Despite that, there are certain traditions that have been established. My wife likes to travel along for Historicon, first for the Lancaster outlets, now the KoP mall, etc... We try to do some gaming at SATLOF, although "Drunken Diplomacy" gets harder and harder...
...and we have the Day of Sloth.
The Day of Sloth is the Sunday-Before-Labor-Day picnic my wife and I throw for our friends. Burgers, dogs, a little pot luck action going on, and few activities. We hold a wiffleball home run derby contest, this year we'll have a "Playland" out front for the kids and like-minded adults...
...and we have IOU.
IOU is Illuminati University, Steve Jackson Games quirky look at cross-dimesional, time travelling college life for their GURPS game. Lots of zany hijinks mixed with Phil and Kaja Foglio art makes a perfect feel. I've done massive prep work and ran some great, nay, epic games using the rules heavy GURPS back in the Nineties, but about four, five years back I discovered Risus and the games changed.
First off, characters go from a half-dozen stats and dozens of skills on a double-sided character sheet to a 3"x5" index card with as little as four cliches, each with a point value. Someone could conceivably join in the game five minutes before it starts, or even halfway through it. Second, the game became much more freeform with fewer dice rolls, but those rolls influencing the direction of the game far more than usual.
The particular freeform style the game exudes had always eluded definition up until this past week. I was beginning the rough prep work for my Mepacon Fall events in November and it hit me. Risus-IOU is Toon. Yes, Toon, running around as cartoon characters. In the rulebook, the Narrator (GM) can be presented with a scenario as short as two or three lines and let the players run with it, only reeling them in occasionaly to advance the story. In one of our old-time Christmas games, Santa was missing, and we were elves who had to find him. We literally spent half of our time trying to find Harry Potter for questioning, even though Hanuhkah Harry was the obvious culprit. Our narrator let us have carte blanche, until it was time to finish the story, and once that was finished we went crazy again.
When my group assembles around 6pm on the 5th, I'll have one index card with maybe four or five lines of not even sentences, but individual words. I'll narrate their story, acting as a shepherd, nudging them back into the story when appropriate, trying not to be heavy-handed about it. And most importantly, when everyone has finished, each will admit it was the most inapropriate fun they've had with their clothes on this year.
And just for the record, the games I've run at each Day of Sloth:
2006- First game. Incoming Freshthings visit the town's carnival. Carnies, Funnelcake powered Mecha, and Snake Gandhi vs. College Yoda (kegstands I do!) atop the Ferris Wheel.
2007- The Freshthings stop non-stop polka music in the dorms by entering the Dot Matrix, and fighting through numerous four and eight bit video games. Snake Gandhi appears in Kung Fu goodness
2008- The group tries to investigate the proliferation of goose-stepping, coffee drinking zombies on campus. They realize Nazis are to blame, so they do the one thing anyone would do to fight Nazis...
2009-... they dig up Jesse Owen's body to resurrect him (I shit you not, it was their idea). I had an entire year to prepare and it turned into a Blaxploitation theme complete with Samuel L Jackson and Snake Gandhi.... on a plane.
I won't spoil this year's game, but I did start my idea with two words which were the only words I used on a Facebook post months ago. I will say that 2011 will work off the words, "Radioactive Spittoon"