Convention Reports
A Visit to GenCon 1996

GenCon 29 was held August 8-11, 1996, in sunny (for at least those days) Milwaukee, WI. GenCon is held in the Convention Center Formerly Known as MECCA, the Wisconsin Center. (MECCA = Milwaukee Exposition and Convention Center and Arena, a far more clever name than the "Wisconsin Center.") This year I was back to a bunch of game-playing, in contrast with last year, when I did a bunch of other stuff. I actually got to play some Living City this time! I did not make it to the RPGA Members' Meeting due to a number of reasons, unfortunately, but I did most everything else I planned on (including seeing the MST3K folks).

SLOT 1 - Living City Feature

I originally signed up for all three Living City events in prereg, but they must have filled up fast, as I only got into one, the Benefit in Slot 7. Anyway, I decided to try to generic into my original request of the Feature in Slot 1. It worked out fine. (I never did get into the Exclusive, more's the pity.)

This adventure was "The Orcslayer Scroll," in which we needed to recover a lost item to help with the war effort. It was pretty fun, and marked the return of a sawn-off Thurmananthalas Greymantle from the dead. The mission was successfully completed, and we garnered some cool things. (His Ring of Warmth has still not been of any use, but I like it.)

One thing that was interesting was the $6 Living character kit RPGA HQ was selling throughout the con. With it, you got character sheets for either Living City, Living Jungle, Virtual Seattle or Living Death (the RPGA's four "living" settings), along with a thin 3-ring binder and plastic protector sheets for your character sheet, and including a tube of dice. The profit was going to charity. The sheets were being promoted as having larger spaces to write in, and being on more interesting paper. Well, heck, I only have so much room in my bag. These sheets were twice as large (two sheets vs. one) as the current one, which I have no problem with the size on. (Of course, I exclusively use mechanical pencils, so I never have to sharpen them.) And I did photocopy the LC character sheets onto parchment paper for my use, anyway. And the binder, though small, would take up more room than my Living City three-fold folder I got a while back, and I already have dice, thank you. As you may have guessed, I did not purchase a kit :), but I suppose that some people might like it. It really was kind of slick, but just not for me. I'm not sure if HQ still has more of these or not.

SLOT 2 - Great Hall

Afterwards, I met a friend and we roamed through the Great Hall for a while. Oddly enough, this was a full run-though of each row in order, a rarity for me. I usually only get around to that on the last day, having sampled the "important" booths earlier.

Ramblings on a few of the more significant booths:

Fortress TSR, the styrofoam castle, was back again. (I wonder where it gets stored for 11.5 months of the year?) They were again running demos of a lot of their products, most of which don't interest me much. One interesting thing is that there was one of those giant gumball machines with Dragon Dice promos off on the side of the Fortress. Even though I've never played it, I got a couple of the dice because they're cool looking. TSR also had a bunch of minstrels and other people in costume performing and roaming the Great Hall.

FASA had the same booth in the same place as last year. (Although there were now dealers behind them, as this year almost all of the Great Hall was taken up by dealers, with only a small section devoted to computer games. The wargames had been moved upstairs.) The big news of the convention was Dunkelzahn's election to UCAS President (in the Shadowrun game), and his subsequent demise. I'm unsure of the details of this, as I've not bought Shadowrun products for a while, and I only saw a couple fliers telling of his assassination.

Wizards of the Coast had a much different booth this year, off on the east side of the hall. I'm unsure, but it may have been slightly smaller than last time, but more ornate. There were a bunch of tables there that I think were running demos of Magic: The Gathering and Netrunner. I did not spend much time there, as I'm pretty much sated as to Magic. There were no artists signing cards that I could see. One interesting thing was the display box of Mirage, the next Magic stand-alone expansion, as well as the first expansion for Mirage, whose name I forget. In any case, the packaging is all designed for both sets. Oh, and lest I forget, they're =still= giving prerelease demos for the Magic computer game. (Like they were two years ago.)

