My wife, gentle saint that she is, practically had to force me to go to KublaCon this weekend. I recognize the incongruousness of that but the explanation is pretty straightforward: Cons are expensive. We’ve been pinching pennies quite a bit (understand that I’ve played all the games I’ve played this year to date based on Goozex trades excepting the purchase of Fallout 3 and the rental of Resident Evil 5) so my only resource to attend Kubla this year was a tax refund check. When it came time to decide whether or not to pre-register, I balked because I kept thinking about all the things that smallish amount of cash could buy for the baby. Nik eventually coaxed me to commit to one full day at the con so I would at least have the chance to go considering I missed DunDraCon for similar reasons.
Then she realized that she had finals coming up the week following Memorial Day and decided she wanted me as far out of her hair as she could get me so she more or less demanded that I attend a second day. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go, but I wouldn’t have a room, I’d have to pay full price for the weekend pass, drive back and forth across a bridge and I just felt like it wasn’t a “pure” con experience. I grumbled and fussed but she was pretty adamant that due to her schedule and the fact that the arrival of our child would probably preclude any con trips for at least a while, this was likely my last chance to experience one for a bit and it should be taken advantage of, even if it wasn’t some version of ideal.
I’m sure the irony is not particularly thick to note that it was one of my better con experiences.
I love the full-weekend cons with two night hotel stays and supposed game-all-night sessions but to be honest a lot of times those shared vacations end up being exercises in scheduling. It’s less “Gamer Paradise” and more “Executive Administrative Assistant Boot Camp.” You’ve got between four and nine people usually, all who have different eating, playing and shopping schedules and you’re trying to coordinate what games you can get in with who needs to be where by when and at what point you can squeeze in sufficient meals for everyone. It’s pretty exhausting and in the end I think a lot of the gaming sputters and putters along excepting maybe one big—usually pre-planned—event.
This weekend however we simply arrived each day sometime in the morning, sat down and played until people began drifting away. Each session was adjusted for how many people were available and interested and those who were engaged in other activities were welcome to stop by for a short while and join us or simply chat until their next game. As a result I got in more gaming than any con I can recall and it was all great, great fun.
I thought the one disappointment was going to be that with the inclusion of my restricted budget I wouldn’t have much in the way of funds for the dealer’s room. That turned out to only be partially true since the real setback was that I went in wanting to find a fun Zombie-themed game to buy and the ones I found were low rated and badly reviewed on BoardGameGeek.com. The game that was recommended, Last Night on Earth, was nowhere to be found in any booth. However, I did manage to get an incredible dealer’s room score as I found unlicensed Blood Bowl blocking dice at the Chessex booth and managed to find the last matched set (black on green). So for less than $10 I walked away with what I felt was a huge DR coup. There was really no way to count it as anything but a huge success.