Dreaming of Gencon

Gencon 2004 is approaching. Well, maybe “approaching” isn’t quite the right verb for a convention that’s still six months away, but the deadline for submitting events arrives in just a week or two.
I enjoyed Gencon last year tremendously, and plan to return again this year, barring work or family conflicts. I had a great time visiting with Ed on the five-hour drive there (and back again), and the other highlight was getting to hang out with Jon, who I see all too rarely these days. And of course there were the games.
I think I’ll enjoy Gencon more the second time around, now that I have a better idea of what to expect (and know a few things to avoid). My main priority this year will be to play more games. Last year, I spent too much time wandering the vendor’s hall and too little time actually playing games–and unfortunately not all of the games in which I participated were run well. I figure if I make a point of playing in more games this year, I’ll increase my chances of happening upon a really good one. Right? I’d also like to spend more time at Gencon–I think three days would work well for me; the two days I spent there last summer seemed a bit short, but I don’t think I’m up for the entire four-day experience.
Something else I’ve been thinking about lately is submitting and running a game event myself. One of the big challenges there, in my mind, is running a game for a bunch of strangers who might have vastly different expectations for a game than I do. My general philosophy in gaming over the years has been to not game with people I wouldn’t enjoy hanging out with outside the game, and that philosophy has served me well thus far. A Gencon game would be a gamble: it could involve a bunch of reasonable, enthusiastic gamers, or it could involve one or more frustrating individuals of the sort who put a damper on some of my Gencon games last year. I’m not sure how well I, as a GM, would deal with problem players, since I’ve rarely had to do so in my personal gaming. (I guess in a worst-case scenario, I could simply snatch up my gaming materials mid-game and sprint wildly out into the hallway, hoping to lose myself in the crowds of Klingons, furries, and Goth LARPers.)
If I were to run any games, I think HARP or Godlike would be my first choices; both are “underdog” games that I enjoy and would love to introduce to new players. I have the most experience running D&D, but something tells me there won’t exactly be a shortage of D&D games at Gencon. And part of me wants to run a game of All Flesh Must Be Eaten, just to redeem my nightmarish experience with that game last year.
However it works out, and whether I end up running a game or just playing in games run by others, I am already looking forward to Gencon. And if any of my gaming friends are planning to attend again, that’ll make it all the more enjoyable. Until August, then…

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