Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Khan of Cons... (no double entendre intended)

So, after months of planning, I finally get to go to KublaCon in Burlingame over Memorial Day weekend. Watch this mileage:
I travel from Tracy to Yuba City to get my brother, who told me he wanted to go (this becomes important later), we then travel from Yuba City to Burlingame and park in the Hyatt Regency parking garage (9 bucks for the day), and enter the convention. We couldn't afford a hotel room so we left at midnight Friday to go back to Tracy (made it there by 1 am), get five hours sleep then drive back to Burlingame only this time the parking garage was full. So we were forced to accept valet parking. Now at this time I did not know how much they would charge us for this wonderful service, but I was expecting that since it was the fault of the hotel to not have enough parking for their customers, that we would get it for free or a discounted rate. Wrong! I got skinned for $25! When I left and the valet stood there waiting for a tip I gave him one... "Tell your supervisor that one of your customers is a little pissed off at having to pay $25 to park at your overcrowded hotel!"
So coupled with being skinned alive at the hotel and Mike's (my brother) incessant complaining of 'nothing to do' at the convention, I agreed to take him back home the following morning. So, we go back to Tracy, get up the next morning and go back to Yuba City, drop him off at his friend's so he can get sloshed (I guess this was his idea of 'something to do') and realizing that my day is shot with more holes than Bonnie and Clyde's sedan, I go to visit my friend, Dean, at Rio Oso. I help him put up a couple pony walls on his new house he's building. We go to his place and play a 3-player game of Family Business (which I just bought at KublaCon the day prior). Which was fun. Dean asked if I was going back tomorrow. I said that I would. He wanted me to get him some multicolored dice and he gave me some cash. Cool, I told him that I would do that for him. He got this idea after I told him of the Chessex kiosk I found at the Con. So I go back to Tracy that night from Marysville. The next morning I get up early and head for Burlingame where they (surprise!) have room at the parking garage. Then at about five o'clock pm I leave and head back to Tracy. Mission Accomplished!
A lot of driving, huh?
Well, now that we have the bad news out of the way, let me tell you of the reason why I went back for a third day after an aborted two days of a four day convention: Games, games, games!
The first day I played Antike with four other players. Now, this game I understand is not yet in print in the U.S., but I found the mechanics of the game quite interesting. There is this circle in the top right corner of the board (and btw, the board looks similar to the one in Serenissima). This circle is how turns are executed. You place your marker on one slice of this circle and you can move it up to three places without penalty. If you move it beyond that, you have to pay one coin per place moved beyond the third. Of course, in most cases, what you want to do is beyond the three freebies. But if you just want to produce gold and stone and stuff, you can play it the cheap route and just move it two to three at a time. It reminded me of Caylus in retrospect but I had not yet played Caylus at this point. (I buy that game on Day 3). I didn't win the game, but I learned a lot and the people I played with were very fun and entertaining. In fact, I had more fun interacting with these folks than playing the actual game. Which is the point, I believe.
We had to move our game to another table because of the Friday Night Flea Market which Mike was dying to get into. He brought about $100 and blew it all in that hour. He headed straight to the Magic: The Gathering card dealer and that was all she wrote... All I heard from Mike after that was "He had Clones for fifty cents! He had a shitload of Clones and they were all FIFTY CENTS!!" Ad nauseum.
The next day (Saturday) was the Big Day. The garage was full which meant everybody was there. Mike and I wandered around the vendor shops (Chessex, Days of Wonder, Steve Jackson Games, etc.). We sampled and played with some of the weapon displays. Got to see some nice zweihanders and claymores (the swords, not the mines). Then I saw a guy all by his lonesome opening a new game. It was Wings of War. Well, I had mine with me so I introduced myself and offered to play a game with him. He was elated. It turned out he lives in Patterson, which isn't too far from Tracy, and he knew about the CVGA and wanted to join. I told him I happened to be one of the moderators of the site and would be happy to have him. So we played a few two-player games of WoW. 1st game was two fighters. 2nd game was two fighters, 3rd game was one fighter and one two-seater on a recon mission. Then his friends showed up and we played a game of Ra. This attracted another gamer who promptly got in during setup and we had a four-player game of Ra. After two games of that, we played Carcassonne with the Inns and Cathedrals expansion (as well as The River I). I forgot who won that, but it was a fun game. That game never ceases to impress or surprise me. After those festivities, everyone broke up and went their separate ways. A good time was had by all.
Mike was, meanwhile, playing M: TG with several people. After a while, I set up a game of Nexus Ops and tried to attract people to play it - but no takers. I was amazed that during this whole event I had not seen one game of A&A minis. Not one. Everyone was playing Flames of War and Civil War and Mechwarrior and Necromunda and Warhammer 40K and Memoir '44, but not one game of A&A minis. Strange... They should visit Tracy sometime...
For reasons already expressed, I was not there for Sunday.
But Monday, though depressing, (and I did get Dean those multicolored dice, not to mention some dice of my own :-)), was not a total loss. I did get to buy Caylus and Kung Fu Fighting. I also got to play Merchant of Venus with some folks from Washington state. What a LONG game! It didn't help that one of the players was suffering severe sleep deprivation and downing coffee like no tomorrow. It also didn't help matters that the sun from the overhead windows (we were playing just outside the atrium on the second floor balcony) beamed its hot radiation in such that I borrowed one dude's shades to see the board. It got so bad that we moved the table (thankfully without incident). The sleep deprived dude won the game! And he was new to this game, to boot! Damn! But I did understand it a lot better now that I've played it. Instead of the colored pawns for the starships, I broke out my Twilight Imperium ships which helped the immersion factor tremendously. And this guy (the host, I forget his name, as usual) used poker chips for money instead of the bills that came with the game. Many people came by and commented on the game. Some thought it was a reprint or new edition due to the poker chips and TI ships. But it's a cool game. John Hunter, later on, told me he has an unopened box of this game. That will soon end....
After that game (which lasted a few hours), I kinda just moped around watching everyone else play. Room after room had closed, chairs were stacked, tables put away. I realized that the time to go was now. So, I regretfully got in my Honda and went home.
I had fun, no doubt about it, but next time - I get a room at the hotel.
See ya at ConQuest SF in September, I'm hosting a TI3 game and a Nexus Ops game.


Post a Comment

<< Home