Decipher, in contrast, had a much more humble booth than WOTC, and was right behind the right rear corner of Fortress TSR for further contrast. I'm not much of a Star Wars card game fan, but I did pick up some cards at the con, and they had some nifty handouts I grabbed. (Including little metal fold-over pins with either the Alliance or Imperial symbols on) They were also running the movies continuously.

West End Games (to segue over to another Star Wars licensee) had its usual uninspiring booth. I've played the Star Wars RPG several times, and enjoy it, but I've never bought one of its products, so that was about half of the booth I skipped over. Now, don't get me wrong, WEG used to be my favorite game company, but they, over the course of several years, proved that they don't really care about quality products (setting aside the Star Wars license for a moment, WEG's big cash cow, as I really haven't looked over those products.) First, they drove my favorite game system (Torg) into the ground with silly plot developments and products, and then canceled it. (OK, so they claim sales dropped off, but I'm sure the silly plots helped that along.) The game systems that were based on Torg's excellent mechanics (Shatterzone and Masterbook) were canceled or bastardized. (Masterbook, only two years after its conception, is shifting from the almost-as-good-as-Torg 2d10 system, to the not-quite-as-good Star Wars d6 system. Of the first Masterbook products, (Masterbook is a generic system, a la GURPS) Indiana Jones was decent and Bloodshadows was too, from what I've seen (I haven't looked at the book or played it). But then it got silly with the "Tank Girl" book, the "Species" book (with the multiple color pictures of a woman's spine torn out), the "Necroscope" series of books, the "Tales from the Crypt" book and now the "World of Aden" book, I'm told a licensee of some SSI computer games. The underlying theme here is that all of those books, except Bloodshadows, are licenses. No original worlds. And the ones I've seen all violate (er, "modify") the Masterbook rules to the point its not really a generic system any more. (You can't really mix characters from the games, in other words.)

So, let's see. WEG has put out precious few original worlds in its life: Torg, Shatterzone, Bloodshadows, Paranoia. (It even had the license to Ghostbusters a while back.) Guess what? Books from all of these systems (I have reason to believe all of their stock) were being sold at GenCon for a dollar a book. I, of course, inflated my Torg collection (I am only missing four products now), but this really shows that they've given up on IMHO their best product. (And it was mostly gone by Sunday...) True, Omni Gaming Products has rented the license for Torg, and will be putting out new products shortly, (more on that later, in the discussion of the Torg seminar) but did the thought ever cross WEG's mind that maybe OGP would like to have back stock? They were also handing out Torg 20-siders (the coolest dice on the planet, mottled red and blue) free with a $10 purchase, (Which they said were out of a year or so back...) and I got almost a complete run of the Infiniverse newsletter for free as well. Well, I should get off my soapbox now. :)

White Wolf was also there. I'm rather unfamiliar with their product line, the whole concept of the World of Darkness and the game system not working for me. (Something about having to roll a lot of ten-siders, check versus a target number that you may or may not have to bug your GM for, and then finally coming up with a number of successes seems a bit complicated, compared with say Torg's one 20-sider, or AD&D's slightly less straightforward mechanics...) But there were a few interesting freebies, so I did peruse it a little while. The booth wasn't quite as interesting as when they brought in a hearse and coffin, but it wasn't shabby. White Wolf is launching a new game "Exile" sometime soon, with a typically mysterious background. I did get the feeling that it was related a bit to the World of Darkness. Oh, and never fear, White Wolf has trademarked and copyrighted the words "Exile" and "Grange." You will remember to send your licensing payment to WW when you talk about the Bible and US History, won't you? Just like you send your payment to TSR when you talk about World War II? (TSR had a {tm} sitting next to the word "Nazi" in a product a while back.)

Black Gate Publishing was there, as well, selling the _Legacy: War of Ages_ book and supplement (_Blades_), as well as sharing a booth with another company I unfortunately forget the name of. Legacy is a game inspired by the immortals from Highlander. I somewhat know Brandon Blackmoor (one of the owners) from Genie.

