(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)
I have to say, Origins rocked my socks so hard. I had a much better time with it than I thought I would. Better than any Gen Con I have gone to because it is a smaller, more intimate convention centered in a single hotel.
We started off to a slightly rocky start with the discovery that the tables in the Library where all of the writing seminar authors were in the Dealers room would not fit into the allotted space. Dylan Birtolo and I took charge and fixed it as best we could, figuring that it was easier to ask for forgiveness. Fortunately, Jean Rabe and Mike Stackpole were both pleased with the effort.
Dylan (AKA the Iron Writer) is the perfect convention buddy. He is awesome “booth cake” getting people into the Library and then selling books. Plus, he had my back at all times. Comforting since the Husband could not be at the convention. We both had moments where we needed to accommodate each other and it worked out well.
The conversation with my fellow Library denizens was spectacular. In particular, Maxwell Alexander Drake, his PA Evan, Ryan Kaelin, Bryan Young, and Daniel Meyers were particularly amusing. Getting to know them was brilliant. All of the denizens were fun to hang out with and speak on panels with.
Though it was a smaller convention, the opportunities to network, brainstorm, and have a really good time with other gaming professionals were abundant. There are several contacts I need to follow up on for future work. I particularly like the Big Bar on 2. First, I like truth in advertising. Second, it was a great place to mingle. I spent so much time with people I rarely get to see. It was wonderful.
The geektastic highlight of the convention occurred on Friday night when I happened upon John Scalzi, his wife Krissy, Robert (owner of Geek Chic), Pat Rothfuss and Wil Wheaton. I knew Pat was at the con. I had already spent time talking with him. But John surprised me. I was so pleased to see him and to meet his fierce and lovely wife. John introduced me to Wil and we talked about the time he crashed my convention 17 years ago* and talked about mutual friend, Ryan Macklin**. Then, I wandered off to go talk to Mike Stackpole again.
When I returned, they were gone from their seats but a jacket was left. I found the group in the Geek Chic room and returned the jacket to Krissy. Then I sat down to watch the gaming. Honestly, you had to be there to believe it. Boyan Radakovich (assistant producer of TableTop) was running a game for the crew and the trash talking was amazing.
Just before Felicia got there, Wil spilled his beer, prompting a flurry of activity and John to move his glass out of the way… which was then knocked over and broken. While that clean up went on, Krissy moved to a different seat and Felicia arrived. She promptly kicked a glass left on the floor—breaking it, too. All of which happened in less than five minutes.
This prompted someone to declare they were as destructive as rock stars. That demanded a rock star photo and Felicia handed me her phone, insisting on the photo. I got two pictures. You can see the best one here on John’s write up of the evening. Did I think to ask if I could get a picture with them? No***. Did I think to ask to get a photo with even one of them? No. Too much in the moment having a good time.
As soon as Boyan showed up with more games (Felicia did not like the game that started the rock star behavior) and I was suddenly roped into a game of BANG! by Wil. Oh, twist my arm. I used my naivety at the game to pretend to not be a bad guy, helped kill one of the deputies, and pretend to be a good guy… Until I tried to blow up Wil the Sheriff with dynamite. He was able to pass it on, there by blowing up and killing Felicia. Oops. She turned her trash talk on me****. Then Wil then murdered me like the punk I was. It was hilarious. A good time was had by all.
After that, I left. It was getting late and as much as I wanted to play Cards Against Humanity, it wasn’t fair for me to keep other fans from enjoying some time at the apex alphageek table in the room. It was so good to see John again and to meet Krissy—fierce and welcoming. I really enjoyed the whole thing.
*Wil didn’t remember the convention, StarQuest 95, but apologized anyway because he said it was 'a dick move and he was old enough to know better' even back then. I said it was all cool.
**I got to explain to Wil that I knew Ryan before he was Ryan Fucking Macklin from the Internet.
***Dammit. Will I ever learn?
****Felicia is an extremely talented trash talker. I’m also kind of sorry I blew her up.