The Utterly Too Cool For School, Yet Very Peppy, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Battle Of Blackberry Hill

…co-starring her rival in all things, Very Pink Penelope.

Thoughts On Gen Con 2019

First off , before I get to anything else, I want to thank my very dear and wonderful friends, Peter Hildreth and Avis Crane for paying my way to the con, putting me up in Peter’s room, buying my meals and everything else they did. Just seeing and hanging out with the two of them after a 12 year gap would have been more than enough for me. I love you guys, Peter and Avis!

As to the con itself and my reactions to it, I can do the basic sum up like this: I was sick and/or in some amount of pain most of the time, and, after not going for 12 years, was completely out of the Gen Con mental flow.

Now, that is not anyone’s fault, including mine. I had to have a tooth removed by oral surgery on the 25th of July which left my jaw very tender, bruised and swollen. The tenderness and pain were gone by GenCon Sunday, but the bruise is just now faded on Tuesday after the con. Again, not much I could have done to speed things up, but it made eating pretty damned challenging.

Indianapolis, or maybe just the whole Midwest, triggered an allergic reaction in me, so you know that was the opposite of fun. Allergies hit when they hit and you recover as fast as your body allows. In my case, that seems to be today, nearly a day after the con. Dog bless Calye Lacefield and Avis Crane for having allergy meds on hand. As of Tuesday (today) I am about 95% okay, with the exception of some excess snot production probably triggered by something here in the Sacramento Valley.

Being out of the Gen Con mental flow is a whole other thing. Again, it’s not anyone’s fault. When you don’t do something for that long, you stop thinking about it with the excitement you had when you were doing it every year. Even the gap from when I went in 2007, after skipping 2005 & 2006, had me feeling a bit lost when I got there.

I don’t know, maybe age has something to do with it, too, but I really think I just have not exercised my “Gen Con muscles” in so long that it was a bit much for me.

Moving on to other things that affected my enjoyment of the con, and no, this whole piece is NOT going to be a pity party of me bitching, the fact that I was old & out of shape and the con is spread out all over downtown Indianapolis did not help. All that walking with fucked up knees and hips was not pleasant, so there were events and things I didn’t go to. My own fault, really. I had 7 months to work out on the treadmill and I could have packed my superduper ibuprofen.

Now on to the good stuff.

Seeing old friends again after many years was just fucking excellent! Of course, for some unexplained reason we all looked older, but they were still the same fine folks they’ve always been. Sadly, there were a few folks who did not make it to the con this year. I’m not going to name names, because shit happens. Still, it was wonderful seeing the folks I did.

And then there were all of the people I’ve talked to online that I met for the first time! I’m not going to try naming them all, because I know I’ll forget somebody, but rest assured that they are all fine folks. Curiously, about 70% of them were women in the gaming industry, which of itself is a great thing.

One thing that kind of sucks, and not just for me, is the fact that the con is so big and busy, especially for folks in the industry, that you only get to see each other for very short periods of time, if at all. Not much to be done about that, I’m afraid. Maybe someday those folks will get their long dreamed of Relaxicon for industry folks only.


Before moving on to other things, let me say that I have never gotten so many hugs in so short a period of time, outside of a family reunion. I don’t know when hugging hello and goodbye became a thing at cons, but I heartily approve of it.

I hugged straight cis men, gay men, straight cis women, trans women, lesbians, bisexuals, old farts, a couple of ladies young enough to be my granddaughters (a damned sobering thought, since both were over 18), and 2 dogs. I may have hugged a couple of aliens, but it is impolite to ask. Anyway, this hugging thing is a very good idea. Go out and hug some people.

Everyone always asks two questions when you return from Gen Con. Let me address those now.

1: “What games did you play?”

I played in 2 official at Gen Con in 1991, my first time at the con. I had purchased a few tickets, despite not liking the idea of paying to get into games at cons, so I used them. That was the last time I ever played in an official game at Gen Con, although for several years I ran official games and ran demo games for Steve Jackson Games.

Most years, any RPG I play in is either a “room game”, wherein myself or a friend runs a game, or, in rarer instances, a quick game in a bar or empty con room.

This year, there were 3 room games. They were all great fun, including the one I ran for Peter and Avis which, from rules to dice to plotline was completely done on the fly. What can I say, I have mad GM skillz.

