Category: Conventions

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo 2019!

This weekend, I went to the Indiana Toy and Comic Expo for the first time – and had a great time! I’ve wanted to go for a couple of years now. Up until this year, it was held immediately after Gen Con, which is when I usually end up experiencing con burnout. With it being in October this year, nothing was stopping me this time around! 

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo ad.

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo focuses on precisely what the name says – toys and comics! It was held at the Monroe County Convention Center here in Bloomington, and it seemed like it took up the entire convention center. (Granted, the convention center isn’t all that big, but it’s still nice to see that the expo filled it up!) Events included a costume contest, a custom action figure contest, and a silent auction. Plus, there was a lot of space dedicated to vendors, so there were plenty of goodies to look at and buy! I ended up picking up the following: 

  • a Sailor Moon Perler bead magnet
  • some cute bunny cryptid prints
  • a set of Star Trek: The Next Generation trading cards
  • an autographed photo of the actor who played Damar on Star Trek: Deep Space 9

There were a lot of folks in costume, and I also managed to grab some photos from the costume contest as well! (Some of them didn’t turn out so well, as my phone is a little slow at taking pictures and some of the action shots turned out blurry or awkward.) I especially enjoyed the Harry Dresden cosplayer pretending I was a demon and blasting me with his blasting rod. (I guess the Trill spots made me an easy target, haha.) I posted all my costume contest photos on The Crafty Nerd’s Facebook page – you can see them in my ITCE album here.

And before you ask, of course, I went in costume – Jadzia Dax got a little more time in the costume spotlight!

Me in my Jadzia Dax costume!

I also got to hang out with some of my nerdy blogging buddies – Rachel, Lizz, and Tony!

Myself as Jadzia, Rachel in her Timebuster gear, and Lizz as the 13th Doctor.
Myself, Rachel, and Lizz! Not pictured: Tony, because he was taking the picture.

I also ran into another familiar face while I was there – or, more accurately, familiar droid!

Rachel and I with the same R2-D2 I posted about a few weeks ago.

And yes, that’s the same R2-D2 I had my picture taken with at IU Southeast a few weeks ago! That little droid sure gets around. 😊

Overall, I enjoyed ITCE – it was busy but not overcrowded, and there was enough to do and see without feeling overwhelmed. I’m planning on coming back next year!

 

Gen Con 2019: The Haul

One of the big reasons people go to Gen Con is to buy games – lots of them. And this year, I definitely bought some games! Not as many as some folks, but I did bring home a couple new additions to my game collection. Of course, I found some not-quite-game-related goodies too! My Gen Con 2019 haul is a little smaller than it’s been in previous years, but here’s just about all of it!

Photo of my Gen Con 2019 Haul.
Some – but not all! – of the haul.

Want to hear more about what I got? Read on!

Read More

Gen Con 2019: The Cosplay Post

Seeing all the different cosplays at Gen Con is one of my favorite parts of the convention. Well, that and having the chance to do some cosplaying of my own! This post is all about the cosplay at Gen Con 2019.

As you all know, I brought two costumes to Gen Con this year – President Laura Roslin and Jadzia Dax. While not many people recognized President Roslin, plenty of people recognized Dax!

My Gen Con 2019 cosplay photos - President Roslin on the left, and Jadzia Dax on the right.
Left: President Roslin, right: Jadzia Dax

Apparently I did a good job with the Trill spots, as I got plenty of compliments on them. That made the 30+ minutes I spent awkwardly applying them while looking in the mirror worth it!

Now, I know you don’t just want to see the costumes I wore. However, with the LARP I was running on Saturday I didn’t have too many chances to get pictures of people on Saturday (the big cosplay day). Thankfully, Ross stepped in as photographer for me! He took loads of pictures of the costume parade, and here they are, in addition to the pictures I took while walking the con!

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Gen Con 2019: The Report

It’s that time of year again – time for the Gen Con 2019 report!

Lucas Oil Stadium, with the football field covered with board gaming tables.
I’ll admit, I’ve only ever gone to Lucas Oil Stadium to play nerdy games, and not to watch the Colts…

A record breaking year

This year was a pretty good year for Gen Con! The convention had another record-breaking year, with almost 70,000 attendees, 19,600 ticketed events, and 538 exhibitors. Plus, Gen Con and Make-a-Wish helped grant a 13-year-old boy his wish to come to Gen Con and play Dungeons and Dragons! Drake Kiderlen made the first dice roll of the convention, too, for Gen Con’s annual charity dice roll.

