“It was the best of GenCons, it was the worst of GenCons…”
No, strike that last part. This year’s GenCon was my best, period. I had more fun, met more people, attended more parties, played in more tournaments (and finals), and overall did more things than I ever had at a previous GenCon, which covers seventeen GenCons in the past eighteen years.
To begin with, I needed this GenCon. Really. Ever since late January, after over eight months of unemployment, I have been working on a temporary contract basis on software testing job in South Bend (about 100 miles away from home), staying in a hotel room for the week and driving back and forth to and from Fort Wayne on weekends. The pay is very good, but ever since July they have been working us 50 hours a week (and hinting at 60, which is flat out impossible: I have to get home to pay bills and such every weekend, and they don’t have enough work to justify us remaining contract people staying anyway). I hadn’t taken time off for a serious vacation, nor had I attended a serious convention, for at least six months, and I was definitely under a considerable amount of strain. Therefore, I needed a vacation, and GenCon was it.
Unfortunately, things have not changed since I have returned from GenCon, so I am in just as great a need for another vacation!
This year I had scheduled my GenCon events and activities ahead of time, so I would have enough free time to see who and what I wanted. That meant few or no 8:00 am events, to leave the morning free to eat a leisurely breakfast and walk the dealer’s room or art show until noon.
Certain special events were scheduled ahead of time: dinner at Toys with the Hero people Wednesday night, lunch with Mike Stackpole on Thursday, and the A&E party Thursday night were not to missed. I had also signed up to play in five events and run another, and I was looking forward to a good time of roleplaying and gamemastering, meeting friends old and new, and rummaging through the dealers hall and art show.