Sunday, August 24, 2014

Birthday Gaming Extravaganza 2014

As I did last year, I threw another gaming weekend in celebration of my birthday. I don't have anything too special to say about it, but  I have a few pictures of the fun.

Saturday night was a few games of Epic Spell Wars, then a long roleplaying session with our home-brewed Marvel Superheroes rules. Pizza was interspersed throughout. I would have taken pictures but it was all theater of the mind and I'M NOT LETTING YOU SEE MY IMAGINATION. So there.

The lazy bastards slept in so I got a game of Marvel Dice Masters in against myself. I need to play more of this. No one else agreed that morning so they missed out on a great game. I shouldn't have made them breakfast but I did.

Then we played more Epic Spell Wars. We really love this game. Like LOVE it, love it.

And then I forced everyone to play HeroQuest. I don't know why everyone puts up a fight when I break this out. A fantastic time is always had by all, especially since we have no problem interjecting roleplaying into the mix. This adventure was actually a continuation of last year's quest, with the heroes hired by Prince Magnus to hunt down the true leader of the sinister cult encountered last time.

Madness inducing fishmen are encountered. Heroes in the room had a chance to lose their turn, based on Mind points.
Some culty cultists, who were having a nice meal until the heroes showed up.
The Elf and Wizard find an evil idol...
While the Dwarf and Barbarian clear out the rest of the monsters.
The cult leader and his Chaos Warrior bodyguards, one of which was murdered by a Genie, courtesy of the Elf.
The Barbarian joins the fray while the Dwarf struggles to even get in the camera shot with his stumpy legs.
After slaying the Barbarian, the cult leader is shanked by the Wizard while the elf distracts him.

All in all a fun quest. My favorite moment was when the Elf tried to search for the dead Barbarian's loot:

Elf- "I grab the Barbarian's coin purse."

Zargon- "As you lean down to grab it, a rat runs by and snatches it, scampering down the hall and disappearing."

Elf- "Shit. Well, I'll take the Barbarian's broadsword then."

Zargon- "As you turn to reach for the sword, you find a much, MUCH larger rat with its paws wrapped around it, growling at you."

Elf- "You know what? Fuck it. He can keep it."

After that it was burgers and everyone went home. It was a fantastic time and I can't wait until next year's BGE! Happy gaming!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014-Day Two

After crashing hard following Day One, we woke early the next morning to continue the Comic Con madness. Hereafter follows the account of...

Day Two

This being only our first con, Brigid did an extremely brave thing and decided to cosplay. She worked up a full costume for Doctor Who/Torchwood's Captain Jack Harkness, complete with awesomely badass (and extremely expensive) coat.

The day before had been about taking in the sights and checking the lay of the land. Today was to be all business. With a jam packed schedule of autographs, photo ops and panels, this was going to be the true test of our con mettle.

The first thing we did upon entering was head straight to the signing area. We waited in line about an hour for John Barrowman, who was a tiny bit late since he had come straight from shooting and I'm sure was exhausted. However, John was extremely friendly and accommodating to his fans and had great energy at the table. Not only did he sign a picture for us, but he also signed Brigid's Captain Jack coat while she was wearing it!

Then we stopped at Sean Astin's table and he was very friendly. I got him to sign my mini Lord of the Rings SBG book, right over Samwise's profile.

We also spotted James Marsters at a distance:

And Jason Momoa, who did a walkthrough of the signing area. Dude is fucking huge. I took a video and the thing looks like a damn sasquatch film:

After getting our signatures, we went to the Star Wars comics panel. We let shortly after it began. We didn't recognize the artists, the room was small, it was hard to hear and generally bored us to death. So we snuck out and went back to get Eve Myles signature.

Eve was awesome. She was super friendly, and even though we had to pay $20 for table pictures, she let us do multiple for that amount and was fun and silly. The whole thing was a riot.

We tried to hunt down Jewel Staite, but she seemed to have disappeared. She didn't seem to be around much on Saturday at all. Oh well, we would catch her on Sunday

Giving up on Jewel, we hurried over to the amphitheater because the Torchwood Reunion panel was going to start in an hour and a half. Now, this might seem excessive to try and line up that early, but people had already been lining up for an hour before this. Try as they might to keep the area clear and send people away, a mass of about 1000 people eventually congregated at the bottom of the stairs to the auditorium. Brigid and I managed to sneak in the side near the front, but that was about the time shit hit the fan.

You see, at the bottom of these stairs was a foyer surround by a semicircle of glass with 5 doors situated at even points in this semicircle. The foyer held about 500 of these rabid fans, who were packed like sardines. I wanted to take a picture of the crowd, but I literally couldn't get my phone out of my pocket. Now, only two of the 5 door were open and the other 500+ people waiting were streaming out these doors into the convention center. The nutty part of all this?

The amphitheater only holds 350 people.

This mass of writhing nerds was composed of people who had been waiting 2 hours (while breaking the rules about where to wait as much as possible), people who had been waiting an hour or less (while following the rules) and a small war was beginning to break out as to who could get in first. Some of the 2 hour people had been pushed further back and were pleading to be let in first. The hour people were trying their best to keep them back and wanted only the front of the crowd let in. There was yelling, pushing, and some people who tried to climb the sides of the escalators and run past the crowd control people.

