Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Part Three: Gary Con VIII Video

The last part of what came through the eye of my camera consists of a collection of random video shorts (some are really, really short).  You can play the whole thing end to end and get a better sense of Gary Con's atmosphere, or hunt for specific parts you may be interested in.  Total time 23 minutes. Here is the list of contents and their timing:

  • Start: Frank Mentzer introducing his D&D game (VIP gaming room)
  • 03:08 Jim Ward speaking at his seminar on freelancing (auditorium)
  • 08:11 Luke Gygax running an AD&D game (open gaming area)
  • 09:10 Jeff Easley at the Gary Con HQ desk
  • 10:01 WWI air combat game (miniatures gaming room)
  • 10:58 Wayne "Von Deekin" Targo & Star Wars Armada game (miniatures gaming room)
  • 12:02 Gondor Civil War game (HMGS gaming area)
  • 12:54 Chronologically--Simon Todd, Lloyd Metcalf, Frank Mentzer, Diesel, Darlene, Jeff Butler, Lisa LaForce, Jeff Easley, Lou Zocchi, Tim Kask, and random crowd shots (Exhibitors' Hall)
  • 14:52 Duke Seifried and Peter Adkison (open gaming hallway)
  • 15:48 TSR party on Saturday evening--lots of former TSR folks here (main lobby lounge)
  • 17:34 Steve Pokorny & David Zeb Cook (VIP gaming room)
  • 17:57 Circus Maximus (miniatures gaming room)
  • 18:22 Ernie Gygax introducing his AD&D game (VIP gaming room)
  • 21:03 Merle Rasmussen and his Top Secret game (VIP gaming room)

That's it for now.  See you next year!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Part Two: Gary Con VIII Pictures

Already Day Two.  By the time I even paid attention, Days Three and Four came and went in a blur.  I was having way too much fun to take notice (I didn't *want* to).  Good thing I took pictures.  Dashing down hallways and up the stairs, randomly peeking into VIP game rooms, snapping shots here and there, catching a game whenever I could, hugging old friends, scribbling the occasional autograph, or grabbing some food along the way: all in a day's work.  Sleep would wait another day.  Onward!

Another days begins.  Behold dawn from one of the rooms at the Grand Geneva.  It's cold out, well below freezing, and wolves howl in the distance (they missed the convention), but this won't stop hours of hot and furious gaming just a few steps away. Thanks to Wendy Swanson Lord for this image.
Someone caught me in flagrante delicto while I plotted my fiendish move. I didn't "have a bad feeling about this," but the other side sure should've...  I ran Admiral Akbar, and my grinning partner on the right had Leia.  We'd just blown up an imperial corvette and were looking forward to cornering the now-unescorted imperial star destroyer foolishly bearing on us.  Leia was aboard the torpedo attack ship, playing very, very aggressively.  Akbar on the fleet's capital ship, ordered broadside after broadside, while shouting "It's a trap!" (Always wanted to say this...)  The alliance thus hammered their imperial foe, skillfully dodging a Gladiator attack vessel which never got a shot off on our ships.  Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker ambushed and killed Darth Vader and, with the rest of the X-Wings squadron, annihilated the imperial fleet's entire complement of tie-fighters.  A great victory for the alliance!
This is an earlier game.  I was on the imperial side... again.  This time we ran two Gladiator attack vessels and an imperial raider against a Corellian corvette and Mon-Calamari cruiser.  Hmmm... in retrospect this was rather bold of us.
Here's the imperial fleet's initial line up.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Part One: Gary Con VIII Pictures

At last, the convention is underway.  I was going to write an introduction, but then my day went from 6:00am to 11:30pm.  So, here we are, Monday morning already, with a bunch of pictures to format and little time to do so.  I'm glancing with despair at even more from Days Two-to-Four that will need some attention as well.  I'll try to comment as I paste these images into the blog (reformatting them is about as exciting as root canal, but hey, at least they'll all be here for years to come.)  Hope some of the enjoyment I experienced will transpire through what you can see, and that I can share the fun with you.  If not, well then, start planning now to come next year!

