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In a somewhat manic run, I finished the Pandemic Legacy campaign today. Final score was 557 - Recovery and Progress: Partial success and a chance for recovery. The face of the world changes a lot in the ensuing wars. Humanity eventually recovers.

This has been a heck of a lot of fun. The game definitely got tougher as it progressed, and threw some help to me as well. And in a few months, Season 2 releases, and I'll do it all again.
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UK won the Lexington regional, UofL beat 'em 2-0 to win the Louisville Super-Regional, and UofL Cardinal Baseball is going to the College World Series! I am thrilled. The first game is Sunday afternoon against Texas A&M - Go Cards!

As prep for Origins, and because I don't want to have to organize player schedules, I started soloing Pandemic Legacy. It's a damned good game, adding changing elements to the already excellent Pandemic. I can see this game becoming damn near unwinnable, but figure there have to be ways to overcome the COdA threat in the game's future. I'm of a mind to try and make a RPG setting out of the world at the campaign's end.

Today was my day for good deeds. Darryl V's raised the funds to replace his Ranger, and found a late-model Escape suitable for Uber/Lyft service. Dude's been dealing with some seriously rough times, and right now, I'm in a position to help out a little. So, got him from his apartment to the dealer, checked things out, all that, and he was able to buy the Escape.

This evening, Cassandra and her boyfriend got free from her conference, and we got together for dinner and catching up and introductions. I played tour guide, showing them some of my city's sights. Ken's a good dude, and they're getting married next summer. She's doubtless my favorite cousin, and we touched on some family history tonight - the uglier parts pertaining to our grandmother and that entire side of the family's ... acceptance or blindness or whatever regarding her abuse and hate and all of her awfulness. We are grandchildren and children of abuse, and we both have ended that cycle in our own ways.

Lighting out for Origins tomorrow afternoon. Lots of Pandemic variants on my on-duty schedule. Planning to meet up with Rebecca and Ben Saturday afternoon, and expect to cross paths with some other folks over the course of the con. Nothing on a shopping list - just going up to play games and see a new con and meet some new good people.
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Those are all either expansions for the excellent Pandemic board game or variants for it. I'm scheduled to host a boatload of Pandemic events at Origins in a couple of weeks, and I'm giving myself a crash course in all things related. I ran some of my Asmodee/FFG teammates through a game of stock Pandemic last night, and soloed a first round of Legacy this morning. I managed a win, with unrest in a few cities due to outbreaks.

I effectively gave up my convention/volunteer wrangling duties with Crafty Games after GenCon 2014. I didn't plan to attend the con at all in 2015, but wound up there for a couple of days when a volunteer flaked and didn't show - a headache I had to deal with a few times myself. Last year, I went for two days and wrecked out my beloved Focus wagon on the drive home. It's been a while since I went to the con for the con; mostly was there to see friends that I only get to see there. And even with Crafty covering my badge and room, it had costs.

Origins has been on my to-do list for a while. I've gotten less and less comfortable with GenCon's size, over 60K the last three years, and I expect this year to get close to 70K because of the 50th anniversary events. Origins saw just under 16K in 2015, and that feels a lot more manageable to me.

Yeah. Looking forward to this. And one of the 2017 cohort asked about going to a con sometime, and I figure something like Archon should be a good one for him.
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Several years ago, Intermountain produced a limited-run N-scale SD40-2T in RJ Corman colors. I lusted after that model. RJC served my former employer,  and I saw the prototypes for these specific models with some regularity around Lexington. But, for whatever reasons, I never bought one, and I've regretted it since.

More recently, Kato produced models of Norfolk Southern's gorgeous heritage fleet. Growing up, most of the locomotives I saw were Southern Railway high-hood units in their classy black-and-white scheme. So, having learned my lesson, I bought one of the Kato models, the Savannah & Atlanta SD70ACe. It is a beaut of a model, and a very nice graduation gift to myself.

Met up with one of my X-Wing pals for a couple of practice games and to exchange some promo items last night. The A-Wing just didn't synergize with its ARC squadmates at all, so it's probably going back to the hangar. I've got a couple of other ships in mind - a Y-Wing and T-70 - and will probably test those tonight. The drive back home was going great until I got to MM28 or thereabouts. A motorcycle running from KSP wound up hitting the median barricade, and the left two (of three) lanes were closed. Long delay. Should have stuck around and flown another couple of rounds.

