As a gaming convention virgin I really didn’t know what to expect from Con on the Cob in Hudson, Ohio. I’ve only been to a few “other” conventions of any sort (a toy-fare in Pittsburgh, PA and the Triplet Convention twice with my family), so I understood the general concept. Gamers gather, play all their favorite games, try out some new games, check out some cool and/or weird art, books and other gaming-related products, attend seminars, enjoy some entertainment and other parties.
Matt and I contacted many of the artists, vendors, game producers and other special guest to set up interviews and promote this site and our larger project of what Through Gamer Goggles is about to become.
And then we arrived.
We were a little early by intent, to give us time to meet Andy Hupp – the coordinator for the convention and artist extraordinaire (or at least extraordinarily weird) – as well as set up our own table and orient ourselves to the hotel facilities.
The first day Matt and I met a lot of artists, developers, etc. Check out the interviews! I cannot possibly thank all of you enough. But special thanks go out to Vicky Beaver from Savage-Mojo; Ben who ran some D&D Dungeon Delve encounters; Mary Ann of Chicken Hut Games; Jay and Sue of Lonely Die Press, John, Ryan, Ed, and Matt of Silvervine Games.
While I was secretly thankful for a cold that left my nose stuffy and unable to smell some of the less-than-hygienic gamers, I found this to be the most welcoming and friendly crowd ever. For a bunch of dice-rolling, basement dwelling, introverted geeks, even someone as shy as myself found it easy and enjoyable to interact with so many different people. As far as I could tell, a good time was had by all.
About the convention itself, I decided to break-down my reflections into the following four segments.
Things I Wanted to Do And Did
I interviewed several game writers/producers/gurus. These will be posted to the site a.s.a.p. I also made tons of contacts within the gaming industry. As a very shy person, it was nice to step out of my shell, and the convention atmosphere (and Andy Hupp’s natural and contagious enthusiasm) facilitated to bridge that gap. I specially enjoyed Destiny Beard’s semi-impromptu mini-concert in the main hall. Finally, I played some D&D4e, as well as a couple of new games – notably Pantheon and Silvervine.
Things I Wanted to Do, But Didn’t
I wanted to buy lots of stuff – especially dice for my kids. The exhibitor hall, while small, was packed with awesome stuff. I also wanted to run some games. I prepared a couple of adventures, but we just couldn’t get the special guests’ schedules to co-ordinate. And of course I wanted to party all night ( but I do have a family after all).
Things I Didn’t Know I Wanted to Do, Yet Did
There were some wonderful surprises along the way. First was the music. There were several musical acts with quite a bit of talent. And then there was all the talking to random strangers. In case you missed the multiple references above, I’m a rather shy introvert (some say a hermit). But there is something about gaming, and Con on the Cob in particular, that made such numerous and intense social interaction quite awesome! My favorite memory comes from Friday night. I was in the main hotel lobby, talking with a few random conventioneers, when a bus pulled up out front. I wondered, ‘Are these more gamers, or some other group? If others, what will they think of all us gamer-geeks?’ People started filing off the bus. They were all dressed in identical track-suits, all male, tall and muscular. Then I noticed the label on their track-suits – Kent State University. It was their football team! My next thought? ‘Could this be any more cliché, football players and role-playing nerds?’ Of course, the football players seemed more afraid of the geeks than vice versa. I so wanted to get some of the KSU football team in on a game of zombie killing fun, but alas, they had a curfew.
So, only one big question remains: Will I do it again? O YES! Con on the Cob was totally worth it. There was just something – well, magical – about the small-but-intimate nature of this convention. Others may be bigger, with more “action” and booths and what-not. But Con on the Cob provided an amazing opportunity to get to know small and starting game producers, writers, artists, etc. You could really chat and get to know other guests and players. Even Andy Hupp – THE MAN – stopped to chat with me (and hear my gushing praise). While we plan on covering other conventions, the bar has been set rather high by Con on the Cob. So stay tuned faithful readers, because we’re just getting started!