Friday started with an early jump to the Dealer's Room after a complimentary continental breakfast at my hotel (Thank you Spring Hill Marriot). The goal was to get some celebrity autographs, get some exclusives I wanted, and do the lion's share of my shopping.
Two out of three ain't bad.
I got to meet a Star Trek Original Crewmember in none other than Walter Koenig (Chekov) and the Doctor himself, Peter Davidson. Both gentlemen were gracious and wonderful to meet if a bit weary from convention. But yay! Autographs acquired.
For exclusives, I did not fair as well. First and foremost in my exclusives hunt was Max and Mirya's exclusive miniatures for Robotech Tactics by Ninja Division and Palladium. By 10:15am (fifteen minutes after the Dealer's Hall opened), the line for Max and Mirya stretched half the length of the hall. Considering they only had a couple hundred of the models on hand, the 2-3 hour wait was not going to produce the minis. So, with some sadness, I trudged on to my other important acquisition- Firefly the Game from Gale Force 9.
No luck there either. The game sold out only moments before I arrived at the booth taking away my ability to acquire the convention special Alliance Battleship.
Sadness ensued- so I consoled myself by spending too much money. First we visited Paizo to talk RPG design with Ryan Macklin- you might remember him as the gentleman that had the Game Design Challenge on his blog leading to the creation of Dime Stories. He was refreshingly earnest and frank and we had a great conversation about game design and the ins and outs of the industry. While at the Paizo booth, I bought a set of player mats for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and their new comic Pathfinder: Goblins. The day was starting to look up.
It was time to talk to some old friends. Margaret Weis Productions was the first stop. I'd preordered the Firefly Gencon book from MWP a few months earlier for pickup at the con, but the people were the real pull for us. MWP's business manager, Christi, was wonderful and personable as always, and it was great to see her smiling face. We talked about upcoming projects from MWP, mutually lamented the loss of Marvel Heroic, and laid the groundwork for further work to come my way from MWP in the near future (man, I needed this). Margaret Weis herself was on hand to sign my Firefly book, and I couldn't help but pick up the first two novels in her new Dragon Brigade series- which she signed as well. A little thrill goes down my spine every time I meet Margaret and she remains one of my favorite authors every time I read her work. Amanda Valentine was on hand for some hugs and excitement at the release of her new game, Little Wizards- not to mention, Amanda was to host the Ennies that night. Amanda was the first woman to ever host the Ennies and it was being broadcast all over the world. So... no pressure. And finally, Dave Chalker of Get Bit fame stopped by and we planned for our game of Fantasy Heroic for Sunday- my reward for contributing to the Cortex Hackers Guide Kickstarter. Dave is a great guy and I loved working for him on Marvel Heroic: Annihilation. I can't wait to play Fantasy Heroic with him.
The old friend search continued at Slugfest Games where we spent some time with the lot of them- Cliff, Sam, Jeff, Dave, Yvonne, and the rest were swamped with gamers playing demos and buying games so we couldn't stay too long. I picked up a softcover copy of Red Dragon Inn: A Guide to Inns and Taverns, an awesome Pathfinder Compatible tome that I was lucky enough to help write. Despite the crowds at the booth (ah memories of Gencons gone by), it was great to see them all.
Finally, on our way out, we hit the Wizkids booth to pick up Star Trek Attack Wing, their new tactical combat game based on the rules for Fantasy Flight's awesome X-Wing game. Of course, the best part was their convention exclusive con card.. or rather Khan card, as it were- Khan Noonian Singh. Just...awesome.
After lunch at High Velocity in the JW Marriot (great food. The Prime Rib lunch special just blew me away), we joined my Saturday Morning Games partner Jonathan Lavallee in a game of Critical! Go Westerly. This was a rollicking good time. Mary played a gypsy thief type that knew too much and couldn't keep her mouth shut. A father and daughter from Cincinnati played Gronk, ork hero - if only in his own mind, and Captain- a curmudgeon pirate that had lost her ship long ago and was looking to find it again.. in the land locked cities and forests of Westerly. Go figure. For my part, I played Perolinius- a geriatric master wizard with Alzheimer's and some serious dementia. Between Peck (as Perolinius was called) and Gronk, and with Jonathan's fantastic performance as GM, this game was nothing short of hilarious. I think Mary was broken in laughter by it three times.
To wind down before returning to our room for leftover dinner, Jonathan played a game of Love Stories with us. This is a great, simple, sixteen card game that we picked up instantly and would make a great filler game for any group. I have to be sure to stop by AEG on Saturday to pick up a copy.
Finally, at 8pm I ran my second game of Dime Stories. Another group of gamers had come to experience a new game and we were joined by my co-worker Brian, his friend from Illinois, and former Slugcrew member Owen. Once again, the party elected to work for La Esqueleta and raid the Village. But this adventure went completely the opposite way than the other one. While the other group learned about the hired mercenaries and sought to undermine their operation, this group decided instead to plan for their existence and set up an elaborate trap to slaughter the mercenaries in one massive shootout. Simultaneously, several of the bandits gathered to break Esqueleta's daughter out of the small jail.
All in all, it seemed like everyone had a good time.