At this point they threatened to cancel the panel and a deafening silence fell over the crowd. The organizers asked everyone to move back, so the crowd started to move. But then, the rear of the crowd past the doors (who couldn't hear the announcement) began to push forward to keep their spot. This meant the people at the back near closed doors had nowhere to go, so were being squished and also pushed forward. People not at the edges of the crowd (Brigid and I included) began to be ground together and generally mushed. It was a miracle nobody actually got hurt.

Finally the organizers made everyone stop and began taking people 10 at a time from the front of the crowd to get in, under threat of cancellation if we made a fuss. Luckily Brigid and I got in and the panel was fantastic. Nothing I post here will be able to do it justice, so I am just going to direct you to Brigid's YouTube Channel, where several videos reside.

We went home and crashed shortly thereafter with a dinner of various snacks acquired from the nearby 
7-11. Not the best of plans, but we could barely move and that was the easiest, closest thing.

That's Day Two! If you haven't checked out Day One, go here and stay tuned for Day Three!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014-Day One

This past weekend my wife and I attended Boston Comic Con.

This was our first time going, and our first con in general, and we had a blast. So much happened that I honestly can't remember everything that happened, but I figured a few of my fellow nerds might like to hear my experiences. This is probably going to be long, so settle in. This is just the first of three days.

Day One

Bags packed, we hopped a bus down to Boston. We were both excited and terrified.

We left with enough time to get to our hotel, check-in and head right to the con. Luckily we stayed at the Seaport Hotel, which just happened to be right across the street from the Seaport World Trade Center where the con was being held. That meant we could exit the building and look right at this:

We didn't get a good pic, but there were two lines that went into the building: one that went down the street to the left and another that went down the street and around the side of the building to the right. We ended up in that line, and our timing couldn't have been better because the line ended up doubling, then tripling back on itself after that. Being smart, we got our bands ahead of time and didn't have to slow down to get scanned or buy tickets.

We had a little bit of time before the first Q&A panel, so we wandered around a bit.

We got to meet gorgeous cosplay maven, Ivy Doomkitty:

You're welcome for that link up there, by the way.
Took a short trip in the TARDIS:

This one was the same size, inside and out.
And found some fuzzy, fluffy versions of the Doctor as well:

Don't worry, I was keeping an eye on those angels.
The first panel came up really quickly and we had to rush but we finally got to see Samwise Gamgee himself, Sean Astin.

He was surprisingly higher energy than I expected and told some great stories. Most of the questions were about Lord of the Rings of course, but that was why I was there anyway. It was most thoroughly enjoyable.

This is where I get to impart a little bit of wisdom learned my first con that I will carry with me all my days.

At some point, as we did, you will realize that you haven't eaten all day. You will be starving and head toward the food line. This line will be filled with sweaty, cranky, hungry people, half of which will be wearing some sort of costume. As the line grows closer, you will get your first glimpse of the menu. Among the $3 cans of soda and $8 slices of pizza you will see what seems like a sensible option. The cheapest item on the menu, it still looks like a robust choice that should last the rest of the day. As you near the counter, you can finally see it, its smooth, pink skin glistening with drops of oily sweat and surrounded by an envelope of golden bread. The smell will make your mouth water, but I am telling you now.

Do not eat the Con Hot Dog.

Not only will it fail to live up to your expectations, it will dash all hopes you have had up until this point that food was ever an option. The hot dog itself will me dense and salty, sitting in your stomach like an anchor. The bun will be dry and tasteless, its abrasive texture flaying what few taste buds survive the hot dog's initial assault from your tongue. And the next morning you will have a bout of gastrointestinal distress that will leave you glued to the toilet at 6:30 am and questioning the merits of your religion or lack thereof.

We made this mistake. Listen to us. 


After our "meal" we wandered around some more, and ran into the local chapter of the 501st. They had a great backdrop where we did our best to imitate action figures:

Well, I did anyway.
We also got to pose with both Rebels and Imperials:

The Dark Lord of the Sith does not appreciate selfies.
We also found a stand that sold some amazing prints. We bought five total, but these two are my pride and joy:

Those two are definitely getting framed an hung up in the ol' underground lair.

We ended our day by going to Jewel Staite's Q&A and that was an absolute blast. She was sweet and funny, and probably very sick of Firefly and Kaylee questions by the end. However, there was one event during the panel that was just amazing. You see, apparently Jewel and Nathan Fillion have been having a middle finger war for many years now, thinking of new ways to flip each other the bird at any opportunity, Jewel decided to get the audience in on this. She used her phone to take a picture of everyone there flipping Nathan Fillion off. About 15 minutes later, this ensued:

I don't think I've laughed harder in a long time. Getting to have Nathan call in and be a part of things was one of those amazing things that only happen at cons and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

After the panel we made our way back to our room and crashed hard, readying ourselves for another, longer day the next day.

So, that's it for my Day One report! Head on to Day Two!