Phage Press had its usual booth, selling Amber things. The new Amberzine (#10) is not out quite yet, and I already have most of the stuff they were selling (with the exception of a couple of the t-shirts I keep looking at). I wish they would get more Amber material out.

Chaosium was having their Cthulhu for President campaign again this year. ("Why vote for the lesser evil?") I've never played a Chaosium product, but the presidential campaign pack (with poster, button, et al) tempted me. Of course, it seemed a bit overpriced, so I didn't buy it.

Shadis magazine (oops, "Alderac Entertainment Group") was handing out decks of their collectable card game, Legend of the Five Rings. I've never played it, though I did buy a deck a while back, and it's gotten good response. Shadis Magazine is pretty cool, even though I don't subscribe for want of time.

Chameleon Eclectic was not selling the Babylon Project RPG because, well, it isn't done yet, sorry. I played in a demo later in the con, where I will talk about my impressions of it.

The X-Files card game is not out quite yet, though I didn't actually talk to US Playing Card Company (I think that's the name) or play one of their demos, or get an autograph from one of the Lone Gunmen (of whom I glimpsed two signing at different times at the booth). I picked up one of the promo cards, though. It could be an interesting game, but the one opinion I heard of it was unfavorable.

R. Talsorian Games is coming out with a Bubblegum Crisis RPG "soon." It's going to be the first in a set of games based on the "Fuzion" system, which is based on RTG's Cyberpunk system and HERO's Champions system. It should be interesting (I saw a few of the pages of it), but I've had bad experiences with generic and licensed games. :)

I purchased this really interesting deck of cards from a place called Liquid Blue. Instead of the normal suits, it has Roses, Suns, Moons and Wheels, with really nice-looking detailing on the face cards. This all comes in a pouch. A bit expensive at $10, but it's neat.

There were also quite a few cool-looking computer games being demoed, including one called "Iron and Blood," that I now see from the flier is a Ravenloft game. It features really good 3D-type graphics (not =really= 3D, of course, there are no home systems that can do 3D yet) of the Mortal Kombat mold. Available I don't know when on DOS CD-ROM, Playstation and Sega Saturn.

After this, we headed to the Grand Avenue Mall for lunch. MECCA (er, the "Wisconsin Center") got a new vendor, but while the food is apparently better than before, it's more expensive. A 20-oz bottle of soda with a cheap plastic collector's cup came to $3.50. No thank you. We ended up eating with a couple people I know from Genie, Dave Gross (also the editor of Dragon Magazine) and Jay Fisher. It was fun talking with them, as I don't see them FTF more than twice a year.

SLOT 3 - RPGA Star Wars

I think that I would have to note this as the most fun game all convention. (Star Wars usually has an edge there.) This time, in "Alliance Training Mission #3," I played a Force-using Ewok and wreaked havoc. I even managed to get the commander of the mission riled up enough to shoot at me several times. (Hey, I had my reasons, and he wouldn't listen.) My redemption was that if it weren't for my actions and some good uses of the Force, we would have missed a good portion of the adventure.

SLOT 4 - Torg: "Rehearsal"

::twitch:: OK, I have no problem with people having house rules for their games, but this was a highly variant version of Torg that I didn't particularly much care for. I'm on the Torg mailing list, (send the message "subscribe Torg <your name>" to to subscribe) and I did see a couple fellow members there trying to get a spot with a generic ticket. (Ron Lundeen and one other, whose name I forget.) I had gotten preregged for this, as it it was the only Torg game in the book.

Anyway, I was the psychic Rachel Toree from who knows where assisting the Paris police department. This time, there had been some murders taking place with the victims being tied naked to pentagrams, then later jumping up and attacking the morgue workers. I had received a dream about the latest of these, and we were off to investigate the crime scene. "We" were: Jon LaLuke, Paris police detective, Inquisitor Germain, Warrior Nun Sister Maureen (based on Warrior Nun Areala), taxi driver Deane Demore, Intercosm Enquirer reporter Corgy Emerson and myself.

