Doc Tempest And The Green Fire Death

…from the July 1962 issue

DogCon 1, Last Day

The Dealer’s Room, she is closed…the seminars, they are done…the Art Show? History…Gaming gots 2 more hours, then it’s all she wrote…DogCon 1 is over.

The seminar I was part of, “I Hate …..!”, was packed. As the title indicates, it was a bitchfest for the 8 of us on the panel, then halfway thru, we let the audience bitch. Yeah, us gamers love to gripe.

Grace hit the Dealer’s Room hard while I was seminaring. She bought enough board and card games to increase our collection by an order of magnitude. We’ll ship them home, lest I have to ride atop the car all the way back to California.

When the con was over, I called my bestest pal, Avis, at GenCon so we could share a “The con is over” moment:)

Right now, the con honchos are getting things ready for a “Post Con Cool Down”, in which everyone is invited into a huge portion of the convention center for soft drinks and…wait for it…pie! No gaming, just pie eating and chatting for a couple of hours. How cool is that?

So, this ends my con report. Grace, The Girls and I will depart from this hotel at midnight for the long drive home. Sharon, the World’s Greatest Dogsitter, will fly out tomorrow morning.

In summary, the con was incredible. If I don’t go to GenCon, I’ll be back here for CatCon 2 next year.

Oh, and the Super Secret Origin of DogCon? I can’t tell you about it. Wouldn’t be a Super Secret if I did that, right?

(Winker: Hahaha, Dad. Very funny. NOT!)

(Daisy: We love you, Daddy, but jeez, that stunk.)


Junior Muskrat Wins A New Car

…with leather interior

DogCon 1, Day 3

The deal with being a “Featured GM” at this con (and if I didn’t mention it before, I am one of 24 “Featured GM’s”) is that you run at least 16 hours of games over 3 days and participate in one of 3 seminars. You get some pretty nice perks for it, including a snazzy looking badge, 10% off your hotel bill and the invitation to attend the big ol’ Texas style party complete with dinner, drinks (FREE DRINKS!) and not 1, not 2, but 3 different bands.

Which all goes to explain why I ran a 2 hour TOON game from 9:00 am until 11:00 am, then ran an 8 hour BRP Fantasy game from 11:30-7:30. Well, ok, I also didn’t want to run any games on Sunday. Both games went well and as soon as the fantasy game was over (at 7:10, actually), I hauled ass to the hotel, showered, changed clothes and took My Sweet Angel to the big shindig. The Girls, by the way, were attending a sort of LARP for dogs called “Doggie Dungeon”. I’m not sure what it involves, but it takes up something like 8 acres of land just outside of town.

Anyway, the eating and drinking have started and the partying will commence soon. Assuming I don’t wake up in the local jail tomorrow, I’ll give my final days con report as well as tell the Super Secret Origin of DogCon.

Oh, look, a big tray full of chile rellenos. Gotta go.

Catgirl Yami Rides Again

…more fake anime

DogCon 1, Day 2

1: The TOON/OTE game finished up a half an hour early, at 6:30. It was a rousing success, with only one PC actually dying, but then he came back as a toon, so it was cool. Tiffany Trilobite was rescued, the evil Tiffany Trilobite got dipped and everyone went to a dinner party at Elmer Fudd’s house.

2: Dinner was another large group affair and this time we had pizza. Lots of pizza. And sodas, beer, milk, softdrinks. The conversation was great and ranged from raising children to the upcoming new Star Trek flick to gardening to why almost nobody at the table was playing D&D 4E.

3: Stuffed full o’ pizza, we all then went to Open Gaming and commandeered 3-4 tables. We then played the following games (in groups ranging from 3 to 8): Arkham Horror…Blink…Apples To Apples…Settlers of Catan…Puerto Rico…Bohnanza…Aquarius and at least 2 more that I can’t remember. Much fun, with the last of us leaving Open Gaming about 1:30 am.

4: Like a fool, when I got back to the hotel room, I decided to check my email instead of going to bed. I had 22 emails that broke down into the following categories: Spam = 6, Mail from GenCon goers = 4, Mail from relatives back home = 2, Mail from other DogCon attendees = 4, LJ comments = 5, Mail from financial advisor = 1. I finally hit the sack around 2:15 am.

