This year was my first time attending the celebration of Gary Gygax’s life , Gary Con IX, located in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I had some hesitation in bringing my hippy games into the lair of AD&D but I had heard such great things about the community that I really wanted to give it a try. I will say that if you are an old school TSR fan this is going to be like heaven to you. I’m not that person but I had a really fantastic time this weekend.

It was the best I’ve ever been treated as a GM. That started with an email the week before the con that included all of the information that I would need to get my game sheets, basic polices, and dealing with tickets. The cart that brought free snacks and drinks around to the GMs also collected tickets and game sheets to save us a trip downstairs. Several staff members thanked me for running games and how important is was to the convention. I felt appreciated even after I showed up to run my games. Every other con that I’ve ever been to could learn at least a little from them.

I had some really exceptional players over my games and I am thankful for each and every one of them. It was a weekend filled with awesome guys named Brian. I have 100% success rate (3 out of 3!) with Brians. All of my games were fun but Tick, Tock, Dead was a perfect storm of a story that I love and excellent players. Both Brians were a joy to have at the table. Lene brought great ideas and tackled problems in a refreshing way. Jim, who played in two of my games, was a fantastic moral compass for the police team in Tick Tock. The gentleman that played Dakota was fantastic as well. Shout out to Thaddeus who I sat with in a couple of other people’s games.

Will I be back next year? I’m not really sure at this point. If I return it will be for the fantastic people that I interacted with there. While no one was rude or disparaging at any time I felt like an outsider all weekend. That is fully appropriate because I came to the heart of dungeon crawls with a time travel police drama. I’m trapped between wanting running subversive games at a celebration for a man that helped change the way that we play pretend and wanting to be in a convention mostly filled with others running the gaming equivalent of punk rock games. Either way I’m really glad that I took the leap.

4 Thoughts to “Gary Con 2017 thoughts”

  1. This was my first GaryCon, too. I had a great time, but it was exhausting. Like you, I’m not sure whether I’ll go back. The room where I played 6 of the 7 games over the long weekend got REALLY loud, and it was nearly impossible to communicate with the game master and other players.

    1. I experienced that same problem at at least one of my tables. I’m naturally loud when I run games so when people are have trouble hearing me you know that it’s extremely loud.

  2. Cameron and I have always been fascinated by Gary Con, but ultimately our resources are small and these double as family vacations. GenCon is by far the most family friendly convention we’ve ever attended, my sense of GaryCon is that it’s not exactly a place we should show up to with two kids under 5 in tow.

    1. You would actually be surprised. While the little ones wouldn’t be welcome at the table you could definitely bring them along and have fun. The resort that located at has a giant pool, child care, and there is a waterpark at the other hotel on the property. There were tons of families while I was there. There were tons of people drinking too, including at the game tables, which is a deal breaker for me and kiddos but I recognize that I’m in the minority on that one.

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