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Thoughts on ConnCon 2013

R Updated
There Will Be Games


ConnCon, the convention that we North Eastern F:ATies have pretty much claimed as our own is about to wrap up and it was a damn good time. I arrived on Thursday and had a full four days of solid gaming.

It will come as no surprise to people that have actually played with me that over that length of time I did not win a single solitary thing. That's one of the cool things about playing games with cool people is that the winning is really unimportant. 
That being said, I have no desire to catalog a long list of the games I lost. Not only is that hurtful to my inflated sense of self esteem but I think such lists tend to be a little boring. 
Let me then just give you a few flashes of some memorable moments as experience by me, your loyal and long suffering reporter.
On Thursday night we met in the home of Matt's mom who lives a few minutes from the hotel. There are seven of us sitting around her dining room table,  playing Twilight Imperium 3, drinking beers and cursing each other with the most creative profanity we can create. 
His mom comes home from visiting her mother in the hospital. She stands for a moment and looks at the seven of us loud, boorish, crass, half drunk hooligans laughing and throwing dice and says with a sincerity and a smile "This is nice. It's been a long time since I came home to this."
The love and affection she has for her son was so apparent and powerful as she remembered those days gone by when he and his friends would gather around the table. Just one of the sweetest things I have been privileged to witness in a long time.
Connecticut is a small place. Most people who live elsewhere when they think of it, if they think of it at all, have an image created mostly from old movies and the show "Who's the Boss".  Rustic  homes and trees that are always in the brightest stages of Autumn. 
The reality is that for such a tiny place it has very distinct cultural areas. The Connecticut of the whaling coast in the South East is not the culture of the mill towns of the center, nor of the farming communities of  the North East. Different from all of these is the panhandle area near to New York City.  You can see the influence of that metropolis as you get closer. The type of cars change from Chevys to Mercedes and the women go from last seasons fashions to this week's and a man can walk with a sweater tied around his neck and not be thought odd.
I thought these things as I sat in a local coffee shop having my breakfast.
Strange how quickly a people's identity can change and how much more pronounced such differences must have been before the advent of radio and TV let alone the internet.
If you pay attention to the gaming community you have heard the name of Geoff Englestein. He is a contributor to the most listened to gaming podcast "The Dice Tower" and has designed two published games . Oh yes, he is also a braniac in true classic super villain style. Except that he is a Brainiac for good!
Well he has a new game coming out later this year from Stronghold which is titled "Warp Duel". Picture if you will a grid of space terrain, asteroids and nebula and such. Picture two ships locked into a battle to the death armed with torpedoes and shields. Picture a team of people running each ship. Now picture one person rolling a bunch of dice and allocating them to the other crew members based on the result so that they can purchase other dice with them. These new dice are then rolled and on certain results allow the systems of the ship to be activated so that the ship can move and fire and charge it's shields. NOW imagine that these two teams are each rolling these dice all at the same time in a race against each other to get their ship into position and firing faster than their adversary. If you can picture all that...then you have a vague idea of the dice chucking chaos of Geoff's upcoming game.  You may love it or you may hate it but I'll say ain't seen nothing like it.
I gave Jay the nick name of "The Most Dangerous Man in Gaming" because he really looks sort of intimidating. He runs a dark gritty bar in a dark gritty neighborhood in Brooklyn or Queens New York (sorry Jay I forget which) and I've no doubt that if you should get out of line in his establishment Jay would have no problem dribbling you out the front door like a drunken basketball. 
This however is not to say he is mean or brutish. He is as nice a guy as you ever want to meet. Pretty soft spoken actually and no slouch when it comes to gaming.
He sat down to play in the Here I Stand game and confessed that he felt a little nervous due to the complexity of the game and never having played before. Well he need not have. He ended the game with a victory in around two and a half hours. That may sound like a long time but consider that H.I.S. is normally an 8 hour game and you'll understand that this was quite a feat.  None of the rest of us. To quote another dangerous fellow..."Impressive. Most Impressive"
I hate  being gouged. The hotel in Stamford has you by the balls and they know it. Stamford is a difficult town to negotiate and there is nothing closer than three blocks away if you want to get food. Just at the far edge of a fat man's walking range. 
So you end up buying the grossly over priced food at the Hotel Rape Shop...erm...Snack Shop that is. $2 for a 39 cent bag of chips?...C'MON!
My step-daughter once listened in as Josh and I played a game at my house one day and asked my wife in all seriousness if we were actually friends. Trash talking at the table is not only one of the funnest aspects of game playing but those I play with take it to the level of an art form. Man I got my ass busted all weekend long.  I can dish it out too but I think, on the whole, I got more abuse than I gave. Funny funny stuff man. 
The best part of any convention is getting to hang out with people you don't ordinarily get to see. The F:AT crew, though I may be biased, I think is really a great and fun bunch to hang around with. If you get the chance, and if you don't already, you should seek them out the next time you go to a con. You're bound to have a blast and probably a shot of whiskey.

PS. If this blog post is appearing in Comic Sans font I apologize. That's what I get for writing it on my ipad.


There Will Be Games
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