Drake Kiderlen making the first dice roll of Gen Con on Thursday morning.
Drake ended up rolling two sixes!

Much like last year, I kept up with what was going on at the convention via the Fans of Gen Con Facebook group. The group kept everyone up to date on will-call line wait times, helped reunite people with lost badges, and also helped people collect badge ribbons, among other things. There was also a fair bit of complaining about the usual things – backpacks in the dealers hall, the wait times in the will-call line, how long it took to get food at the food trucks… but others in the group did their best to help keep things positive, which was good.

A quiet Gen Con for the Crafty Nerd, sort of

This Gen Con was actually a little more subdued on my end, due to Ross being sick on and off through the convention. He’s been dealing with mysterious stomach issues, and due to that he didn’t cosplay this year (which you probably noticed already, from my daily Gen Con posts). I ended up keeping a pretty light schedule as a result, just in case Ross needed me. I still had a great time, though, and got to see a lot of great games as well as some fun traditions, like Cardhalla:

Cardhalla from day 1 of Gen Con.
Cardhalla 2019, in its early stages.

Until recently, I wasn’t sure what Cardhalla was about. People built card towers, knocked them all down at the end of the con, and somehow it related to charity – that was all I knew. Well, at the end of the convention, people toss coins at the card towers in order to knock them over, and all the coins are collected for charity! I love how Gen Con finds so many ways to give back to the community.

Cardhalla on Saturday morning.
Cardhalla on Saturday morning. I’m bummed that I didn’t get to see it on Sunday!

Overall, Gen Con was pretty good this year. There were more vendors to check out than I could actually visit, and I got to hang out with friends I don’t see often. I got to eat tasty cupcakes from The Flying Cupcake (like the butterbeer flavored Wizards Unite!), and enjoyed tasty food at downtown Indy restaurants. I got to dress up as Jadzia Dax! And, I got to help run a LARP too!

The Crafty Nerd’s Gen Con 2019 posts

To make things easy to find, I’ll link to detailed coverage of different aspects of my Gen Con experience here. (These links will become active as I write the posts!)

Stay tuned for the next post in my Gen Con 2019 coverage, focusing on all the goodies I got at the con!

Gen Con 2019, Day 3 and 4

Since Day 3 is mostly going to be covered in a post specifically about the Blue Rose LARP, and there wasn’t much to Day 4, I’m going to cover these both in a slightly belated post.

Day 3

Day 3 of Gen Con was a blast! Granted, I spent most of it helping run Trials of the Rose: The Call to Adventure, but that’s what you go to Gen Con for, right? Running or playing games!

Before prep started for the Blue Rose LARP, I got the chance to wander around the convention center a bit. I saw some awesome cosplayers, and also ran into this little guy!

Gray and white dog dressed up as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.

This is Gandalf, and he’s become a bit of a Gen Con celebrity over the years. Ross and I were behind Gandalf and his owner in the costume parade last year, and I ended up following Gandalf’s Facebook page afterwards. This sweet little dog gets to go to a lot of conventions, and probably has more costumes than I do! I’m happy I got to see him – and he definitely loves his fans, he ran right up to me as soon as I took my camera out and gave me a bunch of doggy nuzzles. I even got his pawtograph!

A photo of Gandalf the dog wearing a Starfleet uniform, with a paw print signature at the bottom right corner.

After wandering the convention center for a bit, it was time for the LARP!

Me wearing a purple shirt with puffy sleeves and a green corset dress.

I’ll cover most of the LARP in its own post – from the prep I did to the actual storytelling that happened. I will say, I think I did a much better job storytelling at Trials of the Rose than I did at the City of Heroes LARP last year. (Then again, I think anything would have been better than that, given that I had a nasty anxiety attack just before the City of Heroes LARP.)

Day 4

Me wearing a Toothless kigurumi.
I was one exhausted nerd on Sunday.

Day 4 of Gen Con didn’t really happen this year, due to Ross being sick. 🙁 He’s been struggling with stomach issues on and off for months now, and parts of Gen Con were particularly rough. On Sunday morning, he wasn’t feeling well at all, so we decided to just pack up and go home. It didn’t help that the Marriott never actually sent a bellhop up to help us with all our luggage, despite us calling twice, and never passed the word on to valet parking that we wanted to pick up our car. (Then again, I think we got off easy with hotel difficulties, given that I heard a story about a valet backing someone’s car into a window at the JW Marriott…) Once we dragged all our stuff downstairs, and once the valet brought Luna up from wherever they parked her, we headed home to look at all the goodies we got and relax a bit. (And, in my case, wash lots of costume laundry.)

