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12 to Midnight, Games

Origins 2007 debriefing part IV: Saturday

07.17.07 | 6 Comments

Read parts II and III first.

Saturday at Origins I slept in until 7 am, then the country boy in me took over and insisted I get up. Another shower, and I was ready to face the world. Neal and I headed down to the food court for breakfast while we waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. We had a nice, leisurely breakfast before finding out that the “base camp” crew had gotten lost and would be running late to our games. Neal and I set things up as well as we could and tried to herd players (who were still misdirected by their preregistration tickets) to our setups. Ed and Jerry ran games, while my table didn’t make. This was a good thing, since it left me time to hit the dealer room and shop for souvenirs for the tadpole and Mrs. Flametoad. My afternoon table made, which means I missed Jerry’s seminar on how to start a game company and the Pinnacle update seminar in which Shane pulled Ed out of the crowd to talk about ETU. After my game, it was back to the dealer room to finish the shopping. For myself, I picked up Deadlands (couldn’t resist!). For Tadpole 1, I picked up a giant foam d6. For Mrs. Flametoad, the microbiologist, I got a stuffed animal shaped like e.coli. While there, I also got to meet Michael Stackpole, which was a great treat. I own more than a dozen of his books, so it was cool to shake his hand. As I started to walk away, I thought of one small way of showing my appreciation for his work. I’d been carrying around a few copies of Bloodlines for promotional purposes, so I gave him a copy as my way of saying thanks.

And now just a quick word about the dealer room. It was a big room. There were several cool booths there. I wish I’d had more leisure time to wander around. But somehow I was expecting something even bigger. I mean, I’ve been to gun shows bigger than that. I went in with a very specific shopping list in mind, and I was largely disappointed. Where was the new Delta Green? Is it that hard to find a Hellboy RPG? On the other hand, Deadlands Reloaded didn’t disappoint and the Indie Press Revolution gave me an opportunity to thumb through more than a few titles I’ve been curious about but hadn’t seriously considered taking the trouble of ordering. That being said, Clint clearly needs to get into the drug trade. He all but put crack in my hand and said “Take this. It’ll make you feel good.”. While he didn’t do that, he did take me by the arm and lead me to a booth selling Horror Clix. Now up until this point I’ve managed to avoid getting sucked into collectible card games, collectible miniature games, and the like. Darn that Clint Black! Darn those Horror Clix for being so frickin’ cool! Fortunately, the people running the shop were very helpful about finding novice versions of the figures so I wouldn’t be stuck paying high rates for something that would be used as minis.

For dinner, we again trooped across the street to yet another bar and were shown to the back. By this point, Trey and I were feeling a little bit disappointed. Saturday was my last day at Origins, and both Trey and I had previously agreed that we wanted to play in some games that weren’t written for 12 to Midnight. He was interested in Settlers of Cattan, I was interested in Arkham Horror, and we were both interested in catching a Cthulhu game. Here it was Saturday afternoon and it still hadn’t come to pass. Regardless, we had an enjoyable dinner–inadvertently sitting across from Sean Preston’s group–with another pitcher of iced tea.

On the way out, I was stopped in the noisy bar by someone wearing a Kenzer & Company polo shirt. He asked if we were running a western game–due to our distinguishing cowboy hats, I’m sure. I had seen some of the Kenzer guys earlier wearing dusters, cowboy hats, and the whole setup in support of their Aces & Eights western game. (Ed bought this game the day before. It is an absolutely beautiful, lavishly illustrated book. Expensive, but beautiful.) I leaned in and tried to explain over the bar noise that no, we just have a modern horror campaign setting in East Texas. I guess he was relieved there wasn’t yet another western game on the market, because he said we should send them something to review in their magazine. However, I still had another copy of Bloodlines in hand, so I was able to give him something on the spot. Now I’ll be buying KODT for the next year so I can watch for the review.

After dinner, we met up with Clint and took a break upstairs in our room before wandering down to the lobby bar again to await Shane Hensley and crew and word on the Origins award. This is old news by now, but they did win an Origins Best RPG Supplement award for Deadlands Reloaded. In celebration, a big group of Savage Worlds players found an empty room and set up shop. By 10:30 pm we had four tables of Savage games running, and three of them were 12 to Midnight games! Ed ran Chickens in the Mist, which was wildly popular. Jerry ran Weekend Warriors, which was also a great time. By that point I was pretty tired and wasn’t looking forward to running another game, so I am very grateful to Neal, who picked up my slack after having only played the game once earlier in that same day and only getting to read it on the spot. In turn, I got to enjoy a spot at the one table not running a 12 to Midnight game. Instead, I got to play a Savage Solomon Kane game GM’d by Evil Mike. This was one of my highlights of the convention, despite not finishing until after 3 a.m. or crawling into bed at 4 a.m. It was worth it, EVEN though I had to get up a mere 2.5 hours later to shower and leave for the airport.

