you've been lanned the chant on what Gen Con is about, I would like
to give some of my own opinions on some features of Gen Con.
let me say that Andon has done an excellent job at taking the reigns
at running the convention. The Staff is courteous, helpful and unobtrusive.
The convention seems to go off without a hitch, which is saying
a lot for a convention of its size. This has a lot to do with the
attendees as well, this isn't Stugis after-all, and guests tend
to behave themselves. Having worked for 2 years at a large conference
center, I can vouch for the headaches that come with coordinating
various departments, mediating problems with the site management,
and negotiating guests' special needs. Overall Andon and TSR does
a splendid job. Coupled with the new convention center, things couldn't
seem to be better.
the Con seems to have gotten bigger as well as better. Where once
CCG players filled the hallways of the MECCA, the Midwest Express
Center (MWEC) has them located in a comfortable, and, importantly
for some, easily avoidable area for both CCG tournaments and general
game play. Likewise, every year computer gaming commands more and
more exhibit hall space ranging from huge Battletech simulators
to big screen promos to networked 1st-person shooters or marching
host of online wargames.
the smaller companies...which remind us what the hobby is all about
- having fun creating, despite the lack of a large budget."
could be good or bad, depending on how much you invest in the argument
that computer games, rather than being an extension of role-playing,
is actually its antithesis, due to its isolationizing and depersonalizing
effects. Guessing by shear numbers, most gamers don't have this
concern as they flock by the score to the game demos. I am a bit
more skeptical, having had my fill of the lonely hacking of wandering
monsters in Baldur's Gate, but must admit I'm anxiously awaiting
doesn't always mean better either. I've heard some concern that
smaller gaming companies are having a hard time affording exhibit
hall space, thus there is a decline in the variety of choice as
compared to previous years. While I personally do not have the experience
to judge if this opinion is correct, I would have to agree that
losing small gaming companies to increasing space from the giants
would seem like a betrayal of TSR's own past. While not dismissing
this observation, I'll say that the TSR castle does anything but
cast a brooding shadow over a corporate controlled exhibit hall.
It's a great thing that you may find TSR and its competitor's marketing
under a single roof. And often, it's the smaller companies, such
as Sancho Games, or Pennicle a few years back, which remind us what
the hobby is all about - having fun creating, despite the lack of
a large budget. Cheers to Wizards and TSR for keeping the Exhibit
Halls policy open for as long as it has. Let's hope it continues
to do so, celebrating the diversity of the gaming industry, and
let's hope the industry stays vibrant enough to continue to produce
this editorial as a rant, but so far have given relative praise.
So what is it I have to rant on? Well, it is just a small thing
after all. In years past, in a move to encourage people to game
master, DMs could charge a fee (around $2) per player per game,
and they would be re-embursed this money - meaning DMs paid less
to go to the con. There was stipulations concerning the minimum
hours, or minimum number of games, which would entitle you to the
reimbursement. But the point was that DMs found it worth their time
to run a game at the convention. It was a little reward for your
time and efforts to make Gen Con the game-oriented convention it
is known as.
don't be surprised if you see me holding up a sign that says 'Will
DM for food' "
may be plenty of DMs (not of Planescape games I might add!) descending
on the Con this year, but what irks me is the fact that games still
cost around $2 each, unless you find one of the few free demos.
Where does that money go? It's not clear, but clearly it doesn't
go back to the DMs. Andon's, or WotC's, libertarian 'pay as you
play' philosophy may keep the general admission cost of down across
the board; but, it is hard to understand what the difference between
the $55 Onsite Weekend badge and the $40 Visitors badge is, if not
the ability to buy ($2) tickets to games to play.
is that, with the opening of the much demanded, and much appreciated
24-hour gaming areas, more and more DMs will turn to playing without
Andon's help of finding players for them. In fact - with 20,000
plus people wandering about over the weekend, it ought to be simple
to find a few players to join you. Also DMs can be a bit more selective
in their choice of players, and their game times. The advantage
of the Andon system is that there will always be games scheduled
through the day, and as long as you have a ticket the DM must accommodate
you at his table.
understand if the reimbursement is a bureaucratic headache, but
why not drop the ticket costs entirely? Maybe I am being a bit reactionary
here, but not cheap. I wouldn't mind paying DMs for their hard efforts.
But paying for the rights to play a game (which may very well not
be too enjoyable) after paying an admissions fee, seems a bit over
think of it what you will. But don't be surprised if you see me
holding up a sign that says "Will DM for food" at the 24-hour gaming
(Note: all food
must be purchased in the convention center, so make sure you buy
the required bribe before they close the snack bars.)