The changes make to Torg for this event: - Reality? Who needs a reality? You won't have a problem with disconnection in the mixed zone anyway. (:;whud whud:: goes my head on the table) Rachel does have an add in Reality, but apparently it serves no purpose.... - The bonus number table needs to be improved. 1 is now a -10 instead of a -12, 10 is a 0 instead of a -1, 20 is a +8 instead of a +7, and a similar shift across the board. Why this was changed is unclear. - Four wounds? Let's use six! (This is from Shatterzone/Masterbook, and I don't really have a problem with it. The damage table was changed as well, but I didn't see that.

As to where Rachel is actually from, well she's got psionics, Faith: Voodoo, and Spirit Medium. My guess was New Orleans or Haiti.

SLOT 5 - Miscellaneous

Early Friday morning, I tried to get into a Babylon Project demo, but it was full, and I decided not to watch as I was going to play in a full game at noon. After a bit of wandering (including an abortive attempt to get into the art show, which wasn't open yet), I encountered some other friends, and we adjourned off to play MIDI Maze.

MIDI Maze is a really, really neat game. A group of 8 or 16 people all sit at computers hooked up in a MIDI ring (sad to say, I forget the exact computer system, Amiga or Atari ST), and you all drive these smiley faces around a maze, shooting each other. Once you're hit three times, you're dead, and you recycle back to a random location in a few seconds. Ten kills, and you win the round. The person with the most wins in the hour time frame wins a prize. Great fun, especially since you see the name of your destroyer telling you to Have a Nice Day when you're killed. (One of the people other than my friends playing then had the name of "p chan," which made being killed by him particularly ignoble, since he's just a cute little pig.

After this, the group of us adjourned to the WEG booth to partake of more Torg stuff (some hadn't been there Thursday), and the Decipher booth to take in the Star Wars-ness of the card game. There, we learned of a free sealed-deck Star Wars game taking place in Slot 8. Well, we were there. :)

SLOT 6 - Babylon Project: "Lost Souls in the Night"

At noon, I went over to Bruce Hall to play in a Babylon Project demo. (A full four-hour game, as opposed to the 2-hour demo things being held in the first and last slots of each day.) My verdict? It's all right. I'll probably buy them for the source material at least. It won't be ready until October.

There are a lot of stats, which I'm told is a hallmark of Chamelion Eclectic. There are four Cultural (Charm, Finesse, Presence and Xenorelation), five Mental (Intelligence, Insight, Wits, Perception, and the special one, Psionic), and four Physical (Strength, Agility, Endurance and Coordination). Then there are three derived (Initiative, Toughness and Resolve). I did not write down how these are generated, but the Toughness calculation is odd enough to come up with negative numbers occasionally (like for my character). This is not really a problem, but it looks odd.

Each race has a standard number for each main stat (no, the Vorlons and Shadows don't appear here; this game is set in the time period after the Earth-Minbari war up to the first season of B5), with the highest I think a 6. In order to create a character, you can move up to two points to or from a particular stat (keeping total points the same, of course). The designers are giving thought to giving PCs an extra point or two to personalize them more.

Skills work as usual, they add on to a stat for rolls (which stat depends on the situation). A character can have specialties, as well. When using one, they get a further +2 to the roll. PCs (but not most NPCs) also have Fortune Points, which are handed out for good roleplaying and the like. How they work is described below. (Apparently, experience and advancing characters is another mechanic.)

The die-rolling system is rather odd. You take six six-siders and roll them. 1 or 2 counts as -1. 3 or 4 as 0, and 5 or 6 as +1. Add all these modifiers to your skill value, to beat a difficulty number. If you roll a 5 or 6, you keep rolling. On these extra dice, you disregard everything except for a 5 or 6, which gets you another +1 and another reroll. Spending a Fortune Point allows you to reroll any die (you would usually select a -1) and replacing its old value with whatever you roll. I found this system to be a bit confusing at first, but it gets easier with use. I'm still not convinced I like it, though.

