I’ve attended dozens of small conventions and book fairs over the years, but this was my first I-Con event. An estimated 6,000 people turned out this year and I have to say I felt a little like a celebrity. Or, as my fiancé quipped, “You’re like a C-list movie star!”
In retrospect, probably more like E-list, but it was a nice thought.
Added bonus of the convention was to see my friends Chris and Julie Hedge, whom I haven’t seen in years. Chris and Julie were part of the Camarilla’s staff and helping organize several of the I-Con events. One of those events was a scavenger hunt. Julie had decided to make me part of the “hunt.” I agreed so long as participants weren’t trying to collect hair or blood samples. She assured me all they would be asking for was my signature on their participant form.
Friday night was a “Meet and Greet” panel discussion. Besides yours truly, my fellow panelists included Cam Banks of Margaret Weis Productions, George Strayton of Secret Fire Games, Mat Hawkins of Fortune90.com, Meg Baker of Night Sky Games, Tim Hutchings of PlaGMaDA.org, and RPG Examiner and freelance writer Mike Tresca.
Saturday included two panels: Dealing With Difficult Players and Girl Gamers. In the elevator on the way to the first panel, I overheard two attendees excitedly going over the convention schedule saying “OK, we need to get to room 311.” I asked them if they intended to present themselves as examples of difficult players.
After a brief back and forth, one of them suddenly said, “Wait, who are you?” When I identified myself, he exclaimed, “YES! Found her!”
The Dealing With Difficult Players panel was a full house. Guess there are a lot of problem gamers out there. (Who would have thought? Lol) But the biggest attendance was the Girl Gamers panel. We actually had people sitting on the floor because we ran out of chairs. Was also impressed and surprised by the number of guys who attended to show their support for women gamers and game designers. Was a great conversation.
After the Girl Gamers panel, had a gal approach me with a print-out of the cover of an issue of Demonground I had published some Vampire: The Masquerade fan fiction in years ago. She asked me to sign it for her. Apparently Alex Austin had made quite an impression on her and even appeared as an NPC in a couple of her games. That was probably the coolest moment of the convention. Finding out a character you created excited someone else like that is amazing and humbling.
My only regret is that I didn’t actually have a lot of time to play because of how my panels were scheduled. But still had a great time. Particularly happy to see the number of families at the convention. Even saw a few senior citizens in wheelchairs being helped between events by their kids and grandkids. Three generations of gamers around a table must be amazingly cool! Though I can almost imagine some of the conversations:
“You kids and your fancy dice! When I was your age, we didn’t have all these different colored dice. We had to carve our own dice from bones. And we had to number them ourselves, too. Bah, you kids don’t know how easy gaming is today. Back in my day, we had to calculate THACO to know whether or not we hit the target. And you needed two sets of dice, one that rolled high to make THACO and one that rolled low to make saving throws. And percentile dice were needed for skill checks….”
Good times. Good times.