And no, I did not play any board games. I was too druggy or sore or tired most of the time.


2: “What games did you buy?”

My game & dice buying this year were not only dictated by my limited funds, but by my limited baggage area. I do not do checked baggage on plane trips. This is due to my inherent distrust of my fellow humans and the fact that I have had baggage arrive days late due to airline fuckups.

So I bought the following: Wizard, Melee and the combined solo Deathtests 1&2. That was it for games. I also bought some interlocking dry erase map boards from Gaming Paper. Aside from that, I bought dice for both my gaming groups, dice for my dice collecting wife and dice for me. I will never go to a game con and not buy dice. It’s an addiction.

Now that we have my gaming purchases summed up, let me say that I saw tons of stuff I may buy in the future. Mostly that falls into the smaller boardgames category, but there were some RPG books that tempted me despite the fact that I have drastically reduced my RPG buying over the last few years.

One thing I did not do at Gen Con, and this is amazingly common for me, is take many pictures and I took NO pictures of friends. I took a few pix of stuff in the Dealer’s Room and other areas of the con, and I took several short videos around various places, but no pix of people I knew. I didn’t even take any selfies. Pathetic.

So, let’s wrap things up. I had a good, but not great time at the con. It would have been much better if I had not been sick. I got to meet lots of folks, which is always good. All in all, a good, but maybe a bit of a strange return to Gen Con.

Will I go to Gen Con again? Well, I never say never, but unless Grace and I start traveling around the country after she retires…or unless I get a job that pays pretty well…and unless Indianapolis get a bunch more hotel rooms downtown, I kind of doubt it. The con has morphed into something altogether different than the con that used to excite me so much. That’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it’s just a thing.

I think if I travel that far from home again to go to a con, it will probably be to go to Origins. It’s been ages since I went to an Origins. And then there are all the West Coast conventions I don’t get to. Finally, there is the fact that I’m a board member of Your Turn Community Game Events and we put on lots of game days. At some point, we’ll put on a gaming weekend and if we aren’t real careful, that could well turn into a con of our own.

Which would pretty much mean I’d be working at a con and not playing at it. Just like my game industry friends. I’m sure there is some sort of Circle of Life, analogy there, but I need to finish this up.

So there you have it, friends, my trip to Gen Con 2019. It was fun and I suggest you go if you’ve never been before.

Doc Cross, signing out.

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The Very Late, But Still Damned Scrappy, Story Of Mostly Purple Patty And The Seven Dancing Ferrets

…co-starring her pet duck, Randolph

 

 

The Gaming Is Afoot!

 

The past few months have seen me hit something of an all high mark in my gaming life. Not since the mid 1980s have I been doing so much roleplaying and boardgaming on a weekly basis.

Now, to be sure, I am still a long way from the 14-16 hours a week I did back then. Those were the days when my four players and I would do a 4 hour session on Wednesday nights and a 10-12 hour session all day on Saturdays. We were all around 27 years old and it was hella fun, but now, at 65, I am pretty sure that exact situation would kill me :)

Now, I play in a D&D group twice a month, 4 hours per session, usually on Sunday evenings. We just celebrated our 4th year together.

On alternate weeks, I run a D&D game for 5 players on Saturday afternoons, again, for 4 hours per session. We have been getting together for just shy of 2 years.

And then, adding to the gaming goodness, is the fact that I run both RPGs and boardgames at various events for the non-profit Your Turn Community Game Events. I am also a board member.

Your Turn was thought up by one of my Saturday players, Cathy Ford, who does the Our Turn! Gaming For Everyone podcast over at https://ourturnpodcast.com/.

The actual genesis of Your Turn is not something I’m going to get into now, but suffice to say it was put into action by Cathy and a bunch of gaming geeks, Your Humble Narrator included. We run games at libraries and community events. So far, we have had a lot of success and are getting invited to more events all the time. We may be hooking up with a local game store to run games on a weekly basis soon.

Part of that weekly scenario may have myself and other RPG GMs running games on alternate weeks or something. Details are still hazy.

And, on top of all of the above, I’m 13 days out from going to GenCon, which I have not attended since 2007. I am awash on gaming goodness.

