Market from the west and found the Best of the Wurst.

I try to get into this multi-ethnic marketplace at least once during every visit to Columbus. It is an amazing place full of all kinds of food I would never find in Phoenix.

Later on, during the Origins convention, someone brought me a shwarma sandwich from this market. It was delicious.

Looking at the Market facade from the east side. I love the rooster head inside the letter O.

After a couple of hours of walking, I have returned to the Convention Center. You can see one of the entrances to it on the other side of High Steet.. This concluded my self-guided tour of Columbus, Ohio. For the rest of the week I was busy with the Origins 2012 national gaming convention, and I reported on that in the previous blog.

If you have ever walked around and found anything interesting in Columbus, Ohio, why not leave a comment? What did I miss?

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