Got an e-mail this morning alerting me to an upcoming Kickstarter campaign for a new edition of Top Secret. Way back when, TS/SI was one of my go-to games, and I still have a lot of love for it. With Spycraft 3 still in maybe-someday space, I'm definitely up for giving TS: New World Order a shot.

UofL baseball ends the regular season this weekend. I haven't made it to a game all season, and won't be able to catch either of the remaining two. Louisville's hosting the ACC tournament, so with some small luck I can get over to Slugger Field for some games, and we should (should) host NCAA Regionals and maybe Super-Regionals, too. Here's hoping.
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Oh man, I am sometimes really dumb. Decided to rewrite my Health Systems final paper, and pulled the first all-nighter in ... years. I think the paper came out okay, but I didn't. Got home Thursday night after class, and I was out like a light for about 15 hours. Ground away at the grant assignment. Skipped out on gaming Friday night, read.

Saturday, got up and got my grocery list together and headed out to the Mariner ... and dead battery. Housemate ran me to get a new one and some tools I should have already had. Batteries swapped, back on line. Did some small amount of work on the very last assignment of the year. Went over to The Louisville Game Shop for an afternoon of Star Wars gaming. Taught an Air Force brigadier general how to play X-Wing (as is the way of our people). Played some Armada, and got a better sense of how the various bits interact and how it compares to X-Wing (X-Wing is checkers, Armada is chess). Got even more alt-art cards - not the Inquisitor I was lusting after, though. All good. Came home, thought about groceries, thought more positively about staying in. Stayed in.

Today, maintenance in the morning before lighting out to Frankfort to play X-Wing (okay, yeah, I'm playing this a lot). And I have embraced my shame.

I've railed against the 100/6 default, because it took over every play experience around. The ORH league rejected this for the sake of a more casual, friendlier play experience - and that has made me crazy happy. I get in fast skirmishes and Epic games, and it is good. So, with this going on, I can take a different tack when it comes to 100/6 games, which are mostly tournament games in my X-Wing field now. I can play fun squadrons on league nights, and optimized squadrons other times. Today, I decided Heck with it, I'm flying a netlist. Found someone else's build using a couple of the new ARC-170s and flew that. And I tore shit up. Clobbered my buddy Don's Emperor-and-aces squadron. Won a close match against a 3x B-Wing/1x K-Wing squadron. In the final game, my ARCs and my opponents B and K destroyed each other, leaving me with an ace A-Wing versus a generic Y-Wing. Well, I love Y-Wings, and know 'em pretty well. And Y-Wings can do a lot of things, but they can't do any of 'em fast. So, I played to my strengths. I ran like a scared rabbit. My A just ran rings around the Y. Stayed out of weapons range. Ran out the clock. 3-0 on the day. Heck yeah. And for added value, the unfortunately obligatory dickish player got swept. And he was not happy. Didn't stick around to see final standings, just packed up and left when his final match was over. Nothing of value was lost.

So, to heck with it. I've got the league for pure fun, and this darned effective squadron for competitions. Next time, I'm going to replace the gimmicky A-Wing with a solid trusty Y-Wing (and add some raw survivability to the squadron, as well as control options) and see how that works out.
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My last-hour GenCon purchase was the Shadowrun Anarchy Prototype - a 48-page preview of the upcoming rules-lighter version of the game. I like what I see - magic and cybernetics and all that are rolled into a catch-all category of "Shadow Amplifications," or just "Amps." They do appropriate things. Ranges (weapons and movement) are given in bands, not unlike FFG's Star Wars games. A weapon is OK, -2, or - at the Close, Near, or Far ranges, so no roll penalty, a 2-dice penalty, or unusable. Can't hit a guy three blocks away with a handgun, and can't use your big ol' sniper rifle against the guy right next to you. The full version of the game promises easy compatibility with Shadowrun 5, too.

Adapting to the Mariner will take some time. I can't fling it into and through curves like I did with the Focus, and holy cow is the visibility different. It's a refined descendant of my Explorer, I guess. Not quite a truck, but with truck qualities. And a killer Shaker 360 audio system.