Early morning and the registration line is growing.  Good thing that more than half of the attendees were pre-registered!
Breakfast in a blur...
The first game is already over--Wings of Glory. About two fun-filled hours of WWI aerial combat, trying to guess the other guy's moves and ending up in the silliest situations. Wayne "Von Deekin" Targo, the referee, modified the standard rules (for the best) to make the game more detailed, colorful, and exciting. It's still pretty simple. I've been a fan since the first day I tried this. When Gary Con IX comes around, I expect to see full tables. I'll be attending (even though I'm generally not registered for events). It's not Mystara or Calidar, but it flies, therefore... If you're local, be sure to join the Southern Lakes Area Gamers (aka SLAG) for more of this. We meet every 3rd Sundays of the month, at the Pizza Ranch in Elkhorn, WI, for all-day gaming.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Day -1: GaryCon VIII Pictures

Alright, enough with the snow.  The storm tapered off yesterday, at around 2 or 3 pm.  The sun made its reappearance a bit later, and in all its glory at dawn today.  It was a cold and crisp morning.  The thermometer on my deck read 7F (-14C).  It's back up to near-thawing levels by now (enough to work out a sweat if you go for a walk).  The snow is blindingly bright, and the sights around the Grand Geneva breath-taking.  If you're in the Milwaukee or Chicago vicinity and hadn't planned on coming over, treat yourself to a day-trip to Gary Con.  Discover a beautiful resort, hobby games galore, good food, and a scintillating winter wonderland all around nearby Lake Geneva.  How could anyone miss this?  Visitors from as far away as Europe, Hawaii, and Australia made it this year, along with people from all across continental US and Canada.  If you're local, there's really no excuse for missing this yearly event. Here are a few more pictures of the day before Gary Con.  Some of the photos are too large to fit properly here (click on a picture to view a larger image).

"Gary Con"
Grand Geneva
Step in and sit by the fireplace in the lobby.
Grand Geneva
Still a bit nippy for basking under the sun, but the indoor pool is pretty snazzy.
"Gary Con"
Somebody's been busy
"Gary Con"
A few more banners
Gary Con
It must have been these guys.
Gary Con
Or the Convention Meister.
Gary Con
Time to fold piles of T-shirts.
Grand Geneva
One of several VIP rooms
Gary Con
One of the game rooms on the lower level
Grand Geneva
Remember the empty hallway yesterday?  ...not anymore!
Grand Geneva
The dealers room in the making
Grand Geneva
The auditorium.  I plan on running a visual presentation for Calidar in 2017, complete with art, maps, & Q&A
Grand Geneva
One of the gaming rooms upstairs
Grand Geneva
One of several seminar rooms, upstairs
A LEGO diorama displaying Grand Geneva grounds
This picture is from Alex Kammer.  Couldn't resist adding it here.
Grand Geneva
Here a picture from John Reyst.  Nice digs!
Grand Geneva
In my view the best gaming room, upstairs.  Check out the view from the window (see next image)
Grand Geneva, Gary Con, Lake Geneva WI
The best view from the Grand Geneva.  Sorry for the imperfect picture.  That's it for today...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"Pre-" Pre-GaryCon VIII Pictures

I decided to take a moment to drive over to the Grand Geneva, where Gary Con VIII will be taking place.  Since the building is a long and twisty one, I assumed that all activities would take place mostly near one end or the other.  A strategic decision was needed as to where to park my car, considering how busy the resort is supposed to be this weekend.  If I have time tomorrow, I might take another swing at it, just for the fun of it.  Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of what the place is like.  So far, this looks pretty good.
Welcome to Wisconsin's fine weather.  Don't forget your snowshoes.
We do have a summer.  At some point. . . honest.
Get in already and sit by the fireplace.
Sorry, no pool today.  Try again tomorrow.
Should I peek and take a picture?  ...nah.  I'll leave them be.
One of the hallways to the various torture chambers.  There are more of these hallways to get lost in.
One of the future torture chambers, I'm guessing.
Done for today.  All aboard the Lake Geneva trolley for a downtown ride.