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Gen Con 2011 was a bust for me.
Gen Con was just plain bad for me this year.  While there were a few shining moments for me, the rest was heaping piles of cap and I'm seriously trying to decide if 2012 will be worthwhile.

Decided to take the day off to take care of laundry, printing and other things necessary to prepare for the con. Decided not to get a hotel Tuesday night with Matt and instead to take off very early on Wednesday.

Headed out of the house around 6:30am (a bit later than I had expected), but the drive down was uneventful and I got parking at $20/24-hour period, but ... oh, well.
I got to the hotel around 11 or so, and was able to check in.  The Canadians were just minutes behind me.
After that I headed to Scotty's Brewhouse to drop off the new Winter Haven posters ( 2010 Winter Haven Poster "Tsunotaur Raider" , Winter Haven 2011 Poster "Doom Woorm" ) and then headed to Exhibitor HQ at the convention to pick up my badge... but they changed the rules this year and only the booth owner could pick them up... and Diana was not there yet.  And my phone # for her did not work.  So I sat around waiting for her, because if I didn't catch her checking in, I might not see her until the next day.  After a few hours, she left me a message on my phone that she was in the Exhibit hall.  Unfortunately it went right to VM, so I didn't get her number still.  She eventually showed and I helped her set up and departed.

It was during my waiting around Exhibitor HQ that I started to realize that something wasn't quite right.  For the last 5 or so years, I have been volunteering.  My time has been filled with things to do... and I never really missed much.  I don't play games, I don't do seminars, I didn't really have any artwork to commission this year, and I really didn't have any sort of direction.  Working 40 hours over Gen Con gave me time to eat dinner with friends and the occasional walk through the Exhibit Hall.  But there was very little else I ever felt like I wanted to do.

Matt and I headed to "Wings and Rings" and got some boneless wings (they were dry and I wasn't too impressed with the flavors), but the deep-fried cheesecake in pastry was delicious. :-9

After that we headed to the Crafty Games meeting and finally headed back to the hotel to collapse.
Went to the White Wolf panel discussions for "Making of Vampire: the Masquerade 20th Anniversary" and "White Wolf 2.0" Where I learned some great facts about both the V20 and other upcoming products.
V20: No more "Dodge" skill (it's part of Athletics now), 70 or so different Clan/Bloodlines, Updated rules to be a bit more "balanced" (and plus, some items had not been re-published since 1st Ed.), 528 pages, may have to be shipped as 2 books if printed in full-color because of paper thickness issues with the Print On Demand system, and they will be releasing Vampire 20th products too, starting with "Dust to Dust" a thematic follow-up to the "Ashes to Ashes" book.
"Werewolf Translation Guide" will be released in February.
Also, Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary Edition will be released September, 2012! It will be "Open Concept Development" (or whatever it's called) with input from the players just like Vampire was. So if you have ideas about what worked, what didn't, what you want to see more of, less of, or even what font you want to see it printed in, keep an eye out for that!
That evening, we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory with local friends.  Then after grabbing this year's Hard Rock Cafe pin set (an awesome set this year that actually had Gen Con's logo on it, and came in a velvet box), Matt and I went to The Ugly Monkey to hang with some of our Indiana LARP friends.
To be honest, days began to meld together for me.
... I can't really remember much of Friday.  Later in the evening I went to Scotty's Brewhouse and put in a reservation for the group of folks from Indy.   Well, there was supposed to have already been a reservation, but someone didn't get it in, so I put mine in at 6:15 for 7:00.  Well, by 7:30 we still weren't seated.  But it also started to rain for about 15 minutes, and had we been seated outside, our food would have been ruined (as others' meals were) by the giant drops of rain.  
While standing in line, folks congratulated me and thanked me for coming early and getting a reservation in for our group of 10 at a prime dinner hour.  I told them that this was often my task in our group--that I go early, get reservations, and wait around for others.  And that many times in the past, others have changed plans and I'm left having wasted my time and energy elsewhere and take what I do for granted.
Afterwards, M (from our Indy LARP group) invited Matt and I to play a game of Werewolf: the Apocalypse Mind's Eye Theater (Werewolf LARP) at the con.  We went back and made characters for a few hours until it was too late to play.  They told us to return between 4pm and 8pm to register our characters, because after that, the registration person would be unavailable.  M wanted us to be a part of his pack, talking about the pack totem, how there were many other of his friends in it, etc.  I really wanted to LARP with them and get to know them, so I made this my plan.   We said we'd try to meet up on Saturday for Lunch to go over our pack and such.  And then we left it at that.
Saturday ... the day of Doom.
Well, plans for getting the "pack" together started to fail when we tried to get together for Lunch and the "pack" wasn't there, and M didn't want to speak about the game.  He then told me that he had to work until 7 and that E wouldn't be out until sometime around 6.  But he told me he'd send E and M2 my number.  He would contact me when he got out.  Now, character registration was from 4-8:30.   Since I had just eaten around 3pm, and I was going to hang with folks at 6 or 7, I had to deny eating with my friends so that I could be there for the others to start the LARP with me.  I got my character approved by 5:30, and even had them approve some stuff for me that was a bit weird (Like Pat's Umbral Phone.)  I texted M that I was approved... and waited.  At 7 I was still sitting there.  My friends had gone to dinner at 5:45, and I had not eaten since 3.  Well, at 7 I got a reply that "We're at Dinner. We'll be there when we're done."  But by 8 I texted them again letting them know that they still had not gotten their approval on their characters... M seemed surprised that the cut-off date was at 8:30.  I waited until 9:30 and finally left.  Not only did I leave the convention center after 4 hours of sitting and waiting, I left the convention.
I stopped by the Omni to drop off some paperwork for Diana Stein, but she wasn't at her room, and my phone number I had tried to program for her had no reply either.  My phone was acting up this weekend by not allowing me to add new numbers in, even after going through the process, and it would not give me a reason why.  I must assume this is what happened with her number as well.
There was nothing left for me to stick around for another day.  I was going to go to bed, wake up and have to be packed up and out by 10am, wander around the Exhibit Hall for a few hours, spending money I didn't have, or wishing I had bought something else, and then drive home and be home by 8pm anyways.  Why not just leave then?  And so, I did.  I also needed to get away from the terrible black cloud that had been over my head too.
And, so, at 11:30pm, on Saturday, I left Gen Con.  
The only silver lining of leaving at this time was that the parking garage's gate was "closed", but the bar was up and no one was there... so, there was no one to pay.  So, free parking!
On the other hand, the fog in Indiana and Michigan was insane last night!  There were MILES where visibility was hardly past the car hood.  Heck, maybe half of my drive was in fog of some sort.  But there were no accidents that I saw.
I was home at 4:00am on Sunday and in my own bed for the night.
So, in the end... Gen Con may no longer be for me.   There were a few good moments at the Con, but in-all, it was pretty much a waste of time and money for me.


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