Friday, July 29, 2016

CONVERGENCE 2016 REPORT & CON TIPS

Convergence 2016

Once again, I had a great Convergence with J, as well as friends T, L, M, & B, even though I had to wear my unfashionable cam boot for tendinitis (J was great about bringing me food, and I commiserated with other Booted-Americans). It actually went pretty well with my Post-Apoc look (I added black mask makeup in tribute to both Furiosa and Lexa from The 100).

This year, J and I swore to avoid eating out too much, especially the overdone, overpriced horror that is TGIFriday's. We ate all our meals in the Con Suite, except for one trip to Burger King. I also avoided all news except for that trip, a lovely break from the agony of 2016 current events (RIP Prince). 

Thursday:

3:30 Crafty Geek Meetup. We hung out a bit and worked on geeky coloring pages. 

7:00 Sci Fi TV Year in Review. I'm always wanting to learn about good shows to watch. This was OK, they mostly talked about shows I already knew about, except one guy was weirdly obsessed with Galavant. I don't know, the idea of a medieval fantasy musical doesn't make my heart beat faster. I was interested in hearing about The Magicians, it sounds like "Harry Potter goes to an open-minded small-liberal-arts college", which is more up my alley. 

8:30 Fancy Bastard Pie Competition. A Guest of Honor demanded home-made pie in exchange for attending, so there was pie, and it was good. The banana pie that actually tasted like banana for once was my favorite. 

10:00 You Will Behave Yourself at My Table. Since we play RPGs, it seemed like a good idea to get tips on dealing with difficult players. It was a little dry, they could have had more juicy stories . J and I have some, oh yes we do...

Friday:

12:30 What's with the Airships? This was a panel on why people are fascinated by airships and why they appear in so much media. The people on the panel were mostly experts on the topic who knew their stuff, which isn't always the case. The conclusion was: people like them because they are cool, but they aren't really practical. However, many people, artists and scientists alike, read about them when young and fall in love with their look and the idea of gracefully floating in the air with windows wide open. This article has profiles of some of these people, including Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson, who invested half a millions dollars in them and sings about them on their latest album. 

2:00 Historical Fiction in RPGs. A good overview on sources creating an historical world in a role-playing game. As a librarian, I already knew about primary sources and "daily life" books, but there were some things I hadn't thought of, like legal cases, digitized maps, archaeological dig web sites,  war gaming books, and historical-reenactment web sites. Also, creating a mood with facsimile coins or other props, or with audio, can give players the feeling of being in the past.  

3:30 Wonder Woman: The Golden Age. An old-time-radio-show-style staged reading based on the first Wonder Woman comic. They didn't have to change anything to make it funny, because that shit was weird, which won't surprise anyone who read The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Check it out, it's a tale of bondage, female supremacy, polyamorous living arrangements, and lie detectors. 

7:00 Joseph Scrimshaw vs. Reality. Not much to say, the dude's really funny, follow him on Twitter or buy his comedy albums if you are a comedy-album buyer.

8:30 Feng Shui 2. A fun, Hong-Kong-cinema-style roleplaying game. I was a dangerous gambling lady out for revenge. 

Saturday:
1 PM Pillar of Fire. A playtest of a new RPG from local company Atlas Games. I enjoyed the adventure - it was a standard sci fi-horror trope of something going wrong and a party investigating an abandoned base, but it's a trope for a reason - it works. The setting was a bit too complicated, though. Players play characters who are sort-of superheroes/angels that guide humanity. Everyone belongs to a guild based on their job and has one of 3 kinds of "souls" (which have been discovered by science to exist). Also, there are animal-human hybrids. I'd say, trim it down a little, and it could be like when Marvel & DC get spacey (Green Lantern, Guardians of the Galaxy). 

7 PM Misspent Youth. This game was different and fun. It's really good for one-shots or short campaigns. There are some cooperative parts where players create game elements, although not as much as Fiasco. You play one of a bunch of disaffected youth who are rebelling against something. The game ends when one of the party sells out completely to The Man. We played youth who protested when our squat was going to be torn down for a corporate headquarters. I sold out by becoming a YouTube star after making a viral video of the corporation's misdeeds. 

Cosplay trends: Mad Max, Steven Universe, opposite-sex versions of characters. 

Wish I hadn't missed: the Afrofuturism panel, since I love Octavia Butler and want to learn more about it.


Tips for having a good con:


I've been going to Convergence for 3 years and Anime Detour about 10, not the world's record, but I've picked up a few things you might be able to use when you attend the fandom-interest event of your choice. 

1. Eat all the free food you can. Some cons may offer snacks only, but every little bit helps. Convergence has chips, rice, raw veggies with dip, and some nice soups. Some of the party rooms also have food for just $1 and/or tips. I finally visited the famous House of Toast (Nutella, grape jelly, and whipped cream). 

2. Do something that makes you a little uncomfortable. What happens at Con doesn't necessarily stay at Con, but everyone else is geeking out, so why be embarrassed? Wear a costume or ask someone about theirs, make a craft, ask the panel a question, play a game. Just remember - no touchy without permission, 'cause that's creepy. 

3. Stay in a hotel near the con, but not at the main hotel. This way you won't have to deal with as much noise, or wait 20 minutes for the elevator when you need to go to your room.

4. Keep your bodily fluids to yourself. According to the Convergence Facebook page, 2015 had a rash of drive-by vomitings. It's really not nice to make staff clean that up, and it can damage relations with the hosting facility. If your life is not complete without drinking to excess, at least stick to the toilet.