About the only thing I’m not doing, gamingwise, is writing for publication. Now, I do write gaming useful stuff, but not for any company. I do it for my wonderful Patrons over on Patreon. So far, there are several items up for Patrons only, and I will have more coming soon.

Note: A more crass individual than I might suggest you go over to https://www.patreon.com/DocCross and sign up for as little as $1.00 a month. Fortunately, I am not given to such acts.

I am going to try to remember to do some regular gaming posts here on the blog, in addition to the other regular stuff.

And speaking of that regular stuff, here’s a bit of what to expect in the next few weeks.

GenCon reporting will start on the 30th of this month when I fly to Kansas to join my friend, Peter Hildreth, for the trip to the con. I may do these reports on video, if I can get video to work on here.

The annual Trip To CritterCon, everyone’s favorite fictional convention, will start Friday after I return from GenCon and will cover about 12 days.

After a 4 month absence, the Doclopedia will be back starting September 1st. I am not sure, but I may do another “500 Entries In 365 Days” bit of madness. Stay tuned.

I am also entertaining the idea of doing interviews with gaming folks. Not sure yet.

Well there you have it, a gamealicious post about my gaming situation. I hope you liked it.

See you next time.

 

Billy The Slow Loris Goes To The Beach

…slowly, of course

 

CritterCon 11

Trip Day Eleven (By Misty)

Hello, everybody! Misty here with your trip report for today.

We started the day with an early breakfast at a campground about 50 miles north of Critter City. As always, it was scrummy and we left the table with full bellies.

(Silky: It was a Waddlefest!)


Our first stop was about two hours away, so we all just chilled out with some light filler games. I was unsuccessful in killing Doctor Lucky, but was top of the bean pile at Bohnanza.

(Daisy: I could never get a clear shot at the old bastard.)

(Janet: Some of us played Dino Hunt, which was pretty fun.)


It surprised none of us that The Doctor chose a Giant Jesus as our first stop. What did surprise us was that there were TWO Giant Jesus statues facing each other across the Texas/Oklahoma state line.

(Sasha: It may be time to stage an intervention with Daddy.)

(Luke: Several years too late for that.)


It seems that in 1960, the small towns of Rigley, Oklahoma and Barsonville, Texas, had some sort of row going about who got more business from travelers on the Texas state highway that runs between them. Being firmly in the Bible Belt (or what passes for it here on Earth 1-G), each town decided to build a statue of Jesus. You’ve probably figured out what happened next. Years of design changes and finally, two Giant Jesus statues facing each other across the highway. The one on the Texas side is taller at 110 feet tall, but the one on the Oklahoma side (100 feet tall) is much more detailed and better looking.

(Roxie: They are quite impressive, as these things go.)

(Sasha: Still not as impressive as those humongous toilet paper rolls used to be.)


For a “donation” of $2.00 per statue, you can go up to the observation areas in their heads. The views are pretty good and the tour guides are friendly young local folks who tell you how great their side’s statue is while stopping short of declaring the other statue rubbish. Several of our group never even took the tour, but The Doctor and Auntie Mary always do.

(Leon: They are not right in the head, those two.)

(Sadie: Few Humans are.)

To get to our next and final roadside attraction, The Doctor once again shrank us down to shoebox size and kicked in the booster drives. We cruised along major motorways at up to 200 miles per hour and got to our final destination just as we finished watching the 1959 version of King Kong which has all the stop motion done by Ray Harryhausen. It’s a really great remake.

(Goldie: With added dinosaurs and the spider canyon scene!)

(Max: And a good long scene of Kong being towed back to New York.)

Hanson, Kansas, was our stop for The World Famous Scarecrow Town. While this place was lower on the Creep-O-Meter than Skeleton Town, it is still bloody unnerving. After half an hour among the 500+ scarecrows, we all left. It took another hour for the fur on my back to lie down.

(Daisy: New rule: Only one creepyass stop per trip from now on!)

(Janet: YES! The wind moved one of those scarecrows and I pooped myself.)

(Leon: I’ll be having fucking scarecrow nightmares for a month.)

