Monday, November 17, 2014

Mepacon Fall 2014

I trekked up to Mepacon this weekend Ramada in Clark's Summit, and as always, a great time was had by all.

What popped up on the Ramada's sign after "Welcome to Mepacon"

Last Spring, I had taken my 4-year daughter to the con, and we had such a good time, that the words, "Daddy? I hope the whole family can come to the convention next year!"
So Saturday morning, the whole familia loaded up in the van and we got up to the hotel.   After grabbing badges, the kids (now 3 and 5)  immediately jumped into the coloring contest and I went through a pleasant gauntlet of greeting friends I only see at the con.
After that, we waltzed over to the Damon's Grill on the hotel grounds.  My wife and I relaxed to an appetizer lunch, while the children were ridiculously well-behaved except for playing with the volume controls on the table for the four projection TVs lining the walls.
We ran back to the van for the supplies for my Attack of the 50-Foot Princess game and headed back into the hotel ballroom to set-up.  Note to self:  carrying around plastic army guys and shoebox buildings is far superior to carry than  totes full of lead and MBA buildings. 
While checking the event wall to find my table assignment.  I was met with identical good news and bad news.  The good news:  I had a full table!  The bad news:  convention events and attendance swelled the past few years, and I was relegated to a tight role-playing table in the corner.  Between the location and the equally full table of D&D players inches away from me, two of my players decided to look for less cramped quarters, and hopefully we could put together a second session.
For the game, the objectives are simple:  The Princess must reach the tower at the other end of the board, the other players had to stop her.  While the the system and rolls were based off of my Toddler Interactive Adventure Resolution... Adventure (TIARA) system, this particular game owes alot to OGRE for damage and Battletech for hit resolution. 
Before she Let it Go as a queen, Elsa was a Princess
Our Princess for the encounter was a young Elsa.  Not only would she get stomp and smash/throw attacks, but every other round she could use her ice powers for a cone template that my daughter cut out of blue construction paper the morning of the con.
Each of the other players would control a Prince or Princess commanding a five-man squad, as well as either a tank, or an immobile howitzer. The squad's varied between gnomes from Gnome Wars and plastic army guys.
One Princess was set up as the last line of defense at the top of the tower....
This was the first time I had run this for players over 5 years of age, so I began to worry as the rolls failed to hit early on.  Elsa failed an easy roll to crush the tank and soldiers hiding in the auto repair shop, then her ice powers failed to freeze the fleeing soldiers!  Luck for her, the few shots that hit from the defenders hit her toughest part of her body, her legs (think OGRE).
My daughter hung around the table and I offered her a unit of Ice Goblins (blue gretchin) to help Elsa.  Two rounds into it, she ran off to paint a miniature, but kept moving the little guys around the flank and drew the attention of the young man running Prince Hans of the Southern Isles and his gnome detachment.   Following my rule zero: Anything fun is possible, I let him jump in a truck and attempt to run down the exposed goblins.    The gnomes ran over half of them, leaving them open to a goblin grenade attack.
All of them missed, plus I rolled 3 1's, which resulted in three scatter rolls.  All three scatter rolls landed at the feet of the goblins.
I forget my playing cards for initiative, so I used duplicates of Beer: The Card Game
 Back on Main Street, Elsa kicked a tank into Prince Hans' emplacement.  The Prince was looking for a place far less heroic to hide.   As Elsa contnued to wade through the defenses with only some significant damage from the other tanks, the young man with the gnomes began jumping and down.
Boy:  "Ooooh, oooh, I have an idea"
Me:  "What is it?"
Boy:  "The gnomes are going to break  a window, crush the glass, and put it into the fuel line.  I want to drive over to Elsa and let the truck explode next to her."
Me:  "Your new bedtime is now 8pm.  No DVR privileges ever, no matter what you parents say" 
But in the spirit of the game, I allowed it.   It took one turn to perform the task and each turn they drove they would need to make a roll to explode, each round getting cumulatively better odds.
They blew up with a 5 on their second turn of crushed glass adventure, blowing up the remains of the kicked tank from the earlier rounds.  Prince Hans was not pleased.
Elsa nears the objective
Elsa continued to outrun the defenses while blocking line of sight for the last immobile artillery piece on Main St.  She was battered, but the longe range tank shells only had hit all over and even concentrated fire might not fell the Princess.

