Home > general > my first con: Con of the North (St. Paul, Minnesota)

my first con: Con of the North (St. Paul, Minnesota)

February 25, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Well, I finally bit the bullet and went to my first convention. I had no idea what to expect, and as I’m fairly shy, I was afraid I’d hate it. But I really rather enjoyed myself.

Since it was my first con, and since it was in February in Minnesota, I didn’t pre-register or sign up for any games (you never know what the weather is going to do this time of year). S and I drove up on Friday, did some shopping (book stores, CD stores, game stores, yarn shops, etc.), ate at Barley John’s Brew Pub, and then headed back to our motel for the night.

On Saturday, S and I ate breakfast at Bon Vie, I dropped her off at a Caribou Coffee, and I made my way to the Con of the North.

Since it was my first con, and since I had no idea what to expect, I just kind of wandered around the hotel for a while, getting my bearings and checking out all the different gaming rooms. There was quite a variety of gaming going on: board games, card games, miniatures, wargames, computer games, role-playing games, you name it.

There were quite a few vendors there, too, selling games, jewelry, t-shirts, miniatures, gaming supplies, etc. One of the vendors was selling used games, and I asked him if he bought used games, too (I had taken about 10 games that I was thinking of trading away). He said he did, so I went out to the car and brought in my games. After a bit of dickering, I traded away five games and acquired three: Basari, Heimlich & Co. (a.k.a. Top Secret Spies), and Uptown. I won’t say what I traded away, as I probably didn’t get a very good deal, but I was happy enough with the exchange. I figure that’s the main thing.

As I hadn’t signed up for any games, I didn’t have a whole lot of opportunity for gaming. There was apparently a way to sign up for pick-up games, but I never did figure out the system. So I wandered about, watched people play Twilight Struggle and Glory to Rome, and chatted a bit with some of the vendors and smaller game companies. Everyone was very friendly.

At the vendors, I also bought Zombie Dice (a fun, fast, and addicting little filler), the France / Italy expansion map for Power Grid, Jump Gate, and Knock Down, Drag Out by Interaction Point Games.

For me, the best part of the con was meeting other game designers. I got to chat a bit with the folks at Interaction Point Games, William Sininger of Prolific Games (and designer of the upcoming Tricked Out Hero), and Matt Worden of Jump Gate fame. Amazingly, Jump Gate won Games Magazine’s Game of the Year award for 2011 even though it was only available through The Game Crafter at the time. I think that’s a first for the gaming industry, and it just goes to show how much the internet is shaking things up.

The plan on Sunday was to do some shopping at IKEA in the morning and then head home in the afternoon. After looking at the forecast for the day, however, we decided that the better part of valor would be to head back down to Iowa at the earliest possible opportunity. We drove like the wind until we hit the storm, then slowed to about 40 through the ice and snow, and finally made it home (in one piece) about noon. The visibility, at times, was so bad you couldn’t see more than 50 feet in front of the car. The roads themselves weren’t great, but they were passable.

I was hoping to play some of my newly-acquired games at game night tonight, but I’m not feeling well today and we had to cancel. I was really hoping to try Zombie Dice and Jump Gate with our gaming group, as I think they would have both gone over very well.

All in all, it was a neat experience and one I’d be happy to repeat. Next time, though, I want to sign up for some games ahead of time. Oh, and I could skip the blizzard, too. :-)

  1. March 1, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    It was nice meeting you at Con of the North, even if we only got to chat but briefly.

    Of the games you acquired, which is your favorite and why?

  2. March 1, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    I enjoyed meeting you, too. I keep meaning to send you an email, but the last couple weeks have been really hectic.

    I haven’t played any games since the con (though I hope to get in one or two tonight if all goes well), so I’ll have to stick to the ones I’ve actually played: Zombie Dice and Jump Gate (Knock Down, Drag Out doesn’t really count since I only tried a two-player demo of that, and the game is really intended for more players). And between those two, wow, it’s hard to say — they’re *totally* different. Zombie Dice is a fun filler, but I wouldn’t want to play it too many times in a row, as I think it might get old. Jump Gate, on the other hand, I’m just beginning to explore. I guess if I had to choose I’d go for Jump Gate, but they’re both fun.

    Thanks for checking out my blog!

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