I’m terribly disappointed I missed the fun of playing RunePunk with Sean or dinner with the crew on Sunday night, but I’m certainly glad to have gotten to spend time with such a wonderful group of people. It also amazes me as I read other Origins accounts that there were so many other spheres of community that I didn’t even encounter. Apparently Paul Tevis of Have Games, Will Travel was there. Mur Lafferty of I Should Be Writing was there. Heck, Richard Hatch was there! I’m disappointed that I never got a chance to play a Cthulhu game while I was there, and I definitely learned a lesson about not over-scheduling myself. Still, it was fantastic meeting fans and friends from far-off places, and I’m grateful for all the new friends I made while I was there. I can’t wait until next year.

Other Origins trip reports: Jerry Blakemore | Shane Hensley (PDF) | 12 to Midnight forum | Pinnacle forum


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6 Comments

Comment by Jerry
2007-07-17 10:14:28

There was so much that we missed. But still so much we experienced. Wish you could have been with us on Sunday too. I usually don’t like to hang around on the last day of the con, but I did run a great session of Weekend Warriors.

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Comment by Dirty Unicorn
2007-07-17 11:22:08

Dang I cheated myself out of a fun time! Weekend Warriors in Savage style would have been an absolute blast!

Sorry ya missed out on Richard Hatch and the great nameless ones, but there’s always next year and the next con!

There was a definate cluster stuff effect going on at the con. Can’t believe how so much was wrong and indeed how small some things seemed. I guess I have been jaded by pictures of GenCon with the gargantuan vendor and playing areas… not that Origins wasn’t neat, but I think I saw the bulk and was only there 3 hours (granted I didn’t game any, but still)

Was real glad to meet you guys face-to-face. It was a total blast to hang with you guys for even just a few minutes.

It was funny – Missus Unicorn (Dawna) commented that out of everybody you looked the most different from your head shots on the internet… not sure why. Maybe it was all those pounds you shed! ;)
(that or you decided to shave for the con haha!)

[Non-gay guy tag]You definately have me jealous man. Don’t eat too much of that ice cream cause you will end up like me with a big ole gut hanging out!? [/non-gay guy tag]

Seriously though it seems like 12toMidnight did an outstanding job of presenting themselves at the con and building better relationships with the indstry. Congrats. You guys deserve it!

Now the next time I have to get a print copy of Bloodlines and make *YOU* sign it instead of getting everybody elses autograph haha!

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Comment by Prest0
2007-07-17 13:39:10

I’ve been wondering how Origins compared to GenCon in terms of size. For some strange reason, it warms my heart to know there’s a place with an even bigger dealer room than Origins. It just seems right that there should be a place where that much gaming stuff is collected under one roof.

I was really glad to finally get to shake your hand, and I can’t wait to hang out with again at some future Con. I’ll definitely sign your copy of Bloodlines! I wish we had more income–or were more centrally located–so we could afford to hit more cons. It’s just hard when travel is so expensive.

There are pictures of me on the internet? Geez, don’t the paparazzi have better things to do? :) Thanks for the compliment. I lost about 20 pounds when I went on that diet last fall, and to my utter amazement I’ve managed to keep it off for 6 months. However, Mrs. Flametoad and I have recently noted that the carb cravings are coming back and it’s getting harder and harder to walk past the candy dish at work without grabbing a few pieces. Consequently, yesterday we started on phase 1 of the South Beach diet again. I’d wanted to lose another 10 pounds the last time, so maybe this time I’ll finish the job. Once I hit my target weight, I won’t feel so guilty about the occasional ice cream or other snack.

 
 
Comment by Jerry
2007-07-18 16:02:42

He’s referring to those about us pics on the 12 to Midnight site I believe.

Gencon is bigger. The dealer room was 1/2 to 2/3 the sixe of Gencon’s. But Gencon gets 40,000 folks. At least it did the year I attended.

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Comment by Cassandra
2007-07-19 00:48:24

GenCon is astounding. I think the dealer room had every possible game item a person could want, and if it didn’t one could just check the auction room. The other thing is just being with all those gamers! Although I had wanted to go for years, last year was the first time I attended GenCon. The convention center, hotels and various other places had “theme” items – bags, table tents or what-have-you – that said “GenCon – Welcome Home.” The first time I saw one I thought – What? By the time we left, though, I knew what they meant. Despite the fact that I had never been there before, being at GenCon – just around that many gamers, and people who work with gamers, and other people who publish stuff for gamers – felt like a big family reunion. You know, the kind where you don’t really know all the cousins, or quite how people are related, but you know they’re family somehow and so it’s okay. That’s what GenCon is for gamers. Ya’ll ought to try to make it there next year.

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Comment by Prest0
2007-07-19 08:38:05

I think next year we’re going to try to budget more for cons. Rather than all of us go to one con (which, since we don’t all live in the same city, was something of a reunion itself this year), next year we’ll split up and try to hit more cons. Needless to say, GenCon would be one of the big targets.

 
 

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