But Rapunzel had a trick up her sleeve (or in her hair)... 

A hostage.

I've got a hair-dryer and I'm not afraid to use it!
This stalled Elsa and produced two ineffective attacks.  Just enough time for the town defenses to catch up.
At Princess Military Academy, every girl learns dancing, singing, and combined arms.
With the last tank shell, Elsa fell, three inches from her objective.  Rapunzel and her men cheered, but those cheers turned to screams of terror, as Olaf pushed them all off the tower.  It was a set-up all along! 
Rapunzel (far left) and Elsa are the royal casualties.

The remains of the town.
What nefarious plot does Olaf have, except WORLD DOMINATION (and warm hugs)?  Perhaps another con event is in the making...

After cleaning up, I went back to the family, who had each completed the official Zombie Hello Kitty picture for the coloring contest, and painting two minis, both of which I donated to the Painting event about six years ago. 

I tried my best to relieve my wife from herding the cats and caught with my friend Brian, who had only brough some of the more difficult beer-and-pretzel games to play, and caught up with my friend George who I don't believe I've seen in well over a decade.    It was as manly a time as a bunch of fathers with little girls could muster, watching them play with the remains of the game I had yet to pack up, while ALL of us were sipping on Capri Suns. 

As Hammer would say, Propper.

After letting the kids have a crack at the dice guess, my wife took the Millie, the 3-year old, out to the car for some sort of excursion.  This left me in lurch, as she possessed all of our cash, so we needed to borrow five bucks from Brian for the game raffle. Of course, my wife and Millie came back (with donuts!) two minutes after the raffle closed.  One of the tickets was a winner, but at that point the only choices left were older edition Warhammer books the school bus die from Zombie Dice.  I hoped that giving that to Brian and an IOU for lunch would cover us for now.

Watching Maja scan our raffle tickets looking for a winner was going to be the purest source of unbribled excitement.   Then they announced the winners of the coloring contest.  Maja won the contest at last Spring's con, but she relinquished it to... her sister Millie.  Upon hearing her name, Millie ran from her table at the back of the ballroom with the shower of happiness emanating from her smile, and the strength of a tractor trailer as she barrelled through the aisle of fat gamers.

Mepacon's Famous Everything Starts a Dollar Auction was verrrrrry productive for both the cons 15% take of each item, as well as numerous items that were auctioned off for a number of charities. 
Normally, Brian and myself are able to bottom feed a few items for a dollar two, but this year, the increased attenedance was so great, that even the worst gaming garbage imaginable was going for four or five dollars!  I also realized, as a father, I need to pay attention to my kids more, as they had absconded with my bidder card and tried (unsuccessfully) to snag a few items they wanted.

I had thrown in a few Call of Cthulu books into the auction that I had won at previous auctions, and we waited for the staff to complete to the transactions so I could get cash to get the girls a few things.

Our swag was minimal (and covered by the auction), second Erstwhile book of Brother Grimm Fairy Tales that Maja had already read twice at the dealer's table, two old con shirts (they were cheaper and in kid's sizes), and Zombie Dice, as well as Zombie Dice 2.

We drove home, put Millie to bed, and Maja and I played Zombie Dice before she went to her room, her final words, "Maybe next convention it can be just you and me, Daddy."

The big BIG news at the con was that they were moving for the Spring 2015 con.   The next con will be April 24-26 at the Hilton Scranton and Conference Center in Downtown Scranton.  There's a few logistical issues I'd like more info about (parking), but they are working with local stores and clubs to offer Magic and Games Workshop tournaments. 

After 15 years of cons, it may finally be time for prime time. 

Edit: all pictures of Elsa came from play Mike Sarno. 

1 comment:

  1. When your daughter's name was called she was so cute. I could just see her running through everyone. She had the biggest smile on her face!