I drove three other vehicles before deciding on the Mariner. 2008 Taurus - very comfortable, but big. And a CVT mated to an early version of the 3.5L V6; anemic acceleration. Third-generation Explorer XLT, dark red, V6 - really comfortable, nicely equipped, but just bigger than I wanted. F-150 Supercrew - a descendant of my first vehicle. 2WD, V8, and it was a real truck. Probably too thirsty, and only a 4.5' bed. I liked it, but, not now. My plan with the Focus was to get through graduate school and my first year or two in the new career, then look into a new Ranger. Now ... well, the Mariner looks to be in very good condition, and the mileage is low for its age, so barring something unexpected, I'll keep it going for a longer stretch and go from there.
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Got home Wednesday night, and my cops of 7th Sea 2nd Edition was on the porch - a most happy surprise! The book is gorgeous, and I kinda wish I'd had the resources to go in for an all-the-hardbacks pledge, because it appears that there will be a graphic extending across the spines of the books.

Spent Friday morning at the MRC/LMPHW storage space at Louisville Megacavern. Lots of inventorying, stocking trailers, all that. More body bags than I cared to count. But it was a good morning, and good work.

After the cave, I headed up to Indianapolis. Got there around 3PM, linked up with my nerd-siblings, and got settled into the hotel. Clowning around, catching up, telling stories, all that. Con went well enough. Lots of excitement about the Mistborn board game (and despite my disinterest in the property, it is a lot of fun). Got a couple of new ships for X-Wing and the Shadowrun Anarchy preview. Got to see Ben and Rebecca, then we broke down the booth.

I decided to detour through Northern Kentucky and see Erin and talk about 7th Sea, so headed out on I-74. Got to the Shelbyville (Indiana) exit, and hit a hole in the road. Shouldn't have been anything worse than maybe a tire knocked off the wheel, but the impact broke the rocker arm. Got it trailered home, and the mechanic inspection was an eye-opener. His evaluation - it can be made drivable, but it'll never be highway-safe. An ungodly amount of structural rust throughout. Like, hit the rail with a hammer and watch it cleave levels of rust. So, he told the adjuster what was up, and the adjuster totaled it and wrote a check right there in Mom&Dad's driveway. Bought a Mercury Mariner this morning. Loaded up, but thirsty. I'll deal.

So, a more eventful end to the weekend than I would have liked, but maybe a blessing in disguise. I'm back in Louisville now, and all seems to be well. Going-away party for an old GSP buddy and his fiancee tonight.
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ConGlomeration went off pretty well. I had four players for my Friday night game, all enthusiastic and proactive, and they made the game a lot of fun for me. No players for my Saturday game, which was a slight disappointment, but it meant I got to goof around and learn other games - Splendor, 7 Wonders, and Takeneko. Attendance was up from last year, with the Friday night badge count at over 450, and better than 600 on Saturday afternoon. Good news for the convention.

Since it was in the budget, I picked up Lead by Example for Star Wars: Age of Rebellion. Pretty good supplement for the Commander-types.

Very busy week, leading up to finals and the end of the semester. Three group projects, one solo, and two finals. A week from Monday night, my first graduate year will be over, and by May I should be relieved and reinforced or suicidal.
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We're about a third of the way through the pro baseball season. My Dodgers are on top of their division, but only one game ahead of the Giants. I'm much more excited about the UofL baseball team right now. They finished the regular season with the best record in the ACC and ranked #3 nationally. The ACC tournament went poorly, but the regional round of the NCAA tournament was fantastic. UofL went 3-0, beating Morehead State once and Michigan twice, winning the round. This weekend, the Cardinals host Cal State Fullerton in the Super Regionals, a best-of-three playoff, with the winner going to Omaha for the College World Series. This is the third straight Super Regional for the program, and the sixth entry in NCAA playoffs in eight years.

Got a demo kit for Shadowrun Crossfire. Pretty nifty deck-builder, with an advancement mechanic in the full version of the game. I've played a couple of solo games, and like it well enough to put the full version on a couple of wish lists. It's not Shadowrun role-playing, but I'll take what I can get.
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I did better than I expected on the first Biostatistics exam, but not as well as I'd wanted. Just going to have to put in more time with this one and see if I can pull it to a high B.