And that’s the day-by-day report of Gen Con 2019! I’ll be posting more about the con in general, cosplayers at the con, the Blue Rose LARP, and my Gen Con haul later!

Gen Con 2019, Day 2

Today was my big cosplay day, since tomorrow is the Blue Rose LARP. And I am SO PLEASED with how my Jadzia Dax cosplay turned out.

Me, dressed up as Jadzia Dax.

Sure, it took me a half hour to get all those Trill spots on, but it was so worth all the work! I got so many compliments on my costume, and even on my Trill spots. Plus, the costume itself was less toasty than I thought it would be! However, I ended up not switching to Ezri midway through the day. Just about everyone I talked to said Jadzia was better than Ezri, and so I figured I may as well stick to Jadzia. Ah well – maybe I’ll do Ezri for Halloween.

I also got to help my friend Kasi turn into a Trill! Drawing her Trill spots on took a lot less time than drawing my own on, thankfully.

My friend Kasi and I, both wearing Starfleet science officer uniforms, with trill spot makeup on.

Kasi played a doctor in the Deep Space Ten LARP today, and I’m glad I could help her with her spots!

While wandering around the dealer’s hall, after posing for some costume photos, I stumbled across something I’ve been wanting for a while now: a Toothless kigurumi.

The top half of my new Toothless kigurumi.

Of course I bought it, and I’m not going to lie, I wore it around Gen Con for a couple hours.  It’s so comfy, and cute, and it has pockets! It’s amazing and I love it, haha.

Today also involved some last-minute planning for tomorrow’s LARP game. I’m really excited for it – and I hope everything goes well tomorrow!

And there you have it: my Friday at Gen Con! (It looks like I didn’t do much, but there was a lot of aimless wandering in costume, heh.) Come back tomorrow for Day 3 at Gen Con!

Gen Con 2019, Day 1

Day one of Gen Con has been a blast so far – and it’s not quite over yet! I’ve got some down time, though, and figured I’d post about the day so far.

Georgia St. sign in downtown Indy temporarily replaced with a Gen Con Ln sign.

Long story short: Gen Con is great, as always!  I always love how I manage to find people from all areas of my life here – in the past 36 hours, I’ve seen two people from my LARP group, one of my co-workers, a bunch of folks from a professional organization I’m a member of, and my mom-in-law – all here at the convention! It’s strange and wonderful, seeing people from all the different parts of my life in the same place.

Lucas Oil Stadium, entering the football field where, instead of football, boardgames are being played.
I love going into Lucas Oil Stadium to see the football field covered in games.

Today was split between wandering around the convention center/dealer’s hall and hanging out with some friends at the board game library. I’ll admit, I was pretty excited to get to play games on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium – they’re definitely the type of game I’m interested in as opposed to football, haha.

Me dressed as President Roslyn from Battlestar Galactica, in front of a wall with Battlestar Galactica characters on it.

And while I didn’t end up wearing the costume for very long (multiple layers of polyester = very bad idea), I did manage to get a couple of photos in my President Roslin costume in front of this advertisement for a Battlestar Galactica game! Ross and I picked it up, and Ross is currently watching videos about it as I’m writing, heheh.

A demo of the game Fuzzy Mage Fight.

And speaking of games, I picked up a copy of Fuzzy Mage Fight – I’m excited to play it, it looks like fun! (Plus, I’m a sucker for cute furry animals.) I also picked up some Blue Rose books (surprise, surprise) and a couple of other goodies. All in all, a fun first day at the convention!

Tomorrow, I’m demoing the game Arch Ravelry, as well as finally getting to wear my Jadzia costume! I hope I don’t end up roasting in it like I did in my President Roslin costume, but if I do end up overheating, I have a secret backup Jadzia costume, just in case. 🙂

Gen Con 2019: the pre-convention excited flaily post

Banner image of Ezri Dax, President Laura Roslin, and Jadzia Dax with the text 'The Crafty Nerd at Gen Con' at the bottom of the image.
I think I love this graphic even more than the one I made for last year’s Gen Con.

It’s that time of year, folks: almost time for Gen Con. And in case you couldn’t tell by some of my previous Gen Con posts for this year, I’m excited.

This year’s costumes

So it turns out I’m actually going to do three costumes this year! I got hit with the grand idea for costume number three while I was taking a walk at work on Friday: how fun would it be to cosplay as both Jadzia and Ezri on the same day?  All I need to transform from Jadzia to Ezri is a pixie-cut wig – which I found on Amazon for a pretty reasonable price. So, surprise!  I’m gonna cosplay as Ezri in addition to Jadzia and President Roslin.

