Oh man, what a busy day… We woke up at seven in the morning, on time and without delays this time. We caught our bus downtown, rocked Starbucks for breakfast, met up with A and C while we were in line, and hustled to our first seminar: The Cadaver Synod.
Basically, in the 9th Century, there was a pope. He wasn’t particularly great or horrible, beyond being a pope in a rough political time. His successor died after only two weeks in office, and the guy that replaced HIM dug up the first pope’s body, put him on trial posthumously, excommunicated him, and had him sentenced to… execution.
Some time later, one of that pope’s successors held the trial again and exonerated the first. It was a shit storm.
The guy running this one was from the group that holds in-character debates about stuff like the Cuban Missile Crisis. While I’m sure that group of people was awesome, this guy was a bit of a dickbag. He made fun of us for choosing his lecture over doing anything else in that time slot, and complained constantly that his projector was turning his slides purple, which was an issue to him and him alone. While interesting and informative, he was not my favourite person.
Luckily my next seminar was back-to-back with his and I had to eject a little early to get to it. This one was about ballroom dancing and its evolution, from the strict and chaste dances of the Middle Ages to how saucy the tango was, to the deaths of a whole bunch of music instructors during World War One and how that influenced the rise of swing dancing and jazz. It was really interesting stuff, and the guy running the seminar was fun, funny, and the nerdliest nerd of nerdtown, which I found incredibly endearing.
After the dance seminar, I didn’t have much to do for a bit. I tried to hit up the entirely kick-ass Games on Demand room, where you can just sit around and play awesome indie games for a couple of hours, but that required generic tickets which I had yet to acquire. Rather than stand in line for an hour trying to get those tickets, I walked downstairs to the Exhibition Hall. This is what I found there.
That is but a small sampling of the crowd there, and it is fucking crazy. Moreover, I found these things:
Oh, and I totally met GeekyLyndsay in person. Woo!
After puttering around the Exhibition for a while, I made my way to the Retailer Lounge for the first time ever, and I’m super-glad I did. Free muffins? Check. Free coffee? Check. Freedom from the ridiculous press of people? Win!
I spent some time talking to a distributor there before making my way slowly to a panel on the subject of getting women into gaming and making sure there’s a comfortable place for then when they arrive. It was a great discussion and the three panellists (including the lovely Susan Morris, for whom I am developing something of a nerd crush) did an awesome job directing the flow. I was really intrigued by a few of the ideas brought up by the audience, though I think that a few of the gents in the audience were perhaps a touch more vocal than I would have liked. Believe me, I had questions, I had things I wanted to say, but when I’m in a room with a bunch of women who are telling you what they want from the gaming community, I try to focus on listening.
Also, I got to chat more with Sarah Darkmagic and her lovely man-friend, and they are both awesome.
After that panel, N and I spent some time touring around the Exhibition Hall again, looking at some costume pieces for her. I really appreciated having her there with me, because the Hall is great, and I love looking at all the cool-nerdy-weird stuff that people have for sale, but it’s a lot more fun when you have someone to share the experience with. And watching her happily shopping is infectious; it’s hard to be grumpy when she’s talking about how awesome her costume-for-nothing-in-particular is going to be.
I had a long chat with Richard from Wizards of the Coast about their brand and how weird it’s been lately. He’s a good dude, and I’d like to keep in touch with him, I think. I also finally met Tyson, my contact at Wizards of the coast, and I made sure to hug him in the creepiest way I legally could.
After N had to get to her next seminar, she passed me a few Generic Tickets so I rocked a quick game of Dungeon World in the Games on Demand room. The Game Master wasn’t strictly prepared, and I was easily the highest-energy person at the table (and also the only person capable of projecting his or her voice across the full length of the table), but I had fun anyway and died peppered with arrows before heading off to my last seminar of the night, a discussion on travel food in medieval Europe.
The guy doing the last talk had a lot of information, and I learned a TON about medieval food in general. Turns out, the whole Adventure Stew trope is actually totally a thing, and people would often travel with beans, salted meat, and grains, and together they would make a tasty soup. Though, to be fair, you wouldn’t need food on the road often, as there would be a town roughly a day away on any given road. Cool things to know for the future.
After that seminar, we ate, and headed to Hall C for a couple of rounds of “Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.” N got into two games, I got into one, and I was the first person killed in that game. Still, I had fun, and it’s always entertaining to watch people flail around trying to figure out who is killing them in their sleep.