More bloggage later

They Took The “A” Train, But Never Gave It Back

…apologies to Duke Ellington

Dog Con 1, Day 2

Another one by the numbers, kids. And to think that the day is only half over:)

1. At 9:00 this morning, after a hearty breakfast, Grace, The Girls and I went to a day spa for people and their pets. It was my first time at a spa and Hot Damn!, was it a relaxing and invigorating experience. Who’da thunk that a half hour submerged up to yer neck in hot mud would feel so good? (note: The Girls did not get the mudbath. Instead, they got regular baths and and doggie pedicures.) Next came massages for all 4 of us (Daisy and I stayed awake, but Grace and Winker both fell asleep halfway through) and then delicious smoothies. Grace had peach, I had pineapple and The Girls had liver. Finally, there was hair washing, cutting (trimming in my case, as Grace forbids my hair to be short), styling and pedicures for us and new collars and leashes for The Girls. I emerged a new man, minus the former man’s killer hangover.

2. I met Spike at noon for lunch and had one of the 10 greatest hamburgers of my life. Afterwards, we strolled around the con, peeking into everything from the Movie Room (showing “Spider-Man”) to the Boardgame Hall (which had, I’m told, 200 individual games going on) to the Art Show to the Computer Gaming Showcase (I wants me a hugeass plasma monitor). Open Gaming was packed, the minis room was maybe halfway full, the card game room was full and there were at least 4 LARPS going on. Busy con, yes indeed. I’m told they had 5,000 prereg attendees and expect maybe 3,000 walk ins. Not too shabby for year 1.

3. At 3:00, I parted company with Spike and went off to GM yet another game, my famous TOON/Over The Edge crossover Who Took Tiffany Trilobite?. We are on a short break from the game just now and so far, the game is going well, despite the PC’s making at least one error that may come back to kill them. Insert fiendish GM cackle here.

And now, I must get back to this game, then haul ass to dinner and then go play assorted games with other geeks.

Giant Sized Pancakes

…for giant sized appetites

DogCon 1, Day 1

It’s midnight and I’m a wee bit tipsy. Or maybe drunk. Whatever. Anyway, I’m typing this from the bigass bar on top of the Hyatt, which has free inter-fuckin’-net access. And Guinness on tap at a very reasonable price.

So, here is my day by the numbers.

1:Ran my Over The Edge game “Young Cut Ups In Love” for 8 players, only 3 of whom had ever played OTE. Still, everyone got into it and love flourished (after some wanton destruction of private property, an illicit drug buy, a couple of fist fights and no less than four kidnappings) in Al Amarja by the time we were done.

2: The seminar I attended was titled “So you think you can be a GM?” and was actually pretty damned funny. See, the guys on the panel chose some newbie/wannabe gamemaster from the audience, then hit them with all of the sort of goofball stuff that players are forever doing to GM’s. My fave was the one about “well, it says on page 231 of the second edition guide to troll archers that an arrow CAN go through an inch of iron if you roll a critical hit and you have a Ring of Hitting Shit”.

3: Arriving back at the hotel (about 20 minutes late, due to getting drawn into a conversation about D&D back in the day), I found Grace and both dogs asleep on the bed and Sharon konked out in a chair. I woke up Grace and gave The Girls bellyrubs while she got ready to go to dinner. We then went to dinner at an excellent little Vietnamese place. We were joined by about 14 other people and the good times did roll. Also, we ate a whole bunch.

4: After our ride on the Food Coma Express, Grace went off to play lifesize Kill Doctor Lucky and I went to open gaming where doc_mystery was going to run a Pulp Era game. And boy howdy, was it fun! The plot was part murder mystery, part occult investigation and part globe trotting adventure. As in Montreal to Arizona to the Yukon to Shanghai and back to Montreal on a gigantic airship. Which kinda crashed once due to a certain crusading reporter trying to get the goods on a certain undercover G-man. There were thrills, spills, deathtraps and more than a few laughs. A great game.

5: Several of us went to the big bar after the game, where we are as I write this. Tomorrow promises new gaming fun, a trip to a dog/owner spa and, unless I’m very lucky, a hangover. Yes, definitely a hangover, since delazan just bought me another pint of Guinness. Lovely lass, she.