I’ve also got a separate costume for the Blue Rose LARP I’m helping run! Keep an eye out for Liana Masri – envoy in the Sovereign’s Finest, bard, and hopeful Aldin noble. I’ll be wearing a royal purple shirt and skirt with a beautiful spring green corset for Liana’s costume.

For those of you who might be going to Gen Con and want to say hi, here’s my costume schedule, so you know who to look for!

  • Thursday: President Laura Roslin
  • Friday: Jadzia and Ezri
  • Saturday: Liana (for the Blue Rose LARP)
  • Sunday: exhausted nerd (likely wearing my Crafty Nerd shirt and a kilt)

This year’s games

Once again, I’m helping Phoenix Fire LARP run a game at Gen Con – this year we’re hosting Trials of the Rose: The Call to Adventure, which is loosely based on the Blue Rose tabletop game that J’s been running for a small group of our friends for almost two years now. I’m excited – not just for getting to LARP as Liana, but also to see our small tabletop group all dressed up as our characters! And to see J in the role of Fosteno (*fancy hand swoosh*), one of the instructors from our game. (Fosteno is so fancy, he gets a hand-swoosh every time anyone says his name, haha.)

In addition to helping run a game, I’m also attending a demo of a knitting-themed game – ArchRavelry! I’m curious to see what it’s like. I’ve also got plans to wander around the dealer’s room on Friday and learn about as many games as I can. Given how my work has started focusing on how to make training fun by gamifying it, I’ll definitely be looking for inspiration for work projects.

Trade Day excitement

I’m also going to Trade Day this year, with my co-worker and fellow geeky media creator, Rachel of the Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast! As I mentioned previously, our work has shifted to include exploring gamification of learning, so we’re going to a number of Trade Day events to learn about how others approach games in education. We’re both excited about being able to take things we learn at Gen Con back to our work! I may nerd out about gamifying training at some point post-Gen Con, since it’s a delightful combination of two things I really enjoy: gaming and teaching.

Gen Con coverage

Like in previous years, I’ll be posting the following:

  • a summary each day of my Gen Con experiences,
  • after-con posts about events, cosplay, and the con in general
  • the Gen Con episode of The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast, as it’s starting to become a tradition for me to guest-star on their Gen Con episode

I hope everyone else is as excited about Gen Con this year as I am! (Now, time to start packing for the Best Four Days in Gaming!)

Keeping organized: the convention-goers edition

With Gen Con less than a week away, it’s the perfect time to think about how to keep organized when going to a convention. There’s always so much going on at conventions, and sometimes it’s hard to keep up with everything. Hopefully these tips will help keep all you convention-goers organized at your next convention!

There are two big areas of organization when it comes to con-going: packing before the con and finding what you want when you get there. This post focuses on how I manage to keep myself organized when going to a convention, especially a big one like Gen Con.

Keeping organized when it comes to packing

First things first: a packing list is essential to making sure you’ve got everything you need for a convention. I actually started my Gen Con packing list last week, even though the convention’s next week. Starting that packing list early gives you the chance to add things to it as you think of them. Believe me, there’ll be lots on that list. I also make sub-lists for each cosplay I’m doing, to help make sure I don’t forget any costume pieces.

Keeping organized, the convention-goers edition: Notebook open to a packing list for Gen Con,.
Can’t forget the important stuff: dice, stickers, and business cards. Well, and everything else on the list.

Bringing a backpack along is a good idea, although make sure it’s not so large that you knock people out with it. Your most important or frequently needed items will likely end up in your backpack. Some suggestions of what to pack in your backpack include:

  • A water bottle, as it’ll cheaper to refill instead of buying drinks from food vendors
  • Snacks, to help keep you going between meals
  • Painkillers of some sort, like Tylenol or Advil (which will help with any headaches or sore muscles from walking so much)
  • Backup battery for your cellphone, or a spare charger
  • Money, kept in a safe place
  • Hand sanitizer, to help keep con crud at bay

Keeping track of events and vendors

Figuring out where I need to be and what vendors I want to check out is also important. Using a calendaring app, like Google Calendar, keeps me organized on the event side of things. As I register for events, I put them in my schedule, and then I can schedule meetups with friends around my registered events.

Keeping organized, the convention-goers edition: Screenshot of my Google Calendar for Gen Con 2019 - there's only four events in it.
My schedule this year is a bit calmer than last year’s – I’m only helping run one LARP this year!