Interesting day yesterday. A few of my classmates and I went on a tour of parts of Jefferson County with interest to public health and urban planning officials. The Butchertown slaughterhouse was rather unpleasant, depending on the wind direction. Neat to see parts of the levee system built around the city after the 1937 flood, and an experimental station trying out self-sustaining and low-chemical-level water treatment systems. Some contaminated areas out around Chickasaw Park. Chemical plants in Rubbertown. Weird stuff around Lake Dreamland, and the triple shot of badness in Riverside Gardens. Man ... the folks in Riverside Gardens have it bad. One side of the neighborhood is bordered by a huge chemical plant, another by a 1200-acre landfill site, and the prevailing wind comes over the Cane Run coal-fired powerplant before passing through the neighborhood. Biggest lesson of the day - sometimes, you can't fix a problem. Best you can do is manage the effects.

Arrow delivered, with a shock ending.

Played some new games tonight - Love Letter, Glory to Rome, Forbidden Desert. Love Letter was my favorite - there is an astonishing amount of play in those sixteen cards. I won the raffle, too! Enough store credit for a Shadowrun supplement - not a bad return on my $2 investment.

Taking The Niece to Liberty tomorrow to pick up her car. Looking forward to it, and to getting to see Mom for a while, too.

Homecoming week is coming up. Biggest to-do the University has put on for quite a while. Lots of events planned, and I expect to have a lot of fun. As classes allow, of course. Still a lot of work to do.
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The cute Serbian girl texted me around 12:30 this afternoon to let me know that our 4PM class was cancelled today. I was zipping up my backpack when the message came in; wasn't really looking forward to my disease class, so I decided to take the day off.

Since the evening was completely clear, I went to The Louisville Game Shop for boardgames. I'm sure there's a pretty terrific game in 7 Wonders, but the person teaching the game did such a poor job of it that any fun was sucked right out of the experience.


Aug. 30th, 2014 11:50 pm
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The first week of class is behind me. I'm completely certain that this is where I am supposed to be, and I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

There's a marked difference in teaching/learning/grading philosophies between SPHIS classes and my lone A&S course. SPHIS takes, I guess, a more holistic approach. With the Internet in everyone's pocket now, access to information isn't nearly as important as knowing what to do with raw data, and SPHIS is set up towards teaching how to make use of the information. Conversely, BIOL 372 is going to be graded on bouncing classroom information back to the instructor. Now, it's going to be really interesting information (man, cholera has nifty effects on its host), but the learning experience won't be as complete.

By the way, my Tuesday/Thursday classes begin at the sour spot as far as parking goes. The garage is full when I get to campus, and I'm parking out behind Speed instead. Which affords me the opportunity to walk past the site of my catastrophic failure 25 years ago. Motivation, of a sort.

Went to Frankfort for an X-Wing tournament this morning. Went 1-1, and proved the worth of a cheap-ass Z-95 kitted out as a missile carrier. Only one salvo, but it punched WAY above its weight class and teamed with a X-Wing to blow a YT-1300 right off the board. Pretty terrific return on investment. Next time around, I'm fielding an Imperial force, as part of my ongoing project to make the TIE Advanced somehow useful. The host store was holding a weekend long mini-con and sale, so I picked up the On the Brink expansion for Pandemic; later, I swung by Something 2 Do and got the Blood in the Forest expansion for Last Night on Earth for quite a bit under retail. Since I'm not expecting to get into any RPGs anytime soon, these should  be pretty good investments.

Had a rather good evening out. Hibachi, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, delicious ice cream, and fantastic company. And hey, NCAA football got underway this weekend!

Add it Up

Aug. 21st, 2014 05:44 pm
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GenCon ended on a pretty good note. There was the usual flurry of last-minute sales, and I contributed by picking up a copy of Last Night on Earth. Looking forward to playing it with The Niece sometime soon. Fastest booth breakdown we've ever done - about 20 minutes, and Ben and I skipped out when we determined that there were too many people doing things and we had a drive ahead of us.

So, the drive. Man, sometimes, just screw Indiana, alright? Road construction on I-65 Southbound, down to one lane for only a few miles, but enough of a traffic bottleneck to make our trip from Indy to Louisville take just shy of three hours. Less than 100 miles. And then the rain hit, just as we cleared the backup. Drove Ben to Elizabethtown to link up with his fiancee, and for a few miles south of Shepherdsville, I swear to Cantore, the sky was purple-pink and brightly-lit and downright unsettling. Got home, decided that laundry would wait for Pants-Free Monday, and slept in a bed for the first night since Wednesday. My bed, even. Very comfy.

