One of the best things about GenCon (for me, at least) is the unusual, weird, and fun things that seem to happen. Sure, I've played in some incredible games. Bought some great stuff, too. But there's something about GenCon that seems to inspire these serendipitous moments that I don't get at home. Here's one of mine.
Back in 2008 (or there abouts), I had made some great friends at a local con back home in northern Illinois. It was one of those moments where you game with folks you never met before, then head out for drinks afterwards to keep the conversation going, you know? We kept in touch a bit, but they all lived 1.5 hours away from me.
GenCon happens. I had registered for a Serenity RPG event and head over to the Crowne. I hand my ticket to the GM — who is one of the folks I met in Illinois. Sure enough, three others are playing in that event. None of us had planned anything together! Five people who had gamed together in Illinois a few months earlier drove to GenCon and registered for the same damn game on the same day and same time. That's good-weird. (Plus, it was one of my best RPG experiences evah.)
What's your weird-n-wonderful GenCon experience?
In 2007 I met a wonderful woman in a belly dance class. This March I married her.
Last year my 9 yr. old daughter was picking out some giant foam dice to purchase with money she saved just for GenCon. There was a super nice gamer in front of us that was definitely amused by her excitement and without our knowing, he paid for the dice for her.
We had a guy propose to his girlfriend in one of our Harry Potter LARPs. :) He contacted me ahead of time, and I wrote into her character that she had a boyfriend who had been gone for a long time. At the end of the game, he walked in and proposed.
A couple of years later, if I recall she had lost her ring, he had another one made in secret, and gave it to her at the end of a another HP game.
Two friends of mine from the old GC forums also met in our first HP larp. They later married :)
People asking for my picture because they say I look like Donna Noble/Catherine Tate (I don't cosplay).
One neat and random memory I have is of streetpassing with Wil Wheaton in 2014. I went through my queue and was like, "Wait, Wil ? With one L from Calfornia ? Surely not.." but I had just been to his panel and later on his Twitter he thanked everyone who streetpassed him that day. :)
When they introduced the Elminister mini at Gencon as a super rare promo and everyone was bugging Ed Greenwood to autograph one. I don't collect autographs and wouldn't bother someone just randomly walking about for an autograph if I did and I managed to snag one and was walking through the dealer hall bragging to my friend not exactly paying attention to where I was going and literally bumped into Mr. Greenwood while holding the mini in its packaging. I was apologizing and didn't even realize who I had bumped into, I guess he thought I wanted him to sign it and he was just about out of patients with people getting him to sign the card then immediately putting it up on ebay. He grabbed it out of my hand ripped open the packaging and signed the card all before I could say anything and walked away not rude or anything just in a rush. My first and only autograph and I got it completely by accident, wasn't even aware of who he was till he was walking away.
It makes a lot of good memories for people ;)
Finding my sons picture in the program book. We played Terroworks one year and were characters who were competing over who had the highest body count. (We still argue about who got it) The next year we ere flipping through program book and found his picture in the write up on Terrorworks. We went to te booth asked them about it... and they e-mailed us a copy of it. Great gaming experience and a nice picture to remind us of it.
I miss Terrowerks. I wish somebody would bring it back.
Taking nothing away from Terrorworks, but it seems like that's a good example of "an idea whose time has come", huh? :)
I think my next submission for that contest will be Segways + Inflatable Sumo Suits + Foam Boffer Lances = Jousting.
In 2014, I got two tickets to TableTop's hosting of Roll For It! where you would play on the table from Geek and Sundry's show with the game's designer (presumably Chris Leder) and get some swag. I had to bow out in the middle of a Hearthstone tournament to go, but it seemed worth it.
When we got there, nobody else had shown up. Not the other players. Not Chris Leder (scheduling mix-up, not his fault). Not even the table! But due to the scheduling mix-up Mike Selinker was there with Unspeakable Words. The player count was a little low, so Mike roped in the host and a couple people he recognized walking by. Surprise, surprise, it was Ludovic Maublanc (Ca$h'n Guns) and Antoine Bauza (7 Wonders)!
What followed was a crazy, bilingual game Unspeakable Words that became my favorite memory of that year.
Terrible pic from event: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11683490/2014-08-16%2016.27.16.jpg
In 2013 my husband had the help of the amazing guys at Dead Gentleman Productions to propose to me at the end of their festival screening of the Gamers: Hands of Fate. Called me up to the front of the stage to pretend to do live improv as a "taste" for the crowd for their live improv event (which is amazing and I highly recommend people check out at least one of their two Live events this year)! Then BOOM, proposal on stage. After the proposal, I had people congratulating me the entire weekend everywhere I went, and I was in so much shock that I barely ate or slept for three days afterwards. And thanks to the DGP staff and some other GenCon attendees, we got several different videos of the proposal from different angles.
It was definitely one of the greatest (and most awesome) moments of my life.
Last year I went into a restroom on Saturday and some angelic soul had left his personal roll of toilet paper behind.
Thank you, mysterious GenCon attendee. Thank you! I have vowed to follow your example this year and do good deeds.
There was this game I played with my parents, best friend, and boyfriend (now ex). He was a zombie quarterback searching for his body and there was a dark stairwell and we didn't know what was down it so I kicked his head down it. This happened VERY shortly before we broke up and felt very therapeutic to me. :)
There have been several.....
I'm a Takenoko fan, and after seeing the panda figurine on Tabletop, I was hoping to snag one at Gencon. On the 2nd day or so, I'm in the Asmodee booth, and they have only one, sitting in a prominent spot, like it's for display only. I ask if they might be willing to sell it, and they said sure. Turns out it was signed by the designer and I didn't even know it. Got it for $20.
Similarly, last year we played Star Trek: Five Year Mission and thought it was cool. While I'm paying, the guys tells me since I bought it there, I can get Marina Sirtis to sign it for free, and lo and behold, there's no line. I'm not an autograph seeker, but getting her to sign that game was a cool, unexpected treat.
Your story is a good one, a bit like the autograph scene in Last Crusade, except involving a nicer human being :)
Last year I brought my 17 year old niece to her first GenCon. She had been lamenting it and called it a "nerd-fest" but her parents made her go with me. I explained to her that she didn't have to love everything (and we tried EVERYTHING) but she should just have fun with what we were doing. She didn't like the Battletech simulators or the Aerodrome WWI airplane dogfight game. She DID love D&D, Monster Mash, Smash Up, Tai Chi, Intro to Sword Fighting, Whose Line is it Anyway, Car Wars and all of the shopping.
She initially was wearing standard teenage girl clothing. When we left on Sunday, she was wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt, a Captain America lanyard and her glasses because her contacts had started to hurt. I failed to take a picture of her but that visual will always be the day I converted my niece into a gamer.