It’s also handy to plan out what vendors you really want to visit ahead of time, so you can check them out first in the dealer’s hall. If there’s a map of the dealer’s hall on the con’s website, that’s even better! Print it out and mark it up with where you want to go ahead of time, so you’re not lost in the sea of people trying to buy things. For example, I already know I want to hunt down Dryad Tea (for their limited edition Gen Con tea!), Jeph Jacques’ booth (I love his webcomic, Questionable Content), and the Green Ronin booth (there are Blue Rose books I need to buy!). I’ll be hunting them down on the dealer’s hall map tonight and marking them out so I can find my way to them quickly.

And that’s how I keep organized at conventions: keep track of everything in my calendar, write up a packing list well in advance, and make note of what vendors I want to check out! Hopefully this helps other convention-goers keep organized as you prep for conventions, whether it’s Gen Con or something else! Speaking of Gen Con: stay tuned for plenty of Gen Con coverage over the next week and a half!

Cosplay musing: the 2019 convention season

Well, the 2019 convention season is near, and with that, the eternal question: what costumes am I going to wear this year?

That’s actually a really good question – and one I’m not entirely sure of the answer to. There’s a lot of factors that go into figuring out costumes for conventions: if Ross and I are driving to a convention daily from home or staying in a hotel nearby, what the weather might end up being like, how detailed a possible costume might be, and how faithful I want to be with my representation of a specific character.

Given all the effort I put into Sailor Moon for Gen Con last year, do I want to try and do something elaborate again this year, or do I want to do something more casual? The hotel Ross and I currently have for Gen Con isn’t nearly as close as the one we were at last year (although we might get lucky and snag a closer hotel!) – will I want to deal with being stuck in a costume that might not be all that comfortable for hours on end? Just thinking about wearing the boots for my Sailor Moon costume for more than a half hour is making me cringe, how could I deal with that for an entire day? Plus, I have to plan out costumes for any LARPs I might be involved in, too. Do I want to try to do multiple costumes in a day? And can I quickly swap costumes if I decide to do that?

Those are all things I’ve been thinking about when it comes to my cosplay for this year’s conventions. So far, I’m definitely planning on going to Gen Con and the Indiana Toy and Comic Convention for sure, and I might also go to Indy PopCon. Whatever I choose, it’ll need to work out for at least one convention, if not three. With all that in mind, I’ve narrowed things down to three possible cosplays for this year’s convention season.

  • A casual version of Usagi from Sailor Moon: This could be a fun cosplay to do – you don’t often see people dressed up as Usagi. I’ve got some clothes in my closet that I think would work pretty well for a casual version of Usagi, and I could easily find clothes that match some of her outfits from the anime if I wanted to do something more show-accurate. I want my beautiful Sailor Moon wig to get some more use, and I think casual Usagi would work out pretty well – especially if I don’t end up with a nearby hotel for Gen Con, since I’d be wearing comfortable clothes and can handle wearing that wig for hours at a time, even with how heavy it is.
  • Lapis Lazuli from Steven Universe: I originally wanted to try cosplaying as Lapis last year, but Sailor Moon ended up eating up all my focus for costuming, and therefore Lapis ended up being set aside. However, this is another one I could also do pretty easily, if I don’t go all-out with body paint and such. I found a skater dress on Etsy that would work pretty well if I wanted to do a more casual Lapis, and there’s a wig on Arda that I could get in blue that with some styling would make a pretty good Lapis wig. A short wig and a comfy dress would make for a really comfy cosplay, that’s for sure. Plus, if I do end up feeling crafty and want to make the outfit myself (or with some help from my mom-in-law, who’s a great seamstress), I don’t think it’ll be impossible to make a Lapis costume from scratch.
  • Bring Pinkie Pie out of retirement: For those of you who haven’t followed the blog since I started writing, my first big cosplay was Pinkie Pie. I originally wore the first version of Pinkie Pie to Gen Con 2012, and made some much-needed updates to the costume in 2013. In 2014 I perfected my Pinkie Pie outfit, wore it to all of the 2014 and most of the 2015 conventions I went to… and then quietly retired it. To be completely honest, I’m not even sure where all the pieces are – the tutu is under the bed in my craft room somewhere, the wig (which seriously needs replacing) is on a wig head in my living room, holding up my hats, and I think the leggings and shirt might be in my costume closet somewhere. If I find all the parts, though, and get a new wig, I could easily bring back Pinkie for another convention season. It’s a rather comfortable costume, and people recognize it, so it could be fun to wear it again. (Plus, maybe I could convince my friend Rachel from The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast to take her Pinkie costume out of retirement so we could be ridiculous together!)

