Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mepacon Fall 2012 Review

I have survived Mepacon! Or better, I survived to get to Mepacon.

I had decided that I would be attending just Saturday, but first a few chores around the house.  After getting the recycling to the township center, I packed up the car and was about to head out, as I spied our Lab, Pokey, running through the woods behind my neighbor's place.   I had left the gate barely open and he had sprung himself.  Ninety minutes later and a change of clothes/deodorant, Pokey was in my grasp and I was finally on the road. I missed the start of the morning session, and with it the chance to play the boardgame Oh Gnome You Didn't.  If there was any positive for the bad morning, I managed to snag an extra twenty cents out of the automatic toll booths on the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike, one of them a pre-WW2 nickel!  The other thing was I was able to go to the morning paint-n-take.

Normally my buddy Tom runs the painting session. Sadly, Tom had to go to work, so his buddy Brian took over. On top of the normal assortment of paints, there was a full set of Flames of War paints.  The remaining minis are a collection of old reaper, miscellaneous Ral Partha, and many free donations, many from me.   I have accumulated a small collection of painted Reaper dwarves from previous cons. 

The tables were swarmed with the under-15 crowd painting elves and the like, but I found one of the treasured donations on the bottom of the mini case:

It has three types of armor on it, including a chainmail cowl, so it wasn't until I primed it that I realized it was a heavily armored, pig-snout orc crossbowman.  I'm assuming it's 70's Essex, based on the other figs with it. The Flames of War paints were mediocre at best.

After finding a few friends we went over to Damon's for Guinness and wings.  We came back staggering and I grabbed my pile of stuff for my game, then jumped into Formula De.

Big board, fast cars, and thanks to a few wipeouts, a big win!
Attendance seemed consistent with previous cons, even if the organized play room looked to be missing a table:
The dealers were the normal bunch:  The Portal from Bethlehem, the Keep, Conjure Game Works, author CJ Henderson, and a new entry, K Studios. I don't know who decides it's a good idea to bring nothing but Mage Knight figures to the con, but this new fella did, and overpriced (in the minds of most con goers) at that.

Event-wise, I again proved that I'm not the demographic. Lots of D&D/Pathfinder in the main gaming hall, with sold out L5R and Eclipse Phase games to round it out. Despite awesome support from Paladium, none of the scheduled games went off, as did the new edition of Shadowrun.
#2 auction perhaps the one appealing feature of the con is the famed Dollar Auction, where everything starts at a buck. It's a great way to purge your gaming collection, and a better way to expand your collection, sometimes with utter dreck. Certain items are designated as charity items, the full proceeds going to the Scranton rescue mission.
The dreck of the auction was quite apparent: stacks of books, and more turn of the century computer games than one should be allowed to play. The gems were quite noticeable as well: a signed copy of Kobolds Ate My Baby (charity), a Space Marine army (2 tact squads, terminators, and a dreadnought - charity), a copy of Samuari Swords, a Blood Bowl 2nd edition with custom made pitch, and an entire set of all of the Buffy RPG hardcovers.

I won none of that. My bottom feeding netted me a party game, a pair of Vampire books, and some other random stuff for $7.

This is as good time as any ti discuss grumpy old gamer syndrome. Perhaps it's my status as elder statesman at the con, but everyone confided in me their deepest gaming gripes, and beyond. "Wah, no one will play in my games?" "Wah, why won't our friend show up at the con?". "Wah, why aren't things like the good old days?". "Wah, home builders won't build and it's all Obama's fault. Who am I, Dr Phil with a d12?

The Auction Table
The Auction Table - All Proceeds Went to the Scranton Rescue Mission
I threw in one of my Mouslings into the miniatures painting contest to ensure the minimum number of entries for individual fig(didn't win, oh well).  The best filled category was under 15, thanks to the paint-n-take in the morning.

The Barkeep in the front was the winning entry.  The irony is that I donated that mini to the project five years ago 
The evening slot was my game of Burning Plastic, as requested.  Unfortunately, some of the people requesting didn't make it to the con this, and my buddy Larry had done his normal auction tradition, get completely faced at the bar while the rest of us picked up crap. There were three players for the King of the Hill game.

I wasn't going to make things to difficult, it is Burning Plastic after all.  Seize the hill in the center, take control of the howitzers and scout floaters, and wreck havoc.  Each side had four airstrikes, so significant dice chucking continues.

For those not familiar with Burning Plastic, the army men represent robots with limited CPUs and a strong desire to self-destruct. The airstrike rule is perhaps the one favorite rule, and a use for those radio operators in every pack of soliders.  Designated a spotter, if that figure has another figure in its range, the player may grab a six-sider, take two steps away from the table, and chuck it at the figures.  Anything on the table that is hit by the die, friend, foe, or other, is destroyed.

The basic battle was underwhelming.  The robots had a better chance of failing a morale check and self-destructing that hitting a fellow robot.  The airstrikes were more than effective.  Whole squads were wiped out, plus the hills in the center were taken out (I did mention anything hit by the die is destroyed, terrain included.)   Out of 93 figures that started on the board, only were left when the game ended.  I'll try for a higher casualty rate next time.

The Spoils of War
Not to much excitement in the purchasing front. Outside of the auction finds, I only snagged up two new books from CJ Henderson and Mouse Guard Fall 1152.  Even with the expansion of the dealers, there just isn't any expansion of product outside of D&D/Pathfinder and boardgames.  It was good to here that The Keep was expanding into minis, but many were smaller companies with higher priced figs. I'll give them a chance when everyone returns to Mepacon Spring 2013 (XXIV) on April 12-14 still at the Ramada in Clarks Summit.

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