Arthur Has Quite A Collection Of Severed Heads

…mostly from Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists who ring his doorbell in the morning

DogCon 1, Day 1

There is more than a bit of insanity in running a TOON game at eight fucking AM in the morning, but despite my burning desire to be back in bed, great players (including Ms. Miranda Jones) and large infusions of donuts and strong tea helped me make it through the game.

The “plot” of the game was simple: Catch the Foogle Bird. Anyone who has ever played TOON knows two things: The Foogle Bird will never get caught and characters will soon become obsessed with beating each other silly. And thus it went, with riotous laughter and, at one point, impromptu bellydancing by three men with big bellies.

The game was over just short of 10 o’clock, so I started heading off to the Dealers Room with the Jones family and my lovely wife. Halfway there, my cell phone rings (my ringtone is “Flight of the Valkyries”, which got us all singing “Kill da wabbit! Kill da wabbit!”) and to my delight, it’s my old friend avylou, calling from GenCon. She is there with my other old pal, smalley_smoot, his lovely wife and the vast bulk of my gaming friends. We chatted for a bit, since she was heading for the GenCon Dealer’s Room at just that moment, and then said our goodbyes as we both arrived at our respective shrines to adventure gaming retail sales.

I’ve only been in this Dealer’s room about an hour, but I can tell you it’s full of dealers. I’d reckon it’s about a third the size of the GenCon room, but most of the major game companies are here. Not bad considering it’s the first year of a con that purposely scheduled itself exactly opposite GenCon. I’ll get more into that philosophy in another post.

So far, I have bought two Booster Decks for Killer Bunnies, a t-shirt that says “My other dog is a werewolf” and, of course, some dice. Me, I loves me some dice.

In just about an hour, I’m off to run a 4 hour Over The Edge game, then go to a seminar, then go wake Grace up from a short nap so we can head out to dinner with some of my LJ homies. After that, I believe, is Pulp Gamer Goodness with the two fisted Doc_Mystery. After that, there might be drinking.

More DogCon goodness later.

Mr. Porkwaffle Goes To A Luncheon

…and hilarity ensues

Con Report: DogCon 1, Day Zero

A Bit Of Clarification: DogCon is not for dogs, altho there are many here in town. No, Dog Con takes it’s name from the fact that Wilted Springs, Texas, bills itself as “The dog and cat resort center of the universe”. And they ain’t lyin’! This town has 32 hotels and motels, every one pet friendly. There are five dog and/or cat amusement parks! All restaurants have dog & cat menus as well as people menus and there are more pet spas than you can shake a catnip mouse at.

And the next time a Texan tells me that we Californians are goofy, I’m gonna kick their ass.

Anyway, when this con was but a mere gleam in the eye of three rich gamers, they wanted to call it Dog & Cat Con, but decided that was too long and sounded too much like a pet event, so they flipped a coin and dogs won the right to have a con named after them…this year. Next year, the con will be called CatCon 2, which should nicely fuck with lots of folks minds.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled pre-con report.

So, right about 3:30, My Sweet Angel and I bade The Girls and Sharon goodbye and went to pick up our badges and stuff. My line (for GM’s) was very short and they gave me a hell of a goodie bag. Grace, who entered her line just ahead of my old pal Spike Y Jones and his lovely wife, Mary (their daughter, Miranda was in the Kids line), took less than 10 minutes to get her badge and bag.

And what a goodie bag they are handing out! Cool “DogCon 1” d6’s, a special edition “Dork Tower” comic, a new, non collectible card game called “Weenies From Outer Space”, coupons for several places in the dealers room, three plastic minis, and a bunch of flyers. Oh, and the con book, which doubles as a parody of “Playboy”, complete with a centerfold of a very fine looking Irish Setter.

The GM’s bag had all of the above, plus a spiffy looking t-shirt and a voucher for two free drinks at a local watering hole. Sweet!

As we and the Joneses stood there looking through our goodie bags and catching up with one another, we were passed/joined by…doc_mystery and his lovely wife, mrs_dm and cute as a button daughter…muskrat_john and his lovely and talented wife, Judith…the sweet and funnydelazan (but not her husband notoriousbkc who was off somewhere discussing Brett Favre with another con attendee)…The Big Kahuna Guest of Honor himself, Steve Jackson…and most of my secondary gaming group from back home in Sacramento (patricks, weaktwos, rpmiller and cmjenn).