Of course, these probably won’t be the only costumes I wear – especially at Gen Con, where I also have to plan for costuming for the LARP I’ll be playing in. And who knows, I might end up coming up with other ideas before convention season is in full swing! For now, I think I’ve got a good collection of cosplay ideas for this year, and a pretty good chance of wearing them all at least once at conventions this year – and I’m definitely looking forward to putting these cosplays together! (Or, in the case of Pinkie Pie, hunting down the various parts of her costume from assorted spots around the house.)

Gen Con 2018 Report: the LARPs

This post is part of my Gen Con 2018 Report series – you can find the whole collection here!

As I mentioned briefly in some of my daily Gen Con posts, I took part in two different LARPs this year at Gen Con, in very different roles.  I’ve never actually LARPed at Gen Con before, so being involved in two different games might have been a little ambitious, but in retrospect, I had a heck of a lot of fun.  Both games I was involved in were put on by Phoenix Fire LARP, a group that my dear friends J and Kasi run with some of their friends. Since convention halls don’t really lend themselves well to boffer LARPs (or, LARPs that make use of foam weapons for attacking others), J developed the FIRE System, which uses a deck of playing cards to determine damage dealt to characters, help add an element of chance to certain actions, and to help with determining initiative for the players.  It’s a really neat system that’s pretty quick to learn.

While both games made use of the FIRE System, they were about as different as things can get – and I had completely different experiences in both games, what with running one and participating in another.  Read on to learn more about Return to Paragon City and Showdown in Sacramento!

Return to Paragon City

The three main storytellers from Return to Paragon City – Daniel, Kasi, and myself.

Return to Paragon City was the game I helped run – it’s based on the beloved MMO City of Heroes, which I didn’t get to play for long before they shut the game down back in 2012.  The game was run as a hybrid tabletop/live action game, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. However, to be honest, when I first volunteered to help run Paragon City, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t expect I’d be running part of the game by myself, but that’s what ended up happening. And given that it was my first experience running any sort of game, I was anxious as heck about it. I’ve played in tabletop games for years, and I’ve got a year and a half of LARPing experience under my belt, but running a game?  Telling a story and keeping track of where everyone is in location to the bad guys and keeping track of the bad guys’ health ended up being a really overwhelming prospect for me.  I was so worried I’d mess something up, and then freak out about messing things up, and it’d all spiral out of control.  Each playtest we did helped me feel a little better about things, but not much.  I ended up showing up to the game in the middle of a massive anxiety attack. Oh, brain.  Why do you do this to me?

Some of the fine superheroes from my table at Return to Paragon City.

Anyhow, I told J that my brain was conspiring against me and that I had no idea how I’d be able to run my section of game, so we tag-teamed my section of the event – I’d do the storytelling, while J handled the combat parts.  That combination worked out well – during combat I focused on keeping track of where people were on the map and how many hit points the bad guys had, while J handled the actual logistics.  And our group had loads of fun!  We had some great superheroes in our group, including Professor Photon, Cameraman (who had a camera prop and involved it in all of his attacks), and The Spicy Taco (whose attacks were, of course, taco-themed).

All in all, I learned a lot – and learned that maybe I need training wheels, so to speak, for a little bit longer when it comes to running a LARP.

Showdown in Sacramento

Showdown in Sacramento was an entirely different experience.  In fact, the only thing Showdown and Paragon City had in common was the FIRE System – everything else was incredibly different.  Instead of being set in a fictitious city full of superheroes, Showdown is set in Sacramento during the gold rush era, and is full of supernatural beings- mages, werewolves, vampires, and fey (in addition to regular plain old humans).  In last year’s game, an event happened that caused all the supernatural beings to glow with a specific colored aura around them, based on the type of supernatural being they were.  This made things a little… interesting for this year’s game, especially when it came to the political elements.

I like how J and Kasi handled character creation, although I know it resulted in an immense amount of work on their end.  Instead of creating our own characters, we were each assigned a character and given a fair bit of backstory for them as a starting point for this year’s game.  I ended up playing Lucina Finch, a relative newcomer to Sacramento who’d recently purchased a mine and was planning on using her abilities as a mage to construct machines that would work in the mines, to lessen the potential harm to humans.  Having the character information to start from made things much easier for me, especially since I was new to the game – once I got into character and started interacting with others, I had a great time.

Lucina Finch with J (who played many roles during the game, haha).  And yes, that’s the mole from my Marco costume earlier in the day – I’ll have to remember to add that for next year’s costume, haha.