Ranged combat is adjudicated on a silhouette with a hex grid on the character sheet. You specify where you're shooting, and if you get a good enough result, you hit that spot. A lesser success will cause the shot to scatter up to two hexes in a random direction. PPG combat is described as being really deadly, like in the show, but we didn't get a taste of it in our game.

SLOT 7 - Living City Benefit

This time, the LC Benefit was "Destrier's Despair," which was mentioned in the registration book as giving paladins the chance to get a bonded warhorse. Well, we had two paladins in the party (some feared that there would be parties of all paladins, but we didn't have that problem). Well, we successfully got the warhorses for the paladins, and I ended up with one as well. (Me in this case being Whalen Vandersnee, specialty cleric of Selune.) This was pretty fun, as there were a couple of good characters, like the monk of Eldath and the gnome who claimed he was a mage, but was strongly hinting he was something else. :)

SLOT 8 - Star Wars Sealed Deck Tournament

Yep, here it was, the free sealed deck tourney, that wasn't in the prereg book. I was scheduled to play in the RPGA Amber game, but it had been inexplicably canceled, saving me the hard decision.

We all (and there were quite a few) got a white-border starter and a A New Hope booster, were assigned a side (I got Dark) and an opponent that we traded one side to. (I gave him my Light Side cards, he gave me his Dark Side ones.) Then we constructed a 40-card deck, and had at it. I've only played a little bit, and I didn't do all that well. (Scoring was thus: a win was worth 2 points, with a positive tiebreaker to be the number of Force you were left with. Losing got you 0 points with a negative tiebreaker of your opponent's remaining Force. If time was called, the one with more Force got 1 point, with the positive tiebreaker of your remaining Force, and the loser got the same as otherwise.) I lost the first round by time. (I didn't have quite enough characters on the field to prevent Force Drains.) The second was hard-fought, with my opponent putting down a planet for his first location and me dropping a TIE <something> there, unopposed for many turns. Unfortunately, I forgot to do the 2-point Force Drain there twice during the game, and I probably lost due to that. I was finally obliterated with my opponent having 5 Force left. The final game, neither of us were too concerned with who won as we were extremely at the loser's table. (Seated last!) We stopped after a while, with my opponent conceding that he couldn't win. Everyone got two black-border boosters at the end.

Oddly enough, none of my opponents fielded a no-Dark-Side-Force location as their first one. (I, having one of the Death Star ones, of course used it to keep the Light Side from deploying there.) Whether this was because they didn't get any, or they didn't know this strategy, is unclear to me. (I'm not familiar enough with the card set to know how many no-Dark-Side- Force locations there are, or their rarities.

SLOT 9 - MST3K Presentation

My friends and I arrived about 8:15 to wait in line for the first MST3K presentation, in the Plankington Theater. We were among the first people in line, and the time passed quickly. At 10:00, the presentation started with Mike Nelson and Mary Jo Pehl announcing the three MST3K shorts that would be played. (In case you're interested, they were "Date With Your Family," "Why Study Industrial Arts?" and "Last Clear Chance," only the first of which I had seen.) Afterwards, Mike, Mark Jo and Mike's wife Bridget (Jones, I think) took the stage and fielded questions. The answers to most I knew before from monitoring the MST3K newsgroups, with the exception that Crow and Tom puppets will be available for purchase. Oh, and they rattled off the names of a bunch of movies from the Sci-Fi Channel's archives, including "Them!" I'm unsure if those are exactly the movies that they're going to do this new season, but my vote would go for "Nightfliers," probably the most pathetic movie I ever rented.

It seemed that the puppet wranglers couldn't make it, so only those three showed up. (Unfortunately; we had been expecting a live show, which the prereg program seemed to suggest.) But otherwise, it was pretty cool.

SLOT 10 - The Future of Torg Seminar

After the MST3K presentation ended, we went over to the Hyatt for the Future of Torg seminar. This was especially important since some of our number were the ones giving it.

