Saturday March 9th, 2019
Grand Geneva Resort & Spa
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
On Friday, I got in a large chunk of my volunteer hours as I worked GM services from 2PM until about 10 PM. Mostly this involved providing GM services. It’s a tradition at GaryCon for GM’s to have volunteers on staff stop by each gaming table and deliver a complimentary choice of snacks and refreshments for people who are at tables running games. We also collect event tickets and reports so we can track attendance for pre-scheduled games, and the GM’s don’t always have to check in at event HQ, they can just provide their event reports right from their tables. For refreshments we had a wide variety of chips, granola bars, trail mix, and various candy bars. We are looking into stocking some health food options, low sodium, low sugar for next year, for diabetics and folks that are dieting. We also served bottled, Water, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Diet Mountain Dew for our GM’s this year. Because there were more attendees (and more events) than every before) it would sometimes take awhile for the GM services cart to reach every table. Just to let you know, our volunteer staff were dedicated to reaching out to every GM running a game at the show, however it was taking us on average about three hours to service every table in the convention center, so we were only able to reach you about once during your gaming session/slot. Everything went pretty good, although we did run short of snacks, and had to make an extra supply run on Friday evening to restock the GM carts.
Saturday, began with one of my favorite events I run, my morning Traveller pick-up game. I had four guests sidle up and settle in for the morning session, including three noobs who had never played Traveller before, and one veteran player. As it turned out, only the veteran player had his character die during character creation, and yes, I have the players roll up the characters right at the beginning of the game, it’s one of the funnest parts of Traveller, to see what kind of character you end up with, as if you fail to enlist in the branch of service of your choice, you are drafted, and receive an entirely different set of skills and abilities. Classic Traveller is one of the only RPGs where it is routine to die during character creation, and we got a good laugh out of the veteran player having to roll three characters before having one survive long enough he could actually join the game in progress.
One of the characters rolled up a Merchant Marine character, and rolled for and received a 200 Ton Free Trader as a mustering out benefit during character creation, so it made our game start really easy, as he just went around recruiting the other players to serve in various crew positions aboard his new ship. I started the adventure in the Szechwin subsector of the Maranantha-Alkhahest sector of the Gateway quadrant, which is on the anti-spinward border of the Imperium immediately adjacent to K’Kree and Hiver Space. The Szechwin are descended from Solomoni Orientals and have setup a nomadic trading realm in the heart of the Gateway quadrant, so this provided for an interesting session as the players explored these worlds, and learned about the hostile children of humaniti, as well as the Hivers and K’Kree on the Imperium borderlands. The noob players joined the game because they were considering running a Traveller game back home, and we had much fun playing as they explored and established trade routes, I’m fairly certain they are going to give Traveller a test spin, once they get back home from the show.
From 2-6 PM I joined Matt, Ken, Red, and Caroline to help with the GaryCon Charity Auction. Also a tradition, every year gamers bring donations which are auctioned off for charity, and the proceeds are then donated to non-profit organizations. It cost just ten dollars for a bidding paddle (and that goes for charity too, by the way) and then one is eligible to bid on various auction lots that come up. There is lots of high quality original gaming artwork, and often you will find very rare and hard to find vintage games up for auction, so it is an interesting event, with a lot of high powered gamers with deep pockets getting into bidding wars for unique gaming books, supplements, artwork, and GaryCon Collectibles and other vintage gaming items. This year we raised somewhere between six and ten thousand dollars for two charities, the Wounded Warriors Project, to help injured military service veterans and their families in recovery here in the United States, and our other charity this year, that will receive proceeds from our charity auction is For Life, A non-profit organization to benefit terminally ill children by providing gifts and fulfilling wishes. It is an extreme honor to be helping with even a small part of this!
in the evening I had dinner with James, a friend from Iron Wind Metals, and a few of his other friends from TSR. We had the Steak & Lobster all-you-can-eat buffet at the Grand Geneva. I especially liked the Roast beef and desserts! We enjoyed good company and good conversations for a few hours. Sitting around playing games, sharing conversations, and having dinner with some of the best game designers in the country is a simply splendid way to spend an evening, and I enjoyed the company thoroughly.
After that I went around and photographed some other games in progress and then retired shortly after 11 PM. Used to be I would stay up all night playing games, but now as I’m older, I value a good night’s sleep more, and prefer to be refreshed and in good spirits early in the morning. We changed the clocks for daylight savings time, and I had one more D&D game to run in the morning and wanted to be ready as well as at the top of my games, so to speak.