Lucina partnered up with two other mages (Isadora and Adelia) to work on making more machines to work in the mines, which was one of Lucina’s main goals for the game.  There was also a lot of mining (Lucina had to pay Adelia for the rights to her gold-detecting machine somehow!), a marriage market where Lucina got matched up with a friendly werewolf named Thomas, a number of fights with thugs attempting to raid the mines (Thomas protected Lucina from one such attack by transforming into a werewolf, which Lucina thought was pretty awesome), and even voting on political issues that would affect the supernaturals living in Sacramento both immediately and in the years to come.  And with the help of a couple of others, the lady mages found out the source of the auras that were affecting the supernatural folk of Sacramento!

 

The cast of Showdown in Sacramento!

I had a heck of a lot of fun in Showdown, and I’m really glad I decided to jump in and play this year.  Granted, doing two 6-hour LARPs over the course of two days was exhausting, but I really enjoyed it.

 

Gen Con 2018: The Report

Well, Gen Con 2018 is all done – which I’m rather bummed about, I had an absolutely wonderful time this year!  Thanks to staying in a hotel in Indy, I actually had the energy to post something little each day of the convention, but I’ve got a heck of a lot more to ramble about – so here goes! To keep this one post from getting too ridiculously long, I’ve split out the long and rambly parts into their own posts:

My experience this year was pretty good in general – I kept up on what was going on with the Fans of Gen Con group on Facebook, which was full of good information.  From where to find certain games to how long the line for Will Call was, the folks in Fans of Gen Con posted about it all – and it helped me feel a little more connected to the convention in general.  I’m hoping I can actually make it to their pre-Gen Con event next year, the Stink, so I can meet more of the great folks in that group.

Speaking of Will Call – what the heck was up with Will Call this year?  The lines were insane, from what I heard – this year I ended up getting my press badge with my friend Rachel (of The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast) on Wednesday, and then hopping into the Will Call line – which stretched almost entirely across the convention center.  It moved pretty quickly, though – Ross, Rachel, and I were only in line for a half hour.  However, Thursday was an entirely different story.

This photo was taken by someone in the Fans of Gen Con group on Facebook, at around noon on Thursday.  That was the end of the line – snaking almost to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Apparently the line was really, really bad on Thursday – so much for Will Call being such a well-kept secret!  I think Ross and I are going to plan on getting my press badge on Wednesday of Gen Con from now on, so we don’t feel so rushed trying to get things taken care of early Thursday morning (and so we avoid the potential horrors of the lengthy Will Call lines). 

I don’t know about everyone else, but it felt like some parts of Gen Con were ridiculously packed compared to last year.  It felt almost impossible to navigate the Block Party, where all the food trucks were congregated, during meal times (and forget about finding a place to sit!) – and the dealer hall was insane on Sunday.  I get easily overwhelmed when there are too many people somewhere, and while most of the time I was fine, there were some spots where I just got so overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people crammed into a small area.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to alleviate this outside of finding a new place to do Gen Con or expanding further into the surrounding hotels – it’s just something I guess I’m gonna have to deal with.

I will say, watching the crowds enter the dealers hall on Thursday morning was fascinating.  I actually recorded the tail end of the opening ceremonies for Gen Con this year, and at about 4 and a half minutes into the video, you can see the crowd start pouring into the hall (and hear my silly commentary on it, too).

One of the things I love about Gen Con is the fact that I can run into friends from pretty much every part of my life here – over the course of the convention, I ran into a bunch of folks from Kishar, friends from work, my wonderful mom-in-law and brother-in-law, and even folks from SIGUCCS (a professional organization I’m a member of).  It’s like one big geeky party that all your friends are at, and it’s fantastic. I always love running into friends and family at Gen Con.

Star, Marco, and Steve from Blues Clues! (Or, Ross, myself, and Ross’s brother Damion.)

Overall, I had a great time – I got to eat tasty food from the food trucks (including some pierogies from Pierogi Love, and a rainbow cupcake covered in glitter called “The Mike Pence”, haha), I got to wear a Sailor Moon costume I’d only ever dreamed about wearing before, I got to play in some awesome games, and I spent a ridiculous amount of money in the dealers hall (I bought a Utilikilt this year!).  All in all, this was a great year, and I’m looking forward to next year’s Gen Con!  Here’s a little taste of Gen Con 2018, in photo form.

Keep an eye out for the more specific Gen Con Reports! 🙂  And if you want to listen to a more detailed (and much more tired) report about Gen Con, I guest-starred on the most recent episode of The Five(ish) Fangirls Podcast, where Rachel and I talk about our Gen Con experience!  

