Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mepacon Spring 2017 and the Bachelor Weekend

So, the short of it, I managed to make it to Mepacon for Saturday afternoon.  It was short, sweet, and full of surprises.  We'll get to those surprises in a few moments, first let's talk about the beginning of my 26 hours of bachelor-tude!

With my wife and the girls heading down to Maryland for a gymnastics meet right after school, that left me in the house alone to dogsit through Saturday night.  I did what every red blooded American male would do:

I left work, got a haircut, and went to Michael's for scrapbooking paper and craft paint.
(Alright I did grab a massive burger at five guys and some beer before getting home, man-card somewhat saved).  I took care of the dogs and descended to the painting bench for some oddball projects uninterrupted.

The following morning I took care of the dogs (even feeding them!  See, I don't hate them!)  and ate a late breakfast watching For the Love of Spock on Netflix. With one more run with the pooches, I loaded up my car with some stuff for the auction, and headed up to Scranton while the morning session was wrapping up.

After actually paying for admission (a rare thing for a guy who tries to GM every con), I ran into a few friends, scoped out the auction items, and put up Father Dagon and The Don for the miniatures painting contest to guarantee enough entries to qualify for prizes

Battletech Alpha Strike - Left
That's where the first surprise kicked in.  People were snapping pictures of the contest on their phones, but once I pulled out Don's nemesis one fellow got very inquisitive with the questions, ultimately ending the first barrage is, "Would you mind speaking about your figures and the con in general while I record it for the Scranton Times-Tribune?

Oh my goodness, there's a media presence at the con.

I rambled on as best as I could about the minis, and the reasons I enjoy the hobby.   The reporter did a great job wandering the convention and peppering a variety of people with questions, and lucky for Mepacon, even the "odd" attendees are pretty articulate and actively stay away from the worst of the gamer cliches.

For a read of his article for the Sunday paper, check it out here.

.... and Right
The second surprise came a few minutes after I the "required check-in" on social media.  A few minutes later and I got a response from a friend in Las Vegas, "Rachelle (last name) is there too."
It took a few seconds for the name to register, but I had gone to high school (and grade school) with her and can safely say its been at least twenty-five years.

This created a wonderful problem as I casually strolled the ballrooms trying to see if I could recognize her.  Twenty years ago, to find a particular woman at a con was pretty easy.  The local cons were 80-90% male.  Mepacon has benefited from the advances in gaming and I can say that they are as close to gamer gender parity as I see anywhere, so there were a few games with "token men" playing.

Needless to say, I did her, awkwardly introduced myself, caught up, and got to play in the game she brought, Terraforming Mars.   It's another resource manipulation game all the hip kids like to play, and it played very smoothly.

Two additional things I found out: Rachelle runs a phenomenal game, and if she decides to come back in Fall, she should run games repeatedly.  Given her even keel on explaining a new game between her friend and some random dude from high school, some of the experienced Mepacon GMs could learn (or remember) a thing or two.

Second, she had joined up with the Stroudsburg Area Gamers on Meet-Up, many of whom are part of the old con crew from the early 90's .  It's a small world indeed.
Terraforming Mars
By the time the game was done, the session was wrapping up, and with raffle tickets and auction bidder card in hand, I found a seat and planted myself there.    No winners for me in the raffle and nothing exciting at the auction.   It's alright to have an off-con purchase wise every once in awhile.

Despite the girls' excitement for gymnastics (top half of the field for all their events, Millie snagging a bronze in one of her's), they would have enjoyed the three times we all sang happy birthday to people during the raffle/auction/dinner break.

Two minor quibbles coming from the 40k GM's unscheduled presentation.  One of the happy birthdays was for one of his players, a seven year girl who commanded her Dark Angels against all odd.   Guess I can throw Maja and her 4+ years of wargaming experience against her at the next con and have the non-Dads freak out over their effectiveness.

The second quibble is that the same fellow called his girlfriend in front of the crowd and proposed to her.  That's all well and good, but (a) I didn't see a ring/token o' love and (b) he called her up while she was scarfing down her dinner in between games.  That's not a way to get into her good graces when years from now she recalls, "Yeah, he proposed to me at one of the cons.  But I really wanted to finish my cheesesteak first before dealing with anyone, including him."

As a whole, the con looked great.  The ladies, young and "less young" embraced the fairy theme with their costumes... as well as one Dad, who just rocked the parenting thing HARD.

I did get some info on another upcoming gameday in Stroudsburg.

Swag-wise, things were pretty slim.  A copy of Even More Things to Kill and Eat! for Kobold Ate My Baby, a battered copy of FR11 Dwarves Deep (for two bucks!), and a few cupcakes from Quigly's Cakes.   With Kickstarters shipping soon and my LOS figures coming from Cold Wars, I think I'm okay for now.

I'm also locking in the dates in stone for November.  Fall-In! in Lancaster is November 3-5 and Mepacon 33 will be November 10-12.  The theme?  An intriguing "Ancient Civilizations."

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