TLGS Colin got his game prototype into Alderac's hands. We got his buddy's games in front of some publishers who will have a better chance of getting the game manufactured than us. We sold a lot of books. All of the problems were resolved. And next year's going to rock.

Bought a non-powered reel mower. It was unfortunately insufficient to the needs of the yard, so it went back to be replaced by a gas-burner. Much better.

Holy cow, today. Day 1 of my SPHIS orientation. Met some classmates, met the SPHIS dean (who looks like Donald Sutherland). Had an impromptu talk with said dean, and he introduced me to the CEO of KentuckyOne Health - possible internship! And in a couple of years, possible posting with the University's next overseas campus. All very very tentative. But I am excited. Oh sweet mercy, am I excited. I've got to get through this semester, show what I'm capable of, and then things look like they're really going to get exciting.

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This has been one of the worst summers I've experienced. Uncertainty with UofL, although that's almost entirely resolved. Leaving the old job far too early and blowing through my bank account. Delays in getting settled in Louisville, which led to significant expenses related to the summer job (and that's been a piss-poor experience itself). There's a Hero's Journey vibe in the air, though, with the feeling that I've almost gotten through the darkness and although there is still much work to be done, it's work with a concrete and very positive goal in mind.

I return to class in a month. 4PM, August 25, PHUN 440, Biology for Population Health. Bring it on.

I picked up Star Wars: Age of Rebellion a few weeks ago. I've only had time to leaf through it (still reading Demon: the Descent), but it looks fantastic, and I'm taken with the Duty characteristic. It's a counterpart to Edge of the Empire's Obligation rules; both are tools for the GM to use to bring adventure to his players. EotE's Obligation is something of a negative, in that higher Obligation means that the various and often nefarious folks to whom Obligation is owed bring trouble upon the characters, while higher Duty means that the character's higher-ups in the Rebellion have taken notice of their escapades and capabilities, and are assigning more and more missions to them. In-game, the effects are the same; as a story factor, one is certainly more positive than the other.

Still really happy with the time spent here at the farm (and oh my goodness, seeing the Milky Way for the first time in forever last night), but I really really want to  get back into my own, if shared, space.
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Sweet Christmas, this weekend.

The last hour of Friday's workday saw some last-minute cleanup of a few niggling problems, coupled with a building-wide failure of the voicemail system (so I couldn't leave the mandated out-of-office message, but whatever). Got home, had an okay-enough dinner date, and sat up until the wee hours playing games.

Went to Liberty Saturday morning and spent a few hours with Mom. Came back to Lexington and had A Talk with a friend who called looking for absolution or something like it, and instead got a dressing-down over an ugly history of behavior. I'm reinstating the "Bro, No" policy over this, by the way. Then, because I needed to return some long-borrowed items and have a conversation with not-needy people who have their act together, went to do so, and received a kick-ass birthday gift from same. Went home, read and binged on Netflix.

The "Bro, No" policy, by the way, states that as long as I'm not in a romantic relationship, then I can choose to not listen to any male friend complain about his, especially if it's over things that he caused. Maybe dickish, but I've got my limits.

Saturday morning's drive to Mom&Dad's took a detour from my normal route. For a few weeks, I've had, of all things, the elementary schools in my home county on my mind. Despite the relatively small size of most of Kentucky's counties, there is quite a bit of Casey that is blank on my personal map. So, going on memories over a quarter-century old, I went looking for two of them. I found one, Douglas Elementary, but struck out on the other, Cox Elementary. I know that I had to have driven very close to Cox's site, if not right by it, but didn't see the building for whatever reason. It may have been torn down; the school was closed in 1988 and its students sent to two or three of the other schools in the county. I'll try again when next I go for a visit; with luck, Dad will be home and I can call on his knowledge.

