I'm back! And I have more Cthulu stuff than evar!
Here's how it all went down:
We (Dave, Jules, Sarah, and I) left on thursday and made it into Ohio around 5:30pm. We checked in before wandering around the convention center and getting our barrings.
I started out as a board gamer (thanks to my parents), but have played nothing but RPGs since leaving home. So my events were mostly board games.
Haunting House by Twilight Creations
Haunting House is a board game in which you are trying to get out of a haunted house first. The basic game is $20 and the expansions are $10 each. The game involves some strategy as you move the halls of the house around to make yourself a path to get out.
How cool was it?: I bought the game and after winning a certificate for $10.00 off, bought both expansions.
Call of Cthulu Movie by Shoggoth.net
A black and white, silent film adaptation of the 'Call of Cthulu' by H.P. Lovecraft. The movie was done in the true 1920s style with 1920's special effects. The scene with the white-haired, eye patch wearing scholar was funny, but the rest, especially the exploration of R'Lyeh, was extremely creepy.
How cool was it?: We bought the DVD before we even saw it!
Descent by Fantasy Flight Games
A board game version of the video game, Descent is a dungeon crawl where terrain and portals to town are your best friends. The best part of the game was the people I played with: they were a bunch of older, experienced, strategy gamers ready to take the game master down.
How cool was it?: The game, at a whopping $80.00, was not worth the money. Yes, it had $80.00 worth of stuff in the box. Though the mechanics were cool, you can find better dungeon crawls in D&D.
Everybody Versus Andy! with Andy Looney of Looney Labs
This was awesome! I intended to challenge Andy to Fluxx. I ended up sitting next to Liam (a Looney Labs guy) and learning how to play Aquarius. We played both games against Andy at once with five different people.
How cool was it?: I already owned a copy of Fluxx, so after the game, I went to pick up a copy of Aquarius. The Looney Labs people caught me and got me to play Tree House. I left the vendor with Eco-Fluxx, Aquarius, and Tree House.
Fury of Dracula by Fantasy Flight Games
Here's a board game that has you roaming all over Europe in search of the Count. After almost finding and then losing him, we trapped Dracula in Liverpool and beat him to death! I got to deal the last blow, which makes sense since I was playing Van Helsing.
How cool was it?: Fury of Dracula was fun, but it honestly takes everyone knowing the rules to play. When a gamer jumped in late, he never actually caught up on the rules, which slowed play down and confused combat. I'm going to give it another shot next year and I may yet pick it up. At $50.00 (which it does have fifty dollars worth of stuff) I will wait on it.
I signed up for more events but ended up trading in a few of my tickets so I had more time to roam the dealer's room, which leads us too:
The Dealer's Room
A lot of dealers didn't set up until saturday and some weren't there until sunday. Which, of course, is not good for people who want time to decide on big purchases and ultimately leave without making them. A lot booths I knew were there, but I couldn't find them.
Renaissance Fashions - the owner looked like Bruce Campbell, I kid you not, and was just as entertaining. He and his wife were extremely knowledgeable and fitted me in several corsets before selling me on a full purple dragon brocade corset. When all was said and done, I was a very happy customer!
Bellydancer Booth - that's just what I'm calling it since it didn't have a posted sign, and the dealre didn't offer one up. The booth was chock full of stuff - with absolutely no organization. Everything was extremely overpriced. The owner of the booth was pagan, which I don't mind, but 25% of their stock was pagan wall hangings and statues that had nothing to do with belly dancing. A belly dancing enthusiast speaking with the husband of the proprietor was lied to repeatedly about the workmanship and cost of materials. When I suggested the girl check out Fire Mountain Gems for cowrie shells, the man told her that anything he got her would be cheaper. And I was so out of there.
The Bellydancing booth was so terrible, it beat all of the bad booths. But I will mention one more stinker: Bandai. Bandai showed up, took up a large amount of space, and only sold Naruto stuff. Way to go, morons.
Mongoose Publishing - not the best rpg materials out there, but they had a girl in a chain mail bikini behind the table, so they made money had over fist!
Pokemon - I think it's drivel, but the kids love it and the booth caterred to all with large, blow-up pokemon, a Mewtwo roaming the area for hugs, and tourney.
Steve Jackson Games - The dealers were funny, knowledgeable, and willing to do just about anything to pimp their product, including their large amount of Cthulhu merchandise.
In a league of their own:
Crazy Egor - if you don't know about Crazy Egor, you aren't a gamer. Crazy Egor has been in the biz for years providing the world with new and used games. Looking for something rare or almost unfindable, Crazy Egor has it.
The Convention Center
The convention center was fantastic! You never had to settle for bad food with a food court filled with sushi, pizza, subway, hamburgers, cheesesteaks, and a breakfast diner. The center had appealling, wide open spaces, spatious walk ways, and plenty of escelators. The skywalk attaching the hotels to the center was beautiful, completely enclosed, and allowed you to view the city and the sky line.
Best: The place had wall to wall carpetting just about everywhere and it made a difference for my tired feat.
Worst: The eateries closed up way too soon, leaving hungry people scrambling after midnight.
Best: The all of the volunteers were friendly, helpful, and didn't treat you like an idiot when what you were looking for was right behind you.
Worst: There was no way in which to notify attendees of room changes and cancelled events. After the snafu of the pre-registration on-line, this should not have happened.
We stayed at the Crowne Plaza. It was expensive and worth every penny spent. The valets, the desk staff, and housekeeping did a spectacular job.
Best: The cafe down stairs, though expensive, was very tasty.
Worst: Max and Erma's, the restaurant in the building, was low on staff for the entire weekend and during the breakfast rush, that was a bad thing.
Best: The pretension was at an all time low. Amazing for a place filled with so many LARPers.
Worst: Not enough people dressed up. Seriously. I saw a spectacular Capt. Jack Sparrow, a great 'singer' Yuna, the Dread Pirate Roberts, and a storm trooper in full uniform. And that's about it.
All in all, we had a great time.
If you are looking to go to Origins next year, here are a few tips:
The hotels attached to the convention center are expesive, but worth every penny.
The Japanese Steakhouse is great and not as expensive as advertised.
Go in costume.
Try new games.
Remember to eat.