From there on, it was all about us taking folks home by going back to our world and dropping off the Hildreths, The Joneses, Auntie Avy & Leon, and Auntie Ginie & Roxy. Before returning Uncle Gabriel to Los Angeles, we stopped in New Mexico for an excellent Southwestern Dinner.

(Luke: It was delicious and plentiful.)


We are ending our night in an RV park in Gorman, at the top of the grapevine. We’ll leave very early and be home before noon tomorrow, which is good because I’ll be starting a month long shoot on a film down in Florida and Luke is starting a 3 week run on the Orpheum Circuit with his song & dance act.

(Daisy: Go see him folks, because he is really good!)

With that, Dear Readers, I end my bit of this trip report. Have a wonderful evening or day, depending upon where you are.

Misty

Destination Sign When We Started: El Dorado
Destination Sign When We Stopped: Shangri La

QM Radio Station: 70’s Funk

A History Of Historic Historians

…it’s not hysterical

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day Four (By Penny)

Hi, I’m Penny and I won the writing lottery to post the final day’s report from CritterCon 11.

We had our final breakfast at Waffles From Outer Space this morning. I’ll miss their tuna & sardine waffles.

(Luke: I had the bacon and more bacon waffles, with bacon on the side.)

(Sadie: I had waffles smothered in beef gravy.)

Once breakfast was over, we all went to the main gaming hall and played games. I got in three games of Feline Love Letter, a game of Zombie Dice and a game of Ticket to Ride India before I had to go meet several of the female critters to hit the Dealer’s Room. We spent a couple of hours there and spent quite a bit of money. My AniBank card got seriously overheated.

(Leon: I redlined my AniBank card buying miniatures, dice and terrain.)

(Goldie: I managed to stay well below my card’s limit.)

(Daisy: You guys do know that Silky founded AniBank back in 1984, right?)

(Leon: WHAT?)

(Silky: Yep, it’s true. Started it with only a couple of million bucks.)


After the Dealer’s Room trip, we all joined up with the other NHT and went to watch the finals of the Dungeons & Dogs LARP. It was fun to watch and a group from Colorado won.

(Max: They were a well balanced group and they made sure to check for traps frequently.)

(Janet: Unlike our group at home, where Moose now plays Stumpy, the one legged gnome and Pixie is Ulondra, the elf with a metal hand.)

When that was over, we made one last pass through the Dealer’s Room, then met up with the humans for cold beverages at Mink’s Cold Drinks. About the time we got there, the con ended.

(Silky: It’s always sad when a con ends.)

(Daisy: Unless you were running it, in which case it’s time to tap a keg.)

Dinner was not planned until much later, because the Post-Con Cooldown Party starts 30 minutes after the con closes. As they did last year, the Cross family supplied 50 kinds of ice cream to go with the 50 sorts of pie served at the party. It was all very delicious and we ate too much while saying goodbye to friends.

(Leon: Sweet Mother of Sylvester, can Uncle Doc pack away the pie & ice cream!)


When the party was over, we all got on the Magic Bus and left Critter City, We also left our reality and went back to Earth 1-G in 1980. Apparently, tomorrow we have a couple of roadside stops to make before everyone gets home.

(Sasha: Whoever thinks it won’t involve at least one Giant Jesus, say “aye”. Ah yes, crickets.)


Thank you so much for reading this. I hope to return to this con next year.

Penny

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A Cow With A Plan

…a plan to run straight through a new garden

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day Three (By Roxie)

Greetings everyone! I’m Roxie and here is my Saturday con report.

Most of us had breakfast early at Pancakeville, but those who overdid themselves at the dance last night decided to sleep in a bit until their pain relievers took effect.

(Sasha: I think I threw my back out dancing.)

(Misty: Luke had cramps in three of his legs this morning.)

Rather than go straight to gaming, most of us non-humans went to the Critter City Animal Amusement Park. This is a one acre 5 level park that has all sorts of fun things for animals to do. No humans except for the staff are allowed. It is truly fun for all ages, since there were kittens & puppies playing right alongside elderly critters.

(Daisy: That place is great, especially since the renovated it and added 2 more levels.)

After that bit of fun, we went to the con and played the usual mixed bag of games. I know that Leon, Max, Buster, Moose and Ollie played some sort of big wargame.