I had plans to take my niece to a Kentucky Xtreme indoor football game on Sunday, but the game was cancelled/postponed for "scheduling conflicts." We decided to get out and make a day of it anyway. She's developed a lactose intolerance, so our traditional visit to Impellizzeri's wasn't in the offing. Home Run Burgers instead (darn good). Bookstores, Fan Outfitters, The Louisville Game Shop, and ending at Vint for coffee and a couple games of Pandemic. Weather deteriorated throughout the day, and as we wrapped up the second game, things got bad. Got her home to J-town (saw four wrecks on I-64 between the Grinstead and Hurstbourne interchanges) and headed home myself. The Interstate was a mess; I never got past 55MPH and was closer to 45 for most of the drive. Several wrecks of varying severity along the route, but deft hands and a pure heart prevailed, and I got home safely after about two hours. Watched a terrible movie, and slept for about eight hours, only interrupted when BCTC sent out a delayed opening message at 5:45AM - but this is Spring Break, so no problem for me.

Much to do this week. I'm way behind the curve on getting my GenCon team together; need to file my taxes and get that information to the Department of Education; need to contact my advisor at UofL SPHIS and set up meetings there; need to call about apartments and jobs for the impending move. Ain't going to lie. I'd love to go back to the office next week and print and present my two weeks' notice.
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There are times when I don't mind being wrong, and this weekend has turned out to be one of them.

Following the anemic turnout Friday evening, Scarefest's gaming track took off on Saturday. About a hundred gamers at one point, across minis, RPGs, card and board games. Lots of happy faces - and plenty of kids playing games with their parents. No RPG time for me, either as player or GM, but Go Goblin Go and Elder Sign filled the gaps rather nicely. Ended the evening, as is the way of our people, at Marikka's, and the overlapping circles of friends continue to grow.

My love for Star Wars has been rekindled, thanks in no small part to Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. It focuses, tightly and without apology, on my favorite era of the saga, and on a part of the universe that I want to visit for a while. I've found myself making notes on NPCs and outlining adventures, and while this will never replace West End's work, EotE makes a fantastic complement to that classic work.

UofL, WVU, and Auburn all won yesterday, and today looks like a good mix of NFL games. Time to sign off and get cleaned up. There's football to watch, writing to get done, and tacos to prepare and eat. Have a good one, folks!
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Heck yeah Labor Day.

Saturday was quiet. Rest, reading, not much else until late in the evening when some of the usual gang got together at Marikka's. Watched the last few minutes of WKU's whupping of UK.

Went to Mom&Dad's on Sunday. Grilled, watched UofL dismantle Ohio. Binged on James Bond movies when I got home. Slept in; after a brief wake-up around 7:30, I went back to sleep until noon. Whatever - it's the end of cultural summer, and it's a day for relaxing.

I'm working my way through my GenCon purchases. Conspiracy X's Conspiracies sourcebook is a little bit dry, and outside of guidelines for playing an NDD game, it doesn't have a whole lot of content to recommend it. Deadlands Noir's much better, with a boatload of useful material. It sets up New Orleans in the 1930s as a default, and the Companion details 1920s Chicago (and is written by Ken Hite, because Chicago and hoodoo require him), Shan Fan at the brink of World War II, Lost Angels at the end of the war, and the City of Gloom in 1950. All different vibes and writing styles. Pretty neat, and if the Monday group goes for the multiple-era Deadlands game, Dusty will use this to work the players over but good.

Anyway ... coming up, Second City (Legend of the Five Rings), Little Wizards, and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire.

Last con of the year is in a couple of weeks. I'm not excited about this one; the con's an established event, and adding a gaming track for the first time this year. The con's relatively expensive, without a gaming-only attendee option. I expect to see tournament attendance, but not much else. I'm conducting a seminar with ENnie-award-winning Colin Thomas, which we expect to have few enough attendees that we'll adjourn to a bar downtown and shoot the breeze while watching the UofL-UK football game. And even if we have attendees, the game's going to be going on my phone.
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Today's recovery day was much more active than I expected. Spent a part of the remnant GenCon money on a copy of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Went to the grocery. Dinner with Colin, and delivery of his shirt. Feeling alright - I couldn't be completely idle, I guess. Save that for the office tomorrow.

Already looking forward to the coming weekend. Furloughed on Friday, so will get up to something. Breaking in the new starfighters and probably roller derby Saturday. Going to see Mom&Dad on Sunday.