The turnout was pretty good, including a couple of WEG employees who hovered outside the door for a while before taking seats at the back of the room and spoke not a word during the presentation. Shawn and Steve of Omni Gaming Products could not be there, but Josh was there to provide the scoop. Yes, they know that they are very late on Infiniverse #2 and any other products. But there is a possibility of getting Infiniverse published on the Web. There are two products planned: _Kaahbusters!_, which will greatly change the Living Land, and _The Adventures of H. Mack McGraw_, which is an anthology of adventures in the Nile Empire. There are some upcoming plot elements with the election of a new U.S. President, as well as a new Rotan in the Star Sphere. If the Coar candidate there wins (as seems likely), the Space Gods will likely take a much more interventionist role in the Possibility Wars.

BTW, despite myself taking an unplanned part in the presentation (giving out the information on how to subscribe to the Torg mailing list), I have no official connection to OGP. I'm just a friend of Josh's.

After the seminar, we hit the Great Hall again, and had some lunch.

SLOT 11 - Star Wars Seminar, Role-Playing Chess

At 4:00, we returned to the Plankington Theater to see the Shadows of the Empire/Star Wars Special Edition seminar, put on by Steve Sansweet, Director of Specialty Marketing for Lucasfilm. I had seen this before at Marcon, but it almost seemed as if the video from the Nintendo 64-bit game had been improved. (It was really washed out at Marcon.) The presentation was almost exactly the same, with the same jokes. :) I talked about this in the Marcon report. Anyway, the quick summary is that Shadows of the Empire is a novel, a comic series, a "making of" book, a trading card set (painted by the Brothers Hildebrandt), a Nintendo 64-bit game and a RPG sourcebook, all either already released, or soon to be. Star Wars Special Edition will be released in 2-4 week intervals starting in February. The estimate is that it will be on 1000 screens, choosing THX screens first. There is some new footage added to each of the trilogy, (including an encounter with Jabba the Hut in the first one) and some others redone in CGI. It should be fun to see the films again.

After this, some of us hunted for something to do in slot 12, and settled on the "Kim Sim," getting tickets for it. (The others had games already.) Then, we wandered into a Live Role-Playing Chess session. Run by Aaron Pavao and Sancho Games, this is a full-size variation of chess. Each player takes the place of a standard chess piece (the king being the Monarch instead, and the queen being the Mage, the knights being the Thieves and the rooks being the Warriors; er, I guess just the bishops are the same, sorry). Since this was my first time playing it for a long time, I was just the standard Dark Monarch's Warrior. Others picked variations on their pieces, like the thieves that became Ninjas. There were no pawns this time, as we had 16 people, but I think that the rules cover them as well. Movement is limited, so for instance, the Warriors can only move three spaces. Combat is determined by rock-paper-scissors, with the loser losing more hit points that the winner (this was determined by the exact pieces involved). The combat continues until one dies, or one chooses to run away. His opponent selects a spot to move that player to. I was doing well, being the beneficiary of a couple hit-point enhancing spells, and was beating on the opposite Warrior, when one of the opposing Bishops teleported deep into our territory, and when in peril of his life, cast some sort of explosion spell that killed everyone within two spaces, including the Dark Monarch, me, and several others of our side. My opponent I had moved out of the radius so one of the Dark Thieves could beat on him as well, so he didn't die. Light went on to win with probably five or so people still alive, but we were close in points. (Points, I later found, were handed out at the discretion of the judge, for good role- playing of deaths and the like.) We were hampered by having a very young Mage, who couldn't decide what to do each turn. (I try very hard to keep from being prejudiced by youngsters at cons, but they keep trying to convince me otherwise. ::sigh:: )

BTW, the rules for Live Role-Playing Chess are available from Sancho Games, who had a booth there.

SLOT 12 - The Kim Sim

I'm not generally into live-action role-playing, but this was pretty fun. We had about fifty or so players, who split into the Starfleet (yes, this was Star Trek) disciplines, Command, Sciences, Engineering, Security and Medical. We created characters, and were then dumped into a ship on a training mission. We were each given eight Rationale cards, which we could spend before or during the game to get skills or devices. We had to provide a rationale for this sudden knowledge during the game, though. (But, since this is the Star Trek universe, silly things like that happen every day.) This was a pretty interesting system of rules. Walkie-talkies were used to simulate intra-ship communications and talking to the computer. All of the judges, generally one per room, were linked by headsets.