Gen Con 2018: the cosplay

This post is part of my Gen Con 2018 Report series – you can find the whole collection here!

Here’s the post you’ve all been waiting for – the cosplay post from this year’s Gen Con! First, I want to show off mine and Ross’s costumes from Gen Con, since I’m really proud of how they turned out.  First off, our Friday costumes – Ross and I dressed as Star and Marco from Star vs. The Forces of Evil.

Not many people realized who I was until I pointed out the mole and the fact that I was wearing a red sweatshirt, haha.  I think next year, I’m going to have to dress as Princess Marco Turdina if I want to do Marco again.

Saturday was the really big day for cosplay for Ross and I – he wore his Star costume again, and I got to wear my dream Sailor Moon costume.

Ross is best Mewni princess. (Photo taken by TheMOX on Flickr.)

 

I had SO much fun getting to dress up as Sailor Moon for the day.  (Photo taken by TheMOX on Flickr.)

In general, there were loads of great costumes, and I really wish I’d been able to take more pictures – however, it’s incredibly hard to manage a cell phone with gloves on, so Ross was my photographer for most of Saturday.  

Without further ado, here are the pictures!  Click on the photos to see a larger/uncropped version – and if you’re in any of these photos and want a larger resolution version, leave a comment and I’ll link you to the high-res versions on Google!

And for those of you who are interested in watching the Costume Parade, check out this video from Naptown Buzz – Ross and I are about a minute in, after Gandalf the Dog. 🙂

Gen Con: day 4

or: Gen Con: the day I officially ran out of spoons.

But it’s okay that I ran out of spoons today, because it was the last day of Gen Con, and I didn’t really have anything planned!  So I went and did the one event I was signed up for – a crocheting event.

Soon to be a dragon scale scarf.

Do you know how hard it is to attempt to crochet at 9 am on a Sunday at Gen Con? My sleepy brain spent a few minutes thinking “does this pattern use American or UK crochet terms?” before I realized I was being silly, this pattern totally uses American terms, the image at the top of the pattern uses the same double crochets you’re used to.  Then I spent some time trying to get all those double crochets where they needed to be.  Eventually, after an hour of talking to my yarn and telling it to behave, I got two rows of scales done.

The rest of my day, outside of packing and loading stuff into the car, was spent wandering the dealer’s hall – I won’t lie, it was a little overwhelming with so many people crammed in there.  I got some tea and some dice, and Ross went on a bit of a wild goose chase looking for a fancy leather writing/sketching book.  We eventually found something close to what he liked at the Medieval Collectibles booth, and so he’s perusing their website as we speak to find the book he wants. 

Around 1 pm, we finally gave up and decided to head home – we were both exhausted (especially after 6 straight hours of cosplay photos, wandering around the convention center, and participating in the costume parade), and I almost fell asleep in the car on the way home. Now, I get to unpack, spend time with the cats, and slowly rehydrate myself.  Plus, I get to spend tomorrow writing up blog posts, reacclimating to normal life, and guest-starring on another episode of The Five-Ish Fangirls Podcast where Rachel and I (and the other podcasters) ramble about the past four days. 

I miss Gen Con already.

Gen Con 2018: day 3

My feet are killing me, I’m definitely a little dehydrated, and my hair is full of Ross’s styling clay to keep all the little annoying hair tendrils from escaping out from under my wig, but it’s all worth it, because…

This seriously made my entire convention.

That’s right, the costume I’ve been working on putting together for months, and have been so very excited to wear, won an award. I was so worried something was going to go wrong with this costume – that it wouldn’t fit me properly anymore (I’ve lost some weight since I last wore it), that the wig wouldn’t be done in time, that I’d sprain an ankle in those heels… but no, everything went together amazingly, and I am so, so happy.  And I got an award for my costume!

But I’d still be my happy exhausted self even if I didn’t end up winning that  awesome little award. You know why?

I saw so many faces light up today when they saw my costume, because they love Sailor Moon as much as I do.  I saw a little girl get excited and flaily and scream out “SAILOR MOOOON” when I walked by during the costume parade, and she got even flailier when I waved.  I love making others smile with my costumes, and I love finding other cosplayers from the same show who get excited when they notice that we’re all dressing as characters from Sailor Moon, or My Little Pony, or whatever fandom we’re representing in costume that day.  

That’s the main reason why I’m a happy nerd right now – because I got to make others smile.

Like Usagi here, who got really excited to see someone dressed as Sailor Moon.