By the time all the yakking was over, it was nigh onto 5:00 PM and tummies were rumbling, so we headed back to our hotel room at the Hyatt, changed our clothes and collected Sharon & The Girls to go to dinner with the Joneses and the Mysteries at a local barbecue joint. It was great chow and Doc M’s Girl-O pretty much fell in love with Daisy and Winker, who, besides eating their own plates of food polished off at least 3 rib bones each. Once dinner was over, the womenfolk, children and dogs waddled off to various hotel rooms while Spike, Doc M and I waddled off to visit the Open Gaming room and get our geek on.

Considering it was the night before the con, I’d reckon there were upwards of 500 people in Open Gaming, playing everything from RPGs to card games to minis. The room could have easily held another 500 (did I mention that this convention center is hugmongous?). We wound our way thru the tables, stopping to chat at about every third table. As you can imagine, in no time, it was midnight. Bidding my compadres good night, I headed back to the hotel, because I have to GM a 8:00 AM TOON game. And yet, I went online to write this. Obviously, I’ve lost my mind. I wonder if anyone will notice?

More constuff later.

Caring For Your New Pet Yak

…a must for yak lovers

Con Report: DogCon Day Zero

Before I launch into the (pre) con report on our day so far, let’s recap the trip to get here.

Saturday, August 9, 2:00 AM: Car has been packed up since 7:00 PM Thursday. Loaded sleepy wife and sleepy dogs into car. Myself, I’m wide awake thanks to 7 hours of sleep and a mug of tea so strong it was green and wearing purple pants. We hit the road. Next stop, Reno, Nevada.

Saturday, 10:00 AM: Stop several miles outside of Las Vegas to see the World’s Longest Garden Hose (13.25 miles long!). Grace buys garden hose fridge magnet, I buy a t-shirt, Daisy woofs at a coyote in the distance, Winker pees on one of the 428 garden gnomes.

Saturday, 4 PM: We stop for the day in Grimly, Arizona. Apparently, we are just in time for their annual Potato Throwing Days celebration, as I get clocked upside the head by a warm baked tater as I an entering the motel lobby.

Sunday, August 10, 3:00 AM: We leave Grimly, carefully negotiating the streets, which are slippery with potato products. Today will be a marathon drive, taking us the rest of the way across Arizona, all the way across New Mexico and into Texas.

Sunday, 11:00 AM: Lost a bit of time due to stopping at the Gila Monster World roadside attraction. No dogs allowed inside, so The Girls stayed out front in the air conditioned lobby and played Canines & Castles on my laptop.

Sunday, 5:00 PM: We are in Texas! Staying at the Bedbug Motel in the thriving metropolis of Snakebite, Texas (population 200). Ate some great steaks for dinner. Time for bed now.

Monday, 7:00 AM: We overslept! Much panicky running about as we pack up and head out of town.

Monday, 2:00 PM: We are stopping for the day at my great aunt Pearl’s home on her cattle ranch. Altho she calls the ranch “a little retirement spread”, it took 35 minutes to reach her house from the front gate. Gotta admit, the house is impressive. Grace was a bit boggled by having to use a golf cart to get from our bedroom to the living room, but I think it sure beats 15 minutes of walking.

Monday, 9:00 PM: Full of chicken fried steak, gravy, biscuits, okra and pie. Also, several shots of bourbon and at least 3 bottles of Lone Star Beer. Sleep now.

Tuesday, 10:00 AM: Leave great aunt Pearl’s place. Next stop, Wilted Springs, Texas, site of DogCon 1.

Tuesday, 1:00 PM: Another delay because Grace wanted to stop at a gift shop just off the freeway. She ended up buying 139 fridge magnets, we all got t-shirts, I got 9 new bandanas and The Girls each got Texas shaped rawhide chew toys.

Tuesday, 3:00 PM: We are here! Man, oh man, Wilted Springs is some kinda big money Texas resort town. The convention center is huge and it connects to all 5 of the con hotels. We register at the hotel, then meet up with our dogsitter, Sharon, who flew down here this morning. She has a room next to ours and has promised The Girls that they can go to the Houndland Amusement Park tomorrow. And now, Grace and I are off to pick up our badges.

More fictional con reportage later.