(Leon: It was “Battlefront: Central Park 1992”. There were 16 players in the game, which is based on the Neighborhood Wars that dogs & cats fought tn back then.)

Daisy ran two sessions of D&D.

(Daisy: “Tunnels of the Kobold King” and “The Flying Islands”)


Luke & Misty gave a seminar on acting for roleplayers.

(Misty: It went very well and we signed a right gob of photos.)

I’m not sure about everyone else.

(Janet: I spent most of the day playing Arkham Horror.)

(Sadie: I played in a Toon game with Sasha & Chance, then we cruised the Dealer’s Room.)

(Silky: I got into a poker game. Came out $1,500.00 ahead.)

I played a game of Nuns On The Run, which was great. Later, I played Settlers of CATan, which is always fun and challenging. Finally, I got into a game of Blue Rose with Daisy, Snowy and Janet. That lasted until 9:30, after which we went to yet another big party.

This party was also part LARP, since everyone was either a spy, an asset, a liability, an innocent civilian, or any mix of those four. There were alliances, betrayals, double/triple/quadruple crosses, assassinations and plenty of shaken, not stirred vodka martinis. I know my Mom, Ginie, killed two Chinese spies and my Auntie Avis double crossed Uncle Doc (KGB) and Uncle Peter (MI6) before she got double crossed by Silky and some young human lady. The party lasted until 2:00 and we all had big fun.

(Silky: Auntie Avy was laughing at the looks on their faces while I was busy turning her over to S.H.I.E.L.D. Hahaha!)

(Leon: I was just an innocent Senator from New Hampshire who got blackmailed into working for SPECTRE.)

(Daisy: Dude, you volunteered to work for them when the guaranteed you re-election!)


And now I need my beauty sleep, my friends. Come back tomorrow for more reportage.

Roxie

It’s Only A Crazy Scheme If You Fail

…uh, no

 

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day Two (By Goldie)

Hello! I’m Goldie and this is my first time at a con like this one and my first time writing something like this.

I’d like to start by thanking the Fabulous Four for helping Penny and myself get used to being in human bodies part of the time. The whole walking on two legs thing is both hard and terrifying.

(Silky: You’re welcome. Using an android body is weird and scary at first, but you and Penny got the hang of it fast.)

Since I’m a total rookie at this, Sasha suggested that I skip the meal reports and just talk about other stuff, especially gaming, so here goes.

(Sasha: Breakfast at Chez Mom’s, lunches mostly at hotdog ot taco stands, Dinner at Big Slabs O’ Meat.)

This morning, a bunch of us entered The Cursed Necropolis, a LARP for humans and critters. Uncle Doc, Auntie Grace, Auntie Mary and 5 critters entered through the north gate. My Dad & Mom, Auntie Avis and 5 of us critters entered via the west gate. Two other groups of 8 players entered through the east and south gates. The object was to grab loot, kill or avoid the undead, enter the Defiled Cathedral and perform the Ritual of Purification, then leave the city with our loot.

(Luke: That first wave of zombies scared the hell out of me.)

(Penny: A bit later, we heard Uncle Doc yell “Ghouls? I HATE fuckin’ ghouls!” from three blocks away.)

This was a holodeck style LARP and things seemed very real, visually and auditorily. The various smells they piped in seemed to affect the humans, but most of us NHT found that part very weak. The whole think was lots of fun and Our group was first in the cathedral. Sadly, Mom, Penny and Luke’s characters died buying us time to complete the ritual. Even more sadly, Uncle Doc’s team beat us out of the city by 4 minutes and had twice the loot we had. They also had only 3 characters left.

(Daisy: That was Daddy, Ollie and me. Everyone else got done in by either zombie ogres or that goddamn vampire that I finally staked.)

After the LARP, all the humans, all of us dogs, Max, Janet, and Willy all went to soak in mud. Daisy & Silky assured me that I would love it.

Well, I did love it. We all got put in tubs of warm mud where we rested for about 30 minutes. Then we all got cleaned up before getting massages. It was very relaxing and now everybody smells very nice.

(Sasha: I would have liked Dead Raccoon better that Warm Spice. Now I smell like fuckin’ banana bread or some shit.)