All in all, I'm glad I came home last night. The solo drive from Indy would have been good to help clear my head on some things, but the last few hours of camaraderie were terrific, and having today to rest and take care of a few things was terrific. I'll meditate on things before bedtime, which is probably safer than doing it while tearing down the Interstate.
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Saturday was a long one. One of the jagoffs that bailed on us was scheduled to work the booth with FI in the afternoon. I filled the spot, meaning that I was in the Exhibitor's Hall for eight hours. Ended with some very hurty feet, friends and neighbors. Another soak, then pizza from Hot Box, some card games, and then bedtime.

Sunday saw very good end-of-show sales at our booth. Little Wizards moved for real, an there was a surge in Mistborn AG sales. Had to deal with some drama on the team, and that'll probably result in at least one member not being invited back for 2014. Was drafted into an early-morning meeting with our distributor, and got word on some upcoming products and promotions.

So much more to report.

Had a nice talk with James Sutton, the CEO of the current incarnation of FASA Games. He moved to Cincy from New Zealand a couple of years ago following a family tragedy, and is rebuilding his life and that of some game lines at the same time. We're planning to get together sometime in the coming weeks to chat and expand our respective networks a bit.

One of my bosses at Crafty is going to be in NKY for a couple of weeks in late September, helping Twilight Creations to handle some of their suddenly-massive workload. Twilight recently landed a Holy Grail-caliber deal for a small-press game publisher, and with the death of the male half of the husband-and-wife team that makes up the company's permanent staff, they're in a bind. I've been asked to pitch in as well, on a to-be-determined duration. So, hey, that's some kind of good news, right?

I gave in and made a few purchases. A B-Wing, TIE Bomber, and second A-Wing from FFG - still very hard to get my hands on a TIE Interceptor. The Conspiracies Sourcebook for ConX. Universe Guide for DC Adventures. Deadlands Noir and its Companion. The massive Second City boxed set for L5R (MSRP $80, got it brand-new for $25).

Our Spycraft Third games got overwhelmingly positive results. Now that the convention's over, and we've seen that the new edition has traction, we're going to open up beta testing to the general public very soon. This sexy piece of work's coming together at last, alongside Ten Thousand Bullets and a couple of other too-long-delayed products. We're planning to support and promote six lines at next year's show.

I'm off tomorrow to recover and rest up. Planning to binge on Netflix and do little else. Read a little, maybe. Probably not put on pants, unless I get very energetic and go to the grocery.

Day One

Aug. 16th, 2013 07:54 am
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GenCon's official kickoff is at 8AM on Thursday. There are some events for those early risers, but the real start of the show is two hours later when the Exhibitors Hall opens up. People pack into the hallways outside the doors - thousands of people. There are some attendees who get to go in at 9AM by virtue of dropping big money on a "Very Important Gamer" package, but, relatively speaking, they're few in number.

Screw 'em all, I got a yellow badge.

My work with Crafty means I'm an exhibitor, and can go into the Hall whenever. Yesterday morning, as usual, the bosses and I got in around 8:30, finished some setup details, and things were soon underway. Our booth has a good location again (Studio 2's collective area). Lots of traffic and visibility. Most years, we exhibitors take some time to pick up a few items for ourselves before the VIGs and huddled masses are allowed in.

At 10, when the doors open, it is a straight-up flood of humanity. People line up 3-4 hours early to get the best chance they can for early releases, limited-quantity stuff, or con exclusives. It's funny, and a little dangerous, as they tear-ass through the aisles to get to wherever.

I'm kind of a voyeur, so all of this nerdery and whatnot just entertains me to no end.

We released a new game this year. Little Wizards is aimed at kids, 6-11 or so. It's cute as all get-out and we sold a couple dozen copies. And people are talking about it. Lots of good conversations in the course of the day.

Thursday night is the company dinner. Some good socialization for the team. We unwind, share first-day stories, get a killer meal. This year, the dinner was followed by a party in one of our suites. Just a couple of friends of the company, or so it started. I think 23 people were here at one point. There was bullshitting, so much drinking, playing of Game! Most Popular Game In All Mother Russia Not Really, much laughter and fun and noise. And then the cops showed up. Been a while since I've had that experience.

Today, 4 hours in the Hall, then a 2-hour Hell in Earth game, then Mage to close out the night. My busiest day of the show. Going to be great.

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