It has been a month since Gary Con VI ended. Emily, my buddy Justin, and I ventured out to Lake Geneva WI on March 27-30th for our very first gaming convention, and I have to say it was an exceptional experience. Gary Con is definitely an "old school" gathering that was started to celebrate the life of Gary Gygax and his contributions to games. This Con may not appeal to everyone, but to those of us who started in the 70s, the nostalgic, and those interested in the roots of RPGs and old school games, it's a great chance to meet and game with fans of early RPGs.
I was initially going to do a quick write up of just the merchandise I bought from convention, but I have decided to break it into two parts. Emily took some really great pictures of GaryCon that I am going to share soon, along with some of my experiences. But first...the loot!
|The Loot En Masse! I had a budget, and I stayed in it. Mostly.|
|The guide to the weekend's events. Emily and I both picked up t-shirts that feature this design on the back.|
|A variety of foods delivered to your game. Including interestingly named salads!|
The Menu: Order from, and delivered to your gaming table. One word: Civilized. And "wow!" The blue plastic cups were for pop, and could be refilled for $1.00US the entire weekend. They also had a couple of differently coloured beer cups, similar design, that could be used for single day beer refills. As we don't drink beer, I am not exactly sure the cost.
|A nice dice bag and some GaryCon VI - six sided dice. The 6 had the demon idol face from the original Player's Handbook on it. Also the GaryCon VI challenge coin.|
|The miniature was designed for the con.|
|Bring a mining pick and ten foot pole, or you'll be sorry...|
Greg Gillespie's Barrowmaze! I was excited to see this, as I have followed a blog that uses it for the campaign backdrop. Definitely a creepy crawl. Solid. I would have liked to pick up the oversized map for it, but they either sold out or didn't have any by the time I bought it. No deep story behind this one; it's a pure old school crawl.
A pair of solo modules by Pacesetter Games. I have a fondness for small party or solo modules, as they bring me back to the days of Choose Your Own Adventures or Fighting Fantasy style books. The modules are made for generic old systems. I have read a bit of the first one and it seems pretty good.
|Modules from Eldritch Enterprises...danger of the adventures are rated in skulls.|
Frank Mentzer's module, The Case of the Missing Magic, was very interesting to me as it is a mystery. I am a big fan of whodunnits with faves such as Poirot, Holmes, & etc., so I was excited to see this offering. There are not too many fantasy mystery modules out there, as it is more challenging to write than hack, slash, and explore adventures. Tower of the Scarlet Wizard (rated 6 skulls...eeep) was written by that rascal James M. Ward. Jim reffed the all women's game on Saturday that Emily participated in. He ran them through Monty Haul's Tower of Lesser Doom. Emily had a very good time with it and picked up the module (signed by Ward) to run us through in the future.
|G/P Adventures - Haunted Halls of the Beggar King|
Ernie Gygax/Benoist Poire tourney mod. I have not read it too closely but it seems pretty solid. I really like the map artwork.
|AD&D: Still #1|
1st/2nd edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Still my favorite. No edition wars back then, it was all AD&D. The Book of Priest Craft was a nice find. I think I now have everything the published for the Birthright setting. For any fans of Game of Thrones, or gms wanting to introduce, politics, economics and religion into their game, it is a great background setting for having the players participate as regents and nobles of nations.
Not pictured: I got a couple of Players Options books: Player's Options and Combat and Tactics. It's when they started the heavy customization and design of characters. The Options books were pretty inexpensive, at 6.00US each, so I picked up extra copies as I do use some of the stuff out of them in my game. You can sort of see that the game was evolving (villainous-ly turning?) from AD&D to 3e with them.
Also Fighter's Challenge 1&2! These modules were designed for a Ref and one player in mind. TSR came out with two modules for each class. They are really good if you want to give one of your players a solo mission.
Picked up all 3 issues of Gygax Magazine. I was pretty lucky that they had one box remaining of issue #1 that arrived the second day of the con. I was there Johnny-on-the-spot to pick it up when they came in. This is a sort of reboot of the classic Dragon mag, and I would recommend them.
|For those who have everything else for the Pathfinder card game!|
Pathfinder mats on sale! For use with the Pathfinder Card Game. They are not really necessary for playing the game, but Emily and I are big fans of gadgets and accessories. When we play on the table pictured in the background, the cards are really hard to pick up off the table. These mats help out a lot in that. Basically, they are cool looking mouse pads of the "iconic characters" included in the base game.
The Pathfinder Card game is a great introduction to RPG style games. Spouses and friends who would have no interest in a full RPG will find the scope of this easy to take. Games are about an hour. The Pathfinder Card game is a big hit in our gaming group.
|Going on the wall in the computer room.|
Emily had the convention poster framed (!!) for my birthday. Epic. Notice the dragons on the wood frame. Much better than my idea to put it up using poster gum.
|The improved RPG Cosmology poster. Heading to the computer room!|
Poster of Cosmology of RPG games. The first version of this was originally in an article in Gygax magazine #1. It shows the relationship of various RPGs, starting with Dungeons & Dragons in the center, and other games radiating outwards from it by year, and vaguely grouped by relation (ex: d20 games to the left.)
This poster version has quite a bit more on it than the original one in the magazine. After reading the Gygax mag article I was wondering why Villains and Vigilantes was not on it (picture nerd-rage!) This improved full poster rectified this...but the original V&V was released in 1979, the second edition was printed in 1982. It also does not include the original super game, SuperHero 2044, which was released in 1978 by GameScience.
What a weekend! And what a pile of loot to remember the experience by.