You know I love 'em! Game conventions, I mean. I'm talking board, role playing, miniatures and card game conventions, not gambling sort of games, which I would not have the fortitude for.
The first con of the year is typically Gamicon in central/eastern Iowa. Usually I just bring a shit load of...shit and sell it at the auction and then pick up a few choice pieces of other people's shit to haul back home. Typically there would be little gaming. This year was different; no hauled shit, no bought shit, just gaming.
The games I like are heavy on the critical thinking and usually deal with using your limited resources to score points for the win. My favorite games involve limited time (length of the game in turns or actual hours) and resource management. I used to be fond of military type games, like Axis and Allies or games recreating the American Civil War or miniature war games (WWII was a favorite), now I would rather trade you 2 sheep for a brick or make the agonizing choice on what action to choose to build my winery or haul my goods from space port to space port. It is not that I don't like military style games, I just get more enjoyment out of playing them on a computer alone, where I don't have to wait for 8 other real humans to take their turns while I sit and mentally masturbate 18 fucking times before I get to do something again. Yes, I know I could be 'socializing' with the other players, talking up old games or strategy or whatnot. There is just not enough beer to get me to do that with people I don't know. Sure round up some close friends and I can hold up my side of the conversation for a 4 hour game of Axis and Allies or a 15 hour-long miniature recreation of Gettysburg. Otherwise, my computer can take the other 8 player's turns and get me back into action after only a few seconds. Sheesh, I've become a selfish gaming prick; if it's not my turn I cry. Or rather I just steer clear of those games these days.
It always makes me smile when I look at how much I like to play these games and how much I really don't like life. I mean what is life? It's the ultimate, complex board game. I have to manage my time, my money and the decisions I make impact the future of the 'game' in ways that are sometimes hard to predict. You'd think I would be better at life, eh? Or perhaps it is my self-conceived failure at life that drives me to play on the small board? Actually I kinda suck at board games too. don't get me wrong, I am good for a second or third place finish out of 3-5 players, but I rarely have the drive to win. I like the process. I guess that goes the same for life, so put that in the 'pro' column for remaining alive.
The hotel I am at tonight is a 7 story kinda of place, built on the 'courtyard' model. So all the rooms open onto a walkway surrounding a 7 story drop down to an eating/drinking/socializing area. The temptation to toss things over the edge is just so damn strong. Like an ice cube, a shoe, a tween boy running by for the 8th lap with his friends screaming at the top of their lungs...or even me. There is a piano pretty much dead center in the courtyard and I wonder, "Could I hit the piano if I pushed off hard enough? Would I fall short?" Then I start wondering about other things, like if I were falling, just before I hit, would I have time to see the faces of the people as I land on their table? Would I live through a 7 story fall? Magic 8 ball says, "The forecast is not good."
This place would be an epic play place for a super hero, a leaper or a wall crawler, anything with spectacular moving abilities. Flying would sort of ruin it, I mean why fly inside? (Only if it isn't a Death Star; always fly inside of Death Star if you have the chance.) Wall crawlers or web slingers would have a heyday here, going from ledge to ledge in a wild game of tag or even deathsport.
The hotel is booked with attendees for a tween basketball tournament tomorrow too. Friday was calm and quite, Saturday is full of noise and kids doing wild kid things. I almost feel bad for the 'con kids' (and there are dozen or so in the 8 to 14 range) I watch them watching the wild boys and girls and note that they have a wistful look in their eyes, like they would rather be running barefoot through the halls, screaming and yelling than sedately playing 'King of Tokyo' like fashionable, stodgy, old englishmen and women. The micro drama of the tweens is amusing to watch too, they are trying to figure things out, you know? They don't know if the people they are with really, really like them so I see them taking calculated risks to test their relationships, I overhear them boasting and telling each other some of the lamest jokes I have ever heard, usually all of this bravado is well appreciated by their peers. They are me, I used to be them. It's poignant and almost painful to watch. I am closer to death than I am to ten and with the mighty wisdom of my years I know the heartache and spectacular life that awaits all of them. Where will they spend their resources to find happiness? What moves will they make? Will they win?