Uncle Doc and most of the other humans ran off to do their Old Time Radio Show. This year it was called “Tales of the Weird” and had something to do with vampires and grave robbers. I know that Dad played “Inspector Knox” and Auntie Avis played “Widow Barton”. I’m told it was a hit show. After that one, Uncle Doc, Uncle Gabriel, Auntie Mary, Luke & Misty did a half hour show called “The Adventures of Rocco & Maxie”.

(Silky: It was hilarious! Being an old gal, I had to stop and pee three times due to laughing so hard.)

It’s hard to keep track of what everyone played, but I know what games I played. I was in a D&D 5e + Steampunk game with Daisy & Max, then played in a long Savage Worlds game with Dad, Silky and Pixie. After that, I was getting pretty tired, so I went back to the suite for a nap. I woke up just in time to grab some room service chow with Luke, Misty, Silky and Snowy, then haul tail to the Friday Night Dance Party.

There were about 1,500 humans and 2,000 NHT at that party, most of us dancing up a storm. They had maybe a dozen DJs in rotation, including Silky (she was in a human body). The party went from 10:00 pm until 3:00 in the morning, but I left to crash at 2:15.

(Leon: I was there until the end. Every part of my body aches.)

(Sasha: So was I and I may need a wheelchair for the rest of the con.)

That’s pretty much all I have to report. Thanks for reading, folks!

Goldie

Five Things Not To Tell A Dragon

…#3: “I have a big bag of gold right here!”

 

CritterCon 11

Con Day One (By Max)

Hiya, folks! I’m writing this late and so I’m going to just give a basic rundown of what everyone did. If I leave anything out, I’m sure a commenter will correct me.

Breakfast: was at Waffles From Outer Space. That was the last time all of us were in the same place today.

Gaming: Daisy, myself, Sasha, Silky, Luke, Misty, the rest of our home gaming posse, our critter friends from on the bus and that spaniel named Chance all spent the day gaming in various ways. We plated boardgames, card games, LARPs, RPGs, minis games and video games. There were some quick passes through the Dealer’s room, but it was gaming from about 9:00 am until midnight for most of us.

Grace, Auntie Caroline and Auntie Mary mostly played boardgames and card games. They walked through the dealer’s room, too. Not sure if they played any RPGs. At a couple of points, Auntie Holly joined up with them.

Auntie Avis walked the Dealer’s Room, played some boardgames, played in a 4 hour RPG session and went to at least 2 seminars.

Mr. C, Spike, Gabriel and Brian were all over the place. I know Mr. C and Spike were each on a couple of seminar panels and attended at least one more. All of the guys played an RPG or two. They all walked the dealer’s room. I think Gabriel did some open mic thing in the new Purple Dragon Inn they set up for folks to relax in.

Lunch: I know Mr. C had lunch at Tamalemania and I think Grace ate at Killerburger. Daisy & I grabbed lunch at a new deli, Moe’s Bronx Deli. Most of the rest of the NHT went to a new NHT only place in the underground area. It’s called Wild Style and I hear it’s pretty good. Oh, and Sasha, Buster & Chance ate at Pizza My Heart.

Games Played: I asked around and here are some of the games we all played.

D&D Hillfolk Seventh Sea Dread Fluxx Unfair Gaslands Scythe Elder Sign Terraforming Mars Gorilla City: The Beginning Dungeon Dice Bean Trader Squirrel Invasion Savage Worlds Munchkin Zombie Dice Love Letter Power Grid Gloom Kingdomino Once Upon a Time.

Dinner: The humans all ate at Mistress Diana’s Dungeon Diner. We NHT mostly had food delivered to our games.

The Big Costume Party: The theme this year was Star Power and you had to dress up as somebody from your favorite space based sci fi series or movie. Naturally, Daisy & I and the gang were decked out as Starfleet crew. Mr. & Mrs. C and several of their friends went with Guardians of the Galaxy. Mr.C. Went as Groot and never once said anything other than “I am Groot” all night. Mrs. C went as Rocket. There were also lots of Firefly and Star Wars and Whovians and others. It was a great party and it’s a good thing I did not activate the intoxication subroutine in my body, because Daisy & Janet both did and then got hammered. If you have never tucked two giggling women into bed, it’s quite an experience.

So that’s my rather short report. Goldie is up for tomorrow.

Be seeing you.

Max