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GenCon Indy ’05 – Day Three

I’m hoping that someone else will come up with the energy to post details about Last night’s awards ceremony itself. I’ve seen very little but straight up lists of the winners reported. There were some great moments, off the top of my head: EN World’s Piratecat did a great job as presenter and dextra‘s lovely daughters were incredibly sweet handing over certificates and placing medals around the winners necks. A few people broke out in chuckles when one technical snafu with the nominees slides prematurely showed one of the winners, but I didn’t notice it myself. I had to be filled in on why the audience was laughing. Paizo’s poor Erik Mona (a fellow Minnesotan), in his effort to express his appreciation for all the support shown to the Paizo staff and their projects, enthused that “otherwise we’d be broke and doing PDFs” (or something very similar) which elicited groans and hisses from the audience, who took that to be a slight against PDF publishers. Mona tried to clarify that he hadn’t meant to slight PDFs or their publishers, but the audience couldn’t hear him with his foot firmly inserted into his mouth as it was. Funnier still was when Monte Cook took the stage to accept one of Malhavoc’s awards and took the opportunity to point out to his good friend that he published PDFs. Mona will be a long time living that one down and will be taking a good ribbing from his WotC/Game Mechanics/Malhavoc/etc friends for some time to come. I’ve read one report that a “rabble rousing woman” yelled out, “Take that, Ryan Dancey,” after one of the Black Industries winners was announced. The never-shy John and Michelle Nephew cracked up the audience for blatantly posing for pictures before giving their acceptance speech for one of their Ars Magica 5th Ed wins.

The only thing about Indy that I am not enjoying so far is the relative lack of nightlife! After the ENnies ceremony finished up and we all piled back to the hotel intending to have a couple of celebration drinks and hang with our tired, happy crew, we discovered that the hotel bars had all just made last call, at 11:30pm! Thinking this must just be a hotel bar thing, our group tried other bars and restaurants up and down the surrounding streets, finding one after another to be closed or closing. Frustration instead of celebration, argh! Finally made it to a restaurant/bar that was open and serving “late” (“late” being midnight on a Friday night) and had time to have a couple of rounds and make a couple of toasts. Everyone but Pramas decided to go home at a reasonable time. Pramas stayed out with the Fiery Dragon crew who were playing pool when we left them and eventually ended up going to an after hours place the waitress from our bar tipped them off to. Next year the ENnies need to end earlier or we need to have our exit/celebration strategy pre-planned!

So far this is the most enjoyable GenCon I’ve spent in many years. Sales are good, which always makes the ehibitors happy, but there’s more to it than that. Several people have commented to me that there are so many happy people at GenCon this year, and I agree. The vibe is one of excitement, anticipation, eagerness. There are people everywhere at all hours of the day. Events are packed, hallways are packed, the exhibit hall is flooded with people, and they’re happy people to boot! Contrasting this show to Origins, there is just not contest. Origins attendees did not have the same vibe, the same enthusiasm and excitement. People were not constantly spilling out from one hall or room to another, were not packing the events, did not seem to be walking around with smiles on their faces at any given time (as they seem to be here at GenCon). The GC staff and volunteers deserve a huge round of applause for their work in making GenCon such a memorable and beloved event.

Meanwhile…

This morning I was able to meet and chat briefly with my old Ars Magica pal, Dr. John K. He’s had a pretty crazy year but with his long-awaited relocation to the Ann Arbor area it sounds like his life is settling down to a much-deserved “dull roar”. After morning coffee with John, I ran my third Blue Rose game today, with a really fun group that included Leo Lingas, one of the Blue Rose illustrators who was really fun to have in the game (and whose baby is just too gosh darn cute!). It’s been really interesting these last few days to see who picks which of the pre-gen characters and watch how they choose to play them. Interestingly, two different guys picked the same character and both decided to play him as a drunk, despite there not being anything that might lead them to that characterization in the stats. Two players in different games used their bluff skills to bluff about food/drink-related issues (one passing himself off as ‘the best chef in all of Aldis’ and the other as ‘a famous wine taster,’) which cracked me up.

Sadly, I have no voice left tonight. I retired to the room early yet again because I’m resting my voice for my last game tomorrow, to drink more tea and lemon and hopefully do something to sooth my swollen throat! Three days of constant talking and being in and out of the frigid air conditioning have taken their toll. Here’s hoping I can limp through the last few hours of tomorrow. Now, once again, I must sleep.

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