Of course, we ran into problems, which we solved after much perplexity. (I was in Engineering most of the time, and didn't really see anyone playing way out of character, but apparently there were some Security people just kicking back in the Mess Hall, and some Command people who could just not get what was going on.)

I was Wilmott, the Bolian Engineer, with interest in musical instruments. Hey, I wanted to be different. (In case you don't know what a Bolian is, think of the Enterprise-D's barber, shown in a couple episodes "cutting" Picard's hair. Mr. Mott is blue, somewhat heavyset, and with a ridge over the top of his head. I think a Bolian appeared in another episode too, but I don't recall the exact circumstances.

The highlight was an holographic appearance of Ensign Harry Kim to encourage us to persevere. After that, Garret Wang dropped out of character and talked to us a bit about himself. This was his first gaming convention, and he liked the wide focus. He's used to skiffy cons, where one to two things are the focus. There's something for just about everyone at GenCon. He also explained that he remembered playing D&D when he was in middle school. He would take d4s and d6s into multiple-choice tests, and if he didn't know the answer, he'd roll it. He said that he had been awake 37 hours (he didn't explain why, though; I don't think that filming for Voyager has started yet for the upcoming season).

SLOT 13 - Computers 2046AD, More Great Hall

This was the requisite Erick Wujcik seminar. He talked about what computers would evolve like in the future, and how to role-play it out. Unfortunately, he got sidetracked, and although that was still interesting, he didn't get all the way through the presentation. (And I was pretty tired by then, even with the help of Dr Pepper, so I wasn't fully enjoying myself.) Erick is a very well-read man, and he gave a few suggestions of good books, though.

After this, I met a friend to hit the Great Hall. Despite earlier reservations of hitting the MST3K autograph line (AKA it's gonna be long), we decided to go for it. It turned out you picked up a ticket (there being only 100) ahead of time. Since we both had forgotten our copies of the _MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide_ at our respective homes, we rushed around the Great Hall, and found copies of the movie poster. (These are neat, BTW. The back is a mirror image of the front.) So we got these signed, and were out in 15 minutes or so. Mike has a Big Head, BTW.

SLOT 14 - Still More Great Hall, Anime, Art Show

One of the first things I snagged was at the Del Rey booth, because of a heads-up Steve Sansweet had given us the day before at the Star Wars seminar. They were handing out free copies of _Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels_ by Bill Smith of (you guessed it) West End Games. He was signing them, as well. That was cool, especially since I didn't even have to wait in line for it.

I cruised the Great Hall a little more, then went upstairs for the anime presentation, that I had not seen any of all weekend. I was treated to the end of a Ranma 1/2 movie I hadn't seen, some El-Hazard, a Ranma movie I have on tape (I really should have done other stuff then, but I didn't want to lose my seat, but as soon as the Ranma was over, the crown lessened noticeably. Oops.), and more of El-Hazard. I wanted to see the end of it, but there was still much to do, so I went for the art show. I wished I had more time for it, but I went through kind of fast. Artists were already packing up, anyway. There was nothing that really grabbed my attention. Then, for the last half-hour or so, I cruised the Great Hall, looking for those last-minute bargains. At 4:00, the con closed, for yet another year.

I understand that next year, GenCon will be shifted to another section of the Wisconsin Center that they haven't built yet, as the current part gets renovated. The block behind the Convention Center part of the Wisconsin Center was being demolished during GenCon, prompting con-goers walking by to watch in interest, and think about how their characters could take the building down faster. :) The next year, GenCon will take over the newly completed Wisconsin Center, but next year, things will be confusing.

But I hope to see you there! :)

This file is Copyright 1996 by Timothy J. Bailey, but may be freely distributed provided that this copyright notice remains intact and attached to the file, and that nothing is charged for it save normal download costs. Certain terms are trademarks of and/or copyright to their respective owners.