WORST. GEN CON. EVER. [part the second]

If you didn’t get it from the title, this is the conclusion to my Gen Con experience!

Day Three – Saturday…the big one…

The third day at Gen Con was the longest, and had the most exciting bits in it. We got an early start on the day, because Tank, Matt and I signed up for Tracy Hickman‘s Killer Breakfast. Now, I’m pretty much a n00b when it comes to the games community, and the fantasy community, of which there is a lot of overlap in fans. I didn’t know it, but Hickman is kind of a rock star at Gen Con, and his Killer Breakfasts draw a large crowd. The premise of Killer Breakfast is that you can opt to participate in an on-stage role-playing game in which you will most definitely be killed by Hickman, who acts as game master. His goal is to kill you as fast as he can, in often creative and humorous ways. I was pretty nervous about being up on a stage in front of what ended up being a packed house, and then on top of that having to come up with ways to NOT get killed within moments of joining the game, and yet, there I was:

killer breakfast

pictured r-l: Tracy Hickman, your best friend, my pal Matt, dungeon fodder. image courtesy of Gen Con’s facebook page

You can see by the expression on my face that I was trying not to burst into tears. Anyhow, I ended up killing everyone in our party by casting a spell that created endless wooden spoons into a fireball. What can I say? I panicked.


epic Tank facepalm.

Prior to the game (there is no breakfast at Killer Breakfast), we had the chance to enter a drawing for a set of books by Hickman and his wife, Laura. These books are private press, first edition, signed, registered and limited release (500 copies of each book), making them a hugely desired prize among attendees. I entered the drawing mostly because a) I love books, and 2) I like entering drawings, even though I hardly ever win.


Near the end of Killer Breakfast, they did the drawing for the books. Five names were drawn from the box, and OF COURSE, yours truly was name five picked. The drawees had to roll a d20 (that’s a twenty-sided die, for those not in the know), highest roll winning, and OF COURSE, yours truly ended up being the high roller. Well, “high roller” in that I rolled a 12 to everyone else’s 2’s, 4’s and 7’s. Hahaha. Still, I won the big prize and it helped me get over the fact that I totally freaked out mentally during the game and killed everyone.


books! wonderful, glorious, signed-and-numbered books!

After that, Matt, Tank, Tank’s cousin Jason, and I headed back into the vendor hall where they proceeded to buy, sell, and / or trade approximately 1578395 Magic: The Gathering cards for their various decks. I had time to kill waiting to pick up my book-prize, so I got a few more pictures for Con Bingo and watched with amusement as my friends pored over the many cards offered for sale. After a time, we, along with Jason’s step-son, who was working on building his first M:TG Commander deck, sat down for an unlimited-game, open M:TG session where you could play informally among friends. Any games you happened to win, you could pull two cards from a random draw box of cards; if you lost, you could pull one card. I lost twice, but ended up pulling a couple of neato cards, so now I feel particularly motivated to get my old decks out and re-purpose them into something interesting. The second game we played was six-person against two guys who had similarly-built decks to the ones we were using, so we had a grand ol’ time meeting new people and watching how each person’s strategy unfolded. The guy who won did so in a surprising and well-played way, so there was no animosity at the table when he killed us all with a million points of damage.


that’s one use for your old collectible game cards…

Later in the evening, we made our way to a showing of my pal John Pata’s recent film Dead Weight, which has been hitting the festival circuit and been getting a lot of attention. So much so, in fact, that the film now has a distribution deal, so keep your eyes peeled early next year for it to show up on netflix, iTunes, and at retailers near you. I hesitate to say too much about the film itself, other than it’s set in a post-outbreak Midwest and is the story of one man’s journey to get back to the woman with whom he has a tenuous relationship. While it is a horror film, it isn’t your typical “zombie apocalypse” story, instead focusing on the survivors and how they come together and fall apart in the wake of this catastrophe. I sincerely hope you keep Dead Weight on your radar, because it really is an impressive piece of work, not to mention it is one of the most gorgeously-shot films I’ve seen in a while. Kudos, Pata, and don’t think I didn’t notice that you named your two lead characters as a nod to Kurt Russell, you sly dog.

Day Four – Sunday

The last day at Gen Con was a short one for me. Renee and Matt connected with friends while I decided to hit the road back home. I had discovered after parking my car in a garage that the garage was closed on the weekends, so I had a partial panic attack about getting my car back out. The worst case scenario involved me sleeping in the car until Monday morning, but fortunately I was able to get help from a nearby security officer who gave me The Secret of Getting the Car Out of The Garage. It involved paying at a kiosk and watching the gate go up. Success! Thank you, security lady, you were the best.

I made it home in record time, exhausted but thrilled with the experience. It’s going to be hard to top that, but I have plans for trying again next year, and I need your help to do this! How can you help? Easy: if you have facebook, click here and like my photo from Gen Con Bingo. You’ll be voting me into the running for getting passes to next year’s Gen Con, and I will be eternally grateful to you for this! Feel free to share the picture among friends if you’re so inclined. At the very least, you’ll be sharing a slightly-embarrassing photo of someone you have probably never met! Good times, good times.


my favorite cosplay of Gen Con 2013 – Fix-It Felicia!


I’d like to take a moment, a very important moment, to thank everyone who helped me on this quest for fun. To Renee, who got me into a Pathfinder game and kicked off these shenanigans, as well as being one of the most wonderful persons I know; to Matt, for graciously hosting our game sessions (along with his wife Janet), for being one of the most creative gamers, and for helping me lug my stuff to and from my car; to Tank, for being one of my favorite human beings (I think, maybe he’s also a robot??); to Robin for the helpful-as-hell advice on attending Gen Con; and to anyone else I encountered along the way. I’ll eat you all last.



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